FOUR BITS: Outback, Horschel, Hart, basketball

1 » The Florida Gators may not be playing for a championship, but members of the team will return home from the 2011 Outback Bowl in Tampa, FL, with some swag. For participating in the game, each player on both teams will receive a Fossil watch, Jostens ring, $150 Best Buy gift card, $25 Outback Steakhouse gift card and a hat, according to the SportsBusiness Journal.

2 » Former Gators All-American golfer Billy Horschel earned his PGA Tour card at Qualifying School on Monday. Coming off a season in which he only participated in four events (missing the cut in each) before injuring his wrist and sitting out the remainder of the year, Horschel made the cut at 9-under par and is ready to finally begin his career. He also made the cut last December, finishing seventh in the event. Horschel’s PGA Tour card expired due to his lack of participation because of injury. Originally overlooked in this posting was fellow former UF golfer Will Stricker, who also earned his card at Q-school this weekend. Congratulations to both men.

3 » According to the Orlando Sentinel’s Chris Hays, four-star 2011 running back recruit Dee Hart (Orlando, FL) – a current Michigan commitment – will jump to Florida should head coach Rich Rodriguez be fired sometime soon. Hart, who reportedly desires to play in the spread offense, has dropped Alabama from his recruitment and seems to be concentrating on only two schools now. Of course, Hart could also end up in Gainesville, FL, even if Rodriguez keeps his job, especially if the Gators’ coaching staff can convince him that Rodriguez could be gone in a year while head coach Urban Meyer’s job security is arguably the best in the nation.

4 » FOX Sports college basketball writer Jeff Goodman, whose had his eye on Florida all offseason, contends that it is the Gators’ backcourt which is causing the majority of the problems for the team so far this year. Calling sophomore guard Kenny Boynton and junior point guard Erving Walker “shot-hunters,” Goodman agrees with head coach Billy Donovan’s passionate plea for the players to worry about making their teammates better rather than putting points on the board.

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 13 recap

With the 2010-11 NFL season still in full swing, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 13 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 13th week of the season.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Six tackles (five solo), four passes defended, interception (no return)

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES
LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Team-high 10 tackles (five solo)
LB BRANDON SILER, San Diego Chargers: Team-high 12 tackles (nine solo)
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Five solo tackles (one for loss)
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Seven tackles (four solo), interception (five-yard return)

WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Four receptions for 34 yards (long: 28), touchdown
S MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Three solo tackles
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Two tackles (one solo), 1.5 sacks
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Solo tackle
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Three tackles (two solo), pass defended, interception (7-yard return)
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: Two rec. for 28 yards (targets: 5, long: 18)
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Two tackles, QB hit
DT JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Three tackles (two solo, two loss), sack
CB LITO SHEPPARD, Minnesota Vikings: Solo tackle
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Three receptions for 51 yards (targets: 5, long: 35), touchdown
RB FRED TAYLOR, New England Patriots: Four rushes for nine yards (long: 6)
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Solo tackle
DE ALEX BROWN, New Orleans Saints: Two tackles (one solo)
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Two receptions for 36 yards (targets: 4)
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1-for-1 for two yards, passing TD

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
C Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh Steelers), G Cooper Carlisle (Oakland Raiders) – QB Tim Tebow (Broncos), DE Derrick Harvey (Jaguars), DE Ray McDonald (San Francisco 49ers), QB Rex Grossman (Washington Redskins)

INACTIVES
LB Andra Davis (Bills), LB Channing Crowder (Miami Dolphins), WR Percy Harvin (Vikings), DE Jarvis Moss (Raiders), WR Riley Cooper (Philadelphia Eagles), LT Max Starks (Steelers)

NOTES
– This is Haden’s fourth-straight OGGOA Player of the Week honor; he has nabbed an interception in four consecutive games.
– Siler’s 12 tackles set a career-high.
– Nelson’s touchdown was the first of his professional career.
– Spikes’ interception was the first of his professional career
– Graham’s passing touchdown was the first of his professional career.
– Taylor saw game action for the first time since Week 3.
– KR Brandon James was cut from the Indianapolis Colts this week.

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

McDaniels’ canning leaves Tebow’s future murky

Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen finally fired head coach Josh McDaniels on Monday, days after his staff was accused of participating in “Spygate II” and approximately 24 hours after his team dropped its ninth game of the 2010 season. Though McDaniels won his first six games as head coach in Denver, he finished his short career an astoundingly awful 5-17 in his last 22 contests.

Depending who you ask, McDaniels either made a gutsy and intelligent call or colossal mistake in trading up for and drafting former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Tebow, being selected by a coach infatuated with QBs and confident that he could mold him into a NFL-caliber signal caller, was pleased to be playing for the Broncos and was welcomed into the community with open arms even as some fans were skeptical of his ability.

