FOUR BITS: Miller, Young, Bre. Beal, J. Powell

1 » When Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James came together over the summer and decided to play for the Miami Heat, each made concessions in their maximum contracts in order to sign two others players – former Florida Gators power forward Udonis Haslem and guard/forward Mike Miller. Haslem, who injured his foot early in the season, has yet to play since and is a much-needed piece for Miami in the middle. Miller, who recovered from an offseason injury and has been seeing plenty of minutes with the Heat, is simply not playing up to snuff. His 5.6 points per game, 39.9 field goal percentage and 69.7 free throw percentage are career lows, and he is also hitting only 36.4 percent of his three-point attempts (second-worst of his career). What Miller has done is stepped up his rebounding and defense, but Miami will need his shooting stroke to improve if they hope to make a title run.

2 » There is no doubting Florida defensive line coach Bryant Young’s 14-year NFL career. He’s played in the Super Bowl, been named to multiple Pro Bowls and has garnered numerous other honors throughout his career. But as a football coach? Young is just getting started and told University of Florida senior writer Scott Carter that he specifically wanted to coach in college rather than the pros. “Being on this level, you really have a chance to help shape and mold a young man,’’ Young said. “That was really intriguing to me. The game is a little different but still competitive. We are all trying to win, but the message could be a little different in terms of steering a young man in the right direction and helping them realize they have a bright future ahead of them. They are able to go to school and their athletic ability has afforded them a free education. I think the message that needs to be clear is that it’s important that they understand that they need to secure their future by getting their degree.’’

You can check out the rest of the feature story by clicking here, though some choice quotes from Young have been republished below:

Q: What have you learned in your first two years as a college coach that’s different from the NFL?
A: Definitely patience [laughter]. I think on any level you need patience, more so in high school than in college, but on the college level you still have to have patience. In the league, you expect the guys to know it a little bit more. But in college you are really teaching them some things they may not already know or reinforcing some things they might know a little.

Q: What’s your initial impression of the Gators’ defensive linemen?
A: Young and not a veteran group. The guys are eager to learn and they are doing everything that you ask them. They are coachable and they want it. I’m excited for them. It’s a fresh start for them and just learning each guy in the group and understanding who I am and building that trust. It’s a fun group.

3 » Transferring from the Gators after last season, linebacker Brendan Beal immediately found a home with the Minnesota Gophers and is getting ready to finally step on the field this fall. In an interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Beal said his experience at Florida will help him at Minnesota. “I was around the best,” he said. “I’ve been around guys like [Tim Tebow] and Brandon Spikes. I was there for the national championship. I know what it takes. I know we have the ingredients to be successful. I just want to fill that middle linebacker role and be the quarterback of the defense.” He also spoke about trying to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Gainesville, FL. “I had never experienced a traumatic injury like that; I never got hurt in high school,” Beal said. “I was doubting myself. I didn’t know what I was going to do. So, yeah, a sports psychologist helped me out a lot. I took a whole new different approach to life.”

4 » According to Rivals Florida recruiting analyst Chris Nee, the Alabama Crimson Tide and head coach Nick Saban are heavily pursuing Gators four-star 2012 linebacker commitment Jeremi Powell (Largo, FL). Powell is also receiving a lot of interest from the Tennessee Volunteers and will probably take trips to both schools even though he remains solid to Florida at this time.

Late Wednesday, Powell spoke with Mark Wheeler of InsideTheGators.com and had this to say about his commitment: “I’m about 99% committed to Florida. I’m going to go to Alabama to see a game, because they want me to, but like I told them, I’m Florida, I’m all Florida. I’ve never been out of the state of Florida in my life. Ever. I’m going to go on my visits if they are going to pay for them. Why wouldn’t I go on a free trip? It’s an opportunity to travel and see other places.”

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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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TWO BITS: Beal to Minnesota, Florida loses Hale

1 » Following up on OGGOA’s exclusive report from May 12 stating that former Florida Gators linebacker Brendan Beal would be transferring to another school, it has now been confirmed the former four-star high school recruit will be playing for the Minnesota Gophers in 2011-12 after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer regulations. Beal, who received a medical hardship redshirt from the NCAA, will actually have three years of eligibility left when he finally suits up for Minnesota. Asked by GopherHole.com to comment on his reason for transferring out of Florida, Beal declined. “Sorry, I would not like to comment on that,” he said.

