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20 posts from April 2010

April 30, 2010

Tebow impresses media during first practice with the Broncos, completes 21 of 22 passes

TebowBroncos (Photograph by Craig F. Walker of the Denver Post) 

GAINESVILLE -- Have you ordered your officially licensed Tim Tebow Denver Broncos jersey? If you haven't, then you're apparently in the minority. CLICK ME!

Tebow donned his No.15 Denver Broncos jersey for the first time in practice on Friday at the Broncos' headquarters in Englewood, Colo. Members of the media were allowed to watch a portion of the Broncos' first rookie minicamp. Tebow reportedly completed 21 of 22 passes. The one incompletion was a drop. According to a report by the Associated Press, Tebow's throws were "tight and compact."


April 28, 2010

Addazio speaks to Gator Club of Miami

GAINESVILLE -- Amazingly, I haven't received any emails from excited Gators fans regarding Steve Addazio's visit to Miami. Hello, Gators fans! Where are you? Is it true that only about 50 fans showed up for the Gator Gathering? That's the information I received from colleague Barry Jackson, who attended the event.

I spoke with Addazio briefly on Thursday during a conference call and he said Gator Gathering was "great." During the same conference call, Addazio said that he didn't know if UF coach Urban Meyer would be attending the Southeastern Conference spring meetings June 1-4 at the Sandestin Hilton.

Addazio has become the UF football team's public mouthpiece this offseason. The offensive coordinator has taken Meyer's place at several Gator Gatherings and represented UF during the SEC's coaches conference call on Thursday. For whatever reason, Addazio would not address the regional recruiting assignments of his fellow assistant coaches during the current high school evaluation period. Spring football for Florida high schools begins next week. Addazio did say during the conference call that he expects UF to field one of the best offensive lines in the country this fall. UF returns four starters along the offensive line.

Listed are the regional recruiting assignments for the Gators' assistant coaches. Of note, co-defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Teryl Austin does not have an assigned region in the state of Florida. 

Chuck Heater, co-defensive coordinator/safeties: Panhandle to Tallahassee area.

Brian White, tight ends: Alachua County and north-central Florida.

Scot Loeffler, quarterbacks: Jacksonville area down to Flagler County and also Marion County.

D.J. Durkin, linebackers: Daytona Beach area and down the coast to Martin County

Stan Drayton, running backs: Orlando and Lakeland areas and also Miami-Dade.

Dan McCarney, defensive line: Tampa Bay area.

Steve Addazio, offensive coordinator/offensive line: Manatee and Sarasota down to Collier County and across the Everglades to Glades and Hendry counties.

Zach Azzanni, wide receivers: Palm Beach and Broward counties.


April 25, 2010

Best picture of the 2010 NFL Draft


GAINESVILLE -- One for the scrapbook.


April 23, 2010

Gators Major Wright overcome with emotion upon being drafted by the Chicago Bears


PICTURED: Major Wright welcomes Oklahoma Sooners receiver Jauquin Inglesias to South Florida during the 2009 BCS national championship game. The bone-rattling play will go down as one of the best hits in Florida football history.

GAINESVILLE -- So, picture this: A football player gets drafted by the Chicago Bears and then momentarily loses his mind. He bursts out of his home, runs up and down the street screaming to all of Fort Lauderdale and the world and then breaks down and cries.

That was former Florida Gators safety Major Wright on Friday night. He was drafted in the third round (75th overall) by the Chicago Bears. It was the Bears' first pick of the NFL Draft.

"I'm living in my dream," Wright said.

Wright's punishing style will fit in nicely with the Bears, who are in need of some help in the secondary after finishing 27th in the NFL against the pass last season. Wright, a graduate of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, was one of four Gators drafted on Friday, the second day of the NFL Draft. Seven Gators have been drafted through the first three rounds. Rounds four through seven will be determined on Saturday. UF players still to be drafted are Aaron Hernandez, Riley Cooper, David Nelson, Markihe Anderson, Brandon James and potentially others.

Defensive ends Jermaine Cunningham and Carlos Dunlap and middle linebacker Brandon Spikes were drafted in the second round on Friday. Cunningham was taken 53rd overall by the New England Patriots. Dunlap was drafted 54th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. Spikes went 62nd overall to the Patriots.


Tim Tebow Q & A

GAINESVILLE -- Stuff Tim Tebow said on Thursday night ... And, oh, by the way, bet the good folks at Nike got a real kick on Thursday night out of seeing the first images of Tebow as a drafted player wearing ... a Reebok hat! Love it.

TebowReebok Did he know the Broncos were going to draft him?

"It all started at the combine. I had an opportunity to do an interview with their staff and I left thinking ‘Gosh I love those guys, I love Coach McDaniels. He's so passionate, he loves football.'

[We interrupt this quote with an important message: Tim Tebow loves Reebok like Josh McDaniels loves football. Just look at the hat! Go buy a pair of Tim Tebow Reeboks and donate your Nikes! Now, back to the quote ... ]

After that they didn't come to the Pro day and I didn't hear from them and I thought, ‘Man, are they not interested?' But then at the end they called me up and so I came up and I did a work out for them and I thought that went really good and we thought they liked me and were very straightforward the whole time and said that they were interested in me. So we prepared as thought I was their draft pick. So we had the hats ready and when Coach McDaniels called we pulled them out and we're wearing our pride right now."

How did he deal with the criticism?

