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57 posts from November 2009

November 29, 2009

Florida Gators begin championship week a five-point favorite against Alabama Crimson Tide

GAINESVILLE -- Las Vegas Sports Consultants, Inc., opened the betting line for the Southeastern Conference championship with the Florida Gators a five-point favorite against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Only once during its 22-game winning streak has Florida defeated an opponent by fewer than 10 points (Florida 23, Arkansas 20). Florida defeated Alabama 31-20 in the 2008 SEC championship game. No.1 Florida (12-0) and No.2 Alabama (12-0) play at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

-jo-

November 28, 2009

Florida #Gators Tim #Tebow doing what he does best, dominating Florida State

GAINESVILLE -- Tim Tebow does a lot of things well, but one of the things he does best is dominate Florida State.

One day after Alabama's Mark Ingram stumbled against Auburn, Tebow is making his case for the Heisman Trophy during the first half against FSU. Entering Saturday's game, Tebow accounted for nine touchdowns in two years against FSU. Tebow has already accounted for three touchdowns on Saturday -- one rushing and two passing -- and UF leads FSU 24-0 at halftime.

Tebow gave UF a 17-0 lead with 7:44 left in the second quarter with an 18-yard touchdown run on another excellent read out of the triple option. UF went up 24-0 with 1:07 left in the half when Tebow found tight end Aaron Hernandez on a crossing pattern for a 37-yard score. Hernandez zig-zagged through FSU's defense like he was a receiver. One of the FSU defenders to miss a tackle on Hernandez: Greg Reid, the FSU freshman cornerback who spured UF on National Signing Day in February.

Tebow's halftime stats: 13 of 16 attempts for 154 yards and two touchdowns; 10 carries for 35 yards and a touchdown.

-jo-

Pair of sacks forces Florida Gators to settle for a field goal

GAINESVILLE -- The sacks are back. UF quarterback Tim Tebow was sacked twice on consecutive plays at the end of the first quarter. The combined loss of five yards forced UF to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis on the first play of the second quarter. UF leads FSU 10-0.

Florida's second scoring drive of the game -- 69 yards, eight plays, 3:41 -- was highlighted by a 45-yard run from Chris Rainey.

Tebow has been sacked 25 times this season.

-jo-

A little triple-option football for the Florida Gators gives UF a 7-0 lead

GAINESVILLE -- A beautifully designed triple-option play gave Florida a 7-0 lead against Florida State with 6:48 left in the first quarter on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Quarterback Tim Tebow's shovel pass to tight end Aaron Hernandez went for a 17-yard score. Hernandez lined up next to right tackle Marcus Gilbert, went into motion and slipped through the middle of FSU's defense untouched for the score.

-jo- 

Unabashed Man-Love Day for Florida #Gators Tim #Tebow at The Swamp (With touching photographic tribute!)

GAINESVILLE -- Thousands of Florida Gators fans lined the front entrance of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday for quarterback Tim Tebow's final Gator Walk. Five state troopers and two local policemen escorted Tebow through a mob of fans around 1:30 p.m. No.1 Florida (11-0) hosts Florida State (6-5) at 3:30 p.m.

In three years I have never seen a group of more passionate Gators fans than today for Tebow's final home game in The Swamp -- not even after the national championship game in 2008. My only point of reference for such a festive atmosphere (and congested atmosphere) is Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It's one big party and everyone --man, woman and child -- is here to say thanks to Tebow. Like these guys from Florida's Panhandle (Crestview, L.A.) who were brave enough to display man love for Tebow on their chests.

IMG00069











PICTURED, from left to right: Bob Wagner, 16; Blair Palko, 19; and Cody Hancock, 19 traveled to Gainesville from Crestview on Saturday to send UF quarterback Tim Tebow off in style.

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-jo-

November 24, 2009

(HOOPS LIVE BLOG) Florida #Gators 68, Florida State #Seminoles 52; FINAL

GAINESVILLE -- Without question, the Florida Gators played their best basketball in over two seasons during the first half of Tuesday's 68-52 win against Florida State.

