SIX BITS: Jenkins, Dunlap, Tebow, Lochte

1 » After weeks of posturing, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and the St. Louis Rams finally came to terms Tuesday evening on a four-year rookie contract that will pay Jenkins $5 million over its duration including $3.1 million guaranteed. As first reported by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the contract ensures that Jenkins will be in camp on time. He will compete for a starting role immediately and could prove to be the steal of the drat that St. Louis hoped he was when the team selected him No. 39 overall.

2 » Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap has proven that he can be an effective pass rusher when he is on the field; unfortunately nagging injuries have kept him from being as consistent as either he or his team would have liked over the first two years of his career. In a recent conversation with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer indicated that Dunlap could be dominant if he finds a way to become a tougher player. “He doesn’t know how to fight through nagging things yet,” Zimmer said of Dunlap. “In this game, you can’t be a track guy. You’ve got to be a football player. Because you’re going to have bruises and bumps and be sore, so you’ve got to fight through it. That’s a little bit of immaturity and growing up. Usually they say with defensive linemen it takes about three years before they really kind of figure it out. So this is his third year, and I’m hoping he can live up to my expectations.”

3 » The ways in which the New York Jets plan to use quarterback Tim Tebow seemingly increase by the day, which is why it should probably come as no surprise that the team is now considering using him on its kickoff coverage team. According to the New York Daily News, Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff thinks there may be a benefit to throwing a quarterback on the field for one of the roughest plays in all of sports. “There are certain situations [on kickoffs] where he might be on the field that he could be utilized possibly to block or possibly to field a ball,” Westhoff told the paper. “If a team squibs it at you or pops it at you, he might be the perfect guy to put in that could make an adjustment. If they kick it deep, he could block. If they squib it or pop it, he could be a guy that we’d have with a ball in his hands.” He went on to clarify that stance. “His role with me won’t be a paramount role,” Westhoff added. “I’m not counting on Tebow coming in and being a hardcore special teams player. That’s not what we want. We have a limited role for him, but it will be one that presents problems. That’s what Tebow is all about. He presents problems to good football teams in a lot of aspects. You have to be aware of it. If you’re not aware of it, it could jump up and smack you.”

Read three more BITS on Lochte, Florida/Georgetown and Taylor…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Jenkins, Dunlap, Tebow, Lochte

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

Review – ESPN documentary series SEC Storied: “The Play That Changed College Football”

The second of four documentaries set to air on ESPNU this year as part of the SEC Storied documentary series, “The Play That Changed College Football” is an intricate look at the first Southeastern Conference Championship Game played in 1992 between the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0) and No. 12 Florida Gators (8-3).

Directed by Jeff Cvitkovic and narrated by Luke Perry, the film is centered on the thesis that one game – and more specifically one play – “helped shape how conferences are constructed and championships are decided.”

When the SEC expanded to 12 teams (adding Arkansas and South Carolina) nearly two decades ago, then-commissioner Roy Kramer chose to format the conference into two six-team divisions and add a championship game that was previously unheard of in Division I college football.

The prevailing thought was that a SEC team would never win a national championship because even if one got through the regular season undefeated, the team could be canalized in the title game and ruin its chances at national glory. What Kramer saw, however, was not the risk but instead the rewards of increased exposure, television revenue and conference prestige.

“You had a chance to have a team play for the national championship. Now, all of a sudden if they lose this game, they’re gonna lose their shot at a national championship. I was concerned we had shot ourselves in the foot,” he admitted.

The former commissioner is honest and forthcoming when admitting that, while he may be considered a visionary now, he was one play away from potentially being a pariah. Luckily for him, the former came true and not the latter.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s review of ESPN’s latest documentary…after the break!
Continue Reading » Review – ESPN documentary series SEC Storied: “The Play That Changed College Football”

Tags: , , , , ,

Florida rebounds with 75-43 rout of Arkansas

Two days after scoring a total of 45 points in a close win against Auburn on the road, the Florida Gators (15-4, 4-1 SEC) put up 39 in the first half alone and went on to demolish the Arkansas Razorbacks (12-6, 2-3 SEC) 75-43 on Saturday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Florida rebounded from the worst offensive performance in head coach Billy Donovan‘s tenure in the Orange and Blue with what can only be considered an offensive explosion by comparison.

The Gators made it a point to force the ball inside the paint to the bigs at the beginning of the game. After the Razorbacks’ first basket, redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin scored eight-straight points and senior F Alex Tyus added a layup to complete a 10-0 run. Florida would follow that up with an impressive 12-0 run to jump ahead 29-11 with 7:03 left in the first.

