Breakdown: 2008 Florida Gators – one of the greatest teams in college football history

Former Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer opined during a football camp last week that his 2008 squad, winners of the 2009 BCS Championship, were the best team in the history of college football.

Though measuring such a claim is near-impossible, Meyer can rightly boast that his 2008 roster and coaching staff were supremely special.

One-fourth of the Gators’ official 120-man roster – which includes walk-ons – has either played a game in the NFL or is currently under contract with a team in the league.

Florida’s roster had 19 players eventually selected in the NFL Draft including six first-round picks, five second-round picks, a third-round pick, two fourth-round picks, four fifth-round picks and a seventh-round pick. Only three of those draft selections are no longer in the league (for a variety of reasons, see table).

Additionally, a total of 11 players signed after the process as undrafted free agents have either played in the NFL or are currently a member of an NFL roster.

UF’s success did not stop at the players on the field.

Continue Reading » Breakdown: 2008 Florida Gators – one of the greatest teams in college football history

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

12 Gator Bites for Wednesday, January 22

From time to time, OnlyGators.com will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Returns from the first two days of practice ahead of the 2014 Senior Bowl have been positive for the three Florida Gators in attendance with cornerback and OnlyGators.com Path to the Draft blogger Jaylen Watkins drawing the most rave reviews on Tuesday. “Watkins balled out today,” said Scout.com’s Jamie Newberg. “Had [a] pick, caused fumble & at least five [pass breakups].” Concurred CBSSports.com’s Dane Brugler: “Watkins is one of the better players here that isn’t much talked about. I’m a big fan.” An AFC scout in attendance at the practices told OnlyGators.com that his team already has Watkins pegged as a potential second day draft selection.

» The first day of the inaugural all-star draft for the 2014 Pro Bowl was held on Tuesday with Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey going off the board as the first player chosen at his position. He will play for Team (Deion) Sanders. The second half of the draft will be held on Wednesday with Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden waiting to be picked.

» San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald tore his biceps tendon in Week 6 but played through the injury all the way up until his team fell in the NFC Championship on Sunday. Now done for the season, McDonald is scheduled to have the tendon reattached with a surgery upcoming, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Check out NINE more Gators news bites…after the break!
Continue Reading » 12 Gator Bites for Wednesday, January 22

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

Tim Tebow kicks off relationship with ESPN

ESPN announced a new relationship with former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow on Dec. 30, 2013, one which will feature the Heisman Trophy-winning signal caller as an analyst on the new SEC Network’s College GameDay spin-off show SEC Nation beginning on Aug. 28, 2014.

While the debut of that program is still nearly nine months away, the network’s latest association with Tebow actually kicked off this week with ESPN first airing a special feature on Tebow the football player before having him don a suit to serve as an analyst on the network’s all-day coverage of the 2014 BCS National Championship.

“A month ago I got a call from Tim Tebow, asking me to come down to USC where he’s been training and give him a brutally honest evaluation of where he’s at,” began former NFL quarterback and now Tebow’s fellow ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer in the intro to Tebow’s video feature. “And as we all know, this past week, ESPN and Tim agreed upon a deal for him to work with the SEC Network. However, he has not given up on his dream of playing quarterback in the National Football League. My job was to go down there and see if he can now pass well enough for that dream to become a reality.


“Well, I spend 365 days of the year looking at quarterbacks – high school, college, pros – and I don’t have all the answers. I do know this,” Dilfer began in his outro from the feature. “If you put Tim Tebow on a football field right now with four other NFL quarterbacks and you don’t know who they were and you just watched the ball – don’t watch the player, just watch the ball – you wouldn’t know which one was Tim Tebow and you wouldn’t know which one was another NFL quarterback.

“I want you to understand this in this context: This is one of the greatest players that ever played college football and he didn’t know how to pass. I believe now he knows how to pass. Every GM, every scout, every personnel person out there should go at least watch Tim Tebow now because it’s a different guy.”

The day after the video aired, on Jan. 6, 2014, Tebow sat behind ESPN’s desk for the first time as an analyst. He was first introduced as the newest member of the Worldwide Leader in Sports before being asked by the future host of SEC Nation, Joe Tessitore, about Texas hiring former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong as head coach.

Continue Reading » Tim Tebow kicks off relationship with ESPN

Tags: , , , ,

Florida flips Louisville OL commit Harkless

A Louisville Cardinals commitment since April 16, 2013, three-star offensive tackle Kavaris Harkless (Jacksonville, FL) has decided to flip allegiances and will instead join the Florida Gators as an early enrollee.

According to InsidetheGators.com recruiting analyst Blake Alderman, who cited one of the prospect’s coaches at Trinity Christian High School, Harkless will enroll in classes on Monday and join Florida for spring practice.