The Rowdies were rocking in the O'Dome after the Gators built a dominating 20-point lead in the first half against a team it hadn't defeated since 2005. FSU charged back in the second half, cutting UF's lead to five, but the Gators absorbed the Noles' best punch -- literally, almost, when Dan Werner stood his ground against FSU's Jordan DeMercy and drew a charge -- and roared back to life with an impresseive 18-3 run.

Seven Gators scored at least six points and Kenny Boynton Jr., Alex Tyus and Erving Walker led UF with 13 each. Check The Miami Herald on Wednesday morning for my game story. 

SECOND HALF LIVE BLOG BELOW
Make that a 16-2 run after a Chandler Parsons 3-pointer. UF 59, FSU 41; 6:00.

--Gators with a considerable momentum swing here in the second half with a 12-0 run. O'Dome went absolutely bonkers when Ray Shipman dished a behind the back pass to Erving Walker on a fast break to give UF a 49-38 lead. UF athletic director Jeremy Foley stood up on press row and pumped his fist in approval.

Moments later Florida forced FSU's 22nd turnover of the game and UF extended its second-half run to 9-0 with a free throw from Alex Tyus followed by an offensive rebound by Chandler Parsons. Parsons showed his newfound and found Tyus under the basket with a brilliant assist. Tyus finished the play to give UF a 52-38 lead. Impressvie stuff from UF, which was in jeapordy of losing its 20-point halftime lead.

--FSU on a 19-2 run in the second half. FSU guard Derwin Kitchen with eight points in the second half and 13 in the game to lead FSU in scoring. UF and FSU now with 17 turnovers each. UF 43, FSU 38 with 11:47 left in the game.

--Kenny Boynton Jr. with the Gators' only points of the half (four) after a nice 18-footer. Gators playing sloppily in the second half. UF now with 16 turnovers, compared to 17 for FSU. UF leading 43-35 with 13:11 left in the game after leading by 20 at the break. 

--FSU on an 8-0 run in the second half. Gators nearing FSU's mark of 16 turnovers. UF has 13 turnovers.

--UF's Kenny Boynton Jr. with his first points of the game on a runner in the lane. UF 41, FSU 21, 18:12 left in the second half.

--Hands down the best half of basketball Florida has played in two years. Wow! Incredible defense. Florida forced 16 first-half turnovers!

Ray Shipman and Alex Tyus lead the Gators in scoring with eight points each. And Shipman made his first 3-pointer of season. Tyus knocked down three mid-range jumpers after struggling from the field during UF's first three games.

The most surprising thing about the first half? Florida is up on FSU by 20 points and Kenny Boynton didn't score the entire first half.

FIRST HALF LIVE BLOG BELOW
--Dan Werner ends the half with a steal and 3-pointer. FSU with 16 turnovers. Werner with his second 3-pointer in four minutes.

--Gators on an 21-4 run after back-to-back 3-pointers by Ray Shipman and Erving Walker. Shipman playing well. Eight points for Shipman. FSU with 13 turnovers. Wait, spoke too soon. Poor turnover by Shipman. Shipman out. Gators shooting 11 of 25 from the field and 2 of 7 from the 3-point range. Shipman leads the Gators in scoring. Kenny Boynton still scoreless.

--UF held FSU scoreless for more than six minutes (13:50-7:21). FSU's Derwin Kitchen broke the skid with put back.

--Gators on 11-0 run after Vernon Macklin dunk (great pass Dan Werner) and Ray Shipman steal and free throw. UF's defense is once again playing incredibly tonight. UF has forced nine turnovers and leads FSU 17-10 with 7:50 left in the half. UF's leading scorer Kenny Boynton has not scored. UF is out-rebounding FSU 12-7.

--Alex Tyus with his second mid-range jumper of the half to give UF a 14-10 lead with 9:33 to play. 8-0 UF run. Gators force another FSU turnover. Noles with eight turnovers. Tyus leads UF with six points.

