Gator Bites for Feb. 27 – NFL Combine Edition

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.

» Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow stepped to the podium Friday at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine for media interviews. Though OGGOA has the full audio version, here are some individual notes from his press conference:

  • A writer handed Tebow a pad and pen as a joke, to which he signed it and gave it back to him. Apparently this was unexpected by said writer.
  • “People don’t realize there have been a lot of hurdles in my life. Scrutiny is something you have to deal with. I just have a little more motivation added on top. For so many people to care, I look at it as a blessing.”
  • Tebow once again mentioned that he only wishes to play quarterback in the NFL.
  • On changing his throwing motion at Florida; “It was something we talked about, but we had some success there the first two years. I worked on it for sure with the great coaching I had at Florida. But we were running a different system. It doesn’t correlate to what I’m doing now.”
  • “I’ll do whatever you ask me to do. And I’ll do it with all my heart. And I’ll do it over and over again.”
  • On his new throwing motion: “I’m just trying not to have that long loop in my delivery. The release point is no different. I talked to a lot of quarterback coaches, and some of them told me I should wait until after the draft or the combine. But I’m someone who is raring to go. I’m not scared about what anybody has to say.”

Much more on Tebow, Cooper, James, Pouncey and Hernandez after the break!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Feb. 27 – NFL Combine Edition

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Gators at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine – Day 3

ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive will be covering the 10 former Florida Gators players who have been officially invited to participate in the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) in Indianapolis, IN, at Lucas Oil Stadium each day.

Day three of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine featured the arrival of Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and wide receivers Riley Cooper and Brandon James. Each was measured, completed exams, met with the media, underwent psychological tests and continued their team interviews. All three players arrived Thursday for registration, pre-exams, x-rays, orientation and the first round of interviews.

Tebow, Cooper and James, who will remain on the same schedule throughout the week, have a meeting with the NFLPA on Saturday along with more psychological tests and interviews. Sunday, they will complete the combine workout (timing, stations, skill drills).

Quarterback Tim Tebow (Group 05, QB19)
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 236 lbs.
Arm Length: 31 3/4 in.
Hand Size: 10 1/8 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: Probably the best college quarterback of all-time, Tebow comes into the combine with questions about his mechanics and ability to succeed in the NFL. He has undergone extensive work to change his throwing motion and footwork and has chosen not to throw over the weekend (though he will compete in other drills and exercises). Tebow has a strong arm, is quick in and out of the pocket and has a great football mind.
Strengths: Size, speed, athleticism, intelligence, competitive, productive, high-character
Weaknesses: Accuracy, release, mechanics

Wide receiver Riley Cooper (Group 04, WO12)
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 222 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 5/8 in.
Hand Size: 10 3/8 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: The top receiver on the Gators in 2009, Cooper was Tebow’s favorite target and wowed scouts with his size and skills at the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl. Has work to do in order to be an NFL WR, but scouts believe he has the capability of being molded to fit a system.
Strengths: Size, strength, athleticism, leaping ability, hands, intelligence, high-character
Weaknesses: Speed, explosion, separation, blocking

Wide receiver Brandon James (Group 04, WO19)
Height: 5’6″
Weight: 176 lbs.
Arm Length: 29 3/4 in.
Hand Size: 8 3/4 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: Excelling as a return specialist at Florida, James also played a little running back and wide receiver but is at a disadvantage because of his size. He has numerous qualities that may allow him to continue returning on the professional level.
Strengths: Speed, acceleration, vision, judgment, body control, elusiveness
Weaknesses: Height, strength, unpolished

Touching down in Indianapolis, IN, Friday were linebacker Brandon Spikes (Group 09, LB30) and defensive ends Carlos Dunlap (Group 07, DL13) and Jermaine Cunningham (Group 07, DL09). Cornerback Joe Haden (Group 10, DB20) and safety Major Wright (Group 11, DB58) will check in at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday.

Read about each player’s day-to-day schedule in Indianapolis after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gators at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine – Day 3

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Gators at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine – Day 2

ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive will be covering the 10 former Florida Gators players who have been officially invited to participate in the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) in Indianapolis, IN, at Lucas Oil Stadium each day.

Day two of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine was lackluster overall, as it featured only two Florida Gators – center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Aaron Hernandez – getting measured, completing exams, meeting with the media, undergoing psychological tests and continuing their team interviews. Both players had arrived Wednesday for registration, pre-exams, x-rays, orientation and the first round of interviews.

