FOUR BITS: Demps, locker room, Sanders, bowl

1 » Though Florida Gators junior running back Jeff Demps has missed most of the regular season after injuring his foot against Tennessee, the school’s track and field coach believes he will be ready for the upcoming season. “In talking to Jeff, everything is status-quo,” head coach Mike Holloway told GatorZone‘s Scott Carter. “The biggest thing with Jeff is: Jeff has another football game to play. When that football game is over, we’ll evaluate where he is going with track. Honestly, they are going through a tough time right now. My main concern is keeping his spirits up so he can keep helping the football team.” Demps won the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship in the men’s 60-meter dash and the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championship in the men’s 100-meter dash last season and is expected to be healthy for the team’s Jan. 15, 2011 debut.

2 » Contrary to reports that the Florida football team had damaged and trashed its locker room after the butt-whipping it was handed by the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday, FSU’s equipment staff has denied the story. According to The Florida Times-Union’s Michael DiRocco, the Gators’ equipment staff spoke with their Seminoles counterparts and was assured that the locker room was fine and rumor was false. The Orlando Sentinel also spoke with Florida State, which said the rumors have been “completely blown out of proportion” by those online. “To make it clear [Florida] did not trash the locker room in any way,” school spokesman Rob Wilson told the paper.

3 » Florida redshirt senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders said via his Twitter account that he had surgery on Monday to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. Though Sanders did not miss any time with the injury, the surgery will likely keep him out for the bowl game but get him healthy enough for NFL workouts early next year.

4 » With bowl games set to be announced shortly, all indications are that the Gators will be accepting a bid for the 2010 Gator Bowl, held on New Year’s Day in Jacksonville, FL. Should Florida be offered and decide to participate in the game, they will face a Big Ten opponent which would likely be either Penn State, Iowa or Michigan.

Photo Credit: Jim Burgess

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Demps picks football over USA T&F Championship

Florida Gators junior running back and multiple 2010 NCAA Championship-winning sophomore sprinter Jeff Demps will not compete at the 2010 USA Track & Field Championship in Des Moines, IA from June 23-27.

Instead, Demps will remain in Gainesville, FL, and concentrate on re-conditioning his body with director of strength and conditioning Mickey Marotti for the football season, according to the Orlando Sentinel’s Andrea Adelson.

“Running a 9.96 in the 100 meters (at the NCAA Championship) and doing what he does on the football field and doing what he did in the indoor track season, [Demps] couldn’t have done that if he didn’t keep his body in shape and mind in shape,” Marotti told ESPN this week. “This isn’t a normal track athlete. I don’t want to categorize anybody, but this guy is different now. You tell him to go 100 percent, and that’s the way he’s going to go. He’s definitely been a workout warrior. There’s no way he would have been able to run that 9.96 without being one.”

Even so, Demps (and no doubt the football staff) believes it is now time he focuses on the upcoming football season. His four track titles this year (Outdoors – 100 meters, 4×100 relay; Indoors – 60-meters, team championship) will stand as reminders of what he can accomplish after the season commences.

Though Demps will be sitting out, six Gators will be competing at the USA Track & Field Championship over the weekend. Sophomore Christian Taylor will be vying for the men’s triple jump title, senior sprinters R.J. Anderson and Calvin Smith will compete in the men’s 400-meter dash, freshman Omar Craddock goes for the men’s junior triple jump, freshman Lanie Whittaker will try to win the women’s junior 400-meter dash and freshman Ugonna Ndu will press her luck at the women’s junior 400-meter hurdles.

Photo Credit: Caitlin Healy

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Demps wins 2010 NCAA Championship in 100m

Florida Gators sophomore sprinter Jeff Demps and senior thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili each took home national titles on Friday during the third day of competition at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor National Championships in Eugene, OR.

Demps, competing in the men’s 100-meter dash, won with a time of 9.96 seconds. He was also victorious in the same event at the 2010 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championship and captured the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship in the 60-meter dash earlier this academic year.

“It was a great race today,” Demps said after the victory. “I executed well and came out with the win. I know my team needed the points and I just came out to get the 10 points to try to help us win the team title.”

Kevkhishvili, who became just the second student-athlete in NCAA history to win five women’s shot put national titles (indoors and outdoors combined), took her event at Hayward Field Friday with a distance of 18.11m/59-5. She is also the second woman in NCAA history to claim both the indoor and outdoor women’s shot put titles in back-to-back seasons. Kevkhishvili ends her Gators career a perfect 13-for-13 in her senior season and undefeated for the last two years.

“I am happy to win my fifth NCAA title,” she said. “I wasn’t really happy with my throw, but I’m glad I was able to score 10 points and help my team today.”

The two new title holders join sophomore jumper Christian Taylor, who won the men’s triple jump on Thursday, as Florida’s individual winners so far during the event.

As a team, UF is second in the men’s standings with 28 points through 13 events; Texas A&M leads with 36. On the women’s side, Florida are tied for seventh with 16 points, 14 shy of the leader Oregon (30). The final day of competition is Saturday.

Photo Credit: CBS via University of Florida

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Taylor wins 2010 NCAA Outdoor Triple Jump title

The track and field teams will continue to work hard to bring home the event’s overall titles over the next few days, but Florida Gators sophomore jumper Christian Taylor made an initial splash Wednesday by capturing the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championship in men’s triple jump at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR.

The two-time defending NCAA Indoor Champion in the triple jump, Taylor leapt 17.09m/56-1 (+2.9) to set the 2010 American mark and win the title – the first in school history.

