1 » Held out of action with the Oakland Raiders over the weekend, former Florida Gators wide receiver Louis Murphy continues to struggle to recover from a concussion he suffered during camp on Friday when he got kneed in the helmet by Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugah. He complained of a bad headache Sunday and showcased some other symptoms, leading the training staff to decide that it was best to hold him out of workouts. Murphy remains out of action and is now having trouble with sunlight, according to the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Vittorio Tafur. Head coach Tom Cable told the Associated Press that Murphy will be sitting until he passes a series of tests…something that looks to be at least a few days away.
2 » After tweaking his ankle earlier in the day, former Gators WR Percy Harvin returned to Minnesota Vikings practice on Saturday without a noticeable limp. Unfortunately, Harvin missed practice Sunday and will be absent Monday as well after learning of a death in his family. OGGOA‘s thoughts go out to Harvin during this difficult time.
3 » Florida juniors cornerback Janoris Jenkins and safety Will Hill were named to the 2010 Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list on Monday – two of only 35 of the nation’s best defensive backs to be selected. Conspicuous by his absence once again is senior safety Ahmad Black. There is a long way to go and plenty of players will be added and removed to this list as the season progresses.
1 » Former Florida Gators defensive end Derrick Harvey has been underwhelming since being drafted in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Having only compiled 5.5 sacks in his first two seasons in the league, he is taking the coaching staff’s belief in him to heart by shedding some weight and becoming a more athletic player. “I thought bigger was better,” Harvey told the Florida Times-Union. “Speed is better. You’ve got to be rushing all day, and you can’t be 280 [pounds] rushing in this heat. […] It’s all on me. I’ve got to perform.” General manager Gene Smith agrees. “I think a couple of things are evident out there,” he said. “He’s probably in the best shape of his life, and he’s lighter this year, so I think you’re seeing some quickness off the snap. And he has better bend coming off the corner. He has shown better flexibility, better quickness and has been better at getting to the quarterback than in any OTAs since he’s been here.
Now that he has survived his first minicamp with the Denver Broncos, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow is, according to a radio show producer, back in Tennessee working out until the team reconvenes in a few weeks. To keep Tebowmania going throughout Colorado, he called in to two radio talk shows Tuesday morning, each interview having to be pushed back because of a personal workout.
With Gary and Vic of ESPN 1600 waiting for him to call in at 7:40 a.m. (MDT), his publicist moved him back to 8:30 a.m., eliciting the following joking banter from the hosts during the commercial break: “Jesus has him at 8:00, Mary Magdalene has him at 8:15, and he’s building an orphanage at 8:20.” Upon his call-in about an hour later, they told a producer off the air to “start a conversation with him…talk about rosary beads or something.” However, before he went back-and-forth with Gary and Vic, Tebow spoke to the guys with The Score on AM 1510 at 8:20 a.m.
1 » On Feb. 1, OGGOA reported that former Florida Gators safety Reggie Nelson could be cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars if he does not show significant improvement by the time training camp concludes. Nelson owned up to ESPN about his issues in 2009 and has figured out why they occurred. “I had mistakes last year, I did,” he said. “I’ve watched film since I’ve been here in February and I can own up and say, ‘Yes, I did blow some coverages. Yes, I did miss tackles.’ That’s something I’ve looked at. I have to correct them. You’ve got to look at it: I played safety, corner, nickel, so many different positions. Most players would be like, ‘Oh, no, I’m not doing that, y’all drafted me for this.’ That’s not me, I want to win. I took that challenge, I played corner, I played nickel. I am a competitive guy. [...] They made their decision and I’ve got to live with it.” Nelson also said he will not do the same thing in 2010 – if it is up to him. “The way things happened last year, I don’t think I’d do it,” he said. “I will not do it. I tried that last year. It didn’t work. I don’t think it was fair to me. I would not go back. You live and you lean. It’s their decision, regardless. The only thing I can do is show up and play football.”
2 » The New England Patriots want former Florida defensive end Jermaine Cunningham to replace recently released outside linebacker Adalius Thomas – this much is known. How he will progress in the transition remains to be seen, but head coach Bill Belichick is just as confident as Cunningham is in himself. “It’s all football. I’m a football player,” Cunningham said. “I’m going to study the playbooks and just do whatever it takes to get better, and keep on getting better. […] I’m a hard worker and fundamental technician. […] Left or right, just get to the ball.” For what its worth, Cunningham has also taken to giving a name to the influx of former Gators with the Patriots – “Gator Nation North,” he calls it.
For the first time since 1989, three former University of Florida student-athletes were picked in the first round of a NFL Draft. Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow completed the trifecta for the 2010 NFL Draft, being chosen by the Denver Broncos with the No. 25 overall selection.
Tebow becomes the fourth Florida quarterback drafted in the first round and the first since Rex Grossman was picked by the Chicago Bears in 2003. Denver made four trades in the draft before eventually winding up with the opportunity to select the Heisman Trophy winning signal caller.
Months of debate about whether or not he was worthy of a first round selection were only fueled Thursday by the Broncos’ decision. Now the story changes to whether or not Tebow will be able to live up to the slot in which he was picked.
