’10 Gators to wear special uniforms at least once

For the second straight year, the Florida Gators have been chosen by Nike as one of 10 schools who will wear special uniforms for at least one game during the 2010-11 season. According to a Tuesday press release:

“The Nike Pro Combat System of Dress uniforms the schools will wear are engineered to provide superior protection and durability, while utilizing advanced fabrics and tooling that reduce weight. Nike worked diligently with each university to bring relevant elements of the school’s rich heritage into the futuristic elite fit uniform designs. The collaborations with the universities produced the highly customized uniforms that will be revealed just days prior to the start of the 2010 college football season.”

Alabama, Boise State, Miami (FL), Ohio State, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Texas Christian, Virginia Tech and Virginia are the other nine schools who will be participating in Nike’s promotional campaign.

The dates of the games in which the uniforms will be worn by the respective schools will be announced on Wed., Sept. 1. Last season, the Gators donned the Nike Pro Combat uniforms during their home finale against Florida State on Sat., Nov. 28, 2009.

OGGOA had an exclusive look at the 2009 version of the uniforms; however, the early announcement for 2010 may curb our ability to replicate the information we were able to attain last season.

OGGOA RELATED: Nov. 9 | Nov. 10 | Nov. 17 | Nov. 20 | Nov. 21


[Pictured: Florida's 2009 Nike Pro Combat Uniform]

8/18: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators is in the midst of their second week of fall practice and, while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur Tuesday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

STARTING OFFENSIVE LINE SET?

Stringing together an announcement from offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio that senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt senior tackle Marcus Gilbert, and redshirt senior guards Carl Johnson and Maurice Hurt have all earned starting jobs on the OL with one from Pouncey stating that sophomore Xavier Nixon has won the starting left tackle job, the Gators front five may finally be set in stone. Nixon was competing with redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan for the role, even though the former started five games for Florida last season. It is important to note that there are sentiments that Nixon has yet to officially win his gig and redshirt junior G James Wilson may have the opportunity to beat out Hurt.

BROWN LOSES BLACK

Freshman running back Mack Brown became the 11th frosh to lose his black helmet stripe, getting it removed on Wednesday with the help of Pouncey. There are 15 more – notably defensive end Ronald Powell – still awaiting this ritual.

A few of you have asked me via Twitter (@onlygators) what exactly the “black stripe” is and what it means when it is removed. Here is a quick synopsis: As freshmen (or transfers), players have black stripes of tape placed on their helmets (front-to-back) indicating that they are new to the program; these are removed once each individual player proves that they deserve to be a Gator. This can occur by recommendation of a coach or fellow player. Head coach Urban Meyer spoke about it Tuesday: “It’s basically to de-recruit, to get rid of the nonsense, to make them understand that they’re not an outstanding freshman. They’re just another guy on the team trying to make their way. […] They walk up in front of the team, either in a team meeting or on the field and the young man stands up and sometimes gets very emotional because now he’s a Gator. His helmet’s like everybody else. It’s kind of cool.”

BACK TO THE FUTURE

After being monitored the last few practices while recovering from a hamstring injury, freshman wide receiver Chris Dunkley is back running at full speed, according to WR coach Zach Azzanni. However, perhaps contrary to what many expected coming out of National Signing Day, all indications are that freshman WR Quinton Dunbar is the more impressive and making the best case for playing time.

In other WR news… redshirt senior Carl Moore clarified to the media on Wednesday that, when he left practice for a few days in the spring, he was not considering leaving the team but was simply dealing with some personal issues. Since returning, Moore has solidified his spot as a starter and – like redshirt junior Deonte Thompson – is making strides every day during practice.

OTHER NOTES

» Redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins is inching closer and closer each day to winning the starting role in the middle.

» Redshirt sophomore DE Earl Okine has been working at tight end the last few practices, according to Addazio. In fact, his position appears to have officially switched if you look at hiss GatorZone.com profile. Okine took limited snaps at TE in high school, catching 15 passes his senior year to go along with his 84 tackles and 11 sacks as a DE.

