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38 posts from March 2010

March 31, 2010

The Carl Moore Watch continues for the Florida Gators

GAINESVILLE -- Everyone remembers what it took to get Carl Moore to sign with Florida, right? Everyone remembers the mini-controversies his recruitment spawned, correct?

Well, nearly two and half years after UF quarterback Tim Tebow phoned Moore the night Tebow won the 2007 Heisman Trophy, the receiver from California still hasn't made good on his side of the deal. Will he ever? That's the question everyone wants to know as spring practice winds down and Moore continues to miss practices. Moore missed his second consecutive practice on Wednesday. UF's spring scrimmage -- the Orange & Blue Debut -- is set for April 10. Will Moore be suiting up for the Gators? On Wednesday, that possibility was left unanswered by UF offensive coordinator Steve Addazio.

Addazio said that Moore is dealing with "personal issues" and the coach gave no timetable for Moore's return. Calls to Moore's mother, Jackie Moore, were not returned on Wednesday evening.

Moore stormed off the practice field on Saturday and hasn't been seen since. Are we to assume that Moore's public show of emotion -- he got angry right in front of about a dozen reporters on Saturday -- and his absences since that day are related? It would unfair to Moore to jump to conclusions at this point. All that is certain is that Moore hasn't been practicing and he's not injured. Moore missed all of the 2009 season with an injured back, according to UF coach Urban Meyer. On Wednesday, when asked if Moore was having problems with his back, Addazio reiterated that Moore's problems were "personal" and not physical.

Moore is the only senior receiver on the Gators' roster. This is his final chance to contribute. How will he be remembered? To be continued ...


Former Gator dancer Erin Andrews of ESPN does the Gator Chomp on 'Dancing With The Stars'

GAINESVILLE -- Erin Andrews, good dancer. Erin Andrews, Gator for life. Skip to the five-minute mark of this YouTube video for proof.

Former Gator Bubba Caldwell says Tim Tebow will be a great quarterback but not an elite passer

GAINESVILLE -- Former Florida Gators' receiver Bubba Caldwell of the Cincinnati Bengals doesn't think Tim Tebow will ever be an "elite passer," but Caldwell does think Tebow will have success in the NFL.

Caldwell shared his opinion on Tebow with the Bengals' official website. Here's what Caldwell said about Tebow:

"He needs time. He needs to sit behind one of those good quarterbacks for about three years because I know he's going to put in the work and the effort to be a great quarterback. He's going to learn. I don't think he's going to be an elite passer ever. But he's a playmaker. He'll get the ball there. He probably can't make the prettiest looking passes. But he's going to use what he has to his advantage--running, scrambling, making passes. He's got a strong arm and I think he can make the throws, but they may not be the prettiest."

For what it's worth, this is probably the best explanation of Tebow's abilities that I've heard. Bubba hit the nail on the head. Maybe Todd McShay should be taking notes. Being an "elite passer" is highly overrated. Tebow would much rather be known as a "great quarterback."


Gators recruit Patric Young throws down at McDonald's All-American slam dunk contest

Gators commitment Patric Young of Jacksonville is No.21. Guard Ray McCallum (6-1) of Michigan is considering Florida.


March 30, 2010

Another Haden likely on the way to Florida Gators via Boston College

GAINESVILLE -- Former Boston College running back Josh Haden will likely transfer to Florida, according to brother Joe Haden.

Joe Haden, the former UF cornerback, said during an interview with NFL.com that "I have a little brother. He's a running back at Boston College. He's transferring now to probably Florida." Here's a link to the video. CLICK ME! 

Josh Haden rushed for 213 yards on 58 carries and touchdown last season. He is entering his third season of eligibility and will have sit out a season if he transfer to Florida.

Jordan Haden is a true freshman safety for the Gators.


Gators Tim Tebow shares in young couple's special moment

So, if you didn't make the trip to The Gardens Mall on Saturday, here's what you missed. According to YouTube, Tebow helped Ian Lis propose to Sarah Springer during Tebow's autograph session. Tebow had the ring for 45 minutes while the couple waited in line for a photo. Classy move, Mr. Lis! You the man!


