Muschamp could have coaches hired by Tuesday

Speaking with the media on Wednesday as the Florida Gators prepare for the 2011 Outback Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions set for Sat., Jan. 1 at 1 p.m., athletic director Jeremy Foley said that he expects new head coach Will Muschamp to have most of his staff in place by Tues., Jan. 4.

“Some pieces are falling into place; still, there’s other pieces that have to fall into place,” Foley said, according to the Palm Beach Post. “He’s making a lot of good progress there and will be in position next week to hit the ground running and go recruit.

“January 4th you have to hit the ground recruiting, so I’m not going to say the whole staff will be in place by then, but we’ve got to have some coaches on the road. We will have some coaches on the road. I think things get really, really hectic the first part of next week.”

As of press time, director of strength and conditioning Mickey Marotti is the only confirmed member of Muschamp’s staff. It is a widely held belief that he will retain a few of the Gators’ current coaches though most hires will be from outside the program.

Because Muschamp has decided to consult head coach Urban Meyer on a number of matters, he will likely receive strong endorsements for some current assistants.

“He’s certainly respectful of the fact that this is Urban’s last deal,” Foley said, according to the University of Florida. “He’s not going to be in the forefront. We probably talk every day. He’s, trust me, rocking and rolling hard putting a staff together. Every time I talk to him, I know he’s chomping at the bit to get to Gainesville and get going recruiting and get this thing rolling.

“I know people are wondering why we haven’t announced this or announced that. It’s because that’s part of the plan. You wait until football seasons are over, individual teams are done playing and then you can start figuring out what are the final pieces of this puzzle.”

DEPARTING COACHES
Offensive coordinator/offensive line Steve Addazio » Named Temple head coach
Assistant head coach/defensive line Dan McCarney » Named North Texas head coach
Defensive coordinator/cornerbacks Teryl Austin » Does not anticipate being retained

REMAINING COACHES
Co-defensive coordinator/safeties Chuck Heater
Running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Stan Drayton
Quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler
Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni
Tight ends/fullbacks coach Brian White
Linebackers/special teams coach D.J. Durkin

Photo Credit: Erica Brough/Gainesville Sun

FOUR BITS: Graham’s award, Nelson’s journey

1 » Tampa Bay Buccaneers fullback Earnest Graham was honored by his teammates with the Ed Block Courage Award this year. Coming back this season after tearing a ligament in his toe in 2009, Graham has dealt with a lot in 2010 including the loss of his mother and his brother recently being released from prison. A fan favorite, Graham recently started the charity Earnest Giving in support of early childhood development.

2 » ESPN’s AFC East blogger Tim Graham published an interesting story about undrafted Buffalo Bills wide receiver David Nelson last week. Nelson, who took some time to develop while with the Florida Gators, performed admirably in his final two seasons but was not selected in the 2010 NFL Draft. He was picked up right after the draft by the Bills and fulfilled his dream of making the NFL even though talk show host Regis Philbin – a Notre Dame supporter – once said live on air that he was made a bad decision. “”Big mistake for you kid!” Philbin said live on his show when Nelson decided to switch his commitment from Notre Dame to Florida. “You start to think ‘What might have been? Maybe Regis was right,’” Nelson said on his early struggles at UF. “Looking back now, it’s easy to see I made the right decision.” Nelson has 31 receptions for 353 yards and three touchdowns already this season.

3 » Let’s just say Gators senior forward Chandler Parsons is not having the type of season anyone – including himself – expected. He has struggled shooting from beyond the arc and at the free throw line even though he continues to put in optimum effort each night. Nevertheless, he is not discouraged. “We can’t get down. I can’t get down because I was 0-for-3, 0-for-4 from the three-point line,” Parsons told The Gainesville Sun. “I’m going to keep trying to get to the foul line even though I’m not shooting the ball well from there. It’s all about confidence, getting good shots. I’m going to keep trying to get to the free throw line. If I’m open, I’m going to shoot the ball. I’m not going to get down. It’s my senior year. I’ve been through slumps before so it’s nothing I haven’t experienced.” Head coach Billy Donovan and his teammates are certainly behind him. “We need Chandler and he needs us,” junior point guard Erving Walker said. “So we’re going to be there for him. I’ve got confidence in him and if he’s got an open shot I want him taking it.”