QUOTES [After the break...]
Continue Reading » 8/18: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

FOUR BITS: Rainey, soccer, volleyball, Tebow

1 » Florida Gators redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey was named to the first annual Paul Hornung Award preseason watch list on Tuesday. To be given to the nation’s most versatile collegiate football player, it will be presented by the Louisville Sports Commission sometime during the 2010-11 bowl season. Seven other Southeastern Conference players – Brandon Boykin (Georgia), Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina), Demond Washington (Auburn), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Derrick Locke (Kentucky), Leon Berry (Mississippi State) and Warren Norman (Vanderbilt) – were also on the initial list.

2 » No. 11 Gators soccer, which begins the University of Florida’s 2010-11 athletic season on Friday at home against Miami, was picked by SEC coaches to defend its conference championship in 2010. The conference also announced that two Florida volleyball players were named to the 2010 Preseason All-SEC Team with juniors outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel and setter/right-side Kelly Murphy earning the honors.

3 » Interesting note coming from the Palm Beach Post this morning as four-star defensive end recruit Giorgio Newberry (Fort Pierce, FL) claims the Gators stopped pursuing him after he skipped Friday Night Lights. “I went to Florida State when [Florida] had Friday Night Lights and Urban Meyer and everyone and the whole coaching staff took offense,” Newberry told reporter Jeff Greer. “I couldn’t really do anything because I had an injury at the time so I just ended up only going to Florida State. They took it the wrong way. I’m still interested, but they just stopped talking to me.” As the Post’s Jason Lieser points out, UF is unable to respond to these accusations because NCAA regulations do not allow them to discuss recruits.

4 » ESPN’s AFC West blogger Bill Williamson makes a case that many Denver Broncos fans have been arguing – it has come time to make rookie quarterback Tim Tebow the team’s top reserve while demoting Brady Quinn to the No. 3 QB role. He puts it bluntly, “Let’s face it: Tebow is the future in Denver. Quinn is not. Move the kid up.” And more specifically, “It’s time for Tebow to play more in the preseason and that can be done if he is made the No. 2 quarterback. Denver is going to use Tebow in special packages during the regular season anyway, so he might as well get backup repetitions now.”

Also from ESPN, James Walker notes the five things “we learned” about Tebow last week: (1) Tebow’s mechanics must improve, (2) The arm strength is there, (3) Tebow isn’t used to the speed and feel of the NFL yet, (4) Tebow is resilient, and (5) The No. 2 quarterback job could be Tebow’s for the taking. Read his thoughts in detail.

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

WR Pittman becomes Gators first 2012 commit

As the Florida Gators await the official announcements of 2011 five-star running back recruit James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL) and four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) – both set to come on Wednesday – the team received its first commitment of the 2012 recruiting cycle on Tuesday. According to multiple sources including Rivals, wide receiver Latroy Pittman (Citra, FL) has committed to the Gators.

In an interview with the Ocala Star-Banner back in June, Pittman said that he received a scholarship offer from head coach Urban Meyer after visiting the University of Florida for a football camp one week prior.

“[Getting an offer] was exciting. Something I’ve been waiting for for a long time,” Pittman told the paper. “We set up a date after July 4th to sit down and talk about it again. […] I believe [I will commit] over the summer when my mom and dad go back with me. Growing up around the Gators – I always knew I wanted to play in the orange and blue.”

At the time, Pittman said he was “really leaning toward” committing to Florida and that “it’s been my dream to play there since I was three.”

OGGOA will update this story as more information is made available.

8/17: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators is in the midst of their second week of fall practice and, while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur Tuesday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

INJURIES PILING UP

Redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks will miss about a month after having surgery on his back last week. He is expected to make a full recovery. Sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon (ankle) is sitting out while his main competition, redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan (wrist), is back working out. Like Nixon, redshirt senior defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh (hamstring) is currently recovering and listed as day-to-day. Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey (accelerated heartbeat) is at full speed, and though junior running back Jeff Demps has missed a few practices with a concussion, he is back, too.

MORE STRIPES COME OFF

Freshmen offensive tackle Ian Silberman and tight end Gerald Christian both had their black helmet stripes removed on Tuesday. That now makes 10 frosh who are stripe-less with 16 more to go.

