FOUR BITS: Tebow, Noah, Stamper, soccer/NCAA

By Adam Silverstein
November 10, 2009

1 » Not a lot of news came out of Monday’s weekly press conferences with head coach Urban Meyer and senior quarterback Tim Tebow, hence the absence of OGGOA‘s weekly post. One point Tebow did make to the press yesterday was that he is as healthy as can be. “I actually feel the best physically that I’ve felt in any season this late in the season,” Tebow said. “[My] body feels good and I feel refreshed, so that’s exciting going down the stretch.” Not receiving any more injections or special treatments is a testament to the work of strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti, whom Tebow credits for his health. “He did a really good job of just training me to be able to go out there and take hits. I felt like when I came into this season, I was in the best shape of my life.”

2 » Nick Friedell of the new sat down with former Florida Gators forward/center Joakim Noah, now of the Chicago Bulls, for a wide-ranging interview on Monday. Noah touched on NBA fans hating him, making the playoffs with the Bulls, how he improved his game over the summer, the popularity of Tebow and his passion, respect and love for the University of Florida. “I felt like I was lucky enough to play on a team where guys really played for the right things,” Noah said of his time at Florida. “It wasn’t a question of who was scoring the ball or who was getting all the shots or anything like that. It was just all about winning.” He continued, “I think I went back [to Gainesville] three times this summer. I go back for a football game, and I go back for the elite camp for Coach [Billy] Donovan. And I think that’s something I’m going to do every year because I want to give back.”

3 » Florida’s defense has been dominant this season, even during weeks when it has missed its leader, senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes. The reason for that is the steady, consistent play of redshirt senior linebacker Ryan Stamper, who broke out in 2008 and is continuing to play great football this season. Considered too slow to play linebacker and struggling in his first three years with the team, Stamper has blossomed to prove the doubters wrong and prove Meyer right for making what was seemingly a split second decision to recruit him.

4 » The No. 8 Florida soccer team (15-5-2, 8-1-2 SEC) has been selected as a three-seed for the 2009 NCAA Championship Tournament. The Gators will face the Illinois State Redbirds (12-6-1, 5-1 MVC) in Friday’s opening round at the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, OH. The winner of the match will face the victor of the Ohio State Buckeyes versus Oregon State Beavers game on Sunday in second round action.

Extra BIT: Seniors wide receiver David Nelson (redshirt) and linebacker Dustin Doe were named “Players of the Game” by Meyer for their individual performances on Saturday.

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