Gators paying new coaching staff handsomely

With a new head coach comes a new coaching staff, and the University of Florida decided to dish out some hefty salaries in order to make sure the Florida Gators two coordinator positions under head coach Will Muschamp were filled by experienced, talented coaches for 2011 and beyond.

According to information released by Florida on Friday, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has signed a three-year, $2.625 million contract with the university. The deal makes the highest-paid assistant coach in school history.

Weis will earn salaries of $765,000 in 2011 and $865,000 in both 2012 and 2013; he also received a $100,000 signing bonus.

A look at the coaching staff’s 2011 salaries compared with their counterparts in 2010:

2011 Coach2011 Salary2010 Coach2010 Salary
Will Muschamp
Head Coach
$2.75M
(5 years)
Urban Meyer
Head Coach
$4M
(6 years)
Charlie Weis
Offensive Coordinator
(Quarterbacks)
$765K
(3 years)
Steve Addazio
Offensive Coordinator
(Offensive Line)
$375K
Dan Quinn
Defensive Coordinator
(Defensive Line)
$490K
(2 years)
Teryl Austin
Defensive Coordinator
(Cornerbacks)
$440K
Brian White
Running Backs
$240K
(1 year)
Brian White
Tight Ends coach
$240K
Frank Verducci
Offensive Line
$290K
(2 years)
Scot Loeffler
Quarterbacks
$240K
Aubrey Hill
Wide Receivers
$230K
(1 year)
Zach Azzanni
Wide Receivers
$240K
D.J. Durkin
Linebackers/ST
$265K
(1 year)

D.J. Durkin
Linebackers/ST
$240K
Travaris Robinson
Cornerbacks
$230K
(1 year)
Chuck Heater
Co-Defensive Coordinator
(Safeties)
$305K
Derek Lewis
Tight Ends
$190K
(1 year)
Stan Drayton
Running Backs
$240K
Bryant Young
Asst. Defensive Line
$230K
(2 years)
Dan McCarney
Assistant Head Coach
(Defensive Line)
$330K
* White and Durkin are both in the second year of two-year contracts signed in 2010.

Contract notes (as of 2010):
– All coaches receive a $10,000 bonus from Florida’s contract with Nike
– All coaches receive a car and other tangible incentives

Universal bonuses (as of 2010):
– BCS National Championship Game appearance – up to 30 percent increase
– Other BCS bowl game appearance – 20 percent increase
– SEC Championship Game appearance – 10 percent increase
– Non-BCS bowl game – 10 percent increase
– Bowl game with less than $2 million payout – one month’s salary increase

The Associated Press, Gainesville Sun, Palm Beach Post, Florida Times-Union and other media outlets obtained the above salary information via an open records request.

GM Xanders denies that Tebow lacks support

Denver Broncos general manager Brian Xandres took issue Friday with a report the NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi published Monday implying that quarterback Tim Tebow was slowly being pushed out of Mile High.

“Most members of the Broncos who were there when the Tebow pick was made are looking to distance themselves from the choice, which is a classic way for things to operate in the NFL,” Lombardi wrote. “So Tebow is a man without much support in Denver, making quarterback a huge need.”

Xanders denied that was true.

“First of all, I think that report was false. I think there’s a lot of people in our building that are behind Tim Tebow,” Xanders told Pro Football Talk during an interview Friday. “[Tebow] is someone the franchise invested a lot into in terms of draft picks, the contract, but he’s going to create his role. But he’s done a good job so far with his limited opportunities. So that report was false.”

It is important to note that, while Xanders disagrees with Lombardi’s report, it is not necessarily entirely untrue. There very well could be a large faction of people in Denver’s front office who do not believe in Tebow long-term. Then again, the new coaching staff has only watched him on video and may not see him step on the field for months.

With head coach John Fox speaking out Thursday in support of veteran QB Kyle Orton, unnecessarily naming him the starter during the 2011 NFL Combine, Tebow will once again have plenty to prove if/when practice begins for next season.

Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

2/24: Post-game notes: Parsons and Boynton

No. 13/13 Florida Gators (22-5, 11-2 SEC) head coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes after his team’s 71-62 win over the Georgia Bulldogs on Thursday.

A TALE OF TWO HALVES

Donovan saying that Florida was “fortunate in this game to only be down seven at the half” is an understatement. The Gators shot an embarrassing 37 percent from the floor in the opening period and at one point were being outshot 63-29 percent from the field. The reason? Florida’s defense – especially in and around the paint – was lackluster, something Donovan in the past has blamed on the team’s offensive inefficiency. When the ball doesn’t go in the basket, he says, the team stops trying on defense as well.

