FOUR BITS: Watch lists, honors, Saunders, WWE

1 » Preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (nation’s top defensive player) and the Outland Trophy (nation’s top interior lineman) were released by the Football Writers Association of America on Monday, and four Florida Gators football players made the respective lists. Junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins (Nagurski), senior center Mike Pouncey (Outland), redshirt senior guard Carl Johnson (Outland) and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Omar Hunter (Outland) are just a few players initially being considered for the awards.

2 » Former Florida All-American linebacker Scot Brantley, the uncle of redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, was honored by the Tampa Gator Club at their 16th annual scholarship dinner on Tuesday. Head basketball coach Billy Donovan was the guest speaker at the event.

3 » Gators four-star athlete De’Ante “Pop” Saunders did not waver much when initially deciding to commit to the team. Now, months later, he remains just as solid and is happy that the recruiting process is not annoying him like it is some of his friends. “My phone doesn’t ring at all,” Saunders told the Orlando Sentinel’s Andrew Carter. “It’s perfect. Because I see other guys that don’t know where they’re going when it’s about time to sign. Like last year, I had a few friends that didn’t know where they were going but it’s good for me since I already knew.”

4 » Former Florida defensive end Thaddeus Bullard (ring name Titus O’Neil) continued his mission to become World Wrestling Entertainment’s next breakout star on Tuesday by making his third appearance on WWE NXT on SyFy. O’Neil, whose background as a football player and master’s degree recipient from the University of Florida is played up heavily by the producers/announcers, does a Gator Chomp when at the top of the entrance rap and is quite powerful in the ring. Even his assigned professional mentor, Zack Ryder, sported the orange and blue on Tuesday, though it did not help O’Neil who lost his second-straight match. OGGOA will follow along with Bullard’s journey over the next few months as he attempts to “win” a full-time contract and pay-per-view title match.

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Addazio “really jacked up about” Gators in 2010

Flying into West Palm Beach, FL, for a Gator Gathering with the Palm Beach County Gator Club on Monday evening, Florida Gators offensive coordinator Steve Addazio was anything but tired from a long day’s work. He gave a passionate and informative speech and answered questions for over 90 minutes before departing. Below is a recap of some of the more newsworthy, interesting and passionate things that Addazio had to say during the event:

Check out much of what Addazio had to say Monday…after the break!
Continue Reading » Addazio “really jacked up about” Gators in 2010

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Nu’Keese Richardson laments spurning Gators

If he could do it all again, Hampton Pirates wide receiver Nu’Keese Richardson would never have decommitted from the Florida Gators to join the Tennessee Volunteers back in 2009. At least that is what he told the Palm Beach Post’s Jason Lieser in a wide-ranging interview he conducted this week.

“In an informal interview setting, Richardson mentioned how much he regrets spurning Urban Meyer and Florida,” Lieser writes. “He said the biggest reason he opted against Florida was the fact that former Pahokee teammate Janoris Jenkins was already there and Richardson felt he would be stuck in Jenkins’ shadow if he signed.

“However, he said if he had been a Gator, he never would have gotten in trouble. The reason? Jenkins. Richardson believes Jenkins would have watched over him closely and kept him away from problematic situations.”

One of the reasons for Richardson’s decommitment was a promise of immediate playing time by then-Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin. That never came to fruition and Richardson seemed to know it right away.

“Yeah, [playing time] definitely was [the main issue]. I felt like I was the best player at the time and I felt like [Kiffin] was just holding me back,” Richardson said. “This is something I do. I felt like, if I wanted to do this, I could’ve stayed at Florida.”

Check out what else Richardson had to say…after the jump!
Continue Reading » Nu’Keese Richardson laments spurning Gators

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OGGOA’s 2010 Orange & Blue Debut news, notes

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice sessions now complete, there was plenty of newsworthy information coming out from the 2010 Orange & Blue Debut on Sat., April 10. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. Football returns in full-force in the summer.

Check out OGGOA’s full coverage of the 2010 Orange & Blue Debut…
Continue Reading » OGGOA’s 2010 Orange & Blue Debut news, notes

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Florida Gators 2010 Orange & Blue Debut Preview

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Time: 1:00 p.m. (EST)
Weather Forecast: 72°F, Sunny

Live Online Coverage: OGGOA
Live TV: N/A, all replays on Sun Sports
Replays: 04/11 (9 a.m.), 04/18 (9 a.m.), 04/21 (3 p.m.), 04/27 (11 p.m.), 05/02 (9 a.m.)
Live Online Video: GatorVision ($9.95 per month)
Live Radio: Gator Radio Network | Sirius 216 | XM 199 | Yahoo!
Spring Roster: GatorZone

» Free admission for University of Florida students (with IDs), Gator Boosters, F Club Letterwinners and Alumni Association members with membership cards.
» $5 general admission: Online | Gator Ticket Office

» Time: Four 10-minute quarters, running clock in the second half.
» Blue: First-team offense, second-team defense, driving to south end zone
» Orange: Second-team offense, first-team defense, driving to north end zone
» Colors: Offense always wears blue, defense always wears white
» Kickoffs: None, drives start at the 35-yard line after a score
» Punts: Yes, but all are fair caught by returners

All of your 2010 Orange & Blue Debut notes and more…after the break!
Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2010 Orange & Blue Debut Preview

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Gators spring practice news and notes – 04/02

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at team practice from Fri., April 2.

» After missing two consecutive days of practice due to “personal issues,” redshirt senior wide receiver Carl Moore was one of the first players on the field Friday and practiced in full. He worked mostly with the second team but did have some nice receptions.