4 » Coming off a win in the Gator Holiday Classic, Florida women’s basketball was hoping to keep the magic going with an upset win over the No. 23/25 Florida State Seminoles. Unfortunately they fell just short with the Seminoles (10-3) squeaking out a back-and-forth 74-72 win over the Gators (10-4) on the road in Tallahassee, FL. Florida shot 48.4 percent from the field (compared to 44.4 percent for Florida State) and out-rebounded their opponent 39-31 but still fell. Guards redshirt junior Jordan Jones and freshman Jaterra Bonds combined for 25 points and 11 assists.

Photo Credit: Daniel Wallace/St. Petersburg Times

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 16 recap

With the 2010-11 NFL season still in full swing, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 16 action, some of whom had an impact on their team’s performance.OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Gators accomplished during the second-to-last week of the season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: 16/29 for 308 yards, touchdown, interception (QB rating: 89.4); 10 carries for 27 yards, touchdown (long: 11) [Video highlights]
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Five solo tackles, sack, INT, forced fumble

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Four receptions for 87 yards (long: 44)
DL JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Three tackles (two solo), pass defended
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings: Seven receptions for 100 yards [team-highs] (targets: 8, long: 46); two rushes for six yards
DE ALEX BROWN, New Orleans Saints: Three solo tackles, pass defended

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Four tackles (three solo)
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Target
S MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Four solo tackles
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Two tackles (one solo), sack, two QB hits
S REGGIE NELSON, Cin. Bengals: Eight tackles [team-high] (three solo), pass def.
CB KEIWAN RATLIFF, Cincinnati Bengals: Eight tackles [team-high] (three solo)
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: Four rec. for 90 yards (targets: 7, long: 50)
DE DERRICK HARVEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Solo tackle (for loss)
LB CHANNING CROWDER, Miami Dolphins: Four tackles (three solo), pass defended
CB LITO SHEPPARD, Minnesota Vikings: Solo tackle
RB FRED TAYLOR, New England Patriots: Rush for -3 yards, target
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Two tackles (one solo)
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Two receptions for 36 yards (long: 26)
LB BRANDON SILER, San Diego Chargers: Six tackles (one solo, one for loss)
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Three tackles (two solo, one for loss)
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rush for four yards
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: 19/39 for 182 yards, touchdown, interception (QB rating: 60.0); rush for five yards

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
C Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh Steelers), G Cooper Carlisle (Raiders) –DT Marcus Thomas (Broncos), WR Riley Cooper (Philadelphia Eagles), DE Jarvis Moss (Raiders)

INACTIVES
LB Andra Davis (Bills); LB Jermaine Cunningham, TE Aaron Hernandez, LB Brandon Spikes (Patriots); LT Max Starks (Steelers); RB DeShawn Wynn (49ers)

NOTES
– Both of Tebow’s touchdowns came in the forth quarter, including his game-winning rushing score with 3:02 left in the game. Denver was down 17-0 at halftime.
– Haden nabbed his fifth interception in the last seven weeks and his sixth of the season to go along with the first forced fumble of his career.
– After being held without a reception in eight of Cincinnati’s first 13 games (due to his spot on the depth chart), Caldwell has caught four balls in each of the last two contests for total gains of 89 and 87 yards, respectively.
– Dunlap has registered at least a partial sack in six of his last seven games. He has now earned eight over the course of his rookie season.
– Though Harvin has played in 13 games (compared to 15 in 2009), he has surpassed his rookie season’s receiving yard total and eclipsed 100 yards for the third time this year. He had one 100-yard receiving game in 2009.

OGGOA RELATED: Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15

Pouncey adds Pro Bowl to stellar rookie season

Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey became the second Florida Gators rookie in as many seasons to be named to the NFL Pro Bowl.

He was selected as the back-up for the AFC to Nick Mangold of the New York Jets, who was tabbed for the third-straight season.

Pouncey follows in the footsteps of Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin, who earned a Pro Bowl nomination last season as a rookie out of Florida. Harvin started for the NFC as a kick return specialist.

Barring injury, Pouncey will have started every game this season for Pittsburgh at center. He is a candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year, an award that will likely go to St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and was also won by Harvin last season.

Pouncey is the 20th former Gators player to be picked for the Pro Bowl and only the fifth to receive the honor in his rookie season (Cris Collinsworth, Jevon Kearse, Emmitt Smith, Harvin).