"A lot of people said it was going to be a hard process or a long process and that it was going to be very frustrating for me but I loved it and I enjoyed the working process. All the critics and negativity only pushed me that much more and made me work that much harder and made me better. I think that was a positive thing for me, to be honest with you. I believed in myself and the people that were around me and supporting me. I thank my quarterback coaches for the work that they put in and trying to constantly get better. Not only get better but show that I was coachable, to be humble and learn to do what someone says and I think that is something that I tried to show and I think I showed that to Coach McDaniels and the staff there."

How long will it take for him to be a starter?

"I have no idea. That's not even something that I'm thinking about. I'm thinking about just going in there and learning the offense, competing, working hard and just being the first one in and the last one to leave. And showing them that I love this, I love what I do and thank you so much for taking me and I'm not going to let you down."

What number will he wear?

"To be honest, I will wear whatever number they want me to wear. If that's 15, I'll wear 15. If that's 95, I'll wear 95. I don't really care, just as long as I can wear a Denver Broncos jersey. That's my approach and my attitude."

How much does he love Denver Coach Josh McDaniels?

"I definitely want to repay Coach McDaniels for the faith he showed in me. I want to be a great quarterback, I want to pursue that. I've wanted to be a quarterback in the NFL for a great many years. That's my goal and has been my goal since I was 6 years old. I'm going to do whatever it takes to get there. I'm thankful to Coach McDaniels for having the strength and the voice in me, to choose me and to believe in me. I'm just thankful for that and obviously I do, for the next few years, repay him for what he did for me and believing in me. Just like it was when I was at Florida, my biggest thrill was doing things for Coach Meyer, winning championships and being able to help him. That's going to be my greatest joy in Denver is going to be to repay Coach McDaniels for believing in me. That's something that's always been very important to me, is my relationship with coaches. Our connection means more to me than anything else."

How will he balance his off-the-field commitments and football?

"I want to do a lot because I honestly feel that that is more important than playing football. Being able to make a difference and put smiles on kids' faces. I'm excited about the opportunity but I probably won't do that much right now because this whole summer I'm going to be in the film room and in the meeting room, learning, working and grinding. I'll probably start that after my rookie year. I do have my foundation up and running, the good thing about that is that my brother and other members of my family can really help out and run that while I get to working on football."


April 22, 2010

Can't believe Tebow fell all the way to 25th

GAINESVILLE -- Wow! Who saw that coming? Gator Clause is still in shock that Tim Tebow fell all the way to 25th in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. (Sarcasm, people.)

The Denver Broncos gave away three lower-round draft picks to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night to select Tebow at 25th overall. Bold move by the Horses.

Congratulations goes out to UF cornerback Joe Haden, who was selected seventh overall by Cleveland, and of course congrats to the talented Maurkice Pouncey, was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers at No.18. Pouncey has Steeler written all over him, doesn't he?

So, guess who Tebow and the Denver Broncos play to begin the 2010 season? You guessed it. The Jacksonville Jaguars. Question: Will there be more Tebow fans than Jags fans in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium that day? Answer: Yes.

Jacksonville not drafting Tebow could seriously come back to haunt this franchise. Jacksonville should have drafted Tebow. Instead, the Jags drafted some defensive lineman from California. Of course, Denver drafting Tebow could eventually cost Denver coach Josh McDaniels his job. At least, that's what some people will write this weekend.

McDaniels, a Bill Belichick clone, is all about team chemistry, apparently. Case in point: McDaniels ditched his old No.15, Brandon Marshall, for a new No.15, Tebow.

Tebow was the second quarterback selected on Thursday. Sam Bradford, who never defeated Tebow, was selected first overall by St. Louis. As we move to the second day of the NFL Draft, Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen and Texas quarterback Colt McCoy are still waiting to hear their names called.

So, which Gator will be selected first one the second day of the draft? My money is on Major Wright to the Maimi Dolphins.


April 19, 2010

Billy Donovan and Urban Meyer pulling in the recruits

GAINESVILLE -- Plenty of recruiting news to report now that I'm back in town.

1. Former Rutgers guard Mike Rosario is headed to the University of Florida. Rosario visited Gainesville this week and signed his transfer papers on Sunday. He plans to enroll in June but won't be eligible to play in a game until the 2011-2012 season. Rosario averaged over 16 points per game for Rutgers as a sophomore. He'll be a redshirt junior for the 2011 season. Rosario scored 14 points in a loss to Florida this season.

2. Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan picked up his third commitment for the 2010 class this weekend after a visit from 6-7 forward Will Yeguete of Melbourne Florida Air. Yeguete joins 6-5 forward Casey Prather of Jackson, Tenn., and 6-8 forward Patric Young of Jacksonville as members of the Gators' 2010 recruiting class.

3. Florida football coach Urban Meyer picked up a commitment from 2011 quarterback Jeff Driskel of Orlando Hagerty High on Monday. A 6-3, 225-pound quarterback, Driskel is a mobile quarterback with a strong arm who will likely be ranked one of the Southeast's top high-school passers this fall. Meyer now has four commitments for the class of 2011.

Former Gator Joakim Noah scored 25 points and had 13 rebounds in the Bulls' 112-102 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

On Sunday, Noah told reporters that "Cleveland sucks," referring to the lack of a downtown attractions. Guess you can only go to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame so many times. Noah was booed handsomely on Monday night for his comment.

Noah made even more headlines on Sunday when he called Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett a dirty player. Noah was asked about Garnett's role in the altercation between the Celtics and Heat during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs.


April 16, 2010

Joakim Noah vs. Lebron James: Let the NBA Playoffs begin!

GAINESVILLE -- So, you know how different blogs always have their individual niches. Like, this blog is dedicated to protecting the poor and fighting illiteracy. Well, the editorial board here at Gator Clause -- in our collective brilliance -- has decided to branch out.

