TWO Video BITS: Parsons, Pease (+ Harlem Shake)

1 » Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, participating in the Rising Stars Challenge at 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend on Friday evening at 9 p.m., recently sat down for an interview with Grantland.com’s Chris Ryan. Check it out below.

2 » Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease participated in an interview recently with Total College Sports. He discusses Florida’s recruiting haul and the offense heading into the 2013 season.


Extra BIT » Someone at the University of Florida recently organized a mass “Harlem Shake” dance video in Turlington Plaza. After completing the video, those in attendance did a “Go Gators!” chant and Gator Chomped.

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TWO BITS: Young’s tough decision, WWE’s O’Neil

1 » According to the Bradenton Herald, the Florida Gators are still waiting to hear from one recruit though it is currently unknown when he will actually make a decision. Three-star offensive lineman Trevon Young (Bradenton, FL), who was planning to play Division II basketball at Eckerd College, was reportedly a secret visitor at the University of Florida on Saturday and picked up an offer to play tight end for the Gators. With a first love of basketball, Young is faced with a difficult decision despite the fact that playing his favorite sport at the Division II level or his second-favorite sport for a top-tier program like Florida seems like an easy choice for most. “I just don’t know,” he told the paper. “I might not know until I wake up [on National] Signing Day, and I might not even sign on Wednesday. I don’t know. If I decide to play football, my favorite is Florida. It’s great getting an offer from them. It makes you feel all the hard work you put in was worth it. But I love basketball.”

2 » WWE wrestler Titus O’Neil, previously known as former Gators defensive end Thaddeus Bullard was on campus in Gainesville, FL on Wednesday and had the opportunity to meet with both basketball coach Billy Donovan and football coach Will Muschamp. Below are a pair of video Touts from Bullard that he posted online shortly after his meetings with the coaches.


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Florida player Bill McBride passes away at 67

Former Florida Gators football player Bill McBride, best known for being the Democratic candidate for governor of the state of Florida in 2002, passed away Saturday at the age of 67.

McBride, whose football career with the Gators ended early due to a knee injury, suffered a heart attack while on a family vacation to Mount Airy, NC.

He made a great impact at the University of Florida, serving as treasurer of Florida Blue Key and getting inducted into the prestigious Hall of Fame as a student who consistently “demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving” the school. He most recently served on the board of directors for the Warrington College of Business Administration’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

McBride began law school at UF but interrupted his studies in Gainesville, FL to volunteer for the Marine Corps, where he served from 1968-71. After earning a Bronze Star for valor and being discharged, he returned to the United States and taught future officers at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, VA.

He then finished law school and spent the majority of his career working for Holland & Knight in Tampa, FL, eventually becoming a partner in 1992 and staying in that role for nine years before retiring in 2001 to enter the political arena.

After losing the gubernatorial race to Jeb Bush in 2002, McBride returned to practicing law in Tampa. His wife, Alex Sink, wound up running for governor of Florida eight years later as the Democratic nominee in 2010.

“He was a wonderful guy and a great Floridian who knew a lot about this state and a lot about things things were important,” former state Senator and McBride’s gubernatorial running mate Tom Rossin told the Palm Beach Post. “He’ll be missed. He was a real part of this state and what it’s all about.”

OGGOA sends our deepest condolences to the McBride family.

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FOUR BITS: O’Dome, NFL Draft, Beal, Lochte

1 » University of Florida trustees on Friday approved a $10 million contribution as part of a $50 million renovation for the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. According to The Gainesville Sun’s Nathan Crabbe, who spoke with trustee Steven Scott, it will take 2-3 years to raise the remaining $40 million, so the O’Dome will not be looking much different any time soon. Eventually, the arena will feature an updated entrance; new seating areas including a permanent, non-retractable lower level, club seats and boxes; and additional concession stands and team shops. Florida will also improve the audio-visual elements inside the arena. The school just completed a $900,000 renovation on the structure in the summer of 2011 that included brand new seats in the lower bowl, wider aisles, handrails and more. UF also recently remodeled the gymnastics studio on site at the O’Dome. Read more | Pictures

2 » The 2013 NFL Draft is fast approaching and no Florida Gators player is generating more buzz right now than junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. On the heels of a fantastic junior campaign in which he started every game at his natural position, Floyd is unanimously considered a first-round pick in the draft. In fact, ESPN’s Todd McShay projected him as the No. 29 pick in his first mock draft ($) and Mel Kiper, Jr. lists him as the No. 23 overall player on his Big Board ($); both lists were released Wednesday. “Floyd’s versatility to play inside or kick outside to end makes him a great fit,” McShay wrote. “He can anchor against the run, chases plays all over the field and had a monster 2012 season.”

