1/3: Donovan’s post-game notes and quotes

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 following UF’s back-to-back wins – 71-67 at the Xavier Musketeers and 84-59 over the Rhode Island Rams in the following post.

LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE

Just last week Donovan pointed to Florida’s penchant for turnovers and poor free throw shooting as two of the reasons they unraveled against Jacksonville. Though he still hopes for improvement from the charity stripe, he was pleased with the effort put forth by the Gators over the last two games. Speaking about the Rhode Island victory, Donovan said UF outplayed URI in all but four minutes of the contest.

“We played a pretty complete game – outside the last four minutes of the first half, they beat us by seven the last four minutes,” he said. “The difference in the game tonight was, one, the rebounding margin and, two, the way we defended the three-point line.”

Turnovers were still a minor issue for the Gators on Monday, but improvement in the team’s collective ball handling was evident.

“We’re getting better there. The two guys that have the ball that are our playmakers are Chandler [Parsons] and Erving [Walker] a lot. Erv has five assists, four turnovers; Chandler five assists, three turnovers. So of our 13 turnovers, [seven] come from those two guys,” Donovan said. “It’s hard for me to nit pick at those guys because they both play so hard and they both do a lot of things, but we’ve got to get those two guys in particular to do a better job. We’re moving in the right direction.”

Florida scored more than 80 points for only the second time this season (105 on 11/18 vs. North Carolina A&T)

“Our guys offensively…we’re getting better, we’re improving,” he said. “I didn’t know if we could hold them to 59 points because they have so many different offensive weapons, but we did. We’re getting better on offense. Alex [Tyus] and Kenny Boynton didn’t have great shooting nights for us, but Chandler did and we were able to get the ball inside and still able to manufacture 84 points.”

Read the rest of the notes and quotes from Donovan…after the break!
Continue Reading » 1/3: Donovan’s post-game notes and quotes

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 17 recap

With the 2010-11 NFL regular season having come to a close, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 17 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 final week of the regular season.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Four tackles (two solo, one for loss), 1.5 sacks, two QB hits, fumble recovery, Gator Chomp

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Seven receptions for 94 yards (targets: 11, long: 39)
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Four solo tackles, two passes defended, interception (56-yard return)
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: 16/36 for 205 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions (QB rating: 58.2); 13 carries for 94 yards; touchdown (long: 30)
DL JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Eight tackles (five solo, two for loss)
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings: Eight receptions for 69 yards [team-highs] (targets: 14, long: 20); two rushes for -4 yards
DE ALEX BROWN, New Orleans Saints: Three solo tackles, sack, forced fumble

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Solo tackle (for loss), fumble recovery
CB KEIWAN RATLIFF, Cincinnati Bengals: Two solo tackles
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Six solo tackles, pass defended
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: Rec. for 12 yards (targets: 3), solo tackle
DE DERRICK HARVEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Solo tackle
LB CHANNING CROWDER, Miami Dolphins: Four solo tackles
CB LITO SHEPPARD, Minnesota Vikings: Three tackles (two solo)
RB FRED TAYLOR, New England Patriots: 10 carries for 35 yards
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Two tackles (one solo)
DE JARVIS MOSS, Oakland Raiders: Three tackles, three QB hits, sack
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Two receptions for 29 yards (targets: 4)
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Reception for five yards (targets: 4)
FB BILLY LATSKO, San Diego Chargers: Solo tackle
LB BRANDON SILER, San Diego Chargers: Four solo tackles
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: 26/44 for 336 yards, two touchdowns, interception (QB rating: 88.8); carry for two yards; two fumbles lost

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
C Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh Steelers), G Cooper Carlisle (Raiders) – WR David Nelson (Buffalo Bills), S Major Wright (Chicago Bears), DT Marcus Thomas (Broncos), DE Ray McDonald (San Francisco 49ers), FB Earnest Graham (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

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

NOTES
– Tebow started his third consecutive game for Denver but posted his worst QB rating even though he scored three touchdowns.
– After being held without a reception in eight of Cincinnati’s first 13 games (due to his spot on the depth chart), Caldwell has posted 89, 87 and 94 yards, respectively, in the last three games.
– Dunlap has registered at least a partial sack in seven of his last eight games. He has now earned 9.5 over the course of his rookie season.
– Latsko was signed as a free agent this week and registered his first – and only – playing time of the season.
– In one play during the Denver-San Diego game, Tebow completed a pass to Gaffney who was tackled by Siler. Siler also got some good shots on Tebow during the contest.
– Injuries: Pouncey suffered a neck stinger during the Steelers game, and Thomas left the Broncos game with a right groin injury and did not return.
– Wynn was released by the 49ers and signed by the Saints on Monday.

