FOUR BITS: Harris, Beisel, Zunino, Parsons, Hill

1 » Florida Gators junior center Damontre Harris was arrested early Wednesday morning after he failed to appear at an arraignment scheduled for Aug. 16, 2012. Harris, who was cited by a member of the University Police Department on July 16 for driving without a valid in-state license, was supposed to take care of the necessary paperwork and pay the fines associated with his infraction but never did as instructed. He was served a delinquency notice after failing to pay his original fine within 30 days and assessed an additional $32 in fines between Aug. 21 and Sept. 28.

2 » Florida announced Wednesday that junior swimmer Elizabeth Beisel (swimming) and former catcher Mike Zunino (baseball) have been named winners of the 2012 Ben Hill Griffin Award. The honor, given to the top male and female student-athletes each season, “is based primarily on athletic achievement” with “academic achievement and extra-curricular involvement” also a consideration, according to UF. Zunino, who received the award for the second-straight year, won every major collegiate baseball award at the conclusion of the 2012 season. Beisel, the 2012 SEC Female Swimmer of the Year, also earned an individual national title in the 200-meter backstroke.

3 » NBA Hall of Fame C Hakeem Olajuwon taped an Egraph message to current Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons recently. Listen to it here.

4 » Stemming from the NCAA’s investigation of the Miami Hurricanes and his time as wide receivers coach with the team, former Gators assistant Aubrey Hill has been hit with an ethical-conduct charge (NCAA Rule 10.1). According to the Associated Press, which obtained information regarding the notice of allegations sent to Miami, Hill and at least one other assistant “provided meals, transportation and lodging to either recruits, current players, or both in either 2008 or 2009. Both were interviewed by the NCAA during the course of its probe and allegedly denied providing those extra benefits, statements the NCAA said were contradicted in each case by what players told them separately.” Though forthcoming punishments have not yet been levied against Hill, it can be expected that he will be out of coaching for the foreseeable future. He resigned from his post with Florida before the beginning of the 2012 season.

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

OL Roderick Johnson recommits to the Gators

The Florida Gators added a third new member to their 2013 recruiting class on Sunday – a player familiar to those that follow the process – as three-star offensive lineman Roderick Johnson (Delray Beach, FL) announced via social media that he has recommitted to continuing his career in Gainesville, FL.

“Its official gator nation Im back,” he tweeted.

Johnson was originally Florida’s 11th commitment for the 2013 cycle, giving head coach Will Muschamp his pledge on March 25. However, he began wavering in his decision after learning that recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill resigned before the season.

He eventually decommitted on Aug. 13 with reports at the time noting that he had been put “on notice” by the Gators coaching staff due to concerns about the player’s supposedly shaky academic standing.

Now less than four months later, Johnson is back in the fold and has become the 24th member of Florida’s 2013 class and 25th new player set to join the program.

Listed as a four-star prospect by ESPN, he will be the fifth offensive lineman to join the Gators this offseason. Florida already had verbal pledges from three-star Cameron Dillard (Canton, MI), three-star Octavius Jackson (Moultrie, GA) and three-star JUCO transfer Trenton Brown (Milledgeville, GA). UF will also have Tyler Moore (Clearwater, FL), a four-star prospect who played for Nebraska in 2011, transfer in from a community college that does not field a football team.

Johnson is third player and second offensive lineman that committed to the Gators on Sunday. Brown announced his intentions early in the morning, and four-star linebacker Matt Rolin (Ashburn, VA) switched his pledge to Florida in the afternoon.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Florida Gators hire Joker Phillips as new wide receivers coach, recruiting coordinator

The Florida Gators on Monday afternoon officially announced that former Kentucky Wildcats head coach Joker Phillips has been hired as the team’s new wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.

News of Phillips’s hiring first broke Monday morning. Florida confirmed hours later that he has agreed to join the program and will officially begin working for the team on Friday. The Gators coaching staff is currently out recruiting. It is expected to return to Gainesville, FL to begin practice on Dec. 14-15.

“We are excited to have Joker join our staff,” said head coach Will Muschamp in a school release. “His background as a head coach and the number of years he has coached wide receivers will be a tremendous asset to our coaching staff and players. Joker is obviously very familiar with the Southeastern Conference and has always done a great job in recruiting. Obviously I had a number of experiences with Joker both on and off the field, as our paths have crossed often, but I’ve been really impressed with Joker Phillips as a man during this hiring process.”

