Will Yeguete out indefinitely with broken foot

Sophomore forward Will Yeguete will miss at least 4-6 weeks and likely the remainder of the season for the Florida Gators after breaking his foot during Tuesday game against Auburn, head coach Billy Donovan confirmed following the contest.

Yeguete, a solid interior defender, efficient rebounder and much-needed spark of energy for the Gators when he is on the court, went down with 11:11 left the second half after landing on his foot awkwardly when returning to the floor after going up for a rebound. He was sent to the locker room for further evaluation did not return.

“I’m worried right now that Yeguete broke his foot; I don’t know that that’s the case,” Donovan said after the game, adding that Yeguete had already been sent off to Shands Hospital for X-rays and that he was awaiting the results.

Donovan later confirmed that Yeguete’s food is indeed broken and a Florida spokesman said after the game that he will miss a minimum of 4-6 weeks but likely the entire season.

Yeguete’s injury is to the fifth metatarsal in his left foot and is likely a Jones fracture, which may require a screw to be inserted in order to help stabilize the bone.

It is the third major ailment the second-year big man has faced this year.

He suffered a concussion against Ohio State on Nov. 15 and was forced to miss the following game, a 91-55 win over North Florida. Yeguete was concussed a second time against Tennessee on Feb. 11 and UF never recovered in the contest, dropping a 75-70 decision at home. He once again sat out one game, which the Gators won 61-52 on the road at Alabama three days later.

Yegeute has averaged 6.3 rebounds, 4.5 points and 1.2 steals in 22.2 minutes per game over 25 contests for Florida this season.

It remains to be seen how the Gators will attempt to replace his production though the team will likely try do so by committee approach. Florida can go small by giving more minutes to sophomores point guard Scottie Wilbekin and guard Casey Prather or keep size in the frontcourt by using redshirt freshman F Cody Larson more often.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

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Top 11 for 2011: On the Field Moments of the Year

For as much as the Florida Gators were in the news off the field in 2011 (check out Friday’s post), the Gator Nation was making plenty of headlines on it as well. From breathtaking moments, game-changing and game-winning plays to winning championships and setting world records, Florida accomplished some unique athletic feats in 2011. Below are OGGOA‘s Top 11 On the Field Moments of the Year.

11 » JOHNSON, BRANTLEY, KITCHENS SUFFER SCARY INJURIES
Plenty of Florida student-athletes suffered injuries in 2011 but three in particular caused fans to gasp and remain worried about the future of said player. Participating in the semifinals of the 2011 SEC Tournament, Gators baseball wound up dropping a close game 4-3 to Georgia, a loss that forced an elimination game which Florida would later win. However, UF sophomore right-handed pitcher Brian Johnson was taken off a stretcher in the top of the first inning after giving up two earned runs and accidentally being beaned in the back of the head with the baseball by sophomore catcher Mike Zunino. Trying to pick off a runner stealing second, Zunino got his leg tangled with the batter, tripped and flung the ball into the head of a crouching Johnson. He was quickly stabilized, brought to the hospital and deemed responsive though he had a massive headache and was diagnosed with a minor three concussion (no skull fractures or bleeding). Johnson missed the entire Gainesville Regional but returned to action in the Super Regional after being sidelined for more than two weeks.

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley was in the middle of playing the best game of his collegiate career (despite throwing a costly pick-six) when he went down with an ugly lower leg injury at the end of the first half against Alabama. Brantley had thrown a pretty 65-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose on the first play of the game and was in the middle of driving Florida in for another score before being sacked twice and having his lower leg contorted the second time. Brantley was nearly immediately ruled out of the team’s next game against powerhouse LSU with a high-ankle sprain, and UF was forced to start a true freshman who had not even taken a snap in the team’s first five games in consecutive road contests against LSU and Auburn. Needless to say, the Gators lost both of those contests.

Brantley was never the same after the injury. He nearly helped Florida beat Georgia but was pretty much immobilized in the pocket and threw three interceptions in the team’s first five possessions against Florida State before being knocked out of the game with a head injury that was equally painful to watch. However, that was not the Gators’ only major injury in that game. Perhaps the scariest incident of the year came on kickoff coverage when sophomore linebacker Darrin Kitchens was hit hard from his blindside and laid motionless on the field while trainers attended to him. To this day Kitchens does not remember anything about being hit. Lucky for him, he was cleared that evening with “just” a concussion, released from the hospital and allowed to return to practice with the team just before Christmas. He is expected to play in the 2012 Gator Bowl.