»Junior running back Jeff Demps attended practice but did not participate. Earlier in the day, he ran a 2010 world record 10.11-second 100-meter dash at the Pepsi Florida Relays. He has already won the 60-meter indoor National Championship.

» Freshman WR Solomon Patton and redshirt freshman WR Stephen Alli both worked away from the team, appearing to be hobbled to injury. Patton had a boot on his left leg to protect his ankle. Both should be fine and were likely sitting out as a precaution.

» Fellow Freshman WR Robert Clark was fitted for a boot after injuring his foot in practice. He will have X-rays to determine the injury’s seriousness.

» Junior defensive end Lerentee McCray was not in pads Friday.

Check out more practice news, notes and interesting quotes…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gators spring practice news and notes – 04/02

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Gators spring practice news and notes – 03/31

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at team practice from Wed., March 31.

» Redshirt senior wide receiver Carl Moore no-showed practice Wednesday for his second-straight absence. The Gainesville Sun reported Monday that Moore was “seen leaving the field after practice [on Saturday] visibly upset.” Moore had been seen in the football offices earlier in the day. (More in the quotes section.)

» Redshirt sophomore cornerback Adrian Bushell participated in his second consecutive practice and once again did not wear pads (as expected). He will likely return to full activity on Friday. Head coach Urban Meyer suspended him from team activities for two weeks for grades and other off-the-field issues.

» Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose spent most of practice off to the side on a stationary bike. The team continues to bring him along slowly as he recovers from his hamstring injury. Debose is expected to be 100 percent healthy for fall practice, according to The Gainesville Sun.

» Redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody practiced Wednesday and looked good by all accounts, breaking off a few nice runs. He had been out of action for a few days with an injured ankle.

Check out more practice news, notes and interesting quotes…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gators spring practice news and notes – 03/31

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Gators spring scrimmage news and notes – 03/27

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at a team scrimmage from Sat., March 27.

» Senior offensive linemen Mike Pouncey, Carl Johnson, Marcus Gilbert and Maurice Hurt all sat out, leaving the line thin and easy to attack for the defense. It should be no surprise that the defensive unit “won” the scrimmage.

» Senior cornerback Moses Jenkins continues to work opposite junior Janoris Jenkins as redshirt sophomore Adrian Bushell sits out on a team-mandated suspension. He will join the rest of the team in practice when he gets his grades up and meets head coach Urban Meyer’s specifications. In his stead, redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown is the one fighting with M. Jenkins for the starting job.

Scrimmage happenings:
» Redshirt junior John Brantley and freshman Trey Burton were the quarterbacks for the scrimmage – each was hurried and out of rhythm, rushing passes and feeling the pressure of the defense.

» Freshman safety Matt Elam picked off and returned a pass from Brantley for a touchdown as he got a lot of time with the first-team defense. It was his most impressive day of practice thus far.

» Matching Elam’s performance and also working with him on the first team was freshman CB Jaylen Watkins, who intercepted a pass from Burton that went through redshirt freshman wide receiver Stephen Alli’s hands.

» Alli continues to shine out wide and could see significant playing time this season even though he has a handful of veterans in front of him, including five who are scheduled to get the most game action.

» One of those five, redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey, is said to be picking up the receiving portion of the playbook quite well even though some were worried about his ability to get it all down. Rainey is becoming a reliable target for Brantley and could impact this team more significantly than some initially expected this season.

» Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Reed got the start at tight end with the first team.

Interesting quotes:
» Brantley on his group of wide receivers: “I know how a lot of these guys run. I trust all of them, right now. They’re doing a great job, getting better every day, and we just keep improving. [Rainey's] a fast dude. He’s starting to learn all of the routes, and he’s going to be a big playmaker for us this year.”

» Brantley on not having a true backup right now and senior punter Chas Henry getting some work as a passer (from Friday): “Chas isn’t bad. I know he played QB in high school. He hasn’t lost too much of his throwing agility. He can spin it. It does [show] that I need to stay healthy. But the young guy behind me, Trey, is doing very well for a freshman. He’s attaining a lot of knowledge. He’s making progress every day and that’s what you want to see out of your young guys.”

» Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio on Burton’s play (from Friday): “Trey is a really good runner and I think that Wildcat package is realistic for him kind of like we did for Tim [Tebow] when Tim broke in here. He’s working real hard at that. That gives us that package we like to run – the read option, the quarterback runs. I think he’s really done a nice job throwing it, too. He’s really progressing. I think Trey has done a good job of picking things up. I’m really encouraged, honestly. He’s ahead of where we thought he’d be right now. He’s obviously a sharp guy and football is really important to him. He’s a real conscientious guy. Watching him out there, I think he’s going to be a heck of a football player, I really do.”

» Addazio on quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler saying he throws a good ball (from Friday): “Loeffler thinks he throws it better than [Henry]. That Loeffler is an awful athlete.”

» Addazio on how the offense will change this year: “It’s going to be different. We were an option football team a lot last year. We’ll still run option football, but you’ll see those Tim carries will be divided up amongst tailback carries and throws, so that makes you different for sure. [...] I know what the offensive line will be. I’m not worried about the offensive line. [...] It’s a matter of getting a good working package together. Can we throw it? Heck yeah. Can we run block? Heck yeah. Do we have good tailbacks? Yes. I think we’ve got to find that package, and then we’ve got to find that tight end. That’s not a little piece, that’s a big piece right there.”

» Co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Heater on Brown’s play since his recovery: “You wouldn’t know he had a [back] problem, which is great. That’s the way you like it, but it was a significant issue for him for a couple years, so we just keep hoping that it’s not going to be an issue and he keeps playing the way he’s playing because he’s really done a nice job.”

Special thanks to The Gainesville Sun and the Palm Beach Post for the above quotes.

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