At 49 years old with 25 years of coaching experience, Phillips spent time coaching for five different teams with two separate stints at Kentucky.

After playing wide receiver for four years with the Wildcats (1981-84), two years with the NFL’s Washington Redskins (1985, 1987) and one year with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts (1986), he decided to get into coaching.

He began his career at UK as a graduate assistant from 1988-89 and became the assistant recruiting coordinator in 1990 before taking over the job of receivers coach from 1991-96. He then went to Cincinnati and coached receivers in 1997 and defensive backs in 1998. Phillips followed that gig up by coaching receivers at Minnesota (1999-2000), Notre Dame (2001) and South Carolina (2002) before returning to his alma mater and adding the job of recruiting coordinator, which he held from 2003-04.

Phillips was promoted to offensive coordinator and held that position from 2005-08. In 2009, his job title was reclassified as “head coach of offense” as the school determined that he would be the successor for Rich Brooks. He took over as head coach in 2010 and led the team to a 13-24 record over the last three seasons.

The second African-American head football coach in Southeastern Conference history, Phillips took the Wildcats to a bowl in 2010 but saw his win totals decrease each of the last two seasons. He was fired after the first 10 games of the 2012 campaign but agreed to stay on and coach the team for the duration of the season.

Though Phillips and Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease both coached at Kentucky, they did not do so together. The two seasons Pease spent at UK (2001-02) occurred while Phillips was coaching elsewhere. Muschamp coached against Phillips once in 2002; the former was defensive coordinator for LSU while the latter was coaching at South Carolina. The two were also on opposing staffs when Muschamp was a graduate assistant at Auburn in 1995.

“I’m thrilled to become part of the Gator family,” said Phillips in the same release. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to compete and win at the highest level. I believe in Coach Muschamp’s philosophy and what he has done in his short time here at Florida is phenomenal. I’m looking forward to contributing to the long-term vision that he has for this program. In addition, it will be very rewarding to be involved in the hands-on development of the players I will coach.”

Phillips has had a hand in developing a number of extremely talented receivers including current NFL stars Stevie Johnson, Randall Cobb and tight end Jacob Tamme, former NFL pass catcher Troy Williamson, and SEC career receptions standouts Craig Yeast (No. 2), Derek Abney (No. 5) and Keenan Burton (No. 7).

He replaces Aubrey Hill, who served as the Gators’ wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator during Muschamp’s first season but resigned prior to the 2012 campaign. Florida’s pass catchers were coached by Pease and graduate assistant Bush Hamdan this past year.

Photo Credit: Kentucky.com

Tags: , , , , , ,

Florida head coach Will Muschamp wants staff, players to do what is best for their careers

A common theme emerged during Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp’s weekly press conference on Monday when the man in charge was asked about his feelings on coaches potentially leaving for other jobs and juniors on his team considering departing early to play professionally in the NFL.

His stance? Do it – if it advances your career.

Already having replaced two coaches in his second year on the job, Muschamp is not afraid of staff turnover and said Monday that he is certainly prepared should that occur despite the fact that he does not anticipate anyone leaving at this point in time.

“This is a great place to work and we’ve got a good, young football team, and we’re going to be good for a long time,” he said.

“I always tell our staff this: ‘If you have an opportunity for a promotion … I support you 1,000 percent.’ That says what kind of job we’re doing here at Florida.”

Muschamp was sure to make a distinction between coaches leaving to advance their careers – a position coach becoming a coordinator, a coordinator becoming a head coach – and others who are perhaps more impatient and would move on only changing their polo shirt and not their job title.

“Guys that want to make parallel moves and they’re always looking for the next job, they don’t need to be here anyway. We’ll go find a good coach. There’s a bunch of people that want to coach here. There’s a long list…right on my desk,” he quipped.

Read the rest of this story…after the break!
Continue Reading » Florida head coach Will Muschamp wants staff, players to do what is best for their careers

Tags: , , , ,

Gameday: No. 23 Florida Gators vs. Bowling Green

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 90°F, partly cloudy, winds ENE at 5 mph
Time: 3:35 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN/ESPNHD (Mark Jones, Brock Huard, Jessica Mendoza)
SiriusXM: 112/199
Online/Mobile Video: WatchESPN.com, WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

(23) FLORIDA GATORS BOWLING GREEN FALCONS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Dave Clawson
Record: 0-0 Record: 0-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Mid-American
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -28.5; O/U 47.5

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before the first game of the 2012 season? No problem. OGGOA has been here the entire offseason compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam.

