Muschamp provides pre-spring practice thoughts

With the Florida Gators set to begin 2011 spring practice on Wednesday, new head coach Will Muschamp met with the media Monday to discuss a variety of topics including why practice is closed, who has stepped up as leaders, which players have changed positions and what he expects from redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley.

FIVE-WEEK OFFSEASON PROGRAM

Florida’s student-athletes participated four days each week in a five-week-long offseason program with spring break serving as a nice ending to the activities. Muschamp believes that the time is now to get the Gators in the proper mindset for the upcoming year.

“In the offseason, that’s where you build your football team,” he said. “You build the mental toughness it’s going to take to be successful. You find out a lot about individual players at this time – what they’re willing to push through. You find out a lot about where your leadership is on the football team. You start to develop your identity in the offseason. I’m really pleased with where we are. We still have a ways to go, but I’m excited about what those guys accomplished in our offseason program.”

NO SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT CLOSING PRACTICE

Former Florida head coach Urban Meyer shut fans and media out of fall practice last year, but spring practice was open throughout his entire tenure at UF. Muschamp, who announced last week that practiced would be closed, said that he had no second thoughts about the decision even though some fans are peeved by the choice.

“We’re a new staff. It’s important – on both sides of the ball and special teams – for our guys to focus on what we need to do to be successful. We need to do that in closed quarters,” he said. “I understand that our fans love the Gators and want to be a part of that. On April 9th, we want a full packed house at The Swamp. We need to concentrate on us right now. We need to get better and continue to develop the identity of what we want to be as a football team on both sides of the ball on special teams.”

He continued, “I’ve got to make a decision that I think is best for the program and about winning football games and doing it the right way. That’s something that will be evaluated in the fall by me and in the spring by me. If I think it’s best for the practices to be closed, they’ll be closed.”

CREATING AND ESTABLISHING LEADERS

Muschamp has a number of goals that he has set out to accomplish before spring practice concludes. One of those is finding a set of leaders who prove their worth by displaying a positive attitude, being productive and establishing themselves as both dependable and durable.

“Develop the leadership. Come together for that common purpose. I know we’ll all be excited on Wednesday; I want to see how we are [at] practice 12. That’s really where you find out what kind of team you’ve got,” he said. “We want to be a blue-collar, overachieving unit. We’ve got some good football players; we got a good football team on campus. We’ve got to come together as a cohesive unit, build for a common purpose and develop that workman-like attitude.”

Singling out a handful of players as early leaders, Muschamp pointed to Brantley, senior defensive end William Green, redshirt junior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr., redshirt sophomore WR Stephen Alli, sophomore cornerback Cody Riggs, redshirt sophomore safety Tim Clark, sophomore QB Chandler Carr and freshman QB Jeff Driskel as guys who have already stood out among their peers.

“They came out and played to a championship standard as far as their competition is concerned in the weight room and off the field,” he said of the players. “You’ve got to develop leadership; it’s not just something that happens. We’ve got to develop that within our organization. We’re implementing leadership, character development, mental conditioning for our football team.”

EXPECTATIONS FOR BRANTLEY

Brantley is the Gators’ No. 1 quarterback, and it is going to take a huge effort from either Driskel or redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy to unseat him. Not only does Brantley have the age factor going for him, Muschamp (and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis) both believe he is capable of doing the job that is necessary behind center. To his credit, Brantley has put the pedal to the metal so far this spring and is doing whatever he can to learn the position to the best of his ability.

“John’s worked hard in the offseason. He’s a talented player,” Muschamp said. “John needs to worry about John’s expectations, mine, Charlie Weis’s and nobody else’s. That’s what I think about expectations. Ours are high – really high; we expect a lot. John himself expects a lot of himself, and we’re expecting him to have an outstanding year.”

Asked what his specific expectations are for Brantley, Muschamp instead discussed what he expects from any quarterback running his team. “From the quarterback position, and I don’t mean this in a conservative manner, it’s [about] managing the game,” he said. “Peyton Manning manages the game. Tom Brady manages the game. They don’t turn the ball over; they take care of they ball. They provide great leadership for their offense and their football team. They convert on third down. That’s managing the game; that’s what we want to see. He’s got the ability to do all of those things.”

