FOUR BITS: Heimerdinger, Brantley, Driskel, FSU

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receivers coach and current Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger was diagnosed with cancer recently, leaving the team facility on Wednesday to undergo his first round of chemotherapy. Only 58 years old, Heimerdinger has already had an exemplary NFL career and will attempt to continue doing his job during treatment. He has decided to call plays from the sidelines for Tennessee’s game on Sunday and wishes to do so the remainder of the season as long as his health allows him to. Heimerdinger, a college roommate of Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, was first a Florida graduate assistant in 1980. He returned to the school to coach wide receivers from 1983-87, spending his first year under Shanahan (the offensive coordinator at the time) and his tenure under head coaches Charley Pell and Galen Hall. OGGOA sends our thoughts and prayers out to the Heimerdinger family; we hope he has a speedy and full recovery.

2 » Gators fans come in all ages, sexes, shapes and sizes, but it was a 10-month-old having recently undergone surgery for a heart murmur that received a special visit from redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley. Named after the signal caller, Brantley Bowen had a seven-hour surgery to correct his heart problem just days after Florida lost to South Carolina. He is now resting comfortably and expected to make a full recovery. With both parents huge Gators fans, Brantley spent an hour-and-a-half with the family and even brought a long a gift basket including toys and autographs that his father has prepared for the occasion. “It makes me more proud that I did name my son after him,” Brantley Bowden’s mother Maegan McGalliard told the Orlando Sentinel. “It kind of makes me proud to be a Gator.”

3 » Five/four-star Florida quarterback commit Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL) has almost arrived in Gainesville, FL. In just over a month, Driskel will enroll early at the University of Florida and begin his mission to become the Gators’ signal caller of the future. While some have been so impressed with Driskel’s high school performances that they already want him to supplant Brantley or any other quarterback on the team, the high school senior is taking the hype in stride and just trying to do the best he can with the opportunities he’s provided. Nevertheless, his high school head coach Nate Gierke told The Gainesville Sun that Driskel is truly something special. “He’s an unbelievable football player. He’s the best high school player I’ve ever seen,” Gierke said. “What he’s done for our team this year, it’s just remarkable. He’s got that innate talent to make things happen. He’s done that for four years for me.”

4 » When talking about Saturday’s game against the Florida State Seminoles, considering which team “needs the win more” is basically irrelevant with any regard to predicting a winner. With that being said, The Florida Times-Union covered both sides of the argument, addressing why both schools could really use a victory this weekend. A win for Florida, according to Michael DiRocco, would extend their streak over FSU to seven games, help the team get a better bowl game, quiet critics and assist in recruiting. Garry Smits, on the other hand, believes a victory for Florida State will end their difficult losing streak, earn them a state championship, get head coach Jimbo Fisher off on the right foot and send-off a senior class – that has been through a lot – the right way.

Photo Credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

11/24: Florida coach Meyer’s SEC teleconference

OGGOA had the opportunity to participate in Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer’s Southeastern Conference teleconference on Wednesday (for the final time this season). Below are some notes from the event:

INJURY UPDATES

Meyer touched on the status of a number of players dealing with injuries. He said both cornerbacks – junior Janoris Jenkins (concussion) and redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown (hamstring) – should be good to go Saturday, as will redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones (hamstring). However, Meyer called redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle) questionable for the game after he tweaked his injury during warm-ups before the Appalachian State game.

He also confirmed that senior center Mike Pouncey left practice early Tuesday due to lightheadedness but said he is perfectly fine. Meyer added that redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (wrist) has had successful wrist surgery and is in line to return to action in the spring after missing the entire season.

HAMMOND DOING THE RIGHT THINGS

After having his scholarship pulled over the summer due to an arrest for driving under the influence, redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. is in line to earn it back even though Meyer said Wednesday that his status remains “undetermined.” According to Meyer, Hammond is currently being evaluated on the selflessness he shows the team, how he is performing academically and his ability to stay out of trouble and be a good citizen off the field. He has been the Gators’ best pass catcher over the last few games and is starting to exhibit the talent that the coaches always believed he possessed.

QUOTES

On redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson’s issues this year: “Similar problems. I have seen him progress, may not at the pace he’d like to, but he’s a hard working guy and he’ll get better and better.”

