TWO BITS: Wright injured, Villegas sponsored

1 » After straining his groin muscle Monday, Chicago Bears safety Major Wright became the fourth former Florida Gators player (and third rookie) to get injured in the opening days of 2010-11 training camp. According to ESPNChicago.com, Wright hurt himself while “attempting to change direction and locate a deflected Jay Cutler pass during a full team drill.” He “appeared to lose his footing and almost ended up doing the splits. He then gingerly jogged off the field to receive treatment from the teams’ training staff and remained out the rest of the workout.” Bears head coach Lovie Smith was optimistic after practice, indicating that the trainers believe he will be fine. “I like the way he’s played football,” Smith said. “he’s been around the ball quite a bit. He has good hands and is eager and excited about being here. He’s a good football player. But we need to get him out on the football field because there’s good competition at the safety position.”

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin was carted off the field after tweaking his ankle over the weekend; both Oakland Raiders WR Louis Murphy and Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap suffered concussions.

2 » Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is not the only one making major sponsorship news. CNBC’s Darren Rovell reports that former Gators golfer Camilo Villegas has signed a brand new sponsorship deal with TaylorMade. Formerly with Cobra (Puma), Villegas will now sport a TaylorMade-adidas bag, equipment and attire during matches. “Camilo is a winner, a gentleman, and a fan favorite,” company president and CEO Mark King told Rovell. “Cameras tend to find him because he has presence and magnetism that’s impressive and rare. Camilo also shares the same values with our brand and our people, including a burning desire to improve and reach his potential. We very much want to help him do that, which is why believe this is a great fit.” In March, Villegas won the 2010 Honda Classic.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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SIX BITS: Wilder, Smith, Harvin, Ingram, Heat, golf

1 » Though he did not commit to the team as was rumored late last week due to a falsified e-mail, five-star athlete James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL) does have a leader: the Florida Gators are the “team to beat,” according to Rivals’s Mark Wheeler. “Sources say [his upcoming visits are] more to confirm his choice of Florida than anything else,” Wheeler wrote. “Wilder Jr. is enthused that Florida looks to be moving to a more traditional power running game.” In addition to recruiting fullbacks, the Gators are “expected to still feature the dive play and many inside and off-tackle running plays, but instead of [Tim] Tebow carrying the ball, Wilder would be the guy. Throw in his comfort level at Florida as well as that of his family, and the Gators will be tough to beat.”

2 » Former Florida running back Emmitt Smith has done plenty in his career. An inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, he holds NFL career records for rushing yards (18,355), rushing touchdowns (164) and 100+ yard rushing games (78). The eight-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time Super Bowl champion was also the 1989 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and is a member of the Gators’ Ring of Honor. But where he may have made his biggest impact is at Escambia High School, where he began his legacy. The Florida High School Athletic Association Player of the Century, Smith was not only a great player, his presence at the school helped ease racial tensions. “I wasn’t thinking about any racial tensions when I got to Escambia,” Smith told the Canton Repository. “It never dawned on me that I was part of a transformation at the school. I knew Escambia had a negative past, but I saw it was over and done with. I had played with white guys, black guys, all kinds of guys. Maybe that was me being naive.”

Four more BITS on Percy Harvin’s charity work, Cornelius Ingram’s knee, Gators on the Miami Heat and The Open Championship…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Wilder, Smith, Harvin, Ingram, Heat, golf

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TWO BITS: Dorial Green, The Open Championship

1 » While some in the media fawned over the false commitment story surrounding five-star 2011 athlete James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL) on Thursday, the Florida Gators have been setting their sights on one of the best players available in the 2012 recruiting session. That man is five-star wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (Springfield, MO), who Florida has targeted as their No. 1 target next year. A source who spoke with OGGOA Friday told us that Green has already visited the University of Florida and met with head football coach Urban Meyer and head basketball coach Billy Donovan. Though he is a two-sport star in high school, it is unknown if he plans to pursue both opportunities in college; however, one would expect the Gators to be open to such a concession if it is requested. MaxPreps national football editor Stephen Spiewak wrote a terrific profile piece on Green on Thursday – check it out.

2 » Former Florida golfers are continuing to make noise at The Open Championship at St. Andrews. After two rounds of action, 50-year-old Mark Calcavecchia is in second place; he is 7-under through two rounds of 70 and 67, respectively, and five shots off the lead. It is also worth noting that Calcavecchia has experience in this event, winning The Open in 1989 at Troon by beating Greg Norman and Wayne Grady in a playoff. Brian Gay, on the other hand, fell to T144 (+11) after shooting an 83 on Friday. Camillo Villegas is still in action, currently T43 (-1) through 12 holes; he shot a four-under 72 on Thursday. OGGOA will update all scores when the second round is completed.

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SIX BITS: Tebow, Brantley, Horschel, volleyball

1 » Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has already had a few eventful days in Florida in the month of July. On Saturday – teaming up with Florida’s Blood Centers, the Van Duzer Foundation and Palm Beach Autographs – the former Florida Gators star headlined a 12-hour blood drive in Fort Pierce, FL. Between meeting with fans, signing a ton of autographs (some of which can be purchased here) and speaking about his charities, Tebow entertained the crowd and kept fans wanting more. His First and 15 Foundation was also a featured part of a brand new playroom addition to Shands Children’s Hospital‘s pediatric cancer facility; the organization donated $156,000 used to buy high definition televisions, video game consoles and the like.