Gators appear to be considering I-formation. Do they have the personnel to pull it off?

FYI: If you follow me on Twitter, you pretty much know all of this stuff already. So, follow me on Twitter and all your wildest dreams will come true. www.twitter.com/JoeGoodyMiaHrld

GAINESVILLE -- The Florida Gators' offense practiced almost exclusively out of the I-formation on Monday.

Rising redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley called plays from under center and Florida fullbacks T.J. Pridemore and Steve Wilks practiced more on Monday than I think they have in two seasons. A quick aside: Pridemore is a crazy person. Seriously, this guy is psycho on the football field. At one point during Monday's practice, he ripped off defensive end Kedric Johnson's helmet and threw it at him.

All coach Urban Meyer could do was smile.

Johnson screamed, "He is #$$&! stupid!"

Tight ends coach Brian White wasn't too concerned about Johnson's safety, but did point out to Pridemore, "Don't throw helmets! They'll kick you out of the game!"

Since this whole fullback, I-formation experiment is new for Florida, I don't really know enough about Pridemore and Wilks other than to say Pridemore definitely plays with a mean streak and Wilks appears to be a little faster than Pridemore. Of course, speed is always relative when you're talking about fullbacks.

ANYWAY, I am very intriguing by the Gators' offense this spring and you should be, too. Everyone probably likes the idea of Meyer and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio trying new things to fit the quarterbacking style of traditional passer John Brantley, but that doesn't necessarily mean the Gators have the personnel to pull it off. UF currently does not have a reliable option at tight end. That's a serious problem for any I-formation.

Redshirt freshman Jordan Reed is currently the Gators' starting tight end. Reed, who was recruited to UF as a quarterback, appears to be a superb athlete and is learning the position quickly. He made several impressive catches on Monday and even ran the Wildcat. Still, this spring is the first time he has played the position. It's a work in progress.

Reed's back-up, freshman Gerald Christian, is another young but talented player. The West Palm Beach Dwyer product is by far the strongest freshman on the team. He can bench 215 pounds 21 times, which is pretty remarkable for an early enrollee.

Another quick observation about the I-formation package before we move on. On Monday, Brantley appeared more comfortable running traditional plays from under center (passing, hand offs, play action) than the option. One of Brantley's option pitches was pretty ugly and he heard an earful from Addazio.

UF fifth-year senior Carl Moore wasn't at practice on Monday.

The receiver from California is a projected starter after returning from a back injury that sidelined him last season. On Monday, Moore's position coach didn't know why his senior wasn't at practice and a UF spokesman didn't know if Moore missed practice because of an injury or something else.

Moore walked off the practice field on Saturday visibly frustrated about something. He appeared to be complaining rather loudly to a teammate.

Former UF safety Major Wright attended practice on Monday. He was in Gainesville for the day working out for Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Wright has worked out privately for the Jets, Patriots and Browns.


March 29, 2010

Brandon Knight still considering Florida Gators

GAINESVILLE -- There still might be a chance, Gators fans. There still might be a slim chance that UF coach Billy Donovan will land Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest point guard Brandon Knight.

A recruiting website reported last week that Knight's decision to sign with Kentucky is all but a done deal. Knight refuted that speculation on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, telling Rivals.com that he isn't favoring Kentucky or any other school.

"All my schools are balanced," said Knight, who plans on signing with either Florida, Kentucky, Syracuse, Kansas or Connecticut in April. Basketball's signing period begins April 14.

Knight is in Ohio practicing for the McDonald's All-America game. He was recently named the national Gatorade Player of the Year for second consecutive season. Knight did confirm a report that Florida isn't recruiting him as hard as other schools. But the 6-3 combo guard made a point to explain that Florida is still an option.

"I still have an offer," Knight said. "They're not not recruiting me. They're just trying to make sure they get a point guard before the signing period is over."

Florida desperately needs to sign a point guard in 2010. The Gators currently have three guards on their roster, but only two -- returning starters Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton Jr. -- contributed significantly to the team this season. The situation became more dire when sophomore Ray Shipman made the decision last week to transfer.

With Knight still undecided, Donovan can't afford to focus his recruiting efforts solely on one player. Knight seemed to respect that situation on Sunday. 

