Florida Gators secondary looking to prove ‘DBU’ tag is authentic, not arrogant

Plenty was written this offseason about the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers, specifically over which school should be considered “DBU” (in other more words, the best program in the nation at shutting down passing offenses and sending defensive backs to the NFL).

The Gators and Tigers certainly have their own cases about which program has been most successful historically, but Florida is hoping to prove that its secondary is not only head and shoulders above LSU but every other unit in the nation this season.

And no one is a bigger fan of the Gators’ defensive backs than their head coach.

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No. 1 Florida Gators softball fights to 4-0 win over No. 5 LSU Tigers in second WCWS game

No. 1 Florida Gators softball took care of business against the only team to hand it two losses this season, taking down the No. 5 LSU Tigers 4-0 in the second game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City on Friday evening.

Florida (57-6) scored all of its runs off home runs and errors, going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position while receiving a tremendous effort on the mound by senior right-handed pitcher Lauren Haeger (7.0 IP, 5 H, 4 K) that allowed it to edge LSU (51-13).

Continue Reading » No. 1 Florida Gators softball fights to 4-0 win over No. 5 LSU Tigers in second WCWS game

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Takeaways: Florida Gators baseball fights back to beat LSU, advance to SEC Tournament title game

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 4 seed Florida Gators baseball (43-16) was lifted over the No. 1 seed LSU Tigers on Saturday by a ninth-inning solo homer from freshman catcher Mike Rivera (1/2, RBI, R, HR, 2 BB), who pushed Florida to a dramatic 2-1 win in the semifinals of the 2015 SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama.

Junior right-handed pitcher Taylor Lewis (6-1, 1.21 ERA) earned the win in an extended relief appearance. He allowed one base runner over 4.1 innings as he sent UF to the event’s title game against No. 2 Vanderbilt on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

Here are three takeaways from the thrilling Gators come-from-behind victory:

Continue Reading » Takeaways: Florida Gators baseball fights back to beat LSU, advance to SEC Tournament title game

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Weekend Wrap: Gators swimming wins SEC title, Florida baseball bests Miami, softball undefeated

Winning a league title, earning an important series victory, maintaining a long winning streak and remaining undefeated, Florida Gators athletic programs accomplished plenty over the last weekend. Let’s take a look at all of it in the Weekend Wrap.

Thrice is nice

Florida men’s swimming captured a third-straight Southeastern Conference Championship over the weekend, using three individual event titles won in Auburn, Alabama, to catapult the program to its 36th SEC Championship.

UF (1,314.5) edged Georgia (1,134.5) and Auburn (1,084.0) for the crown with freshman Caeleb Dressel (100-yard butterfly); sophomore Mitch D’Arrigo (500-yard freestyle); and the foursome of senior Dan Wallace, junior Pawel Werner, redshirt sophomore Nicholas Alexiou and D’Arrigo (800-yard freestyle relay) bringing home individual SEC titles. The relay team set a league and school record with a time of 6:12.85.

The Gators’ women finished third but also picked up four individual titles via junior Natalie Hinds (100-yard freestyle), freshman Amelia Maughan (200-yard freestyle), redshirt freshman Theresa Michalak (200-yard individual medley) and junior Jessica Thielmann (1,650-yard freestyle). Hinds set a program mark with a time of 47.26 seconds.

In total, Florida over the weekend added automatic qualifications for 25 events in the forthcoming 2015 NCAA Championships.

Continue Reading » Weekend Wrap: Gators swimming wins SEC title, Florida baseball bests Miami, softball undefeated

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Fastbreak: LSU dismantles Florida, again, 70-63

The Florida Gators were embarrassed by the LSU Tigers on Jan. 20 when LSU ended Florida’s 20-game home winning streak against Southeastern Conference opponents that dated back two years. If Florida was looking for revenge Saturday, it didn’t show that to be the case as the Tigers ran past the Gators 70-63 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

LSU (19-8, 8-6 SEC) swept Florida (13-14, 6-8 SEC) over two regular-season games for the first time since 1991, the last occasion the two SEC rivals squared off in a home-and-home series. The Gators also lost consecutive games to the Tigers for the first time since 2008-09.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Saturday’s action with nine quick-hitters:

It was over when: Florida cut its deficit to six with less than seven minutes to play, but LSU immediately responded with a 9-0 run, capped by a three from Jalyn Patterson, to take a 63-47 lead that was simply insurmountable for the Gators.

