Florida bounces back to rout N.C. A&T 105-55

Just two days after suffering a tough loss at home to No. 4/5 Ohio State, the No. 9/10 Florida Gators (2-1) rebounded with a dominating 105-55 victory over the North Carolina A&T Aggies (1-3) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Senior forward Chandler Parsons and sophomore guard Kenny Boynton led the Gators with 16 points apiece and were just two of eight Florida players to score in double figures on the evening. Freshman F Will Yeguete proved to be a dominating presence down low, grabbing 15 rebounds (nine offensive) while also scoring seven points, dishing four assists and stealing the ball thrice.

Yeguete’s 15 boards were the most by a freshman since Al Horford (18 vs. Alabama in 2005), but he was not the only first-year player to have a big night. Center Patric Young posted 11 points, six rebounds, four steals and two blocks, G Casey Prather scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting (2-of-4 from downtown), and point guard Scottie Wilbekin finished with 11 points and six assists.

Rounding out the starting five for the Gators were senior C Vernon Macklin (10 points, six rebounds, two blocks), PG Erving Walker (11 points, six assists, no turnovers) and sophomore F Erik Murphy (11 points, four rebounds, two blocks). Murphy started the first game of his young career in place of senior F Alex Tyus, who missed the contest with a mild concussion but is expected to return to action on Sunday.

Up 28 points late in the first half and eventually winning the game by 50, Florida scored 52 points in the paint, 35 off turnovers and 25 on second chances. The Gators’ bench produced 41 points, which helped UF score more than 100 for the first time since defeating North Florida by 102 in 2007. Florida also notched 26 assists, 16 steals and eight blocks while turning the ball over 11 times as a team.

Though most of the team was solid defensively, head coach Billy Donovan had to sit Boynton early on due to a poor defensive effort. He returned to the court after a quick talking to and helped hold North Carolina A&T to 34.5 percent shooting on the evening.

The Gators are back in action in less than 72 hours, taking on Morehead State in the O’Dome on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. The game will air live on Sun Sports.

POST-GAME NOTES & QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Florida bounces back to rout N.C. A&T 105-55

11/17: Meyer, Austin, Heater talk about week

OGGOA had the opportunity to participate in Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer’s Southeastern Conference teleconference on Wednesday (we will be doing so every week). Below are some notes from the event along with thoughts from defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and co-defensive coordinator Chuck Heater, both of whom also spoke with the media.

REFUSAL TO THROW PEOPLE UNDER THE BUS IN PUBLIC

The comments sections here on OGGOA have been running wild with readers questioning why Meyer is so supportive of his players and coaches and refuses to discuss their shortcomings with the media. As we opined over the last few days, Meyer said he refuses to drag those on the team through the mud in the public eye, even though they are being held accountable and will be dealt with at the proper time. “I’ve done this for a long time,” he said. “[20]05 was probably the last time I remember that there was a lot of that kind of discussion. Discussion I’m usually not a part of because my obligation is to these football players and to this football team and the staff. All we’re trying to do is win the next game. Obviously there will be accountability because that’s our profession, that’s what we do. To make it public and throw players under the bus or coaches under the bus, that’s not part of our plan.”

DEMPS’ INJURY HAS BEEN DEVASTATING TO PLAYER, TEAM

It was obvious when junior running back Jeff Demps was reported to be injured with a “sprained foot” that Florida would be losing its biggest playmaker for at least a short period of time. But while coaches hoped and gave positive signs that he would be able to return, it is looking more and more like Demps will remain out of action – especially considering he has barely played since the third week of the season.

“He’s got a stress reaction in his foot. He doesn’t practice. It’s just very frustrating,” Meyer said. “Jeff’s a competitor and obviously one of the most talented guys in the country and a guy we need. It’s been hard. He has not been near 100 percent really since the Tennessee game. That was our No. 1 playmaker going into the season. It’s been devastating on all fronts. Any offense you see across the country, take their No. 1 playmaker out of the offense and the blow is going to be severe – especially if you’re not as strong in some areas.”

HEAPING PRAISE ON THE SENIOR SAFETY

With Senior Day on Saturday, Heater and Austin took some time out to discuss senior safety Ahmad Black, how talented he is and how far he has come since joining the program four years ago. Heater, with whom Black has a close personal relationship, was able to speak about him in a more broad sense.

“Anybody who watches football can appreciate the quality player that he is now,” he said. “He came in as a freshman, got hurt early. He was one of those tag-a-long guys out of Lakeland. Too small, too this, too that. The reality is he was really a tremendous player once he had the opportunity to go show it. We’re proud of him, and it’s amazing what he’s accomplished.

“He has always been a great kid. Happy with a smile on his face. He’s grown, he’s matured. He takes care of his business a little bit better than he used to when he was younger. Very accountable guy, which is what you hope happens by the time a guy leaves out of here. You hope he’s learned how to grow and be an accountable guy, and he has been.”

