QB Danny Wuerffel discusses hall of fame, disease, Florida football and New Orleans

Former Florida Gators quarterback and 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2013 on Dec. 10 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, NY.

Wuerffel, who was first up for induction in 2012 but not chosen on his first ballot, is the seventh Florida player and 10th representative of the Gators (three coaches) to earn induction into the prestigious group. He joins defensive end Dale Van Sickel (1975), QB Steve Spurrier (1986), DE Jack Youngblood (1992), running back Emmitt Smith (2006), linebacker Wilber Marshall (2008) and wide receiver Carlos Alvarez (2011) as players in the career-defining club. Coaches Charlie Bachman (1978), Ray Graves (1990) and Doug Dickey (2003) are also members.

The winner of seven awards in 1996, the Davey O’Brien Award in 1995, two SEC Player of the Year honors and two first-team All-American nods, Wuerffel threw for an astounding 10,875 yards and 114 touchdowns in his four-year career at Florida, both of which remain school records. He also led the Gators to the program’s first national championship and four-straight SEC titles.

In 1995, his efficiency rating of 178.4 set a single-season collegiate record. In his Heisman year of 1996, Wuerffel led the nation with an SEC-record 39 touchdowns while setting another SEC record with 3,625 yards and registering a 170.6 efficiency rating, making him the first quarterback to ever post a rating of 170+ in consecutive seasons.

At the conclusion of his collegiate career, Wuerffel held four national records, 12 conference records and 32 school records.

He was enshrined in the Gators’ Ring of Honor in 2006 and is also immortalized in a bronze statue outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

In a recent interview with OnlyGators.com, he revealed that he will return to The Swamp on Sept. 21 for the Tennessee game as he will be honored on the field for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Now the executive director of Desire Street Ministries, which works to revitalize impoverished neighborhoods through spiritual and community development, and on his way to a full recovery from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disease that he was first stricken with in 2011, Wuerffel discussed his illness, Florida football and more in a 30-minute exclusive conversation earlier this month.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: It has been a while since we last spoke. Let’s hear some good news about your recovery and how are you feeling these days.
DANNY WUERFFEL: “I’m happy to report that I’m feeling very blessed and fortunate. I think I’m probably in the 90-95 percent range from where I was before. Actually, Guillain-Barre is usually something that comes, attacks your body and then you get over it to whatever degree you recover. Rarely do you have ongoing symptoms or another bout with it. In the world of difficult health issues, this is often one of the kinder ones to struggle through because I know a lot of friends that have ongoing, chronic struggles that really have no end in sight. So I feel very fortunate.”

Continue Reading » QB Danny Wuerffel discusses hall of fame, disease, Florida football and New Orleans

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SIX VIDEO BITS: Gators, Bates, Spurrier, Muschamp, Embree, Easley, Williams

1 » Florida Gators football released this 2013 season promo. It’s quite good.

2 » Former Gators linebacker James Bates impersonates and tells stories about former Florida head coach Steve Spurrier. Bates was recently hired as a college football analyst by FOX Sports for the new FOX Sports 1 channel.

Check out four more Gators videos…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX VIDEO BITS: Gators, Bates, Spurrier, Muschamp, Embree, Easley, Williams

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Muschamp’s fourth trip through ESPN’s car wash

Updated at 7:30 p.m.

Joining a handful of other Southeastern Conference coaches in Bristol, CT, on Tuesday, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp went through ESPN’s “car wash” as he appeared on nearly a dozen of the network’s media platforms over the course of one day. It is the fourth time Muschamp is being put through the wringer by ESPN after previously participating in April 2011, July 2011 and July 2012.

OnlyGators.com followed Muschamp’s media appearances throughout the day and updated this post live with the news, notes and quotes from all of his appearances.

Muschamp started the day by taping an interview for ESPN Radio’s GameDay Radio at 11 a.m. He then walked over to the set of First Take on ESPN2 for a conversation with host Cari Champion and contributors Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless at 11:20 a.m.

