Gator Bites for Friday, August 20th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» The University of Florida’s 2010-11 athletic season officially begins Friday as No. 11 Florida Gators soccer takes on the Miami Hurricanes at 7 p.m. at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Admission is free, and the match will air live on Sun Sports.

» New England Patriots rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez scored his first career professional touchdown on Thursday, catching a four-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady in the second quarter of the team’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Hernandez, who lead the team with four receptions and 46 yards, had to turn around to complete the reception in the back of the end zone. Also shining for the Patriots on Thursday was running back Fred Taylor (team-high 11 carries for 54 yards and a TD). Linebacker Brandon Spikes racked up three solo tackles, while defensive tackle Gerard Warren added one assisted.

Eight more Gator Bites on Tim Tebow, Major Wright, Cornelius Ingram, Maurkice Pouncey, Joe Haden, Chris Leak, Ryan Lochte and Urban Meyer…after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Friday, August 20th

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

Tebow’s TD caps week of rookie NFL debuts

With no time remaining in the game, Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow rushed toward the endzone and would eventually score his first touchdown as a professional, though his team still fell 33-24 to the Cincinnati Bengals. Nevertheless, it was an exciting play to end a week in which many of the former Florida Gators selected in the 2010 NFL Draft were able to see the field in preseason action. Here is a short synopsis of how they fared in their respective professional debuts.

QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos
Passing: 8-of-13 for 105 yards (8.1 avg., 87.0 QB rating)
Rushing: Two carries for 10 yards, one touchdown

CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns
Defense: Three solo tackles, one pass defended
Kick returning: One attempt for 34 yards

G MAURKICE POUNCEY, Pittsburgh Steelers
No statistics to record.

LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots
Defense: Did not play – concussion

DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals
Game 1: Did not play – concussion
Game 2: One tackle

LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots
Defense: Eight tackles (one solo) [team-high]

S MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears
Defense: Seven tackles (six solo)

TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots
Receiving: Three receptions for 26 yards (long 21)
Rushing: One carry for six yards

WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles
Receiving: Three receptions for 61 yards (long 46) [team-high]

WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills
Receiving: Five receptions for 47 yards team-highs], one touchdown

KR BRANDON JAMES, Indianapolis Colts
Kick returning: Four attempts for 99 yards (avg. 24.8, long 28)
Punt returning: One attempt for five yards
Receiving: One reception for two yards

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

SIX BITS: Stripes, Black, Sanders, Pats, Eagles

1 » During a post-practice media availability Thursday, defensive line coach Dan McCarney said that Florida Gators freshmen wide receiver Robert Clark (first) and linebackers Michael Taylor and Neiron Ball were the first three youngsters to have their black helmet stripes removed. This is a tradition each fall.

2 » Ever since he decided to stay for his senior season, safety Ahmad Black has been talking about becoming a better leader for his teammates. Black expanded on that sentiment during Florida Media Day on Tuesday, explaining how things have changed during his college career. “As a freshman, I thought it was going to be handed to me and it wasn’t,” he said. “I just had to learn to go hard and show that I really belong here. […] I am trying to step up. I have to. I am one of the few seniors that we have on defense and one of the guys that has been there for a while. It is my job to help these young guys and help them do what they are supposed to do.” Black also talked about asking now-New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes for advice. “Me and Spikes would be sitting down playing a video game, and I would ask him, ‘What do I have to do to get the guys to respect me? What do I have to do to get the guys to listen to me? Just him having a conversation with me helped me out.”

3 » Also of note post-practice was senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders’ admission that he was contacted either by an agent or a runner for an agent at the tail end of last season via multiple text messages to his cell phone. Sanders explained that he and the team “nipped that in the bud,” according to multiple reporters.

Three more BITS including Madden NFL 11 rankings and updates on Gators on the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Stripes, Black, Sanders, Pats, Eagles

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

Make it three: Josh Haden to join Florida in Jan.

In a move that has been expected for qutie some time, former Boston College Eagles running back Josh Haden, the brother of both current Florida Gators freshman safety Jordan Haden and Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden, plans to transfer to the University of Florida in January.

The Orlando Sentinel caught up with Jordan at Florida Media Day on Tuesday, who confirmed that his older brother would be heading to Gainesville, FL, in the new year. This corroborates what Joe said a few months ago in an interview with NFL.com.

“I have a little brother. He’s a running back at Boston College. He’s transferring now to, probably, Florida,” he said at the time.

Prior reports had Josh picking between Florida, Louisville (head coach Charlie Strong) and a number of other undisclosed schools. He will have to sit out one full season (2010) due to NCAA transfer regulations.

