Steve Addazio hired as Temple Owls head coach

A source inside the Florida Gators football program confirmed to OGGOA Wednesday afternoon that offensive coordinator Steve Addazio has been hired by the Temple Owls to be the team’s next head coach.

Addazio, who interviewed for the position on Monday, struggled over the last two seasons as Florida’s offensive coordinator but is considered a terrific position coach, recruiter and motivator who always does his best to get maximum effort from his players.

He was named ESPNU’s recruiter of the year due to the major part he played in helping corral the Gators’ top-ranked 2010 recruiting class and served as interim head coach for Urban Meyer after he briefly stepped down and then during his recovery last year. Addazio replaced Meyer at numerous public speaking engagements and helped fill in the coaching staff with new hires after it was ravaged by departures when former defensive coordinator Charlie Strong accepted the Louisville head coaching position.

Addazio has coached in college since 1995. He served as offensive coordinator at Indiana from 2002-04 before being plucked away by Meyer to coach the offensive line and tight ends at Florida, a role he held for two years. Meyer promoted Addazio to assistant head coach from 2007-08 and then to offensive coordinator after Dan Mullen left to take the top job with Mississippi State before the 2009 season.

Much maligned by Gators fans for his tenure as the team’s playcaller, Addazio’s future with Florida appeared bleak with Meyer stepping down and new head coach Will Muschamp looking for an offensive coordinator with both college and NFL experience.

He is the ninth assistant coach under Meyer who has gone on to become a Division I head coach following in the footsteps of Gregg Brandon (Bowling Green), Kyle Whittingham (Utah), Mike Sanford (UNLV), Tim Beckham (Toledo), Mullen, Doc Holliday (Marshall), Strong and Dan McCarney (North Texas).

Signing a five-year deal at Temple, he will replace head coach Al Golden, who recently left to accept the same job with the Miami Hurricanes.

A press conference will be held in Philadelphia, PA, on Thursday though Addazio is expected to coordinate the Gators’ offense in the 2011 Outback Bowl.

This story was first reported by the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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FOUR BITS: Rivers commits, Florida wants canoe

1 » It is being widely reported Thursday that five-star 2011 guard Austin Rivers (Winter Park, FL) has officially committed to the Duke Blue Devils. Considered the top players in his class, Rivers was originally committed to the Florida Gators before opening up his recruitment and then completely spurning the Orange and Blue. His decision to play at Duke is not a surprise considering he has been raving about head coach Mike Krzyzewski for months and admitted that he is seeking the spotlight above all else.

2 » Though Florida and Miami (FL) may not play an annual football game anymore, the rivalry between the two schools continues to exist and, when they do face-off, it is as heated as ever. Intrepid University of Florida student senators Andrew Hart and Jon Ossip realized this and decided that because the Gators won the last game between the two schools (26-3 on Sept. 6, 2008), it is about time Florida is delivered the Seminole War Canoe Trophy. Though Florida symbolically holds the trophy now, it is physically in Miami’s possession and has been located at the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame since 1987 (the year of the final home-and-home series). You can read more about the senators’ mission to bring the trophy home in this story by The Alligator.

3 » Leave it to two columnists writing about Alabama and Florida the longest, The Birmingham News’ Paul Finebaum and The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley, to name the duo college football’s biggest rivalry. Finebaum believes this is the case because of the immense success of both programs and how dominant the Southeastern Conference. Dooley, on the other hand, contends that the Crimson Tide is the one team that can actually beat the Gators with any type of consistency, even though they only play twice every six years and in SEC Championship games. The fact is that both are right. While the rivalry may be stronger between Florida and Florida State, Georgia, Tennessee or even Miami, none of those games played today can match the importance and size of a game between these two behemoths.

4 » OGGOA columnist and former Gators quarterback Danny Wuerffel will be part of a special lunch with the Tampa Gator Club on Friday beginning at 11:30 a.m. Wuerffel will be on-hand to discuss Florida’s football season, tell the story of his life and sign autographs from fans. For more information, visit http://www.tampagatorclub.com.

Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images

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FOUR BITS: Harvin hopeful, Miami (FL / OH) notes

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Percy Harvin returned to the field Saturday, catching two balls for 30 yards for the Minnesota Vikings. After the game, he told reporters that he was hopeful doctors have finally found what has been causing him severe migraine headaches for most of his life. “I did a test [Friday] night. They found some things that we think is the main cause of it,” Harvin said. “I know we said that a couple times, but I think this time we found what the main cause was. I’m not saying I won’t ever get a headache again, but hopefully we can slow it down a little bit.” He also spoke about the upcoming season. “I’ve got a lot of work to do as far as condition-wise,” he said, “but otherwise, it just felt good to get out there [Saturday] and have something to base my performance off of.”

2 » A new book named The Real U: 2001 to 2010: Inside the Eye of the Hurricane, which may be released in December, will allege that the University of Miami Hurricanes football team is guilty of numerous NCAA violations, according to the Miami Herald. The book is the work of Nevin Shapiro, a Miami booster who is “facing years in prison for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme,” reports the paper. Shapiro, who calls the publication “a tell-all book from the fan and booster perspective,” says it is aimed at making “the average fan aware of what really exists under [the Hurricanes] uniform. They might be great players, but they’re certainly not great people. I’m speaking of no less than 100 former players.” The book appears to be a revenge piece for Shapiro, who feels that players turned their back on him once they became professionals. The Herald lists linebacker Jon Beason, WR Devin Hester, safeties Antrel Rolle and Randy Phillips, and quarterbacks Robert Marve and Kyle Wright specifically as players who were close with Shapiro. Read the Herald’s entire story here.