“The dominated us in the first half in the paint,” Donovan said, “but at least we got it back and made it reasonable.” That they did due to a terrific effort from sophomore guard Kenny Boynton and senior forward Chandler Parsons, each of whom scored the vast majority of their points in the second half.

PARSONS SHOWS HE’S TOUGH AND RESILIENT

Parsons may not have started Thursday, but he played a starter’s minutes. Averaging 33.3 minutes per game this season, Parsons was on the court for 30 on Thursday, with freshman starting F Casey Prather playing his usual seven minutes at the start of the game rather than spread throughout.

“He just went out and played. He got to the glass. He gave us a huge boost off the bench, getting 16 and seven; that was very helpful for our team to have him out there,” said Donovan of Parsons’s performance. “He really did a great job. I could see he was a little bit winded. We got him out of the game a few times to give him a blow, but he’s a tough kid. I was just happy to see him play aggressively.”

It was obvious that his stamina was understandably a bit of an issue having not played since Feb. 12, but the effort Parsons put in to getting healthy enough to contribute in a big way Thursday did not go unnoticed by the coaching staff. Over the last 11 days, Parsons had massage therapy, muscle stimulation and plenty of ice and relaxation while trying to reduce the swelling of his deep thigh bruise.

“What he did to get himself back was unbelievable. We had an assistant trainer in his room every night because he wanted to do that,” Donovan said. “I would say that, legitimately, he got five hours of treatment a day. […] He really worked hard to get back. Every time I was down there, he was around. He worked around the clock to get himself healthy. I’m proud he could come back and play and play the way he did tonight. He really worked hard, and I appreciate him working as hard as he did because he certainly helped our team tonight.”

Parsons also discussed how he was feeling after the game.

“It’s still sore, still something that I’m going to have to battle through. It’s not just going to go away, especially if I’m going to play on it,” he said. “It’s not going to go away anytime soon, but it’s not that severe. I just like to go out there and play. It’s just something I personally have to battle with. […] It’s not really like a pain, it’s just annoying…it’s sore.

“You’d have to cut off my leg for me to miss another game.”

Donovan talks about Boynton and his team’s performance…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2/24: Post-game notes: Parsons and Boynton

FOUR BITS: baseball, softball, lax win Thursday

1 » No. 1 Florida Gators baseball (5-0) kept their hot streak going Thursday with a solid 4-0 victory over the Boston College Eagles (2-2) in the first of a three-game series taking place at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Brian Johnson (2-0, 0.00 ERA) shined, retiring the first 17 hitters he faced in a bid for a perfect game; unfortunately he ended up giving up a hit in the sixth and combined with sophomore LHP Steven Rodriguez (S1) to toss a two-hit shutout. Johnson’s streak of retiring 27-consecutive batters through two games also set a school record. Junior right fielder Preston Tucker (2-4, RBI, R) led the way at the plate, with sophomore first baseman Austin Maddox (1-4), Johnson (1-3, R) and sophomore catcher Mike Zunino (1-4) also registering a RBI each. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Hudson Randall (1-0, 1.50 ERA) takes the mound for game two of the series, Friday at 5 p.m.

2 » Thursday wasn’t all about basketball and baseball as No. 4/5 Florida softball trashed the Indiana Hoosiers (5-6) 7-0 in their first game of the day at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, FL. Freshman right-handed pitcher Hannah Rogers tossed a complete game shutout for the win, only giving up two hits and three walks while striking out seven. The Gators scored two in the third, four (with two outs) in the sixth and one more in the seventh to put away the Hoosiers. Junior center fielder Michelle Moultrie (1-3) led Florida offensively by driving in a pair of runs. Freshman SS Cheyenne Coyle, sophomore designated hitter Samantha Holle and freshman third baseman Kasey Fagan each walked twice and were rewarded by their teammates for their efforts, crossing the plate a combined four times.

3 » The early win was nice, but UF softball (11-0) faced a tougher opponent in the evening. Down 4-3 to the No. 11/12 Texas Longhorns (10-2) late Thursday night, the Gators rallied to tie the game first in the seventh and again in the eighth before pulling out a 6-5 victory in nine innings. Senior RHP Stephanie Brombacher (0.36 ERA), the team’s ace, got the start and played nearly the entire game, striking out seven while allowing two earned runs, seven hits and four walks in 8.1 innings. She was replaced in the ninth by Rogers (5-0, 0.49 ERA), who struck out both batters she faced to preserve a 5-5 tie into the bottom of the inning.

