TWO BITS: Volleyball splits, soccer wins in OT

1 » Hosting the Nike Volleyball Big Four Classic at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, over the weekend, No. 4 Florida Gators volleyball squared off against two of the best teams in the country – the No. 1 Penn State Nittany Lions and No. 5 Texas Longhorns. The Gators (6-1) were able to split their two games, falling 3-1 (20-25, 25-21, 25-14, 25-23) to the Nittany Lions (7-0) but winning 3-2 (25-11, 27-25, 16-25, 20-25, 16-14) against the Longhorns.

In the two matches, junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy posted a total of 27 kills, 37 assists and 20 digs, earning her a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Joining her on the team was senior outside hitter Callie Rivers, who posted 16 kills and 16 digs combined in the two matches. The schedule does not get any easier for Florida, which will take on No. 16 Kentucky to begin Southeastern Conference play on Friday.

2 » Just behind volleyball rankings-wise is No. 6 Gators soccer (6-0), which utilized an overtime victory to top the No. 10 Florida State Seminoles (4-2) 2-1 on Friday at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Tallahassee, FL. Well into the second half, Florida sophomore midfielder/forward Erika Tymrak gave the Gators an early lead with a deflected goal at 62’. Things were looking bleak for FSU until Janie Cayman knocked one through at 89’ just before regulation time expired. However, UF redshirt sophomore MF McKenzie Barney obviously had somewhere important to be, because it only took her 15 seconds into the overtime period to turn a serve from senior defender Nicky Kit into a golden goal for the Gators.

Extra BIT » President Barack Obama may be doing a Gator Chomp on Monday as Florida’s 2009-10 NCAA National Championship-winning men’s track and field and women’s swimming and diving teams will be recognized for their accomplishments at the White House. The Gators will be joined by 31 other NCAA title teams who will have the opportunity to honored by the President on the White House lawn.

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Lochte concludes Pan Pacific with six golds

Three-time Olympic gold medalist and former Florida Gators swimmer Ryan Lochte had a week for the record books, earning six gold medals and the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships over the last few days. The biggest international meet of the season saw the United States team bring home a total of 52 medals, 26 of which were gold and just under 25 percent of which were earned by Lochte.

His six golds came in the 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley, 400-meter individual medley, 200-meter backstroke, 400-meter free relay and 800-meter free relay. His final gold, the 200-meter individual medley won on Saturday, was completed in 1:54:43 – a meet record and the third-fastest time in the history of the sport.

Winning more golds than anyone else in Irvine, CA, last week, Lochte was named Swimmer of the Meet. He and Florida head swimming coach Gregg Troy, who also led America’s team at the Pan Pacific Championships, set the tone for the U.S. victory. With 489.5 points, America blew out Australia, the second-place finisher (311.5 points).

Photo Credit: USA Swimming

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Gator Bites for Friday, August 20th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» The University of Florida’s 2010-11 athletic season officially begins Friday as No. 11 Florida Gators soccer takes on the Miami Hurricanes at 7 p.m. at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Admission is free, and the match will air live on Sun Sports.

» New England Patriots rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez scored his first career professional touchdown on Thursday, catching a four-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady in the second quarter of the team’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Hernandez, who lead the team with four receptions and 46 yards, had to turn around to complete the reception in the back of the end zone. Also shining for the Patriots on Thursday was running back Fred Taylor (team-high 11 carries for 54 yards and a TD). Linebacker Brandon Spikes racked up three solo tackles, while defensive tackle Gerard Warren added one assisted.

Eight more Gator Bites on Tim Tebow, Major Wright, Cornelius Ingram, Maurkice Pouncey, Joe Haden, Chris Leak, Ryan Lochte and Urban Meyer…after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Friday, August 20th

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SIX BITS: Addazio, White, Nelson, Moss, Beisel

1 » With most of the players and head coach Urban Meyer making time for the media Thursday, it was offensive coordinator Steve Addazio’s turn to represent the Florida Gators early Friday. He provided a little insight into what is in store this season. “Will you see QB runs? Unequivocally yes from a Wildcat offense,” Addazio said. “Will you see five wides on the field? You know you will. Will you see tight ends and fullback sets? Yes. You’re going to see a lot. We’re not going away from that. It’s just judiciously choosing what styles and plays you’re going to use within those sets.” Addazio also noted that wide receivers redshirt junior Chris Rainey and redshirt freshman Andre Debose can add a lot to the offense. “Rainey brings that whole other dimension in here, as does Debose,” Addazio said. “We have those hybrid guys and we have an interesting dynamic in there to cause some stress.”

2 » Tight ends coach Brian White also leaked some brain droppings about his position players. “What’s evident in the first two days is Jordan Reed and Gerald Christian really improved themselves this summer,” White said. “They did a great job of becoming a better football player. All the work they did with [strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti] and his staff has paid tremendous dividends. They’re very confident. They’re much improved. [...] Jordan has had tremendous recall from spring ball. It’s very evident he worked his ass off this summer. He’s a tremendously improved football player and he’s going to be really fun to watch this year. He’s going to do some special things.”

