12/20: Donovan dismayed by competitiveness

No. 19/20 Florida Gators 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 from his latest media availability in the following post. Suffice to say Donovan was none-too-pleased with his team’s performance against the Jacksonville Dolphins.

GATORS LACK COMPETITIVENESS AGAINST OPPONENTS

One of the main things that stood out to Donovan after Monday’s embarrassing loss to Jacksonville is the fact that his team plays down to its competition and does not get up for “smaller” games the same way it does for big-time showdowns.

“Clearly for the people that watched us play against Kansas State – two totally different teams. One team unable to handle the human element,” he said. “We were riped to be beat. We were totally riped to be beat. I’m not so sure we could have beat anybody tonight. And that’s not to take anything away from Jacksonville because their kids did a great job. [...] We don’t handle that human element part of it well. You talk about being a great team? The great teams are able to do that.”

Donovan provided a thought-provoking example. “Can we be a team that is almost playing like a faceless opponent, a nameless opponent? We would have been better off tonight playing the Los Angeles Lakers,” he said. “That would have been better for us. If you’re a competitor, it doesn’t make a difference who you’re lining up and playing against. That’s an internal make-up, and I don’t know if you can all of a sudden instill that in guys. Our guys are competitive. But can you be competitive when there is no reason to be competitive? We don’t have that mentality. And I have to find a way to help them get it.”

Who exactly has that mentality? “There are certain guys that I would [say] are just killers. When they line up, competition doesn’t make a difference,” Donovan said. “You talk about Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant; there’s just a certain kind of guy that it doesn’t make a difference what happened yesterday. They do not live in any level of success. They are just focused about competing and putting their reputation on the line every time they play or compete. That’s what [Al] Horford and [Joakim] Noah, [Udonis] Haslem, [Matt] Bonner – those guys had the ability to move from one thing to the next.”

WHO IS GOING TO SHOW UP FOR FLORIDA?

Another issue Donovan says the team is facing is a relatively simple concept. “I don’t know who’s going to show up necessarily from game-to-game. So [I'm always] trying to find combinations and pieces to throw out there,” he said adamantly.

Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton showed up big against Kansas State on Saturday and redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin was the man over the last few games. Aside from junior point guard Erving Walker, who put up a lot of points out of necessity, no one truly stepped up on Monday.

“I made the comment after the Kansas State game that I was very anxious to see our guys’ level of maturity coming into a game like this,” Donovan said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever, ever sat over there in 15 years and seen a team that I’ve coached effort-wise and playing-wise and awareness-wise…forget about playing good or bad…just [being] in the game. We have 13 turnovers in the first half. I’m not so sure we ran a play.”

BLAMING HIMSELF FOR PREPAREDNESS

“I certainly did not do a good enough job in a quick turnaround in 36 hours getting them prepared to play,” Donovan admitted early in his post-game press conference. “I’m the head coach and I did not do a good enough job getting them prepared to handle Saturday-to-Monday. I did not.”

He went on to compare Florida’s faltering to how it played Central Florida coming after the tough and competitive victory against Florida State just a few days before.

“The one thing that happens during the course of the season is you’re dealing with either prosperity or adversity. We’re dealing with adversity. Our guys handle adversity pretty well. They really are a resilient group. They bounce back pretty quickly. They fight. They try to improve,” he said. “In order to be a great, great team you have to be able to handle prosperity. Because if you’re really good that means you’re winning a lot.”

THEY’RE NOT “THERE” YET…

Donovan made it a point before the season to tell the media that he did not have the high expectations for his team that were thrown on them by all of the analysts surrounding college basketball. He reiterated that statement on Monday. “I think you know why [before the season I said] I’m ‘optimistically cautious.’ And I’m probably not even optimistic right now; I’m really cautious,” he said.

Much more from head coach Billy Donovan can be read…after the break!
Continue Reading » 12/20: Donovan dismayed by competitiveness

Tebow spurns Gatorade for…FRS Health Energy?