"I don't feel anything is wrong with it," he said. "It's smart. As a head coach, you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket and not end up with anything. They just don't feel as strongly as they did before. Since they're the hometown school, they thought I would have signed early or something of that nature. I'm not exactly sure."


March 28, 2010

Identity crisis on Florida Gators' offense

Just in case anyone missed today's Sunday Focus in the Herald. CLICK ME!


It's the Urban-Meyer-write-your-own-cutline game! Fun for all Gators and non Gators alike.

Florida coach Urban Meyer after practice on Wednesday: "Say what!?! Oh no you didn't!"


RECRUITING: Gators Urban Meyer busy dishing out the scholarship offers at quarterback

GAINESVILLE -- Here's an initial list of high school quarterbacks to keep an eye on this season. Florida has reportedly offered each of these players a scholarship. UF's biggest need next season will be at quarterback, in my opinion.

Braxton Miller (Huber Heights, Ohio)
Ht: 6-3
Wt: 199
Offers: Alabama, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, LSU, Miami (Fl), Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, Virginia, Wake Forest, West Virginia, etc...
Thoughts: Miller is a prototypical dual-threat quarterback for Huber Heights Wayne High. Huber Heights is a suburb of Dayton. Florida was late to offer Miller but Meyer has been recruiting him hard ever since. Ohio State is the favorite here. Miller is reportedly visiting Florida around April 10 for the spring game.

Christian LeMay (Matthews, N.C.)
Ht: 6-3
Wt: 187
Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Miami (Fl), North Carolina, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, etc...
Thoughts: LeMay should probably be considered the Gators' top target.

Teddy Bridgewater (Miami Northwestern)
Ht: 6-3
Wt: 192
Offers: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami (Fl), Ohio State, Rutgers, South Florida, Tennessee, USC, West Virginia, etc...
Thoughts: Teddy Ball Game is the heir apparent to Jacory Harris at Miami. Good luck prying this kid away from the Hurricanes. I don't see it happening.

Kiehl Frazier (Springdale, Ark.)
Ht: 6-3
Wt: 215
Offers: Arkansas, Auburn, Cincinnati, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Kansas State, LSU, Memphis, Miami (Fl), Michigan, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Texas, Tulsa, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Western Michigan
Thoughts: Any kid from Springdale, Ark., should be considered a Razorback in waiting.

Marquise Williams (Charlotte)
Ht: 6-4
Wt: 220
Offers: Clemson, Florida, LSU, Maryland, Miami (Fl), Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Syracuse, UCLA, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Thoughts: Charlotte's anti-Chris Leak.

Max Wittek (Santa Ana, Cali.)
Ht: 6-3
Wt: 205
Offers: California, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oregon State, South Carolina, UCLA, USC
Thoughts: Another Brian White recruiting special. This Mater Dei High quarterback seems to fit the Florida mold. It's Meyer vs. Lane Kiffin all over again!

Justin Worley (Rock Hill, S.C.)
Ht: 6-4
Wt: 197
Offers: Clemson, Florida, Georgia, LSU, North Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee
 Thoughts: Looks like a John Brantley clone.

Jeff Driskel (Oviedo)
Ht: 6-3
Wt: 225
Offers: Arizona State, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, FIU, Georgia, Illinois, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Tennessee, USC, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Thoughts: One of top prospects in the state.


March 27, 2010

Is Tim Tebow a top 15 pick?

GAINESVILLE -- Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow will be in Palm Beach Gardens at 1 p.m. on Saturday signing autographs at The Gardens Mall. Should you make the drive north to see Timmy? Bring your pocket book if you're interested. Tebow is selling his signature for $160 a pop. Photos with Tim are $75.

Tebow has been making the autograph circuit lately and making some pretty good cash doing it after signing a contract with an memorabilia company. Of course, Tebow hopes to become a millionaire on the first day of the NFL Draft. Will it happen? The pundits say no. Bob Tebow says yes.

Tebow's father told a Jacksonville television director this week that his son will be taken before the 16th pick. No clue where Bob came up with that number. Maybe he know something we don't. Perhaps. Or maybe he's just trying to put a little pressure on Jacksonville, which has the 10th overall pick. Either way, it's interesting that Bob Tebow would make such a statement.