On playing in Tallahassee, FL: “We got to really play well down there. We got so many young players playing in that environment.”

On Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton’s play at Florida: “Oh yeah, he was a great player. Just a ridiculous athlete.”

SIX BITS: Moss, Tebow, Lochte, Brewer, Mincey

1 » Former Florida Gators defensive end Jarvis Moss’ career with the Denver Broncos was uneventful with the former first round pick totaling only 29 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble in under four full seasons with the team. Cut by Denver on Nov. 17, Moss cleared waivers and signed with the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday. Moved to outside linebacker his last two seasons with the Broncos, Moss will return to his natural defensive end position with the Raiders and is set to back-up second-year player Matt Shaughnessy. He could play as soon as Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

2 » Speaking of Denver, their season appears to be getting worse and worse with each passing week. Even though head coach Josh McDaniels may be in danger of losing his job if he does not show some signs improvement over the next few weeks, he does not believe the time is right to try playing former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow more. “I don’t know. Not willing to go there,” he said, according to The Denver Post. “That’s not the case right now, so we’ll think about that when that happens.” McDaniels has had opportunities to get Tebow some playing time at the end of blowout losses this season but has declined on at least two occasions. “We haven’t had too many situations like that, but there’s a lot that could go into it,” he said. “I think each game is different. I think we’ve had the one game against Kansas City where you felt like there was a situation there but there are some other things that played into that. We’re not adverse to [putting him in late], we just haven’t had many opportunities to do that this year.”

3 » Former Florida swimmer and three-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte was named Male Athlete of the Year for the second-straight year during the 2010 USA Swimming Foundation Golden Goggle Awards on Monday. Lochte once again had a dominant summer in the pool, nearly breaking the 200-meter individual medley world record in a winning performance at the Pan Pacific Championships in August.

Three more BITS including FSU already declaring victory…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Moss, Tebow, Lochte, Brewer, Mincey

Gators start slow then fly past Owls 79-66

Head coach Billy Donovan has criticized the No. 14/16 Florida Gators (4-1) for the poor way they have performed in the second half of games since the season began. His message will likely be different Tuesday evening considering Florida struggled out of the gate but pulled away in the latter part of the contest to defeat the Florida Atlantic Owls (3-3) 79-66 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Shooting only 41.4 percent in the first half, Florida took a 34-32 lead in the closing seconds after sophomore guard Kenny Boynton put in a fastbreak layup and freshman center Patric Young contributed a free throw.

Though they out-rebounded Florida Atlantic 22-14 and committed five less fouls in the period, UF allowed FAU to shoot 46.7 percent from the field and provided them with some wide open looks from downtown.

Boynton and senior forward Alex Tyus led the way offensively for the Gators in the first half, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively. Tyus also grabbed five rebounds in the early portion of the contest.

Florida would keep its lead the entire second half, going on a short 8-1 run including a mid-range jumper and layup off a steal by junior point guard Erving Walker to jump ahead 47-39 with 12:08 to play.

Finally pulling way, Florida used a trey from senior F Chandler Parsons to take a game-high 13 point lead with 2:46 remaining. They would go up-and-down the remainder of the game to win by the same margin.

Boynton (21 points) and Tyus (19 points) stayed hot in the second half, and Walker scored 11 of his 14 points in the latter period to go along with six rebounds, four assists and five clutch steals.

Hobbled with a bad knee, redshirt senior C Vernon Macklin got off to a slow start but scored five points and pulled down 11 rebounds while blocking three shots. Freshman F Will Yeguete made the most of his eight minutes off the bench by grabbing six boards and getting to the line three times while injecting some energy into the team.

Parsons was scoreless in the first half with two turnovers but found his legs late in the contest to finish with eight points and six rebounds without giving the ball up again.

Gainesville native G Greg Gantt was dynamite from downtown for the Owls, going 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and 6-of-12 from the field for a FAU-high 17 points.

Both teams shot 33.3 percent from three and in the low-40s from the field, but Florida earned the rebounding advantage 44-28 and committed five fewer fouls.

