OGGOA Caption Contest Result: Sanders/TD

We received over 300 submissions for the fourth ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive caption contest and a winner has been chosen to receive a FREE Florida Gators logo art piece courtesy of the generous folks at Church Hill Classics.

Reader Nikhil B. sent in a few strong entries but also came away with the No. 1 spot.

In the middle of his plié, Terron Sanders suddenly realized end zone dances are much less formal.

Because we had so many good entries, honorable mention for this contest goes out to the following readers for their submissions. We will do our best to try and find you folks a consolation prize to ease the pain of not being victorious.

Jonathan S.: “This is just like high school: Small crowd small stadium, and me scoring touchdowns!”

Rooter: ”Since I started using new Arrid Triple Xtra Dry with the new fresh powder scent, my friends follow me everywhere.”

OGGOA has given away multiple Florida Gators DVDs, a Florida Field rug, a Game Day purse, T Bow Towels, Gillette Pro Fusion razors, a Turlington Scarf and a variety of other goodies throughout our 13 months of existence. There are a number of other giveaways coming up in the near future, so stay tuned!

Thank you to everyone who participated!

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Florida grounds UNCW 77-60 in season opener

For the 20th consecutive time, No. 9/11 Florida Gators basketball (1-0) won their regular season opener, defeating the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks (0-1) 77-60 Friday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Senior forward Chandler Parsons led the way for Florida with 16 points in the contest.

Tied at six early, the Gators missed six consecutive wide-open shots and turned the ball over five times, allowing the Seahawks to go up 11-6. Fed up with the performance of his starters, head coach Billy Donovan made a mass substitution that paid off when freshmen guard Casey Prather and point guard Scottie Wilbekin made back-to-back hustle plays to knot the score at 11.

Florida started pulling away from there, taking a 37-26 lead over UNC-Wilmington at the half when Parsons concluded an 8-0 run with a buzzer-beating put-back layup. He scored 12 of his game-high 16 points in the first half, while Wilbekin and junior PG Erving Walker each had three steals.

Read the rest of the Friday’s game story along with post-game news & notes…
Continue Reading » Florida grounds UNCW 77-60 in season opener

2010-11 Florida Gators basketball season preview

Finally returning to the NCAA Tournament after back-to-back appearances in the NIT, the No. 9/11 Florida Gators basketball team is back in the preseason top 10 and looking to return to the glory it experienced just a few short years ago. With forward Dan Werner now graduated and five new freshmen in the fold looking to make an impact, head coach Billy Donovan hopes to get back to his winning ways.

STARTING FIVE:

PG Erving Walker – junior, 5’8”, 171 lbs.
2009 STATS: 12.6 PPG – 4.9 APG – 3.3 RPG – .339 FG% – .347 3P% – 32.9 MPG
A spark plug who often appears to prefer shooting and penetrating to passing, Walker was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team two years ago and the preseason All-SEC second team this year. He had trouble performing at a high level last season partially due to the lack of depth behind him on the bench. Donovan has noted that Walker’s shot selection, stroke and defense have all improved over the summer. He plans to keep him fresh by utilizing a number of other players at point guard during games and hopes that Walker will improve his ball handling, court vision and willingness to dish the ball – three things he needed to work on at this point last year.

G Kenny Boynton – sophomore, 6’2”, 183 lbs.
2009 STATS: 14.0 PPG – 2.7 APG – 2.6 RPG – .376 FG% – .294 3P% – 32.9 MPG
A five-star recruit coming out of high school, Boynton was the pride of the Gators’ 2009 recruiting class. Quick both with and without the ball, Boynton is highly competitive and athletic with the ability to play either backcourt position. He led Florida in points and was second in minutes played (Walker) in his first season, catching on fire in his final two games scoring a combined 50 points on 16-of-33 shooting while also going 9-of-18 from downtown. He can get his shot off at will, whether it be a pull up jumper, deep three-pointer, floater down the lane or penetrating layup. Boynton is also a tough defender who is strong with quick feet laterally but, like Walker, was gassed late in games last season due to lack of depth. Also similar to Walker, Donovan is impressed with Boynton’s improved shot selection and decision making this offseason. He was honored with a preseason All-SEC second team nomination this year.

This post contains 1,818 words previewing the season. You have already made it this far, so you might as well continue reading the rest…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2010-11 Florida Gators basketball season preview

11/11: Meyer provides injury news, player updates

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s 10th game of the 2010-11 season on Saturday against the South Carolina Gamecocks. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.

PLAYERS GETTING HEALTHIER FOR SATURDAY

After a season full of injuries, the Gators may be the healthiest they have been in quite some time going into Saturday’s game against the Gamecocks. On Thursday, Meyer said junior running back Jeff Demps (foot) will play though his snaps will be limited, redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle) will play at almost full speed and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle) is probable for action.

Meyer also said he expects sophomore linebacker Dee Finley (collarbone), who has missed the majority of the season, to return next week.