Looking to make a statement heading into the locker rooms, the Gators ended the opening half on an 8-0 run, which included sophomore guard Kenny Boynton’s second three-pointer of the game, to go up 23 points at the break.

Florida shot 57.1 percent from the field, 50 percent from downtown and 66.7 percent from the line in the first half. They also made 16 shots – one more than they did throughout the entire game on Thursday.

Going back-and-forth much of the second half, the Gators led by 31 a number of times before ending the contest up a game-high 32 points when freshman G/F Casey Prather completed an alley-oop dunk with the clock winding down.

Boynton, breaking out of a slump he has suffered through most of the season, scored a game-high 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting while connecting on 4-of-7 attempts from downtown. Macklin and Tyus each posted 13 points and went a combined 11-for-17 from the floor. Held scoreless in the first half, Parsons ended up with five points, a career-high 15 rebounds and a game-high five assists.

Florida’s reserves were just as efficient as the starters with Prather, sophomore F Erik Murphy and freshman C Patric Young each scoring six points on a combined 14 shots. Tyus added seven boards while Macklin, Young and Prather contributed four apiece.

UF also excelled on defense Saturday, holding Arkansas’ leading scorer G Rotnei Clarke scoreless on two attempts. Forwards Delvon Johnson and Marshawn Powell led the Razorbacks with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

The Gators dominated every aspect of the game; they not only shot better but also out-rebounded their opponent 41-26, dished 13 more assists (18-5), grabbed two more steals (6-4), blocked four more shots (5-1) and committed six fewer turnovers (7-13). Florida held Arkansas to 30 percent shooting from the field and 15.4 percent from downtown while keeping their second-straight opponent from scoring 45 points. In fact, the Gators’ two-game opponent point total of 83 points is the lowest ever in Southeastern Conference play under Donovan.

Florida hopes to keep the momentum going as they travel to face Georgia on the road on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN.

Photo Credit: Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun-Associated Press

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

Florida ranked in preseason basketball polls

The defending national champion Duke Blue Devils earned the No. 1 spot in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today preseason polls released over the last two weeks. The Florida Gators were voted No. 9 and No. 11 in the respective polls.

The preseason top-10 for each poll was voted as follows:

Associated Press: Duke (55), Michigan State (8), Kansas State (2), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Syracuse

ESPN/USA Today: Duke (29), Michigan State (2), Kansas State, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Villanova, Kansas, Purdue, North Carolina, Kentucky

Other Southeastern Conference schools ranked in the preseason Top 25s include No. 11/10 Kentucky and No. 23/20 Tennessee.

Florida is set to play No. 4/5 Ohio State in Gainesville, FL, on Nov. 16 and No. 3/3 Kansas State at the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, FL, on Dec. 18.

The Gators finished the 2009-10 season unranked in both polls.

Tags: , , , ,

TWO BITS: volleyball wins, Crowder on helmets

1 » No. 1 Florida Gators volleyball (17-1, 10-0 SEC) improved to 9-1 against top 25 opponents this season with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-20) shutout victory over the No. 21 Tennessee Volunteers (15-5, 7-4 SEC) on Wednesday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Florida junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel led the Gators with a team-high 12 kills. Junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy contributed a match-high 15 digs along with seven kills and 17 assists, while senior OH Callie Rivers added nine kills and seven digs. Florida is rated No. 1 in the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) and has won 12-straight matches since falling to then-No. 1 Penn State on Sept. 10.

2 » Former Gators linebacker Channing Crowder of the Miami Dolphins, spoke out Wednesday when asked about the NFL’s decision to seriously crack down and possibly suspend players for helmet-to-helmet hits. “If I get a chance to knock somebody out, I’m going to knock them out and take what they give me,” Crowder said. “They give me a helmet, I’m going to use it. If I’m knocked out, I don’t know where I’m at, I can’t say my name, now I can’t play football. If I get hit in the head and black out for a second and now I get back up dizzy, OK, I’m ready to go.” Crowder believes the NFL is “making a big deal about nothing, adding, “They want to save the receivers and quarterbacks because they sell all the jerseys. They don’t give a damn at all about the defensive players because we don’t sell as many jerseys as them. If they want to change football to a graceful sport, change it all the way to a graceful sport. Don’t try to save the quarterbacks and receivers because they make the money, which that’s what they’re doing.”