The Gators’ sluggish start was somewhat understandable seeing as Tuesday’s contest was their fourth game in eight days, and their resilience coming out of the locker room at halftime was certainly a sight for Donovan’s sore eyes.

Florida will now get four days of rest before traveling to Tallahassee, FL, on Sunday to face Florida State at 7:30 p.m. The game will air live on Fox Sports Florida.

POST-GAME NOTES & QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Gators start slow then fly past Owls 79-66

11/23: Addazio, Sanders discuss Florida State

Florida Gators offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio and redshirt senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders spoke to the media Tuesday as they look a look back on the year and ahead to the team’s final regular season game against the Florida State Seminoles.

PLAYERS NOT QUESTIONING THE OFFENSE

Asked if individual offensive players were venting any frustration to him about the unit this season, Addazio said he has not heard any direct concerns because everyone is on the same page both pre- and post-game. “The answer to that is simple: They have complete faith and trust and they watch the tape. They know. You come in here and you watch the tape on Sundays and surely see what we set out to do, what happened and what didn’t happen. There’s no mysteries there. One-on-one conversations are about how that particular one guy is doing. Our guys are great, man. They’re great. The eye in the sky doesn’t lie. What happens is not complicated to see, it’s not hidden in numbers. It’s on video – there it is.”

INJURED BACKS HURT BRANTLEY, INCREASED NEED FOR OPTION

With all three of Florida’s primary running backs injured at one point or another early in the season, Addazio believes redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley had no choice but to reduce his role behind center for some more athletic signal callers to get snaps. “There’s no question that we went through a period of time here where we really had virtually no running backs,” he said. “So you have to have the ability to still run the ball. The utilization of some running quarterbacks – you have to use all tools that are available to you. Did injuries impact that? Obviously the answer is, ‘Yes.’”

That being said, Addazio agrees with Brantley’s assertion that he took the reduced role in stride and thinks both redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed and freshman QB Trey Burton’s selflessness are integral to the success the trio has had recently. “[Reed’s] a beautiful kid, he really is. ‘I’ll do whatever I need to do to help this team win,’ [is what he says]. That’s his mindset, that’s Trey Burton’s mindset, that’s Johnny Brantley’s mindset. That’s what’s great about our kids.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/23: Addazio, Sanders discuss Florida State

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 11 recap

With the 2010-11 NFL season now underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 11 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 11th week of the season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Three solo tackles, three passes defended, interception (27-yard return)
DT JEREMY MINCEY, Jax Jaguars: Three solo tackles, two sacks, two Gator Chomps

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Three solo tackles (one for loss), pass def.
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Target
S MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Two tackles (one solo)
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Reception for nine yards, three kickoff returns for 79 yards (long: 32)
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Solo tackle
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Five tackles (three solo), three passes def.
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: Three rec. for 33 yards (targets: 7, long: 18)
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: Handoff
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Two solo tackles
KR BRANDON JAMES, Indianapolis Colts: Five kickoff returns for 79 yards (long: 26), two punt returns for one yard
DE DERRICK HARVEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Sack
LB CHANNING CROWDER, Miami Dolphins: Six tackles (five solo)
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings: Two receptions for 12 yards (targets: 5, long: 9), two rushes for 18 yards (long: 16), four kickoff returns for 69 yards (long: 25)
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Three tackles (two solo)
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Reception for eight yards, touchdown
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Two solo tackles
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Three tackles (one solo)
DE ALEX BROWN, New Orleans Saints: Four tackles (three solo, TFL), Gator Chomp
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Three receptions for 25 yards (targets: 6, long: 12), fumble
LB BRANDON SILER, San Diego Chargers: Three tackles (two solo), Gator Chomp
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Tackle
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Three carries for 7 yards (long: 3)

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
C Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh Steelers), G Cooper Carlisle (Oakland Raiders) – CB Lito Sheppard (Vikings), WR Riley Cooper (Philadelphia Eagles), QB Rex Grossman (Washington Redskins)

INACTIVES
LB Andra Davis (Bills), RB Fred Taylor (Patriots), LT Max Starks (Steelers)

NOTES
– Wright’s action was the first he has seen this season due to injury.
– DE Jarvis Moss was cut by the Broncos this week and was not picked up off waivers.
– After a great special teams sack by Siler, he performed the Gator Chomp – as did teammate and former Colorado CB Donald Strickland.