JENKINS’ EXTRA YEAR, EASLEY BACK IN THE FOLD

As OGGOA exclusively reported one full year ago, senior cornerback Moses Jenkins has been granted a fifth year of college eligibility due to missing two seasons with injury. Meyer officially announced the medical redshirt approval to the media Thursday.

He also provided an update on freshman DT Dominique Easley, who did not travel with the team to Vanderbilt and was in the coaching staff’s doghouse as of late for unspecified reasons. Meyer said Easley is fulfilling the obligations placed before him and is back with the team though he is not practicing yet.

QUOTES

On how redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey has been lately: “It’s what you’d expect and what we’re going to demand. Everything’s right on the point. The minute he starts to slip at all, it’ll be a terrible price to pay. We’re watching him real close. According to our academic people, he’s doing a good job.”

On the night game atmosphere: “I think it’s really great for these fans here. I love this stadium and I love to see our fans have a great time.”

On what the team will do during the day Saturday: “The preparation doesn’t stop until the foot hits the ball. So we’re going to say a lot about your assignments, your technique. The most prepared team is going to win.”

On who is returning punts: “We got three guys ready this week – Debose, Rainey and JJ [Janoris Jenkins]. I’m still evaluating that.”

On redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed: “What happens in this darn recruiting is when you have a guy like [Aaron] Hernandez, another kid won’t come. So you get stuck and then they leave after their junior year and you’re like, ‘Oh.’ Jordan’s future is probably at tight end. As of right now, we’re worried about Saturday’s game, not his future. And he’s worried about Saturday’s game.”

On if fans will see more of redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley: “Johnny’s our quarterback. The other guys are tempo, they’re curve balls, they’re what we’ve done around here in the past.”

On what it will take for freshman TE Gerald Christian to break through: “Keep developing. Consistency. Typical young player that you wish he was a junior in college right now. He’s got a great potential.”

Florida receives nine letters of intent Thursday

Between softball, women’s basketball and gymnastics, the University of Florida was honored to receive nine letters of intent on Thursday from future student-athletes who hope to become big parts of their respective Florida Gators teams.

Softball picked up six commitments for its 2011 signing class including pitcher Alyssa Bache (Clearwater, FL), third baseman Bailey Castro (Pembroke Pines, FL), infielder Jessica Damico (Gray Summit, MO), shortstop Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, FL), utility player Lauren Haeger (Peoria, AZ) and SS Katie Medina (Downey, CA).

“To say we are excited about this year’s signing class is an understatement,” head coach Tim Walton said. “Each one of these student-athletes brings a tremendous amount of talent individually. Collectively, they’re one of the best classes in the entire country. We look forward to great things out of this group. We’ll be losing an extremely talented senior class this upcoming season – arguably one of the best Florida softball classes ever. We are excited about coaching this talented incoming class, which we expect to step in right away and replace some Gator greats.”

The basketball team added point guard Carlie Needles (Highlands Ranch, CO) and center Viktorija Dimaite (Gainesville, FL by way of Lithuania), both of whom could have a big impact on the program. “I’m excited about the type of people that they are and what they bring to our team,” head coach Amanda Butler said. “They are all-around winners and are definitely championship-caliber people.” Dimaite is 6’4” and helped lead The Rock School to the 2010 Class 1A girl’s basketball state championship, while Needles comes from a high school program that has produced WNBA-caliber players.

Gymnastics head coach Rhonda Faehn scored another major signing for her program by bringing in Kiersten Wang (Colorado Springs, CO). Wang was runner-up on vault at the 2009 Level 10 Junior Olympic Championships and has excelled at every level of competition she has attempted. “Kiersten contains the perfect all-around package. She has a tremendous amount of quickness, power and talent. She is an exceptional talent who is extremely determined and loves to perform. Kiersten will contribute immediately to this team,” Faehn said.

11/10: Donovan, players speak before first game

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. Additional material from some of Florida’s players can also be found below.

SECOND HALF STARTS STILL A CONCERN

After the Gators’ second preseason game, Donovan was emphatic that the way they team performed in the second half against Georgetown College was not acceptable. Ever since, he has made a point in practice to ensure the team knows it cannot come out of halftime lackadaisical – especially against much better opponents.

“It definitely got addressed and something that we really talked about. We had better practices from that. It’s not so much the handling of expectations as much as it is the handling of prosperity – when you get recognized, when you get attention, when people talk favorably about you, positively about it,” Donovan said. “If you look at the first half of the Florida Tech game, if you look at the first half of the Georgetown game, those teams are shooting 33-34 percent from the field, they’re shooting 22 percent from the three-point line, and we’re forcing about 14 turnovers in the half.