Tied at three runs apiece in the top of the seventh after the Longhorns scored an unearned run, RF Taylor Hoagland homered to center to give Texas a one-run advantage. Now down 4-3, Florida’s Moultrie (2-3, 2 RBI, R) tripled to center field to score junior Ellie Langley from third base (she replaced sophomore Kelsey Horton, who hit a pinch-hit leadoff single). Trailing 5-4 in the eighth, a single by senior left fielder Kelsey Bruder (1-4, 2 RBI, R) scored senior second baseman Aja Paculba (2-3, R) from second. Then, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Moultrie hit a walk-off single to score sophomore Ensley Gammel from second and give the Gators the victory.

4 » While baseball and softball had the fun at night, No. 17 Florida lacrosse (3-1) got the day started off right for the Gators with a 16-6 trouncing of the UMBC Retrievers (1-1) at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Seven different players scored for Florida with sophomores midfielder Kitty Cullen (five goals) and attacker Ashley Bruns (four goals) once again leading the way.

Gators win SEC East by pounding Bulldogs 71-62

Senior forward Chandler Parsons may not have been in the starting lineup for the No. 13 Florida Gators (22-5, 11-2 SEC) on Thursday, but he saw starter minutes and scored 16 points off the bench to lead his team to a 71-62 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs (18-9, 7-6 SEC) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

With the win, Florida clinched the Southeastern Conference East division title for the first time since 2007 and earned a bye in the 2011 SEC Tournament next month.

Gators sophomore guard Kenny Boynton scored a team-high 18 points, dished a team-best four assists and hit 5-of-6 attempts from the charity stripe to spark a big second-half comeback win for Florida. Junior point guard Erving Walker added 15 points, and senior F Alex Tyus scored 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting to support redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin, who struggled getting access to the basket.

Walker scored the first eight points from the field for UF as the rest of his team started 0-for-11 from the floor. The Gators were up 10-8 with 14:59 left in the first half but quickly dropped their advantage and trailed the remainder of the half.

The Bulldogs used a 13-2 run to go up 21-12 and eventually took a game-high 11-point lead at 31-20 with 3:24 remaining before the break. Florida reduced Georgia’s lead to seven before heading into the locker rooms on a layup from Tyus.

UF opened the second half with a dunk from Parsons on their second possession and an offensive rebound and layup from him on their third. The Gators completed a 13-4 run through the half (9-2 in the second) to tie the game at 35 for the first time in 17 minutes.

A three-point play by Macklin (his first and only basket of the game, scored with 13:13 left) tied it again at 42, but a three by Parsons completed an 8-0 run for Florida to put them ahead 47-42. Three minutes later, Boynton took over, scoring 12-straight points for the Gators including a trio of three-pointers as part of a 12-2 run that gave Florida a 10-point lead, 63-53, with 5:09 to go.

An immediate 6-0 run by UGA cut UF’s lead to four, but the Gators hit six free throws down the stretch to ensure the 14th victory in their last 16 games.

Despite struggling at times, G Travis Leslie led the Bulldogs with 20 points. Georgia F Trey Thompkins added 16 points and had a team-high seven rebounds.

Though he had trouble getting going offensively, Macklin notched a team-high eight boards for the Gators and was 3-for-3 from the free throw line. Parsons contributed seven rebounds and three assists and was one of a trio of Florida players with three offensive boards (Tyus, Macklin).

With four points each at halftime, Boynton and Parsons scored 14 and 12, respectively, in the second half. Freshman F Casey Prather, who started for Parsons, was held scoreless and only played seven minutes due to Parsons staying in for 30.

Shooting a paltry 37 percent in the first half (10-for-27), the Gators shot 53.6 percent (15-for-28) the rest of the way. Florida also shot 35 percent (7-of-20) from downtown and 70 percent (14-for-20) from the line. The opposite was true of the Bulldogs, which shot 60 percent in the first half but only 42.3 percent after the break and 20 percent from three (3-of-15) for the game.

In addition to clinching the SEC East, UF’s win Thursday was their ninth-straight at home against UGA. The Gators have now won 14 of their last 16 games and defeated six consecutive conference opponents for the first time since 2007. Florida is also 19-1 when holding an opponent under 70 points this season.

