FOUR BITS: Harvin, Boynton, Parsons, Spikes

1 » Breaking news Wednesday has future Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss being traded from the New England Patriots to the Minnesota Vikings for a third round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. One of the players his arrival in Minnesota will help most? Former Florida Gators WR Percy Harvin, who has had a slow start to the season as the team’s primary pass catcher with WR Sidney Rice out of action for more than half of the year. Harvin could flourish in intermediate routes from the slot or opposite Moss on the outside, so keep an eye out for him as the season progresses.

2 » Florida sophomore guard Kenny Boynton was named to the John R. Wooden Preseason Watch List on Monday. The list showcases 50 collegiate basketball players who Wooden Award Committee believes are frontrunners for the group’s player of the year award at the end of the season. Left off of this year’s initial list was Gators senior forward Chandler Parsons who was unquestionably the team’s best player last season and will be an integral piece should the team make the deep NCAA Tournament run predicted for them. Discounted by the committee, Parsons was recently profiled by Dime Magazine, which called him the “leader of the best starting five in America.” Check out this interview with Parsons that covers a number of topics.

3 » Three former Florida stars turned NFL rookies – tight end Aaron Hernandez and linebackers Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes – have been getting major playing time (most of the time as starters) this season with New England. Cunningham had to overcome injuries during the offseason, but Hernandez and Spikes each had to deal with a different personal matter that cast doubt about them in the eyes of fans and the media. For seemingly the first time in years, Spikes spoke with reporters and tried to clear the air. “I definitely was embarrassed,” he said about the online video released of him. Now his focus is on football, which is getting easier for him week-to-week. “It’s kind of been a big learning process, but I think it’s coming along,” Spikes said. “Every day is a step I need to take to try to get better.”

4 » It has been five years since former Alabama Crimson Tide WR Tyrone Prothro’s career was basically ended when he shattered the lower part of his leg while attempting to make a catch in the end zone at home against the Gators. The best game of Prothro’s career ended up being his last, something he will always remember as being a life-changing event. “I definitely think that if I didn’t get hurt, I’d be in the NFL right now,” Prothro told AOL FanHouse. “I’m not sure if I would have come out early or not, but I might have. I was a junior. Though he is able to walk – and run – again, Prothro’s physicality is not where it needs to be to play professionally. Now he is working as a bank teller at Regions Bank across the street from his former team’s football complex. “People don’t believe it’s me,” he said. “I’ve got a name tag and a nameplate. They look down, then they look back up, and I’m like ‘It’s me.’”

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

Bulls, Noah agree to five-year, $60M extension

Former Florida Gators center Joakim Noah, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, agreed in principle to a five-year, $60 million extension with the Chicago Bulls over the weekend.

The winner of back-to-back national championships at the University of Florida, Noah’s new deal includes a number of added bonuses, according to ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher who spoke with Dan Fegan, one of Noah’s agents.

“Joakim is such an integral member of our team, and we are very pleased to have reached an agreement with him,” team general manager Gar Forman said in a statement on Monday. “His presence, both on and off of the court, is immeasurable and we look forward to him to continue to improve and develop his game.”

Only playing 22 minutes per game during his first two seasons in the league, Noah posted averages of 6.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks, leading many to believe he may have been overrated coming out of college.

That all turned around last year as Noah averaged 10.7 points, 11 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 30.1 minutes per game while playing through a nagging plantar fasciitis injury.

The Bulls now covet him as the team’s literal centerpiece for the future. In fact, Chicago turned down overtures for Noah from the Denver Nuggets, which hoped the team would include him as a piece in a trade for All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

As rookie season begins, brand Tebow expands

Fact is, Tim Tebow was already a brand coming out of high school – just ask anyone who followed his recruitment. Now, after achieving legendary status while playing four years for the University of Florida Gators and being selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos, Tebow is finally able to capitalize on the fame and following he has built over the last handful of years.

On Wednesday, Tebow’s marketing push began by rolling out an official website (TimTebow.com), Twitter account (@TimTebow) and Facebook page (Tim Tebow) at the same time as his brother Robby Tebow and longtime friend Angel Gonzalez publicly debuted their website for XV Enterprises, an agency featuring Tebow as its first client.