OGGOA RELATED: Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16

Review – Tim Tebow: Everything in Between

It is not often we get the chance to do entertainment reviews, though we always appreciate the opportunity. So when I found out that ESPN had chosen to send me a rough cut of Tim Tebow: Everything in Between (debuting on the network on Jan. 6 at 7 p.m.), I was psyched to view it before the general public and review it for you.

With a four-minute trailer for the then-unsold film released in September by Fiction and XV Enterprises, I knew going into my viewing that the movie began after the conclusion of the 2010 Sugar Bowl and lasted until Tebow had his name called with the No. 25 overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft just over three months later.

What I did not anticipate, however, was how comprehensive, expertly produced and well-edited the film would be. Two things I look for in any production – documentaries especially – are their ability to capture my attention and then whether or not they can hold that attention for their duration. Chase Heavener gives the viewer a brief yet broad behind-the-scenes look at the process Tebow went through to make the transition from Florida Gators legend to legitimate NFL prospect.

The viewer has the opportunity to see Tebow do everything from participating in interviews with Sports Illustrated and ESPN to conducting one of his own with his future agent Jimmy Sexton in a board room at the University of Florida.

“All this looks really good and is really fancy and is really nice. And ya’ll speak really well. But a lot of people around the country either believe in me or don’t believe in me. Or they say I can do this and I can’t do this,” Tebow says while fidgeting with a packet of information after listening to Sexton’s best sales pitch. “If you want to draft me then draft me. If you want to recruit me or you think I can be a quarterback, then I will be. If not, then don’t talk to me because I want somebody that wants me. And I want an agent that wants me and believes that I am going to be a quarterback and believes that I am going to be good at what I do. And why do you think I will be?”

From there the documentary takes you to D1 Sports Training in Nashville, TN, where Tebow threw so many passes while working on adjusting his mechanics that the gloves he was wearing were literally torn apart. The viewer observes as he struggles mightily at the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl and is pummeled with criticism from analysts including ESPN’s Todd McShay, who is portrayed throughout the film as the antagonist for Tebow’s protagonist.

Both his physical and mental toughness are tested continuously throughout his journey. Tebow trucks on through an infection during the Senior Bowl even finding humor when a doctor feeding a tube down his nose asks if it has even been broken. “Who knows? Probably,” he quips. The level of exertion he puts in to each and every workout – he says – is not matched by any other college football player in the country.

Tebow shows the ability to block out detractors by ignoring McShay, who he hears doubting his ability to play at the next level on a blasting television in the background while he signs dozens of autographs and is surrounded by friends, family and business associates. He also defends his decision to participate in the controversial Focus on the Family Super Bowl commercial alongside his mother.

“Whoever you are, you can at least respect that I have an opinion on [abortion] and that I believe in something and that I’m going to stand up for what I believe,” he says. “That’s something that I’m taking pride in, that I’m standing up or what I believe in, and I’m showing conviction about something. For me, that’s big.”

With the hard work and dedication complete, Tebow’s largest looming decision – one that garnered much media attention – was where he would actually watch the draft that would decide his professional future. Contrary to popular belief that delaying his decision was a publicity stunt, Tebow’s indecision less than 48 hours before the draft is put at the forefront as Sexton pleads for him to make a choice.

Sexton himself proves to be a pivotal figure in Tebow’s tale, especially in the film’s final scenes. He tells the family exactly how he has projected the draft, is met with trepidation when things do not go as smooth as planned, and then is as excited as a school boy when his original prediction – “My bet is Denver from 22 to 30.” – comes to fruition.

Whether you are a fan of Tebow’s or someone who feels a strong sense of disdain for him, the Heisman Trophy winner and two-time National Champion ends up in the role of the underdog by the documentary’s end. Being exposed to Tebow’s character on a more personal basis puts the viewer in a position where one would have to be stone cold inside not to be genuinely happy for him when he receives a phone call from the 303 area code as the story nears its end.