--Gators on 6-0 run after forcing two Noles' turnovers. Parsons scored a tough reverse lay-up followed by a breakaway basket for Ray Shipman. Vernon Macklin makes it UF 12, FSU 10 with another nice move in the paint; 11:40 left in the first half.

--UF forces the Noles sixth tunover in the game's first eight minutes and Gators reserve scores a n

--Noles Chris Singleton with another 3-pointer. Wow! He's really filling it up. All 10 of FSU's points and shooting 4 of 4 from the field. Chandler Parsons answers with a tough reverse lay-up. FSU 10, Gators 8, 12:44.

--FSU's Chris Singleton with all seven of the Noels' points, including a 3-pointer with 15:06 left. FSU 7, UF 6. Gators and Noles with four turnovers each.

--Alex Tyus with a nice 15-foot jumper to give UF a 6-4 lead. Vernon Macklin with a pretty hook over 7-1 Solomon Alabi. UF's full-court press is giving FSU fits early on. Noles have turned it over three times in the game's first four minutes.

STARTING LINE-UPS BELOW
Florida State is looking big. Here are your starting line-ups for tonight's men's basketball game between the Florida Gators (3-0) and the Florida State Seminoles (3-0).

FLORIDA STATE
F Chris Singleton (6-9) 9.0/10.0
F Ryan Reid (6-8) 10.3/7.0
C Solomon Alabi (7-1) 12.3/6.3
G Devidas Dulkys (6-5) 12.7/4.3 apg
G Derwin Kitchen (6-4) 7.7/3.7 apg

FLORIDA
F Dan Werner (6-8) 5.3/3.3
F Alex Tyus (6-8) 8.3/7.3
C Vernon Macklin (6-10) 10.0/7.0
G Kenny Boynton Jr. (6-2) 19.0/4.3 apg
G Erving Walker (5-8) 10.0/5.3 apg

Florida Gators running back Emmanuel Moody 'hobbled'

GAINESVILLE -- Florida coach Urban Meyer said on Tuesday that Gators junior running back Emmanuel Moody remains limited in practice. Moody sprained an ankle during the Gators' win against South Carolina and did not play last Saturday against FIU.

Meyer said that Moody is still "hobbled" when asked about the running back's status. Meyer said that all other offensive players, including offensive linemen Maurkice Pouncey and Carl Johnson, are "100 percent."

Florida outside linebacker A.J. Jones is doubtful for Saturday's game, according to Meyer. Jones injured the medial-collateral ligament in his right knee against FIU. Junior linebacker Brandon Hicks will likely start on Saturday in place of Jones.

-jo-

November 23, 2009

Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer holds back tears in press conference

GAINESVILLE -- Stoic Urban Meyer revealed his soft side on Monday during his weekly press conference.

Saturday home game against Florida State (6-5) will be Senior Day for the top-ranked Gators (11-0) and UF's coach paused several times on Monday to hold back tears when asked about his senior class, which will leave Florida having won more games than any other recruiting class in SEC history. After being asked a question about his first senior class, Meyer said, "We didn't have the same bond as maybe we did with this group, but ..."

Meyer then went speechless for 27 seconds. He bowed his head, wrinkled his nose and fought back the tears. It was the most emotion Meyer has displayed publicly since he has been at Florida. Meyer collected himself and offered some levity. "No more interviews this week, man," he said. "Yeah, it's going to be a tough week."

More long pauses followed. Meyer choked up when asked about former UF walk-on quarterback Michael Guilford, who died during a motorcycle wreck on Oct. 12, 2007. After a 19-second refrain, Meyer said, "Mike, we're going to invite his family down. He's a part of this group and, once again, you take Mike out of this process and that really stung this football team. And he's got a terrific family and we'll just do the best we can to make that family feel at peace with what he did here, because he was a phenomenal young man and phenomenal member of this team. So he'll be part of Senior Day."

Florida's coach was again emotional when asked about the impact Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has had on Meyer personally.