Things got rolling between the two parties early in the process but intensified this Monday when general manager Brian Xanders and head coach Josh McDaniels visited Tebow for a private meeting in Gainesville, FL.
He will join former Florida wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and defensive linemen Jarvis Moss and Marcus Thomas who are already on Denver’s roster. The team, which happens to use orange and blue as its two primary colors, recently made the No. 15 jersey available after trading wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins for two second round picks.
Should Tebow get a chance to play in week one of the 2010 NFL season, he will take the field at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in his hometown of Jacksonville, FL, against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
WHAT TEBOW SAID Press Conference Transcript
“A lot of people said it was going to be a hard process or a long process and that it was going to be very frustrating for me but I loved it and I enjoyed the working process. All the critics and negativity only pushed me that much more and made me work that much harder and made me better. I think that was a positive thing for me, to be honest with you. I believed in myself and the people that were around me and supporting me. I thank my quarterback coaches for the work that they put in and trying to constantly get better. Not only get better but show that I was coachable, to be humble and learn to do what someone says and I think that is something that I tried to show and I think I showed that to Coach McDaniels and the staff there.”
WHAT THEY SAID Press Conference Transcript Press Conference Video Head coach Josh McDaniels: “The player obviously has all the traits that you’re looking for in terms of toughness and competitiveness. He’s intelligent and he’s won a lot of games. He’s a leader, he works hard and he’s got all the intangibles that you look for in a player at that position. He’s produced a lot of numbers and statistically – I’m not even going to talk about that because he’s one of the best in a long, long time. We need that player in that position to be a good player, a real good player. If we can make him a special player, that’s what we’re looking for. Now we have a deep group of quarterbacks and we expect the competition to be incredible. It hasn’t changed anything in terms of our depth chart right now. We’re looking for that position to be the best player on our team if we can make it that way. Competition is only going to make each one of those players better and that’s what we expect him to come in and provide us with.”
Head coach Urban Meyer: “I’m sure Tim and his family are glad the process is over. The Denver Broncos are getting a winner. Tim will show on the field what he is capable of doing and more than anything Tim has a competitive fire that will constantly push him to get better and do whatever he can to help his team win.”
1 » Former Florida Gators cornerback Joe Haden has been announced as one of 12 players selected to be featured on ESPN‘s three-time Emmy Award-winning program Sport Science. All 12 special segments will air throughout the network’s coverage of the 2010 NFL Draft from April 22-24. Other big names who will be featured include Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
2 » Palm Beach Autographs will host another University of Florida-themed signing session this weekend in Jacksonville, FL. Featured at the event will be Haden; center Maurkice Pouncey; wide receivers Riley Cooper, David Nelson and Brandon James; linebackers Brandon Spikes, Dustin Doe and Ryan Stamper; and cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis. Autograph prices range from $10-$50, or you can buy a combo package for $145. For more information, check out their Web site.
1 » With the 2010 NFL Draft closing in, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow is making his final in-house trip today to the Denver Broncos. Coming the same day as the team has traded wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins, Tebow’s visit has raised questions about the possibility of Denver packaging some picks to move back into the first round and draft him. The Broncos now have the No. 11, No. 43 and No. 45 overall picks (as well as an extra second-rounder from Miami in 2011) and could very well take Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant early and Tebow later in this year’s first-round. Just food for thought. By the way, Marshall’s No. 15 is now vacant…and their uniforms are orange and blue. Just a thought.
2 » Speaking of Florida quarterbacks, the Palm Beach Post caught up with Montreal Alouettes back-up Chris Leak while he was in town for the 2010 Orange & Blue Debut last weekend. Leak spoke on a variety of subjects but, most importantly, touched on why he was there – to work with redshirt junior John Brantley on the player’s request. “I’m going to be a coach after I’m done playing, which is many, many years away from now,” Leak said. “Me and John have been talking for a while now. He wanted me to come out and watch him, and I just came out here to support him and watch him grow as a quarterback. He did an awesome job [Saturday]. His feet looked great, his decision-making is excellent, he really showed a lot today.”
3 » According to The Florida Times-Union, the Jacksonville Jaguars “have shown some interest” in former Gators wide receiver Riley Cooper, who could be a target for them in the second or third round (should he fall). Cooper would fit in nicely with Jacksonville, which needs a compliment for Mike Sims-Walker.
4 » Former Florida cornerback Lito Sheppard, most recently with the New York Jets after spending most of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, has scheduled a workout with the Detroit Lions for the next two days, according to Pro Football Talk.
Former Florida Gators defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, kick returner Brandon James and defensive backs Wondy Pierre-Louis and Markihe Anderson all participated in the team’s second Pro Day on Wednesday as linebacker Brandon Spikes looked on and showed his support. The Gainesville Sun‘s Robbie Andreu caught up with each player after their workout was completed though, as per usual, Spikes declined an interview request. Check out some notes and quotes (after the jump): Continue Reading » Spikes, Cunningham, James, DBs at Pro Day