Asked about only losing one Southeastern Conference game but being an “also-ran” in the league, Muschamp said the Gators “gained a lot of confidence as a program” in 2012 and that he is “really excited about how things have come together as far as our roster is concerned.” He continued: “As long as we take care of our locker room and take care of our football team and prepare the right way, we’re going to have a great season. […] We can’t control what other teams do or what you guys [the media] say. We can control how we play and how we prepare.”

Muschamp was then asked to elaborate about his comments from the 2013 SEC Media Days in which he joked about Ohio State and former Florida head coach Urban Meyer turning in the Gators for minor secondary NCAA recruiting violations. “Obviously they’ve had their share of brushes recently,” he said with a smile. “In both situations, we didn’t do anything wrong. we appreciate them checking on us to make sure.”

Smith then asked Muschamp if he said “Ohio” on purpose rather than saying the team’s true name, “Ohio State.” He replied: “I’ve always been a Brady Hoke fan.” [Editor’s Note: Hoke is the head coach of Michigan, OSU’s biggest rival.]

Continue Reading » Muschamp’s fourth trip through ESPN’s car wash

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2013 SEC Media Day Quotables: Coaches and players speak on Florida and other hot topics

The Florida Gators received their fair share of headlines at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Media Days on Tuesday but plenty of other coaches and players made waves as well for their comments and opinions.

Check out what Florida’s contingent had to say in the multiple links below.

Florida Gators at 2013 SEC Media Days: Main Post – News & Notes: Muschamp’s shot at Meyer, injuries, players, coaches | Game times vs. Toledo, Miami set | Muschamp: I’m “100% responsible” for players | Easley steals the show | VIDEOS: Florida players have fun interviewing each other

COACHES

» South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier on paying players $3,600-$3,900 per season in addition to their scholarships: “I’m going to keep fighting for our guys. I don’t know what will come. If President [Barack] Obama would say, ‘Spurrier, you and those coaches need to quit fighting for your players,’ that they get enough, they get enough full scholarship, then I’ll shut up about it. But I just believe that these athletes, because of the enormous amount [of money they earn for the schools], just a little bit to help out with their parents watching games and so forth. Okay, that was our little talk about expenses. This is not ‘pay for play.’ Please don’t say, ‘Spurrier says pay for play.’ This is just expense money. I saw the other day this year, the NFL rookies, the minimum is $405,000, NFL rookie. And a third year kid, $630,000. That’s pay for play. Don’t disguise or say $300 for expenses for a game, that’s not pay for play. Just some expense money for our guys to live a little bit better, and their parents, guardians, whatever. Us coaches, if it was a financial burden for our universities, our coaches all offered to pay for it, all 14. It came up to $270,000, $280,000 a year for the coaches. We’d pay it all. We want our players to get a little bit more than they get.”

» Spurrier on if he would turn Florida in for a recruiting violation in like Urban Meyer did: “Like that? Probably not that [smiling]. If they were obviously doing something [on purpose], we were obviously doing something [on purpose], I would hope they’d turn us in. Usually go through the league office is the way. Yeah, we don’t turn a lot of people in anyway. You can’t ever condone breaking the rules on purpose, though. We don’t condone that with anybody.”

» Spurrier on staying on longer with the Gamecocks than he did with the Gators: “I didn’t think about that. I did think I could go eight, nine, ten years. I was at a booster club. … I said my plan and goal is to be the winningest coach here. It was only 65 wins. If we could average about eight a year, maybe win nine one year, I could get to 65. It worked out that we got 66. Last two years we’ve added up well. … I have an excellent coaching staff. I got guys that can recruit, coach, do everything. It’s not a stressful job for me as maybe some coaches have. Summertime we get away from it a bit, get refreshed, ready to go during the season. Burnout is not something I’m going to get, not unless we go real bad. It can go real bad if you think it can’t. I know it can go real bad if we don’t watch ourselves. Hopefully it won’t.”