As comprehensive as Heavener’s film is, its short run time of 50 minutes (due to television programming restrictions) does his work an injustice. With three months of film collected there is bound to be at least another 20 minutes of compelling material that unfortunately must have hit the cutting room floor. It is worth holding out hope that an extended edition will be available in some form at a later date.

Tim Tebow: Everything in Between is the first in a series of shows set to be a part of ESPN’s Year of the Quarterback programming initiative, a year-long examination into the lives and careers of quarterbacks from high school to the pros.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Cowart
 

Parsons leads Florida to 84-59 rout of URI

The Florida Gators have struggled coming off major wins this season, losing to Central Florida and Jacksonville after hard-fought victories against Florida State and then-No. 6 Kansas State. Snapping Xavier’s 30-game home winning streak Saturday, Florida (11-3) kept their momentum going Monday by thrashing the Rhode Island Rams (9-5) 84-59 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Senior forward Chandler Parsons, marred in a slump most of the season, led the way for the Gators with the ninth double-double of his career. He scored 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting (3-for-4 from downtown) and added 12 rebounds (seven offensive) to go along with five assists for his best performance of the season.

Up 13-12 over URI with 11:48 left in the first half, UF took off on a 22-2 run and only allowed the Rams one basket in more than seven minutes. Rhode Island counted with a 7-0 run to cut Florida’s lead to 14 at the half.

The Gators’ lead teetered back-and-forth in the second half, but the Rams never trailed by less than 15 points after the break.

With the game coming to a close, head coach Billy Donovan inserted walk-on guard Kyle McClanahan into the contest. He missed his first two free throws but hustled back down for a layup on the next possession to give Florida a game-high 26-point lead.

Monday’s game turned out to be a dunk-fest for the Gators with Parsons, redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin, senior F Alex Tyus and freshman G/F Casey Prather all throwing it down on their opponents.

Junior point guard Erving Walker was Florida’s second-leading scorer with 14 points on 50 percent shooting from both the field and downtown. Tyus and sophomore G Kenny Boynton each finished with 10 points though Boynton continued to struggle shooting the ball going 3-for-12 from the field and 2-of-7 from beyond the arc.

Macklin finished with six points in limited minutes, and freshmen Prather and C Patric Young both scored eight points without missing a single shot between them.

Rhode Island was led by F Delroy James, who posted 23 points and six rebounds.

With their out-of-conference slate now complete, the Gators are set to begin Southeastern Conference competition on Saturday at home against Ole Miss. The game will air live at 8 p.m. on Comcast Sports South.

Muschamp tabs Quinn as defensive coordinator

New Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp claimed during his introductory press conference that he wanted to run a pro-style offense and defense. He has completely set that in motion by officially hiring Seattle Seahawks assistant head coach and defensive line coach Dan Quinn as his defensive coordinator.

Quinn, who has coached in the NFL since 2001 including stints with the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, began his career at William & Mary in 1994. He moved on to Virginia Military Institute (1995) and then Hofstra (1996-2000) before deciding to go to the NFL. Quinn served as Hofstra’s defensive coordinator in 2000.

He will remain with his current team through the NFL Playoffs.

When Muschamp was assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Dolphins under head coach Nick Saban in 2005, Quinn served as his defensive line coach. That year Miami ranked 15th in total defense (19.8 points and 317.4 yards per game) but was second in quarterback sacks (49).

“Dan and I worked on the Miami Dolphins’ staff together and he is one of the best I’ve been around in terms of teaching fundamentals,” Muschamp said on Monday. “He understands how defenses will need to be multiple and how to put players in a position to be successful. The Seattle organization has been great in coordinating the hiring of Dan to our staff and we wish them the best of luck in the playoffs.”

Muschamp is expected to be heavily involved in Florida’s defense. It is currently unknown whether Quinn will coach the defensive line himself.

“He’s a high-energy guy, and he brings that to the field for practice. And we can feed off that, because he’s ready to go everyday. He’s very involved. He’s just relentless,” Seattle’s seven-year veteran defensive tackle Craig Terrill said of Quinn in 2009.

