8/5: Meyer speaks to media after fall practice

Concluding the Florida Gators‘ first day of fall practice for the 2010-11 season, head coach Urban Meyer sat with reporters for quite some time to discuss a number of topics including his outlook on the team, players leaving the program and why exactly camp has been closed to both the media and fans. OGGOA has compiled some of the key points:

PERSONNEL

» Meyer announced that seniors center Mike Pouncey and defensive end Justin Trattou are the team’s two fall captains. Senior safety Ahmad Black and redshirt senior defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh may be added to the group at a later date.

» Doing some housekeeping, Meyer told reporters that redshirt sophomroe wide receiver T.J. Lawrence and the team mutually agreed to part ways. More on this here.

» He also explained that redshirt freshman tight end Desmond Parks will likely be out 2-3 weeks after previously injuring his wrist and undergoing a procedure to fix the issue.

» Meyer noted that five-star linebacker transfer Chris Martin is already working with the team in camp even though he must sit out a year due to NCAA transfer eligibility rules.

QUOTES

» Explaining to reporters that his motivation for closing practice was not about restricting their access but rather curbing the distractions that agents and autograph hounds cause his players every day, Meyer touched on two subjects in particular…

On the growing concern regarding agents: “With all that agent [stuff], and I’m hearing about parties and all this, my gosh. We just want to do the best job we can. We’re going to have a lot of discussions around here and continue non-stop education because it’s an epidemic. You hear people talking about this school and this school. That’s nuts. The good thing is the other side of it [the agents] wants to help. When I say they really want to help, there are going to be some positive things come out of this. Real positive.”

On others trying to take advantage of the players’ generosity: “We’ve had a great discussion with a group of us that got together and we’re trying to make some changes. Anything from signing balls to getting them sold on the Internet to practice, where people are showing up. In the fall, we’re going to shut it down. There are people showing up, ‘Why are you here?’ We can’t control our players’ lives, but we certainly can do the best we can. You should have the right as a player to walk from here to there without being bothered. That’s my fault for five years. That’s crazy. I tell that to my colleagues, people just mauling you and bothering you and Internet people grabbing helmets and signing this and all this, and we don’t have security saying, ‘Get the heck out of here.’ You’ll see a lot of ‘get the heck out of here’ from now on and let the kids go practice and concentrate on football. Big-time rules. I’m concerned about stuff where you get NCAA violations and scumbags that are involved that shouldn’t be involved. One way to control it is, get out.”

» On the team’s goal for the 2010-11 season: “This is a year of accountability and development. If that happens, we’ll have a good team.”

» When told about redshirt junior running back Chris Rainey‘s “prima donna” comments in the morning, Meyer quipped that it was the team’s “fault for letting him speak” while noting that Rainey’s comments were “absolutely wrong.” “Rainey said that? Chris Rainey won’t speak to the media again this year,” Meyer added in a joke-serious tone.

“I can name some other things he said to the media that were absolutely inappropriate, and that goes in the same category, believe it or not. So, take that for nothing. Inappropriate, wrong, non-thought out, which he does quite often. I love Chris Rainey, but when I ask him a question, I give him a whole day to think about it and write it down 100 times.”

Special thanks to The Gainesville Sun and the Miami Herald for some of the above quotes.

No. 15 is the key in Tim Tebow Trainer 1.2 release

When Nike announced that the EA Sports NCAA Football 11 version of its Nike Trainer 1.2 sneaker, specifically designed with former Florida Gators now Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow in mind, would go on sale on Friday, Aug. 6 at NikeStore.com, fans clamored to find out what lengths they would have to go to in order to get one of the 500 limited edition pairs.

While the company normally releases its new products at midnight, Nike had a trick up their collective sleeves Friday, putting the Tim Tebow Trainer 1.2 up for sale at exactly 1:50 a.m. Ironically, the sneaker sold out almost exactly 15 minutes later (though Nike claims it only lasted five), with the item officially appearing as sold out at 2:05 a.m.

