FOUR Tebow BITS: Support, video, blame, waive

1 » In the wake of reports that raised questions about New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow‘s character, two former Florida Gators student-athletes and a Hollywood celebrity have come out in support of the signal caller. Former teammate now Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey yelled out “Free Tebow” when he left the team’s locker room on Wednesday. Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Marcus Gilbert and former defensive back Dorian Munroe both tweeted “#FreeTebow” on Thursday afternoon. Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons delivered the same sentiment via his Twitter account. Additionally, Hollywood actor Josh Duhamel, best known for his roles in the Transformers movies and on the television program Las Vegas, yelled at ESPN analyst Merril Hoge on Twitter.

2 » Next Media Animation also centered its latest release around Tebow and head coach Rex Ryan sabotaging his NFL career.

3 » ESPNNewYork.com columnist Ian O’Connor took it to the Jets in a big way on Thursday, saying that the blame for this situation begins and ends with the coaching staff and not Tebow himself. “But in assessing Tebow’s grisly one-and-done with the Jets … this much is clear: Rex and his offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano, are far more to blame than tiny Tim himself.” He continued, “Ryan and Sparano never had any idea how to use Tebow, and they ultimately provided him with workplace conditions unhealthy enough to turn the sport’s ultimate good guy – an athlete with an even cleaner image than [Derek] Jeter’s – into a me-centric whiner who landed in Rex’s office last week to tell his boss to take his job and shove it. Sort of.” O’Connor also blamed Urban Meyer for failing Tebow and not spending “more time fixing the kid’s windup delivery” but said that Tebow “should have been a useful hybrid player when Sanchez was going OK, and he should’ve been the permanent replacement when Sanchez was not.”

4 » USA Today columnist Mike Garafolo, also taking Tebow’s side in this situation, believes that New York should have cut the player loose days ago for his own good. “Here’s all you need to know about how badly things are mismanaged, misrepresented and miscommunicated inside the walls of the New York Jets’ facility: They got Tim Tebow to snap. And now, they need to let him go,” he wrote. Garafolo breaks down how the Jets have wasted a year of Tebow’s career and should at least give him the ability to be picked up via waivers by his likely new team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, which are second in waiver priority. “Let him get to the facility, start working with the organization, get used to the playbook … and end this season with a smile on his face. … All Tebow wants is a chance to play. Second on that list would be some clarity.”

Extra BIT » Greg McElroy, New York’s third-stringer who replaced starter Mark Sanchez and leapfrogged Tebow for that opportunity, was injured in last week’s game. Ryan said Thursday that he woke up in the morning with bad headaches, so he has decided to return Sanchez to the starting role. “Obviously Tim’s not happy with that [decision],” Ryan said in a press conference.

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FOUR BITS: Cunningham, Gilbert, volley, Quinn

1 » New England Patriots defensive end Jermaine Cunningham has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating its performance-enhancing substances policy. The substance Cunningham used was not disclosed and it is currently unknown if he already filed or plans to file an appeal. Cunningham is the fourth former Florida Gators defender to receive a four-game suspension for PEDs since 2010. New England linebacker Brandon Spikes (2010), Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (2012) and New York Giants safety Will Hill (2012) have missed four games each. All three claimed their positive tests resulted from an ingredient contained in ADHD medication like Adderall. Cunningham would be eligible to return in the playoffs.

2 » Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert is one of four former Gators on his team and one of three Florida offensive linemen that got injured this season. Unfortunately for Gilbert, while center Maurkice Pouncey and left tackle Max Starks were able to return to action, he has been sidelined since Week 6 with an ankle injury and was officially placed on the team’s injured reserve on Monday. He is the third former Gators player to be knocked out for the season with an injury, joining Buffalo Bills wide receiver David Nelson (ACL) and Patriots running back Jeff Demps (leg).

3 » Following in the footsteps of the soccer program, which cleaned up at the Southeastern Conference‘s annual awards announcement, Florida volleyball matched the program with three major awards and a number of placement on the All-SEC teams. Junior middle back Chloe Mann captured SEC Player of the Year honors, outside hitter Ziva Recek brought home SEC Freshman of the Year honors and Mary Wise was named SEC Coach of the Year for the 13th time. The Gators note that “this is the first time since 2000 and second time in program history for Florida” to win all three awards. Mann is the 17th player in team history to win Player of the Year, and Recek is the fourth UF freshman to be honored by the league in that capacity. Also honored Monday were junior setter Taylor Brauneis and senior right-side Tangerine Wiggs, who joined Mann and Recek on the All-SEC first team; senior MB Betsey Smith on the All-SEC second team; and Recek again on the All-Freshman team.

4 » Three members of the Gators football team have been named finalists for yearly national awards. Redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis is one of three finalists (Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins, Tulane’s Cairo Santos) for the 2012 Lou Groza Award and sophomore punter Kyle Christy is one of three finalists (Louisiana Tech’s Ray Allen, Ball State’s Scott Kovanda) for the Ray Guy Award, both of which will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. live on ESPN.

Joining them is defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is one of five finalists for the 2012 Broyles Award, which is presented to the top assistant college football coach in the nation. The other finalists are Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, Notre Dame DC Bob Diaco, Texas A&M OC Kliff Kingsbury and Stanford DC Derek Mason. Quinn has UF’s defense ranked top-15 in the nation in pass efficiency defense (No. 1), scoring defense (No. 3), yards per play (No. 3), yards per attempt (No. 4), third-down defense (No. 5), rush defense (No. 6), interceptions (No. 6), yards per rush (No. 7), red zone touchdowns (No. 13) and red zone defense (No. 15).