"It think he's had the same impact on me he has had on college football," Meyer said. "I know he's had on my children..." Meyer then paused for 14 seconds before continuing. "The one thing about Tim is the unselfishness and his mission outside of college football is unparalleled as far as I'm concerned. The impact he's made, it's almost like selflessness is now a cool thing. Like, kids realizing to give back. If you can brighten someone's day you do it. And I think the impact he has made on this team is phenomenal -- and this coaching staff. It's very noticeable behind closed doors more than probably what you [reporters] see. It's a significant impact."

-jo-

November 22, 2009

Hardknock childhood for Florida Gators Tim Tebow? He was cutting grass when he was nine!

GAINESVILLE -- Florida quarterback Tim Tebow told a story on Saturday that had every reporter in Florida's post-game press conference seated on seat's edge.

What's this? Tebow cried one time way back in 1996? Holy dinosaur, stop the presses. Stop the bloody presses! Re-wriiiiiite!!!

The Orlando Sentinel was so impressed with Tebow's maudlin yarn on Saturday that the paper featured the story at the top of its game story for UF 62, FIU 3. LINK! The Gainesville Sun took the bait, too. LINK! The Miami Herald will mention Tebow's tale, sadly, in tomorrow's paper, but we'll bury it -- and rightfully so, in my opinion -- at the bottom of a story about UF-FSU rivalry week.

OK, here's Tebow's story. According to UF's senior quarterback, he was watching Florida vs. Florida State in 1996 in his home in Jacksonville. Florida lost to Florida State 24-21 and Tebow was ordered outside by father Bob to, according to Tebow, mow the lawn and rake the leaves. As the story goes, Tebow was beside himself with emotion. According to Tim, he mowed that lawn and raked those leaves with little, itty-bitty alligator tears rolling down his tiny Tim face.

"When Florida State beat Florida in 1996, we didn't think we'd go to the national championship," Tebow said. "I remember dad made me go outside and cut the grass and rake the leaves. The whole time I was raking leaves, I was crying because Florida State just beat Florida."

OK, in all seriousness, this is a good story and offers some insight into Tebow and just how much he wants to beat the spears out of Florida State on Saturday. But, of course, this blog post is about cracking jokes. So ... 

All right, here's what I want to know. What in the world was Bob Tebow thinking? He made his nine-year-old son cut the grass? Geez, Tim had it rough. Nine years old? Cutting grass? With tears streaming down that little nine-year-old face? Tim's older brothers Robby and Peter had it easy. In 1996, Robby would have been around 15 years old and Peter would have been about 12 ... and they just watched while little Timmy did all that work ... with tears streaming down his face...un ... be ...lievable! Bob Tebow, you taskmaster!

-jo-

What's the difference between Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and Alabama running back Mark Ingram? One rushing touchdown.

GAINESVILLE -- Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and Alabama running back Mark Ingram lead their teams offensively and are the leading Heisman Trophy contenders in the Southeastern Conference.

After Saturday's set of games, Florida and Alabama have played seven common opponents. Ingram has rushed for seven touchdowns against those teams while Tebow has rushed for six scores. Ingram's longest touchdown run was a 70-yard burst against Mississippi State. Tebow's longest touchdown run came on Saturday, a 55-yard score against Florida International.

These are interesting stats, considering Tebow is a quarterback yet only trails Ingram, a running back, by one rushing touchdown against common opponents and overall. It kind of puts Tebow's impact into perspective. Will these statistical comparisons weigh heavily in the Heisman Trophy debate?

Through 11 games, Tebow has rushed for 11 touchdowns and is averaging 64.2 yards per game. Being a quarterback, Tebow has thrown for 14 touchdowns and is averaging 176.8 yards passing per game.

Ingram has rushed for 12 touchdowns and is averaging 127.2 yards per game. He also has three touchdown receptions and is averaging 20.5 receiving yards per game.

Tebow's numbers might be down compared to 2007 and 2008, but a strong case can be made that Tebow is having a better year than Ingram in 2009.

