FOUR BITS: Tebow, Haslem, Nelson, Dorsey

1 » On Tuesday, OGGOA tweeted a picture of former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow handing a football off to a kid that got some of our female followers pretty riled up. It appears that picture was taken from a Broncos Bunch kids club event that Tebow participated in over the weekend. The Denver Broncos rookie threw passes to and took pictures with a bunch of children – not all of whom were Broncos fans. “Gator nation really is everywhere,” Tebow told CBS4 in Denver, CO. “It’s great to be out here and to play with these kids, to meet the parents and just be here in the stadium. It really is humbling to have people supporting me and to have fans. It really does mean a lot. […] It’s just an opportunity to come out here, throw balls, take some pictures, hang out with people, get a chance to make a kid smile or a family smile and – it’s more important than winning games, when you really look at it.”

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Three more BITS on the futures of Udonis Haslem, David Nelson and Demar Dorsey.
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LB Earl Everett: “I’m ready to get back out there”

A true freshman starter, former Florida Gators linebacker Earl Everett was unable to complete his degree in four years. He left for the NFL but was once again met with roadblocks as he suffered injuries while in training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals and later as a member of the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad. Soon after, he had a successful tryout with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL but broke two bones in his leg just days after returning from the workout, stalling his career for the short-term. On schedule to complete his degree at the University of Florida and graduate this summer, Everett is all healed up and ready to head up to Canada for a second chance on a professional football career. Before he returned to Gainesville, FL, Everett spent almost 20 minutes speaking with OGGOA about his career and life up until this point.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: What are you up to now? I know you are back at UF getting your degree. How is it hanging out with the Gators and seeing head coach Urban Meyer?
EARL EVERETT: “It’s always good to go back. Coach Meyer told a lot of us seniors, he always said, ‘Once a Gator, Always a Gator.’ We will always be tied to the hip. And it’s the truth. Every time I go back and see him, he [tells me] that if I need anything – any advice, a reference for a job – you can always call the coaches and they are there for us guys. Even though you are done, you might be done playing football or done with school, they’re still there. It is a family first program – that’s what it is.”

AS: Are you saying that you feel you are done at this point after your injury during tryouts with Montreal last year?
EE: “No, I actually might have a chance to play over in Canada next year with Chris Leak. I’m kind of looking forward to that. I had a few road bumps – like you said, you know – I got injured and got released from a few teams. Then I decided the next best thing was to go back and finish my degree since I’m so close. I’m taking my last two classes now, Summer A, and I graduate in August.”

Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Earl Everett…after the break!
Continue Reading » LB Earl Everett: “I’m ready to get back out there”

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SIX BITS: Tebow, Broncos, Haden, Noah, Addazio

1 » With just over two days to go until the start of the 2010 NFL Draft, 17 eligible players have already accepted invitations to join the league for the event at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY. The 18th slot is seemingly reserved for former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, who continues to keep the NFL in limbo in regards to whether or not he will attend. Tebow was supposed to make a decision last Friday but has yet to choose one way or another.

2 » Perhaps one of the reasons Tebow is going back-and-forth on his draft day decision is because he has been keeping busy with speaking engagement and private workouts/interviews. A contingent from the Denver Broncos – including head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders – visited Tebow in Gainesville, FL, Monday in what is believed to be his last meeting of the kind before the big day.

3 » And while Tebow is the subject, who better to give him a ringing endorsement than…ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale? Vitale points out that teams “shouldn’t overlook [Tebow’s] heart and desire” because “people don’t understand what is in the heart of a competitor.” Read the rest of his musings for yourself.

4 » One former Florida football player who will be in attendance at the draft Thursday is cornerback Joe Haden – expected to be a top-15 pick. As Haden moves on to the NFL, his younger brother Josh Haden is still a topic of conversation with Gators fans who hope he chooses UF as his transfer destination out of Boston College. Expect a decision to made shortly after the draft as the attention moves away from Joe. Josh will pick between Florida, Louisville (head coach Charlie Strong) and other undisclosed schools.