While the website and social media accounts are aimed at fans, XV Enterprises’ goal is to become a major player in the sports marketing world by attracting only the best clients who have a particular “it” factor, as Gonzalez explained to CNBC’s Darren Rovell.

Currently featured on Tebow’s website is a four-minute trailer to an upcoming documentary about his path to the NFL, information about the player, pictures, videos and a list of his upcoming Broncos games and events.

The man who some have begun calling T2 has also debuted a new slogan that is sure to catch on with his supporters: GB2 = God Bless + Go Broncos.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

NFL cuts deliver good and bad news for ex-Gators

NFL teams were required to trim their active rosters to 53 men on Saturday, which meant a number of former Florida Gators were on the fence about whether or not they would make their respective teams going into the 2010-11 season.

GOOD NEWS

» As expected, all nine Gators selected in the 2010 NFL Draft made it through training camp and the preseason.

» Former Florida wide receiver David Nelson, who signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills after the draft, was told Saturday afternoon that he made the team. “Officially a Buffalo Bill,” Nelson wrote to his Twitter account. “Thanks to everyone for the support and prayers through this long but rewarding process!”

» Though it is not believed he was in complete danger of making the cut, former Gators safety Reggie Nelson got what he will likely consider his own form of good news Saturday, as the Jacksonville Jaguars decided to trade him to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals, in need of safety help after losing Gibril Wilson to a season-ending injury, decided to trade cornerback David Jones and a conditional draft pick to the Jaguars. Nelson will be reunited with wide receiver Andre Caldwell and defensive end Carlos Dunlap in Cincinnati.

BAD NEWS

» Tight end Cornelius Ingram has faced plenty of adversity since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament during his senior season with Florida. Drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles with the No. 153 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Ingram proceeded to tear the same ACL again as a rookie during training camp. Finally back at near full speed, he had been playing well for the Eagles this offseason until a baker’s cyst in his knee kept him out of action. Ingram was released by Philadelphia on Saturday but will be a candidate to land on the team’s practice squad should he go unclaimed.

» Even though he scored three touchdowns in the Indianapolis Colts‘ final preseason game, former Gators kick returner Brandon James did not make the cut with one of the top teams in the AFC. Instead, the team elected to sign Devin Moore for that job. James did muff a punt that was returned for the touchdown during the preseason and will likely be picked up as a practice squad player with either the Colts or another team.

» One of the team’s most valuable defensive players throughout the 2009 playoffs, former Gators defensive end Bobby McCray was cut by the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, just over a month after the team brought him back (they originally let him go on June 21). In the offseason, the Saints signed fellow former Florida DE Alex Brown, who will be a starter for New Orleans this season.

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

Week 1: Gators post-game notes and quotes

Putting forth a lackluster showing in their first game of the 2010-11 season, the No. 3/4 Florida Gators edged the Miami (OH) RedHawks 34-12 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. With so much to discuss following the contest, OGGOA presents some of the most important notes and quotes coming out of The Swamp on Saturday.

POUNCEY STRUGGLES AT CENTER

Senior center Mike Pouncey stayed in school rather than declare for the 2010 NFL Draft for the sole purpose of improving his stock while taking over for his brother in a position more highly coveted by scouts. In his first action at his new position, Pouncey had more than a dozen miscues, snapping the ball too low – or too wobbly – or just plain poorly. One mistake early in the game led directly to a turnover, but a number of others killed offensive momentum or put Florida in a hole early in their series.

“I take full credit for messing up the whole offense,” Pouncey admitted after the game. “It was all on me. I’m the leader of the offense and I let the guys down. I’m going to work my ass off and it won’t happen again. The ball just kept slipping out of my hand. I don’t know how the hell, but it just kept slipping out. We’ll have it fixed by next week. We’ve got USF so we’ll be looking forward to it. […] When we did get stuff going, I f—ed up the snap. And then when we did get stuff going again, s–t, we just kept fumbling. It won’t happen again. [...] It was my fault. I’m going to get in here in the morning to fix it. The ball kept slipping out. [...] I’m glad it happened in this kind of game – a game that we could have just went out there and won – but if we do it next week we won’t win the game. We weren’t worrying about [Miami] beating us.”

