NOT Top 13 for 2013: Moments for Gators to forget

At the conclusion of each year, on Dec. 31 to be exact, OnlyGators.com takes a look back at the top on-field moments and off-field stories from the previous 12 months. This year, which will go down as a difficult and controversial one for the Florida Gators, we sort through the Not Top 13 for 2013 – games, actions and stories that fans of the program will look to put in the rear view mirror as the clock strikes midnight. Don’t forget to check out the Top 13 for 2013 to end your year on a positive note!

13 » OFFSEASON GARBAGE
The time between the conclusion of spring practice in April and the start of summer practice in July can be long and seemingly endless for some, especially the media, which drummed up controversy where none should have exited in May. Florida offensive line coach Tim Davis, taking part in a Gator Gathering with boosters, jokingly referred to Alabama head coach Nick Saban as “the devil himself.” The slight was made public and Saban took great offense, despite the fact that Davis was kidding. Davis got called “a classless backstabbing coward” for his joke and received other undue ridicule.

Two months later, one of the top college football headlines was a report that Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer actually turned in Florida (and running backs coach Brian White) for a petty secondary recruiting violation that the NCAA deemed to be meaningless. Meyer denied his actions and got taken to task for reporting his former school, especially considering he has previously been accused of violating NCAA secondary recruiting rules in a similar fashion.

12 » LACROSSE AND VOLLEYBALL COME UP SHORT
With revenge on their minds and the program’s first national title within reach, Florida lacrosse failed to take down Syracuse on the latter’s home turf in the quarterfinals of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Orange got the best of the Gators for the second-straight season, winning 13-9 on May 18 after picking up a controversial victory in the 2012 NCAA Final Four. UF had the opportunity to make SU pay while trying to win a championship but instead sent its fourth-year players – the first senior class in program history – home with a bitter taste in their mouths.

Florida volleyball saw its 2013 season come to a crashing halt when it fell 3-2 at home to Florida State in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. One of the top seeds in the tournament and a potential national title team, the Gators allowed their in-state rival to knock them out of postseason play as UF failed to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2004. Like the lacrosse team, which sent its upperclassmen out in a disappointing fashion, the same happened to senior middle back Chloe Mann.

11 » SAME TEAM!
The moment that checked in No. 1 on ESPN’s own Not Top Plays of 2013 was simply a microcosm of Florida being unable to get out of its own way this year. Redshirt senior center Jonotthan Harrison and redshirt junior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar blocked each other on a rushing play that actually gained some positive yardage against Georgia Southern in the second-to-last game of the season. In the same game, redshirt freshman safety Marcus Maye was accused of gouging an opponent’s eyes.


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TWO BITS: Georgia Southern, Tip-Off, Chandler

1 » A previously published piece of film from the Florida Gators’ 2011 game against Tennessee has CBS’s broadcasters noting that head coach Will Muschamp, while an assistant at LSU, told Nick Saban that their team should not schedule the Georgia Southern Eagles due to the team’s difficult-to-defend triple option offense.

“Remember when Will told us about Nick Saban? … Will said that there was an opportunity to play Georgia Southern [while] at LSU. And WIll Muschamp said, ‘We don’t want to do it.’ And he spoke to Nick and Nick didn’t know what Georgia Southern did and said, ‘Yeah, no problem, that sounds good.’ And then Will said, ‘Nick, come here, I want to show you this triple option.’ Nick watched three plays, marched down to the AD’s office and said, ‘We’re not playing Georgia Southern.’”

The game against the Eagles was actually scheduled for the Gators while Urban Meyer was head coach of the program in May 2010. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley was classmates with Georgia Southern AD Sam Baker at Ohio University (both earned master’s degrees in sports administration in 1976) and thought the game would be a good idea. Baker resigned in July 2012 after leading the program for 17 years.

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Florida Gators football’s tumultuous offseason

The 2013 offseason started out relatively calm and normal for the Florida Gators football program with some players deciding to leave school early to play professionally and others choosing to try their luck at another university. Suddenly, starting on Jan. 10, a string of arrests, poor decisions, injuries and negative headlines began taking over the spring and summer for the Gators. Below is a timeline* of one of the most bizarre and controversial offseasons in Florida football history.