Quarterbacks will split snaps by quarter in opener | Updates on injuries, freshmen set to play | Defense wants to show it on the field

HISTORY / STREAKS

» Florida and Bowling Green have never squared off on the football field though both teams are coming off disappointing seasons in which they went 3-5 in conference games.
» The Gators are 78-27 all-time in games that open the season and hold a 63-6 mark in Gainesville; UF is on a 22-game winning streak in season openers, which is tops in the SEC and second nationally to Nebraska (26).
» Florida opens the 2012 campaign ranked in the polls for the 22nd-straight season.
» UF was 7-1 against unranked opponents and 0-5 against ranked opponents in 2011.
» Offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis are new additions to the Gators’ coaching staff, which also lost wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill to a resignation for personal reasons during the offseason. Graduate assistant Bush Hamdan has taken over for Hill in an interim capacity.
» Muschamp was the 15th (of 22) head coach in school history to complete his inaugural season with a winning record, finishing 7-6 after a bowl game victory.
» Florida had the No. 8-ranked total defense nationally in 2011 (299.5 yards per game).
» The Gators defense only amassed 14 turnovers in 2011 but forced six of those in the final four games of the season. UF had a turnover margin of zero in their seven victories and -12 in their six losses (-12 overall).
» Florida had the second-best third-down defense in the nation in 2011, holding opponents to a conversion rate of 27.3 percent (48-of-176).
» The Gators still lead nation in interceptions (76), interception return yards (1,412) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (14) since 2008.
» Florida was 7-2 when rushing for more than 100 yards in 2011 but 0-4 when failing to eclipse that benchmark.
» The Gators were 7-1 in 2011 when leading at the half but 0-5 when tied or trailing at that point in the game.
» Florida converted 32 of 37 red zone opportunities (86.5 percent) in 2011 but only scored touchdowns 18 times (48.6 percent) in those 37 chances. UF was better towards the end of the season, finding the end zone in seven of their last 11 opportunities (63.6 percent) over the final five games.
» The Gators have had at least two kickoff returns for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons after never having more than one in a single season before 2010.
» The Falcons are returning 20 total starters and feature a much more veteran roster overall than a year ago. However, Bowling Green still has the 10th-youngest roster in the country with 41.9 percent made up of freshmen.
» BGSU will be facing an SEC program for just the fourth time in school history. The game with UF was originally scheduled when Urban Meyer, a former head coach of the Falcons, was leading the Gators.
» Thirteen members of the Bowling Green roster are from the state of Florida, second-most of any state behind, of course, Ohio (44).
» Some college football rule changes for 2012: kickoffs moved up to the 35-yard line, touchbacks moved up to the 25-yard line, player losing his helmet in action results in halting participation immediately and sitting out one full play.

LAST TIME OUT

This is the first-ever meeting between Florida and Bowling Green on the gridiron.

Read the rest of the Florida-Bowling Green preview including injuries and absences and which players to look out for from both sides of the field.
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 23 Florida Gators vs. Bowling Green

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

Adams, Outlaw are fourth, fifth Gators decommits

The Florida Gators lost a pair of 2013 pledges this week, learning that four-star wide receiver Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, FL) and three-star offensive lineman Joshua Outlaw (Lithonia, GA) decided to decommit from the program.

Adams, who was shaken at the departure of wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill in early August and claimed that he was going to open up his recruitment, had previously been put on notice by the Florida coaching staff as it was growing increasingly unlikely that he would be able to qualify academically.

He also learned early this week that doctors found what they believe to be a hole in his heart. Adams, who decommitted on Wednesday, is not expected to be able to play football for the foreseeable future but is holding out hope that he will not have to stay off of the gridiron longer than the duration of his senior year of high school.

Outlaw, on the other hand, had not reportedly been wavering previously but told ESPN‘s Kipp Adams on Sunday that he has decided to no longer be committed to Florida.

The Gators have now had four players decommit for various reasons in the last nine days. Three-star defensive back Tre Bell (Jersey City, NJ) committed in early April but switched his pledge to Vanderbilt on Aug. 11, and three-star OL Roderick Johnson (Delray Beach, FL) pulled the trigger on Aug. 13.

Florida at one time had four offensive line commitments but is now down to just a pair – three-star Cameron Dillard (Canton, MI) and Octavius Jackson (Moultrie, GA).

