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

11/22: Straight from the Gators’ mouths…

Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, senior safety Ahmad Black and redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins answered questions for the media on Monday about a variety of topics concerning the Florida Gators, their win at home on Saturday against the Appalachian State Mountaineers and this week’s road game against the Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee, FL. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

QB JOHN BRANTLEY

On playing Florida State historically: “Florida State is a very good team, they handle themselves well. Florida is also good – I remember that Nokia Sugar Bowl with [Danny] Wuerffel and all those guys. It’s been the biggest game always circled in my book.”

On how the offense has not changed: “We’re still running the same plays, I’m just not running as much of an option. It’s really the same play calls, same play action, same drop back calls. We’re just emphasizing pass with me and the option stuff with Jordan [Reed] and Trey [Burton].”

On the offensive line failing to block the blitz consistently: “They’re not perfect. They can’t be perfect. And I don’t expect them to be. Sometimes maybe it’s the line or maybe it’s me holding onto the ball too long.”

On if this game holds extra importance this year: “It doesn’t matter about the past. We just got to go out and win this one.”

On redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson: “Ever since that Georgia game he’s really been practicing hard, catching every ball.”

On the winning streak over FSU: “We know about it. We mention it. We just have to go out and win this one.”

SS AHMAD BLACK

On being a Florida State fan growing up: “Who lied and said that?”

On continuing the winning streak against FSU: “It’s a pretty big deal here.”

On the rivalry’s importance in recruiting: “It’s pretty big considering a lot of players that are from the state of Florida – their last few schools are usually Florida, Florida State and Miami.”

Florida basketball drops after Ohio State loss

The Florida Gators (3-1) fell in this week’s Top 25 polls after dropping a rekindled rivalry game 93-75 to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Tuesday. Though Florida did defeat two other opponents afterward, their loss to Ohio State was not close enough to warrant them keeping their previous spots in the rankings.

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 (29), Michigan State (2), Kansas State, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina, Purdue, Florida, Syracuse, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Missouri, Washington, Illinois, Baylor, Butler, Memphis, Temple, Georgetown,Texas, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin

This Week 1-25: Duke (29), Michigan State (2), Ohio State, Kansas State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Villanova, Purdue, Kentucky, Syracuse, Washington, Missouri, Baylor, Florida, Memphis, Georgetown, Minnesota, Gonzaga, Illinois, Temple, Texas, San Diego State, Butler, Tennessee, North Carolina

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Duke (58), Michigan State (7), Kansas State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Syracuse, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Illinois, Purdue, Missouri, Butler, Baylor, Washington, Memphis, Georgetown, Temple, Virginia Tech, Brigham Young, Tennessee, San Diego State

This Week 1-25: Duke (58), Michigan State (6), Ohio State, Kansas State (1), Pittsburgh, Kansas, Villanova, Kentucky, Syracuse, Purdue, Missouri, Baylor, Washington, Memphis, Minnesota, Florida, Georgetown, San Diego State, Illinois, Texas, Temple, Gonzaga, Brigham Young, Tennessee, North Carolina

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

11/22: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

Head coach Urban Meyer and a small group of players meet with the media each Monday before the Florida Gators compete in a game the following Saturday. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

LONG LIST OF INJURY UPDATES

Though even more Florida players are currently dealing with injuries, Meyer updated the status of a number of guys. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle), redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown (hamstring) and redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones are all listed as probable for Saturday. Freshman defensive tackle Dominique Easley (ankle) is questionable and redshirt sophomore defensive end Earl Okine (concussion) is doubtful. Florida should receive preliminary word on junior CB Janoris Jenkins’ status on Monday after he suffered what was initially deemed a minor concussion over the weekend.

Meyer also noted that the Gators are indeed seeking a medical hardship waiver for kicker Caleb Sturgis, who has already missed seven games this year with a back injury. If it is granted, Sturgis will enter next season as a redshirt junior.

CHAMPIONS

Meyer announced Monday that 19 Gators had earned the designation of Champions after Saturday’s win over the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Offensively, Meyer named senior center Mike Pouncey as his player of the game along with redshirt senior tackle Marcus Gilbert, redshirt senior T Maurice Hurt, redshirt senior guard Carl Johnson, redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, sophomore running back Mike Gillislee, redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks, redshirt freshman G Jon Halapio, redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey, redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed, redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr., redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson and freshman QB Trey Burton as his champions. On the defensive side of the ball, senior LB Brandon Hicks won the POG award, while senior safety Ahmad Black, redshirt junior CB Moses Jenkins, senior DE Duke Lemmens, redshirt senior DT Terron Sanders and freshman DT Sharrif Floyd were champions.

NO MORE PUNISHMENT FOR MOORE

Redshirt senior WR Carl Moore was ejected from Saturday’s game after retaliating during a fight with an opposing player. Meyer said Monday that Florida would not impose another penalty on the player seeing as the standard punishment is missing half of a game and he has already done that. “I had a meeting with him yesterday. We don’t do that, and I’m going to reemphasize that with the team,” Meyer said. The NCAA also decided not to pursue the issue further.