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

11/22: Donovan talks about Macklin’s knee, FAU

No. 14/16 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.

MACKLIN’s KNEE REMAINS AN ISSUE

Though redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin is feeling “significant pain” in his right knee due to tendinitis, bone spurs and “a lot of grinding” behind his kneecap, he will not require surgery and will continue to practice and play with the Gators this season. However, Donovan did not put to rest a thought of sitting him for a stretch including perhaps some of Florida’s less intense upcoming games.

“It could be discussed,” he said on Monday. “It probably will be discussed. He’ll practice some today and play tomorrow and going forward from there we’ll make a decision of what we need to do. If we’re going to rest him, it won’t be for a couple days. That’s not going to cure the problem. It would help him a lot [to sit out for a week or longer].”

Macklin’s lack of “explosion,” as Donovan put it, explains why he has been showing up in the first half of games but is struggling to get things going after the first buzzer. His knee is warmed up before and during the start of the games but gets achy and more painful as things go on. Nevertheless, surgery is not an option for Macklin at this point if he wishes to continue playing this year.

“The biggest thing with surgery is: Do you get a drastic return when you perform surgery that he’s that much better?” Donovan said. “With what his issues are, there is no guarantee that if he did get surgery, there would be a whole lot of improvement there. Because of the tendinitis and the bone spurs the best thing for him would be rest.”

FLORIDA ATLANTIC WILL TEST FLORIDA’S PERIMETER

If facing new No. 3/3 Ohio State last week served as a wake-up call for Florida, nearly blowing a big lead against Morehead State on Sunday served as a splash of cold water on the face. With the Florida Atlantic Owls coming to town Tuesday, Donovan believes the Gators will be tested in a different way.

“[FAU's] a team that’s deeper than [Morehead State] on the perimeter,” he said. “They’re going to play five guards. They’ve got speed and quickness. They’re going to play more conventionally up front, as opposed to [MSU] playing four guards. They will play with two post players. They’re a little more athletic with more size.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/22: Donovan talks about Macklin’s knee, FAU

FOUR BITS: Tebow, Henry, McCarney, Driskel

1 » Updating a previous story, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow won the NFL‘s Rookie of the Week award for his two touchdown performance last week The award, which is voted on by fans online, is Tebow’s first NFL honor. Check him out as he makes his Monday Night Football debut against San Diego.

2 » Florida Gators senior punter Chas Henry was named one of three finalists for the 2010 Ray Guy Award on Monday, a honor presented each season to the nation’s top punter. Henry currently leads the nation with a 47.3 yards per punt average; he has landed 41.2 percent of his punts for 50 yards or more and has placed 15 inside the 20 yard line while his coverage unit has only allowed 11 to be fair caught. His competition includes Georgia’s Drew Butler (2009 winner) and Iowa’s Ryan Donahue.

3 » Yahoo! Sports college football reporter Tom Dienhart reported on Monday that Florida assistant head coach defense/defensive line coach Dan McCarney is a “hot name” for the North Texas Mean Green head coaching position. “He may be the guy in Denton,” Dienhart said via Twitter. McCarney was last a head coach for the Iowa State Cyclones from 1995-2006 where he amassed a 56-86 record

4 » If you don’t know his name by now you probably should, because five/four-star 2011 QB commit Jeff Driskel will likely be the Gators’ signal caller of the future once he officially signs his National Letter of Intent early next year. Whether or not he has the talent and maturity to play next season remains to be seen, but his stellar performance in a tough loss last week opened the eyes of many who once doubted him. Driskel’s Hagerty High School fell to the more talented Lakeland High School 56-35 in the 5A playoffs, but he did his best so salvage the game for his team. Driskel accounted for 494 total yards of offense including going 15-of-29 from behind center for 182 yards, two touchdowns and an interception; rushing 20 times for 270 yards and two touchdowns; and catching a 42-yard touchdown pass. Check out these video highlights:

 

Photo Credit: Stephen Morton/Associated Press

 Page 473 of 671  « First  ... « 471  472  473  474  475 » ...  Last »