FOUR BITS: Morrison, Wilbekin, Bears, Donovan

1 » Florida Gators sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison was released from Alachua County Jail on his own recognizance Monday, nearly 36 hours after he was arrested and charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for simple battery. Morrison, accused of punching a bouncer outside Kava Bar and Hookah Lounge at 1007 W. University Ave. on Sunday morning, is being represented by attorney Huntley Johnson. “At this point, he would enter a plea of not guilty,” Johnson told The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway after his client was released, “but we need to talk to witnesses [first].”

2 » Gators senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin, indefinitely suspended by head coach Billy Donovan on June 10 for a violation of team rules, will not be rejoining the program any time soon. “Right now, he needs to prove that he wants to be part of the team and that this is what he wants to do,” Donovan told Brockway on Monday. “He has to take care of responsibilities. At this point, I don’t really want to address any more about his status until the season starts in October. Hopefully this is something he can learn from.” Wilbekin was suspended at the start of the 2012-13 season for a similar violation of team rules; he missed three games but eventually returned to his role as Florida’s starting point guard. Wilbekin is currently barred from the team practice facility as part of his indefinite suspension.

Donovan also commented to Brockway on the status of a waiver that will be submitted to the NCAA by Rutgers transfer guard Eli Carter, who is looking to play immediately for UF in 2013-14, and the academic eligibility of five-star power forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL). Both are works in progress.

3 » NFL.com on Monday took a look at the five most underrated players in Chicago Bears history and included a pair of former Gators – defensive end Alex Brown (2002-09) and running back Neal Anderson (1986-93) – on the list. “Brown was the type of quiet, high-motor player defensive coordinators covet,” writes Alex Gelhar. “He was second on the team with seven sacks during the 2006 [Super Bowl] season, when he also intercepted two passes, forced three fumbles and batted down four other passes. Talk about productivity.” On Anderson, Gelhar notes: “Anderson took the reins after [Walter] Payton retired in 1988 and never looked back. Anderson rushed for more than 1,000 yards and at least 10 touchdowns every year from 1988-1990, twice helping carry the Bears to the playoffs where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion.”

4 » ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan is currently in the middle of a 20-part series in which he is looking at the programs that have “produced the best pros in the modern draft era (since 1989, when the draft went from seven to two rounds).” Checking in at No. 11 on his list is Florida, which of course owes much of its success in preparing players for the NBA to Donovan. “He’s been as successful as any coach in the country, and in the process has elevated the Gators from a laughingstock to a program with as many solid current NBA players as any in the country,” writes Brennan.

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FOUR BITS: Peterson, Orton vs. Tebow, FSU wins

1 » Former Florida Gators linebacker Mike Peterson – now a veteran with the Atlanta Falcons, has taken on the roll of mentor with the team’s first-round choice in the 2010 NFL Draft, Sean Weatherspoon. Now 34, Peterson had a solid 2009-10 season (140 tackles) and hopes to continue to help both on the field and in the locker room. “I understand the business,” he said. “I want to help the team out. That’s what I’m all about. I didn’t come here to try and play 2,000 plays. I came here to try to win the Super Bowl. Whatever my role will be, I’m ready for it.”

2 » The Denver Post is apparently the “Kyle Orton needs to get out of here on way or another” angle now that former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has joined the Denver Broncos. Columnist Woody Paige insists the team needs to pull the trigger on a trade involving Orton because he is “not a short-term fix or a long-range fit for the Broncos,” noting that he is “an average quarterback who couldn’t start for 21 other teams in the league.” Better to see what they have in former Notre Dame star Brady Quinn and first-round pick Tebow, Page believes. Paper-mate mark Kiszla takes a similar angle on the topic, noting that Orton needs to get himself out of Denver as fast as possible. “[He] would have rocks for brains to start another game as quarterback of the Broncos,” Kiszla wrote. “He would be playing the fool for Denver coach Josh McDaniels. If Orton owns a penny’s worth of common sense, he has already quietly, politely and firmly asked for a trade to grant his freedom.”

3 » EA SportsNCAA Football 11, which will feature Tebow as its cover athlete, is undergoing more changes than just deciding to use one former player on its cover instead of many. According to Jon Robinson of ESPN, the gaming company has decided to further embed ESPN branding into the game, letting each contest play like it is a live network broadcast. Read more about some of the game’s brand new features.

4 » Speaking of ESPN, the worldwide leader has decided to create a bracket system in order to devise which college program has been the best pipeline for the NFL over the last 30 years. Not surprisingly, No. 13-seed Florida lost its opening-round match-up. Unfortunately for some fans, it was to the No. 4-seed Florida State Seminoles. Though writer Matt Williamson noted that the recent influx of Gators gives the team a chance to claim the title in the future, the past’s top five notable players (Derrick Brooks, Deion Sanders, Walter Jones, Rohn Stark, LeRoy Butler VS. Emmitt Smith, Lomas Brown, Cris Collinsworth, Wilber Marshall, Neal Anderson) allows FSU to earn the edge. Check out the entire head-to-head match-up at the link above including summaries by Heather Dinich and Mark Schlabach.

Photo Credit: Jon Robinson/ESPN

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