Cooper says white helmets will be shelved

As part of Nike‘s roll-out of their Pro Combat line of football gear, the Florida Gators sported new uniforms during the final home game of the season against the Florida State Seminoles. Senior wide receiver Riley Cooper said the players liked the look of the white “F” helmets so much that they elected to wear them for the 2009 SEC Championship against the Alabama Crimson Tide. “They look cool,” Cooper said. “We all liked how they looked.”

Head coach Urban Meyer seems to have a superstition with uniforms, shelving certain color combinations and utilizing others more often when the team has success wearing them. Such is the reason, OGGOA believes, that fans no longer see the white jersey-orange pants combination and often see the all-blue and all-white uniform choices. Even the white jersey-blue pants uniform has become a rarity, though the blue jersey-white pants combination is used often.

Though the Nike Pro Combat uniforms were only a one-time promotional ploy, the Gators’ sporting the white “F” helmets for a second straight game led many fans to worry they might end up replacing the good ol’ orange helmets with the cursive “Gators” script.

Those fans should no longer be concerned with breaking tradition, according to Cooper. “It didn’t work out for us, so I don’t think we’ll wear those again,” he said. “I’m not wearing mine.” Not that Cooper would have a chance, seeing as Friday’s 2010 Sugar Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats is the last game of his college career.

While Florida’s 2010 uniforms will look the same as they have in the past, it is believed that the athletic department will use some of the Nike Pro Combat gear from a technical standpoint. Better gloves, lightweight, sweat-wicking fabrics and lighter shoes are all things that can give the Gators an advantage – especially in the smoldering Florida heat.

Nike’s Pro Combat uniforms are said to be 37% lighter than current designs and utilize a four-way stretch twill that does not hold sweat or water. Additional features include Nike’s Dri-FIT technology, evaporation and cooling zones, more padding zones and improved ventilation and breathability. Players also wore Nike Vapor Trail 2.0 gloves and Nike Zoom Air cleats that are lightweight and feature better cushioning in the heel.

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SIX BITS: Urban Meyer absence edition (Part 1)

1 » Urban Meyer’s Press Conference Transcript

2 » Perhaps the key component to Meyer’s recent decision and then about-face is the effect it will have on rival schools and coaches who will use it as an opportunity to pounce on the Florida Gators and their recruits. OGGOA starts the festivities with a piece from Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who contends that Meyer’s flip-flop is a bad sign for Florida and an opening for the Georgia Bulldogs. “Meyer isn’t so much on the clock now as he is looking at it,” Schultz writes before flip-flopping himself. “Don’t misunderstand. I’m not projecting the Gators’ program is going to implode. But odds are, the Gators take a significant step back.”

3 » Next to jump on the pile are the Tennessee Volunteers faithful. The Knoxville News-Sentinel named Gainesville, FL, the flip-flop coaching capital of the world. No real reason to click that link – not much to read there. Just covering all angles.

Check out three more BITS (worth reading) after the jump!!!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Urban Meyer absence edition (Part 1)

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Sporting world reacts to Meyer’s resignation

Much has already been said about Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer’s resignation, and it has only been hours since he has decided to step down from the program. Many of Meyer’s players, former players, peers and friends have already released statements about their thoughts and feelings about the situation.

Check out the sporting world’s reaction to Meyer’s announcement after the jump!!!
Continue Reading » Sporting world reacts to Meyer’s resignation

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TWO BITS: Rainey sticking around, basketball falls

1 » Amid speculation that he was considering entry into the 2010 NFL Draft, Florida Gators redshirt sophomore running back Chris Rainey told the Orlando Sentinel that he will stay in Gainesville, FL, for “at least another year.” With Rainey, sophomore Jeff Demps and redshirt junior transfer Emmanuel Moody all coming back next season, the Gators’ running back unit may be the deepest it has been in years. Also on the roster will be sophomore Mike Gillislee, redshirt junior walk-on Christopher Scott and four-star 2010 commitment Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA).

2 » After starting the 2009 campaign 8-0 including wins over the Florida State Seminoles and then-No. 2 Michigan State Spartans, the Florida basketball team rose to No. 10/11 in the AP and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls, respectively. Consecutive losses to the No. 5/5 Syracuse Orange and unranked Richmond Spiders (both at neutral sites) have since dropped the Gators down to a No. 18 ranking in both polls. Florida has returned home to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center and will take on the South Alabama Jaguars Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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FOUR BITS: Dwyer HS, FSU, California, Bailey

1 » The Florida Gators‘ two commitments from Dwyer High School, five-star safety Matt Elam and four-star tight end Gerald Christian, got a visit from recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales on Tuesday, who also took time to meet with their teammate and three-star cornerback Robert Clark. [OGGOA Exclusive:] It is expected that Meyer will pay a visit to Dwyer in the coming days and offer Clark a scholarship (if he has not been offered one already), especially after learning that both Lane and Monte Kiffin of the Tennessee Volunteers attended Dwyer practice on Tuesday pushing hard for Clark in hopes that he could sway Elam.

2 » Over the last few days, Florida has lost out on two of the top 2010 recruits in the country to the Florida State Seminoles. First, it was four-star linebacker Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, FL) who liked the transition from Bobby Bowden to head coach Jimbo Fisher. According to reports Wednesday morning, five-star cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (Fort Lauderdale, FL) has also committed to FSU. Joyner, considered the No. 1 overall CB recruit in the country, and Luc were both highly regarded prospects by Gators, though neither were strong leans to Florida.

