Cowherd on Muschamp vs. Kiffin: A breakdown

ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd spent nearly seven minutes on his nationally syndicated show Thursday afternoon discussing current Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and both comparing him to USC head coach Lane Kiffin and questioning why he would be up for the Texas job, which is not open as of press time.

Below is the segment from Cowherd’s program with his words in block quotes. Be aware that it is broken down into multiple sections.

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9/13: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

Head coach Urban Meyer meets with the media each Monday after the Florida Gators participate in a game the previous Saturday. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

RAINEY, BROWN SHOULD BE ABLE TO RETURN

Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey left Saturday’s game with what is believed to have been a concussion. Nevertheless, Meyer believes he will be able to play Saturday at Tennessee. Rainey was held out of what was a light practice on Sunday for precautionary purposes but looks to be a full go the rest of the week.

Also leaving the game early was redshirt sophomore starting cornerback Jeremy Brown. Meyer said after the contest that Brown suffered a “full body cramp,” but Brown related Monday that he actually had a strained hamstring and should be fine for the weekend. Even so, he noted that freshman CB Cody Riggs, who got a lot of playing time in his stead, did well and even complimented his exceptional speed.

In other injury news, sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon returned Saturday from a knee injury but played as a reserve. He will likely return to his starting role against Tennessee, moving the rest of the line back to their original positions.

WEEK TWO CHAMPIONS

Meyer announced that ten Gators graded out as Champions after the South Florida Bulls game. Junior running back Jeff Demps, senior center Mike Pouncey and senior strong safety Ahmad Black were all singled out as Players of the Week. Offensively, redshirt seniors offensive linemen Marcus Gilbert and Maurice Hurt and RB Emmanuel Moody were all honored. Four players on the defense – junior CB Janoris Jenkins, redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones and senior defensive ends Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens – shined throughout the game.

Additionally, Demps and Pouncey were each honored by the Southeastern Conference, respectively, as the organization’s Special Teams Player of the Week and Offensive Lineman of the Week. Demps returned two kickoffs for 95 yards, and Pouncey had a 95 percent efficiency at center.

GAME BALLS FOR EVERYONE!

For the second time in three days, Meyer pointed to the home crowd at The Swamp for its amazing passion and support throughout what he believes is one of – if not the – hottest game played at the stadium in years. He even joked that he wished he could buy game balls for all 93,000+ fans as they severely impacted South Florida’s ability to move the ball in the second half.

A BUNCH OF COMEDIANS

Redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson is apparently a jokester, aiming some one-liners on Monday at Tennessee players, fans, former head coach Lane Kiffin and those who insist on comparing redshirt junior starting quarterback John Brantley‘s leadership to that of Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. Johnson quipped that it was funny the players had problems bathing (staph infection issues) and said Kiffin left for USC because he would prefer probation for two years rather than the humiliation of being beat by Florida again. “I mean, let me ask you a question,” Johnson said. “What would you prefer…to lose to Florida or can’t go to a bowl game for two years? I think we already defeated him in our minds.”

Also cracking wise Monday was Pouncey, who related a story from a trip to McDonald’s on Sunday night. “I heard it all. I was going through the drive-thru last night at McDonald’s, and as I was leaving the guy told me, he said, ‘Don’t mess up the snaps,’ and I said, ‘Hey, don’t mess up my sandwiches no more.’”

Perhaps Black was right when he said early Monday, “I just may be on the funniest team in America,” because he’s one of them, noting later in the day that his last memory about visiting Tennessee was “a bunch of drunk old people.”

QUOTES (More coming soon…)

Meyer on his team’s first away game: “We’re going to have a bunch of new players get on that plane and head to Knoxville. So much of what we do around here is routine and that is a major concern. I’m trying to fight myself right now on how to get that done and not take away from preparation time. The worst thing that happens is someone’s late walking in, forgets their tie. Someone doesn’t show up. Someone forgets their ID on the plane and goes to the room when we’re not supposed to go to the room. That just messes everything up as far as routine and we take that real serious around here. We’ll have several meetings about it and try to get that ready.”