UF will play their second of three games in a seven-day span when they travel to Kentucky on Saturday. The game will air live on CBS at 4 p.m.

Notes: Former Florida football players wide receiver Louis Murphy, tight end Cornelius Ingram and cornerback Dorian Munroe took in the game. Also in attendance were head football coach Will Muschamp and former basketball C (and recent cancer survivor) Dwayne Schintzius.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

No. 13 Florida vs. Georgia Gameday Preview

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 12,000]
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN2 / ESPN2HD / ESPN3D
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Sirius/XM: 121/141
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 13 FLORIDA GATORS GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record: 21-5 (10-2) Record: 18-8 (7-5)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -6

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series against Georgia 104-96. The Gators have won 13 out of the last 15 games in the series against the Bulldogs and are 21-7 overall against them under Donovan including 11-2 in Gainesville.
» UF has won eight-straight games against UGA in the O’Dome.
» With a victory, the Gators will clinch the SEC East division and earn an automatic first-round bye in the 2011 SEC Tournament.
» Florida has won 16 of its last 19 games (and 13 of their last 15) with 11 victories against RPI top 100 teams.
» The Gators are 18-1 (7-0 in SEC play) when holding an opponent under 70 points this season after limiting LSU to 61 on Sunday.
» Florida junior point guard Erving Walker, with 192 three-pointers, is tied for sixth all-time at Florida with Matt Walsh. He is six treys away from moving into the top five.
» Defeating Tennessee two Saturdays ago, UF reached 20+ wins for the 13th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the SEC. They have also reached 10 wins in league play for the ninth time in the last 13 years and first time since 2007 (13-3).
» A win Thursday would give Florida six-straight victories against SEC opponents for the first time since 2007 (11).
» The Gators hold advantages over the Bulldogs in a pair of major national statistical categories. Florida scores more points per game 70.8-69.9 (121st-149th) and shoots a better percentage .457-.454 (77th-94th), but Georgia dishes more assists per game 15.6-13.7 (28th-125th). The teams are equals off the glass, each grabbing an average of 38.3 rebounds per game. The Gators rank 12th in RPI (.6353) and 10th in strength of schedule nationally compared to the Bulldogs being 38th (.5923) and 31st, respectively.

LAST TIME OUT…

Florida and Georgia will square off for the second time this season; the Gators defeated the Bulldogs in a 104-91 double-overtime thriller in Athens, GA on Jan. 25. In the contest, Walker hit a dagger three-pointer to force a second overtime and Parsons took over in the final period to give the Gators a hard-fought victory.

PARSONS LIMITED FOR GATORS ON THURSDAY

Florida senior forward Chandler Parsons, who is averaging double-digit points (10.8) while leading the Gators with 7.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, will be limited on Thursday after suffering a deep thigh bruise two Saturdays ago against Tennessee. He received treatment on the injury for 11 consecutive days and missed Sunday’s game at LSU but will be active and able to contribute Thursday even though he will not start. Freshman F Casey Prather will take his place in the starting lineup.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Walker…who is leading his team in scoring with 14.8 points per game and leading the backcourt in both field goal percentage (.426) and three-point percentage (.390). Walker also leads Florida in turnovers (66) and became the 47th player in school history to score 1,000 points earlier this season.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting a team-best 57.3 percent from the floor this season with most of his buckets coming inside the paint. He averages 11.5 points and 5.9 rebounds a game while being a major presence for UF.
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton…who is arguably the Gators’ most talented player but is struggling with consistency shooting the ball. Boynton is only hitting 36.4 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from beyond the arc; however, he is second in scoring with 13.1 points per game and makes a team-high 83.1 percent of his free throws.
» Senior F Alex Tyus…who is averaging career-lows in points, rebounds and field goal percentage as a starter. Tyus became just the fifth player under Donovan to reach 500 career field goals, accomplishing the feat two weeks ago against Vanderbilt.
» Prather…who will likely earn his second start for the orange and blue on Thursday. The freshman only plays an average of 7.3 minutes per game but is shooting at a 45.7 percent clip on 35 shot attempts this season.
» Freshmen PG Scottie Wilbekin and C Patric Young…who are Florida’s primary reserves each averaging approximately 17 minutes per game. Wilbekin, in relief of Walker, leads UF in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.25:1), while Young averages 3.4 points and 3.4 boards off the bench.
» Georgia F Trey Thompkins…who is the standout performer on his team. Thompkins averages team-highs in points per game (16.0), rebounds (7.7) and blocks (1.8).
» Bulldogs F Travis Leslie…who compliments Thompkins nicely and is second on his team with 14.0 points and 7.1 boards per game.