POSITION CHANGES AND ADJUSTMENTS

As OGGOA covered yesterday in our depth chart post, there is plenty of movement going on throughout Florida’s roster. Here are some of the moves that have been made and what Muschamp had to say about the player involved.

Redshirt freshman Leon Orr from offensive line to defensive tackle: “He’s a bigger body guy that can hold the point inside.”

Redshirt freshman Gerald Christian from tight end to linebacker: “He’s got good lower body explosion [and is] a guy who is certainly bright enough to play two positions.” Christian will also see offensive work at tight end and fullback.

Redshirt sophomore Jordan Reed from QB/TE to tight end: “Jordan Reed will be a full-time tight end. [He] can stretch the field vertically and be a match-up issue for defenses with his athleticism. [I’m] excited about him.”

Sophomore Trey Burton from QB to “F” position: “We’re excited about the versatility Trey will play for us at the F and at the H position in some third-down work.” Learn more about the F position.

Redshirt sophomore Chris Martin from DE/LB to DE: “He’s got good pass rush skills, good pass rush ability. He can move his hands and feet in the rush, which is a natural talent. That’s not something that’s easily coached.”

Muschamp was also asked about sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who had some behavioral issues last season. “That was last season. This is this year,” he said. “I [told him], ‘You’re going to do it our way.’ Change is inevitable, growth is optional. You either do it our way or leave.”

Finally, he discussed where the Gators are weakest position-wise. “We are thin on both lines of scrimmage at this point. I like the quality of players; I don’t like the quantity of players. The SEC is a line of scrimmage league. We’re going in a little bit thin,” he said.

QUOTES

Muschamp on the depth chart: “I don’t know if that depth chart is worth the paper it’s printed on.”

Muschamp on the depth chart (II): “It’s not about where you start – it’s where you finish.”

Muschamp on the defensive philosophy: “We want to be multiple. We’ll be more of an over team, a 4-3 team, a one-gap team at this point. We will commingle some 3-4. We’ve got an outstanding defensive staff, and I’m really excited about what those guys are bringing to the table.”

Muschamp on Weis: “Part of buying in is instant credibility, and he brings instant credibility as a football coach because of what he’s accomplished.”

Muschamp on potentially butting heads with Weis: “You hire guys that you have tremendous confidence that you know their abilities. You hire the best coaches available. We’ve been allowed to do that here because of the support of our administration. You want to hire the best in the business. I don’t want a bunch of “yes” guys. I don’t want a bunch of guys who are going to agree with everything I say. I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I don’t have all the answers – especially on the offensive side of the ball. I want guys that want to disagree.”

Muschamp on what excites him about the team: “There’s been a willingness and an eagerness to learn. We’ve got a bunch of prideful guys in that locker room that want to have a lot of success.”

Muschamp on it being “his” team: “It’s Florida’s program, not mine. I’m the steward and I’m driving the ship. Florida won a bunch of games before any of us showed up, and they’re going to win a bunch of games after we’re all gone.”

3/14: Gators discuss 2011 NCAA Tournament

Three members of the Florida Gators‘ (26-7) starting five met with the media on Monday to discuss their new task of competing in the 2011 NCAA Tournament beginning Thursday against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in Tampa, FL. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the players.

IS THE NO. 2 SEED DESERVED?

Like with head coach Billy Donovan, the first question asked to the players was whether or not they were pleased with and felt deserving of a No. 2 seed in the tournament. It appears that, like with most fans, the positioning came as a bit of a shocker but is certainly appreciated. ”I had a feeling we were going to be a No. 3 seed, honestly. The two-seed kind of shocked me,” senior forward Chandler Parsons said. “We deserve it. I’m happy with it. I like our draw.”

Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton agreed. “I was happy to see we had a two-seed. We were deserving. We worked hard this season,” he said. “Whether we were a two-seed or a six-seed, it really doesn’t mean anything. Every game we just got to come out and play.” Asked specifically about the comments by analyst Charles Barkley, junior point guard Erving Walker made a pointed statement. “Charles Barkley’s not playing for us. We just have to focus on ourselves and keep working hard as a team,” he said.