STARTERS SIT FOR DISCIPLINARY REASONS

Prior to the game, it was known that at least four starters and two others players would be out of action Saturday. However, it came as a surprise to some to see neither junior safety Will Hill nor redshirt junior left guard Carl Johnson on the field to start the game. As first noted by OGGOA on Twitter, both players were held out of action for disciplinary reasons. “We expect certain things in the classroom. We expect their behavior off the field. You expect a lot of things and if you don’t fulfill that you don’t play,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “Those two guys didn’t fulfill expectations.”

Sophomore S Josh Evans started in Hill’s place, and the Gators were forced to re-shuffle an already misaligned offensive line, putting redshirt junior right guard James Wilson in Johnson’s place at LG and starting redshirt freshman Jon Halapio at his RG spot. Sophomore linebacker Dee Finely (groin) was a late scratch as well.

PAGING ANDRE DEBOSE…COME IN ANDRE DEBOSE

Conspicuous by his absence was redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose. After missing his true freshman season recovering from a hamstring injury, Debose had been performing well in practice and was deemed ready to go for the season opener. But even with Florida’s offensive struggles, Debose was nowhere to be found. Meyer mentioned that there was no intent to keep Debose off of the field, but he would certainly speak with WR coach Zach Azzanni about the situation.

NEW INJURIES OCCUR WHILE OTHERS HEAL

Senior cornerback Moses Jenkins, who earned the starting nod Saturday, appeared to injure his left elbow and forearm after landing on it awkwardly, was put in a sling on the sidelines and iced the area while walking to the locker room during the game. Wilson seemed to injure himself during the fourth quarter, but walked off of the field mostly under his own power. Though no updates were available on those two, Meyer said after the game that sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon, senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders and redshirt freshman TE Jordan Reed (all of whom have knee injuries) should be active next Saturday against South Florida.

MOORE BLANKED WHILE HINES AND BURTON STEP UP

Meyer was not blowing smoke this fall when he said that sophomore WR Omarius Hines would be an important piece of the puzzle this season. With redshirt senior WR Carl Moore held catchless, Hines played his new hybrid tight end role and reeled in three catches for 49 yards and the team’s first offensive touchdown on the season on a 10-yard slant from redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley.

Also contributing the entire game was freshman QB Trey Burton, who played five offensive positions (QB, WR, TE, fullback, H-back) and got some work on special teams. He even notched a touchdown on a two-yard run from the wildcat formation. “I imagine he graded out a winner because he seems to do everything right,” Meyer commented. “Trey Burton is going to be a major impact [player] on this team.”

QUOTES (after the break…)
Continue Reading » Week 1: Gators post-game notes and quotes

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

TWO BITS: Noah golfing, Spikes not endorsing

1 » The good news: Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah participated in his team’s charity golf tournament on Monday. The better news: The picture above shows exactly what the former Florida Gators star wore to the event. At least this picture is funnier than a few taken of him earlier this offseason.

2 » Speaking of unflattering media coverage, New England Patriots rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes unfortunately made a poor decision before becoming a professional, one that has come back to bite him in the form of an adult-themed video being passed around on a number of websites. The NFL, which began looking into the matter almost immediately, may not even be his biggest concern; as Spikes’ agent points out, the player was not trying to knowingly break the personal conduct policy and the actions he took occurred before he was selected by New England in the 2010 NFL Draft. Nevertheless Reebok, which had offered Spikes a marketing deal, has reportedly pulled that offer according to his agent Terry Watson. According to The Boston Globe, which cited a Patriots fan blog, “the deal was worth $60,000 with on-field achievement incentives that could increase its value.” Watson noted that Spikes was dejected and apologetic for his actions. “He’s OK,” Watson said. “There’s nothing he can do about it now but continue to be the person he is, and the kind of leader he will be on and off the field. He can’t rewind what occurred, but he’s been through adversity with football and off the field, like we all have, and knows how to deal with it.”

