Gator Bites for Thursday, January 12th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. In these instances, or when stories fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» In a poll conducted by ESPN and calculated monthly, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow topped the December list as the United States’ favorite athlete. Tebow is “just the sixth different athlete to finish No. 1 in the monthly rankings since 2007” and, in the 18 years of the poll, only 11 different athletes have ever held that distinction.

» In addition to the Top 10 list OGGOA posted Wednesday from CBS’s the Late Show with David Letterman, Tebow was also brought up on TBS’s Conan. Host Conan O’Brien, claiming he was absent the budget to air actual game footage, had his staff put together a recreation of his game-winning play from Sunday…with peanuts replacing the players.

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12/20: White talks OC job, Gator Bowl prep

As the Florida Gators prepare for their 2011 Gator Bowl match-up against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Jan. 2 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL, interim offensive coordinator and running backs coach Brian White met with the media Tuesday to discuss the upcoming game.

A GATOR WHETHER PROMOTED OR NOT

White wanted to make one thing perfectly clear Tuesday: He loves the University of Florida and enjoys working under head coach Will Muschamp. He reiterated on three occasions that, whether or not the “interim” tag is removed from his title following the Gator Bowl, he anticipates being with the Gators in 2012 and beyond.

“Every day is an audition for the job that you have. I learned a long time ago: Do a great job with the job that you have and don’t worry about doing anything except the best job you can do with the resources you have and good things will happen,” he said. “That’s just the approach that I take to every day in this job. I love working for Coach Muschamp in any capacity and love this university, so I feel very fortunate to be here and be part of just a great university and a great athletic program.”

But would those sentiments change if he is passed over for offensive coordinator? “I’d be happy to be here,” White said. “I’d be happy to be part of this organization in every capacity every day I can be a part of it. My family loves it here. I love it here. Any opportunity to help this program get better in any way I’d be happy to be part of.

“Will’s going to do what’s in the best interest of the football program. That’s what he should do – what’s in the best interest of this university. He’ll make a great decision and it will be very beneficial to this program. I’m just happy to be here.”

”NOTHING BUT A GAME OF VIOLENT CHESS”

Though he may not have had to create an entire game plan in a while, White is excited to have that opportunity once again – even if it is just for one game.

“I’ve always enjoyed it. It’s always a great experience to be able to put together a game plan with your coaches,” he said. “It’s always a collaborative effort. It’s fun to be able to play chess. Football is nothing but a game of violent chess, and the best part is that we as coaches don’t have to take any of the hits.”

He is also not concerned about the long layoff and believes football is the exact same game it was last time he had the permanent role of offensive coordinator.

“You may think football has changed but it hasn’t. Football is really still a very simple game,” White said. “It is who blocks and tackles the best and who scores more points than the other team, who is better fundamentally, who is tougher physically and tougher mentally. That’s who is going to win the game. It’s not nuclear physics. It’s about execution.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On how bowl practices have been going: “It’s been really good. I really like where the players are at right now. They seem very motivated and looking forward to playing in a big-time bowl game against one of the most traditional programs in America.”

» White said he and football Jeff Blasko are the ones currently working with the quarterbacks heading into the bowl game. “Jeff’s a wonderful young coach who has done a nice job with our players,” he said.

» On the health of the running backs: “They’ve made every practice; they’re probably as healthy as they’ve been all year. I’m really looking forward to them being at full strength for the bowl.”

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