DE/LB Chris Martin to transfer out of Florida

Redshirt freshman defensive end/linebacker Chris Martin played what he termed an “early April Fools” joke back in March, claiming that he had been dismissed from the Florida Gators. The University of Florida was not joking Friday evening when it announced that Martin, a former five-star recruit who transferred to Florida from California a year ago, has decided to transfer once again.

“Chris and his family have indicated that it might be best for him to be closer to home,” head coach Will Muschamp said. “We wish him nothing but the best of luck.”

Having never suited up for the Gators, Martin will leave the program without making any notable mark other than having been arrested on Jan. 29 for misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The Gainesville Police Department cited Martin for possession of less than two grams after detecting “the scent of the drug coming from [his] vehicle.” He was offered and accepted deferred prosecution by the state.

Martin, who was the best defender in practice last season according to his UF teammates, will be forced to sit out yet another season due to NCAA transfer rules unless he moves to a Division-II program. He was expected to see ample time on the field in 2011.

ESPN.com reports that Martin “had multiple off-the-field issues that played a part in his decision,” according to a source close to the situation.

He will be the fifth Florida player to leave the program since Muschamp arrived. Senior cornerback Janoris Jenkins was dismissed from the team following two marijuana arrests in less than 90 days and redshirt freshman wide receiver Chris Dunkley, freshman WR Javares McRoy and freshman running back Mike Blakely all decided to transfer for various reasons.

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Report: Gators Martin, Johnson also cited for marijuana possession in January

Senior cornerback Janoris Jenkins’s two arrests for marijuana possession made headlines this spring, but two other Florida Gators defenders were also picked up on a similar charge, according to a report by the Palm Beach Post.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Chris Martin and redshirt sophomore defensive end Kendric Johnson were each cited with misdemeanors when officers from the Gainesville Police Department found them in their respective vehicles with approximately two grams of marijuana on separate occasions.

According to the Post, Martin was arrested on Jan. 29 when officers “detected the scent of the drug coming from [his] vehicle.” He complied with their request and turned over the cannabis in his possession. Johnson was picked up earlier in the month on Jan. 9 for speeding and the situation unfolded in a similar manner.

Both Martin and Johnson were offered and accepted deferred prosecution by the state and will likely have an opportunity to clear themselves of charges by paying fines and completing community service.

This information comes just one day after Jenkins was arrested for marijuana possession for the second time in under 90 days. Neither head coach Will Muschamp nor a University of Florida spokesperson has commented on any of the three arrests.

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2011 Orange & Blue Debut – Gameday Preview

Event: 2011 Orange & Blue Debut – Florida Gators spring football
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Time: 12:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: Sun Sports

Online Video: —–>

Live Updates: @OnlyGators Reference: Roster | Schedule 2010: Blue 27, Orange 24

Radio appearance: Adam Silverstein will be previewing the Florida Gators’ spring game Saturday on Sirius-122/XM-143 College Sports Nation at approximately 11 a.m. Tune in.