Meyer on Florida’s upcoming opponent, Tennessee: “It’s SEC personnel from top to bottom. [They have] some dynamic players, some young players. They’re dealing with some of the same issues we have as far as lack of experience, but make no mistake about it – they’re every bit as talented as most teams in the SEC. And obviously [Neyland Stadium] one of the most difficult environments to play in.”

Special thanks to the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel for the player quotes above.

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USC’s Baxter admits he “misspoke” about contact

In early June, administrators for the USC Trojans accused five schools – the Florida Gators, Alabama, Oregon, Washington and Fresno State – of illegally contacting running back Dillon Baxter about a transfer to their respective universities.

Less than a month later, USC athletic director Mike Garrett was forced to send letters to each school apologizing for the previous accusations and attempting to make amends for “any inconvenience or embarrassment” that was caused.

ESPN’s Shaun Assael has since uncovered a letter of admission from Baxter, who fessed up to misleading his university about what exactly happened in June.

“I misspoke when I said coaches had contacted me from other schools,” Baxter wrote in a letter to the school. “I am truly sorry for all of the chaos I have caused and it was not my intention to implicate other schools and their coaching staffs.”

Baxter began his letter by explaining that he spoke with friends at the implicated institutions, not coaches or administration officials. While he claims he did not understand the rules, many – including USC – appear to believe the whole situation was a hoax and that Baxter purposely misled them.

That is part of the reason that he has been suspended for the team’s opener against Hawaii on Sept. 2. “I’ve done a couple things, and things happen, and I made a mistake,” Baxter told reporters last week. “But I’m going to move on from here on out.”

USC head coach Lane Kiffin called Baxter’s one-game opening-season punishment “an extremely strong message and a very severe punishment for a player that may potentially be the most skilled player on our whole roster.”

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Gator Bites for Tuesday, July 20th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» Former Florida Gators forward/center David Lee of the Golden State Warriors was the subject of a piece by Harvey Araton of The New York Times on Monday. Lee, who has spent his whole career with the New York Knicks after they drafted him coming out of college, has a special bond with the team and has been the face of the franchise over the last few years. Read about how he went out of his way to represent the team (even after being traded to Golden State) at a funeral for longtime NBA and Madison Square Garden security official Scott Jaffer and how he will always be remembered in New York for being such an upstanding person.

» Interviewed by the NFL Network about his throwing mechanics, San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers went through the motions with some of the studio analysts on Monday. Because of the subject matter, Rivers was asked about Denver Broncos rookie QB Tim Tebow’s motion, and the veteran offered advice and insight into what Tebow may and may not need to do going forward.

» Florida should be excited about 2011 five-star shooting guard commitment Brad Beal (St. Louis, MO) – he could be the best player the team has signed since guard Nick Calathes. Then again, with one of the top players in the country considering his future in a different sport, there is a slight cause for concern. With his father and two brothers all having played collegiate football, Beal tells USA Today that he is “still trying to decide” which sport to play. “My brothers, especially my younger brothers, want me to play football so we can be on the same team,” Beal said. “But my mom always tells me, ‘You don’t have the body for football, so you have to stick to basketball.’” Don’t get it twisted – his future is on the court – not the field. Having a former Gators star like Lee (who also graduated from Chaminade High School) in his ear certainly helps. “We don’t have that much in common because we play different positions,” Beal said. “He came back to visit the school, and I talk to him during lunch period. He gave me input on the game.”

» While Beal is deciding what sport to play, four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) is just trying to figure out what school to end. According to the Orlando Sentinel’s Chris Hays, Waisome now considers his final five to Florida, Florida State, LSU, Georgia and South Carolina; he plans to decide in August.

» Updating a previous item, four-star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade, FL) still considers the Gators to be the leader for his services, even after having Miami Hurricanes commitment four-star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (Miami, FL) in his ear during the Nike 7-on-7 Championship last Saturday. “Florida is still in the lead,” Benjamin told SoFLAfootball.com. “I like Florida and what they showed me, how they would use me. I like Miami too and Florida State, so all the Florida teams, they’re really up there. But I like Florida.”