We're now going to add coverage of Joakim Noah to our repertoire. From henceforth, this blog is dedicated to providing its readers with periodic updates of Noah and his exploits. There are two archetypes for athletic leaders at the University of Florida. There is the Tim Tebow archetype and there's the Joakim Noah archetype. They both win championships. They both inspire excellence. They both speak their minds. The difference in Tebow and Noah: One guy is kind of dorky and one guy is undoubtedly cool.

240_noah-james So, we've already established here at ol' Gator Clause that Noah is pretty much one of the coolest athletes in the world. That's a proven fact. And, it's already been established that Lebron James really wishes he was cool and authentic and he pays a lot of people a lot of money to make him appear cool and authentic but he just isn't and never will be.

So, Lebron is envious of Joakim, and that's understandable considering Lebron's insecure personality and Joakim's Jedi powers. It's made for an interesting rivalry. That rivalry will be renewed at 3 p.m. on Saturday in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The winner of the seven-game series matches up in the second round with the winner of Heat-Celtics series.

Noah has promised to try and shock the world with a first-round win against Cleveland. Noah's Bulls are the Eastern Conference's eighth seed (last) and Cleveland is seeded first.

"Everybody thinks we're going to get our [butts] whipped," Noah said. "And, you know what, we're going to try to shock the world. That's what we're going to try to do. That's pretty cool, I think."

And since Noah is the foremost authority on cool, he's right, of course.

Noah pretty much single handedly transformed the Bulls' team culture when he arrived in Chicago in 2007. It took some getting used to by the lazy veterans who were with the team at the time, but everyone got the message. Now Noah has the Bulls in the playoffs for the second year in a row. Noah has Lebron's attention, too.

"We're ready for the challenge," James said. "I think Noah's a really good player. He's a really good talent. But, you know, he asked for us a couple weeks ago and he got us. So we're ready. It's a different monster they're going to be playing against on Saturday."


Gators Ray Shipman breaks down the campus-groupie game

GAINESVILLE -- Interesting stuff from UF's student newspaper. Apparently Ray Shipman was scoring plenty his freshman season just not on the court. LINK!

In the article, Shipman says that athletes pass around girls.

"A lot of the older players show you around," Shipman said. "If my teammate is with a girl and it's not really serious, they end up switching to me. And now that I'm older, I introduce them to the new players. Some teammates of mine, some other athletes, they don't really care. That's not my type. That's nasty. But some freshman, they'll hop right on it."

Those crazy freshmen. They got mad hops.


April 15, 2010

Joe Paterno: 'Expansion is coming'

GAINESVILLE -- Talk of college football expansion is starting to heat up. Today's links:

1. Joe Paterno leads chorus of coaches calling for Big Ten expansion

"Expansion is coming," Paterno said. "I think the trend is there's going to be bigger conferences. There's going to be 12-, 14-team conferences and maybe even 16-team conferences.

"Do I know what I'm talking about? Who knows? We're naive if we think that you can sit back and watch everybody else move ahead, because they're going to move ahead. We better start thinking about where we're going."

2. If conference expansion comes true, college athletics will never be the same, by Dennis Dodd

Writes Dodd: We seem to be heading, inexorably, to the era of super conferences in college sports. To get there, there may be more conference shifting than ever experienced in the past.

Dodd goes on to write: Part of this particular arms race is about ego -- [Jim] Delany and the Big Ten staying ahead of Mike Slive and the SEC. The Big Ten reportedly pays out $22 million per school in football revenue per year. The SEC number is $17 million. The completion of the SEC deal is July followed the start of the [Big Ten Network] in 2006.

"If the Big Ten went to 16, the SEC wouldn't be far behind," said Tom Hansen, former Pac-10 commissioner. "It's all driven by football TV income."

Pine Crest coach on Kentucky commitment Brandon Knight: 'I hope he is happy.'

GAINESVILLE -- Patrick Patterson. John Wall. Eric Bledsoe. Brandon Knight: Anyone see a pattern here?

They were all elite recruits. They all considered going to Florida. They all chose Kentucky. OK, Wall probably didn't even consider UF, but you get the point. Kentucky has dominated Florida both on the recruiting trail and the court for the last three years. Bottom line: There is a perception that Kentucky has more to offer the game's best players.

Knight of Fort Lauderdale is the most recent super recruit to choose UK over UF. He announced his decision on Wednesday. This latest example of Kentucky's recruiting superiority especially hurts for UF fans because Knight is a homegrown player and two-time Gatorade national player of the year.

"On my trip to Kentucky, I couldn't believe the amount of support the players got from fans," Knight said on Wednesday. "People were shouting my name."

Florida has a respectable basketball following but it's nothing compared to Kentucky. In Kentucky, the fans are crazy about their basketball the way Florida fans are crazy about their football. Only, Kentucky basketball might have a bigger following. Let's not be naive here, though. Fan support is not why Knight chose Kentucky over Florida.

Here's an interesting quote from Knight's high school coach that might shed a little light on Knight's decision.

"I hope he is happy," Fort Lauderdale coach David Beckerman said on Wednesday. "I'm sure this decision that was made between him and his parents is one that will make him achieve the goals and objectives that he is looking to meet."

I hope he is happy. That's an interesting thing for a high school coach to say on the day his star basketball player committed to Kentucky. It implies, obviously, that Knight might not be happy. To fully understand the quote, you must fully understand the man who said it. Pine Crest's Beckerman is a man who coaches high school basketball for two reasons: One, he truly loves the game and, two, he wants to make a difference in young people's lives. It's what makes him happy. He does it for free and literally travels thousands of miles to do it. Beckerman founded Starter Sportswear. He's a semi-retired snowbird who lives half the year Guilford, Conn.

