TWO BITS: McFarland is eligible, Demps is fast

1 » After National Signing Day, the Florida Gators‘ top-ranked 2010 recruiting class was faced with a handful of academic eligibility concerns. While most of the players have been able to qualify without issue, four-star athlete Travon Van had to be let out of his scholarship (he has since signed on with the Marshall Thundering Herd), and three-star tight end Michael McFarland was faced with not making the team due to grade concerns. A source close to the university informed OGGOA of McFarland’s issues last week as Van was being dismissed, but they have since told us that McFarland “got what he needed grade-wise” and his eligibility is now simply a formality.

2 » ESPN’s Bruce Feldman found out over the weekend what Gator Nation has known for quite some time – junior running back (and sophomore sprinter) Jeff Demps is a fast, fast man. Feldman interviewed Demps for ESPN Insider (subscription required) and touched on his football and track careers. “Four. No, wait. Five. I got one in football. I got one for the indoor 60 meters and for the team indoor title, and now I have ones for the 100 and the outdoor [relay],” Demps said when asked how many national title rings he possesses.

Photo Credit: Caitlin Healy

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FOUR BITS: UM recruit blasts UF; Demar Dorsey

1 » Speaking about the Florida Gators coaching staff to The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, Miami Hurricanes three-star freshman linebacker Kevin Nelson (Gainesville, FL) decided to rip his hometown team. “Grimy, two-faced and disrespectful,” Nelson called the coaches. He also accused them of what some might call dirty recruiting by saying the coaches told him that “Miami hasn’t won any ACC championship[s] since going to the ACC, and that [head coach] Randy Shannon is going to leave after this year, and that I might not get any playing time.” Nelson claims he rejected an offer from Florida (many believe it was pulled), but also says he has always been a Miami fan.

2 » Canes three-star freshman cornerback Devont’a Davis (Gainesville, FL) added that the Gators disrespected him because they did not extend an offer to him – a hometown player and fan of the team. “It offended me that they didn’t make an offer because I’m the best cornerback in Florida and live down the street,” he said. This follows-up what he told Rivals on Sept. 21. “I’m real disappointed in Florida,” Nelson said of not having an offer at the time. “They didn’t even invite me to the Tennessee game, so that was very disappointing to me. So even if they do offer me, I’m out.”

3 » A former Florida commitment, five-star safety Demar Dorsey left the program just before National Signing Day, though the specifics of that split are still hazy. Dorsey claimed he decommitted, but it is widely believed that the Gators stopped recruiting him due to a variety of concerns (juvenile arrests) not including academics. He was expected to sign with either the Florida State Seminoles or Michigan Wolverines and eventually chose the latter. New reports out of Ann Arbour, MI, state Dorsey is out as a member of the incoming class even though he qualified academically with the NCAA. ESPN called him “in limbo.” Dorsey would have the choice to go to another program with an open scholarship (the Seminoles are rumored) or sign with a junior college.

4 » Former Florida guard Orien Greene has been suspended for two years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for tamping with urine samples he submitted for a drug test while playing professional basketball in Amsterdam. Greene allegedly used another person’s urine when providing his sample. However, he only has a year of suspension remaining because he was initially suspended on March 12, 2009. Greene started his college career with the Gators before transferring to Louisiana-Lafayette. He played for Sacramento, Indiana and Boston in the NBA before playing in Europe.

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Meyer returns feeling good, ready to coach again

Lost among the hysteria of the Florida Gators‘ Pro Day and an appearance by the basketball team as a No. 10-seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament against the Brigham Young Cougars was the beginning of spring practice for the football team – something that (perhaps most importantly) also saw the official return of head coach Urban Meyer from his leave of absence.

Meyer, who told reporters that he actually returned in an official capacity a few weeks ago after taking some personal time to get healthy and rested, spoke confidently about his health. “I’m not going to get into all that, but I feel fine. I feel good,” he said after the three-hour practice. He also declined denied to speak about a number of tests he underwent in February.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s story on Meyer’s return to the Gators after the break!
Continue Reading » Meyer returns feeling good, ready to coach again

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TWO BITS: Schintzius recovers, Henderson out

1 » Former Florida Gators All-American center and NBA first-round draft pick Dwayne Schintzius‘ long battle with leukemia has hopefully come to an end. Schintzius, 41, is the Gators’ fifth all-time leading scorer (1,624 points); the team’s career blocks leader; the only player in SEC history with more than 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists and 250 blocks; and a nine-year NBA veteran who was drafted No. 24 overall by the San Antonio Spurs in 1990. He received a bone marrow transplant on Jan. 12 from his brother Travis, and his family, friends and Gators fans prayed each day that his condition would improve. The Tampa Tribune, which spoke with Schintzius’ father, reports that he is in the process of making a full recovery and has even been released from the hospital. “The doctors are very optimistic,” Ken Schintzius said. “He has been declared leukemia-free. There’s a ways to go before he’s back where he was, but it’s moving in the right direction.”

2 » Though Florida was on his short long list heading into National Signing Day, it is unlikely that five-star 2010 offensive tackle recruit Seantrel Henderson would switch over to the Gators should he be displeased with the NCAA’s investigation into the USC Trojans. Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel confirms a previous OGGOA report that the Miami Hurricanes would be one of the frontrunners for his services.

Extra BIT » Former Florida forward/center Joakim Noah his being held out of action for three more weeks by the Chicago Bulls due to his nagging plantar fasciitis.

