With criticism surrounding him even after leading the Florida Gators to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in three seasons, head coach Billy Donovan sat down with radio host Steve Russell of the Sportscene program on WRUF 850 AM to discuss why players transfer, why he allows them to switch programs and why it is so difficult to replace them, especially on short notice.
Speaking for the first time directly after dining with former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow in upstate New York, former Buffalo Bills QB and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly spoke glowingly about the experience, saying he would feel comfortable recommending the Heisman Trophy winner and two-time National Champion to those on the team’s staff.
“Just because I’m a former quarterback, people think I can just tell from being around a guy [if he has what it takes],” Kelly told NFL.com‘s Vic Carucci. “But I need to watch him go through a drill and make all the throws. I need to really study him before I could say whether he should be a first-round pick. Now, a second-rounder, I’d be OK with that, but I don’t have enough information on [Tebow] to say they should use the No. 9 pick on him. Maybe they could also trade down, if someone wants that No. 9 pick, and get him with a lower pick in the first round.”
Kelly, the team’s “official ambassador,” said Tebow came off as a “yes-sir-no-sir kind of guy” who “looks like he can take a hit.” What is interesting is Kelly’s proclamation that he would be more comfortable with the team taking Tebow later in the draft as opposed to No. 9 overall, simply because of his constant praise of the signal caller.
Duke Blue Devils head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and Florida Gators head football coach Urban Meyer have something unique in common aside from each being at the top of their game coaching-wise. Like Meyer did after last the 2010 Sugar Bowl at the end of the season, Krzyzewski took a leave of absence from his team after its 1994-95 campaign due to back issues and an intense level of exhaustion.
Speaking to the media after practice Friday for the first time in over two weeks, Meyer told reporters that he sought out and met with Krzyzewski recently to discuss his return to coaching from a leave of absence he took to deal with his own health issues.
“I did meet with Coach Krzyzewski. I went up there and talked to him for a little while. I didn’t really meet with many guys [during my leave of absence], just my closest friends. He actually went through something where he had some kind of health issue that he dealt with and actually took a year off. And I think the biggest thing I learned from him — without giving it much detail — is he surrounded himself with a little pack of people he really trusts. If you look at his staff, they’re all former players and they’re all people [he can trust]. And he can do that because it’s such a small staff. I think that’s important, to get that little foxhole mentality where you’re with the guys who care about you and you care about them.”
This appears to be advice Meyer needed, especially after losing his defensive coordinator (twice), secondary coach, wide receivers coach and running backs coach all within a few weeks of each other. He has raved about their respective replacements – Teryl Austin, Zach Azzanni and Stan Drayton – and seems to have already maintained a solid comfort level with his new staff.
With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at a team scrimmage from Sat., April 3.
» Redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody was injured for the second time this spring. Having just returned after missing two practices due to an ankle injury, Moody hurt his right quad, left the field in pain and did not return to action. Initial thoughts are that the injury is not serious.
» In the team’s second scrimmage of the spring, the defense one again outshined the offense with a 41-35 “victory.”
» Freshman quarterback Trey Burton dominated the scrimmage with two touchdown passes to redshirt senior wide receiver Carl Moore including a 64-yarder at the end. As OGGOA wrote Friday, it appears as if QB coach Scot Loeffler has really fine-tuned Burton’s throwing motion in a very short period of time. Backing up redshirt junior John Brantley is less and less of a concern with each passing practice.
» Speaking of Brantley, he threw an interception to senior safety Ahmad Black. He was rushed in the pocket all day due to a weak offensive line that is missing a few starters who are sitting out for mostly precautionary reasons.
» Redshirt sophomore defensive linemen Omar Hunter and Earl Okine and junior William Green all sacked Brantley.
» “The defense is playing disruptive football under new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Linebackers [redshirt sophomore] Brendan Beal and [sophomore] Jon Bostic each recorded rather loud hits on a running back. Black’s interception was reminiscent of his play against Oklahoma when ripping the ball from a receiver’s hands.” (Fowler/OS)
» Former center Maurkice Pouncey attended practice.
1 » Florida Gators freshman sprinter and junior running back Jeff Demps is fast. So fast, in fact, that the 10.11-second 100-meter dash he ran at the 66th Pepsi Florida Relays on Friday afternoon at Percy Beard Track is the fastest run in the world so far in 2010 (and it is not even the best time he has run in his life – 10.01 in high school. Demps won the 60-meter dash national title at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships and is hoping to add more titles to his resume in the outdoor season.