10 » LACROSSE WINS FIRST CONFERENCE TITLE, REACHES ELITE EIGHT

The Florida lacrosse program has been making history since the day it signed the nation’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class prior to the team’s inaugural season in 2010. The Gators were a young but talented group and won over the school even if falling short of some of their goals one year ago. Florida took the next step in 2011, ending the regular season with an 11-0 record at home and on a 13-game winning streak. The Gators capped their stellar regular season by defeating Northwestern for the 2011 ALC Championship just 419 days after the team played its first game in school history. Florida would fall to Northwestern just over three weeks later in the finals of the 2011 ALC Tournament, splitting the season’s conference title down the middle, but took home a number of awards from the league. Sophomore midfielder Kitty Cullen won Player of the Year honors while head coach Amanda O’Leary was named Coach of the Year in just her second season. Two more players were All-ALC first team selections and three others earned spots on the second team. The ladies made it all the way to the Elite Eight of the 2011 NCAA Tournament as well before being taken down 13-9 by Duke, their only loss at home on the season. The Gators were the first program in the history of the sport to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament in only their second year of existence and defeated some of the top teams in the country on the way to an unforgettable season that sets Florida up as a favorite heading into 2012.

Continue Reading » Top 11 for 2011: On the Field Moments of the Year

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Meyer, Black present game ball to Ian Lockwood

Before former Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer began his final press conference and after senior safety Ahmad Black received the 2011 Outback Bowl MVP award, Meyer made a special point to present a game ball to Ian Lockwood.

Look at Florida’s player roster or ledger of support staff and Lockwood’s name will not be found, but he played an important role in bringing the team together with a common goal in mind: send Meyer and the seniors out on a positive note and give Ian something to smile about during a trying time in his life.

A patient at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL, Lockwood is receiving treatments for brain cancer and recently underwent his second procedure. He was a successful high school football player who had to stop playing on Oct. 8 due to an aggressive brain cancer that doctors are trying to thwart and prevent from spreading further.

Meyer had this to say upon introducing Lockwood:

“One of my dear friends, Ian Lockwood, about a year and a half ago I met Ian. The young man, his love and passion for football is second-to-none,” he said. “We became very good friends. He had football taken away from him. He’s been with our team a bunch; we spent a lot of time together. I asked these guys to do whatever we possibly could do to get a game ball to Ian Lockwood. And that meant you had to go four quarters as hard as you possibly can and find a way to bring that ball and brighten someone’s day.”

The ball Lockwood received? None other than the one Black picked off and returned 80 yards for a touchdown that sealed the game.

“I met Ian around the same time coach did,” Black said, “so he means just as much to me as he do to coach. It was our goal and objective to win the game for Ian. So thank you, I appreciate you.”

Stepping up to the microphone, Lockwood was visibly nervous but seemed to know exactly what to say, just like he did to the Gators before they took the field.

“This means a lot to me. Coming into Shands for treatments, [they were] always there from the beginning,” he said. “Football is definitely life to me. It is good to always have an organization there for you to support you whenever you need it. My team back at home, I played six games my senior season and came up short after another brain surgery. Finished the other six out with these guys. So it was pretty good. Thanks Ahmad. Thanks Coach.”

Turning around to give both men hugs, Lockwood’s embrace with Meyer lasted just a bit longer and ended with a whispered “I love you” from the future Hall of Fame head coach to the former high school football player.

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Ten months later: Moses Jenkins’ concussion

While the media and Florida Gators fans spent their days and nights concerned about whether or not then-senior quarterback Tim Tebow would fully recover from a concussion suffered during the Kentucky Wildcats game in Oct. 2009, OGGOA informed its readers that then-junior cornerback Moses Jenkins was having an even more difficult time coming back from his.

Barely even mentioned last season, Jenkins’ concussion occurred at the start of the Kentucky game; he suffered whiplash as well and should have been yet another player Gators fans were seriously concerned about at the time.

Here are the details OGGOA exclusively reported on Oct. 28:

According to a source close to Jenkins, the special teams star encountered complications following the whiplash and concussion he suffered against the Kentucky Wildcats. Because of the extreme trauma caused by the hit, Jenkins experienced a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak that was causing his brain to literally tilt inside the cranium. [CSF acts as a "cushion" and allows the brain to "float."] This left him with headaches, blurry vision and pain on one side of his face.

Jenkins underwent surgery [for clarification purposes, we'll call it a "procedure"] at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida on Monday to replace the CSF that was being lost and not reproducing fast enough. He stayed overnight for observation and was visited by head coach Urban Meyer on Tuesday. The source said he is recovering nicely and getting extensive treatment to help the CSF begin circulating properly.

Fast forward 10 months: the mainstream media has finally picked up on Jenkins’ suffering – now that the senior finally decided to talk about it.

