FOUR BITS: Walker, Pouncey, SEC Network, Noah

1 » Five days after junior guard/forward DeVon Walker tore his ACL and four days after the news officially broke, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan has addressed losing a key role player for the entire 2014-15 season. “DeVon had two years under his belt. He was really finding out who he was as a player and looking good at workouts,’ Donovan said in a story on the school’s website. “I feel terrible for him because he had worked so hard to get himself to this point.” Florida also announced that Walker, who tore the ligament during an individual workout, is scheduled to go under the knife at some point later this summer.

2 » According to The Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, the torn labrum suffered by Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey is likely to keep him out up to eight weeks of the regular season, three more than initially predicted. Though Pouncey was only projected to miss the Dolphins’ first four games (the team has a bye week in week five), he is now a candidate to be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start the season. Players on that list cannot return to their team until after the sixth game of the season. Pouncey will be included on the PUP list during training camp and into the preseason, but Miami will have the opportunity to decide whether to keep him on it before the first week of the regular season.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Walker, Pouncey, SEC Network, Noah

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Florida Gators women win 2014 Capital One Cup

The Florida Gators women’s athletic program was officially announced Thursday as the winner of the 2014 Capital One Cup.

It is the first time in program history that the women have obtained the award, though Florida’s men’s program captured the first two honors in 2011 and 2012.

In the four-year history of the award, the Gators are the only athletic program to win both the men’s and women’s cups.

Awarded annually to each of the top men’s and women’s Division I college athletic programs in the country, the winner of the Capital One Cup is determined by a scoring system in which points are awarded sport-by-sport depending how respective teams finish in NCAA Championships and the final official coaches’ polls.

Florida (152 points) dominated its competition, winning the cup by an 42-point margin over UCLA (110) and finishing 63 points above the next team from the Southeastern Conference, Texas A&M (89).

The Gators led the way with championships and first-place finishes in gymnastics and softball. Florida also finished in the top 10 nationally in six other sports: indoor track & field (third), outdoor track & field (fourth), lacrosse (fourth), tennis (fifth), swimming (sixth) and soccer (10th).

UF’s men’s athletic program is currently ranked third overall but first among SEC teams with 86 points. Florida is 12.5 points behind the leader, Notre Dame (98.5), but 45 points ahead of the next SEC school, Auburn (41). The men’s standings will become final after the conclusion of the 2014 Colege World Series.

The women’s victory earns the University of Florida a total of $200,000 to go toward student-athlete graduate-level scholarships. The Gators will be presented with the Capital One Cup at the 2014 ESPY Awards on July 16 at 9 p.m.

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Former Gators FB Larry Dupree, 71, passes away

Former Florida Gators fullback Larry Dupree, one of the best players in program history and a member of the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame, passed away from a heart attack on Sunday at the age of 71.

The sixth player in Florida football history to be named an All-American, Dupree earned the honor as the lone team captain in 1964, the same year he became the third rusher in Southeastern Conference history to receive three career first-team All-SEC nods.

He was also revered by his teammates that same season as the recipient of the Fergie Ferguson Award, given by the Gators annually to honor a senior “who displays outstanding leadership, character and courage.”

According to The Gainesville Sun, Dupree never missed a game in his collegiate career.

Continue Reading » Former Gators FB Larry Dupree, 71, passes away

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Patric Young – Path to the 2014 NBA Draft: Picking an agent, graduating, beginning training

Through the 2014 NBA Draft set for June 26 in New York, New York, Florida Gators center Patric Young will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft with exclusive comprehensive blog entries here at OnlyGators.com.

The 11th player in school history to end his career with more than 1,300 points and 800 rebounds, Young averaged a career-high 11.0 points per game as a senior and also contributed 6.2 boards per contest last season. He is second all-time at Florida in games played (149), fifth in blocks (159) and dunks (142), eighth in minutes played (1,644), and ninth in field goal percentage (.577) and games started (107).

Young in 2013-14 claimed SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors for the first time but was also named SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the third-straight season, becoming the first player in league history to accomplish that feat.

He checks in for the second time from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, his new temporary home, after Young spent the last week going through the process of choosing an agent and graduating from the University of Florida.

Hello again world! I am glad to once again be able to give all of my readers and fans insight on my path to the draft.

Quite a lot has happened since my first post last week, so I will try to fill you in on it as best I can.

After the season, the first thing I needed to do was hire a sports agency to represent me and put me in the best possible position to get drafted this summer. This was a long, tedious process, but I knew whoever I chose would be holding my future in their hands.

My family and a close friend of mine were all contacted by a wide variety of agencies, but we narrowed it down to four of the top agencies in the country. We set interviews up in Gainesville, and when that process was over, I chose to go with Jim Tanner of Tandem Sports. All of the agents that I interviewed were amazing, but Jim had that it factor that I think can help me get to where I want to be.

