No. 3 Florida Gators set to face No. 21 Louisville Cardinals in 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl

Coming off an 11-1 regular season, a five-game improvement from a year ago, the No. 3 Florida Gators have been awarded a spot in the 2013 Sugar Bowl where the team will take on the No. 21 Louisville Cardinals (10-2) on Jan. 2 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. The game will air live at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Florida and Louisville will be participating in the 79th annual version of the game. It is the ninth time the Gators will play in the Sugar Bowl but the first for the Cardinals.

UF holds a 3-5 all-time record in the Sugar Bowl, last playing against and defeating Cincinnati 51-24 on Jan. 1, 2010. Florida is also 2-0 all-time against Louisville; the teams have not met since 1992.

The Gators were originally expected to face the Oklahoma Sooners in the game. However, a strong finish to the season by Northern Illinois Huskies moved them up to No. 15 in the final BCS standings and into a game. The Huskies earned a guaranteed berth because they finished in the top 16 of the BCS standings and ahead of at least one automatic qualifying conference champion, thus knocking the Sooners out of an at-large bid and moving the Cardinals into the Sugar Bowl.

The game has an additional level of intrigue as Louisville is currently led by former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, who took over as head coach in 2010. Also on Strong’s staff are former UF defensive backs coach Vance Bedford (defensive coordinator), running backs coach Kenny Carter (same position) and defensive graduate assistant Tommy Restivo (DB coach).

The Cardinals’ roster also includes Gators transfers wide receiver Robert Clark, tight end Gerald Christian and cornerback Adrian Bushell.

Florida will be appearing in its 22nd consecutive bowl game, a mark that ranks first in the Southeastern Conference and second nationally. The Gators are 20-19 all-time in bowls; UF has won four straight and six of its last seven.

Sugar Bowl Committee President Jack Laborde: “We’re very excited to be welcoming the University of Florida and the University of Louisville to New Orleans for the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Each year, we have the pleasure of welcoming thousands of fans to this great city and showing off all it has to offer – world-class cuisine, trend-setting music, outstanding gridiron competition and more. We look forward to introducing our unique flavor of hospitality to all of the players, coaches, administrators and fans from these two great schools.”

Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan: “We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to host these two outstanding teams in this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl Committee has worked hard over the years to present outstanding match-ups that produce thrilling games. In Will Muschamp and Charlie Strong, we have two of the country’s top young coaches and we know both will have their teams ready to play on January 2nd. We have little doubt that this game will produce another memorable chapter in the great history of the Sugar Bowl.”

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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.

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LB Brendan Beal confirms transfer out of Florida

OGGOA EXCLUSIVE: Florida LB Brendan Beal also likely to transfer

On Wednesday, OGGOA exclusively reported that redshirt sophomore linebacker Brendan Beal would be transferring out of the Florida Gators program after two injury plagued seasons. Beal himself confirmed this story during a conversation with Scout.com late Sunday evening.

“I was told tonight by [offensive coordinator] Steve Addazio that I will be given my official release from the University of Florida sometime tomorrow,” Beal told the website. “I spent two years at Florida under several different coaches in which I had the opportunity to learn a lot about football and had some good experiences there. I appreciate the time the coaches gave me during my tenure with the Gators and wish them the best of luck with their program.”

A source close to the team told OGGOA last week that Beal, a Parade All-American and former four-star recruit who sat out the last two seasons with a torn ACL, was “not 100 percent but more like 99 percent” out the door.

His decision ultimately came after he lost out on the opportunity to earn a starting job during spring practice and realized he would likely be the fifth linebacker on the Gators’ depth chart behind senior Brandon Hicks, redshirt senior A.J. Jones, sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins.

Beal becomes the third former top-rated recruit to leave Florida this offseason, following redshirt sophomore cornerback Adrian Bushell (transfer) and defensive tackle Gary Brown (dismissal). The Gators have decided not to restrict any of the schools that Beal can transfer to and are already allowing universities to contact him.

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Florida LB Brendan Beal also likely to transfer

OGGOA has learned that redshirt sophomore linebacker Brendan Beal is likely to be transferring along with classmate cornerback Adrian Bushell, according to a source close to the team.

Beal, a Parade All-American and former four-star recruit who sat out the last two seasons with a torn ACL, is “not 100 percent but more like 99 percent” out the door, the source said.

He was hoping to win a starting job in the spring but probably would have been the team’s fifth linebacker behind a dynamic and impressive foursome of senior Brandon Hicks, redshirt senior A.J. Jones, sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins.

Beal and Bushell (a four-star recruit) would join former five-star defensive tackle Gary Brown (dismissed) as top-rated commitments who have left the Gators this offseason.

Beal and Florida are expected to come to a final decision within a week to 10 days.

OGGOA – 05/17: LB Brendan Beal confirms transfer out of Florida

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Gators cornerback Adrian Bushell will transfer

Redshirt sophomore cornerback Adrian Bushell, who was expected to start for the Florida Gators this season in place of Joe Haden, has decided to transfer, according to Mark Wheeler of Gatorbait.net (subscription required). OGGOA is independently confirming this report, according to a source close to the team.

Bushell sat out most of spring practice after being suspended from team activities for two weeks by head coach Urban Meyer due to academic problems and other off-the-field issues. He returned for back-to-back practices before being forced out again before the 2010 Orange & Blue Debut in late April.

Fellow redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown and senior Moses Jenkins competed for what would have been Bushell’s job during spring practice with Brown looking to have won the job going into summer workouts.