EVENT INFORMATION

» Gator Walk: North side of stadium, exterior, 9:30 a.m. start
» Parking: The following parking locations are available first-come, first-serve for fans wishing to attend the game – O’Connell Center garage, O’Connell Center lot (disabled), Commuter Lot (Lemerand Dr.) with shuttle
» Heisman Statue Ceremony: UF will unveil three statues of the school’s Heisman Trophy winners – Steve Spurrier (1966), Danny Wuerffel (1996) and Tim Tebow (2007) – on the westside of the stadium at halftime of the game near the skybox entrance. Those inside the stadium will not be allowed to exit for the ceremony but will be able to watch the unveiling live inside The Swamp after watching a brief video introduction. Spurrier, Wuerffel and Tebow will all provide remarks to the crowd after the unveiling, though only Wuerffel and Tebow are expected to be in attendance.
» Former Gators in attendance: QB Tebow, QB Wuerffel, LB Mike Peterson, RB Fred Taylor, C Maurkice & Mike Pouncey, WR Riley Cooper, WR David Nelson, LB Brandon Spikes, DE Carlos Dunlap, DB Dorian Munroe, DE Jarvis Moss, DT Joe Cohen, RB Kesthan Moore, etc.
» Recruits in attendance (List courtesy of InsideTheGators.com): LB Jeremi Powell (commit), RB Matt Jones (commit), LB Tyriq McCord, OT Patrick Miller, OT Avery Young, DE Jelani Hamilton, ATH Angelo Jean-Louis, ATH Amos Leggett, ATH Nelson Agholor, LB Noor Davis, OL Evan Goodman, ATH Marcus Maye, DT Korren Kirven, TE Kurt Freitag, DE Jhaustin Thomas, LB Tashon Whitehurst, S Ladarion Young, LB Trey Johnson (2013), RB Kelvin Taylor (2013), LB Leon McQuay III (2013), etc.

Additional information including the game format, injury report, team notes and who to keep an eye on all are available…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2011 Orange & Blue Debut – Gameday Preview

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3/18: Muschamp’s thoughts from spring practice

With the Florida Gators beginning spring practice for the 2011 season on Wednesday, head coach Will Muschamp met the media late Friday to discuss how individual players are performing and the injury statuses of others. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes from his availability.

JENKINS ACCEPTS PLEA DEAL ON MARIJUANA CHARGE

Earlier in the day, senior cornerback Janoris Jenkins accepted a plea deal to resolve the misdemeanor charge for marijuana possession he was arrested for in January. Jenkins had adjudication withheld by the State Attorney’s Office (meaning he was technically found guilty of the crime but will not be convicted for it) and will close the matter by paying $316 in fines and expenses.

EXPLAINING THOMPSON’s ROLE

Following practice on Thursday, redshirt senior wide receiver Denote Thompson suggested that the preliminary depth chart released by the coaching staff on Monday may have had a misprint because it listed him as the primary F-11 receiver. Muschamp clarified Thompson’s responsibilities, noting that the F-11 is not always a slot position. “Depends on what formation we call,” he said.

“If we’re in regular personnel, 21 or 12, he’s going to be playing the X position. But when we’re in 11 personnel, he’ll be playing the X or the F position,” Muschamp added, noting that the every receiver position on the field can play both inside and outside. “We cross-train all the wide receiver positions so those guys – we can get the best three or four or two or one receiver on the field at a time.”

TALENT UP, WEIGHT DOWN

While discussing the team’s depth at running back, Muschamp was certain to point out two players who have already received high praise from his offensive coaches. “Chris Rainey’s done a nice job, and Trey Burton has [too],” he said. “After [them] we just need to have some guys step up. It’s hard in helmets to really [evaluate], but you see Mack [Brown]’s made a couple nice cuts here and there.”

However, Muschamp was less enthused to talk about the weight of junior tackle Xavier Nixon, who has recently appeared noticeably thinner. “You’re always either in a position of a guy’s in perfect weight, a guy’s overweight or a guy’s underweight. And he’s certainly not where we want him to be right now, but Xavier’s working hard at that. I’m proud of his efforts and what he’s trying to do.” he said.

INJURY UPDATES

- Redshirt junior T Matt Patchan (wrist): “Matt has been cleared for exercise but not contact. He has been cleared to lift. [He] will not have any contact this spring. He is lifting and we’re going to amp up that a little bit so he can get his strength back.”

- Redshirt senior guard James Wilson (knee): Called “very limited” though he is doing some reps on the field.

- Redshirt sophomore tight end Desmond Parks (wrist): Placed on medical hardship due to injury and no longer with the team

QUOTES

On his thoughts from practice Friday: “The timing in the passing game looked good today as far as hitting some balls. John [Brantley] threw some nice balls. […] There’s a lot of teaching going on, a lot of learning going on. A lot of learning about our tempo and how we want to do things.”

On redshirt freshman defensive end Chris Martin: “Chris is a guy that’s got some pass rushing ability. He can move his hands and feet in the rush. We’re expecting him to continue to grow as a football player, as a human being, and be a contributor for our team. How much? He will determine that, not us.”

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Muschamp provides pre-spring practice thoughts

With the Florida Gators set to begin 2011 spring practice on Wednesday, new head coach Will Muschamp met with the media Monday to discuss a variety of topics including why practice is closed, who has stepped up as leaders, which players have changed positions and what he expects from redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley.

FIVE-WEEK OFFSEASON PROGRAM

Florida’s student-athletes participated four days each week in a five-week-long offseason program with spring break serving as a nice ending to the activities. Muschamp believes that the time is now to get the Gators in the proper mindset for the upcoming year.

“In the offseason, that’s where you build your football team,” he said. “You build the mental toughness it’s going to take to be successful. You find out a lot about individual players at this time – what they’re willing to push through. You find out a lot about where your leadership is on the football team. You start to develop your identity in the offseason. I’m really pleased with where we are. We still have a ways to go, but I’m excited about what those guys accomplished in our offseason program.”

NO SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT CLOSING PRACTICE

Former Florida head coach Urban Meyer shut fans and media out of fall practice last year, but spring practice was open throughout his entire tenure at UF. Muschamp, who announced last week that practiced would be closed, said that he had no second thoughts about the decision even though some fans are peeved by the choice.

“We’re a new staff. It’s important – on both sides of the ball and special teams – for our guys to focus on what we need to do to be successful. We need to do that in closed quarters,” he said. “I understand that our fans love the Gators and want to be a part of that. On April 9th, we want a full packed house at The Swamp. We need to concentrate on us right now. We need to get better and continue to develop the identity of what we want to be as a football team on both sides of the ball on special teams.”

He continued, “I’ve got to make a decision that I think is best for the program and about winning football games and doing it the right way. That’s something that will be evaluated in the fall by me and in the spring by me. If I think it’s best for the practices to be closed, they’ll be closed.”

CREATING AND ESTABLISHING LEADERS

Muschamp has a number of goals that he has set out to accomplish before spring practice concludes. One of those is finding a set of leaders who prove their worth by displaying a positive attitude, being productive and establishing themselves as both dependable and durable.

“Develop the leadership. Come together for that common purpose. I know we’ll all be excited on Wednesday; I want to see how we are [at] practice 12. That’s really where you find out what kind of team you’ve got,” he said. “We want to be a blue-collar, overachieving unit. We’ve got some good football players; we got a good football team on campus. We’ve got to come together as a cohesive unit, build for a common purpose and develop that workman-like attitude.”

Singling out a handful of players as early leaders, Muschamp pointed to Brantley, senior defensive end William Green, redshirt junior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr., redshirt sophomore WR Stephen Alli, sophomore cornerback Cody Riggs, redshirt sophomore safety Tim Clark, sophomore QB Chandler Carr and freshman QB Jeff Driskel as guys who have already stood out among their peers.

“They came out and played to a championship standard as far as their competition is concerned in the weight room and off the field,” he said of the players. “You’ve got to develop leadership; it’s not just something that happens. We’ve got to develop that within our organization. We’re implementing leadership, character development, mental conditioning for our football team.”

EXPECTATIONS FOR BRANTLEY

Brantley is the Gators’ No. 1 quarterback, and it is going to take a huge effort from either Driskel or redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy to unseat him. Not only does Brantley have the age factor going for him, Muschamp (and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis) both believe he is capable of doing the job that is necessary behind center. To his credit, Brantley has put the pedal to the metal so far this spring and is doing whatever he can to learn the position to the best of his ability.

“John’s worked hard in the offseason. He’s a talented player,” Muschamp said. “John needs to worry about John’s expectations, mine, Charlie Weis’s and nobody else’s. That’s what I think about expectations. Ours are high – really high; we expect a lot. John himself expects a lot of himself, and we’re expecting him to have an outstanding year.”

Asked what his specific expectations are for Brantley, Muschamp instead discussed what he expects from any quarterback running his team. “From the quarterback position, and I don’t mean this in a conservative manner, it’s [about] managing the game,” he said. “Peyton Manning manages the game. Tom Brady manages the game. They don’t turn the ball over; they take care of they ball. They provide great leadership for their offense and their football team. They convert on third down. That’s managing the game; that’s what we want to see. He’s got the ability to do all of those things.”

POSITION CHANGES AND ADJUSTMENTS

As OGGOA covered yesterday in our depth chart post, there is plenty of movement going on throughout Florida’s roster. Here are some of the moves that have been made and what Muschamp had to say about the player involved.

Redshirt freshman Leon Orr from offensive line to defensive tackle: “He’s a bigger body guy that can hold the point inside.”

Redshirt freshman Gerald Christian from tight end to linebacker: “He’s got good lower body explosion [and is] a guy who is certainly bright enough to play two positions.” Christian will also see offensive work at tight end and fullback.

Redshirt sophomore Jordan Reed from QB/TE to tight end: “Jordan Reed will be a full-time tight end. [He] can stretch the field vertically and be a match-up issue for defenses with his athleticism. [I’m] excited about him.”

Sophomore Trey Burton from QB to “F” position: “We’re excited about the versatility Trey will play for us at the F and at the H position in some third-down work.” Learn more about the F position.

Redshirt sophomore Chris Martin from DE/LB to DE: “He’s got good pass rush skills, good pass rush ability. He can move his hands and feet in the rush, which is a natural talent. That’s not something that’s easily coached.”

Muschamp was also asked about sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who had some behavioral issues last season. “That was last season. This is this year,” he said. “I [told him], ‘You’re going to do it our way.’ Change is inevitable, growth is optional. You either do it our way or leave.”

Finally, he discussed where the Gators are weakest position-wise. “We are thin on both lines of scrimmage at this point. I like the quality of players; I don’t like the quantity of players. The SEC is a line of scrimmage league. We’re going in a little bit thin,” he said.

QUOTES

Muschamp on the depth chart: “I don’t know if that depth chart is worth the paper it’s printed on.”

Muschamp on the depth chart (II): “It’s not about where you start – it’s where you finish.”

Muschamp on the defensive philosophy: “We want to be multiple. We’ll be more of an over team, a 4-3 team, a one-gap team at this point. We will commingle some 3-4. We’ve got an outstanding defensive staff, and I’m really excited about what those guys are bringing to the table.”

Muschamp on Weis: “Part of buying in is instant credibility, and he brings instant credibility as a football coach because of what he’s accomplished.”

Muschamp on potentially butting heads with Weis: “You hire guys that you have tremendous confidence that you know their abilities. You hire the best coaches available. We’ve been allowed to do that here because of the support of our administration. You want to hire the best in the business. I don’t want a bunch of “yes” guys. I don’t want a bunch of guys who are going to agree with everything I say. I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I don’t have all the answers – especially on the offensive side of the ball. I want guys that want to disagree.”

Muschamp on what excites him about the team: “There’s been a willingness and an eagerness to learn. We’ve got a bunch of prideful guys in that locker room that want to have a lot of success.”

Muschamp on it being “his” team: “It’s Florida’s program, not mine. I’m the steward and I’m driving the ship. Florida won a bunch of games before any of us showed up, and they’re going to win a bunch of games after we’re all gone.”

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Gators LB Chris Martin’s Facebook status a joke

Linebacker Chris Martin, a former five-star recruit who transferred to the Florida Gators after a short stint with California last year, was dismissed from the football team according to a status update he posted on Facebook on Friday. Except he was not dismissed from the team. Instead, Martin played what he called an “early April Fools” joke on “Facebook stalkers” and fans of Notre Dame and Florida State. What he may not have realized is that his comments also threw Florida fans for a loop.

Shortly after creating the status, Martin’s “joke” was spread across Twitter by hungry Gators writers (OGGOA included) trying to provide fans with the latest news.

The reaction was quick and divided.

On one hand, it was quite funny. In this day and age of social media becoming the predominant news medium, a single Facebook post from a football player on one of the top programs in the nation became major news in a matter of minutes. Martin may not have though out his joke well, but a person inside the program laughed when OGGOA immediately inquired about the “development.”

“He’s just trying to be funny,” the person said. “That’s Chris. Always playing.”

In a later status update, Martin pointed out what he feels is the absurdity of paid recruiting websites. “I swear, grown men pay money so they can see where we go to school and stalk us on Facebook,” he wrote.

OGGOA’s Twitter followers both praised (“Awesome. He got everyone worked up. That’s comedy.”) and panned (“It’s sad…and really dumb.”) what Martin did.

One could make an argument that he caused a lot of loyal Gators fans plenty of angst over those 15 or so minutes in which his post was lingering and not clarified.

When it all comes down to it, Martin attempted to mess with the media by making them think there was drop-everything-and-call-your-sources-immediately breaking news. Heck, that’s what OGGOA did. In reality, he created a story that, while neither “breaking” nor “important,” is most certainly newsworthy in its own right.

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Eleven Gators who must step up in 2011

With a few days until No. 14 Florida Gators basketball plays its final regular season game, OGGOA decided to allow our Twitter followers to choose a content topic for Thursday. Overwhelmingly, our readers wanted to read something – anything – about Gators football. So that is exactly what we present to you here, 11 Florida footballers who will be counted on to step up big-time next season.

Redshirt senior QB John Brantley
2010: 200/329 (60.8 percent) for 2,061 yards, nine touchdowns, 10 interceptions

There is plenty of hype surrounding freshman quarterback Jeff Driskel, but the fact of the matter is the Gators have the best chance of being supremely successful in 2011 with Brantley behind center. Say what you will about his struggles in 2010 – blame them on the coaching staff not adjusting the offense to suit his skill set, the offensive line doing a poor job in pass protection or Brantley simply not living up the billing he received before the season. No matter what you choose to believe, Brantley will be given a chance to start fresh in 2011. If he makes the most of it and pans out the way Danny Wuerffel and Shane Matthews have personally told us he will, Florida’s QB problems will be solved by the same player who was universally panned for causing them a year ago. Whether or not he will live up those expectations, however, remains to be seen.

Redshirt sophomore WR Andre Debose
2010: 10 receptions for 96 yards (long 26); 22 kickoff returns for 587 yards (26.7 average), two touchdowns

Like Brantley, Debose did not live up to the hype in 2010. Unlike Brantley, he was not given much of an opportunity. Debose is a dynamic athlete who is explosive in the open field, something blatantly obvious by the job he did in the return game last season. He was criticized by former head coach Urban Meyer for his inability to learn all of the offensive plays and was “rewarded” early in the season with some packages that utilized his abilities. Those packages seemed to disappear as the year went on, and Debose ended up getting injured for the second time in as many seasons (hamstring in 2009, ankle in 2010). Though the Gators have some hungry pass-catchers looking to win the job across from redshirt senior wide receiver Deonte Thompson, none of them will likely have the potential impact game-in and game-out that Debose can bring to the table.

Junior RB Mike Gillislee
2010: 58 rushes for 325 yards (5.6 average), seven touchdowns

The first thing new head coach Will Mushcamp said he wanted to implement at Florida was a pro-style offense. With senior running back Jeff Demps (5’8” 190 lbs.) a bit undersized to run between the tackles on a consistent basis, the onus will be on Gillislee (and to a lesser extent redshirt freshman RB Mack Brown) to carry the rock for the Gators in 2010. Listed at 5‘11” and 198 lbs., Gillislee can add some bulk to his frame and showed flashes in the limited playing time he received last season.