Extra BIT » Over the summer we here on OGGOA covered former Florida defensive end Thaddeus Bullard‘s journey with World Wrestling Entertainment as he “competed” on the WWE NXT television program created to find the company’s next breakout star. Though he was eliminated early on, Bullard’s background as a football player and master’s degree recipient from the University of Florida was played up heavily by the producers/announcers; he even did a Gator Chomp at the top of the entrance ramp before entering the ring. As his in-ring character Titus O’Neil, Bullard returns to Gainesville on Friday, Oct. 29 as he competes with current and future WWE superstars in a Florida Championship Wrestling event at the Alachua County Fairgrounds. A member of UF’s Hall of Fame, O’Neil was also a Student Body Vice President in 2000.

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

WR Chris Rainey back practicing with Gators

Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey will be rejoining the Florida Gators for practice this week after being suspended for a month following an arrest and third-degree felony charge (since reduced) of aggravated stalking on Sept. 14., according to the University of Florida‘s University Athletic Association.

Rainey will be reinstated on a temporary basis, being allowed to practice with the team until he meets a number of conditions established by the coaching staff and administration. He will not be active for the Mississippi State game on Saturday. With Florida’s bye week coming up on Oct. 23, Rainey will have at least three weeks to practice before potentially seeing game action.

OGGOA has learned that Rainey being active for the Georgia game is “very likely” if he meets his conditions and goals, which are focused on showing a renewed effort off the field both in the classroom and during team activities.

“Chris Rainey is working towards being part of our football team again,” head coach Urban Meyer said in the UAA’s statement. “I’m disappointed that he violated a core value of our program, but he continues to pay a price for his actions. Chris will have to meet a set of conditions to become a part of our team again and although he is practicing, he will not play this weekend. The timetable for his return will depend on his ability to follow the guidelines we have laid out for him.”

Agreeing to deferred prosecution for a reduced misdemeanor stalking charge on Sept. 27, Rainey was handed six months probation, 10 hours of community service and a number of other penalties by the state including fines. As long as he fulfills the requirements and obligations presented to him by the court, he will be granted amnesty and the charges will be dismissed in six month’s time as he was a first-time offender.

“I am embarrassed and sorry for my actions and I apologize to everyone that I affected by my behavior,” Rainey said in his first public comments contained in the UAA’s release. “I’m working towards being a part of the Florida football program again and I realize that representing this University is a privilege. I have spent the last several weeks reflecting on my actions and realized that is not who I want to be.”

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Tags: , , , , ,

Tigers inch past Gators, UF drops second straight

The Swamp was rocking Saturday night, orange jerseys were worn for the first time since 1989 and redemption was on their minds, but the No. 12/14 Florida Gators (4-2, 2-2 SEC) failed to stop the No. 9/12 LSU Tigers (6-0, 4-0 SEC) on their final possession. Through a fake field goal and 62-yard game-winning drive, LSU defeated Florida 33-29 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

Tigers quarterback Jarrett Lee threw a three-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Terrence Toliver with six seconds left in the game for the win. The opportunity presented itself after LSU successfully converted a fake field goal attempt on 4th and 3 from Florida’s 36 yard line with 35 seconds remaining. They advanced to the Gators’ three after Tolliver caught a short pass and turned it into a 28-yard gain.

Both teams started slow in the first quarter with LSU striking first on a 45-yard field goal from kicker Josh Jasper. Florida redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard pushed LSU back a bit on its opening drive with a big tackle for loss on first down before the score. On the ensuing possession, Gators freshman WR Andre Debose mishandled a kickoff, putting the offense in a hole. Redshirt junior QB John Brantley was nearly sacked in the end zone but two LSU penalties gave Florida some breathing room.

Punting the ball after stalling on their own 42, the Gators would get it back quickly as redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins intercepted Tigers QB Jordan Jefferson, returning it 47 yards to the LSU 17. Five plays later, redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed rushed for a one-yard touchdown, giving UF a 7-3 lead to start the second quarter.

Louisiana State would answer right away, utilizing big rushes by running backs Stevan Ridley and Michael Ford to complete a 13-play, 77-yard drive that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by Jefferson.

Florida’s offensive line struggled to protect Brantley on the next series (as well as most of the game), forcing them to punt once again. Luckily for the Gators, Patrick Peterson muffed the punt while receiving pressure from Florida cornerback Cody Riggs; it was recovered by safety Ahmad Black and gave UF its second turn in the red zone as the result of a turnover. The Gators capitalized with a rushing touchdown from freshman QB Trey Burton to go back up 14-10.

