8/5: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators began fall practice Thursday and, while the activities were closed to both the media and public, a bunch of players spoke with the former group in a press conference setting following the morning session. As the rookies/freshmen hit the field for the second practice of the day (the veterans competed earlier), OGGOA has compiled some of the key details learned throughout the day.

PRACTICE NOTES

» Redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan and sophomore Xavier Nixon shared first-team duties at left tackle. This may be a position of contention for quite some time.
» In similar fashion, sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins are splitting first-team middle linebacker duties; however…
» Redshirt senior A.J. Jones and senior Brandon Hicks admitted that the coaches are making the linebackers learn all three positions. They also noted that the team may indeed run four linebackers at times but nothing is set in stone one way or another.
» Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. practiced today. He is no longer on scholarship and is attempting to earn his way back onto the team.
» Redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody is practicing even after having two surgeries this year to clean out bone spurs from his injured ankle. He will workout in full most days but may take some time off for precautionary measures.
» Though redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown, senior Moses Jenkins and freshmen Josh Shaw and Jaylen Watkins were the early favorites to start opposite junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins, freshman Cody Riggs got some major endorsements from the team’s veterans, many of whom were impressed with his fluid footwork.

Check out what the players had to say about Thursday’s practice, last year’s team and the upcoming season…after the break!
Continue Reading » 8/5: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

TWO BITS: Smith’s commitment, Florida profiled

1 » With former Florida Gators running back Emmitt Smith set to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in Canton, OH, a number of local newspapers have been profiling his exploits both on- and off-the-field. The Pensacola News Journal covered Smith’s commitment to the University of Florida, a very interesting story especially for those not around at the time. Apparently Smith told everyone at Escambia High School that he would don the colors of the school he would choose prior to his announcement. Showing up in red and white, he indicated that he would be committing to Nebraska – a pre-planned deception. “When they called him up to sign, they called him up last,” his mother Mary Smith recalled. “And when they asked him where he was going, Emmitt said, ‘Well, I’m wearing Nebraska colors, I guess I will be going to the University of Florida. There were some very excited people there.”

Some even credit Smith with turning the Gators program around. “It meant a heck of a lot,” said school historian and former media relations director Norm Carlson. “We had the probation, all the other problems in the [19]80s, and we were in need of something to uplift the program and Emmitt was it. I think just the fact he signed with Florida, it really buoyed spirits of Florida fans and certainly the people here.” Former head coach Galen Hall agrees. “Emmitt came here when it looked the bleakest for the Gators, because of the probation we were facing. And for him to come and be a part of it meant a great deal. It allowed us to go out and sell the fact that, hey, here’s a young man who could have gone anywhere, but he’s coming to Florida.”

2 » Concluding a series in which the schools with the brightest future in both football and basketball were determined, CBS Sports listed Florida at No. 1, citing head football coach Urban Meyer’s intensity and head basketball coach Billy Donovan’s determination as the catalysts. Dennis Dodd did a nice job covering Meyer’s health scare, but Gary Parrish takes it to another level while looking at what Donovan has done in his time at Florida. A standout quote is Donovan recalling what he was told prior to the 2005-06 season. [There are some other great quotes, too, so read the article.]

“I’ll never forget this,” he said. “I’m talking to this AAU coach, and I don’t want to name him, but I’m talking to him and he’s telling me, ‘You guys are going to be awful. You’re going to be terrible.’ We were recruiting one of his kids, and he was like, ‘Geez. Who’s my kid going to play with? Joakim Noah? That guy is a role player. Al Horford? He’s a project. Taurean Green is not an SEC guard, and Lee Humphrey is a mid-major catch-and-shoot guy… So he’s telling me all this and I’m listening, but the whole time I’m sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know. I kinda like these guys. I think we’ve got a chance to be pretty good.’”

Photo Credit: Pensacola News Journal

Parsons, Boynton talk about incoming freshmen

A day before the football team was set to begin fall practice, Florida Gators senior forward Chandler Parsons and sophomore guard Kenny Boynton spoke with members of the media about a number of topics including the extremely deep incoming freshman class. Click below to read what each player said about his new teammates.
Continue Reading » Parsons, Boynton talk about incoming freshmen

Florida Gators 2010 Fall Practice Preview

Thursday begins fall practice for the Florida Gators, and the team will be going into the 2010-11 season with more questions than answers for the first time in recent memory. From reserves taking over as starters to freshmen trying to make an impact right away, head coach Urban Meyer and his revamped coaching staff will be taking a close look at each and every player stepping on the field over the next few weeks

OGGOA is here to provide you with a preview of exactly what you should watch for and pay attention to, even though practice is closed to both the media and public.

