FOUR BITS: Scouts, Lawrence, Johnson, Tebow

1 » When Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban decided to close off his team’s practices to NFL scouts, there was some outrage that he may have gone too far. The Tuscaloosa News qualified the action by stating that Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer had mandated the same thing. The only problem? He didn’t. Florida associate athletics director for communications Steve McClain pointed out Wednesday that the Gators have not changed their policy and scouts will still be allowed to attend during designated periods (usually during the regular season and select two-a-days). However, as noted before, Meyer has indeed closed practice to the media and fans in an effort to keep out questionable characters or “scumbags” as he so eloquently put it.

2 » On Aug. 5, Meyer announced that redshirt sophomore wide receiver T.J. Lawrence had requested and received a release from his University of Florida scholarship. Wednesday, Lawrence told The Lakeland Ledger that he has decided to transfer to the Florida A&M Rattlers. “It’s a big shocker because a lot of people wouldn’t expect Florida A&M University, but I’m going there to be a two-sport athlete,” Lawrence said. His main motivation for leaving UF was a lack of playing time.

3 » Interesting video from The Gainesville Sun of redshirt senior guard Carl Johnson interviewing freshman running back Mack Brown at Florida Media Day.

4 » Focus on the Family, the anti-abortion group that purchased a Super Bowl ad featuring former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother Pam Tebow, has decided to purchase statewide television advertisements during every Denver Broncos game for the upcoming season. Though the new ads will not feature or mention Tebow, the fact that the company is based in Colorado and already has the recognition of having previously worked with Tebow certainly served as a motivating factor in this decision.

Florida picks up commit No. 13 in OL Hounshell

Scout.com is reporting that three-star offensive lineman Chase Hounshell (Kirtland, OH) has given a verbal commitment to the Florida Gators.

Hounshell, who did not pick up a Florida offer until the beginning of August, had long been rumored to be heading to Boston College due to a budding relationship with the school’s coaching staff.

A standout who can play both sides of the ball, he committed to offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio on Wednesday.

At 6’6″ and over 260 lbs., Hounshell is the Gators’ 13th commitment for 2011 but only the team’s third offensive lineman. Florida is expected to lose four starters to graduation this season.

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

Photo Credit: Michigan Live

Seven Florida Gators on preseason watch lists

With just over three weeks to go until the 2010-11 season commences, seven Florida Gators players have been honored with nominations to preseason award watch lists.

Maxwell Award (Outstanding collegiate football player)
Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley
Junior running back Jeff Demps
» Previous winner(s): Danny Wuerffel (1996), Tim Tebow (2007, 2008)

Chuck Bednarik Award (Outstanding collegiate defender)
Senior safety Ahmad Black
» Previous winner(s): None

Rimington Trophy (Outstanding offensive center)
Senior center Mike Pouncey
» Previous winner(s): Maurkice Pouncey (2009)

Jim Thorpe Award (Outstanding defensive back)
Junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins
Junior safety Will Hill
» Previous winner(s): Lawrence Wright (1996)

Ray Guy Award (Outstanding collegiate punter)
Must display team leadership, self-discipline and positive impact on team’s success
Senior punter Chas Henry
» Previous winner(s): None

Broncos plan to make Tebow an active rookie

Now that former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has apparently received his initiation into the Denver Broncos organization and is steadily gaining the trust, acceptance and respect of his veteran teammates, attention turns to what he will – and will not – be permitted to do on the field in 2010.

ESPN‘s Chris Mortensen visited Broncos training camp recently and had the opportunity to speak with Tebow and some of his teammates about his NFL progression:

Tackling the issue of the “Tebow factor,” ESPN’s Bill Williamson discussed Wednesday how he is being folded into Denver’s offense this season:

The question is how his work in camp will affect the team on the field. The former Florida star quarterback has operated in short-yardage situations and he will likely be used in the Wildcat formation and in the red zone. That likely means Denver will keep quarterbacks Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and Tebow on the 45-man roster on game days. In June, [head coach Josh] McDaniels said he was leaning away from that.

But it is clear that Tebow is being groomed to be active as a rookie. Unless Tebow completely leapfrogs Quinn in training camp and in the preseason, Denver could be using three quarterbacks on game days, which will take away from another position.

Another option for the Broncos, which Williamson failed to mention, is that McDaniels could simply assign Tebow the No. 2 quarterback role and make Quinn the emergency signal caller on game days. Should Orton be injured during the game and McDaniels choose to replace him with his true No. 2 in Quinn, Tebow simply would not be able to re-enter the game. The Miami Dolphins used a similar tactic last season with Chad Henne as the starter, Pat White as the game day No. 2 and Tyler Thigpen as the emergency quarterback.