One of the reasons Black will be so successful at the next level is his tackling; in fact, even as a safety, he leads the defense in tackles this season. “I had a pro scout tell me that [he is the best tackler in college football] today,” Heater said. “He’s got a gift for it. He’s an athletic guy. He’s really athletic. […] First off, he’s tough. If a guy doesn’t want to make a tackle, all that other stuff doesn’t really matter. Some guys don’t want to make a tackle. He’s a tough guy. Then it becomes just that ability to weave himself through people and around people and make plays the way he does. He’s extraordinary.”

Austin agrees about Black’s tackling abilities. “Outstanding. One of the best I’ve seen. Outstanding. One of the best. Period. Outstanding,” he said. “He’s a good open field tackler, and when he squares you up, he will hit you. He’s stumped guys. He’s good, he’s really good.”

As for how he will do at the next level? “He looks like a player. He’s not going to pass all the height, weight, speed little contests. But when you put on the film, boy he is a football player,” said Austin, a NFL defensive backs coach for seven years. “It only takes one team to like you, that’s all it takes. And somebody will like him; he’s too good not to like. When you put on the game tape, I’d be hard pressed to find a better safety.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/17: Meyer, Austin, Heater talk about week

11/17: Straight from the Gators’ mouths…II

Junior safety Will Hill, freshman defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and senior linebacker Lorenzo Edwards answered questions for the media on Wednesday about a variety of topics concerning themselves and the Florida Gators. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

HILL THINKING ABOUT FLORIDA FOOTBALL

Before the season, Hill was tabbed by a number of NFL Draft analysts as one of the top safeties who would likely be available at next year’s event. However, according to the player, his focus is on the Gators and the NFL will be a dream he reaches for after his senior year. “Right now? Yes. Yes. I plan on being back next year,” Hill said Wednesday. “I haven’t been thinking about it. All I’ve been thinking about is just the season.”

One of the reasons Hill will likely stick around is the fact that he did not perform at the level many expected for most of the season. Asked to evaluate his year, he said he believes, “It’s just a decent season. Everybody will love to have a lot of stats and everything like that. I’m alright with it. I just think about getting better.”

ROCKY RELATIONSHIPS; THOUGHTS ABOUT LEAVING

Floyd was candid and honest when questioned Wednesday about the relationship between the freshman and the team’s veterans, pointing out that things were rough between the two groups for a large portion of the season. “It started off a little shaky then we started bringing them together and started being a team instead of segregated,” he said. “Coming in you got to gain their trust. They’ve been giving up a lot for the program. I think we did that throughout the season. We started to come together before the Georgia game, but it started to show towards the end of the Georgia game. We were just running around, cheering each other on. It was like a family type thing.”

Part of it was realizing that, now in college, the young players who were new to the team would not be treated the same way they were last year. “Everybody was the man in they school – in high school,” he said. “They come into a program [like Florida] where you really got to work and you really got to earn what you want. It’s probably hard but mostly they just had to do what they had to do.”

In fact, things were so trying for him that he thought maybe he had made a mistake. “I love it here,” Floyd said. “I hit a wall a couple times, but that’s a given. Everybody going to hit a wall. This is my school. I love it. […] Just problems. Not really wanting to be here. That’s what freshmen do. At the end of the day, I know where I belong.”

WINNING TWO FOR THE SENIORS

Echoing a sentiment shared by head coach Urban Meyer and a number of players on Monday, Hill and Floyd both said they were motivated to win the last two regular season games for the senior class. “[We are] just really trying to get this thing to send the seniors off right. It’s their last game in The Swamp. Last two games around here. We got to send them off the right way,” Hill said. “It’s important to send them off on a good note,” Floyd added. “We haven’t had great success the last games at home, so we got to send them off with a bang this week.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/17: Straight from the Gators’ mouths…II

FOUR BITS: Lee hurt, Moss cut, golf, swimming

1 » Just one week ago, Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee knocked out New York Knicks forward Wilson Chandler’s tooth during a game. When Lee’s elbow hit Chandler’s face, it was deeply punctured by the tooth, which was then removed by force. Lee was only expected to be out of action a few days to let the deep wound heal properly, but he has no missed a week and has yet to return to the court. In fact, Lee has been hospitalized most of the time due to a massive infection and serious swelling that occurred in the area. He has already undergone two procedures to clean the infection and may mess two-to-three more weeks as he tries to recover. “I know there is a lot of speculation out there, but it almost doesn’t matter how it was treated,” Dr. Bill Maloney told the media on Wednesday. “I don’t think they could have avoided this. The die was cast when he got the tooth through the skin with a deep enough puncture wound to allow the bacteria to get in there.” The infection may need to be “washed out” four or five more times before Lee can leave the hospital, which the team hopes will occur by week’s end.