-jo-

November 21, 2009

Florida Gators Tim Tebow out of the game after third-quarter touchdown throw

GAINESVILLE -- Long kickoff return by Brandon James to begin the second half. The Gators needed just five plays to drive 41 yards for the offense's fifth touchdown of the game. Quarterback Tim Tebow found Riley Cooper for a 18-yard touchdown pass.

The touchdown throw appeared to be Tebow's final pass of the game. John Brantley is now in the game with seven minutes left in the third quarter.

Florida guard Carl Johnson is no where to be found on UF's sideline. He left the game with what appeared to be an ankle injury in the second quarter. UF linebacker A.J. Jones (right knee) is also not on the sidelines. Offensive lineman Mike Pouncey began the second half at center but back up Sam Robey is now at that position. Starting center Maurkice Pouncey appeared to injury his ankle in the first half.

-jo- 

Florida #Gators left guard Carl Johnson out with ankle injury

GAINESVILLE -- Another injury for the Gators. Florida left guard Carl Johnson left the game late in the second quarter with what appears to be an ankle injury. Johnson is on crutches and is now shoeless. Not looking good for the Gators pn the injury front. 

Florida took a 35-0 lead with 1:38 left in the half with a three-yard run by Jeff Demps. The Gators needed just eight plays to drive 80 yards. The possession was highligted by a 29-yard pass from Tebow to Rainey. Gators passing game looking better in the second quarter.

FIU with a 37-yard field goal with 29 second left in the first half. UF 35, FIU 3.

Will we see Tebow in the second half? I'm guessing yes after the FIU field goal.

-jo-

Florida Gators linebacker A.J. Jones out with knee injury

GAINESVILLE -- Florida Gators linebacker A.J. Jones limped off the field with about six minutes to play in the second quarter. It appears to be a right knee injury.

FIU reached the UF 16 but missed a 33-yard field goal attempt with 5:17 left in the second quarter. UF leads FIU 28-0. UF center Maurkice Pouncey is still out of the game and appears to be getting his left ankle tapped on the sidelines.

-jo-

Florida #Gators center Maurkice Pouncey out with left-leg injury

GAINESVILLE -- Gators center Maurkice Pouncey is currently out of the game with an injury. He's sitting on the Gators' training table on the sidelines with his left leg elevated. It appears to be an ankle injury.

Maurkice's twin brother, Mike Pouncey,is playing center for his injured brother. James Wilson entered the game at right guard. Mike Pouncey and Wilson led the Gators on their second touchdown drive of the second quarter with 9:41 left until halftime. Running back Chris Rainey capped the 60-yard drive with a 22-yard touchdown run. UF led FIU 28-0 midway through the second quarter.

Rainey has two touchdowns. He carried a shovel pass from Tebow for a 27-yard score with 13:39 left in the second quarter to give UF a 21-0 lead.

-jo- 

Florida #Gators Tim Tebow running wild against FIU in first quarter

GAINESVILLE First quarter in the books here at The Swamp. The Gators are leading Florida International 14-0 behind an interception return by Brandon Spikes and a long touchdown run by quarterback Tim Tebow.

Spikes returned an interception by FIU's Paul McCall for a 41-yard touchdown return. It was Spikes second interception return for a touchdown this season. He's had four interception returns for touchdowns in the last two seasons. According to UF's sports information people, he's the only person to accomplish that statistic.

Some of UF's back ups are already receiving playing time. Receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. of Hollywood caught a seven-yard pass near the end of the first quarter.

Tebow's touchdown run of 55 yards was the longest carry of his career. (Was that Tebow's Heisman moment? Against FIU? We kid.) Tebow rushed for 81 yards on four carries in the first quarter.

The Gators' passing game was a bit off in the first quarter. Chris Rainey dropped a touchdown pass and Tebow overthrew Brandon James in the end zone. Tebow also under threw Riley Cooper in the end zone. 

-jo-

Shoe company to unveil new Florida #Gators uniforms to keep up with competition

GAINESVILLE -- Nike is using several college football teams around the country next week to drum up interest in their new line of football uniforms. Nike is losing business to Under Armour in the football-uniform market.