The sentiment among those who covered Knight for several years is that Wednesday's choice to play for Kentucky was made for reasons other than the Wildcats' rabid fan base. Exposure, creating the Brandon Knight brand, getting ready for the NBA, making money: Those are the reasons. Nothing wrong them, of course.

Here's another interesting quote from Beckerman, taken from the New Haven (Conn.) Register in December: "There's a lot of things involved [in Knight's recruitment]. Someone says, 'Do you want to be John Wall's replacement?' Another one says, 'Is Kemba Walker going to be back?' And this one says, 'What will the team you're going to play with be like? Are you going to be playing with enough good players to get you in the national spotlight at the Final Four?'"

We reported last summer that Knight wasn't coming to Florida. At the time, we reported that his handlers didn't want him following Kenny Boynton Jr. to Gainesville. To be frank, those in the know said that Knight's father didn't want his son having to share the spotlight with Boynton. Never mind that a Knight-Boynton backcourt combo would have been the quickest way for both players to reach the Final Four.

Knight will now be playing against Boynton, his old buddy from AAU, but Knight will be playing against more than that at Kentucky. He'll be playing against UK's memory of John Wall. Good luck.


April 12, 2010

Gators spring football and everything after

GAINESVILLE -- A few items to address before we begin breaking down the spring game.

1. Urban Meyer received his third commitment of the 2011 recruiting class this weekend when prep standout Jeoffrey Pagan of Asheville, N.C., committed to the Gators. A 6-4, 250-pound defensive end, Pagan committed to Meyer on Friday. Pagan, who is from Miami, made the trip to Gainesville for the spring game and told Meyer of his decision in person. Meyer apparently did a little dance when Pagan committed. Meyer can dance? Well, he was a shortstop in the minors. I've always contended that shortstops are the best dancers. On the bucket list: Dance with Urban Meyer at a Jimmy Buffett concert. ANYWAY, Pagan had scholarship offers from Alabama, USC, FSU, LSU, Notre Dame and Georgia. He told recruiting websites this weekend that he doesn't plan on taking any official visits (other than his official to UF, of course).

2. Sticking with the recruiting theme, Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest guard Brandon Knight will announce his basketball commitment at 4 p.m. Wednesday on ESPNU. Knight will choose between UF, Kentucky, Syracuse, Kansas and Connecticut.

3. I'm still sticking by my prediction that the Seattle Seahawks will select Tim Tebow with the 14th pick of the NFL Draft. Call me crazy.

4. While my original blog post on the idea was presented with a what-if slant, I now have serious reason to believe that if the Big Ten adds five schools and one of those teams is Notre Dame then the SEC will in fact consider adding teams but only if it's a slam dunk and benefits the league. Again, think big here: Texas and Texas A&M in the SEC West and FSU and Miami or Georgia Tech in the SEC East. Just a guess, but Florida would likely try and block the addition of Miami into the SEC. Of course, UF could always be outvoted by other members in a collective power play. FSU recruits primarily against UF, Miami, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. Miami recruits primarily against UF and FSU. Also, keep in mind that Georgia Tech was an original member of the SEC. Of course, Notre Dame has a pretty sweet deal going with the BCS. My guess: As long as there is a BCS, Notre Dame will remain independent. If Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, then the gears of a national playoff might -- MIGHT -- slowly begin turning.


1. Trey Burton, QB
: Gator Clause must take the time and thank Mr. Burton for making our editorial board look like a collective genius. The Gator Clause Board of Directors named Burton the spring's most improved player on Thursday. On Saturday, Burton accounted for 243 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. Burton's 76-yard run was a thing of beauty and set an spring-game record for longest run from scrimmage. (UF began keeping spring-game stats in 1996.) Burton also did an excellent job at the end of the second quarter in leading the Gators' no-huddle offense. Burton completed five consecutive passes to get his offense in field-goal range.

2. Carl Moore, WR: Moore isn't really a newcomer but since he missed all of 2009 and played sparingly in 2008, we're including Moore in this list. Officially, I have no idea why Moore missed those two practices this spring, but it certainly wasn't because he feared competition. Moore was UF's best possession receiver on Saturday, accounting for eight receptions, 130 yards and a touchdown. Welcome back, Carl. Be smart this summer.

3. Mike Gillislee, RB: The rising sophomore from Deland was his usual steady self on Saturday. He had 10 carries for 47 yards and a touchdown on tired legs. No one worked harder this spring than Gillislee.

4. Josh Shaw, CB: Shaw was picked on plenty Saturday but the Californian kept battling and finished with a spring-game high eight tackles. He also had an interception. Shaw also made a nice play when he knocked down a pass over the middle intended for Carl Moore. Moore created a little separation but Shaw recovered quickly to make the play in one-on-one coverage.

5. Andre Debose, WR: After sitting out last season with a hamstring injury, Debose showed everyone in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium that he still has plenty of speed. In limited duty, Debose had two receptions for 30 yards. I like Debose and I like his aggressive demeanor. As much as he hates being compared to Percy Harvin, Debose and Harvin certainly share some of the same characteristics: toughness, confidence, quick first step, speed, play-making ability, etc.

Frankie Hammond, Jr., WR
: Hammond of Hallandale is such a smart receiver. It's fun to watch him play. His awareness on the field helped UF's quarterbacks on Saturday. Hammond had four receptions for 20 yards, including a touchdown. On the touchdown, Hammond noticed quarterback John Brantley scrambling, adjusted his route and got open in the end zone for his quarterback. Nice play, Frankie!