3 » The No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, guard Bradley Beal came one decision away from never suiting up for the Washington Wizards. According to The Washington Post, the Wizards turned down a trade proposed by the Oklahoma City Thunder over the summer in which the team was looking to trade James Harden for Beal and forward Chris Singleton. Oklahoma City, which had been infatuated with Beal throughout the draft process and was rumored to be looking to trade up into the top three selections in order to pick him, wound up trading Harden to Houston after Washington rebuffed its advances.

4 » Former Gators swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte won a pair of gold medals on the first day of the FINA World Swimming Championships (short-course) in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday. Lochte took the 200 Meter Freestyle in 1:41.92 and was part of the 4×100 Freestyle Relay team that won gold in 3:06.40. The last short-course world championships were held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 2010; Lochte won six gold medals including five in individual events. Fellow former Florida swimmers Conor Dwyer and Jemma Lowe also captured individual bronze medals on day one of the event.

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TWO BITS: football awards, less Tebow on ESPN

1 » The Florida Gators football team participated in its annual banquet on Saturday in which members of the team are presented with a number of awards for everything from on-field performance to working hard in practice and how courageous a particular player may be throughout the season. Below are the 2012 award winners, according to the University of Florida, along with some award explanations and additional details.

Coaches’ Choice Awards
President’s Academic Award: Jeff Driskel, Michael McNeely, Caleb Sturgis
* Second-straight year that Sturgis won the award.
Gene Elleson Community Service Award: Jon Bostic, Jeremy Brown, Caleb Sturgis
Iron Gator Strength and Conditioning Award: Jon Halapio, Jonotthan Harrison, Omarius Hines, Lerentee McCray, Sam Robey
Chris Patrick Courage Award: Dominique Easley, Chaz Green, Jon Halapio, Ronald Powell, James Wilson
Most Valuable Offensive Scout Team Award: Max Garcia, Mark Herndon | Defensive: Alex McCalister, Jeremi Powell | ST: David Campbell, Rhaheim Ledbetter

Players’ Choice Awards
Rex Farrior Most Team Spirited Offense: Xavier Nixon | Defense: Dominique Easley, Matt Elam
* Second-straight year that Easley won the award.
Greg See Tenacity Award Offense: Jon Halapio, Jonotthan Harrison | Defense: Matt Elam, Sharrif Floyd
Most Valuable Player Offense: Mike Gillislee | Defense: Matt Elam ST: Loucheiz Purifoy, Caleb Sturgis
* Second-straight year that a running back won the award for the offense (Chris Rainey). Second-straight year that Elam and Sturgis won the award for defense and special teams, respectively.
James W. Kynes Award (Best Mental/Physical Toughness): Jon Bostic, Matt Elam
* Presented to the “player who best exemplifies the mental and physical toughness and ‘iron-man’ determination.’ The award is traditionally won by offensive linemen.
Ray Graves Award (Team MVP): Mike Gillislee
* Second-straight year that a running back won the award (Chris Rainey).
Fergie Ferguson Leadership Award: Jon Bostic, Josh Evans, Sharrif Floyd, Frankie Hammond, Jr.
* Presented to the “player who displays outstanding leadership, character and courage.”
Captains: Jon Bostic, Matt Elam, Mike Gillislee, Jon Halapio, Omar Hunter

2 » New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has barely seen the field since being traded last offseason. Now the head of ESPN is promising fans that they will see much less of him on their television sets as well. In an conversation with John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal, ESPN President John Skipper said he recently told his production staff to reduce the amount of coverage that the networks give to Tebow and his exploits. “I said, ‘Guys, we didn’t handle this very well. Going to training camp wasn’t a problem. We just stayed on it relentlessly and too long,’” Skipper explained. “Training camp was fine. The guy’s very popular. In our business, we want to drive ratings. You’ve just got to keep long-term, short-term in mind.”