OGGOA will have a number of other updates coming out of Florida Media Day shortly.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: Wright, Crowder, Haden, Eagles

1 » Since returning to Chicago Bears training camp after sitting out for almost a week with a tweaked groin, rookie safety Major Wright has been turning some heads and is pushing his way into a starting role with the team. Though he is currently listed as the team’s No. 2 free safety on its first depth chart, Wright has been working with the first team and was around the ball all day on Monday (even though he dropped two sure interceptions, the team was pleased that he was in the position to make them).

2 » If we have told you once, we have told you a hundred times: Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder is the best interview in the NFL. On Monday, Crowder spoke about talking trash to his rivals. “[I say] how I feel about them, their mothers, their girlfriends, their wives, their kids, their dogs, their greasy grandma, whatever pops into my mind,” Crowder said. “The league calls me on Mondays and talks to me about the interesting conversations I was having on the field.”

He even had choice words for ex-teammate now New York Jets LB Jason Taylor. “I just want to see JT [on HBO’s Hard Knocks] and laugh at him,” he said. “I talked to him the other night and I was making fun of him, so I just want to see him out there embarrass himself. […] He’s a real pretty boy. He had makeup with Dancing with the Stars and all that, so he might put on makeup. He’s gonna perform. Trust me. You can mark that. JT is not going to be himself. He’s gonna perform for the cameras, ‘cause he’s a showman. That’s what I give him a hard time about – he’s going to be as clean as he can, he’s gonna have a freshly-shaved head, ‘cause the camera is around. He’s very womanly.”

3 » Cleveland Browns cornerback Eric Wright appeared to injure his hamstring during morning practice on Tuesday. While the team waits to find out exactly what is wrong with him, possibly an injury that may keep him out for the short-term, rookie first-round pick Joe Haden will be playing with the first team.

4 » The Philadelphia Daily News caught up with former Florida Gators wide receiver Riley Cooper and tight end Cornelius Ingram and asked both players about the hazing haircut given to Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow. “I love it. I think he should keep it. No, I’m kidding, the haircut was awful,” Cooper said. “You know what, Riley actually showed me about three days ago on the phone,” Ingram added. “I thought it was a [fake]. I really didn’t think it was a real photo. Now that it’s out now, they at least could have gave him a better cut than that, though. It looked bad. It looked bad.” Cooper, who is competing with veteran WR Hank Baskett for the Eagles’ fourth receiver spot, is currently listed as a back-up on the team’s first depth chart.

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

FOUR BITS: Jenkins, Haden, Moody, Graham

1 » Junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins realizes it is his time to shine in the Florida Gators secondary, and the Pahokee, FL, native took steps over the summer (including dropping 10 pounds and increasing his speed) to ensure that he is capable of playing the way coaches want him to. “I have to go out now and put everything on the table,” Jenkins said. “I’m trying to be the best corner.” Even his game play has changed. “Being physical at the line of scrimmage is a big part of my game now,” he added. “That, and coming up and tackling better.” Jenkins is also helping mold whomever it is that starts across from him this year in place of Cleveland Browns rookie CB Joe Haden. “It’s going to be some good competition. All of those guys are working hard and going at it. I try to help them as much as possible,” he said.

2 » Speaking of Haden, his mind may have been on money while briefly holding out for a better contract, but money is on his mind any longer. In fact, Haden is taking his five-year $50 million maximum contract in stride; he sees it more as a confirmation that he is financially stable for the rest of his life rather than rich enough to throw money around. “It definitely means a lot. I just know that I’m set,” he said, according to The Canton Repository. “I don’t have to worry about money any more. I just go out here and do what I love. After football, I can do what I do, have a good time, take a vacation. I want to set up a couple foundations. I want to own gyms, barber shops, stuff like that … just set our family up for the rest of our lives.” He continued, “One thing a lot of people have been telling me … is that 80 percent of the league, after 20 years out of the league, is broke or bankrupt. So one thing I’m doing with my money is, I set it up so me and my family and my brothers and my kids — if I have children — are set financially.”

3 » Injuries and experience have helped Gators redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody mature as he gets healthy and returns to the field for his final collegiate season. Now, he is less concerned with individual success and more about making the most of his year. “It’s my fifth year and my mindset has changed a lot,” Moody said, according to The Gainesville Sun. “I’m to the point where I’m just going to handle what I can handle and not think about if I’m going to be a 1,000-yard rusher or focus on some goals that are far ahead. I’m just focused on taking each day at a time and having an even-keel attitude every day and, no matter what happens, just have a smile on [my] face. […] It’s about time I learned and change my character and change the way I approach things. Now, it’s to the point where no matter what happens in life, know how to bounce back with it, have a good attitude with it and not get down on myself … and know that football is what we do. It’s not who we are.”