Continue Reading » Patric Young – Path to the 2014 NBA Draft: Picking an agent, graduating, beginning training

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Plane crashes on Flavet Field in Gainesville hours before Florida-Arkansas kickoff

A two-seat plane crashed onto Flavet Field on the University of Florida campus just hours before the No. 18/19 Florida Gators were scheduled to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday.

The plane, which contained two pilots and was flying an advertising banner across the campus, crash landed on a popular tailgating spot but did not injure any pedestrians in the area, according to initial reports.

The school released a statement shortly after the crash occurred:

“A small plane attempted an emergency landing at an open area of Flavet Field and has crashed. The plane landed upside down on a vacant pickup truck. Both pilots were ejected and transported to a local hospital. No additional injuries to report at this time. Will release any further info[rmation] as it becomes available.”

According to WUFT, the plane is registered to Beach Banners, Inc., an aerial banner advertising company out of Jacksonville, FL.



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Peterson impressed by Muschamp, ready to coach

A Gainesville, FL, native, former Florida Gators linebacker Mike Peterson has spent the last 14 years travelling across the country with three different NFL franchises but never strayed too far away from home.

With his family still in Alachua County and his charity – the Mike Peterson Foundation – based in Alachua, FL, he has been in and out of the area plenty over the years.

It was not until 2011, however, that Peterson rekindled his relationship with the Gators football program. That year, he learned of his induction into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a “Gator Great” and had the opportunity to meet new head coach Will Muschamp for the first time.

“Man, I’m all for him,” Peterson told OnlyGators.com in April 2011. “I had a chance to meet with him. I love everything about him. I love the passion he brings to the game. [I’m] loving that he’s a defensive-minded guy. I’m all for him, man.”

As luck would have it, Peterson is now working on the same coaching staff as Muschamp after a suggestion from his academic advisor at Florida – he is two classes away from graduating with an undergraduate degree in sociology – led him to reach out and inquire about a coaching position with the Gators.

“I had been talking with him and going to class and slowly trying to get towards my degree. He mentioned to me, ‘Why don’t you go out and work with the team?’ It’s something I had thought about but never taken the initiative,” Peterson explained Tuesday. “I went and spoke with Coach Muschamp about it and he was very accepting of it. A little different than I would have expected, but he was very accepting of it. Just knowing him over a couple years, coming back and speaking with the team, I knew it would be a place I would definitely fit in. And the rest is history.”

Continue Reading » Peterson impressed by Muschamp, ready to coach

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Florida removes Hernandez All-American brick

The Florida Gators on Thursday decided to publicly erase former tight end Aaron Hernandez from their past when they removed his All-American brick from the front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and later announced other reminders of Hernandez have already been taken down throughout the team’s facilities.

Hernandez, currently jailed in Massachusetts and awaiting trial on six charges including first-degree murder for the shooting death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, was named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press in 2009 after leading the Gators with 68 receptions for 850 yards and five touchdowns that season.

He also won the John Mackey Award, handed out to the nation’s best tight end, for his efforts during that campaign.

Florida’s University Athletic Association released the following statement on Thursday:

We didn’t feel it was appropriate to celebrate Aaron Hernandez. We put together an immediate plan after the initial news broke to remove his likeness and name in various private and public areas in the facility, such as the South Endzone team area, locker room, football offices, Heavener Complex Kornblau Lobby and the brick display entrance to the football facility.

We were able to implement some of the changes immediately and this (brick removal) was a more complex process to complete with our vendors.

The plan was to have everything completed before the end of July.

What do you think? Did the school act too soon or was the brick removal appropriate?

Below are pictures of the Hernandez brick being removed and replaced courtesy of University of Florida professor Ted Spiker (first), Gainesville Television Network‘s Julie Quittner (second, third):

Continue Reading » Florida removes Hernandez All-American brick

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Billy D pleased with Hill’s humility, Walker’s effort

Five-star prospects point guard Kasey Hill (Clermont, FL) and power forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL) may have committed seven months apart, but the AAU teammates knew for quite some time that they would be playing together in Gainesville, FL, for head coach Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators.

Hill, unanimously ranked as the 10th best player in the 2013 recruiting class, has already fulfilled his end of the bargain. He enrolled at Florida in late June for the Summer B session and has already pleased the coaching staff and trainers with his attitude and ability both on and off the court.

“I spent some time with him [Tuesday],” said Donovan on Wednesday after returning from leading USA Basketball to gold the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship. “He’s doing fine. He’s done well. All the reports I’ve gotten from the strength coach and coaches working with him, he’s been great. His attitude has been really good.”

With senior PG Scottie Wilbekin likely to be suspended for the start of the season after violating team rules – and the Gators without another true floor general on the roster at this time – Hill’s work ethic during the summer and fall will go a long way to earning him a starting role (whether temporary or permanent).

Donovan is pleased with he has seen thus far from Hill, who he compared to 2011 five-star guard Bradley Beal in terms of how the young man has flipped the switch from high school star to college underclassman.

Continue Reading » Billy D pleased with Hill’s humility, Walker’s effort

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