Pouncey and Hernandez, who will remain on the same schedule throughout the week, have a meeting with the NFLPA on Friday along with additional psychological tests and interviews. Saturday, they will complete the combine workout (timing, stations, skill drills).

Center Maurkice Pouncey (Group 02, OL33)
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 304 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 1/2 in.
Hand Size: 10 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: Able to play both center and guard, Pouncey is one of the most versatile players at the combine. Expected to be the top center picked in the 2010 NFL Draft, he is big enough to take on nose tackles yet quick enough to face 4-3 defensive tackles, too.
Strengths: Size, quickness, versatility, awareness, balance, leverage
Weaknesses: Durability due to torn labrum surgery, finishing blocks

Tight end Aaron Hernandez (Group 03, TE13)
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 245 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 1/4 in.
Hand Size: 9 3/4 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: Considered undersized for his position, Hernandez is projected as a combo TE/H-back. He is athletic enough to catch passes and turn them into big gains but may experience problems against more physical defenders or while run-blocking.
Strengths: Athleticism, speed, hands, leaping ability
Weaknesses: Size, strength

Touching down in Indianapolis, IN, Thursday were quarterback Tim Tebow (Group 05, QB19) and wide receivers Riley Cooper (Group 04, WO12) and Brandon James (Group 04, WO19). Linebacker Brandon Spikes (Group 09, LB30), defensive end Carlos Dunlap (Group 07, DL13) and DE Jermaine Cunningham (Group 07, DL09) will check in at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, while cornerback Joe Haden (Group 10, DB20) and safety Major Wright (Group 11, DB58) will begin the process Sunday.

Read about each player’s day-to-day schedule in Indianapolis after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gators at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine – Day 2

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Ten Gators invited to 2010 NFL Scouting Combine

ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive has learned that 10 former Florida Gators players have been officially invited to participate in the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) in Indianapolis, IN, at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 24 to March 2, consists of more than 300 players being put through a series of drills, tests and interviews while more than 600 NFL personnel in attendance including coaching staffs, executives, player personnel and medical staff look on and evaluate each of them. It amounts to the final job interview these athletes will participate in before the 2010 NFL Draft commences on April 22.

The 10 former Gators student-athletes participating in the combine include:

Seniors
Quarterback Tim Tebow – Group: 05; Camp: QB19
Wide receiver Riley Cooper – Group: 04; Camp: WO12
Wide receiver Brandon James – Group: 04; Camp: WO19
Linebacker Brandon Spikes = Group: 09; Camp: LB30
Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham – Group: 07; Camp: DL09

Juniors
Cornerback Joe Haden – Group: 10; Camp: DB20
Defensive end Carlos Dunlap – Group: 07; Camp: DL13
Safety Major Wright – Group 11; Camp DB58
Tight end Aaron Hernandez – Group: 03; Camp: TE13
Center Maurkice Pouncey – Group: 02; Camp: OL33

Read about each player’s day-to-day schedule in Indianapolis after the jump!
Continue Reading » Ten Gators invited to 2010 NFL Scouting Combine

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FOUR BITS: NFL Combine, Strong poaches recruit

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, linebacker Ryan Stamper, defensive end Jermaine Cunningham and kick returner Brandon James have received invites to the 2010 NFL Combine. Juniors who have declared for the 2010 NFL Draft have yet to receive invitations, but fans can expect DE Carlos Dunlap, cornerback Joe Haden, tight end Aaron Hernandez and safety Major Wright to participate in the event from Feb. 24 to March 2 in Indianapolis, IN.

2 » Three-star athlete Marcus Smith (Columbus, GA) had an outstanding scholarship offer from Florida and was prepared to take it…that is until Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong came calling. “If Louisville would have never been in the mix, I would have probably went to Florida,” Smith told the Courier-Journal. “But I’m glad Louisville came into the mix. I like coach Strong a lot, and I really wanted to play for coach Strong. Louisville is a great program. He wants me to play quarterback, he established that during our talk this morning. To tell you the truth, I just want to play, so I am good wherever he wants me.” Upon taking his position with the Cardinals, Strong said he would not poach recruits the Gators were interested in unless they initiated contact.

