CHOMPING: Why 2010 will not be a repeat of 2007

The 2007 season was arguably the worst the Florida Gators have played since head coach Urban Meyer took over the program in 2005. That is often what happens when a team’s starting quarterback (Chris Leak) graduates, it loses the majority of its defensive starters to the NFL Draft (defensive linemen Jarvis Moss, Ray McDonald, Marcus Thomas and Joe Cohen, safeties Reggie Nelson and Ryan Smith, linebacker Brandon Siler) and a few other key pieces leave as well (wide receiver Dallas Baker, running back DeShawn Wynn).

Considering the departures following the 2009 season (QB Tim Tebow, WR Riley Cooper, tight end Aaron Hernandez, center Maurkice Pouncey, cornerback Joe Haden, DE Carlos Dunlap, S Major Wright, LBs Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham) appear eerily similar (if not greater) to those that occurred before 2007 got underway, many might expect the Gators to experience a similar downfall. Perhaps they will go from back-to-back one-loss seasons to a similar 9-4 record, 5-3 performance in the Southeastern Conference and maybe even a bowl game loss?

Here is why those that think the sky is falling may be too reactionary…
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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!
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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!
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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…
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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

ATTENDANCE INFORMATION:
» 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

ORANGE & BLUE DEBUT GAME FORMAT:
» 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!
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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.

Absences/Injuries:
» 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!
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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.

Absences/Injuries:
» 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!
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