Gator Bites for Friday, August 20th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» The University of Florida’s 2010-11 athletic season officially begins Friday as No. 11 Florida Gators soccer takes on the Miami Hurricanes at 7 p.m. at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Admission is free, and the match will air live on Sun Sports.

» New England Patriots rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez scored his first career professional touchdown on Thursday, catching a four-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady in the second quarter of the team’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Hernandez, who lead the team with four receptions and 46 yards, had to turn around to complete the reception in the back of the end zone. Also shining for the Patriots on Thursday was running back Fred Taylor (team-high 11 carries for 54 yards and a TD). Linebacker Brandon Spikes racked up three solo tackles, while defensive tackle Gerard Warren added one assisted.

Eight more Gator Bites on Tim Tebow, Major Wright, Cornelius Ingram, Maurkice Pouncey, Joe Haden, Chris Leak, Ryan Lochte and Urban Meyer…after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Friday, August 20th

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Orleans Saints DE Alex Brown: “The Florida Gators will never change for me.”

With eight years of professional football under his belt, former Florida Gators defensive end Alex Brown is moving on from the Chicago Bears to the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. In a brand new city with an upbeat and positive mindset, Brown landed in Louisiana on Wednesday to start preparing for training camp. The first thing he did after touching down? Provide OGGOA with an exclusive half-hour interview covering everything from his recruitment and time with the Gators to the Bears’ Super Bowl run and why grits are his favorite thing about the city of New Orleans, LA (so far).

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Growing up in a small town, was it difficult to get noticed by the University of Florida and make an impression on head coach Steve Spurrier?
ALEX BROWN: “Yeah, it was. I just wanted to go and play football – that’s all I did. I was nervous because I didn’t know if people would see me. My dad was really good just staying on me about it. ‘If you go play, if you’re good enough, they’ll find you.’ That was his big thing. All I did was go play – and they found me.”

AS: What made you decide to attend Florida rather than going to Georgia or another school? Were you always a Gators fan?
AB: “I actually was not a Florida fan at all. I really wasn’t even going to take a visit to Florida. University of Miami – that year – my last visit I was going to take was going to be to the University of Miami. And I was going to choose between Miami, Florida State, North Carolina and Auburn. There was a kid that got killed at Miami – I want to say it was like on a Monday or Tuesday – and I was supposed to go on a visit that coming weekend. And my mom was like, ‘No way, you can’t go. You can’t do it.’ I was like, ‘Alright, I guess I will not take another visit.’ I talked to [Buffalo Bills linebacker] Andra Davis, who I’ve known since like fifth grade, and he had just taken his visit to Florida and that was the celebration of the National Championship – that was that week. He had a great time. So I talked to him and he said he was going to Florida. He’s like, ‘Just take your visit there, you’re not going to go to Miami, so take your visit to Florida.’ Early in the week, I called coach [Jimmy Ray] Stephens, he was the offensive line coach at the time and the guy that recruited me. He said, ‘OK.’ I was in Gainesville for a day. [Atlanta Falcons LB] Mike Peterson was my host and, by the time I left, they could have left me there. I was going for sure. As soon as I got back, I started calling all the other coaches and letting them know that this is what I want. It wasn’t too far from home but far enough away, I guess. And they were good. I played linebacker, and they had [former DE] Jevon Kearse, Mike Peterson and [former LB] Johnny Rutledge – and I thought I fit right in. It was a great match for me and took me all of a day-and-a-half to figure that out.

Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Alex Brown…after the break!
Continue Reading » New Orleans Saints DE Alex Brown: “The Florida Gators will never change for me.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

LB Earl Everett: “I’m ready to get back out there”

A true freshman starter, former Florida Gators linebacker Earl Everett was unable to complete his degree in four years. He left for the NFL but was once again met with roadblocks as he suffered injuries while in training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals and later as a member of the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad. Soon after, he had a successful tryout with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL but broke two bones in his leg just days after returning from the workout, stalling his career for the short-term. On schedule to complete his degree at the University of Florida and graduate this summer, Everett is all healed up and ready to head up to Canada for a second chance on a professional football career. Before he returned to Gainesville, FL, Everett spent almost 20 minutes speaking with OGGOA about his career and life up until this point.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: What are you up to now? I know you are back at UF getting your degree. How is it hanging out with the Gators and seeing head coach Urban Meyer?
EARL EVERETT: “It’s always good to go back. Coach Meyer told a lot of us seniors, he always said, ‘Once a Gator, Always a Gator.’ We will always be tied to the hip. And it’s the truth. Every time I go back and see him, he [tells me] that if I need anything – any advice, a reference for a job – you can always call the coaches and they are there for us guys. Even though you are done, you might be done playing football or done with school, they’re still there. It is a family first program – that’s what it is.”

AS: Are you saying that you feel you are done at this point after your injury during tryouts with Montreal last year?
EE: “No, I actually might have a chance to play over in Canada next year with Chris Leak. I’m kind of looking forward to that. I had a few road bumps – like you said, you know – I got injured and got released from a few teams. Then I decided the next best thing was to go back and finish my degree since I’m so close. I’m taking my last two classes now, Summer A, and I graduate in August.”

Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Earl Everett…after the break!
Continue Reading » LB Earl Everett: “I’m ready to get back out there”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: Peterson, Orton vs. Tebow, FSU wins

1 » Former Florida Gators linebacker Mike Peterson – now a veteran with the Atlanta Falcons, has taken on the roll of mentor with the team’s first-round choice in the 2010 NFL Draft, Sean Weatherspoon. Now 34, Peterson had a solid 2009-10 season (140 tackles) and hopes to continue to help both on the field and in the locker room. “I understand the business,” he said. “I want to help the team out. That’s what I’m all about. I didn’t come here to try and play 2,000 plays. I came here to try to win the Super Bowl. Whatever my role will be, I’m ready for it.”