Continue Reading » 2013 SEC Media Day Quotables: Coaches and players speak on Florida and other hot topics

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12 Gator Bites for Friday, May 31

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Despite signing a National Letter of Intent in February and expecting to be a member of the Class of 2013, three-star defensive tackle Jarran Reed (Scooba, MS) will not be joining the Florida Gators this season. Reed was hoping to obtain his associate degree from East Mississippi Community College in one year but fell about 25 credits short. Instead, he will continue playing for EMCC in 2013 with hopes of completing his coursework and departing before the spring semester starts…though he may no longer be heading to Florida. According to The Gainesville Sun, Reed has decided to reopen his recruitment but does have the Gators at the top. “Florida is my favorite school,” he said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to close any doors just in case something crazy happens. I’d like to go on [official] visits. Who doesn’t want to take free trips?”

» South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier was honored Thursday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium with the state of Florida’s Great Floridian Award, presented to him by Governor Rick Scott. Also in attendance were Gators head coach Will Muschamp and athletic director Jeremy Foley. Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow received the honor just one month ago. Check out the local news report by GTN’s Julie Quittner.

» Former Gators cheerleader Caroline Davidson, who concluded her run with the spirit program in 2010, had successful brain surgery to completely remove a tumor on Thursday. Her mother, Kimberly Davidson, posted on Facebook that Caroline was in ICU recovering after the surgery but all signs were positive.

Check out nine more interesting bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!
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FOUR BITS: Tebow, WNBA, Muschamp, Embree

1 » Is former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow being “blackballed by NFL teams because of [his] cult-like following [and the] media frenzy” that follows him? That’s the headline of Yahoo! Sports writer Mike Silver’s most recent article, one that is perhaps not that far off from reality. Silver spoke to an NFC head coach who said as much. “He seems like a great guy to have on a team, and I’d be tempted to bring him in as our backup, but it’s just not worth dealing with all the stuff that comes with it,” he said. Silver also learned that New England head coach Bill Belichick, believed to be a fan of Tebow’s, “hates” Tebow as a player, that according to an “organizational source.” “No chance. Plus they wouldn’t like the circus that comes with it,” the source added.

If the fans and media are legitimately the reasons that Tebow is unemployed at this moment, the absurdity of that fact cannot be understated. In the NFL – and most professional leagues – talent is supposed to win out. If you are talented enough to play the game – and smart enough to stay out of the gutter off the field – coaches say you deserve a spot in the league or at the very least a chance to compete. The school you attended, spot you were drafted (if you were drafted at all), race, religion and sexuality are not supposed to matter. Now the message is that if fans like you and the media cover you (too much), you are not welcome. Even if one does not believe Tebow is a starting-caliber quarterback at this time, there are 32 NFL teams, which means there are 64 backup quarterback spots in the league. Try making an argument that Tebow is not talented enough to be a top-32 backup in the league or even deserving of tryouts with teams to showcase his abilities while second-round bust John Beck – a colossal bust of a second-round pick entering his seventh year as a professional with a 3-7 record and QB rating of 67.6 – is working with New Orleans this weekend.

2 » The WNBA may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the Los Angeles Sparks have been one team that Gators fans have been able to pay attention to over the years. In this picture taken on Thursday, former Florida head women’s basketball coach Carol Ross (now Los Angeles’ head coach), current Gators assistant coach Murriel Page (UF alumna and former Sparks player) and former Florida guard Bridget Pettis all pose for a picture while doing the Gator Chomp.

Read three more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
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Muschamp named 2012 SEC Coach of the Year, Sturgis SEC Special Teams Player of the Year

In just his second season leading the Florida Gators, head coach Will Muschamp has led the team to an astounding 11-1 regular season record and added the honor of being named 2012 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by his peers.

Muschamp, splitting the award with Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin (who also picked up the honor from the Associated Press), led Florida to a five-game improvement from a year ago when the Gators finished the regular season 6-6. According to the school, that is the biggest improvement for the team in 32 years.

Florida completed the 2012 campaign with a 4-1 record against the top 12 teams in the final BCS standings and a 7-1 mark in conference play with its defense leading the way. The Gators finished the season ranked first in pass efficiency defense, third in scoring defense, fifth in total defense and sixth in rushing defense.