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FOUR BITS: Noah, recruiting, Chaney, Wambach

1 » Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, with his team up six and the clock ticking down, took a three-pointer during a game Tuesday in an effort to eclipse 100 points and earn the fans in attendance a free Big Mac. Though his team was up a comfortable margin when he took the shot, Noah received a stern talking to from head coach Tom Thibodeau and said Wednesday that he regretted the move. “You have to respect the game because you never know what can happen in a game,” he said, according to ESPNChicago.com. “I just got caught up in the moment and I was trying to get the people a Big Mac. They really wanted a Big Mac [judging by how loud the crowd was getting] and I felt like, not only did I take the shot and miss the shot, we didn’t even get the Big Mac. Next time, I won’t take that three-pointer.”

2 » The Florida Gators’ 2013 basketball recruiting class is already filled with talent – two five-stars and top-10 players to be exact – but the Gators may very well add at least one more big piece before all is said and done. UF is very much involved with four of best players left in the class in five-star forward Julius Randle (Plano, TX), five-star F Jabari Parker (Chicago, IL), five-star center Dakari Johnson (Montverde, FL) and four-star C Joel Embiid (Gainesville, FL). In fact, as far as Parker, Johnson and Embiid are concerned, Florida seems to be in a very good spot for each. Parker visited the Gators over the weekend, Johnson reclassified to the 2013 class this week and has Florida in his top five, and Embiid on Wednesday night cut his list to three with UF making the cut.

Embiid is the closest to making a decision and will do so shortly. The Gators being the local team is certainly a bonus as is the fact that Florida has junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin on the roster and is recruiting his brother 2014 PG Mitchell Wilbekin. (Both are also from The Rock School, where Embiid is attending.) UF also has a connection with Parker, who head coach Billy Donovan coached and won a gold medal with over the summer, and Johnson, who is set to play for Monteverde Academy this season, which is where five-star PG commit Kasey Hill (Clermont, FL) is currently attending.

Read the two more BITS (and an extra BIT) in this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Noah, recruiting, Chaney, Wambach

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FOUR BITS: offense, LSU, Meyer, Olympics

1 » X&O Labs, a football research company for coaches, took a special look on Tuesday at the Florida Gators offense and how the team’s downhill running game was able to dominate the LSU Tigers last Saturday. Noting that new offensive coordinator Brent Pease has “has implemented some of the same heavy, unbalanced formations that he used at Boise to gash defenses,” senior research manager Mike Kuchar outlined five of the different formations and went into even greater detail in the video below.

2 » Asked to explain this week why they were so gassed on Saturday in Gainesville, FL, LSU players told the Shreveport Times that heat-related fatigue was at fault. “It is Florida,” said linebacker Kevin Minter, who cramped up in the third quarter after dominating the first half and still finished the game with a school-record 20 total tackles. “The humidity is ridiculous. [...] We had a lot of miscues when we were breathing hard. You can’t let fatigue take over.”

3 » With the Gators having started the season 5-0 and looking like a team rejuvenated under head coach Will Muschamp, it was only a matter of time before new Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was asked about presumably leaving the cupboard bare for his successor. “I don’t want to get into all that cupboard is bare [stuff], because that’s one man’s opinion, and we’ve got to move on,” he told the Associated Press. “I’m very proud of those guys. Love those guys.” Meyer also said he was proud of Florida’s victory over LSU. “Always be a Gator. I keep in touch with some of those players. Great win. Great, tough win against a tough opponent, absolutely,” he said.

4 » The University of Florida honored on Saturday nearly two dozen athletes and coaches that participated in the 2012 London Olympics. In the video below, courtesy of GatorVision.tv, swimmers Ryan Lochte and Conor Dwyer and triple jumper Christian Taylor are all interviewed about their respective experiences. (Note that Dwyer thought a 6-0 halftime lead by LSU could realistically result in a 13-10 win for Florida.)

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Grossman, Mitts, Pearson, Fogg headline UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2013 inductees

Eight former letterwinners – including Gator Greats Rex Grossman (football), Heather Mitts (soccer), Mike Pearson (football) and Josh Fogg (baseball) – and one honorary letterwinner will be inducted as the UF Athletic Hall of Fame‘s 2013 class.

The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced Monday that the honors will be bestowed upon these former players at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 5, 2013 in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Inductees are normally divided into three categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners. The remainder of the 2013 class includes Gator Greats Jeff Davis (wrestling), Riko Higashio (women’s golf) and Chrissy Van Fleet (gymnastics) as well as Distinguished Letterwinner Larry Morris (football) and Honorary Letterwinner Ernestine Russell Weaver (gymnastics).

Read more about each inductee and their career accomplishments…
Continue Reading » Grossman, Mitts, Pearson, Fogg headline UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2013 inductees

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