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Teryl Austin hospitalized with mild gastritis

Florida Gators defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was hospitalized on Monday after complaining of severe abdominal pain, according to the University of Florida. Austin was admitted to Tampa General Hospital for a variety of tests and evaluations and was diagnosed with mild gastritis Tuesday evening.

According to the Mayo Clinic, gastritis is the inflammation of the lining of the stomach which is often the result of a mild infection. It may occur suddenly or over time and, for most people, is not serious and can improve quickly with treatment. Though it is generally caused by bacterial infection, gastritis can also be triggered by the regular usage of aspirin or pain relievers or even excessive use of alcohol.

Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and severe indigestion.

Austin was released from the hospital Tuesday evening and will likely be available for the 2011 Outback Bowl on Sat., Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

12/28: Meyer and Paterno Outback Bowl presser

The Florida Gators are currently in Tampa, FL, preparing for the 2011 Outback Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. Below are some notes from head coaches Urban Meyer and Joe Paterno, who held a combined media availability on Tuesday.

STEPPING DOWN IS SACRIFICING FOR HIS FAMILY

Since announcing his decision to resign, Meyer has cited the primary reason as the ability to spend more quality time with his family. Tuesday he said that his family’s commitment to him over the past few years has allowed him the opportunity show dedication back to them.

“I have a great family, as close as you can imagine, and we asked them… at one point in a five-year period we lived in four different states bouncing kids in and out of school, not by choice but just with that in mind that we’re going to go as hard as we can and then at some point pull away,” he said. “They’ve sacrificed for us now we’re going to sacrifice for those kids. It’s kind of a humbling feeling to do that. Not many people have that opportunity to step away and give back to the people that have given so much to us. The people are those kids. They deserve to have their dad go watch the games and be around. I think last December was kind of a frontal blow and let’s evaluate this whole thing for a minute, and we did.”

STATE OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL COULD BE IMPROVED

Asked about the college football landscape, Meyer was quite critical about how things have changed since he first got into the profession decades ago.

“College football, I don’t know if this is the appropriate time, I’m very concerned about it,” he said. “I can’t speak for Coach Paterno. I got into coaching 25 years ago for guys like Joe Paterno, Bo Schembechler, the Earle Bruces of the world, the unselfishness, the teamwork, the struggle. […] I’m concerned, but I’m sure I’m not the only one, and it’s part of life right now. I hope to see it come back to the way it was, and that was a team sport that a bunch of good guys doing it the right way and guys getting education, graduating from college and looking at their college experience as the greatest experience they’ve ever had. That’s what I love college football for.”

Citing Paterno in particular, Meyer heaped praise on one of his idols in the profession. “I’ve known Coach Paterno longer than he’s known me. I was one of those guys that knew I wanted to be a football coach,” he said. “Obviously, whenever you know that, you pick your idols and pick the guys you want to pattern, you like to do it their way. Obviously Coach Paterno is at the top of the list.”

Paterno shared some warm thoughts about Meyer as well. “I have said this privately and publicly, and that’s why I hate to see him go, I think that Urban has been one of the innovators with some of the things they’ve done on the field,” he said. “I haven’t been to his practices, but some of my coaches have had some experience with him. My son, Jay, worships the guy. I keep telling him, ‘Your old man’s a head coach too you know.’”

JENKINS’s INJURY HAS BEEN SEASON-LONG

Junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins, arguably Florida’s most consistent and talented defender this season, played basically the entire year with a torn ligament in his right shoulder. Jenkins played quite well through the injury but will be missing the Outback Bowl after undergoing surgery to repair it after the Florida State game.

“He had a labrum tear in I want to say the second week or third week of the year,” Meyer said. “He was strapped down all year. He fought through it. He’s a competitor. He never missed practice, he never missed anything, and it got really bad near the end. He’s doing great and he’s a great competitor. Obviously you saw the way he played. He played like an all-conference player.”

Meyer admitted that he had not yet spoken to Jenkins about playing professionally and does not know if he plans to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft.

DEFENSIVE REPLACEMENTS

With Jenkins and and redshirt senior defensive tackles Lawrence Marsh and Terron Sanders all out for the game, Meyer went over who would replace each player on defense. Redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown will start in place of Jenkins with redshirt junior CB Moses Jenkins and freshman CB Cody Riggs splitting time on the other side. Redshirt sophomore Omar Hunter will play on the punt team and is slated to start inside along with redshirt junior Jaye Howard for Marsh and Sanders. Also getting playing time will be freshmen DTs Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley as well as redshirt senior DT Brandon Antwine.