Check out players who are stepping up, fighting for their jobs and trying to break out, as well as notable freshman who hope to make an impact…after the break!
Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2010 Fall Practice Preview

TWO BITS: Bailey lauds Tebow; Pouncey waits

1 » Denver Broncos veteran Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey has been heaping the praise on rookie quarterback Tim Tebow and that trend continued Wednesday in an NFL.com report. Talking about Tebow’s star quality and magnetism, the former Georgia Bulldogs star placed the Florida Gators legend above even the most famous Florida State Seminole. “I’ve been on a team with some [high-profile] players, such as Deion [Sanders] and guys like that, but I’ve never seen nothing like this,” Bailey said. “It’s amazing. […] I’m kind of proud of him for the way he handles himself. He wants to be one of the guys. People are going to put him on that pedestal, but he handles both sides very well.”

Defensive end Justin Bannan is also impressed. “I’m kind of blown away,” Bannan said. “I’ve just never seen anything like it. It’s like a phenomenon. This city’s just become obsessed with Tebow. The guy has earned that right to get that kind of attention, because he’s probably going to go down as one of the greatest — if not the greatest — college player to play the game.”

2 » It should be no question that Pittsburgh Steelers rookie center/guard Maurkice Pouncey, the University of Florida and the NCAA all want the allegations surrounding the player to be settled – one way or another – as soon as possible. Nevertheless, according to the University Police Department, determining whether or not Pouncey accepted a $100,000 payment from the runner for a sports agent may take up to two more months to settle. “It’s still an ongoing investigation,” Capt. Jeff Holcomb told The Gainesville Sun. “It could be another month or two before it’s finally closed out. It’s a slow-going process.” The process has been underway since June.

Photo Credit: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

Lochte wins title with world’s fastest time in 2010

Competing at the 2010 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships on Tuesday, former Florida Gators swimmer Ryan Lochte captured the 400-meter individual medley title with the fastest time in the world so far this year.

Lochte, who has been suffering through a groin injury, finished the event in 4:09.98, defeating runner up Tyler Clary by more than five full seconds. He was behind until the breastroke leg, where his injured groin ended up not playing much of a factor.

Many other Florida swimmers are competing at the event, a few of whom finished with top-10 times on Tuesday. A detailed list can be found on GatorZone.com.

TWO BITS: Belichick on Spikes, Crowder speaks

1 » New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick went on…and on…and on about former Florida Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes when asked about him Wednesday. Here is what he had to say about Spikes’ one-of-a-kind ability in the middle.

”I’m not really sure what his style is. Our defense is a lot different from what they ran at Florida. Obviously, he’s a big, physical guy, but now that we’ve had him in our defense a little bit. I think he’s got some unique skills… He does a lot of things well. It’s kind of not by the book, but effective. I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see how he [does].

“Just talking to him this morning about a couple things that he was doing… They’re not exactly the way that everybody does them, but he does them effectively, and I don’t think you need to change it. But I think it’s a little bit different. [...] He’s an interesting player to coach.

“He sees some things that I’m not sure everybody sees. I mean, he’s an instinctive player. I don’t know if he’s exactly the textbook way that you would read the plays, but he reads them. It’s interesting to work him into our system again, and being a 4-3 middle linebacker in the front and system they played, which just different from what we do, and now he’s playing more on the guard and being uncovered as opposed to being covered playing behind a defensive guy. Just a little bit different. He does things well, but a little bit of a transition, but a good one. Now that he’s in our defense, some things he does are a little bit different than the way we would teach it, but he still does it well. That’s what I was trying to say.”

2 » Fellow former Gators linebacker Channing Crowder of the Patriots’ AFC East division rivals, the Miami Dolphins, spoke about working in defensive coordinator Mike Nolan‘s hybrid system and bringing some of the team’s rookies into the fold. He found a way to mention the University of Florida, of course.

SIX BITS: Jackson, Cooper, James, Moss, Pouncey

1 » Tuesday, OGGOA noted that former Florida Gators wide receiver Chad Jackson has been quite impressive during Buffalo Bills training camp. In the team’s evening session, Jackson continued his upward climb, drawing this statement from head coach Chan Gailey in his post-practice press conference. “The guy comes out to play every day,” Gailey said. “It looks like he’s made up his mind that he wants to be a very good football player. I think that bouncing around [from team to team] is not what he intended for his career and I think he’s decided to go out and make himself the position. He’s been impressive.” There are murmurs throughout camp that Jackson has a legitimate shot to begin the season as the team’s starting No. 2 receiver opposite Lee Evans.

2 » Speaking of former Gators pass catchers getting a chance to impress, Philadelphia Eagles rookie Riley Cooper is set to get more snaps with the first team now that both starters – DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin – are out with injuries. Philadelphia beat writers are already of the belief that Cooper will begin the season as Maclin’s back-up, and now he has the opportunity to prove he can be an adequate replacement.

3 » Word out of Indianapolis Colts training camp is also positive for undrafted free agent rookie Brandon James. Being utilized extensively on special teams, James is also getting the opportunity to catch passes and run reverse plays. He appears to be a shoe-in to get past first cuts and many of those covering the team believes he has the chance to be a Leon Washington- or Darren Sproles-like piece for the Colts in 2010.

Three more BITS on Moss, Pouncey and Taylor…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Jackson, Cooper, James, Moss, Pouncey

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