Florida Gators at 2015 NFL Combine: Friday

For the sixth-straight year, OnlyGators.com continues our coverage of the nine former Florida Gators participating in the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The event, which is held over a week from Feb. 17-23, consists of more than 300 players being put through a series of drills, tests and interviews while more than 600 NFL personnel in attendance (including coaching staffs, executives, player personnel and medical staffs) look on and evaluate each of them. It amounts to a major job interview for these athletes to participate in ahead of the start of the 2015 NFL Draft on April 30.

Linebacker Neiron Ball (Group: 9 | Camp: LB03), defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (Group: 7 | Camp: DL20) and defensive tackle Leon Orr (Group: 8, Camp: DL36) arrived Thursday but began participating Friday when they got measured, completed medical exams, met with the media and continued the interview process they began the previous day.

Running back Matt Jones (Group: 6 | Camp: RB25) continued interviewing with teams, took the Wonderlic and other psychological tests, and performed on the bench press.

Guard Trenton Brown (Group: 1 | Camp: OL104), punter Kyle Christy (Group: 1 | Camp: PK03), center Max Garcia (Group: 1 | Camp: OL20) and tackles Chaz Green (Group: 2 | Camp: OL25) and D.J. Humphries* (Group: 2 | Camp: OL31) all completed the combine workout.

Players remain on a standardized schedule throughout the week (see below).

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Florida Gators at 2015 NFL Combine: Thursday

For the sixth-straight year, OnlyGators.com continues our coverage of the nine former Florida Gators participating in the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The event, which is held over a week from Feb. 17-23, consists of more than 300 players being put through a series of drills, tests and interviews while more than 600 NFL personnel in attendance (including coaching staffs, executives, player personnel and medical staffs) look on and evaluate each of them. It amounts to a major job interview for these athletes to participate in ahead of the start of the 2015 NFL Draft on April 30.

Running back Matt Jones (Group: 6 | Camp: RB25) arrived Wednesday but began participating on Thursday when he got measured, completed medical exams, met with the media and continued the interview process he began the previous day. Guard Trenton Brown (Group: 1 | Camp: OL04), punter Kyle Christy (Group: 1 | Camp: PK03), center Max Garcia (Group: 1 | Camp: OL20) and tackles Chaz Green (Group: 2 | Camp: OL25) and D.J. Humphries* (Group: 2 | Camp: OL31) all continued interviewing with teams, took the Wonderlic and other psychological tests, and performed on the bench press.

Linebacker Neiron Ball (Group: 9 | Camp: LB03), defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (Group: 7 | Camp: DL20) and defensive tackle Leon Orr (Group: 8, Camp: DL36) all arrived on Thursday.

Players remain on a standardized schedule throughout the week (see below).

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Florida Gators at 2015 NFL Combine: Wednesday

For the sixth-straight year, OnlyGators.com begins our coverage of the nine former Florida Gators participating in the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The event, which is held over a week from Feb. 17-23, consists of more than 300 players being put through a series of drills, tests and interviews while more than 600 NFL personnel in attendance (including coaching staffs, executives, player personnel and medical staffs) look on and evaluate each of them. It amounts to a major job interview for these athletes to participate in ahead of the start of the 2015 NFL Draft on April 30.

Players began arriving on Tuesday but action did not begin until Wednesday when guard Trenton Brown (Group: 1 | Camp: OL14), punter Kyle Christy (Group: 1 | Camp: PK03), center Max Garcia (Group: 1 | Camp: OL20) and tackles Chaz Green (Group: 2 | Camp: OL25) and D.J. Humphries* (Group: 2 | Camp: OL31) were officially measured, completed medical exams, met with the media and continued the interview process they began the previous day.

All five players will remain on the same schedule throughout the week. On Thursday, they will continue interviewing with teams, take the Wonderlic and other psychological tests, and perform on the bench press. On Friday, they will participate in the on-field workout before departing Indianapolis.

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FOUR BITS: baseball, Wambach, NFL, Rimmer

1 » Tuesday’s baseball game between the No. 5 Florida Gators and Florida A&M has been postponed due to weather with no make-up date yet scheduled. Florida (3-0), which moved up 19 spots from No. 24 in the latest USA Today Coaches’ Poll, will next take the field for its first road game of the season when it faces USF on Wednesday in Tampa. UF will then return home to host No. 14 Miami in a three-game series over the weekend. OnlyGators.com will provide a Gators baseball update after Wednesday’s game and following the conclusion of the series with the Hurricanes on Sunday.

2 » Former Florida striker Abby Wambach was announced Sunday as the honorary starter for this year’s Daytona 500 on Feb. 22. Wambach, whose international goal scoring world record is up to 177, will lead the United States Women’s National Team as it prepares to compete in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup beginning June 6.

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Nine Florida Gators invited to 2015 NFL Combine

The official list of invitees was released by National Football Scouting on Friday, and nine former Florida Gators have officially been invited to participate in the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 17-23, consists of more than 300 players being put through a series of drills, tests and interviews while more than 600 NFL personnel in attendance (including coaching staffs, executives, player personnel and medical staffs) look on and evaluate each of them. It amounts to a major job interview for these athletes to participate in ahead of the start of the 2015 NFL Draft on April 30.