“It was a bad deal,” Jenkins told reporters Tuesday. “It was about six weeks [before I started feeling better]. I’d get headaches, my eyes would swell. A lot of light and noise irritated it and my head would just pound, pound, pound. I remember I tried to walk fast or jog and my head would spin. It was crazy. […] They pounded right here in the side of my head, sharp pounding. The sad thing is you can’t take medication for it. You can’t take Advil or Tylenol. You have to rest in dark areas.”

Now fully recovered, Jenkins is “ready to go” and hopes to earn a starting job with Florida – something that has eluded him over his three-year career in which he primarily saw time on special teams. Add redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown, who is recovering from an injury of his own (back), to the mix and you have a duo of CBs angling for a starting job who both deserve to be rooted for this season.

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FOUR BITS: All-American, All-Tourney, charity

1 » Florida Gators shortstop Nolan Fontana, pitcher/designated hitter Brian Johnson, third baseman Austin Maddox and pitcher Hudson Randall were all named to the 2010 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team as chosen by Collegiate Baseball on Wednesday. All four players were also selected for the 2010 Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team, with Maddox leading the pack by earning 2010 SEC Freshman of the Year honors.

2 » Gators softball’s freshman utility player Brittany Schutte was named to the 2010 NCAA Women’s College World Series All-Tournament Team on Tuesday. Her 6-9 performance with three home runs in three games was an outstanding accomplishment that made her the first Florida freshman in school history to be given this honor.

3 » Gators football is set to host the third annual Gator Charity Challenge on Friday, July 30, at 7 p.m. at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The event features members of the team, representing six different charities, squaring off against each other in three strength competitions (such as tire rolling). All of the organizations this year are affiliated with Shands Hospital – Shands Cancer Hospital, American Cancer Society, STOP! Children’s Cancer, Ronald McDonald House, American Heart Association and March of Dimes – and are being captained by seniors safety Ahmad Black, defensive tackle Brandon Antwine, linebacker Lorenzo Edwards, LB A.J. Jones, DT Terron Sanders and defensive end Duke Lemmens, respectively.

4 » The NCAA’s Academic Progress Rates (APR) have been released for the 2008-09 school year, and Florida is looking good in its rankings. The Gators are situated at No. 3 in their multiyear APR (2005-08) in both football (971) and basketball (956), behind only Vanderbilt (No. 1 in both), Georgia (No. 2 football) and Alabama (No. 2 basketball).

Photo Credit: University of Florida

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Former Gators walk-on defender Lamar Abel dies

Former Florida Gators walk-on defensive lineman Lamar Abel (1989-2010) has passed away. He was 21-years-old.

Though details surrounding his death are yet not available, University of Florida spokesman Steve Orlando told the media he was volunteering with his fraternity at a roadside cleanup event in Gainesville, FL, when he became sick. He was taken to Shands Hospital at the project’s conclusion, but the doctors could not save him. The Miami Herald reports that he died of cardiac arrest.

Abel joined the Gators as a walk-on before the 2007 season and dressed for five games that year. He did not see game action until 2008 against The Citadel, but he did wear his No. 62 on the field four other times that season (Hawaii, Miami, Arkansas, Oklahoma [BCS National Championship]).

Head coach Urban Meyer awarded him the Scout Team Player of the Week award before the South Carolina game that year.

Abel did not return to the team for the 2009 season.

“We are deeply saddened to hear the tragic news,” offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said in a statement. “Lamar was a proud member of our program and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

He was a junior majoring in finance at UF.

“He was a kid with a great attitude,” Ely High School head coach Greg McGirt told the Miami Herald. “He always hustled. Was very respectful to the coaches, never talked back. Just a great teammate. He always did the right thing.”

OGGOA sends our deepest condolences to the Abel family. We will update this story as more information is made available.

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Gators spring practice news and notes – 03/26

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at spring practice from Fri., March 26.

Absences/Injuries:
» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley returned to practice after missing it Wednesday with what the school said was a sore throat and the flu. He also has a bruised left knee and has been (and likely will continue) wearing a brace.

» Wide receivers redshirt freshman Andre Debose and redshirt junior Chris Rainey each saw limited action Friday. The Gators will be cautious with both players and not work them too hard until summer practice begins.

» Redshirt sophomore WR T.J. Lawrence visited Shands Hospital to undergo tests Wednesday before practice. Friday, the school explained Lawrence had an issue with low blood sugar. He also returned to action.

» Redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody, who left the field on crutches after injuring his ankle Wednesday, was back with the team but noticeably limping. He had minor surgery on the ankle last January and has had injury issues throughout his career.

» Sitting out for the remainder of spring practice are sophomore defensive back Josh Evans (left knee) and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Kyle Koehne (elbow). Many of the offensive linemen continue to sit nursing injuries, and junior RB Jeff Demps remains out due to his participation in the outdoor track and field season.

Check out many more practice, notes and interesting quotes…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gators spring practice news and notes – 03/26

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