The Gators first offered Harkless, rated a four-star prospect by ESPN, in December and immediately became the highest-profile team to do so. Though Harkless was 100 percent committed to the Cardinals, he began considering his options at that time and has now made the switch just one day after Louisville head coach Charlie Strong decided to leave the program for Texas.

Recruited by head coach Will Muschamp and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, Harkless (6-foot-5, 269 pounds) is an important commitment for Florida, which needs to add quality depth along the offensive line.

He is the Gators’ 20th commitment this recruiting cycle and second in the last four days.

Harkless will join Florida along with six other early enrollees including four-star quarterback Will Grier (Davidson, NC), four-star cornerback Duke Dawson (Cross City, FL), four-star tight end DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, KS), four-star OL Nolan Kelleher (Mount Pleasant, SC), three-star DE Taven Bryan (Casper, WY) and three-star JUCO OL Drew Sarvary (Tallahassee, FL).

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

Charlie Strong officially named Texas head coach

Updated on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Former Florida Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals for the last four seasons, officially accepted the same job with the Texas Longhorns on Saturday night.

According to SI.com, Texas and Strong came to an agreement on a five-year deal worth approximately $5 million per season.

Horns247 first reported Friday that Strong decided to take over for Mack Brown, who coached the Longhorns from 1998-2013, and the school officially announced his arrival on Sunday with a press conference scheduled for Monday.

A respected defensive mind who spent 16 years as an assistant at Florida, Strong became a head coach for the first time in 2010 and has led Louisville to a 38-15 record (23-3 over the last two seasons).

“I’m excited and my family is excited to have the chance to lead one of the premier football programs in the country,” Strong said in the Texas press release announcing his hiring. “Texas is one of those places that is always on your radar and a program anyone would dream of being a part of because you have a chance to compete on a national level every year. It’s special because it has such great history, pride, tradition and passion for football.”

He added: “This was a difficult decision because the University of Louisville gave me my first opportunity as a head coach. I have so much respect for President [James] Ramsey and [athletic director] Tom Jurich. They have been great to me and my family, and it was very hard to say goodbye, but they know this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Strong served as a graduate assistant with the Gators from 1983-84, outside linebackers coach from 1988-89, assistant head coach and defensive tackles coach from 1991-94, and defensive coordinator from 2002-09. He worked under Charley Pell, Galen Hall, Gary Darnell, Steve Spurrier, Ron Zook and Urban Meyer at Florida and also served as interim head coach for the 2004 Peach Bowl (L 27-10).

Continue Reading » Charlie Strong officially named Texas head coach

Tags: , , ,

FOUR BITS: Evans, Reed, Strong, Kitchens

1 » Florida Gators redshirt junior right guard Jon Halapio (knee), redshirt sophomore right tackle Chaz Green (ankle) and redshirt sophomore linebacker Neiron Ball (ankle) all underwent arthroscopic surgery on Monday, according to the school. All are expected to be healthy enough to return to the field by March for spring practice.

2 » Florida senior safety Josh Evans told OGGOA on Tuesday that he has received an invitation to the 2013 NFL Combine as well as a projection from the league of being selected anywhere between the third and fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Evans is currently in Boca Raton, FL training for both the combine and the 2013 East/West Shrine Game. He has signed with agent Malik Shareef of Dimensional Sports, Inc. Friend of OGGOA Darren Heitner also reported Tuesday that redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed has signed with agent Mike George of SFX Sports Group.

3 » One player who will not be on the field for the Gators this spring is senior offensive/defensive lineman Nick Alajajian. After fracturing his right knee back in August, Alajajian missed the entire 2012 season. He has spent most of the year tweeting about returning to football, but a Florida spokesperson told GatorCountry.com’s Mike Capshaw that Alajajian did not apply for a medical hardship and therefore he has no more eligibility and his career is over. He earned one start in 32 games over four years, the first three of which he spent on the offensive line before transitioning to defense prior to the 2012 season.

4 » Just moments after the conclusion of the 2013 Sugar Bowl, Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong was swarmed by family, friends, reporters and his players as he celebrated his team’s victory. Also stopping by to congratulate Strong after the game were some of his Gators including redshirt senior left guard James Wilson, redshirt senior defensive tackle Omar Hunter, redshirt senior linebacker Lerentee McCray and senior LB Jon Bostic (likely among others). Check out the video below.

Extra BIT » Friend of OGGOA Whitney Holtzman snapped the below picture of junior LB Darrin Kitchens staying on the field to sing the alma mater with the band at the conclusion of the Sugar Bowl. We retweeted the picture moments after Holtzman posted it on Twitter and within a short period of time it went viral with her shot being picked up nationally. Kitchens himself quickly found out that his actions meant a lot to Florida fans and took to Twitter two days later to express his gratitude for the kind words that were sent to him via the social networking service. “I’m touched. I didn’t think my gesture would impact so many people. I’m honored to have made so many of you proud. God is to be praised ,” he wrote.