The real question for Muschamp, and more specifically offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, will be how the team can best utilize Demps and redshirt senior RB/WR Chris Rainey. Demps will likely be the kick returner once again, but the coaching staff must find a way to get him heavily involved in the offense without having him carry the ball a dozen times each game. He was the team’s best offensive weapon last year, and his absence (even when he played, he was far less than 100 percent) was one of the main reasons Florida struggled down the stretch offensively.
Continue Reading » Eleven Gators who must step up in 2011

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8/5: Meyer speaks to media after fall practice

Concluding the Florida Gators‘ first day of fall practice for the 2010-11 season, head coach Urban Meyer sat with reporters for quite some time to discuss a number of topics including his outlook on the team, players leaving the program and why exactly camp has been closed to both the media and fans. OGGOA has compiled some of the key points:

PERSONNEL

» Meyer announced that seniors center Mike Pouncey and defensive end Justin Trattou are the team’s two fall captains. Senior safety Ahmad Black and redshirt senior defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh may be added to the group at a later date.

» Doing some housekeeping, Meyer told reporters that redshirt sophomroe wide receiver T.J. Lawrence and the team mutually agreed to part ways. More on this here.

» He also explained that redshirt freshman tight end Desmond Parks will likely be out 2-3 weeks after previously injuring his wrist and undergoing a procedure to fix the issue.

» Meyer noted that five-star linebacker transfer Chris Martin is already working with the team in camp even though he must sit out a year due to NCAA transfer eligibility rules.

QUOTES

» Explaining to reporters that his motivation for closing practice was not about restricting their access but rather curbing the distractions that agents and autograph hounds cause his players every day, Meyer touched on two subjects in particular…

On the growing concern regarding agents: “With all that agent [stuff], and I’m hearing about parties and all this, my gosh. We just want to do the best job we can. We’re going to have a lot of discussions around here and continue non-stop education because it’s an epidemic. You hear people talking about this school and this school. That’s nuts. The good thing is the other side of it [the agents] wants to help. When I say they really want to help, there are going to be some positive things come out of this. Real positive.”

On others trying to take advantage of the players’ generosity: “We’ve had a great discussion with a group of us that got together and we’re trying to make some changes. Anything from signing balls to getting them sold on the Internet to practice, where people are showing up. In the fall, we’re going to shut it down. There are people showing up, ‘Why are you here?’ We can’t control our players’ lives, but we certainly can do the best we can. You should have the right as a player to walk from here to there without being bothered. That’s my fault for five years. That’s crazy. I tell that to my colleagues, people just mauling you and bothering you and Internet people grabbing helmets and signing this and all this, and we don’t have security saying, ‘Get the heck out of here.’ You’ll see a lot of ‘get the heck out of here’ from now on and let the kids go practice and concentrate on football. Big-time rules. I’m concerned about stuff where you get NCAA violations and scumbags that are involved that shouldn’t be involved. One way to control it is, get out.”

» On the team’s goal for the 2010-11 season: “This is a year of accountability and development. If that happens, we’ll have a good team.”

» When told about redshirt junior running back Chris Rainey‘s “prima donna” comments in the morning, Meyer quipped that it was the team’s “fault for letting him speak” while noting that Rainey’s comments were “absolutely wrong.” “Rainey said that? Chris Rainey won’t speak to the media again this year,” Meyer added in a joke-serious tone.

“I can name some other things he said to the media that were absolutely inappropriate, and that goes in the same category, believe it or not. So, take that for nothing. Inappropriate, wrong, non-thought out, which he does quite often. I love Chris Rainey, but when I ask him a question, I give him a whole day to think about it and write it down 100 times.”

Special thanks to The Gainesville Sun and the Miami Herald for some of the above quotes.

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