Moses Jenkins, CB: Jenkins of Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson had a solid spring game. He made several impressive tackles, including one that prevented a touchdown and another that forced a fourth down inside the red zone. Jenkins finished with four tackles.

1. Burton's 76-yard run was the day's rushing highlight. He made just about everyone on the Gators' second-team defense miss at least once.

2. John Brantley's 47-yard bomb to Deonte Thompson on the first play from scrimmage was a REAL football play. (sarcasm, people!)

3. Brantley's 14-yard touchdown strike to Carl Moore in the second quarter was excellent. Moore was at his best in the red-zone on Saturday.

4. Burton's 20-yard touchdown pass to Omarius Hines in the second quarter showed everyone that Burton is certainly capable of making quality throws.

5. Jordan Reed's 31-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Lawrence in the fourth quarter excited coaches, including offensive coordinator Steve Addazio who gushed about Reed's arm strength after the game.

1. The first-team offensive line struggled at times to form a pocket for Brantley. Of course, the offensive line was without some of its projected starters.

2. Which reminds me. Offensive guard Carl Johnson, who sat out with a shoulder injury, was on the sidelines looking a little beefy. Let's hope Johnson's shoulder heals in time so he can be in shape for two-a-days.

3. The interception throw by Burton on the second-team offense's first play from scrimmage was a coach's fault. Of course, the coach who called the play was a student. Two students won contests to call the first offensive plays for each team. Brantley completed his bomb on the first-team offense's first play. Burton's bomb was predictable and was picked off by Josh Shaw. (Still, it was a great play by Shaw.) After the game, Burton said he didn't agree with the student's call, and instead wanted a designed quarterback run.

4. Plenty of South Florida recruits made the trip to Gainesville for the spring game. Some I've been able to track down: Eli Rogers, a wide receiver at Miami Northwestern; Jeremy Cash, a safety at Plantation; Ryan Shazier, a defensive end from Plantation; Curt Maggit, a defensive lineman was West Palm Beach Dwyer.

5. Other top recruits in attendance: Lateek Townsend, a top linebacker prospect from South Carolina; Mike Bellamy, a running back from Punta Gorda; Nick Waisome, a defensive back from Southlake; Ray Drew, a defensive end from Thomasville, Ga.

6. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin told me that cornerback Adrian Bushell is currently not with the team while he deals with personal issues (most likely grades).

QB: John Brantley, Trey Burton, Jordan Reed
RB: Jeff Demps, Emmanuel Moody OR Mike Gillislee, Chris Rainey
FB: Steve Wilks, T.J. Pridemore
Z-receiver: Deonte Thompson, Omar Hines, Frankie Hammond Jr., T.J. Lawrence
Y-receiver: Carl Moore, Frankie Hammond Jr., Justin Williams, Stephen Alli
Slot-receiver: Chris Rainey, Andre Debose, Frankie Hammond Jr., Solomon Patton, Robert Clark
TE: Jordan Reed, Gerald Christian
RT: Marcus Gilbert, David Young, Jonotthan Harrison?
RG: Maurice Hurt, Nick Alajajian?
C: Mike Pouncey, Sam Robey
LG: James Wilson, Jon Halapio?
LT: Xavier Nixon, Matt Patchan?, Ian Siberman?

DE: Justin Trattou, Kedric Johnson OR Lerentee McCray?
DL: Terron Sanders, Jaye Howard
DL: Lawrence Marsh, Omar Hunter
DE: Duke Lemmens, William Green
SLB: A.J. Jones, Lorenzo Edwards
MLB: Jon Bostic, Brendan Beal, Jelani Jenkins
WLB: Brandon Hicks, Dee Finley
CB: Janoris Jenkins, Josh Shaw
FS: Will Hill, Matt Elam
SS: Ahmad Black, Miguel Carodine/Jordan Haden
CB: Moses Jenkins, Jeremy Brown, Jaylen Watkins
NB: Matt Elam, Jeremy Brown

Kicker: Caleb Sturgis, John Crofoot
Punter: Chas Henry, David Lerner
Punt return: Chris Rainey, Robert Clark
Kick return: Chris Rainey, Mike Gillislee


April 11, 2010

Will Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer be back this fall?

GAINESVILLE -- Steve McClain cut me off before I could ask Urban Meyer. It's the question everyone wanted answered: Will the Florida Gators' coach be back this fall?

Who is Steve McClain? He's the air-traffic controller during Urban Meyer's post-game interviews. On Saturday, he seemed more like a bodyguard. His message: If you're going to ask difficult questions, then this interview is over. The kid gloves being used for Meyer seem so bizarre to me, but bizarre and out of the ordinary is an everyday thing for this football program recently.

Will Meyer be back? No one can say for certain, not even the guy who likely be in charge if Meyer stepped down tomorrow. On Saturday, Steve Addazio was stuck answering the difficult question I wanted to ask Meyer. I felt kind of bad putting Addazio on the spot. But, hey, that's the gig. 

QUESTION: Steve, can you say for a certainty that Urban is going to be back in the fall?

After a long pause, here's what Addazio said.

ADDAZIO: "I can't even respond to that question, you know what I mean."

MY REPLY: Well, you would be the guy to be the head coach.

ADDAZIO: "Here's what I would say to you. I'm hoping to make it -- I don't get hit by a car when I walk across the street right here. Seriously, I can't even comment on that. I'm just so fired up right now. He's great -- looks good, feels good. I think you just enjoy the heck out of what we're doing and thrilled to death. I can't wait to start the season. I see what you see: energy, passion. I see it all. I'm not worried about anything, OK."