HELPING BRANTLEY IMPROVE

Asked how Brantley needs to improve from this point forward as a quarterback, Meyer said his two biggest issues are getting rid of the ball quickly and knowing when to “burn it” when being blitzed or having no open men downfield. Meyer cited the fact that Brantley being sacked causing a 2nd and 17 puts the Gators in a deeper hole than a simple incompletion on 2nd and 10 would.

He also noted, like he has previously this year, that Brantley (as a dropback passer) needs a strong, big running back and solid tight end play to compliment him. “When you have a quarterback like that, he’s got to be able to hand the ball off. It’s nothing new – it’s been like that for 100 years,” Meyer said. “When you’re limited at tight end and you’re limited at fullback [and you don’t have a big running back], you’re in quicksand. Hand the ball off – play action pass – and then utilize the dropback passing game.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/22: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

SIX BITS: Haslem, volleyball, WNIT, golf, swimming

1 » Injured Saturday while facing the Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has been diagnosed with a torn ligament in his left foot and is expected to be out until at least the NBA All-Star break in February – if not longer. Haslem’s injury – should it require surgery – could keep him out the entire regular season though he would likely be able to return for the playoffs.

2 » No. 1/1 Florida Gators volleyball (26-1, 19-0 SEC) continued its roll through the Southeastern Conference on Sunday with a 3-1 (25-19, 33-31, 25-27, 25-13) victory over the No. 16 LSU Tigers (24-4, 15-4 SEC) at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, LA. Senior outside hitter Callie Rivers accounted for a career-high 21 kills, and junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel registered 15 kills. Junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy’s dominance continued with her 14th straight double-double; she notched a season-high 31 assists along with 13 kills and eight digs. Florida ends regular season action on Friday on the road at South Carolina before beginning the 2010 SEC Tournament as the likely No. 1 overall seed.

Four more BITS on women’s basketball’s near upset victory, an achievement for men’s golf and updates on swimming and diving…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Haslem, volleyball, WNIT, golf, swimming

Florida scrapes by Morehead State 61-55

Florida Gators basketball held an opponent to 55 points for the second-straight game on Sunday. However, unlike their previous performance against North Carolina A&T in which Florida posted 105 points on offense, the No. 9/10 Gators (3-1) were only able to put up 61 against a high-energy Morehead State Eagles (2-2) team at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Down 6-2 to start the game, Florida rattled off a 30-6 run to take a 32-12 lead late in the first half and ultimately go into the locker room up 34-17. Junior point guard Erving Walker led the way for the Gators early, scoring 14 first-half points on 4-of-6 shooting.

Morehead State started the second half hot, using a 9-0 run to cut Florida’s lead to six (45-39) with 10:50 left in the game. The contest went back-and-forth from there, with sophomore guard Kenny Boynton scoring eight points (two three-pointers) in just over two minutes to give the Gators a 58-47 advantage with 3:49 remaining.

The Eagles would reduce their deficit to six points on a layup from center Kenneth Faried with 0:24 left on the clock and then down to five via a trey from G Ty Proffitt with nine seconds remaining, but UF would hang on for the win.

Though Walker finished with a team-high 16 points, he only scored two in the second half; he also had seven assists and shot an uncharacteristically poor 5-for-10 from the free throw line. Senior forward Chandler Parsons recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Boynton scored 10 points on a paltry 3-of-12 from the field.

Senior F Alex Tyus (five points, four rebounds) and redshirt senior C Vernon Macklin (six points, seven rebounds) struggled in the post against Fariet, who notched game-highs in points (20) and rebounds (18) while shooting 10-of-17.

Florida and Morehead State each shot poorly from the field (38.9% – 36.7%), from downtown (26.3% – 20.0%) and at the line (60.9% – 58.3%). The Eagles out-rebounded the Gators (38-32) and stole two more balls (5-3) but committed 10 more fouls (21-11).

UF will look for answers after this dismal showing before facing Florida Atlantic at home on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game will air live on Sun Sports (check your local listings).

POST-GAME NOTES & QUOTES (After the break…)
On the difference between the two halfs: “I was really, really happy with the way we played in the first half. We really did a terrific job in the first half. I though the difference in the second half was Faried totally dominated our frontcourt by himself. We really had a hard time as the second half started to unfold guarding their perimeter on the dribble. We had some pretty decent looks on offense; we moved the ball fairly well. It was one of those games where we didn’t shoot the ball particularly well and it’s a game where you’re going to have to rely on your defense. I definitely thought, in the second half, our inability to put the ball in the basket had a direct affect on our emotional level and the way we played in terms of battling through the adversity and the difficulties we were having offensively.”