The Gators still have one open position on the coaching staff (responsibilities to be determined) to reach the NCAA limit of nine assistants.

Position20102011
Offensive coordinatorSteve AddazioCharlie Weis
Quarterbacks coachScot LoefflerCharlie Weis
Defensive coordinatorTeryl AustinDan Quinn
Defensive line coachDan McCarney*Dan Quinn
Assistant: Bryant Young
Running backs coach
Recruiting coordinator
Stan DraytonBrian White
Offensive line coach
Running game coordinator
Steve AddazioFrank Verducci
Wide receivers coach
Recruiting coordinator
Zach AzzanniAubrey Hill
Tight ends coachBrian WhiteDerek Lewis
Linebackers coach
Special teams coordinator
D.J. DurkinD.J. Durkin
Defensive backs coachAustin/Chuck Heater*Travaris Robinson
Strength & conditioningMickey MarottiMickey Marotti

*McCarney was also assistant head coach; Heater held the role of co-defensive coordinator. Muschamp has not named an assistant (or associate) head coach as of press time.

Photo Credit: Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images

Muschamp hires two including OC Charlie Weis

One day after announcing that he retained three assistant coaches and hired two others, new Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp officially named Charlie Weis his offensive coordinator and Frank Verducci his offensive line/running game coordinator.

“Charlie was a perfect fit for what I was looking for in an offensive coordinator,” Muschamp said. “He has both college and pro experience and has been a play-caller in the NFL. He has four Super Bowl rings and his accomplishments and his ability to develop quarterbacks speak for themselves.’’

As expected, Weis will remain in the same role with his current employer, the Kansas City Chiefs, through their NFL Playoffs run. He will also coach quarterbacks at UF.

“We hope the Chiefs make a run to the Super Bowl – it would be great for the Chiefs and great for the Gators,’’ Muschamp added. “Everyone involved with the Kansas City organization has been first class about the transition.”

Weis was excited about his new job and chance to coach alongside his son. “To go to a program like Florida and be able to be around my kid at the same time … is almost a dream,” he said Sunday evening.

Verducci is a 28-year coaching veteran who spent 19 seasons in college (at Colorado State, Maryland, Northern Illinois, Northwestern and Iowa) before working eight of 10 years in the NFL (with Cincinnati, Dallas, Buffalo and Cleveland) prior to returning to the NCAA with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish under Weis in 2009.

“Frank will bring a sense of toughness and a physical style of play from our offensive line,” said Muschamp in a team-released statement. “It is important that the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator work closely together and always be on the same page. Charlie and Frank had that together at Notre Dame in 2009 and they will have a cohesive plan for the Gators.”

Florida also announced the hiring of a new assistant athletic director for football operations in George Wynn, a former teammate of Muschamp’s at Georgia who has held the same position for the last six years with the Texas Longhorns.

“George and I played college football together and I’ve known him for close to 20 years,” Muschamp said. “George has a unique combination of administrative, compliance and football experience. He will work hand in hand with our various departments to help run the day-to-day operations of the football department and has always had great relationships with the student-athletes.”

The Gators are still looking to hire a defensive coordinator and defensive line coach and have two coaching positions available (NCAA limit: nine assistants).

Position20102011
Offensive coordinatorSteve AddazioCharlie Weis
Quarterbacks coachScot LoefflerCharlie Weis
Defensive coordinatorTeryl AustinDan Quinn
Defensive line coachDan McCarney*Dan Quinn
Assistant: Bryant Young
Running backs coach
Recruiting coordinator
Stan DraytonBrian White
Offensive line coach
Running game coordinator
Steve AddazioFrank Verducci
Wide receivers coach
Recruiting coordinator
Zach AzzanniAubrey Hill
Tight ends coachBrian WhiteDerek Lewis
Linebackers coach
Special teams coordinator
D.J. DurkinD.J. Durkin
Defensive backs coachAustin/Chuck Heater*Travaris Robinson
Strength & conditioningMickey MarottiMickey Marotti

*McCarney was also assistant head coach; Heater held the role of co-defensive coordinator. Muschamp has not named an assistant (or associate) head coach as of press time.

Photo Credit: Bill Haber/Associated Press

Meyer, Black present game ball to Ian Lockwood

Before former Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer began his final press conference and after senior safety Ahmad Black received the 2011 Outback Bowl MVP award, Meyer made a special point to present a game ball to Ian Lockwood.

Look at Florida’s player roster or ledger of support staff and Lockwood’s name will not be found, but he played an important role in bringing the team together with a common goal in mind: send Meyer and the seniors out on a positive note and give Ian something to smile about during a trying time in his life.

A patient at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL, Lockwood is receiving treatments for brain cancer and recently underwent his second procedure. He was a successful high school football player who had to stop playing on Oct. 8 due to an aggressive brain cancer that doctors are trying to thwart and prevent from spreading further.

Meyer had this to say upon introducing Lockwood:

“One of my dear friends, Ian Lockwood, about a year and a half ago I met Ian. The young man, his love and passion for football is second-to-none,” he said. “We became very good friends. He had football taken away from him. He’s been with our team a bunch; we spent a lot of time together. I asked these guys to do whatever we possibly could do to get a game ball to Ian Lockwood. And that meant you had to go four quarters as hard as you possibly can and find a way to bring that ball and brighten someone’s day.”

The ball Lockwood received? None other than the one Black picked off and returned 80 yards for a touchdown that sealed the game.

“I met Ian around the same time coach did,” Black said, “so he means just as much to me as he do to coach. It was our goal and objective to win the game for Ian. So thank you, I appreciate you.”

Stepping up to the microphone, Lockwood was visibly nervous but seemed to know exactly what to say, just like he did to the Gators before they took the field.

“This means a lot to me. Coming into Shands for treatments, [they were] always there from the beginning,” he said. “Football is definitely life to me. It is good to always have an organization there for you to support you whenever you need it. My team back at home, I played six games my senior season and came up short after another brain surgery. Finished the other six out with these guys. So it was pretty good. Thanks Ahmad. Thanks Coach.”

Turning around to give both men hugs, Lockwood’s embrace with Meyer lasted just a bit longer and ended with a whispered “I love you” from the future Hall of Fame head coach to the former high school football player.

Weis says chance to coach at UF “almost a dream”

In an exclusive interview with the Kansas City Star Sunday evening, current Kansas City Chiefs and future Florida Gators offensive coordinator called the opportunity to coach at the University of Florida while his son attends school there “almost a dream.”

Weis, who will stay on with the Chiefs through the duration of the 2010 NFL Playoffs, said he decided to accept the Gators job because it is a unique opportunity to do what he loves while simultaneously seeing and working with his son each day.

“This was a really tough decision for the Weis family,’’ he said. “This opportunity is one of those unique situations where I can go to a great institution where my son goes to matriculate and be able to spend the next bunch of years watching my son grow.

“He wants to coach. It took us very long to try to find a place where he could be involved with the football program in a student assistant capacity. When I finally did talk to [Florida head coach] Will [Muschamp], we chatted about that and then we talked about me. I had to really reflect on that, spend time with my wife and [my son]. We talked about a whole bunch of things and at the end of the day, I don’t think anybody could understand how wonderful an opportunity it would be to be able to work at a place and see your kid on a daily basis.

“It’s a tough business. To go to a program like Florida and be able to be around my kid at the same time … is almost a dream.”

Sports talk radio host Heath Cline notified OGGOA on Twitter that Weis’s son was originally planning to attend the University of Texas and serve as a student assistant under Muschamp with the Texas Longhorns. His move to Florida comes as a result of Muschamp’s, hence unique opportunity for his father.

A notorious family man, Weis said he is friends with Muschamp and that family issues were the catalyst for the decision to leave the NFL for college football. Though Weis likely had initial conversations with Muschamp about the opportunity, he says he had not made a final decision when news of his hire was initially reported.

“I didn’t even talk about the job until I got home at 10 o’clock at night,” he told the paper.

Weis also denied rumors that he had a falling out with Kansas City head coach Todd Haley. “I almost get offended when people say that,” he said. “People always want to look for a different angle for why you’re doing [something]. … This decision had absolutely zero to do with relationships in Kansas City.”

OGGOA RELATED: Charlie Weis to be named Gators OC Monday

Photo Credit: Bill Haber/Associated Press

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