PREPARING FOR THE GAUCHOS

For Parsons, Thursday – and any subsequent games – could be the last time he plays in the orange and blue. He, for one, does not plan for that to be the case. “It’s all-or-nothing from here on out. It’s flown by; time has gone by very fast,” he said. “As soon as we lose, we’re done, so I don’t want that to come down for another three weeks.”

In order to stay afloat, Parsons says what Donovan has been preaching – Florida has to play with more consistency. “We definitely have some ups and downs. We’ve had trouble not being consistent this year. We just got to keep playing – no matter if we play bad in the first half, second half – we just got to put it all together for 40 minutes,” he said.

Boynton is able to differentiate the team’s mindset this year compared to that in 2010. “Last year we got complacent that we were in the tournament. We didn’t know exactly how good BYU was or how good Jimmer Fredette was,” he said. “When we got in the game, we played hard, but we didn’t prepare the right way. This year, we’ve been there before. This year, we’re going to prepare to go deep into the tournament.”

STOPPING ORLANDO IN TAMPA

Leading a tall starting lineup for Santa Barbara is G/F Orlando Johnson Standing at 6’5”, he is likely too athletic for Parsons to defend; Boynton will most likely be charged with the task and said Monday that he is ready for it. “I try to pressure as much as I can so [taller guards] don’t get a shot off. I’m going to do my best to disrupt what he has going on,” he said.

Asked what it is like to often be forced to defend taller players, Walker sympathized with the situation. “That’s been my whole life – facing a bigger guard. That’s nothing I’m afraid of at this point in my life,” he said. “I’m always the smallest player, so for somebody to be taller than me is not really a big deal to me.”

QUOTES

Parsons on being like a former Florida starter: “I’d love to have Lee Humphrey’s shot.”

Walker on his relationship with Boynton: “He’s like a brother to me. Since he first got here we’ve been real cool. We’ve just grown together.”

Boynton on a potential rematch with BYU: “Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I’ve definitely seen that. They’re a good team. If we do meet up, we both got to come and play.”

Boynton on losing to Kentucky: “We didn’t want to lose, but it’s a good thing. After our losses, we watch a lot of film and we see the things we need to get better at. The next game we come out stronger.”

Florida Gators 2011 spring practice depth chart

You may be excited that, in a few lines, you are getting a look at the Florida Gators 2011 spring practice depth chart. Don’t be. Near the middle of his press conference on Monday, new head coach Will Muschamp referred to it as “weak” and not worth the paper it was printed on. In other words, it is just a starting-off point and plenty can change between now and the end of spring, the start of summer, the beginning of fall or when the season starts. Nevertheless, below is the depth chart as it was presented.

Florida omitted players who are injured or limited and not participating in spring practice. A list of those players can be found at the end along with some additional explanations.

QB: John Brantley, Tyler Murphy/Jeff Driskel
HB: Chris Rainey, Mike Gillislee/Mack Brown
X-WR: Frankie Hammond, Stephen Alli/Quinton Dunbar
Z-WR: Omarius Hines, Andre Debose
TE: Jordan Reed, A.C. Leonard
F-21: Trey Burton
*In with two halfbacks and one tight end
F-11: Deonte Thompson, Solomon Patton/Robert Clark
*In with one halfback and one tight end
F-12: Michael McFarland, Josh Postell
*In with one halfback and two tight ends

LT: Chaz Green, Kyle Koehne
LG: Jonotthan Harrison, Cole Gilliam
C: Sam Robey, Nick Alajajian
RG: Jon Halapio, William Steinmann
RT: Xavier Nixon, Ian Silberman

DT: Sharrif Floyd, Earl Okine
DT: Dominique Easley, Leon Orr
DE: William Green, Chris Martin/Clay Burton
Buck DE: Ronald Powell, Lerentee McCray/Lynden Trail
SLB: Gerald Christian, Gideon Ajagbe
MLB: Jon Bostic, Michael Taylor
WLB: Jelani Jenkins, Dee Finley/Darrin Kitchens