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SIX BITS: ESPN, Lattimore, Steelers, Henry, Noah

1 » Earlier this week, ESPN‘s Kirk Herbstreit broke down Saturday’s game between the No. 2 Florida Gators and No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks on the network.

2 » After releasing a star-filled injury report earlier in the week, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said Thursday that it looks like almost all of his big-name players will be in action on Saturday against Florida. The one exception, of course, is defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, who has an injured shoulder but will also be suspended for punching a player during last week’s game against LSU. Running back Marcus Lattimore (hip) is still not slated to start but is expected to play after going through a full practice on Thursday. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (foot) is also good to go, as are a number of players who were hit with a flu bug over the course of the week, Spurrier said.

Check out four more BITS in this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: ESPN, Lattimore, Steelers, Henry, Noah

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 6 (2012)

Now six weeks into the 2012 NFL regular season, there are 32 former Florida Gators football players spread over 23 teams.

A total of 22 players participated in week six action, many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performance.

For the third-straight year, OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplished during the sixth week of the 2012 regular season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Seven tackles (six solo), interception (14-yard return), three pass defenses^
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings 11 receptions for 133 yards (targets: 14, long: 23) [team-highs]; two carries for one yard, fumble (not lost); three kick returns for 100 yards (long: 45)^

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NFL played this week…
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 6 (2012)

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 5 (2012)

Five weeks into the 2012 NFL regular season there are 32 former Florida Gators football players spread over 23 teams.

A total of 22 players participated in week five action, many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performance.

For the third-straight year, OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplished during the fifth week of the 2012 regular season.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings Eight receptions for 108 yards (targets: 10, long: 45) [team-highs], touchdown; two carries for eight yards (long: 4), touchdown

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NFL played this week…
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 5 (2012)

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 3 (2012)

The 2012 NFL regular season began three weeks ago with 32 former Florida Gators football players spread over 23 teams.

A total of 25 players participated in week three action, many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performance.

For the third-straight year, OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplished during the third week of the 2012 regular season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
S MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Two solo tackles, interception (45-yard touchdown return), pass defense

DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Three tackles (two solo, one for loss), sack, three QB hits, forced fumble and fumble recovery (Video)

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NFL played this week…
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 3 (2012)

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 2 (2012)

The 2012 NFL regular season began on Wednesday with 32 former Florida Gators football players spread over 23 teams.

A total of 24 players participated in week two action, many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performance.

For the third-straight year, OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplished during the second week of the 2012 regular season.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings 12 receptions [career-high] for 104 yards (targets: 13, long: 20) [team-highs]; two carries for 13 yards (long: 20); two kick returns for 78 yards (long: 50)

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NFL played this week…
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 2 (2012)

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FOUR BITS: Tennessee, Parker, Sumlin, NFL

1 » As any team should heading into a big game, the No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers are planning on defeating the No. 17/18 Florida Gators on Saturday. However, after hearing through the grapevine that fans are considering rushing the field should Tennessee break its seven-year losing streak against Florida, Knoxville, TN police have issued a pre-emptive warning. According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, which had a conversation with KPD spokesman Darrel DeBusk, fans caught rushing the field will be arrested and charged with aggravated criminical trespassing. Additionally, the school’s judicial affairs office will be notified of all arrests in a move “which could impact [students’] future with UT and their ability to attend any future special events and sporting events at the university.” What the school has decided to do in the event of a celebration – again, this is all being planned in advance – is to “bring the players to the fans” in the stands.

2 » Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan is not done with his 2013 recruiting class despite already receiving commitments from three players including two five-star recruits (and top-10 ranked players nationally). As I first reported on the InsidetheGators.com message board a few weeks ago, Donovan has his sights set on a handful of top players in the country and the Gators feel like they are in position to nab another big name. According to ESPNChicago.com, Donovan took the next step towards that goal on Tuesday when he met with five-star small forward Jabari Parker (Chicago, IL), the unanimous top-ranked player in the nation. UF is in Parker’s top 10 but is not necessarily considered a favorite for his services at this time.

3 » While Florida is getting prepared a new opponent this week, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin took what could be considered a shot at his opponent from last weekend. Looking ahead to his next game, Sumlin was asked during a press conference how he thought his team held up condition-wise against the Gators. “It wasn’t our team flopping around on the field in the second half,” he replied. Houston Chronicle beat writer Brent Zwerneman then asked Sumlin if Florida was “flopping around” due to poor conditioning or another reason to which he replied with an ambiguous “You were there.” The Gators saw 10 players go down throughout the course of the game with injures. While a few were serious and resulted in players leaving the game and not returning, the majority appeared to be cramps, which was odd considering the team practices in high heat and humidity in Gainesville, FL. Some (not necessarily Sumlin) have accused UF players of going to the ground to slow down A&M’s offense.

4 » In the first of two quick NFL notes, the Baltimore Ravens decided Tuesday following their stellar season-opening performance on Monday night to award undrafted free agent wide receiver Deonte Thomspon the starting kick returner job going forward. Thompson will be the second former Gators player to take over that job this season (Pittsburgh Steelers running back Chris Rainey) and will be the third overall (Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin) who will be heavily relied on his team to find some success in the return game. Additionally, the Steelers announced Tuesday that right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who went down with an injury on Sunday and did not return to the game, hyperextended his left knee but is expected to be able to return to the gridiron for this week’s contest.

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