On Faried’s talent: “That guy Faried, to me, is a senior in college. That guy wants to be a pro. That’s Dennis Rodman all over again. If I was a NBA general manager, I’d be taking him right with my pick. That’s what a next level guy looks like – in my opinion. […] He just totally destroyed our frontcourt. That was definitely an incredible performance by just a terrific player.”

On if Faried is talented enough to play in the SEC: “He’s not talented at all. And it’s a great lesson for our guys. He’s not a talented player. He has absolutely no offensive skill. He’s not a great post player, he’s not a great scorer. He’s a relentless – and I use that will all capitals – a RELENTLESS effort guy. In terms of going after every single rebound. We intentionally tonight had our 4 man and our 5 man on free throw situations blocking him out. Twice against two people he got the rebound on a missed free throw. It is just a perseverance, it’s a mentality, it’s a make-up, it’s who he is. He is a complete warrior, and I have the utmost respect for him and the way he plays the game. At the next level there’s such a value for Dennis Rodman-type guys, and he’s like a Dennis Rodman-type guy.”

On why some freshman didn’t play earlier: “We had two guys late – and it probably hurt our rotation. We had two guys walk in late. Both guys walked in late and I was a little concerned going into the game because I didn’t really think it was fair to Kenny Boynton and to Erving Walker and to Chandler not really having a whole lot of subs – because the [late people] were perimeter guys. Our guys learned a valuable lesson about the importance of being on time and trying to do the right things. They’re great kids and hopefully they’ll learn a lesson on where they need to be on time. When you got a game and you’re expected to be somewhere, I expect those guys to be there. It’s not going to linger any more than today.”

On maintaining the energy advantage with a big lead: “When you’re up on a team by 17 points, it’s almost like you know the other team is going to come out and they’re going to battle and fight. If you give them a glimmer of hope that they can get back in the game the first four-or-five minutes in the half, you create a level of energy for that team that you’re going to have to deal with the rest of the half. And we did that.”

On Tyus’ late contributions: “Alex made a couple of incredible plays defensively to me [in the last few minutes]. He went up and blocked a shot and he made a couple different plays. Alex was up on the glass really trying. He did some very, very good things the last couple of minutes. He gave us a presence at the rim; he went after a couple shots and really jumped. There was a loose ball we came down with that was all predicated on his effort.”

Gators remain unranked after easy win Saturday

The Florida Gators (7-4, 4-4 SEC) were knocked out of the top 25 polls for the first time under head coach Urban Meyer a few weeks ago after losing at home to Mississippi State. Back-to-back wins against Georgia in Jacksonville, FL, and Vanderbilt on the road saw Florida earn a spot back in all three polls two weeks ago, but Florida found themselves on the outside looking in once again after losing to South Carolina last week. Though the Gators did defeat the Appalachian State Mountaineers (9-1) on Saturday, the win was certainly not enough to vault them back into the rankings.

WeekResultBCSUSA TodayAssociated Press
Preseason--No. 10 (930)No. 10 (894)
2W 24-6 vs. Toledo-No. 9 (974)No. 12 (875)
3L 16-21 at Miami-No. 20 (410)No. 18 (405)
4Open-No. 18 (398)No. 19 (412)
5W 31-17 vs. Tennessee-No. 19 (449)No. 20 (414)
6W 24-7 at Kentucky-No. 19 (515)No. 18 (481)
7W 30-10 vs. Arkansas-No. 17 (574)No. 17 (536)
8L 6-17 at LSU-No. 22 (240)No. 22 (249)
9L 17-36 at Missouri-NR (4)NR (17)

USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Oregon (46), Auburn (6), Boise State (5), TCU (2), Wisconsin, LSU, Ohio State, Stanford, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Missouri, South Carolina, Nevada, Texas A&M, Iowa, Miami (FL), Mississippi State, Arizona, Utah, Northwestern

This Week 1-25: Oregon (48), Auburn (4), Boise State (5), TCU (2), Wisconsin, LSU, Ohio State, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Nevada, Arizona, Florida State, Utah, North Carolina State, Iowa, Mississippi State
*Florida received 12 votes (No. 31).

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Oregon (38), Auburn (12), Boise State (9), TCU (1), LSU, Wisconsin, Stanford, Ohio State, Nebraska, Alabama, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Nevada, USC, Iowa, Mississippi State, Arizona, Miami (FL), Utah

This Week 1-25: Oregon (37), Auburn (13), Boise State (10), TCU, Wisconsin, LSU, Stanford, Ohio State, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina State, Florida State, Utah, Iowa, Mississippi State
*Florida received 4 votes (T-33).

BCS
Last Week 1-25: Oregon, Auburn, TCU, Boise State, LSU, Stanford, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Michigan State, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Nevada, Texas A&M, Iowa, Mississippi State, Arizona, Utah, Miami (FL), Florida State

This Week 1-25: Oregon, Auburn, TCU, Boise State, LSU, Stanford, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Florida State, North Carolina State, Iowa, Mississippi State

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

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