FOUR BITS: Dunlap and Vikings, Pouncey, Cooper

1 » The National Football Post is reporting that former Florida Gators defensive end Carlos Dunlap has a private workout scheduled with the Minnesota Vikings in the near future, according to a league source. Dunlap, who first worked out for the New Orleans Saints on March 31, is considered to be a late first- or second-round pick depending which NFL scout you wish to believe.

2 » Speaking with, former Gators center Maurkice Pouncey discusses his childhood and excitement about taking the next step in his career by entering the 2010 NFL Draft. Video – First Draft: Maurkice Pouncey

3 » Former Florida wide receiver Riley Cooper spoke with ESPN 760AM in South Florida about his friendship with quarterback Tim Tebow, his decision not to play professional baseball and his future in the NFL.

Riley Cooper on ESPN 760

4 » South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier, frustrated with how his team has played over the last few years, has promised that he will “yell and scream and be a jerk” during practice in order to get his team on the right path this season. Spurrier also said he will once again take over play calling duties for the Gamecocks, just like he did when he was wearing orange and blue years ago. “I told the guys the other day that I’m going to go back to doing it the way I did it at Florida,” Spurrier said. “I’m going to call the plays, or else they’re going to all come through me.”

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CHOMPING On: What to do about Dan Werner

Covering the Florida Gators as close as I do every day, I sometimes find the need to vent regarding some of the coverage, news, opinions and general sentiments surrounding the program. In those instances, OGGOA presents CHOMPING On:

That is the question on every Florida Gators basketball fan’s mind Thursday morning: What can head coach Billy Donovan do about senior forward Dan Werner? While the question is very straightforward, the answer is actually just as simple: Nothing.

Read the rest (trust me, there is plenty more) after the jump!
Continue Reading » CHOMPING On: What to do about Dan Werner

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Gamecocks rally in second half to top Gators 77-71

Devan Downey may be the South Carolina Gamecocks‘ star player, but fellow senior guard Brandis Raley-Ross stole the show Wednesday night in Columbia, SC. Raley-Ross’ 17 second half points and four three-pointers led the Gamecocks (14-9, 5-4 SEC) to a comeback 77-71 home victory over the Florida Gators (17-7, 6-4 SEC).

Though Florida only missed seven shots in the first half and was shooting 68.2 percent to 37.8 percent for South Carolina, an astounding 12 turnovers (including five in the first 4:17 of the game) left them with only a four-point lead at halftime.

This trend would continue after the break, with the Gators surrendering three turnovers in the first 4:30 of the second half and a five more before the final buzzer sounded. The Gamecocks were stingy, only giving up six all night compared to UF’s season-high 20.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s Florida at South Carolina game story after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gamecocks rally in second half to top Gators 77-71

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Gameday: Florida Gators at S. Carolina Gamecocks

Location: Colonial Life Arena – Columbia, SC [Capacity: 18,000]
Time: 8:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: SEC Network
Online Video: ESPN360
Live Updates: OGGOA on Twitter

Florida Gators South Carolina Gamecocks
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Darrin Horn
Record: 17-6, 5-3 SEC Record: 13-9, 4-4 SEC
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: South Carolina -1.5, O/U 138.5

» The dynamic backcourt of…sophomore point guard Erving Walker and freshman guard Kenny Boynton who are averaging and controlling the backcourt 31.0 points and 7.9 assists per game in conference play this season.
» Speaking of Walker and Boynton…they have hit 46 of the Gators’ 59 treys in SEC play.
» Junior forward Alex Tyus…who is dominating the front court, averaging 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds over the last 14 contests. He has hit double figures in 13 of 14 games and scored 15+ in eight of those.
» The triumvirate of Walker, Boynton and Tyus…is combining for 45.7 of Florida’s 71.9 points per game in SEC play (63.6 percent).
» Double-digit scoring by Vernon Macklin…the Gators are 11-1 when the redshirt junior transfer center does so. He scored a career-high 20 points in Florida’s last game.
» Gamecocks senior guard Devan Downey leads his team in points (23.0) and assists (3.5) while averaging an amazing 30.9 points per game in conference play. He currently ranks first in the SEC in points, steals and free throws. Downey dominated the Gators with 36 points just a month ago.

» Florida leads the all-time series against South Carolina 36-20. The Gators have won the last two meetings and 20 of the last 24 in the series.
» Under head coach Billy Donovan, Florida is 20-9 against the Gamecocks; however, they lost 70-69 when they visited Colonial Life Arena in 2009.
» Over the last three seasons, no UF/USC game has been decided by more than four points, and nine of the last 11 meetings have been decided by six points or less.
» The Gators are 5-3 in games decided by five points or less compared to 4-6 in such games last season. Florida is 4-1 in the last five contests that were that close.
» UF is 6-0 in conference play when out-rebounding an opponent. The Gators have a +7.2 rebounding margin in their SEC wins and a -5.3 margin in all three losses.
» All five of Florida’s starters are averaging double-digits in points and are within 4.0 points of each other.
» South Carolina has a win over then-No. 1 Kentucky on its resume and is averaging 73.7 points per game on the season.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators at S. Carolina Gamecocks preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators at S. Carolina Gamecocks

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TWO BITS: Murphy’s playing time, UF’s dynasty

1 » Florida Gators basketball fans may have noticed that freshman forward/center Erik Murphy’s minutes have diminished over the last few games. After a pretty awful performance against the Arkansas Razorbacks to games ago, Murphy only received two minutes of playing time against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday. Head coach Billy Donovan denied claims that Murphy’s injury was hindering his performance or affecting his minutes. “I’ve got total confidence in Erik,” Donovan said. “He’s a freshman, he’s going to be a very, very good player. You know I think this is great opportunity for him to rebound as a player to understand that you know the last two games, maybe he didn’t play a great game against Arkansas and didn’t get a chance to play in the second half against South Carolina. But we still need him and he can still make a really positive impact on our team.”

