TWO BITS: Bailey lauds Tebow; Pouncey waits

1 » Denver Broncos veteran Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey has been heaping the praise on rookie quarterback Tim Tebow and that trend continued Wednesday in an report. Talking about Tebow’s star quality and magnetism, the former Georgia Bulldogs star placed the Florida Gators legend above even the most famous Florida State Seminole. “I’ve been on a team with some [high-profile] players, such as Deion [Sanders] and guys like that, but I’ve never seen nothing like this,” Bailey said. “It’s amazing. […] I’m kind of proud of him for the way he handles himself. He wants to be one of the guys. People are going to put him on that pedestal, but he handles both sides very well.”

Defensive end Justin Bannan is also impressed. “I’m kind of blown away,” Bannan said. “I’ve just never seen anything like it. It’s like a phenomenon. This city’s just become obsessed with Tebow. The guy has earned that right to get that kind of attention, because he’s probably going to go down as one of the greatest — if not the greatest — college player to play the game.”

2 » It should be no question that Pittsburgh Steelers rookie center/guard Maurkice Pouncey, the University of Florida and the NCAA all want the allegations surrounding the player to be settled – one way or another – as soon as possible. Nevertheless, according to the University Police Department, determining whether or not Pouncey accepted a $100,000 payment from the runner for a sports agent may take up to two more months to settle. “It’s still an ongoing investigation,” Capt. Jeff Holcomb told The Gainesville Sun. “It could be another month or two before it’s finally closed out. It’s a slow-going process.” The process has been underway since June.

Photo Credit: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

Lochte wins title with world’s fastest time in 2010

Competing at the 2010 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships on Tuesday, former Florida Gators swimmer Ryan Lochte captured the 400-meter individual medley title with the fastest time in the world so far this year.

Lochte, who has been suffering through a groin injury, finished the event in 4:09.98, defeating runner up Tyler Clary by more than five full seconds. He was behind until the breastroke leg, where his injured groin ended up not playing much of a factor.

Many other Florida swimmers are competing at the event, a few of whom finished with top-10 times on Tuesday. A detailed list can be found on

TWO BITS: Belichick on Spikes, Crowder speaks

1 » New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick went on…and on…and on about former Florida Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes when asked about him Wednesday. Here is what he had to say about Spikes’ one-of-a-kind ability in the middle.

”I’m not really sure what his style is. Our defense is a lot different from what they ran at Florida. Obviously, he’s a big, physical guy, but now that we’ve had him in our defense a little bit. I think he’s got some unique skills… He does a lot of things well. It’s kind of not by the book, but effective. I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see how he [does].

“Just talking to him this morning about a couple things that he was doing… They’re not exactly the way that everybody does them, but he does them effectively, and I don’t think you need to change it. But I think it’s a little bit different. [...] He’s an interesting player to coach.

“He sees some things that I’m not sure everybody sees. I mean, he’s an instinctive player. I don’t know if he’s exactly the textbook way that you would read the plays, but he reads them. It’s interesting to work him into our system again, and being a 4-3 middle linebacker in the front and system they played, which just different from what we do, and now he’s playing more on the guard and being uncovered as opposed to being covered playing behind a defensive guy. Just a little bit different. He does things well, but a little bit of a transition, but a good one. Now that he’s in our defense, some things he does are a little bit different than the way we would teach it, but he still does it well. That’s what I was trying to say.”

2 » Fellow former Gators linebacker Channing Crowder of the Patriots’ AFC East division rivals, the Miami Dolphins, spoke about working in defensive coordinator Mike Nolan‘s hybrid system and bringing some of the team’s rookies into the fold. He found a way to mention the University of Florida, of course.

SIX BITS: Jackson, Cooper, James, Moss, Pouncey

1 » Tuesday, OGGOA noted that former Florida Gators wide receiver Chad Jackson has been quite impressive during Buffalo Bills training camp. In the team’s evening session, Jackson continued his upward climb, drawing this statement from head coach Chan Gailey in his post-practice press conference. “The guy comes out to play every day,” Gailey said. “It looks like he’s made up his mind that he wants to be a very good football player. I think that bouncing around [from team to team] is not what he intended for his career and I think he’s decided to go out and make himself the position. He’s been impressive.” There are murmurs throughout camp that Jackson has a legitimate shot to begin the season as the team’s starting No. 2 receiver opposite Lee Evans.

2 » Speaking of former Gators pass catchers getting a chance to impress, Philadelphia Eagles rookie Riley Cooper is set to get more snaps with the first team now that both starters – DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin – are out with injuries. Philadelphia beat writers are already of the belief that Cooper will begin the season as Maclin’s back-up, and now he has the opportunity to prove he can be an adequate replacement.

3 » Word out of Indianapolis Colts training camp is also positive for undrafted free agent rookie Brandon James. Being utilized extensively on special teams, James is also getting the opportunity to catch passes and run reverse plays. He appears to be a shoe-in to get past first cuts and many of those covering the team believes he has the chance to be a Leon Washington- or Darren Sproles-like piece for the Colts in 2010.

Three more BITS on Moss, Pouncey and Taylor…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Jackson, Cooper, James, Moss, Pouncey

Kadji transfers from Gainesville to Coral Gables

Former Florida Gators sophomore center Kenny Kadji will not have a long trip ahead of him after packing up his belongings as, according to FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman, he has decided to transfer to the Miami Hurricanes.

Kadji, who was given a medical redshirt from the NCAA after only logging 45 total minutes of game time in 2009-10 before ending his season due to a nagging back injury, will be forced to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules.

