FOUR BITS: Weis, Muschamp, baseball, Demps

1 » The Florida Gators failed to get a commitment from four-star linebacker Raphael Kirby (Stone Mountain, GA) on Tuesday, but offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was in attendance at the Stephenson High School spring game to check in on commits four-star running back Mike Davis and three-star defensive lineman Jafar Mann. Those onsite at the game note that Weis and his Super Bowl ring (which he let a few fans try on) were a major attraction, and Davis was pleased to see his future coach was in attendance. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Mann ended up not participating in the scrimmage “after violating undisclosed team rules.”

2 » Florida head coach Will Muschamp continues to make his rounds of the state while Gator Gatherings are hosted in his honor. He was in Tallahassee on Tuesday and took the opportunity to talk about his counterpart with the Florida State Seminoles, Jimbo Fisher. “In our profession, we’re so busy throughout the year, it’s awful hard to maintain a relationship with anybody unless they’re on your staff,” Muschamp said, according to Florida Today. “But I’ve got great respect for Jimbo. I obviously know [his wife] Candi and the Fisher family very well. We worked together I think about six or seven years. Any time you spend that much time with somebody, I’ve got great respect for him as a football coach and a person. He does a good job.” It should be noted that FSU is no longer referred to the “Team Out West” and UF’s in-house posted schedules; Muschamp has changed it to read “Florida State.”

3 » No. 4 Gators baseball (39-14) struggled mightily Tuesday, allowing the unranked Jacksonville Dolphins (33-18) to rout them 11-2 at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Jacksonville posted three quick runs in the first inning, and starting junior left-handed pitcher Alex Panteliodis (4-2) was pulled after allowing four earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out three in 2.2 innings. Sophomore catcher Mike Zunino (1-2, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB) hit a two-run bomb in the bottom of the first, but Florida’s offense stalled the remainder of the contest. Replacing Panteliodis, junior right-handed pitcher Anthony DeSclafani did not have much luck either, giving up five runs (two earned) while striking out four in 2.1 innings. Jacksonville piled on two more runs in the fourth, three in the fifth and a pair in the eighth to cruised to the victory. The loss was difficult to deal with but relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things for Gators baseball. UF is set for a three-game series with Kentucky beginning on Friday that could determine if Florida, South Carolina or Vanderbilt wind up the 2011 Southeastern Conference regular season champion. All three schools are currently tied for first-place with USC holding the tiebreaker.

4 » Putting together his “freaks list” for the 2011 college football season, ESPN Insider’s Bruce Feldman has placed Gators senior running back Jeff Demps at the very top. Here is a portion of what Feldman had to say:

Gators strength coach Mickey Marotti says the back can squat “an ungodly amount of weight.” And despite the added pounds, Demps has gotten faster. “He was a 10.1 guy, is now a 9.9 guy and probably will be a 9.8 guy,” said Marotti, who adds that Demps has really improved his acceleration. […]

“It’s his work ethic and his motor,” said Marotti. “It’s really something special. From the time he showed up here through today, it’s always full-go. This is an overachieving guy that has a lot of gifts. He has an energy and enthusiasm for everything. People feed off him. They love to be around him. He’s the hardest working guy on our football team and I can’t speak for our track coach, but I believe he’s probably the hardest working guy on our track team too.”

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FOUR BITS: SEC titles, Lemmens, Kirby, Rollins

1 » Over the weekend, the Florida Gators men’s and women’s track and field teams both turned in second-place finishes at the 2011 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships. Though both squads fell short of team titles, Florida student-athletes took home seven individual SEC titles. Junior Gray Horn (decathlon), junior Will Claye (long jump, triple jump), senior Terrell Wilks (100-meter dash), freshman Fawn Miller (javelin) and junior Genevive LaCaze (steeplechase) all won SEC Championships, as did the men’s 4×100-meter relay team. Horn now holds the unique distinction as only the second athlete in SEC history to win three consecutive league decathlon titles. His total of 7,828 points over the weekend also set a school record for the event.

2 » As part of the continuing series “Parting Shots” on InsideTheGators.com, I sat down with former Gators defensive end Duke Lemmens for an extensive interview which spanned his entire career in the orange and blue. Lemmens spoke with me candidly about a number of topics including former head coach Urban Meyer, his place at Florida, thoughts of transferring and much more. Part one of the two-part series is available free to OGGOA readers. You can check it out by clicking here.

3 » If it was up to Florida’s four-star running back commitment Mike Davis (Stone Mountain, GA), all of his top high school teammates would be committing to the Gators this year. Though some have already made declarations for other colleges, four-star linebacker Raphael Kirby (Stone Mountain, GA) is set to announce his decision at his team’s spring game Tuesday night and is believed to have Florida as his leader. Kirby told InsideTheGators.com that both offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and offensive line coach Frank Verducci will be in attendance Tuesday for the “first time to see me in person.” Kirby also had this to say about the Gators:

“I had a great visit when I went down there it was awesome, I got to meet all the coaches and go into The Swamp. The Swamp was awesome. I love the atmosphere down there I could definitely see myself fitting in there. I have two teammates there so it would be cool to go there with them; we have definitely talked about it. As far as football goes they have a great defense that really gives you an edge when it comes to getting into the NFL. I like Coach Muschamp as well as he is a very straight forward coach who has a lot of intensity about himself. He will have an immediate impact on the program.”

4 » He may not have been offered by Florida this time around, but Florida State University School DE/LB Keviron Rollins (Tallahassee, FL) plans to play for the Gators sooner than later. Rollins, who officially committed to Dean College (a junior college in Massachusetts) on Monday, told the Tallahassee Democrat that he hopes to be wearing orange and blue after he graduates from Dean College in two years. “My vision is I’m going to go up there for two years and then after that I’m going to transfer to UF,” he said. “I’m a diehard Gators fan. That’s my vision.”

Extra BIT » Former Florida first baseman Matt LaPorta had a great night for the Cleveland Indians. He was interviewed on ESPN‘s SportsCenter afterward:

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