Addazio will be filling in for Meyer this summer during the annual booster club tour. My suggestion to fans: Go meet Steve Addazio. This man is a top-notch motivator and a great guy. Here's how Addazio describes the attitude of the coaching staff right now:

"It's a foxhole mentality," he said. "When you get in that foxhole and you got a lot of good things around you, you feel good."

Never been in a foxhole and never want to be a foxhole, but if I was, I would want Addazio covering my six.

As for Meyer, I guess shielding him from the press is necessary, and I can accept that. His health is the most important thing here. Meyer said on Saturday that avoiding the press is part of the plan to reduce stress. I just don't get it. It doesn't have to be that way, but whatever.

Meyer met with reporters for about nine minutes on Saturday. He spoke with the press for about 20 minutes the entire spring. Covering Florida is a challenge these days. You've got choose your words carefully. You never know if that last interview is going to be the last time you get a chance to ask Meyer a question. Saturday was actually the first time I've had a chance to ask Meyer a question since National Signing Day. I was covering the Florida-BYU basketball game the first time Meyer spoke. I was covering the Final Four the second time.

I would much rather have asked about the spring game, but that didn't seem like the best use of my precious questions.

QUESTION 1: Urban, what's the reason or thought process behind scaling back the news conferences and booster club meetings?

MEYER: "I just did some research on my own, and [sports information director] Steve [McClain] and the administration, we did some research on what other places do and the focus is on recruiting, our players, our team and obviously raising my children and the coaches raising their children and doing it the right way," Meyer siad. "So, if that takes away from other stuff, that's got to happen."

QUESTION 2: And, what are some of the ways you've learned to manage stress here in the last few months?

MEYER: "Manage stress?"


MEYER: "By cutting back on media. [LAUGHTER] By seeing Ron Powell and Sharrif Floyd and some of these great players walking around here. That's how I manage stress."

QUESTION 3: And, are you going to be back ...



April 10, 2010

Gators Tebow missed his chance to take a stand when he signed with Nike

Tiger Woods YouTube voiceover. So funny. So brutal. Quick, Timmy, save Nike's image.

I'm just going to throw this out there. Does anyone remember the Tim Tebow Super Bowl commercial? Remember when Tebow said he did the commercial because Focus on the Family is something he believes in and supports. That was great, the press said. A prominent figure standing up for something he believes, the press said.

Well, imagine for a second if Tebow came out and said he wasn't going to sign with Nike because Tiger Woods is still on Nike's payroll. Now THAT would have sent a message and EVERYONE would have listened. Only in a perfect world, I guess. Now Nike is paying Tebow and Woods. What's the difference between a sinner and a saint? Nothing, when it comes to selling shoes.


April 09, 2010

Miami and Florida State to the SEC? Here's how it could happen

GAINESVILLE -- There was plenty going on in Indianapolis last weekend other than basketball.

Behind the scenes, powerbrokers were discussing potentially dramatic changes to the sport of college football. There was talk of the Big Ten adding five schools and forming a 16-team mega-conference. There was talk of the Southeastern Conference following suit. Nothing could happen. Everything could happen.

How does Miami and Florida State joining the SEC sound to Gators fans? How does it sound to Canes and Noles? Don't laugh. It could happen. It's unlikely, but it's not folly. (OK, maybe it is, but whatever.) Here's how it could go down ...

College athletics as we know it teetering on a knife's edge. It's an arms race, folks, plain and simple. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Big Ten presidents met in Indianapolis last weekend to discuss the possibility off adding one, three or five teams. Eleven teams currently play football in the Big Ten.

The Big Ten wants a playoff. The conference is seriously considering expansion. Let me put this the most elementary way possible, the Big Ten wants to try and be richer and better than the SEC. How to do that? There are a several ways.

1. Add Notre Dame, bringing Big Ten football to 12 teams.

2. Notre Dame chooses to remain independent in football and the Big Ten adds one school from another conference. (Big East or Big 12, most likely).

3. Add Notre Dame and two schools from another conference.

5. Notre Dame chooses to remain independent and the Big Ten adds three schools.

4. Add Notre Dame and steal four schools from other conferences to form college football's first mega-conference. A Big 16 to rule all.

5. Notre Dame chooses to remain independent and the Big Ten adds five schools from other conferences to ... you guessed it... form college football's first mega-conference to rule all.

Or maybe not.

For the fun of it, let's say the Big Ten becomes the Big 16 and adds Notre Dame, Louisville, West Virginia, Pitt and Cincinnati. (There are other possible variations, obviously, but let's stick with these teams just because, geographically, it makes for some interesting rivalries.) As you can plainly see, this would be a mega-conference that would trump even the SEC.

Would the SEC stand pat and allow itself to fall behind the new Big 16? That doesn't seem very SECish, if you ask me. The SEC (God bless Roy Kramer and Mike Slive) enjoys being the top dog of college football. Fans demand it. Alumni demand it. Heck, even politicians demand it. Ahh, politics. That's where this whole conference-expansion speculation gets really interesting.

With the Big 16 in place, the SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference are now feeling the pressure. Does the ACC add the football schools of the old Big East, bringing the ACC to 16 teams? Will the SEC follow suit and pilfer the ACC and/or Big 12? This brings us to the oh-so-titillating opportunity for the SEC to make a play for four more major football schools.

From the west, the SEC adds Texas and Texas A&M. From the east, the SEC adds Miami and Florida State. Take that, Big 16.