SIX BITS: Brown, Harvin, Sheppard, soccer

1 » After two years of sitting and waiting while his back healed and pain subsided – “I’ve had a million procedures done, but we’ve got it taken care of…” – Florida Gators redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown is ready to claim the spot across the field from junior CB Janoris Jenkins. And while he is feeling better than ever, Brown still remains cautious. “I’d be lying if I said mentally I’m just ready,” Brown told the Miami Herald. “There are certain things I second-guess, like should I really just … throw myself in there? In the back of my head I’m just thinking, ‘Man, this might be my back again.’ […] I’ve been away from the game for so long, I just want to play and help out. I spent two years not playing at all, not even practicing. The opportunity to go out there and contribute just brightens my day.”

Five more BITS on Percy Harvin, Lito Sheppard, Gators soccer, baseball commitments and Ean McQuay…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Brown, Harvin, Sheppard, soccer

2010 Florida Media Day: Injuries, leadership, starters, freshmen, fall practice updates

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer, offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and a number of players represented the team at the 2010 Florida Media Day on Tuesday in Gainesville, FL. After the break…are some of the biggest stories and most interesting quotes coming out of the event.

Continue Reading » 2010 Florida Media Day: Injuries, leadership, starters, freshmen, fall practice updates

Make it three: Josh Haden to join Florida in Jan.

In a move that has been expected for qutie some time, former Boston College Eagles running back Josh Haden, the brother of both current Florida Gators freshman safety Jordan Haden and Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden, plans to transfer to the University of Florida in January.

The Orlando Sentinel caught up with Jordan at Florida Media Day on Tuesday, who confirmed that his older brother would be heading to Gainesville, FL, in the new year. This corroborates what Joe said a few months ago in an interview with NFL.com.

“I have a little brother. He’s a running back at Boston College. He’s transferring now to, probably, Florida,” he said at the time.

Prior reports had Josh picking between Florida, Louisville (head coach Charlie Strong) and a number of other undisclosed schools. He will have to sit out one full season (2010) due to NCAA transfer regulations.

OGGOA will have a number of other updates coming out of Florida Media Day shortly.

FOUR BITS: Wright, Crowder, Haden, Eagles

1 » Since returning to Chicago Bears training camp after sitting out for almost a week with a tweaked groin, rookie safety Major Wright has been turning some heads and is pushing his way into a starting role with the team. Though he is currently listed as the team’s No. 2 free safety on its first depth chart, Wright has been working with the first team and was around the ball all day on Monday (even though he dropped two sure interceptions, the team was pleased that he was in the position to make them).

2 » If we have told you once, we have told you a hundred times: Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder is the best interview in the NFL. On Monday, Crowder spoke about talking trash to his rivals. “[I say] how I feel about them, their mothers, their girlfriends, their wives, their kids, their dogs, their greasy grandma, whatever pops into my mind,” Crowder said. “The league calls me on Mondays and talks to me about the interesting conversations I was having on the field.”

He even had choice words for ex-teammate now New York Jets LB Jason Taylor. “I just want to see JT [on HBO’s Hard Knocks] and laugh at him,” he said. “I talked to him the other night and I was making fun of him, so I just want to see him out there embarrass himself. […] He’s a real pretty boy. He had makeup with Dancing with the Stars and all that, so he might put on makeup. He’s gonna perform. Trust me. You can mark that. JT is not going to be himself. He’s gonna perform for the cameras, ‘cause he’s a showman. That’s what I give him a hard time about – he’s going to be as clean as he can, he’s gonna have a freshly-shaved head, ‘cause the camera is around. He’s very womanly.”

3 » Cleveland Browns cornerback Eric Wright appeared to injure his hamstring during morning practice on Tuesday. While the team waits to find out exactly what is wrong with him, possibly an injury that may keep him out for the short-term, rookie first-round pick Joe Haden will be playing with the first team.

4 » The Philadelphia Daily News caught up with former Florida Gators wide receiver Riley Cooper and tight end Cornelius Ingram and asked both players about the hazing haircut given to Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow. “I love it. I think he should keep it. No, I’m kidding, the haircut was awful,” Cooper said. “You know what, Riley actually showed me about three days ago on the phone,” Ingram added. “I thought it was a [fake]. I really didn’t think it was a real photo. Now that it’s out now, they at least could have gave him a better cut than that, though. It looked bad. It looked bad.” Cooper, who is competing with veteran WR Hank Baskett for the Eagles’ fourth receiver spot, is currently listed as a back-up on the team’s first depth chart.

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