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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Roles defined on defense for Edwards, Heater

The University of Florida has officially announced the hiring of Miami Dolphins linebackers coach George Edwards as the Florida Gators new defensive coordinator. According to the UF release, Edwards will also work specifically with the inside linebackers while former assistant defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Heater will coach the entire secondary and serve in title as “co-defensive coordinator.”

Edwards, an 18-year coaching veteran, started his career with the Gators as an assistant under Steve Spurrier in 1991. He would then fill a similar role with Appalachian State (1992-95) and Duke (1996) before being hired by Georgia as a defensive line coach in 1997. Edwards 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 an assistant defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2002.

The Redskins promoted him to defensive coordinator in 2003, but he only lasted until the end of Spurrier’s tenure. Hired by the Cleveland Browns to coach linebackers in 2004, Edwards was stolen away in 2005 by then-Dolphins head coach Nick Saban in a lateral move. He has been retained by Miami through two head coaching changes to Cam Cameron and Tony Sparano, who moved him to inside linebackers coach in 2008.

“George is a tremendous teacher of the game of football,” said Florida head coach Urban Meyer. “He has proven himself at the highest level in the National Football League, but his roots started at the college level at Florida and in the SEC. He is a great addition to our staff and will be a great coach and mentor to our players.”

Prominent names Edwards has coached throughout career in college and the pros include Richard Seymour and Marcus Stroud (Georgia); Dexter Coakley (Dallas); LaVar Arrington, Jesse Armstead and Jeremiah Trotter (Washington); and Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas and Joey Porter (Miami). Former Gators now Dolphins LB Channing Crowder has referred to Edwards as “the best assistant coach in the NFL, period,” adding that “Coach Edwards is one of the best assistants in the NFL. He has had a huge impact on me and I looked up to him like a father.”

Edwards also made a statement about his new position. “I’m thrilled to be joining the UF coaching staff,” he said. “I started my career at the college level at Florida and 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.”

Heater, a 33-year coaching veteran and one of Florida’s strongest recruiters, has worked Meyer on-and-off since 1986 when he coached the secondary for the Ohio State Buckeyes while Meyer was a graduate assistant. From 1991-92, the duo was with the Colorado State Rams as defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach and wide receivers coach, respectively. After Meyer was hired to lead the Utah Utes, he brought Heater along in 2004 as his cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator. Since joining the Gators, Heater has coached cornerbacks and safeties, served as recruiting coordinator from 2005-07 and assistant defensive coordinator from 2008-09.

Previous stops for Heater included Colorado, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Toledo and Northern Arizona, and he has also been associated with six National Coaches of the Year in his playing and coaching career including Meyer, Barry Alvarez, Earle Bruce, Lou Holtz, Bill McCartney and Bo Schembechler.

Florida Gators (Projected) 2010 Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Urban Meyer

Interim Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line: Steve Addazio
Quarterbacks: Scot Loeffler
Wide Receivers: Zach Azzanni
Running Backs: Stan Drayton
Tight Ends: Brian White

Defensive Coordinator, Inside Linebackers: George Edwards
Co-Defensive Coordinator, Defensive Backs: Chuck Heater
Associate Head Coach, Defense/Defensive Line: Dan McCarney
Outside Linebackers: D.J. Durkin

Special Teams: Urban Meyer D.J. Durkin
Recruiting Coordinator: Billy Gonzales (LSU) TBD
Director of Player and Community Relations: Terry Jackson

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George Edwards named UF defensive coordinator

It is being widely reported that the Florida Gators have hired Miami Dolphins linebackers coach George Edwards as their newest defensive coordinator. It is currently unknown if he will share duties with assistant defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Heater or if he will take on all of the responsibilities himself.

Edwards, an 18-year coaching veteran, started his career with the Gators as an assistant under Steve Spurrier in 1991. He would then fill a similar role with Appalachian State (1992-95) and Duke (1996) before being hired by Georgia as a defensive line coach in 1997. Edwards 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 an assistant defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2002.

The Redskins promoted him to defensive coordinator in 2003, but he only lasted until the end of Spurrier’s tenure. Hired by the Cleveland Browns to coach linebackers in 2004, Edwards was stolen away in 2005 by then-Dolphins head coach Nick Saban in a lateral move. He has been retained by Miami through two head coaching changes to Cam Cameron and Tony Sparano, who moved him to inside linebackers coach in 2008.

The Miami Herald reports that Edwards “has been on coach Urban Meyer’s list of coaching candidates in the past so it makes sense for him to be on the Gators radar.” In 2003, then-Gators head coach Ron Zook offered Edwards the defensive coordinator position that would eventually go to Charlie Strong.

Prominent names Edwards has coached throughout his career include Richard Seymour and Marcus Stroud (Georgia); Dexter Coakley (Dallas); LaVar Arrington, Jesse Armstead and Jeremiah Trotter (Washington); and Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas and Joey Porter (Miami). Former Florida now Dolphins LB Channing Crowder has referred to Edwards as “the best assistant coach in the NFL, period.”

Florida Gators (Projected) 2010 Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Urban Meyer

Interim Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line: Steve Addazio
Quarterbacks: Scot Loeffler
Wide Receivers: Billy Gonzales (LSU) Zach Azzanni
Running Backs: Kenny Carter (Louisville) Stan Drayton
Tight Ends: Brian White

Defensive Coordinator: Charlie Strong (Louisville) George Edwards Chuck Heater?
Assistant Defensive Coordinator, Safeties: Chuck Heater
Associate Head Coach, Defense/Defensive Line: Dan McCarney
Linebackers: Charlie Strong (Louisville) D.J. Durkin
Cornerbacks: Vance Bedford (Louisville) TBD

Special Teams: Urban Meyer D.J. Durkin
Recruiting Coordinator: Billy Gonzales (LSU) TBD
Director of Player and Community Relations: Terry Jackson

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More Gators honored on SI All-Decade lists

Sports Illustrated completed its All-Decade lists Tuesday covering everything from the top male athletes of the 2000s to the decade’s biggest flops. Florida Gators teams, players and alumni earned their way toward eight more notable distinctions.

Because the honors are many, you must view them all after the jump!
Continue Reading » More Gators honored on SI All-Decade lists

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