He had back surgery in February to repair a bulging disk, a procedure similar to what former Florida forward Adrian Moss had done in 2005. Reports were that Kadji had healed nicely from the surgery; he was expected to back-up redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin next season, a job that will probably now be filled by four-star incoming freshman forward Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL).

“I want to thank my coaches and teammates for my two years at the University of Florida,” Kadji said on July 23. “While I’m sad that my time here at Florida is ending, UF will always be special to me. I have goals that I hope to reach and only a short window of my life to make those things happen.”

TWO BITS: Gators shine in Denver and Buffalo

1 » He may not have spent much – or any – time previously with two of the other former Florida Gators currently on the Denver Broncos roster, but there should be no doubt that defensive end Jarvis Moss and wide receiver Jabar Gaffney have welcomed rookie quarterback Tim Tebow into the fold. Nevertheless, Moss’ job during camp is to get to the passer, and he did just that on Tuesday. One of the lowlights of training camp Tuesday was the Broncos’ offensive line, which allowed Moss to break free and get right in Tebow’s grill. “The linebacker was not allowed to touch the quarterback,” explained The Denver Post, “so Moss stood there a foot away from Tebow while the quarterback pump faked. Moss still stood there as Tebow fired a completed pass across the middle.” Though Tebow also had a ball swatted from behind in the pocket (it was later intercepted), the Post notes that he had his “best passing practice of camp” and excelled at some nice crossing pattern tosses.

2 » Like Tebow, undrafted free agent wide receiver David Nelson has a familiar face on the Buffalo Bills – former teammate and fellow pass-catcher Chad Jackson. Nelson has been one of the standouts of Bills camp thus far, getting most of his playing time with Jackson the team’s second unit. He has shined in some seven-on-seven drills, including one over the weekend when he took a crossing pattern up the middle and split the defense for major yardage. Jackson had an exceptional performance Monday, and both players have been getting some reps on the first team. Former Florida linebacker Andra Davis was also signed by Buffalo as a free agent this offseason.

Photo Credit: Buffalo Bills

Florida basketball’s 2010-11 non-conference slate

The Florida Gators officially announced the basketball team’s 2010-11 non-conference schedule on Tuesday. Previously reported by OGGOA the following premiere out-of-conference games have now been confirmed:

Nov. 16 vs. Ohio State (Gainesville, FL)
Nov. 28 at Florida State (Tallahassee, FL)
Dec. 1 vs. Central Florida (Orlando, FL – Amway Center)
Dec. 18 vs. Kansas State (Sunrise, FL – BankAtlantic Center)
Dec. 31 vs. Xavier (Cincinnati, OH)

» And here are the rest:

Oct. 28 vs. Florida Tech (Gainesville, FL)
Nov. 3 vs. Georgetown College (Gainesville, FL)
Nov. 12 vs. UNC-Wilmington (Gainesville, FL)
Nov. 18 vs. North Carolina A&T (Gainesville, FL)
Nov. 21 vs. Morehead State (Gainesville, FL)
No. 23 vs. Florida Atlantic (Gainesville, FL)
Dec. 5 vs. American (Washington, D.C.)
Dec. 9 vs. Kent State (Gainesville, FL)
Dec. 20 vs. Jacksonville (Gainesville, FL)
Dec. 22 vs. Radford (Gainesville, FL)
Dec. 28 vs. Fairfield (Gainesville, FL)
Jan 3 vs. Rhode Island (Gainesville, FL)

- Head coach Billy Donovan on the schedule: “I think we benefited last year from a challenging non-conference schedule and getting a couple of quality wins early in the season. We’re going to stay with the same scheduling philosophy and we’ve put together another competitive non-conference schedule.”
- Florida’s opener against Florida Tech on Oct. 28 is the earliest start in school history.
- UF will face UNC-W, OSU and NC A&T as part of the Global Sports Invitational.
- The Gators play in three more events during the regular season: the Florida Citrus Shootout with UCF, the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic against KSU and the BB&T Classic vs. American.

FOUR BITS: Williams, Haden, Gators on Patriots

1 » Former Florida Gators point guard Jason Williams, a nine-year NBA veteran, has agreed to sign a one-year deal to return to the Orlando Magic for the 2010-11 season. He will be the third point guard on the roster behind starter Jameer Nelson and reserve Chris Duhon. Last season, Williams only averaged 6.0 points and 3.6 assists as a backup but achieved career-highs in field goal (.444) and three-point percentage (.380).

2 » Taking a look at the Cleveland Browns in training camp, ESPN’s Adam Schefter does not think it is likely that former Florida cornerback and Cleveland rookie Joe Haden will start this season. “[Eric] Wright and [Sheldon] Brown are the undisputed starters for now,” Schefter writes, “but Haden will be the nickel cornerback and a player the Browns believe they will rely on for years to come.”

3 » According to the Boston Herald former Gators star Jermaine Cunningham continues to work as an outside linebacker with the New England Patriots’ first unit during training camp.’s Mike Reiss believes Cunningham is the fastest player during the team’s pass-rush drills, and head coach Bill Belichick is also offering some praise. “Jermaine has picked up things very well,” Belichick said. “I think each day you can definitely see him getting better, more confident, understanding things that happened the day before and being able to process that.”

4 » Reiss also said that former Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez looks like New England’s “most impressive rookie to date” and “the coaching staff is high on rookie inside linebacker Brandon Spikes.” Hernandez has “excellent hand-eye coordination, sticky hands, and practices with great effort,” Reiss writes.

Photo Credit: David Silverman/New England Patriots

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