Donovan looking for more from Walker and Hill

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Monday to discuss his team’s busy week ahead, which includes two games in a three-day span. He also broke down recent Gators suspensions and some struggles being faced by his pair of five-star, second-year standouts.

BETTER BUT NOT QUITE THERE YET

There is no question that sophomore center Chris Walker has played better in his second season at Florida, though to this point his contributions continue to be more style than substance – a fact not lost on his coach.

Through his first 13 games, Walker is averaging just 5.8 points and 4.1 boards, struggling mightily at times. Outside of a three-game stretch in December when he combined to score 37 points on 17-for-28 shooting (.607) with seven blocks, Walker has scored 39 points while hitting just 43-of-163 shots (.264) with 11 blocks in his other 10 games.

Continue Reading » Donovan looking for more from Walker and Hill

Florida gymnastics’ title hopes take hit as Bridget Sloan (ankle) sidelined six weeks

Florida Gators gymnastics suffered a major blow in its hopes to three-peat as national champion as junior Bridget Sloan, arguably the flag bearer for Florida’s gymnastics program, will be sidelined for six weeks with a severe ankle sprain, head coach Rhonda Faehn announced on Tuesday.

Sloan, a two-time All-SEC First Team selection, the winner of the 2013 Honda Sports Award and a 16-time All-American, has helped lead the Gators to back-to-back NCAA National Championships. She has also captured three individual NCAA Championships, winning the all-around and balance beam competitions in 2013 and picking up the uneven bars title in 2014.

Florida rolled to a dominant 196.925-193.700 win over Ball State in each program’s season-opener on Sunday in Muncie, Indiana, but did not leave the meet without suffering some losses.

Continue Reading » Florida gymnastics’ title hopes take hit as Bridget Sloan (ankle) sidelined six weeks

Billy Donovan returns as coach for USA Basketball in FIBA U19 World Championship

Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan has been retained to continue leading USA Basketball during the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship set to take place from June 27-July 5 in Crete, Greece.

Donovan, a court coach during the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s U19 National Team Training Camp, will return for his third stint as head coach while looking for his fourth international gold medal. He led American teams that that won gold in the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship and 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Donovan is the first repeat U19 head coach in USA Basketball history.

He is 19-0 with three gold medals, going 5-0 in both FIBA Americas U18 Championships that he coached and 9-0 in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship two summers ago in Prague, Czech Republic. His three United States national teams combined have won their 19 games by an average of 43.7 points.

Continue Reading » Billy Donovan returns as coach for USA Basketball in FIBA U19 World Championship

Former Florida Gators praise Urban Meyer after Ohio State’s CFP National Championship win

Five years after leaving the Florida Gators, head coach Urban Meyer led Ohio State to a 42-20 win over Oregon in the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship.

A number of former Florida players were following along throughout the night on Twitter and shared their thoughts – and congratulations – for Meyer after the contest.

The national title is the third in Meyer’s career, all of which have come in the last nine seasons. He helped lead the Gators to the 2007 BCS Championship and 2009 BCS Championship before leaving Florida for good following the 2010 season.

Check out all of the tweets…after the break.
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators praise Urban Meyer after Ohio State’s CFP National Championship win

McElwain counting on Nussmeier to help bring championship-caliber offense back to Florida

More Florida Gators assistant features: Randy Shannon | Terrell Williams | Geoff Collins | Tim Skipper

With the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship set for Monday night, there is one quality that No. 2 Oregon and No. 4 Ohio State have shared all season: explosive offenses.

The Ducks rank second nationally, averaging 47.2 points per game, while the Buckeyes pace just behind their opponent at fifth in the country at 45.0 points per game. The last time the Florida Gators won a national title, they averaged 43.6 points per game, a figure Florida has not come close to hitting in the six seasons since.

The fourth offensive coordinator tasked with turning around the Gators’ offense since 2011, Doug Nussmeier will not be at this alone as head coach Jim McElwain was hired due in large part to his offensive success. McElwain pegged Nussmeier as his offensive coordinator from the beginning, though it did take awhile to make the deal official.

Continue Reading » McElwain counting on Nussmeier to help bring championship-caliber offense back to Florida

Skipper on Florida: “I was ready to walk here.”

More Florida Gators assistant features: Randy Shannon | Terrell Williams | Geoff Collins

The second-youngest member of head coach Jim McElwain’s recently-announced Florida Gators staff, running backs coach Tim Skipper, 36, has earned the nickname of “handy man” from McElwain due to his versatility.

Skipper is so trusted by McElwain that he was his assistant head coach at Colorado State, where he coached linebackers. Skipper has also coached defensive backs and coordinated defenses in college despite the fact that the rest of his family has made a name for themselves coaching running backs in the NFL.

Of course, Skipper has done that, too, most notably at Fresno State under McElwain, a stop where he recruited and coached up Ryan Mathews.

“He’s outstanding. Played for Coach [Pat] Hill as a linebacker, came back as a running backs coach, really wanted to go back and coach defense, begged him to stay on offense. You look at the production of the players he had at Fresno State, how he recruited to the position, what he did with those players, the guy is a phenomenal football coach,” said Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.

Continue Reading » Skipper on Florida: “I was ready to walk here.”

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Divisional

The 2014-15 NFL Playoffs continued this week with the Divisional round and eight former Florida Gators spread out over five of the eight teams remaining in the postseason.

Five Gators were eliminated from the postseason this week with the Conference Championship round set to include three Florida players (one injured) on two of the remaining four teams (both in the AFC).

Below are full game statistics for all five players (three starters) that saw action during the Divisional round.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DE JEREMY MINCEY, Dallas Cowboys: Started | five tackles (three solo, one for loss), forced fumble, fumble recovery

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!

Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Divisional

Fastbreak: Florida Gators win second-straight, crush Mississippi State 72-47

Updated on Sunday at 4:45 p.m.

Florida Gators basketball (9-6, 2-0 SEC) continued its solid start to Southeastern Conference play by cruising to a 72-47 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-8, 0-2 SEC) on Saturday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The win was Florida’s 20th consecutive regular-season victory in SEC play and 18th-straight home win against a league opponent dating back to Jan. 9, 2013.

“They’re becoming more of a team,” Donovan said. “We are not going to be able to out-talent people, we’re not. We’ve got to become a really good team. It’s got to be a team that the sum is greater than its parts.”

Donovan added: “This team cannot play in a comfort zone. We’re not talented enough, we’re not deep enough, we’re not physical enough, we’re not strong enough. We need to play with incredible passion, desire and for each other and become a team. If we don’t do that, we’re below-average. I’m just saying, calling it like it is. They’ve got to do that. This has been a learning, growing process for them. Certainly I don’t want them dwelling on the past, we can’t get any of that back, it’s about going forward.”

OnlyGators.com breaks down Saturday’s action with 10 quick-hitters:

It was over when / significant stretch: Already leading by 20, the Gators doubled up the Bulldogs 54-27 on the back of an 8-1 run including consecutive threes by redshirt juniors guard Eli Carter and forward Dorian Finney-Smith. The stretch eventually increased to 10-1 with UF’s lead jumping to 29 points midway through the half.

Continue Reading » Fastbreak: Florida Gators win second-straight, crush Mississippi State 72-47

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