ESPN CERTAINLY AN OPTION FOR MEYER

Meyer has worked as a college football analyst on two occasions: in 2007 during FOX’s broadcast of the BCS Championship game and last week during ESPN’s broadcast of the Las Vegas Bowl. Though some have criticized him as being a bit dry and fidgety during his appearances, Meyer looks relatively comfortable as a commentator and would likely fill such a role nicely. He admitted Tuesday that he may actually have a future with ESPN.

“They called and said, ‘Why don’t you drive up for the day?’” Meyer said of contact he had from the network while he was on vacation in New York. “So I brought my son and he loved it. What I found out is… What a place. Great people.”

Meyer said he will not think about working in television until after the bowl game on Saturday but that it is certainly an option. “Some guys are really good at that,” Paterno said of doing TV work. “Urban’s going to be great at it. […] I hope he never becomes ‘Dr. Urban.’ We can only have one doctor at a time.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 12/28: Meyer and Paterno Outback Bowl presser

12/27: Florida’s Outback Bowl practice notes

The Florida Gators are currently in Tampa, FL, preparing for the 2011 Outback Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. Below are some notes from the players after practice on Monday.

NO CHANGES FOR THE OFFENSE

Florida will once again play three quarterbacks in its offense according to a number of players who were asked Monday about the team’s plans on that side of the ball. Redshirt junior starter John Brantley reaffirmed those statements. “We’re still working Jordan Reed and Trey [Burton] in there. That’s what we’re going to stick with. Who knows what the defense will give us, but we’re going to stick with that and keep practicing and keep trying to execute.” Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will remain the play caller for the Gators in his final game with the team before leaving to lead Temple as head coach.

BRANTLEY REMAINS UNDECIDED ABOUT FUTURE

Speaking of Brantley, the Gators starting QB has yet to decide one way or another whether or not he will stick around next season. Brantley admitted for the first time after new head coach Will Muschamp’s introductory press conference on Dec. 14 that transferring was a consideration. “I’m still going to sit down with my family after this bowl game,” he said at the time. “I think coach Muschamp is a great coach and he’s going to have a great staff come here. But I’m still going to sit down with my family and talk about things.” His tune did not change Monday. “I haven’t really discussed it with my parents yet,” he said. “I’m really concentrating on playing this bowl game and playing the best against Penn State as I can. […] I’m a Gator. That’s what I am right now. I’m just giving all my effort to the bowl game and just acting like it’s any other bowl game or any other game.”

Asked the same thing numerous other times, Brantley repeatedly said that he would “weigh the pros and cons” of returning and playing in a new offense under Muschamp. He did, however, admit that the fact UF is going pro-style is appealing. “Pro-style offense is what I was looking for,” Brantley said. “And I’m still just gonna go home and talk and weigh the pros and cons with what Coach Muschamp wants to do and everything and go from there.”

For what it’s worth, his teammates do not think he is going anywhere. “I think Brantley’s going to say,” redshirt sophomore wide receiver Omarius Hines said, according to The Gainesville Sun. “I really think so. … [Transferring] went through everybody’s mind because I know it went through mine.”

DEMPS STILL NOT SURE-FOOTED

Junior running back Jeff Demps has yet to fully recover from the stress injury in his foot and probably will not see extensive playing time on Saturday. Nevertheless, he says his foot feels “85 percent” healthy, and he will certainly try his best to give it a go.

FOUR PLAYERS, MCCARNEY WILL BE MISSED

With four players who play extensive minutes set to miss the Outback Bowl, redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Omar Hunter said the team is not overly worried about them being out. “We got some young guys who are going to step up. I got trust in them,” he said. “Some guys got to step up, myself included.” However when it comes to defensive line coach Dan McCarney no longer being with the team (he is now the head coach at North Texas), Hunter feels the void. “I miss coach McCarney. I do,” he said. “It’s just a different voice in your head. I’m not used to not hearing his voice in my head every play, every snap. ‘Omar, get going. Get going. Do this, do that.’”