After a defensive stand, Florida junior CB Janoris Jenkins returned a punt nearly to midfield that was called back to the Gators’ five after concurrent block in the back and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties (Jenkins spiked the ball upon getting up). Stuck near the goal line, Brantley was nearly sacked in the end zone again as the offensive line continued to be overwhelmed by the Tigers.

LSU would end the first half strong, scoring on a short field via a 38-yard pass to Tolliver and capitalizing on a fumble by Florida redshirt senior RB Emmanuel Moody by kicking a 39-yard field goal to go into the locker rooms with a 20-14 lead.

The Gators started the second half with gusto, putting together a 15-play, 70-yard drive in which Burton accounted for 30 yards. However, two missed field goals by senior punter/kicker Chas Henry (the first was negated by a holding penalty) left Florida without a single point. On UF’s next possession, Brantley had a pass deflected at the line that was intercepted inside the 40. The Tigers capitalized with Jefferson rushing for his second touchdown of the game just eight plays later.

Down 12 things looked bleak for Florida, but Debose answered quickly for the Gators with an electric 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Four possessions later, Brantley hit redshirt senior WR Carl Moore for a huge 51-yard gain to get Florida inside LSU’s 30. Sophomore WR Omarius Hines ran a reverse into the end zone, but a block in the back by sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. negated the score. However, the Gators kept the pressure on and scored two plays later on a rushing touchdown by sophomore RB Mike Gillislee to complete the 10-play, 80-yard drive. Hammond would catch a two-point conversion attempt from Brantley to give Florida a 29-26 lead with 3:21 remaining on the clock.

Up three points all the Gators hoped for on the next drive was a defensive stop, but the Tigers resisted by getting over a big defensive play on 3rd and 1 from Florida’s 34 with the fake field goal and subsequent touchdown pass to Tolliver.

LSU accounted for 385 yards of total offense in the game with 111 coming from Tolliver, 88 from Ridley, 150 combined from Jefferson and 124 on 9-of-11 passing from Lee. Moore led the way for Florida’s offense with 95 yards on four receptions. Burton gained 35 yards on the ground and Brantley completed 16-of-24 passes for 154 yards as UF totaled 243 yards. The Tigers also outgained the Gators in first downs (20-9), rushing (161-89), passing (224-154), time of possession (34:08-25:52) and sacks (3-1).

Florida hopes to rebound from back-to-back losses for the first time since 2007 next week as they face Mississippi State on Saturday during homecoming in Gainesville, FL. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., and the game will air live on ESPNU.

Photo Credit: John Raoux/Associated Press

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

TWO BITS: Tebow returns home, Driskel compared

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow will once again be playing football in his hometown of Jacksonville, FL, on Sunday; unfortunately for many residents, he will be doing so as a member of the Denver Broncos – not the Jacksonville Jaguars. Nevertheless, Jags players know that the city is Tebow’s for the day, just ask star running back Maurice Jones-Drew. “It’s his town man. It’s going to be exciting for him,” Jones-Drew said. “Everybody is probably going to try to be at the hotel and see him. Word around here flies around fast where everyone is staying, so my advice to him is get a private room and stay in there the entire night.”

Homecoming or not, ESPN analyst and former QB Trent Dilfer continues to seriously doubt Tebow’s future in the NFL, even though he is rooting for him on a personal level. “I’m one that said he won’t [succeed],” Dilfer said. “I want to be wrong. I want Tim Tebow to be a superstar because there’s one thing you cannot coach and that’s will. […] Saying that, if he is successful as a quarterback in the first three years of his career, it will be one of the most remarkable jobs of coaching by Josh McDaniels and his staff that we have seen since [what] Bill Walsh did with Joe Montana. It will be absolutely mind-boggling from a quarterback standpoint if Josh McDaniels and his staff can make him a successful quarterback in the first three years.”

2 » Five-star Florida QB commit Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL), already an accomplished high school player, is drawing further comparisons to Tebow after running for 68- and 61-yard touchdowns while simultaneously setting his school’s single-game rushing record in a game last week. Driskel, who ran for 246 yards in the game, brushes off the Tebow talk, even though it is complimentary. “People are going to make that comparison just because of my size and the fact that I’m committed to Florida,” he told the Orlando Sentinel. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and keep leading my team.”

Photo Credit: Ed Reinke/Associated Press

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

 Page 1 of 5  1  2  3  4  5 »