TWO BITS: Harvin’s returning, Tebow’s passing

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Percy Harvin has become a dynamic kickoff returner for the Minnesota Vikings. Only in his second professional season, the 2009 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year has three return touchdowns on his career with his latest – a 95-yarder – coming on Sunday. The St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Jeremy Fowler took a look at how Harvin’s return efficiency stacks up all-time. Hint: it’s pretty good. With three touchdowns in 58 returns, Harvin is averaging one every 19.3 touches, good for second all-time to Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers’ one every 15.16 touches (six TDs in 91 returns). Harvin’s efficiency also tops others like Leon Washington (21.66), Devin Hester (25.5), Josh Cribbs (35), Deion Sanders (51.66) and Dante Hall (71).

2 » Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels said his staff will “continue to tinker with” its package for former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow after the Heisman Trophy winner scored his first NFL touchdown on Sunday. However, in order to make his presence on the field truly effective, Dave Krieger of The Denver Post opines that Tebow needs to throw the ball. “[Passing] is the element missing so far from the Broncos’ Tebow packages, and it’s the element that will be necessary to make him more than an NFL novelty act,” he wrote. “The package could feature more weapons if [QB Kyle] Orton came out of the game, but that can only happen if Tebow is a threat to throw it himself.” McDaniels sees both sides to the situation. “We certainly can throw the ball with him out of [the package],” he said. “We haven’t yet. We can’t do the same thing with it week after week after week. […] The defense knows if it’s a quarterback back there you certainly have to be ready to play the pass, and that would certainly be the case with Tim.”

Photo Credit: Ed Reinke/Associated Press

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

Florida Hall of Famer J. “Papa” Hall passed

Former Florida Gators running back, track & field athlete and University of Florida Hall of Fame member J. “Papa” Hall passed away on Sept. 15. He was 79.

Hall, who along with Rick Casares and Buford Long was a member of perhaps the most powerful group of running backs in school history, was the Gators’ leading rusher in 1952 with 671 yards. He was “recruited by every major Southern college” (according to the Tallahassee Democrat), but chose to play in Gainesville, FL, because it was close to home.

The winner of two national collegiate high jump championships (1951, 1953) during his time at Florida, Hall also set a national indoor high jump record (6’11″) while in school. He helped lead the Gators to their first-ever bowl game victory, a 14-13 win over Tulsa in the 1953 Gator Bowl. Described by author Buddy Martin as “swift with long legs and a big stride,” Hall rushed 17 times for a team-high 94 yards in that game and caught two passes for a team-high 60 yards, accounting for almost half (154 yards) of Florida’s total offensive output (334 yards) that day.

He was picked up by the New York Giants after college but instead chose to attend law school and pursue a career as a judge.

Elected to the Leon County Circuit Court in 1980, Hall presided there for 18 years, serving 10 more years as a replacement judge before retiring. Fair skinned, he was diagnosed with melanoma a few months ago and skin cancer spread throughout his body eventually leading to his demise.

OGGOA sends our deepest condolences to the Hall family.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Peterson, Emrick highlight 2011 Hall of Fame class

Seven former letterwinners, including Gator Greats Mike Peterson (football) and Bob Emrick (men’s basketball) will be inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame 2011 class. The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced the class on Wednesday, which will receive their honors at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 8, 2011, in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

According to UF, “inductees are divided into three different categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners.” The remainder of the induction class includes Gator Greats Dawn Buth (women’s tennis), Judd Davis (football), Michelle Freeman (women’s track & field), Mimosa McNerney (women’s swimming>, Distinguished Letterwinner Keith Tribble (football), and Honorary Letterwinner Dr. Richard Shaara (team physician).

More about each inductee and their career accomplishments after the jump.
Continue Reading » Peterson, Emrick highlight 2011 Hall of Fame class

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

FOUR BITS: Harvin, Montana, Fisher, Whitson

1 » Reports coming out of Minnesota Vikings training camp have former Florida Gators wide receiver Percy Harvin back with the team – though he is, of course, being kept out of action. After spending the night in the hospital, Harvin was seen on the practice field Friday morning exchanging pleasantries with players and coaches before heading inside the facility. All word from inside camp is that he is feeling much better and on the road to recovery from his severe migraine attack Thursday.