The limited edition sneaker is “up there with some of the fastest sellouts,” according to the Nike Store’s Twitter account. The accompanying “Tebow Knows” T-shirt, which was also slated to be released Friday morning, is not yet available in the online store.

The Tim Tebow Trainer 1.2 features Tebow’s “Promise” speech from Sept. 27, 2008, along with a blue and orange color scheme, and EA Sports and NCAA Football 11 logos.

Former Florida safety John Curtis dead at 24

Details are scarce right now, but a source close to the team has informed OGGOA that former Florida Gators safety John Curtis, 24, passed away Wednesday. His death has been ruled a suicide by authorities.

A special teams standout, Curtis joined the Florida scout team in 2004, missed the 2005 campaign with a knee injury and finally played on the kickoff return and punt teams during the Gators’ 2006 National Championship season. He blocked a punt against South Carolina in 2007 but unfortunately tore his anterior cruciate ligament in 2008, an injury that would end his football career.

UPDATE: Curtis passed away after jumping off of a fourth-floor railing above a Lincoln Square Center restaurant in Bellvue, WA, at 8 a.m. Thursday. Police attempted to talk him down at first, but Curtis could not be swayed from taking his life; the local cops continue to investigate the matter.

“It’s tragic when a young life is lost,” head coach Urban Meyer said in a statement on Friday. “I’m not sure how you describe the loss of life in words. John was a great young man who was a proud member of our Gator family. We grieve for him, his friends and his family and pray for their comfort.”

Co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Chuck Heater shared a similar sentiment. “What do you say? He was a real likable guy here, a lot of players really liked him a lot,” Heater said. “He had, unfortunately, a lot of knee injuries here. He probably could have had a chance to play some football here, more than he did. He played but I’m sure not as much as he would like to. It’s sad and unfortunate. He was a good guy, well-liked team member. Players really liked him. He was a friendly guy with the team, and just dealing with the frustrations of the injuries, which were always hard for him to deal with and accept those things, just the disappointments of all of that. But he was a respected member of our team, that’s for sure.”

One of the first to respond to the news, Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden took to Twitter Thursday. “You never know how much you truly love someone until they are gone. R.I.P. John Curtis #24! You will be missed,” Haden wrote. “Everyone please don’t be afraid to say you love someone! Life is too short! Losing someone special to you makes you realize what’s important in life.”

Jacksonville Sharks CB Dee Webb provided a similar message. “R.I.P. to my former teammate John Curtis 24,” he tweeted. “We [will] miss you homey.”

OGGOA sends our deepest condolences to the Curtis family.

Gators WR Lawrence set to transfer, Meyer says

Florida Gators redshirt sophomore wide receiver T.J. Lawrence has decided to transfer, according to head coach Urban Meyer.

A four-star recruit out of Lakeland, FL, Lawrence did not see action until 2009 when he mostly participated in special teams plays. He never caught a pass at Florida and is the third member of his recruiting class to transfer this season.

“He tried to move on last year and we talked him into [staying] because he’s a good kid and all that,” Meyer said. “I think he just wants to move on to get some playing time.”

Fellow redshirt sophomores cornerback Adrian Bushell and linebacker Brendan Beal each left the team in the middle of May.

Lawrence cited playing time as his primary concern and has yet to pick a destination.

8/5: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators began fall practice Thursday and, while the activities were closed to both the media and public, a bunch of players spoke with the former group in a press conference setting following the morning session. As the rookies/freshmen hit the field for the second practice of the day (the veterans competed earlier), OGGOA has compiled some of the key details learned throughout the day.

PRACTICE NOTES

» Redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan and sophomore Xavier Nixon shared first-team duties at left tackle. This may be a position of contention for quite some time.
» In similar fashion, sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins are splitting first-team middle linebacker duties; however…
» Redshirt senior A.J. Jones and senior Brandon Hicks admitted that the coaches are making the linebackers learn all three positions. They also noted that the team may indeed run four linebackers at times but nothing is set in stone one way or another.
» Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. practiced today. He is no longer on scholarship and is attempting to earn his way back onto the team.
» Redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody is practicing even after having two surgeries this year to clean out bone spurs from his injured ankle. He will workout in full most days but may take some time off for precautionary measures.
» Though redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown, senior Moses Jenkins and freshmen Josh Shaw and Jaylen Watkins were the early favorites to start opposite junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins, freshman Cody Riggs got some major endorsements from the team’s veterans, many of whom were impressed with his fluid footwork.