Florida once again dropped from Top 25 polls

Taking a step forward last week, the Florida Gators (9-3) completely fell out of the latest ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press Top 25 polls after being upset by the Jacksonville Dolphins 71-68 in overtime on Dec. 20. A 11-point win over Radford two days later did not help Florida’s case as it is once again on the outside looking in even after taking down the then-No. 6 team in the country just over a week ago.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 10 (1,048)No. 8 (550)-
2W 77-69 vs. North Florida1-0No. 11 (995)No. 10 (535)-
3L 53-59 at No. 20 Wisconsin
W 86-56 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock
2-1No. 16 (619)No. 14 (359)-
4W 67-53 vs. Southern
W 79-59 vs. MTSU
4-1No. 15 (729)No. 13 (395)-
5W 86-60 at Jacksonville
W 67-66 vs. Florida State
6-1No. 15 (758)No. 12 (426)-
6L 64-65 at No. 12 UConn6-2No. 19 (434)No. 19 (258)-
7W 67-61 vs. No. 13 Kansas7-2No. 16 (699)No. 17 (296)-
8W 77-75 vs. Memphis
W 66-49 vs. Fresno State
9-2No. 13 (881)No. 14 (383)-
9W 76-34 vs. Savannah State10-2No. 12 (915)No. 13 (413)-
10W 67-58 vs. Richmond11-2No. 10 (1,052)No. 11 (473)12
11W 74-58 vs. South Carolina
W-OT 84-82 at Arkansas
13-2
(2-0 SEC)
No. 7
(1,205)
No. 7
(573)
8
12W 72-50 vs. Georgia
W 68-61 at Auburn
15-2
(4-0 SEC)
No. 6
(1,303)
No. 6
(639)
8
13W 68-62 at Alabama
W 67-41 vs. Tennessee
17-2
(6-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,436)
No. 4
(694)
5
14W 62-51 at Mississippi State
W 69-36 vs. Texas A&M
19-2
(8-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,482)
No. 4
(720)
3
15W 68-58 vs. Missouri
W 78-69 vs. Alabama
21-2
(10-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,477)
No. 4
(711)
5
16W 67-58 at Tennessee
W 69-59 at Kentucky
23-2
(12-0 SEC)
No. 2
(1,543)
No. 2
(752)
4
17W 71-66 vs. Auburn
W 75-71 at Ole Miss
25-2
(14-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,606)
No. 1
(791)
3
18W 57-54 at Vanderbilt
W 79-61 vs. LSU
27-2
(16-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,606)
No. 1
(793)
3
19W 72-46 at South Carolina
W 84-65 vs. Kentucky
29-2
(18-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,610)
No. 1
(793)
2
Post-
season
W 72-49 vs. Missouri
W 56-49 vs. Tennessee
W 61-60 vs. Kentucky
32-2
(18-0 SEC)
(3-0 SECT)
No. 1
(1,610)
No. 1
(794)
1
FinalW 67-55 vs. Albany
W 61-45 vs. Pittsburgh
W 79-68 vs. UCLA
W 62-52 vs. Dayton
L 53-63 vs. UConn
36-3
(18-0 SEC)
(3-0 SECT)
(4-1 NCAAT)
-No. 3
(735)
-

ESPN/USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Duke (31), Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Villanova, Georgetown, Missouri, Kansas State, Michigan State, Purdue, Kentucky, Baylor, Minnesota, Memphis, Tennessee, Florida, Notre Dame, Illinois, Texas, Brigham Young, Texas A&M, Louisville

This Week 1-25: Duke (31), Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Villanova, Georgetown, Missouri, Purdue, Kentucky, Minnesota, Texas, Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Michigan State, Louisville, Central Florida, Memphis, Baylor, Wisconsin, Illinois
+ Florida received 33 votes, good for 32nd overall

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Duke (64), Ohio State (1), Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Villanova, Missouri, Georgetown, Kansas State, Michigan State, Kentucky, Purdue, Baylor, Memphis, Minnesota, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Illinois, Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Central Florida, Texas A&M

This Week 1-25: Duke (65), Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Villanova, Georgetown, MIssouri, Kentucky, Purdue, Texas, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Central Florida, Michigan State, Memphis, Louisville, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Temple
+Florida received 35 votes, good for 32nd overall

FAIRFIELD GAME CANCELED
Due to severe weather in the northeast, UF’s scheduled game against Fairfield on Tuesday has been canceled. It will not be rescheduled this season. Florida will next face Xavier in Cincinnati, OH, on Dec. 31. “We’re certainly disappointed for our fans that the game had to be canceled but it wasn’t for any lack of effort from Fairfield trying to get here, it was conditions that were out of everyone’s hands,” Gators head coach Billy Donovan said in an official statement.

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

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