FOUR BITS: FGCU, Meyer, Donovan, Muschamp

1 » After the student body of the 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast Eagles chanted “[expletive] the Gators” during a pep really carried live on ESPN, some fans of the three-seed Florida Gators became enraged. To atone for the actions of some of the students, the FGCU student body released the following statement on Tuesday:

“We wanted to take a minute to send you and your students an apology for the negative reaction yesterday during our pep rally. In no manner do the words that were passed yesterday reflect upon this institution of higher education. Often times, excitement and a new experience can cause rash and hasty decisions to be made. In this moment of excitement for our young school, we hope that you will accept our expression of regret. With that being said, we are definitely looking forward to some healthy competition in Arlington, this Friday.”

On Wednesday, Florida’s senior director of media relations, Steve Orlando, responded in kind, according to The Gainesville Sun:

“We certainly understand when students get excited and enthusiastic, but they’ve apologized, and as far as we’re concerned it’s over. We’re just looking forward to a great game in Arlington on Friday.”

2 » In another non-story regarding the Gators and Eagles, FGCU volleyball player Gigi Meyer (the daughter of former Florida head coach Urban Meyer) told reporters on Monday that her father was excited that the Eagles advanced to the Sweet 16 and would be rooting for them over the Gators. Some fans expectantly overreacted for no good reason whatsoever, and The Sun‘s Pat Dooley went out of his way to communicate with Meyer (who also donates time and money to Florida Gulf Coast) to get his thoughts on the situation. “Always a Gator,” Meyer said. “Billy [Donovan]‘s my friend. That was Camelot the year I went to Indianapolis (2006) and they won it.”

3 » Speaking of Donovan, it was announced Wednesday that he is one of 20 finalists for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top Division I coach. Donovan has never won the award, which has been handed out since 2002-03, but was named the ESPN.com National Coach of the Year in 2011 and received the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award in 2010.

4 » The Football Writers Association of America on Wednesday announced that Florida head coach Will Muschamp will be the keynote speaker for the 2013 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet on Dec. 9. The Nagurski Award, which is handed out to the top defensive player in college football this year, has been in existence since 1993 yet never been won by a Gators player.

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Gators soccer notches upset, volleyball sweeps

Florida Gators soccer, coming off a disappointing loss to open the season that dropped the team out of the top 25, rebounded in a major way over the weekend while playing a pair of matches on the road in Chapel Hill, NC.

After fighting tooth-and-nail with the No. 19 North Carolina Tar Heels (0-1-1) on Friday in what would ultimately end up as a scoreless draw following two overtimes, Florida (1-1-1) came back from two goals down to pull off an impressive 3-2 upset of the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (3-1) in overtime on Sunday.

The Gators trailed by two goals early in the contest, allowing Blue Devils midfielder Gilda Doria (10’) and Cassie Pecht (29’) to find the back of the net. Florida would cut their deficit in half just 10 minutes later as sophomore forward Jillian Graff kicked in a pass from sophomore midfielder Havana Solaun at 39’.

UF knotted the match at 65’ thanks to a bit of luck after a corner kick by senior MF/F Erika Tymrak deflected off a Duke player and was scored as an own goal.

The two teams held even through the end of regulation, but the Gators would come out on top just minutes into extra time when Tyrak once again came through in the clutch by booing the golden goal off a pass from redshirt senior F/MF McKenzie Barney.

Florida is now riding a wave of momentum into Friday’s road match against No. 3 Florida State, which is set to air at 7 p.m. live on ESPN3.com. The Gators will follow that up with two home games before beginning league play on Sept. 14.

No. 18 Florida volleyball (3-0) may not have had been faced with the same challenges that their soccer counterparts were, but the Gators were equally impressive while hosting the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational from Aug. 24-25 in Gainesville, FL.

The Gators swept all three of their weekend opponents, picking up consecutive 3-0 victories over the Florida International Panthers (0-1), Florida A&M Rattlers (0-2) and Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (2-1) over the course of two days.

Junior middle back Chloe Mann (42 kills, 48 points) led the way for Florida with averages of 14 kills and 16 points over the three contests. Joining her with impressive performances of their own were freshman outside hitters Ziva Recek (29 kills, 30 points) and Berkley Whaley (21 kills, 27.5 points).

Gigi Meyer, the daughter of former UF head coach Urban Meyer and a member of the FGCU volleyball team, competed in the event as well. She registered 60 assists over her team’s three matches (10 against Florida).

Next up for the Gators is the Nike Big Four Classic from Aug. 31-Sept. 1 in University Park, PA. Florida will take on No. 2 Texas and No. 6 Stanford in the two-day event.

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Gator Bites for Thursday, September 8th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. In these instances, or when stories fall through the cracks, we try to catch them with Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» Remember back in April when Florida Gators forwards junior Erik Murphy and redshirt freshman Cody Larson were arrested for allegedly trying to break into a car? Since then the felony chargers were reduced to misdemeanors for both parties and Murphy accepted a plea deal that netted him fines, community service and a few other minor penalties. Larson’s situation, on the other hand, is not even close to resolved. The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway reports that he will have a Oct. 31 sentencing date to determine what legal action will be taken against him. He had previously entered a not guilty plea but could change it on the day of sentencing. As individual Florida basketball drills begin this week and practice starts on Oct. 15, according to Brockway, Larson’s status remains up in the air. The duo is currently indefinitely suspended from the team, though the expectation is that Murphy will be reinstated now that his legal situation is settled.

» Gators baseball received a commitment Wednesday evening as outfielder Max White chose to continue his career in Gainesville, FL. Also a left-handed pitcher, White is recovering from shoulder surgery and chose Florida over LSU, Central Florida, N.C. State, Maryland and North Florida, according to the Sun. “I have always wanted to play for Florida,” he told the paper. “To be in the situation where all of my hard work could possibly lead me to play for them — that is a great feeling. I just want to keep at it and I especially do not want them UF to see me slack off.”

» Florida head football coach Will Muschamp is known for his fiery demeanor on the sidelines. This fan video shot from the season opener against Florida Atlantic shows a mini-tantrum he threw during the game.

Read the rest of the Gator Bites (and watch four videos) after the break!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Thursday, September 8th

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TWO BITS: Shipman to UCF, Meyer wakeboarding

1 » Former Florida Gators guard Ray Shipman told UCFSports.com on Sunday that he will be transferring to play football for the Central Florida Knights. It came out a few weeks ago that Shipman had decided to change sports; now it is a done deal. “It’s something I’ve been thinking about ever since I stopped playing football after my freshman year of high school,” Shipman told the site. “Everybody in football was real surprised that I stopped. Now I want to go back to it. People think it’s just me changing sports, but to me I’m going back to my first love.” His cousin, quarterback Jeffrey Godfrey, plays at UCF which, ironically, just hired former Florida assistant Donnie Jones as its new head basketball coach. Shipman plans to play safety for the Knights and has yet to speak to Jones about any interest in basketball.

2 » Head coach Urban Meyer has been trying to relax and spend more time with his family this offseason, and what better way is there to do that than wakeboarding? In a promotional spot for Nautique, a boat manufacturer, Meyer is shown steering the boat while his daughter Gigi and some professionals tear up Lake Santa Fe. Enjoy.

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