2 » Earlier this week, Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana was a guest on The Matt Minkus Show. He discussed a number of topics but, most importantly to OGGOA readers, gave an endorsement of Denver Broncos rookie QB Tim Tebow. “I think he’s going to be fine. I think one of the things that people forget – they’re so worried and concerned about changing his motion. I’m not as concerned about changing his motion as just him learning footwork. I think that’s the most difficult part for him,” Montana said. “Today, they spent more time in the shotgun than taking snaps anyway. When you look at where he played – in the SEC – he’s not a D-III player playing against teams that are obscure and players who might be obscure. [He’s] playing against pretty good teams week-in and week-out. I think he’s definitely got the ability to have a successful career. You saw him the other night – made a couple great throws. He’s physical and he’s tough and he’s going to put in the work that’s necessary for him to get better. And I think that’s probably the biggest key.”

3 » New Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher, who has failed to beat Florida in his last three years as the team’s offensive coordinator, has decided to begin referring to the Gators as “that little team down the road” rather than their proper name. Cute decision, even if it is a pretty weak response to Florida head coach Urban Meyer only calling FSU the “school out west.” Also notable is that Fisher’s statement is blatantly incorrect. The University of Florida enrolls over 10,000 more students (50,691 vs. 40,225) and is more than five times the size (2,000 acres vs. 395.15 acres) of Florida State University. Oh, and by the way, UF has outscored FSU by 90 points (127-37) in Fisher’s three games with the team. OGGOA‘s universal mantra? Win – then talk.

4 » The following was written for OGGOA by Darren Heitner of SportsAgentBlog.com

The much talked about and debated NCAA “no-agent” rule could end up hurting an incoming Florida baseball player who is recognized as one of the best pitching prospects in the country. Karsten Whitson, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, recently decided that he would not sign with the San Diego Padres and would instead play at least three years for the Gators. Unfortunately, his student-athlete status may be at risk after a couple of articles mentioned that his advisor might have been negotiating directly with the Padres. The no-agent rule specifically states that a player may not have his advisor speak directly to a team on his behalf or even be in the presence of the team when the player is negotiating his deal. There is no word yet as to whether the NCAA is investigating this matter.

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

FOUR BITS: Pouncey, Brantley, Arkansas, Page

1 » Remember how former Florida Gators center/guard Maurkice Pouncey was supposed to start at the latter position for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010? The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that fans should not jump to any conclusions considering the fact that Pouncey has actually been splitting time with incumbent starter Justin Hartwig at first-team center in recent practices. Whether or not Pouncey starts at center during the first week of the 2010-11 NFL season is of no consequence; already getting reps there is indicative of his bright long-term future with the team.

2 » Speaking with the Sporting News, former Florida Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel said he doubted Alabama running back Mark Ingram could repeat his 2009 honor while putting Gators redshirt junior starter John Brantley firmly in the running. “I’m not just being a loyal Gator on this one – OK, maybe a little bit. Brantley has tons of young offensive talent around him and supposedly a new scheme that fits his style better so he could put up huge stats,” Wuerffel said. “Plus, the best teams on Florida’s schedule – Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Florida State – all return less than half of their defensive starters from last year. If UF loses two regular-season games or less,which I think is likely, Brantley will be in the discussion.”

3 » Arkansas radio personality Renee Gork was fired by her station – KAKS – on Monday after Arkansas Razorbacks head football coach Bobby Petrino became enraged that she wore a Gators hat to his press conference on Saturday. According to the Associated Press, “Gork, a Florida graduate, said she grabbed the hat without thinking Saturday because it was raining outside. She also said she sent a letter of apology to the university and Petrino.”

4 » Former Florida star women’s basketball player and 11-year WNBA veteran Murriel Page was hired as an assistant coach under head coach Amanda Butler on Monday. Inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame this past April, Page (1994-98) was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference honoree in 1997 and 1998 and a finalist for the 1998 Naismith Player of the Year and Associated Press National Player of the Year awards. “Murriel’s professional experience, her passion for the Gators and the quality of person that she is makes her the perfect fit for our program,” Butler said in a UF release. “We looked at a number of different applicants from a variety of backgrounds and locations and Muriel stood out to everyone.”

Photo Credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

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

Greiner dies, Florida basketball loses a friend

Former Florida Gators basketball player and friend to the program Augie Greiner has passed away. He was 76.