Florida will be one of the uniform models. The uniforms are blue. The helmets are white. The helmets will feature a blue 'F' in italic font. The helmet logo is similar to the 'F' painted in Florida's south end zone. Florida State is also wearing new uniforms to help advertise for Nike. Both Florida and Florida State receive money from Nike in sponsorship deals. Here's a link to the new uniforms. LINK!

-jo-

November 20, 2009

(LIVE BLOG FINAL) Florida Gators 80; Troy 58; Dominant second half propels Gators


GAINESVILLE -- The Gators scored 59 second-half points to defeat Troy 80-58 on Friday night at the O'Connell Center.

The Gators (3-0) trailed the Trojans 32-31 at halftime. After that, Florida played its best basketball of the young season. Freshman Kenny Boynton Jr. led the Gators with 23 points and added six rebounds and four assits. Point guard Erving Walker scored 13 points -- all in the second half -- and had six rebounds and six assists.

UF senior Dan Werner was 4 of 5 from 3-point range and finished with 12 points and five rebounds. Chandler Parsons came off the bench and scored 15 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists.

Richard Delk, a transfer from Mississippi State, led the Trojans (2-1) with 15 points.

SECOND HALF LIVE BLOG BELOW
Make that a 10-0 Boynton run. Wow! UF 80, Troy 54; 2:06. Alex Tyus out of the game with what appears to be leg cramps or a knee injury. (More on that later.) Rod Tishman in the game!

A 7-0 run by Kenny Boynton gives Florida a 77-52 lead with 2:49 left in the game. The 15-point lead is the Gators' largest of the game after trailing 32-31 at half. Boynton with 20 points, six rebounds and four assists. Point guard Erving Walker with 13 points (all in the second half), six rebounds and six assits. Walker, by the way, is 5-foot-8.

--Kenny Boynton with a pretty one-handed runner from the baseline to give UF a 72-50 lead with 5:13 left in the game. Boynton with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists.

--Wow, Thunder Dan with back-to-back 3-pointers. The O'Dome is blaring AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" during a timeout. UF 68, Troy 45; 6:26.

--Dan Werner swishes a 3-pointer after a hard-earned offensive rebound by Chandler Parsons. Werner 3 of 4 from behind the 3-point arc. Gators with a rebound advantage of 14 in the second half. Parsons leads the Gators in points (15) and rebounds (7). UF 65, Troy 45; 7:50. UF's biggest lead of the game.

--Gators with a 21-3 run midway through the second half. Walker exploding right now. He has 13 points this half after starting the game scoreless. In one furious minute in the second half, Walker scored five points, had a turnover and made a nice assist to Boynton. UF 58, Troy 43; 9:23.

--Ray Shipman with some nice minutes in the second half. He forced a turnover and spelled Erving Wallker. Gators playing inspired basektball right now. Fierce. Aggressive. Confident. Boynton and Walker diving all over the court. Parsons taking charges. Shipman forcing turnovers. Parsons and Boynton trapping. Florida on a 12-3 run with 11:50 left in the game: UF 50, Troy 39.

--No lie, Chandler Parsons was checking out the Rowdies in the crowd one second and then driving to the basket another. Parsons was fouled and made both of his free throws. After a Troy turnover, Erving Walker drained a long-range 3-pointer to give UF a 45-36 lead.

--Erving Walker makes a shot! Walker swished a 3-pointer with 16:52 left in the second half to give UF a 38-24 lead. Before the 3-pointer, Walker had missed his last 15 shots, a drought spanning two games.

--Alex Tyus started the second half off with a dominating statement when he rejected Troy's Antywan Jones' lay-up attempt into the UF jazz band. UF leads 35, Troy 34; 17:19.

HALFTIME SUMMARY BELOW
The Gators trailed at halftime on Friday night against Troy one game after leading Georgia Southern by one point at halftime. Troy led Florida 32-31 after out-rebounding the Gators 28-18.