POWELL TAKING A WHILE

With freshmen DTs Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley and safety Matt Elam impressing early, defensive end Ronald Powell is bringing up the rear in terms of development for arguably the team’s top four 2010 recruits. “Powell’s a little bit behind [Floyd and Easley], but he’s coming on,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “He gained a little weight, because he wants to be bigger. We’re trying to knock a few pounds off him.”

QUOTES

Meyer on sophomore S Will Hill’s improvement: “Night and day. There were a lot of issues. We’ve got 105 guys and he was a guy that drank the poison, or whatever you want to call it. Now he’s going as hard as we’ve ever had a safety go around here, and he’s doing really well. He and [co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach] Chuck Heater have a good little deal going on back there. His position coach is real strong. Everyone knows Heater. He handles things a certain way and expects great effort and great performance on- and off-the-field. We’re starting to see that now with him.”

Meyer on defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Teryl Austin’s effect on junior CB Janoris Jenkins: “The same thing you see from our safeties. We have a big saying around here: ‘power of the unity.’ That’s a unit that’s really going well and [Jenkins] is the leader. Night and day. You’re going to see a really good player this season. He’s no nonsense. He’s just 100 percent all the time. It’s a credit to his position coach. Change is good. The transition is good. Janoris is the man there and he knows it.”

Meyer on S Jordan Haden transferring: “Jordan’s a great young man. […] When you have that name on the back of your jersey, that’s darn near Tebow-ish. That’s Pouncey-ish. When you start talking about the name, there’s an expectation level that is sometimes not fair. […] I was worried about that when we first started recruiting him because those are tough shoes to fill right there. But he’ll be fine, and we’ll help him do all we can.”

Meyer on the WRs as a whole:Deonte [Thompson] is there, Carl Moore’s there. I’m hoping Omarius Hines gets there real soon. Quinton Dunbar is darn close – that kid’s good. Andre Debose is struggling – just dead legs right now, but he’s coming back.”

Meyer clarifying Hines’ role on the team: “He’s not a tight end, he’s a movement guy. [...] We’re kind of created a position in the last few years, the ‘Percy [Harvin] position’ and the ‘Aaron Hernandez position,’ and if you have that, you can be dynamic. I think he’s got that kind of ability. He’s doing well.”

Special thanks to the Palm Beach Post and The Gainesville Sun for the above quotes.

It’s a tough job, but John Brantley has to do it

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach put together an interesting profile piece Tuesday on Florida Gators redshirt junior starting quarterback John Brantley, covering his efforts to become a leader for the team along with the high praise he is already earning from three former players (including two family members).

Former Gators QB Shane Matthews: “He’s got more pressure on him than any player in college football history. […] I’ve been around Florida football since 1989. He’s the most talented quarterback I’ve ever seen. People laugh at me when I say that, but they’ll see. […] There are a lot of ways to be a leader. There’s a fiery way, which is the way Tim [Tebow] was after a touchdown run. Danny [Wuerffel] would throw a touchdown, say a prayer and walk to the sideline. It’s going to take the Gator Nation a while to realize this kid is going to be a leader.”

Former Florida linebacker (and uncle) Scot Brantley: “I warned him, ‘Hey, Johnny, you’re going to be an outsider going [to Texas] and trying to win the No. 1 job and take it from a Texas quarterback. Are you nuts?’ He was born a Gator, only 35 miles down the road. […] I think it does help to have the [family] name recognition. […] It’s a position not many people would touch with a 10-foot pole. I believe Tim was the greatest player who ever played the game. There are only a few people who could replace him, and I think Johnny will do it.”

Former Gators QB (and father) John Brantley III: “It’s a situation I wouldn’t want to be in. But I think it’s a situation he’ll embrace. He’s been going to Florida games since he was 2 years old. He knows what he’s taking on, and he’s ready. […] John has a phenomenal support group around him. The most important thing is he has that locker room behind him. Those guys have his back.”

NOTES OF INTEREST

» Brantley’s family hosted a barbecue for the Florida offensive line a few weeks ago, particularly to help the signal caller and his guardians bond over some good eats.

» Former Gators QBs including Matthews, Chris Leak, Doug Johnson, Kerwin Bell and Eric Kresser have been keeping in contact with and supporting Brantley.