(Before we play make believe and realign the conferences, keep in mind that Notre Dame is the X-factor in all this. If Notre Dame joins the Big Ten then things could get interesting very quickly.)

Mississippi State 
Texas A&M

Florida State
South Carolina

Boston College
Virginia Tech

Georgia Tech
North Carolina
N.C. State
South Florida
Wake Forest

Ohio State
Penn State

Michigan State
Notre Dame
West Virginia

The Big 12 could possibly add Texas Christian and Southern Methodist to take the place of Texas and Texas A&M. The remaining schools in the Big East do not play football in the Football Bowl Subdivision: Villanova, Marquette, Georgetown, Seton Hall, St. John's, Providence and DePaul. All of Notre Dame's sports would move to the Big 16.

Bottom line: Florida, Florida State and Miami would play EVERY YEAR! And, maybe, the possibility for a college football playoff seems more likely. Wow, OK, let's not go overboard here.


April 08, 2010

Timmy lands video-game cover


GAINESVILLE -- No shocker here. Congrats, Tim. Here's a link to a great Q & A with Tim about the game and other stuff. LINK!


Trey Burton is spring's most improved player

Trey Burton


This picture I found on the recruiting website GatorBait.net does Florida Gators freshman quarterback Trey Burton no favors when it comes to throwing mechanics. Looks like he's throwing a grenade or something. Make no mistake, Burton did not bomb this spring. Far from it. It appears Urban Meyer hit a recruiting home run with this kid.

Burton's arm motion has been criticized on fan message boards. You won't find that here. Gator Clause endorses atypical and traditional throwing motions alike. Whatever gets the job done, and Burton certainly got the job done this spring. So much so that Gator Clause is naming the early enrollee the team's most improved player.

The editorial board here at Gator Clause likes Trey Burton and you should, too. Florida's back-up quarterback is a tough kid and an absolute, rock-em-sock-em born leader. He improved more than any player this spring and will start in Saturday's spring game. Keep in mind, he's still supposed to be in high school.

I had some fun with Burton on Wednesday and asked him, "Why do you get jacked up by the defense and Brantley doesn't get hit?"

Trey didn't exactly enjoy the question, but he answered my jack-a-hole inquiry with poise and class. "I wouldn't have it any other way," he said.

Burton still has plenty of work to do, but he already has proven to be an promising freshman. He's coachable (his throws have improved dramatically since the first day of spring) and, most importantly, Burton has already earned the respect of his teammates. Oh, and don't forget, it was Burton who called recruits and helped keep the recruiting class together this offseason when UF coach Urban Meyer had his incident.

Burton could be used in a Wildcat package this fall or he could be held in reserve just in case John Brantley gets hurts. (That's probably the smart move.) Either way, Burton is a valuable member of the team and has already proven himself a legitimate football player.


Question for Gators forward Alex Tyus: What are you thinking?

GAINESVILLE -- I wrote in a blog post last month that Alex Tyus needs to focus on becoming a leader this offseason. For now, Tyus apparently has different plans.

Florida's junior forward told the Gainesville Sun on Wednesday that he plans on submitting his name for the NBA Draft. He'll do this without hiring an agent, apparently. I've got some news for you, Alex. You're not getting drafted. Not this year and probably not any year. Stay in school, Alex. Get your degree, Alex. Work on becoming a leader, Alex. You might learn something about yourself. Tough words, those.

Tyus has until May 8 to remain eligible for the draft or return to school. What will Tyus be doing between now and then? Hopefully he isn't completely oblivious to his non-existent chances of getting drafted and stays in school. Not going to class right now would be a bad idea.

You might recall that Tyus wanted to transfer last offseason but then decided to return to Florida. This guy apparently wants out of Gainesville. Should UF coach Billy Donovan just let him go? Tyus would be a returning starter next season but his current attitude is an example of a problem that has plagued Florida basketball since 2007. Some players between 2008 and this season -- none currently on the roster -- seemed to care more about themselves than the team.

If Tyus is gone for good (Don't do it, Alex!) then freshman forward Erik Murphy could be an option to replace Tyus in the starting line-up. Murphy finished the season well and showed improved throughout. Another option is Jacksonville prep star Patric Young, who recently had nine rebounds in the McDonald's All-American game. Young is apparently a tough defender and that quality could earn him significant minutes as a freshman.

If Ray Shipman and Tyus do not return to the team, then Donovan should have five scholarships at his disposal when the late signing period begins in mid April. UF's current scholarship players: Murphy, Kenny Boynton Jr., Chandler Parsons, Vernon Macklin, Adam Allen, Erving Walker, Kenny Kadji and Nimrod Tishman

Recruits Young and small forward Casey Prather of Jackson, Tenn., are already on board. That leaves three scholarships. Adding a point guard (or two) seems like a priority and another big man wouldn't hurt. Donovan shouldn't give up on signing Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest guard Brandon Knight until the bitter end.

As it stands right now, the Gators return four starters for next season. Senior forward Chandler Parsons, redshirt senior Vernon Macklin and freshman Kenny Boynton Jr. have the potential to be All-SEC caliber players. Sophomore guard Erving Walker will have a year's worth of starting experience next season and has potential to improve. Add the steady play of Murphy to that group and the Gators should be able to once again compete for the SEC regular-season championship.

It certainly helps Florida that rival Kentucky just lost five players to the NBA Draft. Guards John Wall and Eric Bledsoe and forwards DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton declared for the NBA Draft on Wednesday.


April 07, 2010

MEYER: 'No stealing! No drugs! No weapons!'