Muschamp is just the third football coach in school history to be named SEC Coach of the Year and the first in 16 years. He joins Ray Graves (coaches – 1960) and Steve Spurrier (coaches – 1991, 1994-96; AP – 1995-96) in that exclusive club.

Capping off his redshirt senior season with a big-time honor, Florida kicker Caleb Sturgis was also named 2012 SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.

Like Muschamp, Sturgis shared the award and is being honored alongside South Carolina return specialist Ace Sanders.

He was 23-of-27 on field goals in 2012 with three of his four misses caused by blocks due to protection issues at the line of scrimmage.

Sturgis is the first Gators player to win the award since Brandon James (2008) and has a chance to add to the honor as he is a finalist for the 2012 Lou Groza Award, which will be announced on Thursday.

Photo Credits: The Gainesville Sun, St. Petersburg Times

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10/20: Florida vs. South Carolina post-game report

No. 2 Florida Gators football (7-0, 6-0 SEC) earned one of their most decisive wins of the season Saturday with a 44-11 victory over the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-2, 4-2 SEC) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. The Gators have now surpassed their 2011 regular season win total. Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media and provided some of his thoughts after the game.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida ended a two-game losing skid against South Carolina and improved to 24-6-3 in the all-time series with a 13-1-0 advantage in Gainesville. The Gators are 18-3 against the Gamecocks since the teams began playing annually in 1992 and are now 5-3 since Steve Spurrier became head coach of USC.
» UF is 11-1 against unranked opponents and 3-5 against ranked teams since Muschamp took over the program in 2011. Florida has earned all three victories over ranked opponents this season, also defeating Tennessee on the road and LSU at home.
» After having not defeated a ranked opponent at home since Nov. 15, 2008, the Gators have done so in two of their last three games.
» Florida has started a season 7-0 for the fifth time in school history.
» The Gators have not allowed a touchdown to an SEC team in The Swamp this season.
» Florida, under Muschamp, is now 11-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 9-3 when scoring first and 11-1 when leading at the half.
» UF has started a season 7-0 for the fifth time in school history.
» The Gators out-possessed the Gamecocks by 10:56 in the game, the sixth time this season in which they won the time of possession battle.
» Florida won both halves, outscoring South Carolina 21-6 in the first half and 23-5 in the second half. The Gators are outscoring opponents 121-28 in the second half and 64-13 in the fourth quarter this season.
» UF is +11 in turnover margin thorough seven games after being -12 in 2011. Florida has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (333) since 2000.
» The Gators have registered an interception in six of seven games.

PLAYER NOTES

» Sophomore punter Kyle Christy averaged 54.3 yards per punt (50.4 net ypp) and hit a long of 62 during the game.
» Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel became the first signal caller since (at least) 1996 to throw for four touchdowns (a career-high) but register under 100 yards passing. He is also the first UF quarterback to score three touchdowns in consecutive games since Tim Tebow (Nov. 21 & 28, 2009) and the first to throw four touchdowns against an SEC opponent since Tebow (Oct. 20, 2007).
» Senior running back Mike Gillislee carried the ball 19 times for 37 yards, his lowest output of the season.
» Redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed caught two touchdowns, a career-high.
» Freshman Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr., sophomore cornerback Jabari Gorman and freshman RB Matt Jones registered their first career sack, interception and touchdown, respectively.
» Sophomore CB Loucheiz Purifoy forced two fumbles in the game, both of which were recovered by Florida.

“…AND OVERCOME THE ADVERSITY ON THE FIELD”

At halftime of the game, Muschamp voiced his displeasure at the officiating with the officials but was then stopped by Brady Ackerman of the Gator Radio Network for an interview. While providing his answer, Muschamp saw an official walking by and made sure to make it be known how upset he was at some of the calls in the first half. “Well, we just gotta continue to capitalize on what we’re doing and OVERCOME THE ADVERSITY ON THE FIELD!” Listen for yourself:

OVERCOME THE ADVERSITY ON THE FIELD!

Video sync clip via CFBSection

Read the rest of what Muschamp had to say…after the break!
Continue Reading » 10/20: Florida vs. South Carolina post-game report

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