New Orleans Saints DE Alex Brown: “The Florida Gators will never change for me.”

With eight years of professional football under his belt, former Florida Gators defensive end Alex Brown is moving on from the Chicago Bears to the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. In a brand new city with an upbeat and positive mindset, Brown landed in Louisiana on Wednesday to start preparing for training camp. The first thing he did after touching down? Provide OGGOA with an exclusive half-hour interview covering everything from his recruitment and time with the Gators to the Bears’ Super Bowl run and why grits are his favorite thing about the city of New Orleans, LA (so far).

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Growing up in a small town, was it difficult to get noticed by the University of Florida and make an impression on head coach Steve Spurrier?
ALEX BROWN: “Yeah, it was. I just wanted to go and play football – that’s all I did. I was nervous because I didn’t know if people would see me. My dad was really good just staying on me about it. ‘If you go play, if you’re good enough, they’ll find you.’ That was his big thing. All I did was go play – and they found me.”

AS: What made you decide to attend Florida rather than going to Georgia or another school? Were you always a Gators fan?
AB: “I actually was not a Florida fan at all. I really wasn’t even going to take a visit to Florida. University of Miami – that year – my last visit I was going to take was going to be to the University of Miami. And I was going to choose between Miami, Florida State, North Carolina and Auburn. There was a kid that got killed at Miami – I want to say it was like on a Monday or Tuesday – and I was supposed to go on a visit that coming weekend. And my mom was like, ‘No way, you can’t go. You can’t do it.’ I was like, ‘Alright, I guess I will not take another visit.’ I talked to [Buffalo Bills linebacker] Andra Davis, who I’ve known since like fifth grade, and he had just taken his visit to Florida and that was the celebration of the National Championship – that was that week. He had a great time. So I talked to him and he said he was going to Florida. He’s like, ‘Just take your visit there, you’re not going to go to Miami, so take your visit to Florida.’ Early in the week, I called coach [Jimmy Ray] Stephens, he was the offensive line coach at the time and the guy that recruited me. He said, ‘OK.’ I was in Gainesville for a day. [Atlanta Falcons LB] Mike Peterson was my host and, by the time I left, they could have left me there. I was going for sure. As soon as I got back, I started calling all the other coaches and letting them know that this is what I want. It wasn’t too far from home but far enough away, I guess. And they were good. I played linebacker, and they had [former DE] Jevon Kearse, Mike Peterson and [former LB] Johnny Rutledge – and I thought I fit right in. It was a great match for me and took me all of a day-and-a-half to figure that out.

Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Alex Brown…after the break!
Continue Reading » New Orleans Saints DE Alex Brown: “The Florida Gators will never change for me.”

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

FOUR BITS: Tebow’s illness, Bress comparisons

1 » One story surrounding the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl was former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow’s lingering illness. Believed to be a strep throat early in the week, Tebow was actually suffering from a viral infection of his esophagus. Pam Tebow, Tim’s mother, said his sickness was “much worse than strep throat” and caused eating to be too painful for him throughout the week. Tebow met with a doctor all week and lost more than 10 pounds over the course of the week.

2 » While many sports writers have spent the last week criticizing Tebow, Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel took a look at the situation from another angle. Former Purdue Boilermakers head coach Joe Tiller, who coached Drew Brees, Curtis Painter and Kyle Orton (among others), laughed at all of Tebow’s doubters. “I can remember NFL critics saying the same thing when Drew was a senior,” Tiller told Mandel. “‘He’s in that Purdue offense all the time. He lines up in the shotgun all the time, and our guys line up under center. It’s not like college football has a monopoly on the shotgun formation. Now that I’m out of coaching, I’ve watched more NFL football this year than I have the last 10 years combined. There’s hardly any team in the league that doesn’t have their quarterback in the shotgun anymore. [...] The entire league is doing what Drew Brees was criticized for coming out of college. [...] Actually, I think a guy coming out in the shotgun is better equipped than a guy coming out of center.”

3 » Fifty-one University of Florida student athletes were named to the 2009-10 Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll for the fall semester. Football led the way with 23 honorees, followed by soccer (18) and volleyball (10). Prominent names on the list include Tebow, sophomore RB Jeff Demps, junior punter Chas Henry, senior kicker Jonathan Phillips and junior kicker Caleb Sturgis.

4 » Florida track and field was responsible eight provisional-qualifying marks/times, three event wins and two NCAA automatic-qualifying marks/times during the Texas A&M Challenge in College Station, TX, on Saturday. The second half of the event was highlighted by thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili and jumper Shara Proctor, who earned the NCAA automatic-qualifying bids. For more information on the Gators’ performances over the weekend, click here (day one) or here (day two).

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