GAINESVILLE -- Florida coach Urban Meyer is a realist, and I like that about him. Young adults sometimes do dumb things. They get arrested. They smoke marijuana. They sometimes make poor decisions, and when you're a football player poor decisions become headlines. Meyer knows this all too well. On Wednesday, he addressed such things with his team.

Members of Meyer's team through the years have had more than a few minor disagreements with the law. At one point, arrests were beginning to change the perception of the program and even affect the standard of football Meyer has worked so hard to achieve. Let's hope those arrests are in the past. Meyer set out to make sure of that on Wednesday with what was probably his most important speech of the spring. He gathered his team after practice, everyone took a knee and then Meyer laid down the law.

Before we proceed, it should be noted that the current Gators have, for the most part, stayed out of trouble and represented UF with class. Meyer aims to see the high standards continue this summer. Last summer, arrests were a problem.

"No stealing! No drugs! No weapons!" Meyer emphasized to his Gators. He went on to remind his team that the program has a drug policy. If a player tests positive for marijuana, then that player will be punished by missing games.

Meyer should be applauded for giving this speech in public. It was delivered within earshot of fans and reporters. After practice, players said that Meyer consistently reminds them of UF's high standards. Wednesday was the Gators' final full practice of the spring. The team will have a light practice on Friday before Saturday's spring game. After that, Meyer and his coaching staff will have limited contact with the team due to the NCAA's restriction on practicing over the summer.


April 02, 2010

Carl Moore moves from Lost to Found, plus other news and notes

By Mike-Mike McCall

Poor Joe is stuck covering the Final Four this weekend, so I get to sit in the big-boy chair today. The big news at practice was the return of receiver Carl Moore, who was back out there after missing the last two practices for "personal issues."

Urban Meyer seemed pretty accepting of Moore's time off. Then again, I guess he can't slam someone for taking a leave of absence, can he?

“It’s spring. Things happen, and you just have to take care of business," Meyer said. "He had some personal issues that had nothing to do with school or legal issues. He’s good. Young guys every once in a while go through something. He’s fine, but he does have to be a player for us. Has to be.”

Moore's brief disappearance did earn him at least a temporary demotion, though. Toward the end of practice, the Gators alternated drives between the first- and second-team offenses beginning at the far 30-yard line with 50 seconds on the clock. Moore mostly ran with the second team, where quarterback Trey Burton looked happy to have him. On one of those drives, Burton threw to more six times. Moore caught three but left the field after dropping the last one.

On that play, Moore ran a fly route against cornerback Jaylen Watkins, who had him covered tight. The 6-foot-3 Moore was hoping for a jumpball, but the pass was a bit short and he dropped it. A totally catchable pass, and not a bad throw considering the fact that Moore had no separation, but Moore complained that the pass wasn't "on point" and jogged to the sideline frustrated. Not a big deal--I've done the same thing playing flag football--just not the type of behavior you want to see from a redshirt senior who needs to be a team leader.

Hallandale High grad Frankie Hammond filled in for Moore the most with the first team, and he said Moore's time off wasn't a big deal.

“It’s just like if a guy were to get hurt," Hammond said. "If someone goes down, someone steps in to fill those shoes. It’s like a gametime situation. He went down, somebody else filled his shoes, he came back and just fit right in.”

A few other notes of interest:

-As if we needed more confirmation of this, Jeff Demps is really, really fast. He's still with UF's track and field team, and he won the 100-meter dash at the Florida Relays on Friday. Demps ran a 10.11, the fastest time recorded in the event this year in the world.

-Dwyer grad Matt Elam has really impressed the coaches at safety since enrolling earlier this semester. Meyer gushed a bit about him Friday: “Matt Elam will play next year. He’s earned that right already. He’s a hell of a player.”

-Meyer met with Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski (yep, I can spell that without looking it up) for advice about taking a leave of absence. “I went up there and talked to him for a little while. I didn’t really meet with many guys, just my closest friends. He went through something where he had a health issue and took a year off, and I think the biggest thing I learned from him — without giving it much detail — is he surrounded himself with a pack of people he really trusts. If you look at his staff, they’re all former players, and he can do that because it’s such a small staff. I think that’s important, to get that foxhole mentality with guys who care about you and you care about them.”

-Justin Trattou and Mike Pouncey are the team captains, and Meyer singled out Will Hill, Ahmad Black, Janoris Jenkins and Jelani Jenkins as the other players who have stepped up into leadership roles this spring.

-There was a lot of talk last year about using more of a two-quarterback system with Tim Tebow and John Brantley. That never happened, but Meyer says this season will be that way, most likely with tight end Jordan Reed, who has worked out of the Wildcat.

“I think we do because we have to," Meyer said. "On 3rd-and-3, I know what we want to do, and Johnny isn’t probably going to do it because he’s not that kind of player. Everyone said we just ran Tim because he’s a great player, and that’s partially true, but the other part is because in a single-wing offense, you’re plus-one in the run game. Jordan Reed has proven he can do it, and this Trey Burton cat can run real well too. I think this will probably be the year we actually do it, a little bit like when we played Tim and Chris Leak.”

-Meyer also said the field cornerback position (opposite Janoris) still isn't set. Coral Springs native Moses Jenkins is the starter there for now, but Jeremy Brown, Adrian Bushell, Watkins and Josh Shaw are all in the running. I doubt this gets set until fall.

Also, Meyer kept up his streak of getting violent with reporters. After his Q&A session was over, he gave me a slap on the chest. If it bruises I'm calling the cops tomorrow. Hopefully he closes every press conference this year by striking a reporter. If that happens, Joe better watch it. He has a very hittable face.

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