3 » Interesting note about the Gators’ 2010 season opener: The Miami (OH) RedHawks were scheduled by request of former Florida head coach Ron Zook, who attended the school and hoped to play his alma mater in the future. According to the Palm Beach Post, the contract for the game was finalized in 2004, the year after Miami (OH) had just completed a 13-1 season and just a few months before Zook would be fired. “At the time the game was scheduled, Miami was looked at as a team that was headed in the same direction as Boise State,” head coach Mike Haywood said. “They were accepting all comers at that time. Unfortunately, things changed and took a different course. We’re trying to build it back to where it was at that time.”

4 » Gators sophomore running back Mike Gillislee may be third on the team’s depth chart behind junior Jeff Demps and redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody, but RB coach Stan Drayton believes that he is easily the most powerful of the bunch and will be able to earn snaps this season. “When you’re talking about playing through contact – not necessarily making people miss – but playing through contact, Gillislee is probably the best of my group,” Drayton said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “That’s Mike’s M.O. […] I can see him being used anywhere on the field, including the goal line. He’s not going to be solely a goal line back. He’s got to be a back that’s competitive in all situations for us.”

Photo Credit: Unknown

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TWO BITS: Soccer wins in 2OT, football in Top 25

1 » Opening the University of Florida’s 2010-11 athletic season on Friday, No. 11 Florida Gators soccer (1-0) defeated the Miami Hurricanes (0-1) 2-1 in a double-overtime match at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Scoreless in the first half, redshirt sophomore midfielder McKenzie Barney kicked the ball across the goal to the far post at 49’ to put Florida ahead. In the blink of an eye, Miami’s Blake Stockton hit an equalizer at 53’. Almost an hour of game time later, now in the match’s second overtime, freshman forward Taylor Travis put the Gators ahead for good with a seven-yard golden goal into the far post at 107’. Florida will need to regroup quickly as the ladies will travel to Orlando, FL, for an away game against the Central Florida Knights on Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. The match will air live on FOX Sports Florida.

2 » The defending National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide earned the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll released Saturday with the Gators coming in three slots behind at No. 4. In between the two are the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes and No. 3 Boise State Broncos; Alabama was awarded 54 of 60 possible first-place votes. Other Southeastern Conference teams ranked by the AP this preseason include Arkansas (No. 17), LSU (No. 21), Auburn (No. 22) and Georgia (No. 23). Florida finished last season listed No. 3 in the USA Today and Associated Press polls, also earning the No. 3 spot in the USA Today preseason poll released on Aug. 6.

Photo Credit: University of Florida/GatorZone.com

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Gator Bites for Friday, August 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.

» The University of Florida’s 2010-11 athletic season officially begins Friday as No. 11 Florida Gators soccer takes on the Miami Hurricanes at 7 p.m. at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Admission is free, and the match will air live on Sun Sports.

» New England Patriots rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez scored his first career professional touchdown on Thursday, catching a four-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady in the second quarter of the team’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Hernandez, who lead the team with four receptions and 46 yards, had to turn around to complete the reception in the back of the end zone. Also shining for the Patriots on Thursday was running back Fred Taylor (team-high 11 carries for 54 yards and a TD). Linebacker Brandon Spikes racked up three solo tackles, while defensive tackle Gerard Warren added one assisted.

Eight more Gator Bites on Tim Tebow, Major Wright, Cornelius Ingram, Maurkice Pouncey, Joe Haden, Chris Leak, Ryan Lochte and Urban Meyer…after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Friday, August 20th

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TWO BITS: Stamper’s chance, soccer begins

1 » Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Lions, former Florida Gators linebacker Ryan Stamper was forced to leave the team due to concerns about his injured back. After working out in Detroit on July 27, Stamper was expected to sign a contract with the Lions, but he left without a deal in place. On Saturday, Detroit middle linebacker Jordon Dizon suffered a likely season-ending knee injury, leaving an open spot on at least the practice roster that could very well be filled by Stamper.

2 » With their 2010 season set to begin on Friday at home against the Miami Hurricanes, No. 11 Florida soccer participated in an exhibition match Saturday, defeating Alabama-Birmingham 3-0. Senior defender Nicky Kit (19’), sophomore midfielder/forward Erika Tymrak (23’) and sophomore MF Holly King connected for the Gators’ three goals. Florida’s game against Miami will air live on Sun Sports at 7 p.m. It is the first game of the University of Florida’s 2010-11 athletic season.

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Kadji transfers from Gainesville to Coral Gables

Former Florida Gators sophomore center Kenny Kadji will not have a long trip ahead of him after packing up his belongings as, according to FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman, he has decided to transfer to the Miami Hurricanes.

Kadji, who was given a medical redshirt from the NCAA after only logging 45 total minutes of game time in 2009-10 before ending his season due to a nagging back injury, will be forced to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules.

He had back surgery in February to repair a bulging disk, a procedure similar to what former Florida forward Adrian Moss had done in 2005. Reports were that Kadji had healed nicely from the surgery; he was expected to back-up redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin next season, a job that will probably now be filled by four-star incoming freshman forward Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL).

“I want to thank my coaches and teammates for my two years at the University of Florida,” Kadji said on July 23. “While I’m sad that my time here at Florida is ending, UF will always be special to me. I have goals that I hope to reach and only a short window of my life to make those things happen.”

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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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