Tags: , , , , , , ,

TWO BITS: Jenkins’ future, coaches adjusting

1 » It is no secret that Florida Gators junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins is already a top prospect for the 2011 NFL Draft – and he has not even played a down in the 2010 season yet. ESPN currently ranks him as the No. 10 overall draft prospect for next year, and Jenkins is aware that he could very well follow in Cleveland Browns rookie CB Joe Haden’s footsteps not only at Florida but also in the pros as well. Pahokee High School head coach Blaze Thompson told the Palm Beach Post Tuesday that Jenkins is “one of those guys that doesn’t accept the back seat and isn’t intimidated by many people. The NFL is his dream. If by the end of the year he’s slated as a first-round pick, I would say Florida’s losing a corner. It’s hard to pass that money up.” The Post’s Jason Lieser also points out something else interesting – that new Gators defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was dejected to learn that Jenkins was only a sophomore when he was evaluating defensive backs prior to the 2010 NFL Draft; he was looking at Haden, but Jenkins stood out to him on film.

2 » Though Florida’s coaching staff has changed drastically since last season, assistant head coach and defensive line coach Dan McCarney believes the current lineup is as good as ever. “I think they all come from phenomenal programs, good people, they are winners,” he said, according to Florida Today. “Most, if not all, have a great background with Urban Meyer, which makes it pretty unique. […] I’ve been on some great staffs. I think this one may be as good as any I’ve ever been around.”

Extra BIT » Remember when OGGOA told you that former Gators softball player and ESPN sideline reporter Jenn Brown had signed an endorsement deal with Icehouse? Yeah, that’s not going to happen. According to MillerCoors, which distributes Icehouse, ESPN decided to nix the deal even after they initially approved it when Brown’s agent broached the subject. Brown can now continue to enjoy her Coronas without having to worry about angering her sponsor.

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

FOUR BITS: Theismann, Chow, Hill, NFL Draft

1 » Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow’s initial performance as a professional did little to sway his doubters – most notably former QB Joe Theismann and UCLA Bruins offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Theismann, who has been on Tebow’s case since before the 2010 NFL Draft, claims that many of his contemporaries were surprised to see the signal caller drafted I n the first round. “I would hope there isn’t anybody who would say Tim Tebow was going to come in and start for the Broncos this year,” Theismann said, according to The Denver Post. “It would have been too great an expectation for him. […] if you can’t refine his delivery, then he’s going to struggle to become a consistent quarterback. […] It’s long and low. Randall Cunningham had a long windup, but it was high. Tim’s is long and low. The ball is away from his body a long time.”

Chow agrees. “I don’t think Vince [Young] was ready because of where he came from. I don’t think Tebow is quite ready because of where he came from,” he said. “The intricacies of a pro passing game are unbelievable. It takes time. […] They said they were going to change his throwing style and that’s a bunch of bologna. You don’t change, in one summer, the throwing style a guy has been using for 20 years of his life.” Chow doesn’t even thing Tebow will survive as a running QB. “Tebow’s strength, obviously, is running the ball, and he’s not going to be able to do that in the NFL. We tried to do some of that stuff my first year with Vince, and he had a little success. But once teams figured it out – which in the NFL it usually takes them a half, or a quarter to figure things out – it wasn’t very effective anymore. All it’s going to do is you’re taking a lot of hits. And you’re not going to survive if you take a lot of hits in the NFL.”

2 » Florida Gators junior safety Will Hill knows it is his time to shine in the team’s starting secondary. Now holding the full-time job, Hill is aware that he will have an important role in the team’s success. “I feel the same responsibility as when Major [Wright] was here last year,” Hill said, according to The Gainesville Sun. “Just become a leader and help the team win the next game. […] I’ve been looking forward to [starting] for a while now. I just have to sit back and do my job and everything will come to me.”

Two more BITS on the 40-second clock and 2011 NFL Draft…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Theismann, Chow, Hill, NFL Draft

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

 Page 54 of 78  « First  ... « 52  53  54  55  56 » ...  Last »