Check out what the players had to say about Thursday’s practice, last year’s team and the upcoming season…after the break!
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TWO BITS: Smith’s commitment, Florida profiled

1 » With former Florida Gators running back Emmitt Smith set to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in Canton, OH, a number of local newspapers have been profiling his exploits both on- and off-the-field. The Pensacola News Journal covered Smith’s commitment to the University of Florida, a very interesting story especially for those not around at the time. Apparently Smith told everyone at Escambia High School that he would don the colors of the school he would choose prior to his announcement. Showing up in red and white, he indicated that he would be committing to Nebraska – a pre-planned deception. “When they called him up to sign, they called him up last,” his mother Mary Smith recalled. “And when they asked him where he was going, Emmitt said, ‘Well, I’m wearing Nebraska colors, I guess I will be going to the University of Florida. There were some very excited people there.”

Some even credit Smith with turning the Gators program around. “It meant a heck of a lot,” said school historian and former media relations director Norm Carlson. “We had the probation, all the other problems in the [19]80s, and we were in need of something to uplift the program and Emmitt was it. I think just the fact he signed with Florida, it really buoyed spirits of Florida fans and certainly the people here.” Former head coach Galen Hall agrees. “Emmitt came here when it looked the bleakest for the Gators, because of the probation we were facing. And for him to come and be a part of it meant a great deal. It allowed us to go out and sell the fact that, hey, here’s a young man who could have gone anywhere, but he’s coming to Florida.”

2 » Concluding a series in which the schools with the brightest future in both football and basketball were determined, CBS Sports listed Florida at No. 1, citing head football coach Urban Meyer’s intensity and head basketball coach Billy Donovan’s determination as the catalysts. Dennis Dodd did a nice job covering Meyer’s health scare, but Gary Parrish takes it to another level while looking at what Donovan has done in his time at Florida. A standout quote is Donovan recalling what he was told prior to the 2005-06 season. [There are some other great quotes, too, so read the article.]

“I’ll never forget this,” he said. “I’m talking to this AAU coach, and I don’t want to name him, but I’m talking to him and he’s telling me, ‘You guys are going to be awful. You’re going to be terrible.’ We were recruiting one of his kids, and he was like, ‘Geez. Who’s my kid going to play with? Joakim Noah? That guy is a role player. Al Horford? He’s a project. Taurean Green is not an SEC guard, and Lee Humphrey is a mid-major catch-and-shoot guy… So he’s telling me all this and I’m listening, but the whole time I’m sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know. I kinda like these guys. I think we’ve got a chance to be pretty good.’”

Photo Credit: Pensacola News Journal

Parsons, Boynton talk about incoming freshmen

A day before the football team was set to begin fall practice, Florida Gators senior forward Chandler Parsons and sophomore guard Kenny Boynton spoke with members of the media about a number of topics including the extremely deep incoming freshman class. Click below to read what each player said about his new teammates.
Continue Reading » Parsons, Boynton talk about incoming freshmen

Florida Gators 2010 Fall Practice Preview

Thursday begins fall practice for the Florida Gators, and the team will be going into the 2010-11 season with more questions than answers for the first time in recent memory. From reserves taking over as starters to freshmen trying to make an impact right away, head coach Urban Meyer and his revamped coaching staff will be taking a close look at each and every player stepping on the field over the next few weeks

OGGOA is here to provide you with a preview of exactly what you should watch for and pay attention to, even though practice is closed to both the media and public.

Check out players who are stepping up, fighting for their jobs and trying to break out, as well as notable freshman who hope to make an impact…after the break!
Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2010 Fall Practice Preview

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