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

Snell’s Slant: What the hell happened to Florida?

A three-year starter for the Florida Gators who played under Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, former guard Shannon Snell has joined OGGOA as a football columnist to provide his unique perspective on the team throughout the 2012 season. Snell, who played in 46 games over four seasons and started 36 contests, was named a First Team All-American by Sporting News in 2003 and spent two seasons in the NFL.

What in the world happened to Florida? The last time we saw this team, it was hitting Florida State in the mouth and running up and down the field on its in-state rival. On the flip side, Louisville looked as if it did not even belong in a BCS bowl after losing two of its last three regular season games. It is truly amazing the difference one month can make. And it’s exactly why they play the game on the field and not on paper.

The Gators clearly got outcoached, outplayed and outsmarted in every phase of the 2013 Sugar Bowl on Wednesday. The Cardinals were obviously the more focused team on a night where both squads were being showcased on a national stage for the whole country to see. One team took advantage of the moment.

What was so amazing about Florida’s failure is that this team played the toughest schedule in the country and went 4-1 against teams ranked in the top of the BCS standings. All five of those teams were better than Louisville. That brings me back to my original question: What the hell happened? Why did a team so much better lose to a team that is definitely not at the same level?

Continue Reading » Snell’s Slant: What the hell happened to Florida?

Tags: , , , , , ,

1/2: Florida vs. Louisville post-Sugar Bowl report

No. 3 Florida Gators football (11-2) was upended in the 2013 Sugar Bowl on Wednesday as the No. 21 Louisville Cardinals (11-2) pulled off a 33-23 upset victory at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. Florida head coach Will Muschamp provided some of his thoughts after the game.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is now 5-2 all-time in BCS bowl games and had its school-record four-straight bowl winning streak snapped. The Gators are 3-6 all-time in the Sugar Bowl and suffered their first loss in the game since 2000. UF is now 20-20 all-time in bowl games and lost its first since the 2008 Capital One Bowl.
» Wednesday was the first time Louisville defeated Florida in program history (1-2).
» The Gators are 4-7 vs. ranked teams under Muschamp including 4-2 during the 2012 season. Florida is also 4-7 when trailing at the half under Muschamp but 4-2 in such instances this year.
» The 33 points given up to the Cardinals were the most allowed by the Gators this season. UF also had its largest deficit of the year in the game.
» Florida posted a -2 turnover margin in the game and has lost both games this season in which it did not win the turnover battle.
» The Gators totaled 20 interceptions on the season after registering eight in 2011.
» Florida wore blue jerseys and orange pants together for the first time since 1999 vs. FSU. UF is now 0-3 all-time in that uniform combination.
» Wednesday marked the Gators’ second loss under Muschamp when the defense held the opponent to fewer than 100 yards rushing (10-2).
» Florida ranked sixth nationally in time of possession entering the game, but Louisville held the ball for 11:14 longer over the course of the Sugar Bowl.
» Penalties once again killed the Gators. UF committed nine for a total loss of 98 yards while UL only committed two for 25 lost yards.
» The Sugar Bowl’s announced attendance was 54,178, the game’s worst figure since 1939 and the smallest ever in a BCS bowl game.

PLAYER NOTES

» Redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis set a new school single-season record for field goals made with his 24th of the year on Wednesday. He broke a 28-year-old record formerly held by Bobby Raymond.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Andre Debose returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. It was the second-straight bowl game in which he has returned a kickoff for a touchdown (99 yards in the 2012 Gator Bowl). The play also set the Sugar Bowl record for longest kickoff return.
» Sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy played wide receiver and caught one pass for five yards in the first quarter. It was the first time a defensive starter registered an offensive reception since Keiwan Ratliff did so in the 2003 Outback Bowl.
» Redshirt sophomore WR Quinton Dunbar registered career-highs in receptions (five) and receiving yards (77) during the Sugar Bowl.
» Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel did not have his best game, but he did engineer a pair of impressive scoring drives during the contest. Driskel completed 4-of-5 passes for 45 yards and ran for 24 yards as part of an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to end the first half. He also went 5-for-8 for 66 yards as part of a 13-play, 97-yard touchdown drive on Florida’s last possession of the game. Aside from those two drives, Driskel was 7-of-16 for 64 yards over the rest of the game.

OPENING STATEMENT

“We got outcoached and outplayed. That’s what I told the football team. It’s the bottom line. You go out and you get beat, you get beat. And that’s what happened. … Credit their organization. They did a good job. We got outcoached and outplayed.”

Continue Reading » 1/2: Florida vs. Louisville post-Sugar Bowl report

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

 Page 1 of 15  1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »