Notre Dame C Wenger may transfer to Florida

Granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after sustaining two concussions during fall practice in 2010, Notre Dame Fighting Irish center Dan Wenger has decided he would rather spend his final season in college elsewhere. According to the South Bend Tribune, Wenger requested and received an unconditional release from head coach Brian Kelly and has his sights set on joining the Florida Gators.

Should a transfer to Florida be accepted by the university, Wenger would reunite with offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and offensive line coach Frank Verducci, the two men who originally recruited him to the Irish.

Kelly accepted Wenger’s transfer because ND doctors would not clear him to play. “The young man still wants to play, and I’m not going to stand in the way,” he told the Tribune.

In order to be immediately eligible and avoid sitting out a transfer season, Wenger would have to find a graduate degree program offered at UF but not currently available at Notre Dame. He is a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Coral Springs, FL) and started 13 games at center for the Irish in 2008.

Redshirt junior Sam Robey is currently listed as the Gators’ starting center. Should Wenger transfer, he would most likely be a reserve if he is able to be cleared medically.

OGGOA will update this story when more information is made available.

Photo Credit: ChicagoNow/Unknown

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Poll Reviews: NCAAs, Edwards, 5-stars, coaches

Over the past two weeks, OGGOA asked you to participate in four polls. Ranging from how you thought Florida basketball would finish the season to what the biggest college football coaching news story was this offseason, your responses and votes came in record numbers. There were 1,940 combined votes (485 average – by far our highest ever) cast, and the results are in. Here is a quick review:
Continue Reading » Poll Reviews: NCAAs, Edwards, 5-stars, coaches

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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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FOUR BITS: Cincy ready, Boynton’s shooting

1 » One day after advancing to the finals of the Gator Holiday Classic with a dominating 62-35 win over the Southern Jaguars, Florida Gators women’s basketball (5-6) fell to the High Point Panthers (5-6) 75-68 at home in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Senior forward Sharielle Smith led the Gators with a team-high 11 points for the fifth double-double of her career (11 rebounds).

2 » Though they lost head coach Brian Kelly to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and their interim coach, Jeff Quinn, accepted the head job with the Buffalo Bulls, the Cincinnati Bearcats are playing better than ever, according to quarterback Tony Pike. “I think this has been our best week of practice this season,” Pike said. “It’s been a relief to get back on the field. The success we’ve had this season had been overshadowed by the other stuff.” The Bearcats and Gators will both descend on New Orleans, LA, on Saturday to begin practice for the 2010 Sugar Bowl.

3 » A five-star recruit coming out of high school, Florida freshman guard Kenny Boynton has already delighted fans with his exciting play and aggressive style. His shot selection, however, leaves much to be desired. Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun took a closer look at Boynton’s struggles – the freshman sensation is shooting only 37 percent from the floor and a measly 21.9 percent from beyond the arc. In the Gators’ loss last Saturday against the Richmond Spiders, Boynton was 0-6 from three-point range, some of which were simply bad shots. “Kenny may have taken some bad shots, but I think the same thing can be said of the rest of our team,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “Guys are going to have ups and downs. He’s got to have the freedom to take good shots, to take unchallenged shots.” While his shot selection may be questionable, one key to Boynton’s success in the backcourt is his penchant to hold onto the ball; he has a sterling 2.25 assist-to-turnover ratio.

4 » Though Donovan and his players are certainly not making excuses, one of the reason’s for Florida’s recent struggles on the court (aside from the high quality of opponents faced) are their injuries. Only six of the team’s 11 scholarship players are healthy, with the frontcourt being especially banged up. Junior forward Chandler Parsons (torn leg muscle), redshirt junior transfer center Vernon Macklin (pulled gluteus muscle) and sophomore C Kenny Kadji (back) will all likely be good-to-go Tuesday. Freshman F Erik Murphy (shoulder), on the other hand, may sit and rest. “Those kind of injuries that we have right now are similar to a lot of teams and what they go through,” Donovan said. “But there’s no question [that other teams] have a lot more depth than we do right now.”

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FOUR BITS: Baseball ranked, Buffalo hires coach

1 » The Florida Gators baseball team has been ranked No. 9 in Collegiate Baseball’s preseason top 40 poll released Sunday. 2009 SEC Eastern Division Champions, the Gators were 42-22 overall in 2009 and advanced to the NCAA Super Regional in the postseason. The only SEC team ranked higher in the poll is the LSU Tigers at No. 2.