Significant stretch: The Tigers built on their first half-ending 9-0 run, extending it to a 17-2 stretch to regain their massive lead and eventually jump ahead by a game-high 16 points early in the second half.

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Gameday: Florida Gators at LSU Tigers

Location: Pete Maravich Assembly Center – Baton Rouge, Louisiana [Capacity: 13,215]
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

TV: CBS (Ian Eagle, Clark Kellogg)
Streaming Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app

SiriusXM: 119/191 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS LSU TIGERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Johnny Jones
Record: 13-13 (6-7 SEC) Record: 18-8 (7-6 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Florida +4

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The Fastbreak: LSU embarrasses Florida 79-61

Embarrassed at home by a team against which it held a six-game winning streak, the Florida Gators (10-8, 3-2 SEC) fell 79-61 to the LSU Tigers (14-4, 3-2 SEC) on Tuesday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida’s failures to execute defensively, coupled with its penchant for fouls and inability to sustain consistent offense, allowed LSU to lead most of the contest and earn a dominant victory against a team that has dominated it for much of this decade. The lost tied a 2010 game against Ohio State for UF’s worst defeat at home since 1998.

“I’m not surprised at all by any of this. I saw this back coming out of last season with the group of guys that were coming back,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the game. “The veteran guys that were coming back, there was a lack of discipline in them. They struggle in that area. I’m not surprised by any of what’s going on. That’s been the challenge. I’ve tried a lot of different things with them. They’re going to have to, as much as I hate to say it, they’re going to have to go through it to figure it out.”

OnlyGators.com breaks down Tuesday’s action with nine quick-hitters:

It was over when: Ending a five-minute stretch without a made field goal, the Gators pieced together an explosive 7-0 run with two layups and a three from junior guard Michael Frazier II to cut their deficit to 10 with 5:54 to play. The Tigers, however, answered back by scoring five-straight to push their lead back to 15 and held off the hosts from there, cruising to a road victory.

Significant stretch: Already leading by five, LSU used a 14-2 run aided by back-to-back threes and a pair of free throws to take a 66-49 lead on Florida midway through the second half. The Tigers had already taken eight free throws in the latter 20 minutes before entering the bonus at the 10-minute mark and used that advantage to hold onto its massive lead for the duration of the contest.

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Gameday: Florida Gators vs. LSU Tigers; second-year F Chris Walker still not ready for prime time

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Braed Nessler, Sean Franham, Shannon Spake)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 84 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS LSU TIGERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Johnny Jones
Record: 10-7 (3-1 SEC) Record: 13-4 (2-2 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Florida -10

STILL NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME

Forward Chris Walker, despite joining the Gators during the mid-way point of his first season and being suspended for the first two games of the 2014-15 campaign, has played in 33 games at Florida. He may have been listed as a sophomore before this season began, but his first full year of actually being a college basketball has just passed.

And the results, at least to this point, indicate that Walker is far from the phenom many expected the day he committed to the Gators. In fact, he more closely resembles former UF center Patric Young, a freakish athlete who has a long way to go to be a capable college starter, let alone an NBA player.

“I just know I need to improve,” Walker said Monday. “I just need to come in every day and be focused and just work hard.”

Averaging just 16.3 minutes per game this season, Walker is doing little right. He only hits 48.6 percent of his field goals – despite being positioned around the basket – and is a team-worst 37.0 percent from the free throw line (he’s only drawn 27 fouls and made 10 gimmies in 245 minutes of court action). Walker is rebounding at a high rate with an average of 4.2 per game, and his ability to block shots has helped the Gators’ defense, though his inability to be reliable on pick-and-rolls and other sets has been a hindrance.

Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators vs. LSU Tigers; second-year F Chris Walker still not ready for prime time

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