Fox says Orton is starter over Tebow “right now”

Denver Broncos head coach John Fox, taking part in the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, IN, told reporters Thursday that veteran Kyle Orton – not Tim Tebow – would be his team’s starting quarterback if the season started today.

“As far as I’m concerned, [Orton]’s under contract and he’s the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos,” Fox said Thursday. “Right now, Kyle Orton is our starter.”

Fox also said a final decision on his starting QB wouldn’t be made “until later” and that he is “interested to see how [Tebow] looks,” indicating he will have a chance to win the job. He added that a trade is not in the future for either of the two players.

“We’ve got a very young guy, high draft pick in Tim Tebow, who got his feet wet last year towards the end of the season. You know — did an outstanding job,” Fox said. “He’s got some of those intangibles that you’re looking for.”

Orton, who went 3-10 as a starter in 2010 but passed for 3,653 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 13 games, is set to earn $7.4 million next season. It is the final year of his contract with Denver.

Tebow went 1-2 to end the season, throwing for 651 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in his three starts. He also rushed for 199 yards and three scores.

With plenty of time to go before the season gets underway (if it does at all), Tebow will have every opportunity to unseat Orton as the Broncos’ starter.

That being said, Fox’s comments will add fuel to a report from earlier this week that Tebow is “a man without much support in Denver.”

Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

2/23: Donovan provides injury update, notes

Updated Feb. 24 at 12:15 a.m.

No. 13/13 Florida Gators (21-5, 10-2 SEC) head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes following his press availability Wednesday.

PARSONS LIKELY TO PLAY THURSDAY

Though he missed Sunday’s game at LSU with a deep thigh bruise, senior forward Chandler Parsons is expected to play Thursday vs. Georgia in the second-to-last home game of his Florida career as long as he practices without significant pain Wednesday.

“We’ve made some positive progress. [Tuesday] we were able to work him out individually,” Donovan said. “He felt much, much better, probably the best he has felt up until this point in time. We’re going to put him in practice [Wednesday] at 3 p.m., just to see how he responds physically. My biggest concern as a coach is when you’ve got a guy that’s been out 10-12 days like this and hasn’t done anything, I just want to see how he responds in a competitive situation.

“If that goes well, I don’t anticipate him starting tomorrow, but I would anticipate playing him if things went well in practice and he felt good because he has made some good strides and he has made some positive progress.”

Donovan also discussed why Parsons needs to get work in at practice in order to be ready. “The biggest thing that he talks about right now is the pain, which was really preventing him on Friday from doing much, is not there [anymore],” he said. “Timing, that’s a big thing when you haven’t played at all. Catching, shooting, rhythm – that’s big. As he described it, he probably feels a little heavy legged. Probably not moving with the fluidity he did beforehand. He’s got to have the level of confidence that he’s OK.”

PRATHER LIKELY FILLING IN AGAIN AS STARTER

With Parsons out of the starting lineup, Donovan is once again “leaning” towards replacing him with freshman F Casey Prather, who took his place at LSU on Thursday. However, Donovan is being very careful in making sure that even if Parsons does play, it does not affect the mindset of some of the team’s role players.

“Our guys coming off the bench have got to understand that they have to be prepared and ready to play in any situation – whether its five minutes or 18 minutes,” he said. “We can’t have a situation where our guys try to back away and just settle into a role. We can’t have that.”

FOCUSING ON ONE GAME AT A TIME

Donovan often points out that he is bothered with some of the outside distractions that can affect the team this time of year. Over the last three seasons, it has been about Florida’s place on the bubble and whether or not they would earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament. With that settled this year, Donovan is trying to brush off talk of the team clinching the SEC East and potentially winning the conference title.

“We’ve never talked, as a team, about winning the SEC East. We’ve talked about trying to win a SEC Championship, as every team does. That’s an overall league championship,” he said. “Right now there are enough teams that are within striking distance of us. Right now, we have four games remaining and three of these four are going to come very, very quickly. When you’re walking up a flight of stairs trying to get to the top, if you miss a couple steps, you may fall all the way back down to the bottom.

“We’re excited about the opportunity we have as a team, and the position we’re in right now. At the same point, if you don’t take care of what’s in front of you today, you can forget about down the road.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 2/23: Donovan provides injury update, notes

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