Five more BITS on John Brantley, golfer Billy Horschel and more…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tebow, Brantley, Horschel, volleyball

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TWO BITS: SEC football record, golf finishes 11th

1 » The Florida Gators have an opportunity to set yet another Southeastern Conference record on Sept. 4 when they open the 2010 football season against Miami (OH). Already tied with the Ole Miss Rebels for the most consecutive season openers without a loss (20), Florida can take sole possession of the record by winning their first game of the season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. The Gators already hold the record for most consecutive wins to start a season, seeing as the Rebels’ record (stretching from 1947-66) includes a 0-0 tie in 1963.

2 » Shooting a 293 (+5) in the final round of the 2010 NCAA Championship, Florida men’s golf finished tied for 11th in the tournament with a total team score of 869 (+5). At one point during the event, the Gators were just within a few strokes of the lead; by the end, they were 19 strokes back of the Oklahoma State Cowboys’ 850 (-14). The top eight finishers (also including Florida State, Georgia Tech, Washington, Oregon, Augusta State, Texas Tech and Stanford) will compete in the match play portion of the event next week. For the Gators, their season is over.

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SIX BITS: Golf in fifth, spread, softball, NFL, trivia

1 » After two days of action at the 2010 NCAA Championship in Ooltewah, TN, Florida Gators men’s golf is tied for fifth place with an even par score of 576. Florida is 14 shots off of the leader (Florida State, 562) and will compete in the final round on Thursday.

2 » CBS college football analyst Gary Danielson questions whether or not the Gators will remain successful running the spread offense without former quarterback Tim Tebow (now with the Denver Broncos) at the helm. “I’m still not sure any other spread will work in this conference,” he told Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel. “They cannot have John Brantley getting hit 12-15 times per game. He’s too valuable. […] It was tough for [Tebow] to take the punishment of [the SEC]. This conference is more and more simulating the NFL, with sophisticated defense to put hits on people.”

Four more BITS including a softball preview, updates on Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes and a Florida Gators *trivia* question…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Golf in fifth, spread, softball, NFL, trivia

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SIX BITS: W-tennis advances, Tebow’s tracker, Slive’s contract, Emmitt’s homecoming

1 » Advancing to the 2010 NCAA Tournament semifinals for the 20th time in the last 24 years, the No. 3 Florida Gators women’s tennis team (28-2) swept the No. 11 Miami Hurricanes (20-6) 4-0 on Saturday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, GA. The No. 5 doubles pair of senior Marrit Boonstra and freshman Allie Will defeated the No. 6 Miami pairing 7-6 DNF; both No. 65 Boonstra and No. 8 Will also won their singles matches. No. 9 freshman Lauren Embree was impressive in her victory over No. 7 Laura Vallverdu, winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. Florida will face no. 2 North Carolina (30-4) on Monday at 1 p.m. for a chance to advance to the championship game.

2 » As if the media’s obsession with Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow had not previously reached a peak – it has now. ESPN.com has just unveiled a “Tim Tebow Tracker” for its unique Tebow Watch page. It is not yet filled with much content (mostly things you have read elsewhere – cough, cough), but as the offseason progresses it should get filled up quite nicely. You can check it out by clicking here.

Four more BITS on the SEC commissioner’s contract, a honor for Emmitt Smith, golf advancing and baseball losing its regular season finale…after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: W-tennis advances, Tebow’s tracker, Slive’s contract, Emmitt’s homecoming

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FOUR BITS: Wright’s one-timer, tennis, Fontana

1 » Former Florida Gators safety Major Wright remains unsigned with the Chicago Bears, but that is not too uncommon considering training camp is still a ways away. However, what is interesting is that, according to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears will be including a “one-timer” (something generally used for second-round picks) in Wright’s contract. Essentially, Wright will earn an additional guaranteed incentive in the final year of his rookie contract (2013) as long as he actually steps on the field as a safety (rather than just a special teams player) at some point during his first three seasons.

2 » Competing in the 2010 NCAA Championship Round of 16 on Thursday against the Ole Miss Rebels (17-6), No. 3 Gators women’s tennis (27-2) captured a 4-1 victory and advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, GA. The No. 5 doubles pairing of senior Marrit Boonstra and freshman Allie Will took an 8-6 victory while No. 8 Will and No. 9 Lauren Embree (also a freshman) each won their singles contests. Florida will square-off against No. 11-seed Miami (FL) in the next round on Saturday at 1 p.m.

3 » No. 4/5 Gators baseball is competing for the Southeastern Conference regular season crown this weekend, but for freshman shortstop Nick Fontana, it is also a great opportunity to pay tribute to his grandfather, Lew Burdette. Inscribing “FROG” and “No. 33” on the infield dirt before the game begins, Fontana is sure to keep Burdette’s memory alive. “He was my inspiration,” Fontana told Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel. “I feel like he’s with me every day on that field.”

4 » It is a busy week for Florida’s athletic department as the No. 4/6 men’s golf team is also currently competing nationally, playing in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Central Regional on Thursday. In second place after posting a team score of 279 (-1), the Gators are only behind the leader, Stanford, by two strokes. The event continues Friday.

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