Florida forward Chandler Parsons led the Gators with 10 points in the first half. Point guard Erving Walker finished the first half shooting 0 of 5. Walker is 0 of 15 in his previous two games.

Troy's transfers led the Trojans in scoring. Richard Delk (Miss. State) had seven points in the first half. Yamene Coleman (Alabama) had six points. Antywan Jones, a JUCO transfer, had six points.

FIRST HALF LIVE BLOG BELOW
--Two missed lay-ups for Florida (Tyus and Parsons) and a 7-0 Troy allowed the Trojans to retake the lead with 1:19 left in the half.

After beginning the game 1 of 4 from 3-point range, the Gators have made 4 of 8 from behind the arc. The highlight came with 3:46 left in the first half when Kenny Boynton Jr. drained a trey and was fouled while shooting. He converted the free throw for the four-point play (his second in two games) to give Florida a 31-25 lead.

--Freshman center Erik Murphy once again making a positive contribution. Murphy played six solid minutes against Georgia Southern and tonight he's receiving significant minutes against a better opponent.

--Florida is once again playing solid defense. After holding its first two opponents to under 50 points, the Gators are limiting Troy, which came into tonight's game averaging 105 points per game. Troy has scored a field goal in over five minutes. UF 23, Troy 17; 7:21.

Dan Werner with his first 3-pointer of the season to give UF its first lead of the night, 17-16. Chandler Parsons is playing well. He has 10 points and three rebounds already. UF 19, Troy 17; 8:38.

--The Gators are in for a slugfest tonight. Troy is pretty good AND BIG and features four transfers from other Division I-A schools, including Richard Delk from Mississippi State and Yamene Coleman from Alabama.

It didn't take long for Chandler Parsons to come off the bench tonight. Parsons swished the Gators first and only 3-pointer of the game so far and then added a put back to cut Troy's lead to 9-7 with 15:27 left in the first half. The Gators' long-distance shooting troubles over the last two games haven't stopped them from attempting 3s. UF is 1-4, including an attempt by Erving Walker that was at least 23 feet.

--Should be an interesting basketball game tonight. Troy (2-0) features size and athleticism and return four starters from a team that won 19 games (14-4 in Sun Belt) last season. Follow along tonight as we blog live from press row inside the O'Connell Center.

-jo-

November 19, 2009

Betting service names Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer co-favorite for Notre Dame job

GAINESVILLE -- Yes, you can even bet your hard-earned money on who the next coach of Notre Dame will be. Offshore betting service Bodog.com just emailed me the latest odds, and guess what? Florida coach Urban Meyer is leader out of the gates along with Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly.

Here are the betting odds on who the next Notre Dame coach will be if current Fighting Irish coach Charlie Weis is not retained after this season:

Urban Meyer 3/2
Brian Kelly 3/2
Jim Harbaugh 3/1
Chip Kelly 5/1
Kirk Ferentz 10/1
Bob Stoops 20/1

Question that just popped into my brain: What will Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick do with all of his winnings?

-jo-

Florida Gators basketball showing signs of improvement despite shooting woes

GAINESVILLE -- Through two exhibitions and two regular-season games, I still don't know what to make of the Florida Gators basketball team. This team remains somewhat of a mystery and even UF coach Billy Donovan probably doesn't know what to fully expect from his new-look Gators.

Is this team better than last year's team? I don't know yet. Is this team going to be a contender in the SEC East? I don't know yet. Will losing guard Nick Calathes and losing yet another recruit to Kentucky over the offseason keep Florida out of the NCAA Tournament? I don't know yet.

Of course, readers don't flock to Gator Clause by the thousands to learn about I don't know. So, I'll stop listing the unknowns now and begin writing about things that are fairly obvious at this early point in the season. Let's analyze the basketball team ... with a list!