ESPN notes that three of UF’s five decommitments – three-star linebacker Dillan Lawson (Crestview, FL), Bell and Adams – were spurned by the Gators, though the offensive line pledges who changed their minds did so completely on their own. Florida now has just 18 players committed for 2013 after having as many as 22 at one point.

Tags: , , , , ,

2013 CB Tre Bell winds up with Vanderbilt

Whether he switched his pledge to the Vanderbilt Commodores or the Florida Gators first decided to move on remains a point of contention. Either way three-star defensive back Tre Bell (Jersey City, NJ), who committed to Florida in early April, has instead committed to Vanderbilt as first reported by 247Sports.com early Saturday morning.

According to The Gainesville Sun:

A source close to the situation told The Sun that UF’s coaches wanted to see Bell in action this summer so they could critique his play, something several of Florida’s commits were required to do. But Bell never attended any of Florida’s camps in June and didn’t work out when he came down for Friday Nights Lights on July 27. [...] With many more highly rated corner prospects still left on the board, the Gators decided to part ways with the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder during his unofficial visit to UF on Aug. 2.

One of three prospects to commit to the Gators on April 7 while on his first-ever visit to the University of Florida for the 2012 Orange & Blue Debut, Bell was the 13th player to join the 2013 class at the time of his commitment.

His departure leaves Florida with 21 current 2013 commitments though the team will undoubtedly attempt to fill his spot with another defensive back.

Bell was the lowest-rated of the Gators’ four 2013 defensive back pledges, well behind five-star Vernon Hargreaves (Tampa, FL) and four-stars Nick Washington (Jacksonville, FL) and Keanu Neal (Bushnell, FL).

He is the second player in the last two months who was committed to Florida but wound up decommitting or getting dropped by the team for one reason or another.

Three-star linebacker Dillan Lawson (Crestview, FL), one of six players to commit to the Gators at the team’s Junior Day on Feb. 18, reportedly had academic issues and decided to look for greener pastures after a conversation with the coaches.

Two other Florida’s commitments – four-star wide receiver Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, FL) and three-star offensive lineman Roderick Johnson (Delray Beach, FL) – recently told InsidetheGators.com that the level of their commitment to the Gators is murky after the resignation of wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill.

Both players, who remain committed but have opened up their recruitments, had both reportedly been told by Florida that their academic standings must improve.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

8/8: Pease on Gators’ QB battle, team’s progress

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease had plenty to say after the first few days of fall practice and did exactly that on Wednesday afternoon. Pease discussed the quarterback situation, specific players and some of his general philosophies.

TWO MEN ENTER, NO ONE LEAVES?

Asked how difficult it would be to tell either of his sophomore quarterbacks that they will not be starting for the Gators, Pease admitted that it would not be an easy thing to do but noted that he has plenty of experience and perspective handling such situations.

“It’s hard because kids take things so negatively that it’s like you’re saying they’re not good enough. That’s not the case. I really believe we got two or three kids here that we can win football games with,” he said. “You hopefully develop more depth and you can believe in all your quarterbacks. Some of it is experience with a freshman kid coming in.

“It’s hard. I’ve been in that role. I’ve been told that situation and that’s probably how I took it not understanding that my day will come. For whatever reason, whoever it is, the other guy has got to always be ready. He’s going to be the most popular guy in town anyway. You never know when your opportunity is.”

One thing Pease is not worried about is whether Jacoby Brissett or Jeff Driskel would transfer out of Florida if they do not win the job on day one.

“I don’t handle that,” he said. “If that’s what they want to do, they do it. I’ll tell you this: These kids are competitive. They’ve worked hard. They want to go out and play. They’re about this team; they’re about this university. I sense none of that.

“If they find out that’s the situation that doesn’t work for them, then I’m for them because they’re good kids and I’ll do anything to help them as well as Coach [Will] Muschamp would.”

That is assuming, of course, that one of them does win the job and the Gators do not use two quarterbacks in 2012, something that Pease did not discount whatsoever.

“If their role is good enough to fit into what we can do and [we can] use them in multiple situations [then we will],” he said. “Whatever they can do to help the team and make more weapons on the field or make more situations that defenses have to defend.”

Read the rest of what Pease had to say about the offense on Wednesday…
Continue Reading » 8/8: Pease on Gators’ QB battle, team’s progress

Tags: , , , , , ,

 Page 1 of 5  1  2  3  4  5 »