Though Tebow has scored four touchdowns this year (three rushing in goal line packages, one passing), he was not utilized as much as McDaniels had promised and fans had hoped. With Denver inching further and further away from playoff contention in recent weeks, McDaniels was asked over-and-over again if he would play Tebow, a question that consistently elicited a response aimed at propping up starter Kyle Orton, who has thrived under McDaniels’ tutelage.

With McDaniels – one of two coaches in the league who were believed to be enthusiastic developers for Tebow (the other being New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick) – now out of a job, one must wonder what lies ahead in the player’s future.

“Thank you for everything you did for me Coach McDaniels, including drafting me into this great organization,” Tebow said via his Twitter account Monday evening. “I wish you nothing but the best.”

Should someone like Jon Gruden take over in Denver, Tebow would likely not miss a step and perhaps gain another prudent supporter. Then again the Broncos could also sign someone who wants nothing to do with the former Heisman Trophy winner, leaving him as a back-up or perhaps even trading him for pennies on the dollar to another club that believes they can develop him properly.

While Tebow’s long-term success or failure in the NFL is not even close to being determined, his immediate future in Denver is up in the air – a mile high.

Four Gators starters earn AP All-SEC honors

Four Florida Gators football players were selected by the Associated Press as members of their 2010 All-SEC Teams on Monday.

Senior safety Ahmad Black, senior punter Chas Henry and junior cornerback Janoris Jekins were named All-SEC first-team selections, while senior center Mike Pouncey earned second team honors.

With Black, Henry and Pouncey graduating – and Jenkins expected to declare his eligibility for the 2011 NFL Draft – none of Florida’s honorees will likely return for the 2011 season.

Southeastern Conference coaches placed 10 Gators on their preseason All-SEC teams. Included on that list were Pouncey, Jenkins and redshirt senior guard Carl Johnson on the first team, and Black, Henry, junior running back Jeff Demps, junior S Will Hill, redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones, redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey and junior kicker Caleb Sturgis on the second team.

Florida basketball drops again after upset loss

Despite trouncing the American Eagles 67-48 on Sunday, the Florida Gators (6-2) fell in the latest USA Today/ESPN poll and were dropped from the Associated Press Top 25 poll this week after being upset by the Central Florida Knights 57-54 on Wednesday.

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, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan State, Syracuse, Missouri, Connecticut, Baylor, Kentucky, Villanova, Minnesota, Georgetown, Memphis, Florida, Tennessee, Purdue, San Diego State, Texas, Illinois, Washington, UNLV, Gonzaga, Brigham Young

This Week 1-25: Duke (31), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Connecticut, Syracuse, Michigan State, Baylor, Georgetown, Missouri, Villanova, Tennessee, Memphis, San Diego State, Kentucky, Illinois, Purdue, UNLV, Minnesota, Brigham Young, Washington, Notre Dame, Florida, Texas

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Duke (65), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan State, Connecticut, Syracuse, Missouri, Kentucky, Baylor, Villanova, Tennessee, Memphis, Minnesota, Georgetown, San Diego State, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Brigham Young, Purdue, Washington, UNLV, Notre Dame

This Week 1-25: Duke (65), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Connecticut, Michigan State, Syracuse, Georgetown, Baylor, Tennessee, Villanova, Memphis, San Diego State, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Brigham Young, Purdue, UNLV, Washington, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Louisville, Texas

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

12/6: Meyer, Paterno speak about Outback Bowl

Florida Gators (7-5, 4-4) head coach Urban Meyer and Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5, 4-4) head coach Joe Paterno spoke with the media on Monday now that their respective teams have been selected for the 2011 Outback Bowl set to be played on Jan. 1, 2011, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.

MUTUAL RESPECT RUNS DEEP

Meyer has always expressed his respect for those in his profession – like Paterno – who have paved the way for his success as a head football coach. Mentioning before the season that he and his wife Shelley have spent some personal time with the Paternos recently, Meyer again stated his admiration for the man on Monday. “Coach Paterno is college football,” he said. “It’s an honor to coach against him. He does it the right way.”

Paterno shared a similar sentiment. “Urban is one of my favorite people in coaching,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting to play against him. He has been very innovative and ahead of things. He’s not one of those showoffs or anything like that. He is very honest. He seems to always be one step ahead of the people he is playing against.”

ADDAZIO STILL THE OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR – FOR NOW

Asked if Steve Addazio would retain his offensive coordinator role next season, Meyer was quick to answer. “I’m expecting that to happen. I’ll keep you updated,” he said. Though he did leave some wiggle room in his reply, Meyer has maintained that he has appreciation for Addazio and has not given any indication that he would be leaving the staff. That being said, Addazio could retain the offensive coordinator title while giving up the playcalling duties to a co-offensive coordinator – in theory.