CB: Moses Jenkins, De’Ante Saunders
CB: Jeremy Brown, Cody Riggs
SS: Matt Elam, Josh Shaw
FS: Josh Evans, Tim Clark
Nickel: Elam, Riggs/Saunders

KR: Andre Debose, Solomon Patton
PR: Chris Rainey, Frankie Hammond, Jrl.
K: Caleb Sturgis, Brad Phillips
P: Kyle Christy, Dave Lerner
LS: Christopher Guido, Drew Ferris

NOTES: Muschamp said Christian has moved to linebacker but will still see offensive work at tight end and fullback. He added that Reed is a “full-time tight end,” Burton will remain at the F position and not play defense, and Orr is officially back to defensive tackle. Sturgis will be limited most of the spring but will “eventually be a full-go.”

F POSITION: Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis explained that, rather than release a standard depth chart, the Gators wanted to make it look more realistic. The F position is one that changes depending on the other personnel on the field. The first number refers to the halfbacks in the formation, while the second number corresponds to how many tight ends are on the field. (Ex. 21 = two halfbacks, one tight end). The student-athlete listed at the F position is the other playmaker on the field aside from the starting halfback/tight end and two starting wide receivers.

BUCK POSITION: Players listed at “buck” are more commonly referred to as hybrid defensive ends/linebackers. Examples Muschamp gave of players he’s coached include Jason Taylor, Calvin Pace and Sergio Kindle. Powell, for example, would play defensive end in a 4-3 formation and linebacker in a 3-4. Both Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn indicated principles of the 3-4 would be present.

OUT FOR SPRING: CB Janoris Jenkins (shoulder), RB Mike Blakely (shoulder), Neiron Ball (head), Jeff Demps (track)

LIMITED FOR SPRING: OT Matt Patchan, OG James Wilson, OL David Young, DT Jaye Howard, DT Omar Hunter, CB Jaylen Watkins

3/14: Donovan discusses 2011 NCAA Tournament

Just a day after earning a No. 2 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Florida Gators (26-7) head coach Billy Donovan met with the media to discuss the season behind him and the heavy task of competition for a national title that lays ahead. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the press conference.

DEFENDING THE NO. 2 SEED

Donovan’s media availability opened up with a question that has been on the mind of many fans and members of the press for the last 24 hours: Do the Gators actually deserve a No. 2 seed in the tournament? For Florida’s head coach, questioning the decision does not make much sense, though he does lend credence to UF earning it seed by a variable margin.

“I’m not surprised the all. Did I think we were going to get a two-seed? I didn’t know. I thought we were right in the middle of a two or a three,” he said. “If we would have gotten a three, we probably would have been very close to a two. We got a two, and we’re probably on the higher end of being a two. We’re probably right in the middle there. But I wasn’t necessarily surprised by it. We probably got rewarded for the whole body of work of what happened during the course of the season.”

He continued: “If you look at our whole body of work, we this year probably had as many wins against the RPI top 50 as any school in the country. Then you look at the fact of where you play on the road and what we did on the road and what we did in our non conference schedule and who we played. I wasn’t surprised if you look at the whole entire season. Then, obviously, get together championship game yesterday and then winning the league outright, I think that they looked at the whole season.”

PREPARING FOR UC SANTA BARBARA

Coming out of the Big West, the No. 15-seed UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (18-13) await Florida in the first round of the tournament. UCSB earned a berth by winning the 2011 Big West Tournament even though they finished the regular season tied for fourth place with an 8-8 league record. The Gauchos defeated Big West-leading Long Beach State in the title game after losing to them by a combined 33 points in two regular season contests. What UCSB does have going for them is guard/forward Orlando Johnson, the Big West’s leading scorer with an average of 21.1 points in 33.2 minutes.

“They’ve got the leading scorer in the league who is a very, very good player,” Donovan said of the Gauchos. “[James] Nunnally‘s a terrific shooter. But we’re in the infant stages now of trying to gather all information.

“This is a pretty quick turn around for us playing yesterday and having to play Thursday, so there is a lot to get prepared for. We’re not going to do anything physically today having three games in three days. This will be a day where we’ll meet later this afternoon and talk about Santa Barbara. We’ll talk about the SEC Tournament, and then try to get prepared to get some work done tomorrow physically.”