Though he briefly did sponsorship work for the company prior to the 2010 NFL Draft, Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow has decided not to sign an endorsement deal with Gatorade, the sports drink invented by University of Florida researchers in Gainesville, FL. Instead Tebow has agreed to a multi-year deal with the wellness drink company FRS Health Energy.

“I use their products regularly and can honestly say I believe FRS has helped me perform at my best on and off the field,” Tebow said in a statement. “I look forward to sharing my FRS story with fans and spreading the word on this amazing brand.”

According to CNBC’s Darren Rovell, FRS Health Energy first “got on the map three years ago by signing Lance Armstrong, who endorses the product and owns a piece of the company.” Rovell reports, according to XV Enterprises marketer Angel Gonzalez, that Tebow’s endorsement deal includes some equity in the company.

One of the reasons Tebow and his representatives picked FRS over Gatorade is because Tebow actually used the product while training for the combine. The company reportedly “became intrigued with Tebow when they heard he walked into a Gainesville GNC while training for the NFL combine to purchase the product,” Rovell reports.

Both Gatorade and Powerade were also vying for Tebow’s services.

Other endorsers for FRS Health Energy include Los Angeles Lakers point guard Derek Fisher and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen.

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 15 recap

With the 2010-11 NFL season still in full swing, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 15 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 15th week of the season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: 8/16 for 138 yards, touchdown (QB rating: 100.5); eight carries for 78 yards (long: 40), touchdown [Video highlights]
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Four receptions for 31 yards, two touchdowns (targets: 5, long: 13); rush for 16 yards

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Three receptions for 61 yards, touchdown (long: 23)
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Four receptions for 89 yards [team-highs] (targets: 6, long: 53)
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Two sacks, three QB hits
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings: Five receptions for 72 yards [team-high], touchdown (targets: 7, long: 23); rush for -1 yard
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: 25/43 for 322 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions (QB rating: 93.4)

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Three tackles (two solo)
S MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Three solo tackles
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Five tackles (two solo)
CB KEIWAN RATLIFF, Cincinnati Bengals: Three tackles (two solo)
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Eight tackles (seven solo)
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: Reception for 32 yards (targets: 2)
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Two solo tackles
DL JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Solo tackle
LB CHANNING CROWDER, Miami Dolphins: Solo tackle
CB LITO SHEPPARD, Minnesota Vikings: Tackle
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Three tackles (two solo, QB hit)
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Two tackles (one solo)
DE ALEX BROWN, New Orleans Saints: Five tackles (four solo, two for loss)
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Reception for 14 yards (targets: 2)
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Onside kick recovery
LB BRANDON SILER, San Diego Chargers: Two solo tackles (one for loss)
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Four tackles (three solo)
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rush for -1; three rec. for 21 yards

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
C Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh Steelers), G Cooper Carlisle (Raiders) – DE Derrick Harvey (Jaguars), RB Fred Taylor (Patriots), DE Jarvis Moss (Raiders)

INACTIVES
LB Andra Davis (Bills), LB Brandon Spikes (Patriots), LT Max Starks (Steelers), RB DeShawn Wynn (49ers)

NOTES
– Tebow received his first career NFL start on Sunday.
– Nelson has scored a touchdown in three consecutive games.
– Grossman received his first start of the season on Sunday.
– Harvin returned after missing two weeks of action due to migraine headaches.
– Cooper’s onside kick recovery was key in his team’s come-from-behind victory.
– Ratliff signed with the Bengals on Wednesday.
– Spikes continues to serve his four-game suspension.

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

Four-star CB Waisome drops Florida for FSU

Four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) became the third Florida Gators commitment to leave the program since Nov. 29 after switching his pledge to the Florida State Seminoles on Monday.

Waisome, who originally picked Florida over Florida State when making his official commitment on Aug. 18, said as recently as Dec. 3 that he was “firm” in his decision even after former head coach Urban Meyer stepped down.

After previously taking a trip to Tallahassee, FL, he met with new head coach Will Muschamp while taking an official visit this past weekend and apparently things did not go as well as all had hoped. Waisome’s final decision will likely stick as he is planning to enroll early at the university of his choosing in Jan.