5 » Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has been the star of the 2010 NBA Playoffs…that is if special recognition was given to players’ mouths. Noah has been running his plenty recently, calling Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett a “dirty player” and saying quite simply that “Cleveland sucks.” (Noah’s Bulls are playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.) Garnett’s response? “Tell Joakim Noah to keep it in Cleveland and worry about Shaq,” he said. Noahdid back up his tough talk Monday, grabbing a double-double while leading his team in points (25) and rebounds (13). The effort fell short as Chicago is now down two games to none to Cleveland after losing game two 112-102.

6 » Special congratulations to offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, whose son and tight end recruit Louie Addazio announced his commitment to Syracuse to play college football. Louie also had an offer from South Florida but decided to become the Orange’s first commitment of the 2011 recruiting cycle instead.

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FOUR BITS: Baseball, decathalon, golf in SECs

1 » A 90-minute rain delay did little to derail No. 7/9 Florida Gators baseball (24-9, 9-4 SEC) from taking a 10-8 win over the Kentucky Wildcats (21-13, 4-9 SEC) Friday night on the road at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, KY. Marking the 100th victory of head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s career, the win was powered by a home run each from freshman catcher Austin Maddox (3-5) and senior outfielder Matt den Dekker (2-3). Sophomore Alex Panteliodis got the start but received a no-decision after giving up five earned runs in 5.1 innings. Senior reliever Jeff Barfield (2-0) tossed 1.1 innings for the win as junior closer Kevin Chapman earned his seventh save of the season with four strikeouts in 2.0 innings.

2 » From GatorZone: “Sophomore Florida multi-event athlete Gray Horn turned in the second-best decathlon score in school history Thursday, charting 7,566 total points to place third at the Mt. Sac Relays Multi-Events hosted by Azusa Pacific University at Cougar Stadium.”

3 » No. 4/6 men’s and No. 10/11 women’s golf are each currently competing in their respective 2010 Southeastern Conference Championships. After the first round of action, the men’s team is in a tie for second place while the women are struggling and are currently in ninth. The Gators’ men are just two strokes behind the leading Arkansas Razorbacks and have a chance to take the lead Saturday.

4 » By all accounts, former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong is already doing an amazing job in his first head coaching gig with the Louisville Cardinals. Granted, it is only spring practice so far. Regardless, Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples put out a nice piece about Strong on Monday, stating what OGGOA has long believed, that “schools nationwide are about to regret passing on Charlie Strong.”

Extra Bit » OGGOA has heard that Gators basketball’s Friday visit with Rutgers transfer guard Mike Rosario went really well. Some we have spoken with seem to believe he will be committing or already has committed. However, we are not able to confirm that at this point – just wanted to make our readers aware of what we are hearing.

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FOUR BITS: Yeguete, Masters, Lemmens, Strong

1 » The Gainesville Sun is reporting that 2010 power forward recruit Will Yeguete of Florida Air Academy will visit the Florida Gators this weekend. Yeguete – who is choosing between Florida, Indiana and Georgia Tech – would not the first to make the transition from FAA to UF; guard Walter Hodge did it just a few years ago.

2 » Day one of the 2010 Masters has come and gone, and two former Gators are already struggling. Both Brian Gay and Camilo Villegas finished their first round at 2-over par. Gay birdied four holes (2, 3, 7, 13), bogeyed four (6, 10, 12, 14) and double-bogeyed one (16) to finish with a score of 40 on the back nine. Villegas bogeyed three holes (3, 11, 13) and only earned one birdie (15), shooting a 37 out and in.

Two more BITS on Duke Lemmens and Charlie Strong…after the jump!
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FOUR BITS: Cooper, Seferian-Jenkins, Strong

1 » Asked in a question and answer session about a “sleeper pro prospect coming out of Florida,” ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter was quick to name former Florida Gators wide receiver Riley Cooper. “Anyone who is 6-foot-4, 225 pounds and fast usually has a chance to do some good things at the NFL level,” Schefter said. “Some scouts timed him in the high 4.4s. So he has a size/speed combo that makes him an attractive prospect. Throw in his ability to play special teams and it would seem like Cooper would benefit some team next season.”