A student-athlete from 1953-56, Greiner was nicknamed “the Gun” due to the fact that he was a shooter who loved to have the ball in his hands. He won the MVP award as a freshman and was the backbone to the basketball team for four seasons.

“I never have seen a shot I didn’t like,” he once said, according to the University of Florida.

After college, he continued playing in men’s leagues in Ocala while opening up what eventually would become a successful business – Greiner’s Clothing – in 1962. Greiner was also enshrined in the F Club Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Letterwinner, one who has “made major contributions to the University’s athletic program through personal time, effort, interest and many years of continued service.”

More than three decades ago, Greiner established the Ocala Tip-Off Club in order to raise money and provide scholarship endowments for the Florida basketball program; he did this while also serving as a member of the Gator Boosters Board of Directors. The club has allotted funds for more than a half-dozen scholarships to-date and is the largest of its kind in the state.

When UF decided to hire Billy Donovan as the Gators’ head coach in 1996, Greiner was there from the get-go to support the team and its new leader. He would meet with Donovan privately, attend practices and even take players aside to provide some individual advice when necessary.

And when Donovan temporarily left Florida for the NBA only to return to the school days later, Greiner was believed to have been a close confidant and perhaps even one of the motivating factors in the decision. Over the years, the Donovans and Greiners have kept in close contact and developed a unique and lasting friendship.

It should be no surprise that an office in the basketball complex is named after Greiner due to his contributions to the program over the years and love for Gators basketball.

OGGOA sends our deepest condolences to the Greiner family and will update this story.

Photo Credits: University of Florida

Tags: , , , , , ,

SIX BITS: Cassell, Elway, Tebow, Crowder, Haden

1 » On June 24, three-star linebacker recruit Rahim Cassell (Lakewood, CA) committed to the Florida Gators; unfortunately for him, the team did not recognize his verbal promise and did not count him as a member of its 2011 recruiting class. Friday, Cassell reiterated again to the Orlando Sentinel that he is committed to the Gators, stating that coaches simply wanted to see him perform in person before bringing him on board. However, there remain conflicting reports that Cassell is still not a part of the recruiting class – yet. So while his intentions are known, Florida’s are not. In all likelihood, the coaching staff is waiting to make sure they have a spot for him after higher ranked players decide where they will be attending school next year.

UPDATE: Cassell, for the third time now, claims that the coaches have accepted his commitment. He told the Sentinel that a phone call set for Sunday night may help clarify why there have been so many mixed messages.

2 » Legendary Denver Broncos Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway has been supportive of former Florida QB Tim Tebow ever since his team selected him with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. At a golf tournament on Thursday, Elway opened up more about Tebow. “The thing about Tebow is they’re focusing too much on his release,” Elway said. “As long as he can get it in a timely manner, I think he has plenty of arm there. […] He’s not going to change his release. He may get better. Obviously, by throwing you get more accurate and more accurate and you may shorten it up as time goes on but if it’s long and quick, that’s OK.”

Four more BITS on Tim Tebow, Channing Crowder, Joe Haden, Jabar Gaffney…and an extra BIT on recruit Curt Maggitt…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Cassell, Elway, Tebow, Crowder, Haden

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

FOUR BITS: Hall of fame, accountability, NFL

1 » On Oct. 29, 2010, one day before the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs square-off in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, FL, four former student-athletes will be inducted into the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame. Representing the Gators are linebackers Wilber Marshall and Scot Brantley, while LB Knox Culpepper and quarterback Zeke Bratkowski will be honored as former Bulldogs.

2 » A quick blurb from friend of OGGOA, former Florida football player and host of “The Morning Drive” on ESPN Radio in Ocala/Gainesville, FL, Brady Ackerman via his Twitter account Monday evening: “I am hearing that [head coach] Urban [Meyer] has made [the] team accountable for everyone this offseason. In an effort to develop leadership – a mistake hurts everyone. Meyer is trying to develop leaders and accountability with his team this summer. That will be put to test with the arrest of Hammond. The rule is if one guys messes up – everyone pays. Hammond, who is now suspended, is causing the team a little ‘extra’ running this week. I think the message will get home with the team this week and expect the rest of the summer to be quiet from ‘nonsense.’”

Two more BITS on Joe Haden and Maurkice Pouncey…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Hall of fame, accountability, NFL

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

 Page 6 of 7  « First  ... « 3  4  5  6  7 »