Waisome had previously stated that his relationship with the Gators’ coaching staff was one of the main reasons for his commitment. With a lot of turnover likely – especially at defensive coordinator – he may have felt uncomfortable with the situation. Especially considering he would have been enrolling at Florida without a position coach in place.

Four-star linebacker Ryan Shazier (Plantation, FL) left the Gators for the Ohio State Buckeyes on Dec. 17, and four-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, NC) decommitted in late Nov. Pagan had been back-and-forth over his decision. With Waisome’s departure, UF has lost their three best defensive recruits in under 20 days.

The Gators now have only five defensive commitments remaining as part of the 2011 class: four-star CB Louchiez Purifoy (Pensacola, FL), four-star athlete/safety De’Ante Saunders (Deland, FL), four-star DE Clay Burton (Venice, FL), three-star CB Chris Johnson (Ocala, FL) and three-star ATH/CB Valdez Showers (Madison Heights, MI).

Photo Credit: Scout.com

Jacksonville stuns No. 19/20 Florida in overtime

Coming off their biggest win of the season, the newly-minted No. 19/20 Florida Gators were looking to continue the momentum just under two days later against the Jacksonville Dolphins at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Florida (8-3) instead proved that they were not up to the task and dropped a 71-68 overtime thriller to their in-state visitors.

The Gators began the game just like their last: slow and inefficient. Florida only posted six points in the first seven minutes of the game while simultaneously turning the ball over five times. They completed the first half with 13 turnovers and only shot 9-of-20 from the field, allowing Jacksonville (7-3) to take a 29-27 lead into the locker rooms.

UF looked like it was starting to turn things around in the second half as they went up a game-high seven points on a trey by junior point guard Erving Walker with 6:58 remaining. That advantage would be short lived, however, with JU putting together a 7-0 run to tie the game up at 56 just three minutes later.

Up two with the ball and 33 seconds left in the game, the Gators looked to close out the contest. Unfortunately senior forward Chandler Parsons turned the ball over near mid-court; Dolphins guard Ayron Hardy stole it and dunked it with 21 seconds remaining to force overtime..

Walker hit three of four free throws early in overtime to give Florida a 64-63 advantage, but a turnover in the backcourt by sophomore G Kenny Boynton allowed Jacksonville to take a 65-64 lead.

Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin knocked in a missed layup by Walker to put UF back up one, but four-straight free throws by JU G Keith McDougald would end up icing the game for the underdogs.

Though he scored a season-high 21 points and made 9-of-13 free throws, Walker missed a game-winner in regulation and game-tying shot in overtime for Florida. He also shot only 5-of-12 from the field and 2-for-6 from downtown.

Filling out the box score for the Gators with double-digit points were Macklin (13), Boynton (12) and senior F Alex Tyus (10). Macklin and Boynton combined to go 10-for-27 from the field, part of the reason why the team as a whole only shot 35.6 percent (21-of-59).

The Dolphins were led by McDougald’s game-high 18 points but were also fortunate enough to have an impressive showing from Hardy, who scored 12 points to go along with eight rebounds.

Jacksonville out-shot Florida from the field and downtown, but the Gators out-rebounded the Dolphins 42-30. UF turned the ball over four more times than JU, but Jacksonville fouled Florida twice as often (26-13), part of the reason the offense was so off-balance.

The Gators will try to collect themselves before facing Radford on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will air live on Comcast Sports South (check your local listings).

Florida elevated in Top 25 polls after big win

The Florida Gators (8-2) took a step forward in the latest ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press Top 25 polls after defeating the then-No. 6/6 Kansas State Wildcats 57-44 at the 2010 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, FL, on Saturday.