2 » As the Butler Bulldogs prepare for a 2010 NCAA Final Four game against the Michigan State Spartans, their fans are pumped and already swarming local bookstores (both online and in person) to purchase the official tournament t-shirt. “We are going through just thousands of shirts at this point, of the Final Four style,” Follett regional manager Richard Goodpaster said. In fact, Butler fans are buying shirts at such a rapid pace that they are expected to blow past the record number of shirts purchased by Gators fans during the team’s run in 2006.

Two more BITS on a top recruit favoring UF and Charlie Strong…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Cooper, Seferian-Jenkins, Strong

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FOUR BITS: Pouncey, Trattou, Demps, Durkin

1 » Whether you call it sacrifice or making the right decision, former Florida Gators center Maurkice Pouncey’s decision to enter the 2010 NFL Draft had an impact on his brother. Now alone on the line for the first time without Maurkice, junior guard Mike Pouncey looks to move to his sibling’s old position next season – and it is for the best. “I think what really was impressive about [Maurkice] was when he was making his decision to come out, he wanted his brother to be able to play center,” Pouncey’s trainer Tom Shaw told FanHouse. “It was a big sacrifice because they’ve played everything together their whole life. That was one of their plans, he could come out and that will give Mike a chance to move up in the draft. It’s the ultimate sacrifice — he loves his brother and wants to spent time with him.”

2 » Junior defensive end Justin Trattou is ready for his captainship, and he realizes part of that comes with showing the youngsters the ropes. “It’s always [hard to adjust] when you come in as a freshman, especially when you come in midway in January,” Trattou said, according to The Gainesville Sun. “It’s always going to be tough because no matter what you did in high school, it’s not going to be the same intensity as it is here, between all the strength coaches and all the guys who have been here for a couple years.” Trattou’s toughness is not to be questioned, especially considering he played with a torn left bicep last season. “The one I had is ripped off,” Trattou said per the Orlando Sentinel. “Now it’s basically just scarred over. The key was giving it time to get stronger. […] Any time you can fight through injuries, it always gets respect from guys.”

Two more BITS on RB Jeff Demps and LB coach D.J. Durkin…after the break!
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TWO BITS: Parsons helping Macklin; DC Austin

1 » At the start of the 2009-10 Florida Gators basketball season, the team was led by the triumvirate of sophomore point guard Erving Walker, freshman guard Kenny Boynton and junior forward Alex Tyus. As the season has worn on, junior F Chandler Parsons and redshirt junior transfer center Vernon Macklin have taken over and led the Gators to victory through their efforts in the frontcourt. Speaking with the big man, Florida Today determined that Parsons has had a big hand in Macklin’s emergence. “[Parsons’] pause button is kind of broken on his remote control, so we’ve got to use my room,” said Macklin about going over game tape. “So we hit pause and rewind a lot. We watch a lot of break down plays, how a team boxes out or what guy doesn’t box out, we watch a lot of things like that. […] We watch a lot and we talk about a lot of plays like during practice and during walk-thrus. We talk about a lot of things together, we’re close friends off the court so we talk a lot about basketball.”

2 » Brand new Gators defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is still finding his way around Gainesville, FL, but he wanted to set one thing straight as some compare his temperament to that of the guy he is replacing, Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong. “He has been a great defensive coordinator,” Austin. “But I’ve got to find my own way. I think the big thing is you come in and be you. I can’t be anybody different. If I tried, it would show. The coaches would know, the players would know. I’m just me. Everywhere I’ve been, that seems to have worked well for me. I’m going to continue to do that — be me. A lot of things we’ll probably kind of mesh with what was done here before. We’re not going to overhaul it. Charlie had a great defense in place, a great scheme. To change just to change is not always good.”

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