CONTROLLING WALKER AND FIXING MACKLIN

The entire Gators team had a down day Sunday, but junior point guard Erving Walker and redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin both struggled mightily. Walker, who was often careless with the ball and had some poor shots blocked because of his height, seemed to revert to his old form…something that Donovan certainly noticed.

“We’ve got Walker outside with weights on his ankle hanging from the monkey bars right now to see if we can stretch him a little bit,” he said jokingly. “This could be a great learning experience for Erving. He needs to watch film from yesterday because he did some things that put our team and himself in bad situations where there were other options and things open for him. He’s not going to grow. He is what he is. He can still impact the game, but he’s got to understand how.”

Macklin, though he gave good effort at times, put the ball on the floor too much in the post. As a result, he turned it over five times and brought the frontcourt to a halt.

“I was somewhat disappointed [in] the way Vernon handled the ball when we got it to him. He needs to do a better job,” Donovan said. “Because the five turnovers he had, there are guys open that he’s got to make the play if teams are going to come down and try to take him away. And those are the plays that can free up [Kenny] Boynton and Walker. […] He was way, way too soft and loose with the ball when he put it on the floor.”

CONTRIBUTIONS OF YOUNG AND WILBEKIN

While he tries to reign in his upperclassmen, Donovan gushed about the production that freshmen C Patric Young and PG Scottie Wilbekin have provided down the stretch.

“The one thing with Patric [and Scottie] that we desperately need is they can provide a jolt of energy with our team, just with their energy. Both players are physical, they’re tough,” he said. “We just need his energy. That’s what we need. We need his presence out there. When he’s playing hard with a high energy level, there is no question it impacts our team. It takes pressure off Vernon and Alex a little bit when he can come in there because he can affect the game without scoring.”

The manner in which Wilbekin has been contributing has surprised everyone including his head coach. Still only 17-year-sold, he is quickly coming into his own while concentrating on a few particulars.

“He has two things as a young kid that I didn’t know if he would have,” Donovan said. “He has great feet. He can really move and defend and keep people in front. And we’ve put him on some pretty good offensive players in this league. The other thing, too, he’s got a very strong body for a guy that young. He’s also not afraid to put his body in there and make physical plays, loose balls, long rebounds; he can get in there.

“I don’t think Scottie’s coming in there thinking, ‘I’m going to be a scorer.’ But he knows athletically and physically he can go out there and compete. He also can impact the game with his defense, and making an open jump shot, and doing some of the things he’s done.”

QUOTES

Donovan on learning how to schedule: “Three years ago when we really only had two teams going into the SEC Tournament as lock NCAA tournament teams that were going to get at-large bids, and then Mississippi State won the conference tournament so we got three teams in. There was really a huge emphasis among the athletic directors and the commissioner about the non conference scheduling and what we all needed to do. With the commissioner being on the selection committee, he really talked to us about what goes on inside that room and what they’re looking at. And that they really put a large emphasis on, not so much your league because those 16 games are already penciled in you’ve got to play them, but what are you doing with the games that you can schedule?”

Donovan on Florida’s losses: “I know there’s been a lot of talk about it. Maybe teams look at the Jacksonville game, the Central Florida game as being tough losses, but those are two games. But there were other games, Xavier, Florida State, Kansas State, what we did on the road inside the league. We had some very, very good quality wins. Then we played the second game of the year, the number one overall seed in the entire tournament in Ohio State. If you look at our RPI and our strength of schedule, it’s all inside the top 10. So our RPI and our strength of schedule kind of matched up. I’ve always said this to you; you can play a great, great schedule. But if you don’t win those games, it really doesn’t make a difference. We were fortunate that we were able to win some of those games on the road or at home.”

Donovan on mental motivation for his team: “What our guys have done in a non conference schedule and winning an SEC Championship, coming up a little short yesterday against Kentucky. These guys have earned the right to play in the NCAA Tournament. Now it’s a different season all together. This group, none of these guys has won a game in the NCAA Tournament, and I hope that in itself is motivation and fuel for them to really be focused and understand the importance of going from one game to the next.”

Donovan on what dismayed him about the Kentucky game: “The most disappointing thing to me even yesterday was just they’ve got to understand that when you get to this point in time in the season, it is all about grinding. You cannot get emotionally and mentally frustrated. You’ve got to be able to deal with things not going your way. What didn’t go our way yesterday was really we missed a lot of shots that maybe those first two days we had made. And I thought our offensive lack of productivity, and the ball not going in the basket, it bled into us having a level of being frustrated. We need to be tougher fighting through those things.”

Donovan on playing the first round in Tampa, FL: “Any time you can play close to home in a tournament it’s always a great thing. Our fans have always been good when we’ve traveled even in the non conference schedule when we’ve traveled to Orlando or Tampa or Jacksonville, we’ve always had a good turnout. I hope we can have a good turnout Thursday night, and our fans are good about doing that.”

Donovan on one way Wilbekin is more mature than Walker: Erving yesterday really, really struggled because he didn’t get any clean looks and he tried to drive it to the basket and nothing was going for him there. So he’s trying to figure out how do I impact the game? Where Scottie knows I can impact the game by playing defense. I can impact the team by getting the ball where it needs to go.

Billy Donovan praises Grant, Pelphrey, Smart

Many successful head coaches in a variety of sports are praised as having extensive coaching trees of former assistants who have gone on to succeed with other teams. Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan normally escapes such praise but was questioned about three of his former assistants who led major programs in 2010-11.

Not only did the two compete for the Southeastern Conference regular season title, Donovan and Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Anthony Grant were also the leading candidates for 2011 SEC Coach of the Year. The coaches and the Associated Press recognized him with the honor while Grant was given the award by SportingNews.

One thing Grant – and more specifically his team – did not receive was a berth to the 2011 NCAA Tournament, a development that confuses Donovan.

“I feel bad for Anthony, and I feel bad for our league because I really thought we had an opportunity [to get six teams in],” he said on Monday. “Everybody talks about the difference between the East and the West, and with Georgia getting in as a 10 seed. […] Alabama had more wins against the East than Georgia did, and they beat Georgia twice in head to head competition. I just thought not that they should have gotten in over Georgia. I think Georgia should be in. I thought Alabama should have gotten in.”

Continuing the legacy Grant left at his previous stop with the Virginia Commonwealth Rams is fellow former Donovan assistant Shaka Smart. VCU will complete in a play-in game on Tuesday to earn a berth into the tournament.

“I was very happy for him. He’s done a great job. He’s a great guy,” Donovan said of Smart. “He played a good schedule. He’s had some good quality wins in the non conference. They came up a little bit short in the conference tournament. But for him to be able to get in, that was terrific. I was really happy for him.”

Donovan was understandably not happy for John Pelphrey, who was fired as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks around the same time Donovan was competing for the 2011 SEC Tournament Championship.

Stan Heath I think took two teams to the NCAA Tournament. And they make a change. Then John goes in there and goes to the NCAA Tournament with all of Stan’s players and does a good job coaching them. He’s in his third year with his entire team returning with a top-five recruiting class, that doesn’t make sense to me,” Donovan said.

“At Arkansas they’re going to have to make a decision. At some point they’re going to have to let whoever is in there be able to do the job.”

He remained confident that Pelphrey would land on his feet elsewhere as the man in charge. “John’s a good coach, and he will definitely be somewhere,” Donovan said.

Photo Credit: Unknown

Parsons, Donovan earn SEC honors from AP

Fresh off of receiving individual awards from the Southeastern Conference coaches, Florida Gators forward Chandler Parsons and head coach Billy Donovan doubled up their accolades on Monday. The Associated Press named Parsons its 2011 SEC Player of the Year and Donovan its 2011 SEC Coach of the Year.

A double-digit point scorer and team leader in rebounding and assists, Parsons swept the SEC Player of the Year award as he was also given the honor by SportingNews. He is the first University of Florida student-athlete to ever win the award for basketball and was a unanimous selection by AP voters.