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Florida does not grant K Marvin Kloss admission

Though he was offered a scholarship and grayshirt by the South Florida Bulls, three-star kicker Marvin Kloss (Naples, FL) had decided to accept a walk-on offer from the Florida Gators pending his admission. Unfortunately for Kloss and the Gators, the University of Florida decided not to grant him admission due to his grades and test scores; he will now be a preferred walk-on with the Bulls.

“If [Florida] can get me in, I’m going up there,” Kloss said earlier in the week. “I want to play right away, and they’re a lot better [than USF] scholarship-wise with just one kicker and one punter on scholarship.” His tune obviously had to change on Thursday. “It wasn’t that hard a decision,” Kloss told the St. Petersburg Times. “I thought about it, sat down with my coach and my parents, and overall, I just had a better feel about USF.”

His grade point average and test scores already earned him a Florida Bright Futures scholarship, though they were obviously not high enough to get him into UF. Kloss had previously told the Times that Gators interim head coach and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio would be taking his paperwork to the admissions office on Wednesday.

Kloss had scholarship offers from the Purdue Boilermakers and Marshall Thundering Heard before National Signing Day, both of which he declined in order to attempt a walk-on. He is not guaranteed a scholarship from USF, especially since he will be competing with the six kickers already on the team’s roster this spring.

Photo Credit: David Albers/Naples Daily News

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Gator Bites for Wednesday, February 17

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.

» Florida Gators associate athletics director Steve McClain spoke with The Florida Times-Union about head coach Urban Meyer’s leave of absence. He had this to say: “If you compare [what Meyer is doing now] to what he was usually doing, it was very different. He [has] made a lot of changes.”

» In a meeting with the media today, running backs coach Stan Drayton told reporters that redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey will be both a rusher and slot receiver next season. While this may seem like big news to some, it is important to realize that former kick returner Brandon James technically held this job last season and amassed a grand total of 24 catches for 215 yards. Obviously Rainey is more talented offensively, but the “change” in position is less important than an increase in production would be.

  • Expect redshirt junior RB Emmanuel Moody to see a big increase in carries.
  • Freshman RB Mike Gillislee could see more game action, too.

Plenty of additional news and notes are available after the break! Keep reading…
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Wednesday, February 17

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SIX BITS: 2010 class, Tebow, Smith, awards

1 » Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer spoke candidly with The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley after National Signing Day on Wednesday. He was surprised there was not a worse reaction to his temporary resignation but actually had fun dispelling numerous rumors about his next job. “[Five-star defensive end Ronald Powell called me at 3 a.m. and] wanted to know if I was going to ESPN to replace Lee Corso,” Meyer said. That’s what he had been hearing. I just laughed.” Four-star offensive lineman Chaz Green, Florida’s last commitment, had the same question. In the end, for a man dealing with stress, his 2010 recruiting class gave him the best gift of all: relaxation. “I left my phone on (Tuesday) night but I went to sleep,” he said. “I got up, no messages. What is that? That’s the first time since I have been married I wasn’t on the phone at midnight the day before Signing Day. And we were done with the faxes by noon.”

Five more BITS including Tim Tebow’s new organization, Emmitt Smith’s upcoming honor, the women’s basketball team’s loss and much more after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: 2010 class, Tebow, Smith, awards

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Edwards drops Gators for NFL after a month

ESPN‘s Adam Schefter is reporting that recently hired Florida Gators defensive coordinator George Edwards, last season an inside linebackers coach with the Miami Dolphins, has been hired away from Gainesville, FL, by the NFL‘s Buffalo Bills to serve as defensive coordinator.

Edwards, who was officially hired by the University of Florida on Jan. 8, is an 18-year coaching veteran who started his career with the Gators as an assistant under Steve Spurrier in 1991. Three stops later, he moved to the NFL to coach the defensive line for the Dallas Cowboys (1998-2001) but was snatched up by the Washington Redskins and then-head coach Spurrier as a linebackers coach and eventual defensive coordinator. Upon Spurrier’s dismissal, Edwards worked for the Cleveland Browns and then most recently the Dolphins from 2005-09.

The Bills hired Chan Gailey as head coach on Jan. 16. Gailey was head coach of the Cowboys in 1998-99 and had Edwards on his staff as defensive line coach. Joe Schad reports that Edwards was offered the position on National Signing Day.

“We are very excited that George Edwards has joined our staff as defensive coordinator,” Gailey said in a statement. “He brings a wealth of experience, not only as a motivator and communicator, but he has been involved with some great schemes and we are excited about him being the head of our defense.”

“I feel like this is a great opportunity for me to come in and have a chance to work with coach Gailey again and the staff that he has been able to put together,” Edwards added. “I am excited to have the opportunity to come to Buffalo and look forward to getting started as quickly as possible. This is a team that has played good defense in the past and I am excited to continue on with that tradition.”

Florida head coach Urban Meyer raved about Edwards upon his hiring. “George is a tremendous teacher of the game of football,” he said. “He is a great addition to our staff and will be a great coach and mentor to our players.” He also said Edwards “came strongly recommended by many, many people and kind of blew us away.”

Edwards seemed equally as pleased to coach the Gators. “I’m thrilled to be joining the UF coaching staff. I enjoy teaching and molding young men. I am looking forward to working with a great group of people at Florida and a great group of players.”

He was expected to institute a pro-style 3-4 defense but left after less than a month on the job and just a day after the Gators signed the nation’s top recruiting class.

OGGOA, on pure conjecture, expects co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Chuck Heater to be promoted to defensive coordinator.

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