Legendary NFL coach, historic Florida Gators athletic director Bill Arnsparger dies at 88

Former Florida Gators athletic director Bill Arnsparger, a figure who made one of the most important decisions in school history, passed away Friday in Athens, Alabama, at the age of 88.

Following a storied coaching career, Arnsparger was named Florida’s athletic director in 1986; he was tasked with cleaning up the Gators athletic program following numerous NCAA sanctions for rules violations.

As such, he hired two new coaches for the school’s primary athletic programs, bringing on former Florida Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Steve Spurrier in 1990 to coach the football team and Lon Kurger for basketball in 1991. Spurrier, of course, turned the Gators’ football team into perennial winners and national champions in 1996. Kruger led Florida basketball to its first Final Four (1994).

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Dan Mullen: If Tim Tebow injured, Florida Gators would’ve still won 2008 title with Cam Newton

Drawing comparisons between Urban Meyer‘s current quarterback dilemma at Ohio State and the Florida Gators depth chart in 2008 – which included one former and one future Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback – Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said Tuesday that he believes the Gators would’ve still won the 2008 national title even if Tim Tebow had gone down with an injury and Cam Newton finished the season under center.

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Urban Meyer on Tim Tebow: Media attention curbed NFL interest, opportunities

During a radio interview two years ago, Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer propped up Tim Tebow‘s future as an NFL quarterback, noting that he still thought Tebow would go out and “win a Super Bowl” before his time was up.

That was when Tebow was on the outs with the New York Jets. Since then, despite getting a training camp invitation with the New England Patriots that offseason, Tebow has not seen the field during an NFL regular season game.

On Tuesday, Meyer appeared on The Dan Patrick Show and was asked about the future of his Heisman Trophy winner with the Florida Gators. Suffice to say, Meyer still fully believes in Tebow’s chances to succeed in the NFL but explained that due to circumstances beyond his control, he has not had the same opportunities as others.

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FOUR BITS: Haslem, Culpepper, Beal, Parsons

1 » Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has only shot 13 three pointers over 751 career NBA games before last Friday, so why has he attempted three since? According to the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson, his coach told him he needs to start doing so if the 34-year-old plans to play major minutes in place of Chris Bosh. “If I want to play [power forward], I have to shoot the corner three. It’s part of our offense,” he told Jackson. “If I’m going to play the four, I have to implement that. you’re not going to make all of them, but you have to take them with confidence. I’m going to make some.” Haslem started his career 0-for-16 from three (0-for-3 with the Florida Gators), draining his first trey on Friday. He is 0-for-2 since for a combined 6.3 percent lifetime from beyond the arc.

2 » According to David Morrison of the Columbia Daily Tribune, who painstakingly did the research, no Southeastern Conference coaching staff has seen more turnover in the last 15 years than Florida. The Gators have had 65 coaches rotate in and out of the program in that time, nine more than the next-highest program (Ole Miss, 56) and nearly 20 more than the average among the other 13 SEC schools (45.4). That average is weighed down heavily by Missouri (17) and Georgia (30), though UF’s high number is still indicative of its hiring issues, especially most recently under Will Muschamp.

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Former Florida Gators praise Urban Meyer after Ohio State’s CFP National Championship win

Five years after leaving the Florida Gators, head coach Urban Meyer led Ohio State to a 42-20 win over Oregon in the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship.

A number of former Florida players were following along throughout the night on Twitter and shared their thoughts – and congratulations – for Meyer after the contest.

The national title is the third in Meyer’s career, all of which have come in the last nine seasons. He helped lead the Gators to the 2007 BCS Championship and 2009 BCS Championship before leaving Florida for good following the 2010 season.

Check out all of the tweets…after the break.
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Silver Lining: McElwain’s unanswered questions

Questions went unanswered in Jim McElwain’s press conference for good reason

When the Gators hired Will Muschamp four years ago, he had no problem whatsoever laying out specifics about what Florida football would look like under his leadership. He declared that the Gators would be a pro-style, blue-collar, lunch pail-toting team from their first practice through his last day, and while he saw most of that through, obviously the offense underwent radical changes with similarly lacking results throughout his four seasons.

New head coach Jim McElwain took a completely different approach during his introductory press conference. Granted, he was asked fewer questions about his football philosophies than Muschamp when he was behind the podium, but McElwain responded to the questions by refusing to provide specifics and diverting the subject in one way or another.

Asked what style of offense the Gators will run in 2015, McElwain said, “Whatever works. I’ve seen some pretty good stuff that’s worked here in the past. We’ll get that going.” Was he referring to a return of the fun-and-gun under Steve Spurrier? “I don’t know what you call it, but it will be a blast,” he said. “How about the Humane Society?”

A man who obviously likes to share his sense of humor (Muschamp has one too, though it took him four years to get comfortable in his own skin), McElwain’s “Humane Society” reference was a call back to one of his non-answers earlier in the press conference, when he was asked about who has influenced him offensively throughout his career.

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The Silver Lining for Thursday, November 13: Basketball signings, Tebow, Mullen on Meyer

Basketball: early signing period

College’s basketball’s early signing period began Wednesday, and the Florida Gators expect to receive National Letters of Intent from three of their four 2015 commitments – four-star power forward Noah Dickerson (Montverde, FL), three-star PF Kevarrius Hayes (Live, Oak, FL) and three-star small forward Keith Stone (Deerfield Beach, FL) – before that period is out.

Florida is not sure, however, when it will be given an NLI from its highest-rated pledge, four-star guard KeVaughn Allen (Little Rock, AR). The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette first reported Tuesday that Allen “will not sign during the early period and will hold off until the spring to sign,” despite planning to remain committed to the Gators.

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The Silver Lining for Thursday, October 30, 2014: Gators confident, debunking Foley-Meyer myths

Yes, The Silver Lining is once again out on Thursday. It will return to its regular Wednesday afternoon slot…eventually.

Gators won’t stop believin’

This time last year, Florida was down in the dumps, sporting a 4-3 record after consecutive road losses to LSU (17-6) and Missouri (36-17). The Gators have one fewer win (due to the canceled Idaho game) but those same losses to the two groups of Tigers (30-27 and 42-13, respectively), despite the fact that UF was supposed to be improved in 2014 and played both of those contests at home.

Nevertheless, facing it’s last possible chance to salvage the season and somehow remain in the SEC East race, Florida is putting on a strong, confident face entering its rivalry game against the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs.

Numerous Gators expressed pure determination while meeting with the media this week. While they obviously chose not to guarantee a win against a program that has beat them three-straight years and proved to be the better team at the season’s halfway point, there were no heads down or shoulders slouched.

Here’s what a number of players had to say about the team’s current mindset…

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