3 » The Gators hosted their biggest remaining recruiting weekend the past few days and a number of both committed and undecided prospects came away impressed. Four-star running back Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA), who at one point was wavering after head coach Urban Meyer announced his leave of absence, solidified his recruitment after getting extensive time with new running backs coach Stan Drayton. Brown also told Adam Gorney of Rivals that Meyer may return as soon as March. “He looked pretty fine to me,” Brown said. “He looked healthy. I know he wants to coach, so I know he’s going to be there. He’s going to take a couple weeks off in February, but he’ll be back.” Fellow four-star recruits offensive tackle Chaz Green (Tampa, FL) and wide receiver Christian Green (Tampa, FL) raved to numerous sources about their respective experiences.

4 » Coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers with just two seconds remaining in the game, the Florida women’s basketball team gained a bit of revenge by taking down the Mississippi State Bulldogs 55-52 on the road on Sunday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum. Sophomore guard Trumae Lucas scored seven points off of the bench in the waning minutes while senior forward Sharielle Smith led the Gators with 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting while also grabbing seven boards.

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Grading the Florida vs. Cincinnati game

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive grades the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the final game of their season, the 2010 Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, LA.

QUARTERBACKS: A+
When the best player in school history plays the best game of his career in the final game of his career, it is tough not to give him an “A+” grade. And that is exactly what senior quarterback Tim Tebow has earned – not just for his outstanding performance Friday evening but for his career in the Orange and Blue. Pick your poison: was it the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award he was given before the game, the Sugar Bowl record 12 consecutive completions, the career-long 80-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Riley Cooper, the Sugar Bowl and BCS bowl game record 533 yards of total offense, the Sugar Bowl/BCS record 482 passing yards, the 31 completions which set a new Sugar Bowl record, the Sugar Bowl high four touchdowns or the 88.6 completion percentage that set a BCS record? The answer, of course, is “all of the above.”

RUNNING BACKS: A-
Tebow was once again the leading ball carrier for the Gators with 14 touches for 51 yards and a touchdown, but both redshirt junior Emmanuel Moody and redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey came up big throughout the game. Moody rushed eight times for only 14 yards but scored two touchdowns on the ground (he also had four receptions for 19 yards) while Rainey caught four passes for 71 yards and ran four times for 27 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Mike Gillislee cleaned up at the end of the fourth quarter and took a ball 52 yards for a final line of five carries for 78 yards. Sophomore Jeff Demps, the true starter, left the game after he dislocated his elbow on his third rush of the game. Though the attempts and yards were not there, three rushing touchdowns brought this unit up a half-grade.

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the Sugar Bowl after the jump…
Continue Reading » Grading the Florida vs. Cincinnati game

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Too sweet! No. 5 Florida Gators savor Sugar Bowl

Coming of a week filled with seemingly endless questions and distractions, the No. 5 Florida Gators (13-1) eased tensions and erased any doubts (at least temporarily) with a dominating 51-24 victory over the No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats (12-1) in the 2010 Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome.

In the final game of his college career, Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow went 31-of-35 for a career-high 482 yards passing and three touchdowns through the air. He also carried the ball 14 times for 51 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Completing his first twelve passes in what was arguably the best performance of his entire career, Tebow finished with 533 total yards – more than anyone in both BCS and Sugar Bowl history. Tebow’s three touchdown passes went to senior wide receiver Riley Cooper, junior tight end Aaron Hernandez and redshirt sophomore WR Deonte Thompson.

“It was incredible,” Tebow said of his third BCS bowl game victory. “Just a great game. It was exactly how you want to go out with these seniors and these coaches in your last game and your last time together. It just really doesn’t get any better than this.”

Cooper caught seven passes for a career-high 181 yards, Hernandez brought in nine balls for 111 yards and Thompson snagged five for 63 yards. Redshirt sophomore running back Chris Rainey caught four passes for 71 yards; he also rushed four times for 27 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt junior transfer RB Emmanuel Moody had the first two touchdown game of his career though freshman RB Mike Gillislee ended up as the team’s leading rusher (79 yards) after taking a hand-off for 52 yards in the fourth quarter.

Defensively, junior cornerback Joe Haden once again shut down his assignment, allowing Bearcats senior wide receiver Mardy Gilyard to gain only 41 yards. Florida’s pass rush and blitzing was on-point all night, holding Cincinnati senior QB Tony Pike to 27-of-45 passing for 170 yards. Pike, however, completed three touchdown passes after the game was out of hand. Junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap earned two of the team’s three sacks on Pike, the secondary had numerous interception opportunities and senior linebacker Brandon Spikes was flying around the ball all evening.