2 » In a move many fans of the team have expected to come for quite some time, the Denver Broncos have released the No. 17 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, defensive end/outside linebacker Jarvis Moss. Since being drafted by Denver, Moss has totaled 40 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 33 games; however, he has only registered five tackles and has not notched a single sack in 16 games since the start of last year. When head coach Josh McDaniels took over in 2009, he began utilizing a 3-4 defense and moved Moss from DE to OLB. Unfortunately for the former Florida Gators star, the change in position did not help his production. “He’s been a great kid for us, done everything we asked him to do. It just hasn’t been a perfect fit,” McDaniels said. “Hopefully he can find a place that will be a better fit and suits what [he] can do.”

Read about Florida’s big-time signees in golf and swimming…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Lee hurt, Moss cut, golf, swimming

11/16: Addazio discusses Pouncey, Gamecocks

Florida Gators offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio spoke to the media Tuesday as he took a final look back on the tough loss against the South Carolina Gamecocks and ahead to this week’s game.

HE’s BAAAAAAAAAACK

Perhaps the most important note coming out of Addazio’s availability on Tuesday was him confirming what head coach Urban Meyer said a day earlier – plans are for him to return as offensive coordinator for the Gators in 2011. Asked if he felt his job was safe next year, Addazio furrowed his brow and replied, “Yeah. Absolutely. I think coach addressed that, didn’t he?” When the question about Addazio’s desire to come back in the same role was broached, he was also quick to respond with, “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

POUNCEY A TOP 10 DRAFT PICK?

There is little doubt that Florida senior center Mike Pouncey will be a first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Whether that will be as a center or a guard is anyone’s guess. According to Addazio, he is hearing that Pouncey could go higher or at least in the same range as his brother did a year ago.

“He’s at the pinnacle of his game right now. He’s projected to be a top 10 pick. Playing lights out,” Addazio said. “That’s the feedback. I’m not an NFL prognosticator, OK? So if he ends up 17 or he ends up 16, is that bad?”

Addazio also discussed the Pouncey twins and why both have been so successful. “They’re really bright guys. They really get it,” he said. “They get it from a schematic standpoint. They understand defenses, blitzes, pressures, packages. Obviously Maurkice – that was evident through the interview process after the season as he went through the combine. The comments and feedback back were he was probably one of the most prepared offensive linemen to come out of college football. That’s why he’s had such a remarkable rookie season. […] Mike can play all three positions. Mike knows everything that goes up in that. He’s a heck of a football player and extremely intelligent.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/16: Addazio discusses Pouncey, Gamecocks

No. 9 Gators exposed as No. 4 Buckeyes roll 93-75

Billed as one of the premiere games to start the 2010-11 college basketball season, the No. 9/10 Florida Gators and No. 4/5 Ohio State Buckeyes squared off Tuesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Unfortunately, after an intense first half, only one team showed up to close out the game with the Buckeyes (2-0) trouncing the Gators (1-1) 93-75.

Defense and ball control doomed Florida in the second half; UF allowed Ohio State to score 55 points and shoot 70.6 percent from the floor as they tore through the press and scored in bunches on the fast break.

Freshman forward Jared Sullinger and junior guard David Lighty led the way for OSU with 26 points apiece. Sullinger dominated down low making 13-of-17 shots and notching 10 rebounds (five offensive), while Lighty was the most efficient starter of the court draining 9-of-11 buckets.

Gators sophomore G Kenny Boynton had one of his best offensive performances in the orange and blue, going 8-of-14 from the field and 5-of-8 from downtown for 21 points. Defensively he struggled in the press and had trouble in containment.

Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin rebounded from a rough opening game with an intense first half that included 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He was shut down after halftime with only one more bucket on two attempts. Also struggling late was junior point guard Erving Walker, who turned the ball over six times after the half and finished with seven giveaways. By contrast, the Buckeyes had eight turnovers as a team.

Florida took a seven-point lead in the first half but went into the locker room up only three even though they out-rebounded Ohio State 17-7. The two teams went back-and-forth to start the second half with the Buckeyes taking the lead over the Gators for good with 12:14 left on a three-pointer from G Jon Diebler to go up 59-57.

OSU outscored UF 37-18 down the stretch and took a game-high 20-point lead on a dunk by F Dallas Lauderdale with 1:15 to go. Ohio State finished the second half shooting a spectacular 70.6 percent from the field compared to 63.2 percent for Florida.

In all, the Buckeyes got off 13 more shots than the Gators, notched 11 more assists (22-11) and gave up significantly fewer turnovers (18-8). However, they were out-rebounded 26-17 with the majority of the difference coming in the first half.

Senior F Chandler Parsons, who was quiet at points during the game, finished with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting with a team-high seven boards, while sophomore F Erik Murphy – Florida’s lone veteran reserve – was the team’s primary threat off the bench with eight points, four rebounds and two blocks.