The nine former Gators student-athletes invited to the NFL Combine include:

Linebacker Neiron Ball – Group: 9 | Camp: LB03
Offensive guard Trenton Brown – Group: 1 | Camp: OL04
Punter Kyle Christy – Group: 1 | Camp: PK03
Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.* – Group: 7 | Camp: DL20
Center Max Garcia – Group: 1 | Camp: OL20
Offensive tackle Chaz Green – Group: 2 | Camp: OL25
Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries* – Group: 2 | Camp: OL31
Running back Matt Jones^ – Group: 6 | Camp: RB25
Defensive tackle Leon Orr – Group: 8 | Camp: DL36

^ Redshirt junior | * Junior

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FOUR BITS: Hinds, Senior Bowl, Horford, Lee

1 » According to CoachingSearch.com, the Florida Gators will add Justin Hinds to their coaching staff as a defensive graduate assistant. Hinds, who worked under defensive coordinator Geoff Collins at Mississippi State, had high praise for his boss during an October interview with ESPN.com.

Justin Hinds says there’s a genius to Collins’ eccentricity. Behind those wild blue eyes — the kind that stare at you with so much intensity they seem to shake — is a coach who knows how to fire up his players, and more important, gets them to understand what can be a complex system by boiling down the most intricate details into easily digestible parts.

“It’s like ‘A Beautiful Mind,'” Hinds says, gesturing toward a wall-to-wall white board filled with coverages and blitzes diagrammed on every available inch of space. “He’s a unique thinker.”

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Lone survivor Mike Summers is enthusiastic about retention, new Florida Gators staff

A 34-year coaching veteran, it takes a lot to get Mike Summers excited these days. But that is exactly the emotion he said he felt when new Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain asked him to be the lone holdover from Will Muschamp’s coaching staff.

“I’m extremely excited to be retained and be a part of Coach Mac’s staff, to move into a new era of Florida football. Certainly the opportunities, the energy, the excitement that’s around the program right now is something I can really feel. I sense it from the players. I sense it myself, my energy, there’s pep in my step as I walk around. Everyone is excited about where we are and looking forward. Certainly that involves me, and I’m very excited to be a part of this,” he said last week.

Summers was far from the longest-tenured member of Florida’s staff – in fact, he was one of three new coaches to join the program ahead of the 2014 season – but he was perhaps Muschamp’s best hire last offseason.

He pieced together an offensive line that lost three starters to graduation ahead of the season, created versatility among the players he had (including a number of injured upperclassmen) and was even forced into tough mix-and-match situations during games, tasks he seemingly took on with ease. Perhaps his most impressive work was molding fifth-year lineman Max Garcia not only into the Gators’ starting center but one who did so well playing the position for the first time in his career that he earned an invitation to the 2015 Senior Bowl.

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Gameday: 2015 Birmingham Bowl (Birmingham, AL) – Florida Gators vs. East Carolina Pirates

Location: Legion Field – Birmingham, Alabama [Capacity: 70,459]
Weather: 63°F, scattered thunderstorms (45% chance of rain), winds SSE at 13 mph
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Dave Neal, Andre Ware, Laura Rutledge)

Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 83 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS EAST CAROLINA PIRATES
(Interim) Head Coach: D.J. Durkin Head Coach: Ruffin McNeill
Record: 6-5 Record: 8-4
Conference: Southeastern Conference: American

Odds: Florida -7 | O/U 56

STATS / STREAKS / NOTES

» Florida, which is bowl eligible or the first time since 2012, is 20-20 all-time in bowl games. The Gators had won four-straight before falling to Louisville in the 2013 Sugar Bowl, the last of their 22-straight bowl game appearances. UF is also making its 20th appearance in a January bowl game in the last 22 seasons (since 1993), most in the nation.
» Durkin is serving as a head coach for the first time. He is Florida’s fourth interim coach all time, following Galen Hall (1984), Gary Darnell (1989) and Charlie Strong (2004).
» The Gators have not played at Legion Field since 1993. Florida is 4-2 all-time in the city of Birmingham, last playing a bowl game in town in 1988.
» UF is also 1-0 all-time against ECU with a 24-17 victory in Gainesville in 1983.
» The Gators and Pirates will play twice in a three-game span with UF hosting ECU on Sept. 12, the second week of the 2015 regular season.
» Florida is 23-7 against unranked opponents since Will Muschamp took over in 2011.
» Five of UF’s 11 games this season have been decided by six points or fewer (2-3).
» The Gators will not be ranked at any point in a full season for the first time since 1979.
» Despite its struggles, Florida’s offense has been an efficient scorer in the red zone, converting 38-of-42 opportunities (.905). That’s good for third in the SEC and 12th nationally. The Gators, however, have only converted 24 red zone touchdowns on those 42 trips (.571).
» Nearly 43 percent of opponent drives against Florida have ended in a three-and-out (66 of 155).
» Since Muschamp took over in 2011, the Gators are 23-5 when holding an opponent to 21 or fewer points, 20-3 when rushing for 150+ yards, 26-6 when outrushing an opponent, 17-7 when scoring first and 23-4 when leading at the half. Conversely, Florida is 1-8 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards, 2-15 when being out-rushed by an opponent and 5-17 when tied or trailing at the half.

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