* While all of the news below was sour for Florida or its players in one way or another, obviously some of the occurrences (arrests, suspensions) are significantly more egregious than others (players transferring, coaches leaving). The standout, headline-making stories that either painted the program in a negative light or were exceptionally newsworthy during the summer are highlighted in red.

Luckily for Gators fans, with fall practice officially opening on Friday and the 2013 college season exactly one month away, the offseason is now over.

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2013 SEC Media Day Quotables: Coaches and players speak on Florida and other hot topics

The Florida Gators received their fair share of headlines at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Media Days on Tuesday but plenty of other coaches and players made waves as well for their comments and opinions.

Check out what Florida’s contingent had to say in the multiple links below.

Florida Gators at 2013 SEC Media Days: Main Post – News & Notes: Muschamp’s shot at Meyer, injuries, players, coaches | Game times vs. Toledo, Miami set | Muschamp: I’m “100% responsible” for players | Easley steals the show | VIDEOS: Florida players have fun interviewing each other

COACHES

» South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier on paying players $3,600-$3,900 per season in addition to their scholarships: “I’m going to keep fighting for our guys. I don’t know what will come. If President [Barack] Obama would say, ‘Spurrier, you and those coaches need to quit fighting for your players,’ that they get enough, they get enough full scholarship, then I’ll shut up about it. But I just believe that these athletes, because of the enormous amount [of money they earn for the schools], just a little bit to help out with their parents watching games and so forth. Okay, that was our little talk about expenses. This is not ‘pay for play.’ Please don’t say, ‘Spurrier says pay for play.’ This is just expense money. I saw the other day this year, the NFL rookies, the minimum is $405,000, NFL rookie. And a third year kid, $630,000. That’s pay for play. Don’t disguise or say $300 for expenses for a game, that’s not pay for play. Just some expense money for our guys to live a little bit better, and their parents, guardians, whatever. Us coaches, if it was a financial burden for our universities, our coaches all offered to pay for it, all 14. It came up to $270,000, $280,000 a year for the coaches. We’d pay it all. We want our players to get a little bit more than they get.”

» Spurrier on if he would turn Florida in for a recruiting violation in like Urban Meyer did: “Like that? Probably not that [smiling]. If they were obviously doing something [on purpose], we were obviously doing something [on purpose], I would hope they’d turn us in. Usually go through the league office is the way. Yeah, we don’t turn a lot of people in anyway. You can’t ever condone breaking the rules on purpose, though. We don’t condone that with anybody.”

» Spurrier on staying on longer with the Gamecocks than he did with the Gators: “I didn’t think about that. I did think I could go eight, nine, ten years. I was at a booster club. … I said my plan and goal is to be the winningest coach here. It was only 65 wins. If we could average about eight a year, maybe win nine one year, I could get to 65. It worked out that we got 66. Last two years we’ve added up well. … I have an excellent coaching staff. I got guys that can recruit, coach, do everything. It’s not a stressful job for me as maybe some coaches have. Summertime we get away from it a bit, get refreshed, ready to go during the season. Burnout is not something I’m going to get, not unless we go real bad. It can go real bad if you think it can’t. I know it can go real bad if we don’t watch ourselves. Hopefully it won’t.”

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2013 SEC Spring Meetings notes – Days 1-2

The Southeastern Conference is currently holding the 2013 SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, FL with head coaches, athletic directors and presidents representing each school in attendance to discuss a number of league and national issues over the course of the week from Tuesday-Friday. Below are some notes from the first two days:

Quotes and information below attributed to Yahoo! Sports, the Associated Press, The Birmingham News, the Orlando Sentinel and The Gainesville Sun.

» Alabama head coach Nick Saban told a media contingent that Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and athletic director Jeremy Foley both apologized to him following remarks made by offensive line coach Tim Davis recently at a Gator Gathering in Melbourne, FL. Despite saying he was hurt by Davis’s words and even responding to a handful of questions about the “devil himself” comment the week it was said, Saban now says “it’s nothing to get too upset about” and that what Davis said “is not a reflection of the University of Florida, Will Muschamp or the program.” Late Wednesday, Muschamp added that he “was very disappointed” with Davis’s comments and confirmed that both he (Muschamp) and Foley had spoken with Saban. Muschamp also said he spoke with Davis and did not think his words were “reflective of his true opinion” of Saban. Hopefully this is no longer a topic of conversation.