Parsons is one of only two active Division I college basketball players with over 1,300 points, 800 rebounds, 300 assists and 100 steals. He also leads the SEC among active players in rebounding, is No. 3 in points and assists, and comes in No. 4 in steals.

Donovan finally picked up his first SEC Coach of the Year award after being held without one for 15 seasons. Unlike Parsons, the AP is only the second organization to honor him as Alabama’s Anthony Grant took home the SportingNews version of the award.

This season, Donovan took a team that was projected to win the conference but saw itself unranked when SEC action began to a 13-3 league record, East division championship, SEC regular season championship, berth in the title game of the 2011 SEC Tournament and No. 2 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

Parsons, who the AP also picked as a member of the 2011 All-SEC First Team, was one of three Florida players the organization honored. Gators junior point guard Erving Walker earned a spot on the All-SEC Second Team, and sophomore guard Kenny Boynton was given All-SEC honorable mention.

OGGOA RELATED: Parsons named 2011 SEC Player of the Year
OGGOA RELATED: Billy Donovan named 2011 SEC Coach of the Year
OGGOA RELATED: Parsons, Walker recognized with more honors

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Gators fall slightly in final Top 25 polls of 2011

Closing out the 2011 Southeastern Conference Tournament with a loss to the Kentucky Wildcats (25-8) in the championship game after beating both the Tennessee Volunteers (19-14) and Vanderbilt Commodores (23-10) for the third time this season, the Florida Gators (24-7) fell slightly when the final Top 25 polls of the season were released Monday afternoon.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 7 (1,153)No. 7 (568)-
2W 68-45 vs. William & Mary1-0No. 8 (1,127)No. 7 (560)-
3L 69-67 vs. Miami
W(OT) 61-56 vs. ULM
2-1No. 18 (467)No. 16 (303)-
4L(OT) 65-66 vs. Georgetown
W 56-47 vs. UAB
L 64-75 vs. North Carolina
3-3NR (40)No. 24 (60)-

ESPN/USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Ohio State (17), Kansas (14), Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Duke, San Diego State, North Carolina, Brigham Young, Purdue, Texas, Syracuse, Florida, Wisconsin, Louisville, Arizona, Kentucky, Utah State, St. John’s, Connecticut, Xavier, Texas A&M, Georgetown, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Temple
+ Florida received 456 voting points

This Week 1-25: Ohio State (26), Kansas (5), Duke, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Connecticut, Texas, Kentucky, Louisville, Brigham Young, Florida, Syracuse, Purdue, Wisconsin, Utah State, Arizona, St. John’s, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Xavier, Washington, Kansas State, Georgetown
+ Florida received 405 voting points

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Ohio State (52), Kansas (13), Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Duke, North Carolina, San Diego State, Brigham Young, Purdue, Texas, Syracuse, Florida, Wisconsin, Louisville, Kentucky, Arizona, St. John’s, Xavier, Kansas State, West Virginia, Connecticut, Georgetown, Utah State, Temple, Cincinnati
+ Florida received 931 voting points

This Week 1-25: Ohio State (51), Kansas (14), Duke, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, San Diego State, North Carolina, Texas, Connecticut, Brigham Young, Kentucky, Syracuse, Purdue, Louisville, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, St. John’s, Utah State, Xavier, Kansas State, West Virginia, Washington, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
+ Florida received 840 voting points

Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

Florida baseball’s Bryson Smith arrested for DUI

A successful weekend on the diamond ended with some bad news for No. 1 Florida Gators baseball as senior outfielder Bryson Smith was arrested late Sunday night and charged with driving under the influence, according to the Gainesville Police Department’s arrest report.

Smith, who was picked up at 11:50 p.m. after an officer observed him taking wide turns and drifting on the road, failed field sobriety tests but refused a breathalyzer test, according to The Gainesville Sun, which first reported the story.

Officer Jesse Bostick responded to the scene and conducted field sobriety exercises, during which Smith appeared to be swaying while standing and had bloodshot and glassy eyes, according to the report.

A bench player who is hitting .345 with five RBI in 14 games this season, Smith was booked at 1:16 a.m. and will be charged with Florida statute 316.193.1.

OGGOA will update this story when additional information is made available.

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