2 » Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated wonders where former hoops dynasties like Florida, the North Carolina Tar Heels and the UCLA Bruins have gone in his latest column. He then goes on to make many of the same points that OGGOA has in the past about the Gators’ recent struggles in recovering from the departure of the Oh-Fours.

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TWO BITS: Gators earn 26th commit, QB Murphy

1 » Two-star dual-threat quarterback/athlete Tyler Murphy (Wethersfield, CT) is the newest member of the Florida Gators unanimously ranked No. 1 2010 recruiting class. Courted by QB coach Scot Loeffler and interim head coach Steve Addazio, Murphy took an official visit to Gainesville, FL, this weekend and committed on the spot. Murphy was previously committed to the Temple Owls, but as soon as the Gators offered him, it became apparent that he would end up in the Orange & Blue. “It’s been very exciting,” he told ‘Mark Wheeler of Rivals. “Just to know where everything falls into place and that all the hard work pays off. It’s very exciting and I’m very happy to be able to come down [to Florida].”

»» Rivals is also reporting that the Gators and 2010 three-star tight end commitment Michael McFarland (Tampa, FL) have agreed to have him grayshirt the 2010 season and enroll with the 2011 recruiting class. McFarland was reluctant at first, out of pride, but realized that this move would benefit him in the long run. Grayshirts usually wait until the second semester to enroll in school instead of in the fall. This move would open up an additional scholarship for Florida to fill before National Signing Day on Feb. 3.

2 » Florida women’s basketball and No. 8 tennis were in action on Sunday, both taking home victories. Basketball (11-9, 4-3 SEC) defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks (10-9, 3-4 SEC) 59-56 while tennis swept the North Texas Mean Green 7-0. Senior forward Sharielle Smith led the Gators with 11 points while freshman F Jennifer George grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

Photo Credit: Mike Orazzi

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Meyer on hiring Edwards, bringing back Drayton

Though his announcement about returning to coach spring practice was the headline from Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer’s impromptu press conference at halftime of the South Carolina Gamecocks basketball game, he did speak on other topics concerning the team.

Asked about new defensive coordinator and former Miami Dolphins inside linebackers coach George Edwards, Meyer said he was highly recommended by Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano and former defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni. “I love coach Edwards,” Meyer said according to the Palm Beach Post’s Ben Volin. “I’ve known him for a while, came strongly recommended by many, many people and kind of blew us away when he came up here.”

Meyer’s decision to rehire running backs coach Stan Drayton came from a different place all-together. Even though the two had a falling out of sorts upon Drayton’s departure for the Tennessee Volunteers, Meyer indicated a mistake may have been made on his end at the time. “When [Drayton] left, I realized I wish I had him back,” Meyer relented. Apparently interim head coach and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio “pushed hard to bring Drayton back,” according to Volin.

All-in-all, Meyer is optimistic about his health, the Gators’ incoming recruiting class and the season ahead. “I’m excited about our staff, I’m really excited about our team, and recruiting [is] obviously going well.”

PART I: Meyer getting healther, will coach spring practice

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Meyer getting healther, will coach spring practice

At halftime of the Florida Gators vs. South Carolina Gamecocks basketball game, head football coach Urban Meyer spoke with reporters in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center about his health and plans for the future. Meyer explained that he has been exercising and eating right since his health scare, resulting in a weight gain of 20 pounds.

“I feel real good. I’ve been working out a lot,” Meyer said. “I’m over 200 pounds, so I guess that’s how they gauge it a little bit because I was not good there for a while. Doing a lot better.” He also indicated that he will undergo a series of tests on his heart in February to check for stress levels and any other outstanding issues.

Meyer, speaking for the first time publicly since the 2010 Sugar Bowl, mentioned that he plans to coach the Gators during spring practice in March, a sign that he may actually be recovering quickly from his ailments (or that he is simply too stubborn to stay off the field). Practice begins March 17 and stretches into April. “I keep hearing about this ‘time out,'” Meyer said. “People I’m closest to are going to demand I take some time off, but I tried that already. I tried a day and a half, and it didn’t work.”

He confirmed that doctors advised him against traveling for recruiting over the last few weeks even though his medical tests have been “coming back pretty positive.” Meyer said he will speak with his wife Shelley and meet with athletic director Jeremy Foley and his football staff to determine a course of action after National Signing Day on Feb. 3. “We’re trying to get to February 3, and then we’re going to sit down, have a very in-depth meeting about it,” Meyer said.

Part of those meetings will include determining the roles of his coaching staff, particularly interim coach and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio. Even so, Meyer realizes that he will need to take a break in one way or another after those sit-downs. “I’ve been instructed I have to [take time off],” Meyer said. “I’m just not sure what I’m going to do. I just don’t know how long. I have to change some things. That’s obvious.”

PART II: Meyer on hiring Edwards, bringing back Drayton

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