TWO BITS: Young, Gardner, eye black, Henderson

1 » Florida Gators four-star power forward commitment Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL) is drawing rave reviews from coaches and fellow players as he works with the USA Basketball Men’s U-18 National Team in preparation for the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men from June 26-30. “He’s playing really, really well,” team assistant and Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt told ESPN‘s Andy Katz earlier this week. “He’s making plays, rebounding and running the floor well. Offensively, he’s looking good. He gives tremendous effort every time – great effort –and he’ll help Florida even if he doesn’t score a ton of buckets. He’s going to help them. He’ll defend, set screens and do all those things without scoring points.”

2 » After a career including 13 NCAA Tournament berths coming as a player, graduate assistant and coach, Gators women’s basketball assistant Susie Gardner is expected to be named the head coach of the Mercer Bears at a 3 p.m. press conference Thursday. Gardner, who has spent the last three seasons with Florida, has been in the Southeastern Conference for 13 years of her 24-year coaching career including stints as head coach at Arkansas and as an assistant and player at Georgia.

3 » With the statues of former Gators quarterback and Heisman Trophy winners Tim Tebow, Danny Wuerffel and Steve Spurrier going up outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium next year, fans have been asking one relatively interesting question: Will Tebow’s statue feature a signature eye black message? The Gainesville Sun attempted to get this question definitively answered but found a non-committal response instead. The statue’s artist, W. Stanley “Sandy” Proctor, has already completed Tebow’s statue – which includes blank eye black. However, his business manager said that he would be happy to add a message if the University of Florida requested it. Associate athletics director Chip Howard was a bit more clear, saying he was “not sure if [a message] will show up well so you can read [it], but we continue to work on the statue […] to make [it] as real as possible.”

4 » Five-star offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson (Minneapolis, MN), the top recruit in the country in 2010 who committed to the USC Trojans on National Signing Day, is apparently mulling his future with the team, according to reports. Henderson, who chose USC over Miami, Ohio State, Florida and Minnesota, was allegedly promised by Kiffin that the Trojans would not suffer any major sanctions from the NCAA. USC coaches (including Kiffin) flew out in a private jet to visit Henderson last week with hopes to keep his commitment, but he recently told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he didn’t “want to talk about that,” when asked whether or not he was remaining with the program.

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Statues of Heisman Trophy winners coming soon

Portions of the following article first appeared on OGGOA on Feb. 2, 2010.

If the enshrinement of “The Promise” speech outside Heavener Football Complex was not enough for you, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow will now be immortalized in front of The Swamp as a bronze statue, too.

The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley learned back in February that Tebow – along with former QB Danny Wuerffel and former head coach and QB Steve Spurrier – will be enshrined in bronze statues on the west side of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The goal of the project is to not only honor the Gators’ three Heisman Trophy winners but also, arguably, the three most important players in program history. Dooley reported that the University Athletic Association hired sculptor W. Stanley “Sandy” Proctor out of Tallahassee, FL, to work on the three statues.

The Sun has since confirmed that the University Athletic Association board unanimously approved the project Wednesday.

Each statue will be 15 percent larger than life-sized and will feature the players in different stances. Tebow will have the ball tucked and in a running motion while Wuerffel and Spurrier will be dropping back to pass.

In all, the statues will cost $550,000 – all funded by private donations – and will be installed in front of the stadium at the beginning of 2011. Tebow, Wuerffel and Spurrier are all expected to attend the ceremony.

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Wrapping up day one of 2010 SEC Spring Meetings

The first day of the 2010 Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings came and went with Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer and his health update as the headline story. While Meyer’s esophageal spasms dominated the front pages, there were plenty of other interesting things said by the SEC’s head football coaches.

Read what else Meyer and some of the other coaches had to say after the break!
Continue Reading » Wrapping up day one of 2010 SEC Spring Meetings

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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 NFL.com, 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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Urban Meyer will be back, feels “good, real good”

Participating in his charity golf tournament Friday, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer told The Gainesville Sun that he was feeling much better and is ready to rejoin the team when spring football practice begins on March 17.

“I feel good, real good,” Meyer said. “I’ll be there.”

Meyer’s Scramble for Kids golf tournament at the University of Florida’s Mark Bostick Golf Course benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Alachua County, Children’s Home Society of Florida and the Girls Club of Alachua County. Former Gators head coaches Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, along with Meyer, have raised more than $1 million through this two-day event since its inception in 1991.