Three more BITES on Meyer, Smith and Werner…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Tuesday, July 20th

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Wrapping up day one of 2010 SEC Spring Meetings

The first day of the 2010 Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings came and went with Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer and his health update as the headline story. While Meyer’s esophageal spasms dominated the front pages, there were plenty of other interesting things said by the SEC’s head football coaches.

Read what else Meyer and some of the other coaches had to say 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!
Continue Reading » Nu’Keese Richardson laments spurning Gators

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REPORT: Noles pull safety Dorsey from Gators

UPDATE: Demar Dorsey no longer being recruited by Gators

Four-star safety recruit Demar Dorsey (Lauderdale Lakes, FL) has spurned the Florida Gators for the in-state rival Florida State Seminoles, according to three separate reports. Dorsey, who openly wavered with his commitment throughout the process, recently proclaimed that he was 90-95 percent solid to the Gators, the highest percentage he had given them over the last year.

He even went so far as to reaffirm his commitment to Florida and recruit other players for the Gators while participating in the Under Armour All-American Game three weeks ago.

“I’ve been to Florida several times on unofficial visits,” Dorsey told the Orlando Sentinel last week, “but I figured I’d take a couple of visits just to make sure Florida is where I want to go to school. [The Gators are] still on top, they’re still my No. 1. They aren’t going anywhere. I’d say right now they’re about 90-95 percent.” He visited the Michigan Wolverines two weeks ago, met with Gators co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Chuck Heater last Thursday, checked out the Seminoles last weeked and has plans to take a trip to see the USC Trojans this weekend.

Though reports state Dorsey has made this decision, a lot can change after he meets with new Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Dorsey was originally interested in the Tennessee Volunteers mostly because of the coaching staff, and the same coaches at a more prestigious program may be enough to send him out West for college. No matter what happens this weekend, coaches from all three schools will have an opportunity to speak with Dorsey before he signs his National Letter of Intent on National Signing Day.

Expect Florida to make an even stronger push to four-star athlete Jeremy Deering (Tampa, FL), who is said to be leaning toward Florida State but may be swayed into changing his mind if Dorsey does indeed sign there on Feb. 3.

Photo Credit: Rivals

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TWO BITS: Deering update, Schlabach predictions

1 » With four-star safety commitment Demar Dorsey (Lauderdale Lakes, FL) visiting the USC Trojans on Jan. 29, the Florida Gators are likely considering options to replace him should he bolt for the West Coast. Their top option is believed to be four-star athlete recruit Jeremy Deering (Tampa, FL), who paid a visit to Gainesville, FL, recently. However, JC Shurburtt of ESPN reports that Deering is leaning toward the Florida State Seminoles, calling them “the likely team to beat” while saying that the Gators “do not appear to be an option because they are quickly filling up.” Perhaps FSU is indeed the leader…unless a spot suddenly opens up at Florida on National Signing Day.

2 » While most outlets (including OGGOA, Sports Illustrated, etc.) wrapped up their “All-Decade” lists and articles in December 2009, ESPN has spent the last week printing theirs about college football. Mark Schlabach concluded the series with his predictions for the next decade, most of which are positive for Gators fans. Among his 20 predictions, Schlabach believes the Southeastern Conference will win at least four more BCS National Championships; head coach Urban Meyer will win at least one more at Florida; another Gators quarterback, John Brantley, will lead the Gators to the SEC East title in 2010; and Brantley will win the Heisman Trophy as a senior in 2011.

Extra Bit » Five-star Florida defensive end commit Ronald Powell, the consensus No. 1-rated player in the country, told Justin Wells of Gator Country that his loyalty to the Gators is unchanged after being pursued heavily by Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron. “There isn’t anybody that going to change my mind,” Powell told Wells. “I’m a Florida Gator, and I’m going to be a Florida Gator. [Kiffin and Orgeron] came to my school and tried to talk to me there, and I told them, ‘I’m a Florida Gator,’ and that’s it. They’ve tried to call, but I’m done.”

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