“Getting the outdoor title means a lot to me,” Taylor said. “Heading into the finals, I knew I needed to step up and get the job done and I’m glad I was able to do it.”

As a team, the Gators men’s squad (the 2010 NCAA Indoor Champions) is in second place through two events. Their 13 points are one behind the leaders, Texas A&M.

Also in action Wednesday were Florida’s sprinters. Sophomore Jeff Demps led the men’s 4×100-meter relay team – including junior Chris Rainey, senior Jeremy Hall and junior Terrell Wilks – to an event-leading 38.94-second time in the preliminary round, advancing the unit to the finals at 1:11 p.m. on Saturday.

Demps, who won the 2010 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championship in the men’s 100-meter dash, came in second during preliminaries in the event at 10.15 seconds (+2.2). He will compete in the event finals at 8:25 p.m. on Friday.

Senior sprinter Calvin Smith also won a trip to the finals Wednesday; he advanced in the men’s 400-meter dash with a time of 45.64 seconds – good for fourth. Smith will race just after Demps, at 9:25 p.m. on Friday.

Photo Credit: University of Florida

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Three Gators earn SEC track & field awards

Florida Gators track & field captured three end-of-season honors from the Southeastern Conference on Monday. Head coach Mike Holloway was named the SEC Men’s Head Coach of the Year, senior thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili was named the SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Year and sophomore jumper Christian Taylor was named the SEC Men’s Field Athlete of the Year.

The University of Florida took home more total awards in this period than any other school, with Ole Miss, Auburn and Tennessee each receiving two honors.

Holloway is racking up the awards this season. He has already been named the 2010 SEC Indoor Women’s Head Coach of the Year, 2010 USTFCCCA National Men’s Indoor Head Coach of the Year and 2010 USTFCCCA Indoor South Region Men’s and Women’s Head Coach of the Year.

One of the most accomplished athletes in school history, Kevkhishvili is hoping to complete an undefeated season and is on the watch list for The Bowerman. A four-time National Champion and seven-time All-American, she won the 2010 SEC Outdoor Championship for shot put (her third in four years) and leads the nation with a career-high mark of 18.46m/60-6.75.

Taylor also had a great year, winning the 2010 SEC Outdoor Championship in triple jump and as the third leg of the 4×400-meter relay team. He also finished second in individual point standings at the event.

The Gators track & field program has already captured three titles this season. The men won the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship and 2010 SEC Outdoor Championship, while the women took home the 2010 SEC Indoor Championship. Both programs begin competing for their 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championship in the next few days.

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FOUR BITS: Billy D to St. John’s? Allen’s recovery.

1 » OGGOA was going back-and-forth with Tommy Dee of The Knicks Blog during the Florida Gators’ first round 2010 NCAA Tournament game about the potential future move of head coach Billy Donovan to the St. John’s Red Storm. Citing the fact that St. John’s is now willing to spend money on a coach, Dee thought it was possible that a move could happen. Throwing gasoline on that fire is Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News, who claims that Donovan is the “answer to St. John’s coaching needs.” From his time at Providence and with the New York Knicks to his continued ability to recruit out of the northeast, Weiss says the Red Storm should start and end their search with Donovan because “he is the perfect choice for this job.”

2 » On Oct. 16 and exactly one month later on Nov. 16, OGGOA reported that Gators redshirt sophomore forward Adam Allen’s career was likely over after a third surgery on his knee. Allen’s chronic knee, which was thought to be a bone bruise but turned out to be an MCL injury with a “loose” kneecap, appeared to be career-threatening. That is until he met with Dr. Lonnie Paulos at the Andrews Institute, who gave him some encouraging news, according to Gator Country. “[He] said he could probably do some stuff to it,” Allen said. “I had the surgery and after the surgery, he was pretty confident that I would be able to come back.” He hopes to get support from the NCAA to remain a sophomore since one injury has kept him out two seasons.

More on basketball and a National Coach of the Year winner after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Billy D to St. John’s? Allen’s recovery.

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Florida Gators capture first men’s track & field title

No. 1 Florida Gators track and field captured their first national title in program history Saturday night, winning the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship with 57 total team points. Their performance, coupled with a fourth-place finish for the women’s team, was one of the most successful national meets in program history.

Competing at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR, the Gators won by 13 points over the Oregon Ducks and Texas A&M Aggies, who tied for second-place with 44 team points. The national title victory is the 23rd in University of Florida athletics history.

Sophomore running back and freshman sprinter Jeff Demps captured the NCAA men’s 60-meter dash championship, the first in school history. His 6.57 time was one-hundreth of a second shy of his own 6.56 record-setting time that was accomplished during the preliminaries on Friday.

Senior thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili of Georgia took home the NCAA indoor shot put title. She is the second woman in NCAA history to win three-straight titles in this event. Kevkhishvili tossed a school-record 18.59m/61-0 for the win Saturday, shattering her previous personal record of 18.56/60-10.75. One of the most accomplished Florida track and field athletes of all time, she has now won 13 consecutive indoor competitions.

Also bringing home titles for the Gators over the weekend were junior distance runner Charlotte Browning (women’s mile) and men’s sophomore jumper Christian Taylor (men’s triple dump). In all, Florida took home 16 All-America honors at the NCAAs.

Though the indoor season is over for the Gators, the 2010 outdoor track and field season begins in just one week, on Sat., March 20.

Photo Credit: GatorZone.com

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