2 » The Denver Post is apparently the “Kyle Orton needs to get out of here on way or another” angle now that former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has joined the Denver Broncos. Columnist Woody Paige insists the team needs to pull the trigger on a trade involving Orton because he is “not a short-term fix or a long-range fit for the Broncos,” noting that he is “an average quarterback who couldn’t start for 21 other teams in the league.” Better to see what they have in former Notre Dame star Brady Quinn and first-round pick Tebow, Page believes. Paper-mate mark Kiszla takes a similar angle on the topic, noting that Orton needs to get himself out of Denver as fast as possible. “[He] would have rocks for brains to start another game as quarterback of the Broncos,” Kiszla wrote. “He would be playing the fool for Denver coach Josh McDaniels. If Orton owns a penny’s worth of common sense, he has already quietly, politely and firmly asked for a trade to grant his freedom.”

3 » EA SportsNCAA Football 11, which will feature Tebow as its cover athlete, is undergoing more changes than just deciding to use one former player on its cover instead of many. According to Jon Robinson of ESPN, the gaming company has decided to further embed ESPN branding into the game, letting each contest play like it is a live network broadcast. Read more about some of the game’s brand new features.

4 » Speaking of ESPN, the worldwide leader has decided to create a bracket system in order to devise which college program has been the best pipeline for the NFL over the last 30 years. Not surprisingly, No. 13-seed Florida lost its opening-round match-up. Unfortunately for some fans, it was to the No. 4-seed Florida State Seminoles. Though writer Matt Williamson noted that the recent influx of Gators gives the team a chance to claim the title in the future, the past’s top five notable players (Derrick Brooks, Deion Sanders, Walter Jones, Rohn Stark, LeRoy Butler VS. Emmitt Smith, Lomas Brown, Cris Collinsworth, Wilber Marshall, Neal Anderson) allows FSU to earn the edge. Check out the entire head-to-head match-up at the link above including summaries by Heather Dinich and Mark Schlabach.

Photo Credit: Jon Robinson/ESPN

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SIX BITS: Urban Meyer absence edition (Part 2)

1 » First, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer resigned and the media had sympathy for him and respect for making what they deemed to be a mature and righteous decision. Then, Meyer decided to take a leave of absence instead and has since been met with immense backlash. Starting his column by calling the school “Flip-Flop Florida,” ESPN’s Pat Forde drops some sarcasm on the coach. “Meyer apparently went out to practice and decided that burnout is for losers,” Forde writes, “and his family may or may not come before his players. They had a spirited practice in unseasonably cold weather and, shazam, Urban’s not resigning after all! Just taking a vacation of unspecified length! While looming over the program like a 900-foot shadow!” Don’t worry, there is more, but you need to check out the column for the rest of it.

2 » Jumping on the bus with Forde is CBSSports.com senior writer Dennis Dodd. (This cannot be surprising to anyone, you had to know Dodd was going to write something like this.) Calling Meyer’s change of heart “baffling” in the title of his story because no one has ever changed their mind before, Dodd seems to go back on that opinion later on while still lending himself the ability to criticize. “Maybe it was a simple change of heart.,” he wrote. “Maybe Meyer is going against doctors’ wishes by coming back. Either way there is still room to criticize him for waffling. After sleeping on it, the subject changed from chest pains to being homesick. After careful reconsideration, Meyer walked into a karaoke bar and started belting out Billy Donovan tunes.”

Check out four more BITS on Urban, Addazio, Shelley and more after the jump!!!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Urban Meyer absence edition (Part 2)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

TWO BITS: Gators in the NFL, Clark back in fold?

1 » Two former Florida Gators players had strong showings in the NFL on Sunday, and both are recent alumni from the defensive side of the ball. Second-year defensive end Derrick Harvey of the Jacksonville Jaguars recorded a sack in his second straight game even though his team fell to the Miami Dolphins while third-year linebacker Brandon Siler dominated the middle for the San Diego Chargers against the Dallas Cowboys. Siler recorded five tackles on the day (two for a loss) and one sack. He was also instrumental on a number of goal-line and fourth-down stands. Other Gators who contributed this weekend were LB Mike Peterson of the Atlanta Falcons (eight tackles), wide receiver Jabar Gaffney of the Denver Broncos (three receptions for 48 yards) and Andre “Bubba” Caldwell of the Cincinnati Bengals (four catches for 25 yards).

2 » Looking to nab a trifecta of players from Dwyer High School in West Palm Beach, FL, Florida set their sights on bringing three-star cornerback Robert Clark into the fold during his official visit this weekend. Clark, who said prior to his visit that he was leaning towards the Gators until the loss of recruiting coordinator Billy Gonzales had him open up the process again, met new wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni and came away impressed. “[Azzanni] was great,” Clark told Rivals. “I already knew him from camp because he worked the camp [in Gainesville]. He’s a great guy. He taught me a lot of things so it was good to meet him again. [The coaches] didn’t really talk about [Gonzales] much [this weekend]. It was kind of sad that he left but at the same time they had to move on and stuff and get a new coach. He’s pretty energetic. He likes to hop around a lot. He was hyped up.” Though he is not considered “solid,” Clark is currently committed to the West Virginia Mountaineers; even so, he has decided to make his decision official before the Class 4A championship game this Saturday.

UPDATE: “Florida[‘s visit] is the best visit I’ve been on by far. I’m not gonna lie,” Clark told The Gainesville Sun. “It’s hard because I’m kind of committed to West Virginia, right now, but I love Florida more than I love West Virginia.” Clark also told The Sun that the shorter distance and better weather are much more appealing to him.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 Page 3 of 3 « 1  2  3