Danny Wuerffel “overwhelmed” by support

A few weeks ago, Florida Gators quarterback Danny Wuerffel was diagnosed with and hospitalized for Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder in which, as the Mayo Clinc puts it, “your body’s immune system attacks your nerves.” Though he is not forced to stay in the hospital overnight, Wuerffel has been undergoing extensive treatment for the disease in an effort to recover from it as quickly as possible.

He continues to receive outpatient treatment and is on the road to recovery. Thursday morning, Wuerffel released the following message to friends and fans through Desire Street Ministries, of which he is the executive director.

“When I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Dear Friends,

Once again, I find myself continuing to be overwhelmed with gratitude for all the love and support that’s come to me and my family. I’ve found so much comfort and encouragement in all the messages I’ve received. It’s really amazing. I wouldn’t wish Guillain Barre on anyone, but I have treasured this part of the experience. (It really motivates me to do a better job expressing my love and support for others on a regular basis, not just during bad times).

I continue to make some progress each day, although it’s been slower and less steady than I would like. I’ve started some physical therapy (praise the Lord I’m already able to do something), but that’s been pretty humbling as well. I still am very weak and my energy level is sporadic.

The Doctor said I should probably be back to NORMAL by the beginning of August. (My wife was hoping I might end up BETTER because of the gamma globulin treatment–helping around the house more. I was hoping it would grow hair… With no signs of change on either front, it seems we’re both out of luck and NORMAL sounds like a good goal. :) ) Sometimes I think an August recovery is really conservative (like when I think I’ll be ready to go to the gym or play tennis next week), and other times I think that’s pretty aggressive (like when I had to take a nap just thinking about doing a couple of knee-bends and a few pushups this morning).

Regardless of the future, the reality is…I am weak. It’s not comfortable and definitely not fun. It’s scary to not know what lies ahead in this journey, especially because it’s completely out of my control. But I sense God is strengthening my soul and inviting me to live in a deeper and more authentic way.

I am weak, but it’s okay…

I’m strangely thankful.

Once again, thanks for all your love and support. It means the world to me.

God bless,
Danny

PS. One last thing. Yesterday, my 2-yr-old daughter Macy jumped into my lap and emphatically proclaimed her daddy would get better. I agreed with her and said that’s exactly what the Doctor said. She responded, “No Daddy…not the Doctor. God is going to make you better.” Seems her faith and theology are ahead of mine.

Wuerffel has requested that any gifts, donations or letters of support be made to DSM rather than him personally. Should you wish to send any of the aforementioned, please direct them to adam@onlygators.com, and I will forward them to the appropriate contact.

Florida Gators win men’s 2011 Capital One Cup

The Florida Gators men’s athletic program won the first-ever Capital One Cup, as announced by the organization on Thursday.

“On behalf of the university, our student athletes and our fans, we are honored to accept the inaugural Capital One Cup trophy and $200,000 scholarship,” athletic director Jeremy Foley said. “Our goal is to strive for overall athletic success, and we’re extremely proud of our men’s program winning the Capital One Cup and our women’s program placing fourth. Thank you to Capital One and its affiliated companies for their support of intercollegiate athletics.”

Awarded annually to each of the top men’s and women’s Division I college athletic programs in the country, the winner of the Capital One cup is determined by a scoring system in which points are awarded sport-by-sport depending how respective teams finish NCAA Championships and the final official coaches’ polls.

Florida (93 points) won by an 11-point margin over Virginia (82) and finished 23 points above the next team from the Southeastern Conference, Auburn (70).

The Gators did not place in the top 10 in any fall sports but found much greater success in the winter and spring with the performances of indoor track & field (first), baseball (second), outdoor track & field (third) swimming & diving (fifth), tennis (ninth) and basketball (10th) earning them the honor.

The University of Florida’s women’s athletic program was the highest ranked in the SEC but came in No. 4 overall, 35 points behind the winner Stanford (121).

The men won UF a total of $200,000 to go toward student-athlete graduate-level scholarships. The Gators will be presented with the Capital One Cup at the 2011 ESPY Awards on July 13 at 9 p.m.

Pounceys, Orr, Watkins, Murphy, Riggs and Silberman join Trail in having fun with planking

Updated at 10:45 p.m.

After posting pictures Tuesday of Florida Gators redshirt freshman defensive end Lynden Trail planking throughout the University of Florida campus, OGGOA is back with a second edition featuring more from Trail along with pictures from redshirt freshman defensive tackle Leon Orr, sophomore cornerback Jaylen Watkins, redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Murphy, sophomore tackle Ian Silberman, sophomore CB Cody Riggs and NFL centers Maurkice and Mike Pouncey.

Orr and the Pounceys kicked it off early in the afternoon…

Murphy, Watkins, Riggs and Silberman joined Trail in a pyramid…

Murphy, Watkins and the Pounceys get some extra planking in…

But Trail remains king of the castle…

SIX BITS: Beal, Benedict, Blakely, SEC, Walker

1 » Attending an offseason basketball camp put on by New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams, ESPN’s Andy Katz got another look at Florida Gators freshman guard Brad Beal and again came away impressed – but not because of his shooting.