4 » As OGGOA cited on June 1, former Florida RB Earnest Graham will be continuing his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – but this time he will do so as a fullback. The Lakeland Ledger caught up with him over the weekend, and he shared some thoughts on the change. “I’m prepared to play both,” he said. “Starting the season I’ll probably be at fullback, but you never know how things will play out. In 2008, I started out as a halfback and we had an injury at fullback, so I ended up playing fullback. […] I tried to put a little bulk on this year, be up around 230 as opposed to 220 or 225.”

Tags: , , , , , ,

Former Florida safety John Curtis dead at 24

Details are scarce right now, but a source close to the team has informed OGGOA that former Florida Gators safety John Curtis, 24, passed away Wednesday. His death has been ruled a suicide by authorities.

A special teams standout, Curtis joined the Florida scout team in 2004, missed the 2005 campaign with a knee injury and finally played on the kickoff return and punt teams during the Gators’ 2006 National Championship season. He blocked a punt against South Carolina in 2007 but unfortunately tore his anterior cruciate ligament in 2008, an injury that would end his football career.

UPDATE: Curtis passed away after jumping off of a fourth-floor railing above a Lincoln Square Center restaurant in Bellvue, WA, at 8 a.m. Thursday. Police attempted to talk him down at first, but Curtis could not be swayed from taking his life; the local cops continue to investigate the matter.

“It’s tragic when a young life is lost,” head coach Urban Meyer said in a statement on Friday. “I’m not sure how you describe the loss of life in words. John was a great young man who was a proud member of our Gator family. We grieve for him, his friends and his family and pray for their comfort.”

Co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Chuck Heater shared a similar sentiment. “What do you say? He was a real likable guy here, a lot of players really liked him a lot,” Heater said. “He had, unfortunately, a lot of knee injuries here. He probably could have had a chance to play some football here, more than he did. He played but I’m sure not as much as he would like to. It’s sad and unfortunate. He was a good guy, well-liked team member. Players really liked him. He was a friendly guy with the team, and just dealing with the frustrations of the injuries, which were always hard for him to deal with and accept those things, just the disappointments of all of that. But he was a respected member of our team, that’s for sure.”

One of the first to respond to the news, Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden took to Twitter Thursday. “You never know how much you truly love someone until they are gone. R.I.P. John Curtis #24! You will be missed,” Haden wrote. “Everyone please don’t be afraid to say you love someone! Life is too short! Losing someone special to you makes you realize what’s important in life.”

Jacksonville Sharks CB Dee Webb provided a similar message. “R.I.P. to my former teammate John Curtis 24,” he tweeted. “We [will] miss you homey.”

OGGOA sends our deepest condolences to the Curtis family.

Tags: , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: Williams, Haden, Gators on Patriots

1 » Former Florida Gators point guard Jason Williams, a nine-year NBA veteran, has agreed to sign a one-year deal to return to the Orlando Magic for the 2010-11 season. He will be the third point guard on the roster behind starter Jameer Nelson and reserve Chris Duhon. Last season, Williams only averaged 6.0 points and 3.6 assists as a backup but achieved career-highs in field goal (.444) and three-point percentage (.380).

2 » Taking a look at the Cleveland Browns in training camp, ESPN’s Adam Schefter does not think it is likely that former Florida cornerback and Cleveland rookie Joe Haden will start this season. “[Eric] Wright and [Sheldon] Brown are the undisputed starters for now,” Schefter writes, “but Haden will be the nickel cornerback and a player the Browns believe they will rely on for years to come.”

3 » According to the Boston Herald former Gators star Jermaine Cunningham continues to work as an outside linebacker with the New England Patriots’ first unit during training camp. ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss believes Cunningham is the fastest player during the team’s pass-rush drills, and head coach Bill Belichick is also offering some praise. “Jermaine has picked up things very well,” Belichick said. “I think each day you can definitely see him getting better, more confident, understanding things that happened the day before and being able to process that.”

4 » Reiss also said that former Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez looks like New England’s “most impressive rookie to date” and “the coaching staff is high on rookie inside linebacker Brandon Spikes.” Hernandez has “excellent hand-eye coordination, sticky hands, and practices with great effort,” Reiss writes.

Photo Credit: David Silverman/New England Patriots

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

 Page 9 of 13  « First  ... « 7  8  9  10  11 » ...  Last »