» SEC commissioner Mike Slive, on Tuesday, said the league’s athletic directors voted unanimously (14-0) to explore assigning a “primary” host site to the conference’s men’s basketball tournament. With the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA already the permanent host of the football championship and Regions Park in Hoover, AL serving as the permanent host of the baseball tournament, the league feels a “primary” (read: not permanent) host site is needed for basketball at the very least. The Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN is already scheduled to host three of the next six tournaments and seems to be an early favorite to potentially become a primary host site.

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Saban: Davis’s “devil” comment “disappointing”

Two days after Florida Gators offensive line coach Tim Davis jokingly referred to Alabama’s Nick Saban as “the devil himself” during a Gator Gathering with boosters in Melbourne, FL, the four-time national championship-winning head coach responded.

“It really is a little terribly disappointing,” said Saban, according to AL.com.

Davis on Tuesday was discussing how pleased he was to be working for Florida head coach Will Muschamp when he decided to make light of the differences between Muschamp and Saban in order to entertain the crowd.

“Will and I go back to the Miami Dolphins,” Davis began. “I’ve always wanted to work with Will. Will’s got a plan. Will coached under the devil himself for seven years. I only did three. He did seven. And his DNA is not any different than Nick.”

He soon continued, laughingly referencing and juxtaposing Saban with Muschamp while coaxing repeated laughter from his audience.

“[Muschamp’s] like the other guy, only he’s got a personality,” Davis added. “He’ll smile at you. He’ll talk to you. You understand? That’s what he’s all about. That’s Will. I’m proud to work for him.”

Like many members of the media – notably ESPN’s Mark May, who referred to Davis as “a classless backstabbing coward” despite noting the two had never even met – Saban did not find Davis’s words the least bit comical.

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FOUR BITS: Davis, lacrosse, Miami, Wambach

1 » For the second time in as many offseasons lighthearted comments from a Florida Gators football coach have been turned into some sort of controversy by the national media. Last year it was head coach Will Muschamp poking fun at College Station, TX (as a former coach at Texas, Muschamp is quite familiar with Texas A&M and its town). This time around it is offensive line coach Tim Davis joking about Alabama head coach Nick Saban and his demeanor while participating in a Gator Gathering speaking event. (Saban, Muschamp and Davis all worked together at the Miami Dolphins.) “Will coached under the devil himself [Saban] for seven years. I only did three. He did seven. And his DNA is different than Nick,” Davis quipped, according to 24/7 Sports, while comparing the coaches. He later added: “[Muschamp’s] like the other guy, only he’s got a personality. He’ll smile at you. He’ll talk to you.”

2 » Five Gators lacrosse players were named to the 2013 IWLCA All-American teams on Wednesday. Seniors attacker Kitty Cullen, midfielder Brittany Dashiell and goalkeeper Mikey Meagher were all given first team honors. Cullen is Florida’s first three-time All-American while Dashiell and Meagher earned first team honors for the second-straight year. Senior defender Sam Farrell and sophomore M Shannon Gilroy were named to the second team.

Check out two more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Davis, lacrosse, Miami, Wambach

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11/26: Jenkins out, players praised, bowl notes

No. 4 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to review the team’s important 37-26 victory over the then-No. 10 Florida State Seminoles and preview the next few weeks of inaction.

INJURY UPDATES

Exciting the game early, redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins learned that he broke a small bone in his foot and will be out 4-6 weeks. Muschamp said he was having surgery on the foot Monday and will probably miss the bowl game.

Florida is relatively healthy otherwise. Redshirt sophomore LB Neiron Ball (ankle) will be back in time for the bowl game. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel (ankle) is sore but fine coming out of the Florida State victory. Redshirt junior center Jonotthan Harrison (ankle) got dinged up and is in a boot but will be OK as well. Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Leon Orr (kidney infection) should be able to return to physical activity this week.

As far as sophomore safety De’Ante Saunders, Muschamp said he remains out for the bowl game with what was mentioned a few weeks ago to be the hamstring injury.

Reporter: “Saunders, you said a couple weeks ago wouldn’t…”
Muschamp: “Yeah, he won’t be in the bowl game.”
Reporter: “Is that injury or discipline?”
Muschamp: “Yep. he won’t be in the bowl game.”
Reporter: “Because of?”
Muschamp: “Injury.”

Read the rest of what Muschamp had to say…after the break!
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