FIVE OBSERVATIONS OF THE UF MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM AND OTHER STUFF I'M GOING TO PRATTLE ON ABOUT
5. The Gators have more frontcourt depth this season than last year. And that's a good thing! Chandler Parsons came off the bench on Wednesday night against Georgia Southern and came through for the Gators. He recorded just the second double-double of his career (15 points, 12 rebounds), which is a good sign. Beyond Parsons, freshman Erik Murphy appears to be a solid low-post player off the bench. Murphy recorded four rebounds and provided some energy in the second half. He appears to be technically sound (for a freshman) and isn't afraid to bang inside. Sophomore Kenny Kadji still appears to be a work in progress. Some players need a little more time to develop and Kadji might be one of those guys. Still, he played eight minutes on Wednesday and had two rebounds, a block and a steal. Kadji has the potential to improve through hard work.

4. In the backcourt, the Gators could use another outside scoring threat. I know, you're going to call me crazy, but Ray Shipman needs to start taking MORE SHOTS! Shipman played 16 minutes on Wednesday and only attempted three shots, including one 3-point attempt. Shipman's 3-point attempt in the first half missed the rim. After that, he appeared to get a little nervous. Don't be nervous, Ray. Just let if fly, baby! It will start falling. The Gators need Shipman to find his shot. Why? He's going to be open! Freshman Kenny Boynton Jr. is UF's primary outside threat. He's a great shooter and will draw most of the attention this season. That means Shipman and point guard Erving Walker will have plenty of open looks at the basket. Walker isn't afraid to shoot, and that's a good thing. He was 0 of 10 from the floor on Wednesday but that isn't a realistic indication of his talent. He's a good shooter. Shipman appears to be the missing piece from the wing. As UF coach Billy Donovan likes to call him, Shipman is the team's "X-factor." Shipman has the speed to get open. Now he just needs to start shooting.

3. Last week, I wrote that center Vernon Macklin might not be the All-American everyone wants him to be. That might be true but Macklin has more than enough talent to be an impact player for the Gators' this season. He got in early foul trouble on Wednesday and only played 19 minutes but in those 19 minutes he produced 15 points on 7 of 9 shooting and had seven rebounds. Macklin appears to be slowly finding his form. He's gradually improving and needs to take a big step forward next week, when UF hosts Florida State and then travels to Atlantic City, N.J., to take on Michigan State.

2. Alex Tyus had a tough game on Wednesday. He had just as many fouls (four) as he had points and he only attempted one shot, which he missed. Tyus had an off night offensively but he's still the Gators' best player (just my opinion). What Tyus lacked in offense on Wednesday he made up for with a strong defensive performance. He had four rebounds and three blocks.

1. That leads us to the No.1 most important thing to take away from Wednesday night's game. Tyus only attempted one shot and Florida was 2 of 16 from 3-point range, but UF still managed to defeat Georgia Southern by 20 points. That means Florida is playing pretty good defense. Georgia Southern was 18 of 55 from the field (32.7 percent), including 4 of 18 from 3-point range (22.2 percent). UF had 18 more rebounds than Georgia Southern (51-33). Those are good numbers compared to last season.

Last season, Florida had trouble against physical teams. We still don't know what to make of this season's Gators -- it's too early -- but we do know that Florida must be physically tougher than it was last season to defeat Florida State and Michigan State next week. Wednesday offered evidence that the Gators are improving. Now, if only UF could start making some 3-pointers.

Up next for UF: a home game against Troy at 7 p.m. on Friday.

-jo-

And the spouse of the year award goes to ... Ann Bowden

OK, Florida plays rival Florida State in two-Saturday's time so this blog post is not totally irrelevant to Gators football. Plus, I'm sure a few people who read this blog have spouses, so that makes it doubly worth reading.

In Wednesday's USA Today, Ann Bowden, wife of FSU coach Bobby Bowden, offered evidence that she's pretty awesome. This is the proper way to defend your man after he's had a bad year: "You know, we don't need the university as much as they need us -- as much as they need him and his connections and reputation and everything. If they want to pull that trick, we'll just shake the dirt off our feet and go to Europe or go on a long cruise or something."

Double snap. Mmhmm, you go girl.

-jo-


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