Four more BITS on Nelson, Moss, Wilbur and swimmer Beisel…after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Addazio, White, Nelson, Moss, Beisel

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Lochte wins title with world’s fastest time in 2010

Competing at the 2010 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships on Tuesday, former Florida Gators swimmer Ryan Lochte captured the 400-meter individual medley title with the fastest time in the world so far this year.

Lochte, who has been suffering through a groin injury, finished the event in 4:09.98, defeating runner up Tyler Clary by more than five full seconds. He was behind until the breastroke leg, where his injured groin ended up not playing much of a factor.

Many other Florida swimmers are competing at the event, a few of whom finished with top-10 times on Tuesday. A detailed list can be found on GatorZone.com.

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, The Bachelor, Eckstein, Troy

1 » NFL analyst Matt Bowen of the National Football Post takes a look at the possibility of Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow running a version of the option offense on the professional level. “Running the option takes practice and it is best when someone who is used to carrying the ball runs it,” Bowen opines. “That is why we see it fail so often when a WR is used in the wildcat of today’s NFL. They don’t have a ton of experience pitching the ball or reading an end man on the line of scrimmage. The defense will be faster to react in the NFL for sure, but with Tebow, this is a real package that can be used—and used effectively.”

2 » While on the subject of Tebow…OGGOA came across this interesting tidbit from Glam Girls Guide to Sports, a website that caught up with Chris Harrison, the host of ABC’s The Bachelor reality dating program. According to Harrison, he made a pitch to Tebow to appear on the program and was not completely rebuffed. “I talked to Tim Tebow yesterday. I’m really not joking,” Harrison told the site. “His brother Robby was there. I asked him [to be on the show] in front of God and country. He hasn’t said yes yet, but he did say he would be a better version then [fellow former Florida Gators quarterback] Jesse Palmer. I told him, ‘Wait until you play in the NFL first my friend, because Jesse Palmer was quite the bench warmer.” As Angie Meyer, the article’s writer, explains, “If Tim Tebow agrees to become the next Bachelor, the ABC mail room better prepare itself. We’re sure the ladies will be signing up in droves.”

3 » Former Gators second baseman David Eckstein, now playing for the San Diego Padres, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with a right calf strain. Though the 35-year-old is only on a one-year, $0.85M contract, the team will surely miss his respectable numbers of .279/.326/.354.

4 » Gregg Troy, Florida’s head swimming coach, was the victim of fraud Wednesday morning after Floyd Russell Hill, 42, stole a drivers license and four credit cards from the coach’s locker at the Wayne and Jimmie Carse Swimming and Diving Complex on the University of Florida campus. Troy reported his cards missing at 10:15 a.m., but Hill had already spent $5,000 and was denied for another $1,281 charge because he did not have proper identification. The perpetrator was on probation and was arrested with Troy’s cards on his person.

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Florida Gators take second in 2010 Directors’ Cup

The University of Florida and its athletic program will finish second in the 2009-10 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup when the standings are made official after baseball season, according to a release from the school. The second-place overall ranking – which ties a program-high (1997-98) – is fueled by 2010 NCAA National Championships in Men’s Indoor Track & Field and Women’s Swimming & Diving.

The annual national all-sports competition, as awarded by athletic directors across the country, recognizes schools with the best overall sports performances in an academic year. The honor has been owned by the University of Stanford in recent years.

With 1,237.25 total points, the Florida Gators placed a distant second, 271.25 points behind the winning Stanford Cardinal (1508.50). The title is Stanford’s 16th consecutive Director’s Cup, an absolutely dominating stretch.

Florida, however, “is the only program in the nation to finish among the nation’s top 10 in each of the last 27 national all-sports standings,” according to UF. The Gators’ 2009-10 finish is the first time the program has finished in the top three in back-to-back seasons (third, 2008-09). Additionally…

Florida’s 14 top-10 national team finishes in 2009-10, including nine in the top five, is a school record. The previous high of 12 top-10 finishes was equaled five times in the program’s history, including each of the last two seasons. This is the ninth consecutive year that 10 or more Gator athletic teams finished among the nation’s top 10.

Points are awarded based on which sports a school’s athletics program participates in and how said team finishes at the end of that sport’s season.

No other Southeastern Conference school finished in the top 10; however, Florida State University will be ranked No. 7 with 1,009.50 total points.

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TWO BITS: SEC Honor Roll, Babik pleads guilty

1 » Fifty-three student-athletes attending the University of Florida were named to the 2010 Southeastern Conference Winter Academic Honor Roll on Tuesday according to a release by commissioner Mike Slive. The women’s swimming and diving teams led the way with 18, the men’s team added 15, nine represented gymnastics (every eligible member), women’s basketball added six and men’s basketball followed with five. Florida’s total of 53 was second-best in the SEC, following only Alabama (56).

1 » Former UF network coordinator Steve Babik, a member of the athletic department for two decades who was arrested and charged in federal court with the receipt, distribution and possession of child pornography in January, pleaded guilty to the charges Tuesday in United States District Court. Babik, 50, faces five to 20 years in prison and will be sentenced on Aug. 2 after investigators found “a significant volume of [media featuring] children engaging in sexual acts” on his computer.

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