A rumor began over the weekend that Meyer had contacted and was in the process of trying to convince Oklahoma State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dana Holgorsen to leave Stillwater, OK, for the same position and responsibilities in Gainesville, FL. Whether or not that rumors holds water remains to be seen.

He also had this to say about coaching staff changes in general. “So much happens,” Meyer said. “At this time, I can’t make any statements. There is so much going on with the profession right now.”

MCCARNEY TEMPORARILLY REPLACED

With assistant head coach defense/defensive line coach Dan McCarney leaving the team after the regular season to take the top job with North Texas, Meyer was forced to find a suitable replacement for his team’s bowl game. He has temporarily promoted graduate assistant Tony Weaver to coach the defensive line for the Outback Bowl and will reevaluate the position after the season officially concludes.

INJURY UPDATES

Meyer updated the injury status for a number of players on Monday. He said redshirt freshman QB/tight end Jordan Reed has yet to practice since suffering a concussion against Florida State, junior running back Jeff Demps (foot) is wearing a protective boot and hopes to be able to play on Jan. 1, and both redshirt senior defensive tackles Terron Sanders (shoulder) and Lawrence Marsh (hip) will likely miss the game after having surgery on their injuries last week.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 12/6: Meyer, Paterno speak about Outback Bowl

TWO BITS: soccer honored, women’s b-ball splits

1 » Two Florida Gators soccer players were named to the NSCAA/Performance Subaru All-America teams last Friday. Sophomore defender Kathryn Williamson was named to the second team, while junior midfielder Tahnai Annis earned fourth team honors. Six different Florida players received recognition when the NSCAA announced its All-South Region awards. Senior MF/D Ashlee Elliott, Annis, Williamson and sophomore MF/forward Erika Tymrak were chosen for the first team, while redshirt senior goalkeeper Katie Fraine and freshman F Taylor Travis were placed on the second team. Congratulations to the ladies for their two 2010 Southeastern Conference Championships (regular season, tournament) and for a great season.

2 » Gators women’s basketball (7-2) had an up-and-down weekend at the Brown BEAR Basketball Classic in Providence, RI, defeating the Providence Friars (5-5) 73-56 on Saturday before being upset by the Brown Bears (3-6) 56-50 on Sunday. Saturday’s victory was led by redshirt junior forward Ndidi Madu, who achieved her first career double-double, and junior guard Jordan Jones, who scored a game-high 19 points in the win. Sunday’s effort was a juxtaposition of the one Florida put forth the day before. After posting their best shooting percentage of the season the day before, the Gators shot a season-worst 30.6 percent from the field in their loss. Though Brown did not perform much better, Florida’s play was worse and ultimately led to their defeat. Jones shot only 2-of-13 from the field (2-of-11 downtown), while Madu led UF with 14 points.

Gators rebound to defeat Eagles 67-48 in D.C.

Wednesday was a rough night for the No. 16/18 Florida Gators as they fell in an upset bid authored by Central Florida. Saturday’s contest in Washington, D.C. was a bit easier for Florida (6-2) as they put together a 67-48 win over the American Eagles (5-3).

Senior forward Chandler Parsons rebounded from the worst performance of his career to score 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, bring down a team-high eight rebounds, dish four assists and grab three steals. Parsons was also 2-for-3 from the free throw line after missing all six of his attempts in the previous game.

Joining Parsons to lead the Gators was junior point guard Erving Walker, who scored a team-high 16 points of 5-of-7 shooting while going 4-for-6 from downtown. Senior F Alex Tyus posted 14 points, and redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin scored 12.

Down 3-7 early in the contest, Florida quickly regained the lead on back-to-back jumpers from Macklin and 10 points by Parsons in a matter of six minutes. Up on American 12-10 with 13:56 remaining in the first half, UF would retain the lead and never look back.

The Gators took a 30-21 lead going into halftime but scored seven straight points out of the break and bumped their margin to a game-high 21 points with 2:33 left in the game.

Though the other four starters combined to go 20-for-31 from the field, sophomore guard Kenny Boynton was held scoreless on a 0-for-9 effort which included six misses from beyond the arc. Boynton contributed by dishing seven assists and holding onto the ball without a single turnover in 32 minutes.

As a team Florida shot 49 percent from the field, 84.6 percent from the charity stripe and 35.3 percent from downtown. They out-rebounded American 27-24, stole nine more balls (10-1) and committed seven fewer turnovers.

UF looks to keep the momentum going when they face Kent State on Thursday in Gainesville, FL. The game will begin at 7 p.m. and air live nationally on ESPN2.

POST-GAME NOTES & QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Gators rebound to defeat Eagles 67-48 in D.C.

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