2 » ESPN sideline reporter and former Florida dazzler Erin Andrews, who is currently a contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, has been the subject of death threats since the end of March, according to CNN. Andrews’ attorney, Marshall B. Grossman, says that radio talk show host Dan Patrick has been sent several threatening e-mails about Andrews beginning in September. The e-mails “were of a sexual nature but then turned violent” recently, according to Grossman. The FBI is already on the case and has identified the sender of the e-mails, per the Los Angeles Times.
Two more BITS on…No. 8/11 baseball, No. 3 women’s tennis and No. 6 men’s tennis all defeating Vanderbilt on Friday. Read more about these results…after the jump!
With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at team practice from Fri., April 2.
» After missing two consecutive days of practice due to “personal issues,” redshirt senior wide receiver Carl Moore was one of the first players on the field Friday and practiced in full. He worked mostly with the second team but did have some nice receptions.
»Junior running back Jeff Demps attended practice but did not participate. Earlier in the day, he ran a 2010 world record 10.11-second 100-meter dash at the Pepsi Florida Relays. He has already won the 60-meter indoor National Championship.
» Freshman WR Solomon Patton and redshirt freshman WR Stephen Alli both worked away from the team, appearing to be hobbled to injury. Patton had a boot on his left leg to protect his ankle. Both should be fine and were likely sitting out as a precaution.
» Fellow Freshman WR Robert Clark was fitted for a boot after injuring his foot in practice. He will have X-rays to determine the injury’s seriousness.
» Junior defensive end Lerentee McCray was not in pads Friday.
The Florida Gators will host their second Pro Scout Day for football players who have decided to enter the 2010 NFL Draft on Wed., April 7 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Though more than 15 players – including quarterback Tim Tebow, linebacker Brandon Spikes, cornerback Joe Haden, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Aaron Hernandez – participated in the first Pro Day on March 17, only a handful will be present to work out for NFL team representatives this time.
Among those who will make themselves available for evaluation are defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis, kick returner Brandon James and linebacker Ryan Stamper.
Cunningham was unable to participate the first time around due to an injured shoulder, but teams are interested in taking a look at him in order to determine whether he would fit best as a 4-3 DE or an outside linebacker in the 3-4. At 6’3″ and 266 lbs., most teams seem to be leaning toward the latter.
FOX Sports reports that the New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams (among others) will be in attendance specifically to watch Cunningham’s workout. Cunningham’s shoulder “hasn’t dimmed the enthusiasm of teams who have seen the three-year starter’s film,” the report states.
The Swamp will once again be open and fans can enter through Gate 2. However, unless the University of Florida states otherwise, do not expect concession stands (or perhaps even restrooms) to be open or any other special things to be done on-site.
OGGOA NOTE: » As we mentioned on Twitter earlier, redshrit senior wide receiver Carl Moore has returned to practice. More on this later in our spring practice notes post.
1 » ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. released his top five players by position today for the 2010 NFL Draft. Among 17 positions, Kiper has a Florida Gators player ranked in the top five in four of them with three listed at the top. Cornerback Joe Haden, center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Aaron Hernandez are all ranked No. 1, respectively, while Kiper has quarterback Tim Tebow listed fifth below Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Texas’ Colt McCoy and Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour. Conspicuous by his absence? Defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
2 » Searching for 10 off-the-radar prospects who have a legitimate shot at making an NFL roster and perhaps even be drafted in the later rounds, Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks lists Gators wide receiver David Nelson as his No. 2 overall player.
“He elevated his draft stock at the Gators pro day, running 4.57 in the 40, with a 38-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 10 feet, four inches. Though Nelson got overshadowed at times among all of Florida’s playmakers, scouts are enamored with his 6-5 height and ability to use his 217 pounds to block and give his quarterback a big target. ‘He’s a tough kid and a competitive kid,’ one NFL scout told me. ‘He’s got rare height and he catches the ball well. He runs good routes and he’s just crafty. He’ll make someone’s team.’”
The Silver Lining is an exclusive column written by Adam Silverstein of OnlyGators.com for Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com affiliate InsideTheGators.com. OGGOA readers can receive a special discount on a subscription to InsideTheGators, which can be accessed by clicking the image!