The Gators outgained the Bearcats 660-to-246 in total yardage, though the time of possession battle was close to even because Florida scored quickly. The Gators’ 660 yards was also a Sugar Bowl record. With the win, Florida became the first school in Football Bowl Subdivision history to win 13 games in consecutive seasons.

Going into the game, the Gators were without senior kick returner Brandon James (foot), redshirt junior LB A.J. Jones (knee) and redshirt junior defensive tackle Terron Sanders (hip), though additional injuries piled up before and during the game. Junior center Maurkice Pouncey spent five hours in the hospital earlier in the day passing a kidney stone and left the game in the second half to pass another. Sophomore RB Jeff Demps dislocated his elbow early on and redshirt junior left guard Carl Johnson hurt his shoulder. Sophomore CB Janoris Jenkins and redshirt senior LB Ryan Stamper were both down on the field for a while but would return to action.

Gators head coach Urban Meyer, who resigned on Saturday before changing his mind and deciding to take a leave of absence instead on Sunday, said at the trophy presentation after the game that he hoped to return to the sidelines for the 2010 season. “I plan on being the coach of the Gators,” Meyer said. On Tebow, Meyer said he “will go down as one of the great players, if not the greatest player, in college football [history].” Tebow won the game’s Most Outstanding Player Award, thanking the coaches, his teammates and Gator Nation while accepting it on the podium. He took a moment to specifically thank Meyer for making him a Gator, telling him that he loved him and hugging him.

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BCS: 2010 SUGAR BOWL – (New Orleans, LA) – No. 5 Florida Gators vs. No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats

Location: Louisiana Superdome – New Orleans, LA [Capacity: 72,968]
Time: 8:30 p.m. (EST)
Weather Forecast: N/A

TV: FOX / FOXHD
Sirius: 120; XM: 140

No. 5 Florida Gators No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Interim Head Coach: Jeff Quinn
Record: 12-1 Record: 12-0
Division: SEC East Division: Big East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -13, O/U 57
Head-to-Head Stats: Gainesville Sun

KEEP AN EYE ON…
- Florida’s 2009 senior class…the winningest group in Southeastern Conference history with a 47-7 overall record. The seniors will be playing in their third BCS game and fourth January bowl in four years.
- Seniors quarterback Tim Tebow and linebacker Brandon Spikes…two of the best players in school history who do not wish for their last memories in the Orange and Blue to be back-to-back losses.
- Junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap…who is returning from suspension for a DUI and, according to coaches, is raring to make up for his mistake to his teammates, coaches and Gator Nation. It is undecided if Dunlap will start.
- Junior cornerback Joe Haden and wide receiver Mardy Gilyard…who will face-off in what could potentially be the match-up of the game between one of the best CBs and one of the best WRs in the nation. Haden has already been a menace to Alabama Crimson Tide WR Julio Jones and Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green this season.
- Head coach Urban Meyer…who is 3-0 in BCS bowls and a combined 5-1 in his career in bowl games. Meyer and his wife Shelley both attended the University of Cincinnati. As a player for the Bearcats, Meyer faced the Gators in the teams’ only previous meeting, a 48-17 Florida victory on Oct. 20, 1984.
- Experienced players…the Gators feature 19 starters and 44 players who saw action in the 2009 BCS National Championship.

STREAKS:
- The Gators are appearing in a bowl game for the 19th straight season, the second-longest active streak in the nation. Friday’s game is Florida’s sixth appearance in a BCS bowl game and eighth appearance in the Sugar Bowl.
- Though the Gators are 5-1 against teams from the state of Ohio (1-1 in bowl games), they are only 7-3-2 all-time against the Big East.
- Florida has allowed 15 touchdowns this season, tied for fewest in the nation; the 11.5 points per game it allows ranks No. 3 in the country.
- The Gators are the only team in the country that has posted over 2,800 rushing and passing yards and are only one of four teams in the nation to score at least 25 rushing and passing touchdowns.
- Florida’s defense has recorded interceptions in 11 of 13 games and 23 of 25 games.
- The Gators have not lost back-to-back games since Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, 2007.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. Cincinnati Bearcats preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » BCS: 2010 SUGAR BOWL – (New Orleans, LA) – No. 5 Florida Gators vs. No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats

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