Beal has been touted as a pure shooter, and he showcased a bit of that ability Saturday afternoon. But he was arguably most impressive off the ball. Beal crashed the glass from the weak side for a series of offensive rebounds and putbacks, using his 6-foot-7 wingspan (which is sort of crazy for a guy measured by camp staff at 6-foot-3.5) to rise to the rim and finish plays against taller defenders. Billy Donovan‘s team desperately needs a more consistent outside shooting presence. Beal should easily provide that. But he may also bring some bonus abilities to the floor, too.

2 » Former five-star recruit Brent Benedict, a redshirt freshman with the Georgia Bulldogs has been granted an unconditional release by the school, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This is news for Florida fans because Benedict was once highly recruited by the Gators and is said to be heavily considering transferring to the University of Florida. Though he is a talented player, Benedict is still recovering from a terrible knee injury he suffered during his senior year of high school. His knee was completely reconstructed, and Benedict also had to fight through nerve damage in order to return to the field. The AJC reports that “Benedict claimed in march to be ‘100 percent’ recovered from that injury and was medically cleared to play, but he continued to show effects … even in summer workouts.”

3 » Four-star running back Mike Blakely, who similarly received an unconditional release from Florida when he expressed his desire to transfer, may be eligible to play for the Auburn Tigers as soon as 2011 if the school gets its way. According to the Mobile Press-Register, Auburn compliance director Rich McGlynn has petitioned the NCAA to make Blakely eligible immediately due to the fact that he never suited up for the Gators after undergoing shoulder surgery in Gainesville, FL. “We have filed a wavier in an attempt to see if we can have Mike be immediately eligible and we’re in that process right now,” he told the paper.

4 » The Southeastern Conference has sent a proposal to the NCAA outlining significant changes it would like implemented in the recruiting process, according to CBSSports.com’s Bryan Fischer. In short form, some of the changes the SEC and commissioner Mike Slive are proposing include: (a) allowing text messaging between coaches and recruits, (b) earlier first off-campus contact, (c) no Twitter monitoring for who you can follow/be followed by, (d) coaches can receive phone calls from recruits, parents or coaches at any point, (e) eliminate “quiet” period and expand other three recruiting periods, (f) banning seven-on-seven camps and other “non-scholastic” events.

5 » With their 2011 recruiting class now in the fold and the 2012 class coming along nicely, the Gators have begun reaching out to 2013 prospects with the hopes of bringing them on board. Most notably, Florida is making a strong push for the No. 3 overall prospect in the nation according to Rivals, 6’9” 205-pound power forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL). According to InsideTheGators.com, Walker has UF in his top five along with Baylor, Kentucky, Ohio State and Syracuse. Walker told ITG’s Tim Gould that Kentucky’s prowess for developing NBA talent interests him but that the Gators talk about him being a program-changer who can make a major impact on the court from day one. He is not planning on making a decision in the near future but could potentially be a huge get for Florida.

6 » UF’s loss in the 2011 College World Series Championship Series not only cost the school its third national championship of the 2010-11 season, it also put the state of Florida out a few dozen bucks. Governor Rick Scott made a bet with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley that the Gators would prevail in the event. Because Florida lost, Scott will send a key lime pie from Kermit’s Key Lime Shoppe in Key West, FL to Haley. If UF had won, Scott would have received a barbecue dinner from Haley.

Tyus will play professionally in Israel next year

Florida Gators forward Alex Tyus sat and watched the 2011 NBA Draft come and go without his name being called. It’s not that he expected to hear it but more so that the hope was alive that one of the league’s 30 teams would recognize what he brings to the table and keep him stateside for the start of his career.

With the NBA approaching a lockout and the desire to play professional basketball still motivating him, Tyus agreed to a contract with Maccabi Ashdod of the Israeli Loto League for next year.

Though playing in Israel will be new an adventure for Tyus, he has been learning many of the country’s traditions and practices due to the fact that he is currently in the process of converting to Judaism. (He will be done at the end of the summer.)

Tyus even watched the draft at Hillel just off of the University of Florida’s campus on University Avenue, inviting friends (Jewish and not) to join him for pizza and drinks.

Photo Credit: Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

Roth silences Gators as Gamecocks sweep College World Series with 5-2 victory Tuesday

After a pair of throwing errors cost them the opening game of the 2011 College World Series Championship Series on Monday, No. 2 Florida Gators baseball hoped to reverse their fortunes on Tuesday with a second crack at the defending champion No. 2 South Carolina Gamecocks. Instead, an error in the third propelled a three-run inning and played a large part in South Carolina (55-14) defeating Florida (53-19) 5-2 to win their second-straight NCAA National Championship.