3 » Four-star wide receiver Kenny Stills (Carlsbad, CA) has narrowed his list to two schools: the Gators and the Oklahoma Sooners. Stills, who will announce on Dec. 18, said the Miami Hurricanes still have a shot but not a great one. The Gators have already pulled one recruit from California for 2010, four-star CB Joshua Shaw (Palmdale, CA), and many believe that head coach Urban Meyer is looking for the trifecta with Stills and five-star defensive end Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA).

4 » Florida is the early leader for Sterling Bailey (Gainesville, GA), a 2011 defensive end who is expected to be rated a four-star prior to his senior year of high school. “I could say [the Gators are out in front],” Bailey told JC Shurburtt of ESPN. “It was a surprising offer at first because they were not sending me much in the mail. My coach called me up and told me that Florida had offered. At first, I didn’t believe him. Then, I called and got on the phone with Urban Meyer. He told me that they were glad to offer me a scholarship and that when they saw me on film, it was a no-brainer.”

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Elam still committed to UF but FSU has a chance

High school sports reporter Jason Lieser over at the Palm Beach Post was able to pull a plethora of information from five-star Florida Gators safety commitment Matt Elam on Tuesday night at the 2009 Lou Groza Award banquet regarding his status with the school and future in college football. (He won the award for the second consecutive season.) Elam, who committed to the Gators in October 2008, has wavered the last two months about whether or not he would actually attend Florida when he enrolls early after this semester. It is a widely held belief that Elam is doing this simply for the buzz and attention as his high school career comes to a close, though some Gators fans are legitimately concerned that he could bolt for another program before officially signing.

Scheduled for an official visit to Gainesville, FL, this weekend, Elam has already signed his enrollment forms for Florida. They will be processed after he graduates from Dwyer High School in December (a semester early) so he can begin participating in spring practices in January…as long as he does not change his mind. “I’m committed to Florida,” Elam told the Post. “I’m still doing some thinking. I’ll do my official visit this weekend and I’ll make my decision after.”

Tennessee Volunteers head coach Lane Kiffin met with Elam at his school in October (OGGOA Exclusive) and returned for a second visit Tuesday. “I could go to Tennessee, but, no, I’m committed to Florida,” Elam said at the banquet.

Also visiting him on Tuesday was new Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher. If any team could pry Elam away from the Gators at this point, he says it would be Seminoles. Gaining the commitment of four-star linebacker Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, FL) last week, FSU has peaked Elam’s interest. “That got my attention,” he said.

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FOUR BITS: No excuses, Foley, rating, softball

1 » Speaking with reporters following the 2009 SEC Championship, Florida Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong refused to make excuses for his unit’s shortcomings. “We just didn’t play well at all,” Strong said. “We didn’t get off the field on third down. It was one of our worst performances in a long time. We can’t worry about one player [junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap]. He could have been hurt on the first play. [Alabama] showed nothing new. If you don’t tackle well, you give up big plays.”

2 » Saturday’s game garnered the highest rating ever for the SEC Championship on CBS, scoring an 11.8/24 or 13 percent higher than 2008’s 10.4/21. The rating peaked at a 13.0/24 from 7:00-7:30 p.m. (EST). It also reportedly set a record for CBS’s online streaming service, at least quadrupling their previous high of requests.

3 » The Birmingham News praised Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley for showing class and going over to the Alabama Crimson Tide‘s athletic department at the end of the game to congratulate them. “There’s a reason the Florida AD is considered the best in the business, and it’s not just because of all the championships his teams have won and all the money his school has made,” the article states. “That was a championship moment by a man whose team just saw its championship run come to an end.”

4 » Lake Wales, FL, softball pitcher Hannah Rogers always wanted to play for the Gators. When she was not offered a scholarship early on in the recruiting process, Rogers committed to the Florida State Seminoles. That was until a roster spot opened up on Florida’s roster and head coach Tim Walton offered her a scholarship. “It’s exciting because ever since I was little, I wanted to go to Florida,” she said. “It was a real emotional decision […], but I knew that Gainesville felt more like home to me.”

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Grading the Florida vs. Alabama game (+ FSU)

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive will grade the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2009 SEC Championship in Atlanta, GA. Following those grades, OGGOA has provided its overlooked grades (without explanations) for the Florida State Seminoles game.

QUARTERBACKS: B
Florida seemingly decided to put the entire offense on senior quarterback Tim Tebow’s shoulders. How else could you explain the 35 passing attempts and team-high 10 carries? On the ground, Tebow rushed for 63 yards. Through the air, he completed 57 percent of his passes for 247 yards and a touchdown. But he also threw a costly interception into the end zone and came up short on numerous occasions. Like the strategy or not, Tebow was responsible for almost every offensive snap of an offense that failed to get the job done against a stout Alabama defense.

RUNNING BACKS: I
Inexplicably, Florida’s running backs touched the ball a total of three times on Saturday. Three. In the Gators’ first 12 games, sophomore Jeff Demps averaged eight carries (7.7 yards), redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey averaged seven touches (6.4 yards) and redshirt junior transfer Emmanuel Moody averaged five rushes (7.3 yards). That is a total of 20 running plays and well over 100 yards of rushing that were not part of Florida’s offensive game plan. The only possible grade for this unit is “incomplete.”

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the SEC Championship after the jump…
Continue Reading » Grading the Florida vs. Alabama game (+ FSU)

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