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, Kansas State, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Baylor, San Diego State, Villanova, Missouri, Georgetown, Illinois, Michigan State, Kentucky, Purdue, Brigham Young, Memphis, Minnesota, Louisville, UNLV, Notre Dame, Florida, Texas

This 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

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Duke (65), Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Kansas State, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Baylor, Villanova, San Diego State, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan State, Georgetown, Brigham Young, Kentucky, Memphis, Purdue, Louisville, Minnesota, Texas, UNLV, Notre Dame, Texas A&M
+ Florida received 55 votes (good for No. 27)

This 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

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

Tebow scores twice in first start as Broncos fall

Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow performed well in his first NFL start on Sunday. The rest of his team? Not so much.

Tebow completed 50 percent of his passes (8-of-16) for 138 yards and a touchdown and added eight carries for 78 yards and a rushing score as Denver fell 39-23 on the road to the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Both of Tebow’s touchdowns – a 40-yard QB draw on third-and-24 and 33-yard strike to wide receiver Brandon Lloyd – came in the first quarter and helped the Broncos jump out to an early 14-7 lead.

Unfortunately his defense and special teams failed to get him the ball more often. When they did, miscues followed.

Running back Lance Ball dropped a perfect pass from Tebow in the end zone for one touchdown, and Denver’s offensive line failed to provide the signal caller the type of protection he needed to make a number of other throws during the game.

Tebow’s 40-yard touchdown run was the longest by a signal caller in team history, and his 78 rushing yards are the second-most by a quarterback in a single game in the Broncos’ record books.

He also became only the third player (first rookie) in NFL history to complete a touchdown pass of 30 yards or more and run 40+ yards for a score in the same game.

It is unknown whether or not Tebow will retain the starting job for Denver’s next contest, a home game against Houston on Dec. 26.

Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

FOUR BITS: Tebow starting, Addazio leaving?

1 » Four quarterbacks were selected within the first 85 picks of the 2010 NFL Draft, yet Denver Broncos rookie Tim Tebow – picked No. 25 overall in the first round – is the only one of the bunch yet to start a game at QB for his team this season. That will change Sunday as Tebow will take his place behind center for the 3-10 Broncos in relief of injured starter Kyle Orton (ribs). Tebow, who has taken almost every first-team snap in practice this week, already has four touchdowns this year (three rushing) but has played sparingly for Denver up until this point. The head coach who drafted him and believed in him, Josh McDaniels, is no longer with the club, and Tebow will be starting behind an offensive line that allowed Orton to be sacked 34 times in the team’s first 13 games. Nevertheless, all eyes will be on Tebow at 4:15 p.m. (ET) expecting him to show he has what it takes to play QB in the NFL.

2 » According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Florida Gators offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio will interview for the head coaching job with the Temple Owls. Addazio, who has never been a NCAA head coach, has been coaching in college since 1995 and is not likely to be retained at his current position by new Florida head coach Will Muschamp. Though a majority of fans are pleased with Addazio’s past success as a recruiter and coaching the offensive line, his struggles managing the Gators’ offense over the last two seasons have drawn their ire. Addazio is not the only candidate for the job but would be a big pick-up for a smaller school as he could bring in top recruits and likely perform better as a head coach than a coordinator.

3 » Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin, who has missed his team’s past two games after his severe migraine headaches acted up again, is expected to return to the field this week. Harvin has undergone plenty of treatment for his migraines since entering the NFL, but doctors have continuously failed in pinpointing their cause or minimizing their affect on him. According to the player, he now has a “clear mind” and practiced “more explosive than when I left” after spending a week at a Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, meeting with a migraine specialist. Harvin is now on a new medicine that will help him control other triggers that might cause the headaches. “We covered pretty much every base. We’ve got a plan to prevent it, we’ve got a plan if it comes, and we’ve got a plan if it’s real bad,” he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

4 » Certain BCS bowl teams may be having problems selling out the tickets for their games, but Florida has had no issues getting rid of their allotment for the 2011 Outback Bowl. The Gators have sold their assigned 12,000 tickets for the event and fans are snatching up plenty of the non-allotted tickets to see head coach Urban Meyer lead the team for the last time against the Penn State Nittany Lions and soon-to-be 84-year-old head coach Joe Paterno.

Photo Credit: Ed Reinke/Associated Press

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