2 » Florida women’s basketball (5-5) defeated the Southern Jaguars (6-3) 62-35 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Sunday in the first round of the Gator Holiday Classic. Sophomore center Azania Stewart scored a career-high 18 points as she led the Gators to victory. Florida will take on the High Point Panthers for the tournament title at 7 p.m. on Monday.

3 » Further fleecing the Cincinnati Bearcats staff, the Buffalo Bulls have hired Jeff Quinn (Cincinnati’s interim coach after Brian Kelly left for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish) as its new head coach. Though Quinn will not start until after the 2010 Sugar Bowl, his hiring spells relief for Gators fans who were hoping neither cornerbacks coach Vance Bedford nor quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler would be hired away for the job.

4 » Seniors quarterback Tim Tebow and softball pitcher Stacey Nelson, along with 28 other Florida student-athletes, graduated on Saturday. Here are two pictures:

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A whirlwind for Azzanni as Meyer still searches

Less than 24 hours after Billy Gonzales stepped down from his post to become the passing game coordinator for the LSU Tigers, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer had Zach Azzanni locked up as his new wide receivers coach. Soon after that, Azzanni did a 360 on the recruiting trail, leaving the Central Michigan Chippewas‘s prospects behind and focusing on the Gators’ targets.

For the past week, Azzanni has been feeling his way around – going on recruiting trips, meeting his new coaching mates, getting to know Florida’s current players and finding a place to live as he survives out of his suitcase. On Friday, he participated in his first practice and is still trying to get his feet on the ground. “It’s been a blur to me,” Azzanni told the press Friday. “It happened fast. I got a call last week and got off the road for Central Michigan and got on the road for the University of Florida. This is a dream job and a chance of a lifetime to come and coach with the defending National Champions, and I’m going to take it.”

Since he left CMU, Azzanni’s former head coach Butch Jones also vacated his position, replacing Brian Kelly as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats. The media immediately named Azzanni one of the top candidates to replace Jones, even though he had just accepted his new position with the Gators. While he could very well be under consideration, Azzanni has yet to be contacted about the position.

“Hey, that’s flattering,” he said of the speculation. “It’s my alma mater and a great place. But I’m a Gator and I’m here, let’s go. I have not been contacted by them. It’s just rumors and things I can’t control. I don’t know [if they will contact me]. I’m not going to speculate. I’m here wearing a Gator on my shirt and coaching the wideouts as hard as I can.”

Cornerbacks coach Lance Bedford and quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler have also been rumored as candidates for head coaching and coordinator jobs, but Meyer said he has not yet been contacted by any schools asking permission to speak with them. “I just hired a guy and I hear his name is up [for a head coaching job],” Meyer said. “I’ve been blessed with some great coaches. Eventually coach [Steve] Addazio will be a head coach. Charlie [Strong], you knew that was a matter of time. We just have to keep going. This is Florida and you should have great coaches.”

As far as filling Strong’s open defensive coordinator position, Meyer said he has not achieved much on that front. “I’ve been on the road. I just got back,” he said. “I’ve been working the phones and getting bombarded [by interview requests]. There are a lot of things to consider. I don’t want to comment [on who I might hire]. I’m still at the ground stages of it. It’s the puzzle, the alignment.”

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FOUR BITS: Riggs commits, Kelly, letdown, golf

1 » Florida Gators cornerbacks coach Vance Bedford visited the home of four-star CB recruit Cody Riggs (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Thursday night and earned the St. Thomas Aquinas High School product’s commitment, according to a report from Rivals. Bedford still taking visits and bringing back commitments is a strong indication that he may not leave the Gators as was previously reported by other sources.

2 » Former Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Brian Kelly, who has now accepted the same job with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, will not coach his former team in the 2010 Sugar Bowl against Florida, according to university administrators. In the few hours since Kelly’s announcement, Cincinnati players have already begun bashing him in the press. “I didn’t want to hear it,” star wide receiver Mardy Gilyard said. “I’m fairly disgusted with the situation – him letting it last this long. Hopefully he’ll pack his things up and get to South Bend in a hurry.”

3 » Gators players, including redshirt junior left guard Carl Johnson, are making sure the team is up and ready for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. “Winning [22] straight games in a row is not much of a letdown,” he said. “We had the nation’s [longest] win streak there for a while. We’ve still got a BCS bowl game. We’ve still got another opponent. It’s not much of a letdown.”

4 » Golfer Greg Norman will host a 12-team golf tournament on Friday at the Tiburon Golf Club and two of the main competitors in the contest are former Florida players. Mark Calcavecchia and Brian Gay will pair together in the $3 million tournament.

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