UPDATE: The University of Florida has now confirmed that Bushell will indeed transfer.

“He is looking to transfer, and we will assist him in that process,” UF associate athletic director Steve McClain said in a statement.

OGGOA: Florida LB Brendan Beal also likely to transfer

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Gators spring practice news and notes – 04/09

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at the team’s practice from Fri., April 9.

Absences/Injuries:
» Redshirt sophomore defensive end Earl Okine came down with a fever and was allowed to miss practice; he also will not play in the 2010 Orange & Blue Debut.

» Redshirt sophomore cornerback Adrian Bushell, once again, was not at practice. Things are not looking good for his future on the team. By my count he has made two practices all spring. No way he plays Saturday.

Practice happenings:
» Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose had the most highlight-filled day, making plenty of catches, running crisp routes and drawing a gasp from the crowd on one particular play. Debose made an amazing catch in the back of the end zone on a pass from redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley. He leapt in the air over junior safety Will Hill, caught the ball, fell down horizontally while getting hit and held onto the ball. Unfortunately, he was out of bounds. Maybe he will play Saturday…

» Both redshirt senior WR Carl Moore and redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks came out to the practice field without helmets. Probably just for precautionary reasons.

» With the final scrimmage of spring on Saturday, Friday’s practice was mostly just a walk-through to get the players loose and ready.

Other notes:
» In attendance: Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress, WR Percy Harvin, QB Chris Leak, five-star defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, five-star defensive end Ronald Powell. Childress has meetings scheduled with a number of Gators players eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft.

» Over 200 high school coaches were in attendance as part of Florida’s annual coaches clinic. Childress will be the featured speaker at the ceremony Friday evening. The coaches were allowed to walk around the field during practice and speak with the Gators’ staff. Representatives from the NCAA were in attendance just to make sure nothing fishy went on (standard operating procedure).

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Florida Gators 2010 Orange & Blue Debut Preview

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Time: 1:00 p.m. (EST)
Weather Forecast: 72°F, Sunny

Live Online Coverage: OGGOA
Live TV: N/A, all replays on Sun Sports
Replays: 04/11 (9 a.m.), 04/18 (9 a.m.), 04/21 (3 p.m.), 04/27 (11 p.m.), 05/02 (9 a.m.)
Live Online Video: GatorVision ($9.95 per month)
Live Radio: Gator Radio Network | Sirius 216 | XM 199 | Yahoo!
Spring Roster: GatorZone

ATTENDANCE INFORMATION:
» Free admission for University of Florida students (with IDs), Gator Boosters, F Club Letterwinners and Alumni Association members with membership cards.
» $5 general admission: Online | Gator Ticket Office

ORANGE & BLUE DEBUT GAME FORMAT:
» Time: Four 10-minute quarters, running clock in the second half.
» Blue: First-team offense, second-team defense, driving to south end zone
» Orange: Second-team offense, first-team defense, driving to north end zone
» Colors: Offense always wears blue, defense always wears white
» Kickoffs: None, drives start at the 35-yard line after a score
» Punts: Yes, but all are fair caught by returners

All of your 2010 Orange & Blue Debut notes and more…after the break!
Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2010 Orange & Blue Debut Preview

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Gators spring practice news and notes – 04/07

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at the team’s practice from Wed., April 7.

Absences/Injuries:
» Redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody returned to practice after missing two days with a right quad injury. He did not participate in full as he is working his way back.

» Redshirt sophomore cornerback Adrian Bushell missed his second consecutive practice after returning to pads for the first time last Friday. The team is not given any particular reason for his recent absences.

Scrimmage happenings:
» Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose once again participated in full practice, including 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 drills.

» Redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. used Wednesday’s practice to prove he has what it takes to get major playing time this season, grabbing a few touchdowns and getting plenty of separation in coverage.

» Redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown got some work in the stead of senior CB Moses Jenkins with the first-team defense after putting together a nice day of work.

» Junior safety Will Hill had a return touchdown on a botched snap by redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley. He also nearly picked off three balls at various times throughout practice.

» Speaking of miscues, redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey had a rough day overall due to his dropping the ball. This is the first time all spring that he has struggled.

» Junior defensive end William Green is slowly but steadily improving and earning the respect of the coaching staff for his hard work.

Other notes:
» After practice, head coach Urban Meyer gave a bold and aggressive speech to the team about staying out of trouble. “No stealing, no drugs, no weapons!” he bellowed. “There’s a good decision and a bad decision. Make that good decision! […] We have a drug policy here! You smoke marijuana, you won’t play football!”

Interesting quotes:
» WR coach Zach Azzanni on Meyer’s post-practice speech: “I think he’s having fun out here coaching again. There’s new blood around, he’s excited about the team and it’s kind of reinvigorated him. He has a unique way of getting the most out of people. And I love it. All of us coaches follow his lead, and we go as he goes.”

» Sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic on Meyer’s speech: “[He was just] reiterating everything he says every day. He tells it a different way, but he just wants to keep telling us, keep telling us, because sometimes it takes a while to get through. That’s a good thing, though. It just shows he cares. He doesn’t want us to get in any trouble.”

» Freshman QB Trey Burton on being tackled during practice: “Wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve got to get game speed. I don’t have a problem with it, I know my coach knows I don’t have a problem with it.”

» Burton on what is he working hardest on before the 2010 Orange & Blue Debut: “I have to learn all these plays and formations, that’s my main focus.”

Special thanks to the Orlando Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post for the above quotes.

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