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TWO BITS: Tebow set to speak at Winged Foot

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow will be the keynote speaker at the 21st Winged Foot Scholar Athlete awards banquet dinner on May 27 at the Naples Grande. The organization awards scholarships to deserving student-athletes from Collier County (like former Miami Dolphins punter Ray “The Mule” Finkle**). Big-name speakers preceding Tebow at this event include head coaches Urban Meyer (2009), Lou Holtz (2008), Tony Dungy (2001) and Steve Spurrier (1994).

**Finkle: soccer style kicker who graduated from Collier High June 1976; Stetson University honors graduate class of 1980; holds two NCAA Division I records – one for most points in a season, one for distance; former nickname “The Mule;” the first and only pro-athlete ever to come out of Collier County…and one hell of a model American.

2 » Two weeks later, the Tebow family’s Focus on the Family Super Bowl XLIV advertisement is still drawing attention. While, for the most part, viewers found the commercial to be harmless and not worthy of the controversy surrounding it, FotF believes it was a success for their organization. However, a Christian research firm named Barna Group disagrees, saying the spot did nothing to convey a particular message and was neither as memorable nor as clear as the group hoped it would be.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Edwards drops Gators for NFL after a month

ESPN‘s Adam Schefter is reporting that recently hired Florida Gators defensive coordinator George Edwards, last season an inside linebackers coach with the Miami Dolphins, has been hired away from Gainesville, FL, by the NFL‘s Buffalo Bills to serve as defensive coordinator.

Edwards, who was officially hired by the University of Florida on Jan. 8, is an 18-year coaching veteran who started his career with the Gators as an assistant under Steve Spurrier in 1991. Three stops later, he moved to the NFL to coach the defensive line for the Dallas Cowboys (1998-2001) but was snatched up by the Washington Redskins and then-head coach Spurrier as a linebackers coach and eventual defensive coordinator. Upon Spurrier’s dismissal, Edwards worked for the Cleveland Browns and then most recently the Dolphins from 2005-09.

The Bills hired Chan Gailey as head coach on Jan. 16. Gailey was head coach of the Cowboys in 1998-99 and had Edwards on his staff as defensive line coach. Joe Schad reports that Edwards was offered the position on National Signing Day.

“We are very excited that George Edwards has joined our staff as defensive coordinator,” Gailey said in a statement. “He brings a wealth of experience, not only as a motivator and communicator, but he has been involved with some great schemes and we are excited about him being the head of our defense.”

“I feel like this is a great opportunity for me to come in and have a chance to work with coach Gailey again and the staff that he has been able to put together,” Edwards added. “I am excited to have the opportunity to come to Buffalo and look forward to getting started as quickly as possible. This is a team that has played good defense in the past and I am excited to continue on with that tradition.”

Florida head coach Urban Meyer raved about Edwards upon his hiring. “George is a tremendous teacher of the game of football,” he said. “He is a great addition to our staff and will be a great coach and mentor to our players.” He also said Edwards “came strongly recommended by many, many people and kind of blew us away.”

Edwards seemed equally as pleased to coach the Gators. “I’m thrilled to be joining the UF coaching staff. I enjoy teaching and molding young men. I am looking forward to working with a great group of people at Florida and a great group of players.”

He was expected to institute a pro-style 3-4 defense but left after less than a month on the job and just a day after the Gators signed the nation’s top recruiting class.

OGGOA, on pure conjecture, expects co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Chuck Heater to be promoted to defensive coordinator.

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Statues of Tebow, Wuerffel, Spurrier at stadium?

If the enshrinement of “The Promise” speech outside Heavener Football Complex is not enough for you, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow may be immortalized in front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as a bronze statue, too.

The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley has learned that Tebow along with former QB Danny Wuerffel and former head coach and QB Steve Spurrier will be enshrined in statues somewhere either inside or outside of The Swamp if everything goes as planned.

The goal is to not only honor the Gators’ three Heisman Trophy winners but also, arguably, the three most important players in school history. Dooley reports that the University Athletic Association has hired sculptor Sandy Proctor out of Tallahassee, FL, to work on the three statues and the process is underway (though there are, of course, a few speed bumps).

Proctor has already spent two hours with Wuerffel, will meet with Spurrier on Tuesday in Gainesville, FL, and plans to sit down with Tebow sometime in the future.

Former Florida wide receiver and current NBC Sunday Night Football color commentator Cris Collinsworth will be awarded the Pat Summerall Award on Thurs., Feb. 4 at the Legends for Charity Dinner. The award is presented to an individual with a connection to the NFL who has made a significant contribution to the sports field.

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