2 » Though the Gators were only one of his 17 scholarship offers, Florida (along with Penn State) was in the final three for four-star defensive tackle Joel Hale (Greenwood, IN). Unfortunately for head coach Urban Meyer, Hale publicly committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes Monday evening, becoming the school’s second commit in under a week. At 6’4” and 290 lbs., Hale’s commitment is No. 14 for the Buckeyes, one that will help them immediately get more athletic on the front line.

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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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OGGOA’s 2010 Orange & Blue Debut news, notes

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice sessions now complete, there was plenty of newsworthy information coming out from the 2010 Orange & Blue Debut on Sat., April 10. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. Football returns in full-force in the summer.

Check out OGGOA’s full coverage of the 2010 Orange & Blue Debut…
Continue Reading » OGGOA’s 2010 Orange & Blue Debut news, notes

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Gators spring practice news and notes – 04/03

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 a team scrimmage from Sat., April 3.

Absences/Injuries:
» Redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody was injured for the second time this spring. Having just returned after missing two practices due to an ankle injury, Moody hurt his right quad, left the field in pain and did not return to action. Initial thoughts are that the injury is not serious.

Scrimmage happenings:
» In the team’s second scrimmage of the spring, the defense one again outshined the offense with a 41-35 “victory.”

» Freshman quarterback Trey Burton dominated the scrimmage with two touchdown passes to redshirt senior wide receiver Carl Moore including a 64-yarder at the end. As OGGOA wrote Friday, it appears as if QB coach Scot Loeffler has really fine-tuned Burton’s throwing motion in a very short period of time. Backing up redshirt junior John Brantley is less and less of a concern with each passing practice.

» Speaking of Brantley, he threw an interception to senior safety Ahmad Black. He was rushed in the pocket all day due to a weak offensive line that is missing a few starters who are sitting out for mostly precautionary reasons.

» Redshirt sophomore defensive linemen Omar Hunter and Earl Okine and junior William Green all sacked Brantley.

» “The defense is playing disruptive football under new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Linebackers [redshirt sophomore] Brendan Beal and [sophomore] Jon Bostic each recorded rather loud hits on a running back. Black’s interception was reminiscent of his play against Oklahoma when ripping the ball from a receiver’s hands.” (Fowler/OS)

Other notes:
» Former center Maurkice Pouncey attended practice.

Special thanks to the Orlando Sentinel for the information above.

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Linebackers Jenkins, Edwards making strides

Redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins felt a sense of frustration not being able to get on the field for the Florida Gators last season. Between the deep group of players in front of him and a lingering ankle injury that allowed him to acquire a redshirt, the adversity facing Jenkins made him stronger. The former five-star recruit is getting that aggression out in spring practice, proving not only that he deserves plenty of playing time in 2010 but that he should be getting it as a starter.

Jenkins has been getting work at all three linebacker positions but has spent the last few practices primarily working as the starter on the inside. He has been drawing rave reviews from defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and linebackers coach D.J. Durkin, among others.

“He’s a guy who is going to be on the field as much as possible,” Durkin told The Gaineville Sun. “He has dynamic speed and is an explosive-type player that we need to get out there. He’s making a lot of plays and seeing things really well right now. He’s a guy we’re going to try and have on the field as much as possible.”

Seeing as Durkin believes the linebacker corps as a whole is “definitely a strength” for the team, it should come as no surprise that the coaches are doing whatever it takes to get the best players on the field regardless of position. Like Jenkins, senior Lorenzo Edwards (a fellow five-star recruit) is flashing this spring, showing great improvement.

“Lorenzo has had a great spring. He’s really impressed us,” Durkin said. “He’s making a lot of plays and playing all three spots for us. He provides a lot for our team right now. I haven’t been here for every spring, but the coaches who have, they say it’s the best spring he’s had.”

Edwards has mostly been a special teams player for the Gators throughout his career but could be in line for increased playing time as a second-team linebacker. Should Jenkins continue to dominate, he would join senior Brandon Hicks and redshirt senior A.J. Jones as the starters. Sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt sophomore Brendan Beal would likely be the top reserves with Edwards seeing action as well.

Photo Credit: Rick Dole/Getty Images, Unknown

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