“Now you take the second half of both those two games and you put together a 40-minute stat sheet – 20 minutes of each half – and we’re giving up 54 percent from the field and 42 percent from the three-point line. Can you play with a lead? Can you play when its 44-19? Can you understand, maturity-wise, that Georgetown is going to come out of the locker room and start the second half with a high level of intensity? They’re down by 25 points! If they were in that situation, I would hope they’d do the same thing! It’s a mentality that you have to have where the first four minutes starts in the second half and you send a message to that team that, ‘We’re not letting you back in the game.’”

Senior forward Chandler Parsons reiterated Donovan’s message, explaining that it has hit home with the team. “We don’t want to let up. Up 20, down 20, we want to come out and play our game, play with energy,” he said. “Especially when we have a team up – at home – we don’t want to take our foot off the gas. We want to keep going and keep trying to extend the lead.”

WILBEKIN INJURY UPDATE

Though Florida’s depth in the frontcourt has been seriously strengthened, it is pretty much freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin or bust behind junior Erving Walker. Injuring his neck against Florida Tech, Wilbekin missed UF’s second exhibition game and finally returned to limited practice on Tuesday. Donovan expects him to be active for Friday’s game after a full-contact practice on Thursday even though Wilbekin’s conditioning has suffered because he has not been able to run or work out until this week. “It was so painful that he could not lift his arms over his shoulders,” Donovan said.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/10: Donovan, players speak before first game

OGGOA Caption Contest: Win some Gators art!

If you like FREE SWAG and think you have a good sense of humor – this is the contest for you! E-MAIL your funniest caption to the picture below to OGGOA at contest@onlygators.com and win a FREE Florida Gators logo art piece courtsey of Church Hill Classics and Mike Sullivan Sports! There will be ONE WINNER, but you are encouraged to submit multiple captions in order to increase your chances of winning.

OGGOA had a chance to look over this company’s featured products – the Florida Gators showcase frame and logo frame – each featuring the eye-catching artwork of Mike Sullivan. Though the showcase frame is larger and certainly stands out more than the logo frame, each features a chiseled art print of the Gator Head logo. The showcase frame has a silver medallion (two choices) inset into either a double navy suede or a double black suede archival mat with orange highlights, while the logo frame is more simplistic with a beautiful recycled wood frame directly around the print. Great gifts for that big-time Florida fan in your life, we suggest purchasing the showcase frame to hang on the wall and the logo frame as an accent to a desk, shelf or bookcase. The look of the Gator Head is truly unique and will help it stand out from anything else in the room.

OGGOA has given away multiple Florida Gators DVDs, a Florida Field rug, a Game Day purse, T Bow Towels, Gillette Pro Fusion razors, a Turlington Scarf and a variety of other goodies throughout our 13 months of existence. There are a number of other giveaways coming up in the near future, so stay tuned!

Best of luck to everyone!

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FOUR BITS: Ingram, Noah, James, Harvin

1 » ESPN‘s Chris Mortensen reported Thursday that former Florida Gators tight end Cornelius Ingram has returned to the Philadelphia Eagles – the team that drafted him in 2009 and cut him earlier this year – as a member of the practice squad. Ingram was expected to make an impact for the Eagles this season but was limited once again with a knee injury that forced him to miss a lot of training camp. He hopes to earn his way back on the team through the practice squad but could theoretically be signed off of it by another organization at any time.

2 » OGGOA had some choice words about Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett on our Twitter account last week. It seems Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah somewhat agrees with our sentiments as he called out Garnett on the radio on Wednesday. “Kevin Garnett will not – will not – get a Christmas gift from me,” Noah said jokingly. “I don’t like him. He’s a very mean guy. Where’s the love? None at all. Ugly, too. I had his poster in my room. I used to wear his jersey. And the truth is, my rookie year, I was in admiration of the guy and he kind of shut me down. And he was very mean to me my rookie year. And he’s only mean to the young guys and the [European players] for some reason. I don’t know why, but that’s who he doesn’t like. He’s not nice. I talk a lot of trash out there, but c’mon, be a little sensitive. Be sweet.” Though Noah says a lot of things tongue-in-cheek and likes to joke around, he does consider Garnett a “dirty player” who “is who he is.”

3 » According to the Indianapolis Star, former Gators wide receiver/kick returner Brandon James has been promoted from the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad to their active roster effective immediately. James will (at least temporarily) fill WR Austin Collie’s roster spot while he recovers from a concussion sustained last weekend. Though he may not see the field as a receiver unless one of the Colts’ current starters gets injured, James may be able to see the field as soon as Sunday as the team’s kick returner. Keep your eyes peeled on Indianapolis’ game this weekend and look for a 5’7”, 170 lb. speed demon – especially on special teams.

4 » Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin missed practice yesterday after coming down with another migraine headache. Harvin, who dealt with severe bouts in the offseason but was able to get things under control after meeting with doctors and learning that he suffered from sleep apnea, is still expected to play this weekend. He is still recovering from an injured ankle but that did not stop him from posting a career-high 126 receiving yards last week while limping around.

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