Losing what was likely one of their toughest match-ups of the non-conference slate, UF will attempt to regroup as they take on North Carolina A&T at home on Thursday at 7 p.m. The game will air live on Sun Sports.

POST-GAME NOTES & QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » No. 9 Gators exposed as No. 4 Buckeyes roll 93-75

No. 9 Florida Gators vs. No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 12,000]
Time: 6:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: ESPN
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 9 FLORIDA GATORS No. 4 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Thad Matta
Record: 1-0 Record: 1-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big Ten
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -2; O/U 142.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Ohio State leads the all-time series against Florida 6-4, but the Gators are 2-1 in Gainesville, FL, against the Buckeyes. UF’s last victory against OSU was 84-75 in the 2007 NCAA National Championship game, but Ohio State struck last with a 62-49 win in Columbus, OH, in 2007.
» Florida hasn’t fared well against the Big Ten, posting a 15-26 all-time record against the conference; however, the Gators defeated then-No. 2 Michigan State 77-74 just last year in a similar early season game.
» UF has started the season with a 2-0 record for the last eight years.
» Under Donovan, the Gators have defeated 10 top five opponents. The last three have all been against the Big Ten.

KEEP AN EYE ON…
Some contributions from Malik Grady – OGGOA Correspondent

» Defending freshman Jared Sullinger…who is 6’9” and 280 lbs. but has an offensive repertoire as a big man that will match any seen across the entire country this year. Sullinger simply knows how to score and use his body to put stress on defenses. He can shoot, post up and move without the ball.
» Force turnovers from David Lighty…who is a senior that handles the ball for Ohio State but is not a true point guard. He showed some weakness in their opener with four turnovers and is prone to making mistakes.
» Establish a fast tempo…by trapping in the half court and shooting at a high percentage. If Florida doesn’t score early, the Gators are often unable to set up the press, where smaller guys like junior PG Erving Walker and sophomore guard Kenny Boynton can thrive more as defensive factors.
» Stay out of foul trouble…something that could certainly happen early to hobbled redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin and green freshman C Patric Young against the Buckeyes’ strong and physical frontcourt.
» Let senior F Chandler Parsons get his…because once he gets on a roll it become increasingly difficult to cool him down. Parsons will have a number of responsibilities on Tuesday, but feeding him the rock early on the perimeter and allowing him to make some plays will pick him up from the get-go.
» Take advantage of the home crowd…which is hungry for a victory in Gainesville after the football team suffered a tough loss on Saturday. The O’Connell Center can be one of the toughest places to play in the United States (recently ranked No. 5) when the crowd is hyped and into the game.

INJURIES

» Active: Redshirt senior C Vernon Macklin (knee)
» Inactive: Redshirt junior F Adam Allen (knee)

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 10 recap

With the 2010-11 NFL season now underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 10 action, some of whom had an impact on their team’s performance.OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Gators accomplished during the 10th week of the season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Seven solo tackles, two passes def., interception, two kickoff returns for 51 yards (long: 32)
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings: Team-high four receptions for 64 yards (targets: 6, long: 53), touchdown; six kick returns for 151 yards (long: 33)
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: 1-for-1 for three yards, touchdown; two rushes for two yards, touchdown

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Four tackles (two solo)
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: One rush for -2 yards
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Four tackles
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Two solo tackles for loss, sack
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: Three receptions for 57 yards (targets: 10, long: 40), touchdown
DE JARVIS MOSS, Denver Broncos: Two solo tackles
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Two solo tackles, pass defended
KR BRANDON JAMES, Indianapolis Colts: Four receptions for 36 yards (targets: 8, long: 17), two punt returns for five yards
DE DERRICK HARVEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Solo tackle
DT JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Five solo tackles, QB hit
LB CHANNING CROWDER, Miami Dolphins: Two tackles
CB LITO SHEPPARD, Minnesota Vikings: Two solo tackles
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Two targets, pass defended
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Two tackles (one solo)
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Three tackles (one solo), half sack
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Target
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Two solo tackles (one for loss)

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
C Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh Steelers) – WR David Nelson (Buffalo Bills), DE Jermaine Cunningham (Patriots), FB Earnest Graham (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), QB Rex Grossman (Washington Redskins)

BYE WEEK
DE Alex Brown (New Orleans Saints), G Cooper Carlisle, WR Louis Murphy (Oakland Raiders), LB Brandon Siler (San Diego Chargers)

INACTIVES
LB Andra Davis (Bills), S Major Wright (Chicago Bears), RB Fred Taylor (Patriots), LT Max Starks (Steelers)

NOTES
– Tebow recorded his first career NFL passing touchdown…on his first career NFL pass.
– Dunlap recorded his first career NFL sack.

OGGOA RELATED: Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

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