Photo Credit: University of Florida

FOUR BITS: Hammond, Whitson, Nixon, Alli

1 » Florida Gators redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. disappointed his coaches, teammates and fans with his unlawful actions over the summer, but according to WR coach Zach Azzanni, he is doing his best to make amends on the field. “He’s got a good attitude, Azzanni said, according to the Miami Herald. “It’s like I tell him, ‘You can’t walk around here with your head down all the time.’ He’s a great kid who made a bad – a bad, bad – choice and a bad decision. He knows that. He’s a good kid, and he’s just trying to make amends right now by keeping his mouth shut and playing as hard as he can.”

2 » Florida baseball got some shockingly good news late Monday evening as 2010 MLB Draft first-round pick pitcher Karsten Whitson declined to sign a rookie contract with the San Diego Padres before the league’s midnight deadline. Rather than compete as the No. 9 overall pick for approximately $2 million, Whitson has decided to take his talents (video) to Gainesville, FL, and the Gators. At 7-3 with 123 strikeouts in 55 innings last season, Whitson will not be allowed to re-enter the draft until after his junior season.

3 » Though he got some work as a starter at left tackle last season as a true freshman (five games), sophomore Xavier Nixon is currently competing with redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan for the first-team role and is doing what he can to win the job. “I see it as no different than last year,” Nixon said, according to The Gainesville Sun. “Whether you’re on the blind side or the front side, the guy across from you is trying to kill you, so you better protect yourself and the quarterback.”

4 » Redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson spoke out about his position-mate redshirt freshman Stephen Alli on Monday, nothing that he has really been coming along. “He’s making strides,” Thompson said, according to the Palm Beach Post. “He’s going to be a great player here in the near future. He’s getting his game down. Coach Z is one of the best things that could happen to him because he’s going to get him back to fundamentals and teaching him the game. Yeah. He’s a freak athlete. He goes up and gets the ball, too.” Azzanni agreed. “Alli needs to figure out what he can do well,” he said. “Once he figures out that his job is going over the top of people and being physical, he’s going to start blossoming some more.”

Photo Credit: Willie J. Allen, Jr./St. Petersburg Times

FOUR BITS: Pouncey, Brantley, Arkansas, Page

1 » Remember how former Florida Gators center/guard Maurkice Pouncey was supposed to start at the latter position for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010? The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that fans should not jump to any conclusions considering the fact that Pouncey has actually been splitting time with incumbent starter Justin Hartwig at first-team center in recent practices. Whether or not Pouncey starts at center during the first week of the 2010-11 NFL season is of no consequence; already getting reps there is indicative of his bright long-term future with the team.

2 » Speaking with the Sporting News, former Florida Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel said he doubted Alabama running back Mark Ingram could repeat his 2009 honor while putting Gators redshirt junior starter John Brantley firmly in the running. “I’m not just being a loyal Gator on this one – OK, maybe a little bit. Brantley has tons of young offensive talent around him and supposedly a new scheme that fits his style better so he could put up huge stats,” Wuerffel said. “Plus, the best teams on Florida’s schedule – Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Florida State – all return less than half of their defensive starters from last year. If UF loses two regular-season games or less,which I think is likely, Brantley will be in the discussion.”

3 » Arkansas radio personality Renee Gork was fired by her station – KAKS – on Monday after Arkansas Razorbacks head football coach Bobby Petrino became enraged that she wore a Gators hat to his press conference on Saturday. According to the Associated Press, “Gork, a Florida graduate, said she grabbed the hat without thinking Saturday because it was raining outside. She also said she sent a letter of apology to the university and Petrino.”

4 » Former Florida star women’s basketball player and 11-year WNBA veteran Murriel Page was hired as an assistant coach under head coach Amanda Butler on Monday. Inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame this past April, Page (1994-98) was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference honoree in 1997 and 1998 and a finalist for the 1998 Naismith Player of the Year and Associated Press National Player of the Year awards. “Murriel’s professional experience, her passion for the Gators and the quality of person that she is makes her the perfect fit for our program,” Butler said in a UF release. “We looked at a number of different applicants from a variety of backgrounds and locations and Muriel stood out to everyone.”

Photo Credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

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