The Gamecocks captured the final national title played at Rosenblatt Stadium in 2010 and earned the first contested at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, NE as the Gators moved to 0-4 in the CWS Championship Series in school history (0-2 vs. Texas in 2005).

South Carolina also won their 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament game dating back to 2010 and improved to 4-1 against Florida in 2011.

Junior right-handed pitcher Michael Roth (14-3) earned the start for USC and was absolutely stellar in his outing, allowing only two earned runs in 7.2 innings while giving up five hits and two walks, hitting a pair of batters, and striking out six.

UF countered with freshman right-hander Karsten Whitson (8-1), who hoped to match Roth pitch-for-pitch and succeeded through the first two innings before struggling mightily with his command in the third.

Whitson started the inning by giving up a stand-up double down the left field line to South Carolina shortstop Peter Mooney, who advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. He was then plated when second baseman Scott Wingo hit a sacrifice fly to right.

With two outs and runners on first and second, first baseman Christian Walker smacked a chopper to the left side that Florida sophomore shortstop Nolan Fontana flubbed, scoring another for the Gamecocks. South Carolina added one more in the inning as an infield single by designated hitter Brady Thomas plated the second unearned run of the inning, putting the Gamecocks ahead 3-0.

Having retired eight-straight batters, Roth was tagged for a solo homer cranked to left by Gators sophomore catcher Mike Zunino in the fourth, reducing Florida’s deficit to 3-1.

UF looked to even things up in the fifth after getting runners on first and second with nobody out. Freshman third baseman Cody Dent was sent to bunt the runners over but fouled out into a strikeout on a 1-2 count; senior center fielder Bryson Smith followed by hitting into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning without the Gators plating a run.

USC hoped to increase their lead in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases after Whitson (4.2 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 HBP, 4 K) allowed a pair of two-out singles and hit a batter. He was then pulled for junior RHP Tommy Toledo, who struck out the next batter to save the inning and leave the bases full.

Florida tried to get things going in the sixth, once again getting their first two batters on board. However, a strikeout and consecutive ground outs stranded the runners on second and third in scoring position to conclude the frame.

South Carolina added to their lead in the latter portion of the frame, as Mooney hit a solo homer off Toledo by sending a rocket to right.

The Gators had one more chance in the top of the eighth when Zunino hit a one-out double to right-center and advanced to third on a ground out. Senior second baseman Josh Adams singled to right to score Zunino and reduce the Gamecocks’ lead to 4-2. Unfortunately for UF, junior pinch hitter Tyler Thompson struck out looking to end the frame, stranding Adams on first.

USC tacked on one more run in their final frame, sending a lead-off single from first-to-third on an infield grounder and wild pitch before plating him with a single to right. Head coach Ray Tanner then brought on closer Matt Price, who earned his 20th save of the season and second in as many days.

Florida concluded the 2011 season with a school single-season record 53 wins while also reaching the CWS Championship Series for just the second time in school history. The Gators also won the Southeastern Conference regular season championship and tournament title while boasting the league’s Player of the Year in Zunino.

2011 CWS All-Tournament Team
Third baseman Cody Dent
Center fielder Bryson Smith

Hlaselo accused of sexual assault, kicked off team

Updated on June 29 at 5 p.m.

Florida Gators junior runner Andries Dumisane Hlaselo was arrested on Tuesday for sexual battery after being accused of raping a woman on June 12 and is currently being held at the Alachua County Jail on $100,000 bond.

According to a The Gainesville Sun report, Hlaselo allegedly sexually assaulted a female friend of his roommate who was asleep at his home. She awoke and told him to stop before shoving him away and calling the police.

The arrest report states that Hlaselo told police he entered his roommate’s bedroom naked with the intention of having sex with the victim. The report states he told police he had sex with the victim while she was semi-conscious and without her consent. He left when she woke up and began “freaking out.”

The University Athletic Association announced Wednesday that Hlaselo has been kicked off of the team: “We are aware of the arrest of Dumisane Hlaselo. We find these charges deeply disturbing. He is no longer a member of the University of Florida track & field team.”

Crowder claims he did not sell Florida jerseys

Former Florida Gators now Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder took to ESPN on Tuesday to clarify comments he made Sunday about “hypothetically” selling his jerseys while he played for the University of Florida from 2003-04.

“I have all four of them,” he said on SportsCenter, in reference to the home and road Gators jerseys he apparently possesses from the 2003 and 2004 seasons. “My momma has two of my jerseys on her wall in her house, and I have the other two in my house.”

“I was playing off the whole Terrelle Pryor thing when businessmen were buying his stuff,” Crowder clarified. “I was saying that, if somebody wanted to buy my jerseys while I was in school, why can’t I sell them because they’re my jerseys and have my name on the back? When I was at Florida, I made ’55’ a relevant jersey number at Florida, so why couldn’t I sell my jersey when I was there with my name on the back? That was the point.”

Crowder believes the rule on selling your jersey should be simple.

“It’s your possession,” he said. “They give it to you at the end of the year, so you should be able to sell it.”

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