When asked if Jacksonville might trade down and take Tebow later in the first round, Bob Tebow said, "He'll be gone. Somebody is going to take him."

Tebow has worked out privately for several NFL teams, including the Washington Redskins. The Redskins have the fourth overall pick. It would be the draft shock of the last decade if new 'Skins vice president and coach Mike Shanahan took Tebow at four.

Many think the idea of Tebow being drafted in the first round is preposterous. I'm not one of those people. He is worth the risk when you take into account his work ethic, leadership abilities and fan following. He's durable, he's a lightning rode of positive emotions, he makes the people around him better and the guy is already more marketable than most of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Oh, and did I mention he started three seasons for the University of Florida, graduated with honors, beat Sam Bradford head-to-head in the 2009 national championship game and was statistically one of the most efficient passers in college football. News flash: NFL teams like efficiency.

If his father is correct, and Tebow will be gone after the 15th pick, here's where I think Tebow will be drafted. If Jacksonville doesn't take him with the 10th pick then Tebow will go to Seattle at 14. Go ahead, call me crazy, but Pete Carroll is starting over in Seattle and I'd be willing to bet he'd like to do it with Tebow. 


March 26, 2010

Gators QB John Brantley back at practice after bout with strep throat and likes that Meyer defends his players

GAINESVILLE -- UF assistant coach Steve Addazio told reporters on Friday that he had strep throat.

Obviously, my question was "So, you got Brantley sick?"

Addazio was quick to clarify.

"No!" he said. "He got me sick!"

Addazio said on Friday that both Brantley and Marcus Gilbert had strep throat this week. Brantley was back at practice on Friday and looking good. Gilbert of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas is still out. Addazio said that Gilbert sits too close to him during team meetings and described Gilbert as "so germy."

Brantley looked really good on Friday. His favorite targets were Deonte Thompson, Stephen Alli and Chris Rainey (Oh, by the way, Chris Rainey was back on Friday as well). At one point, those three receivers were lining up with the first team. Don't look into that too much, though. Plenty can change between now and ... Saturday. The Gators will scrimmage on Saturday morning. There will not be an player availability for reporters afterwards.

Players were, however, made available on Friday and Brantley was asked about UF coach Urban Meyer's conversation with an Orlando Sentinel reporter.

"Coach Meyer has our back and that's what you want to see out of your coaches," Brantley said. "We trust our coaches and they trust us and that's what we want to see."

A few observations...

-Stephen Alli is only a redshirt freshman but this guy is looking great in practice. I think the staff is really trying to find a spot for him this fall.

-Senior cornerback Moses Jenkins made some great plays on Friday. He's currently running with the first-team defense.

-Fans were waiting for Urban Meyer after practice. Meyer left through the side gate.

-Chris Rainey looked great at slot receiver on Friday. One of his cuts made true freshman Matt Elam fall on his face. Elam is trying to learn the nickel back position.

-First-team defensive end Justin Trattou told me that he worked out all offseason with defensive tackle Omar Hunter and that Hunter is in the best shape of his life. Trattou is looking good as well.

-Addazio said that seven offensive linemen are either hurt or sick. The seven: Maurice Hurt, Kyle Koehne, Carl Johnson, Marcus Gilbert, Matt Patchan, Sam Robey and David Young.

-Safety Josh Evans was on crutches on Friday.

-Dee Finley looks to be a quick study at linebacker.

-Safety Ahmad Black appears to be one of the main defensive leaders this spring. The players look up to him and he's very vocal in practice. Black said that returning for his senior season was an easy decision.


National media frenzy about Urban Meyer a good thing for Gators

GAINESVILLE -- As predicted, the national media is hammering Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer for his conversation with an Orlando Sentinel reporter. If you think all the negative press is a bad thing, you're wrong. The old adage applies here: All press is good press.

Florida Gators football is the most interesting thing going right now in college football. It's spring, for crying out loud. Spring football is usually so boring. Not in Gainesville. In Hogtown, the buzz around spring practice sounds like a chainsaw. Here's a sampling of all the press Florida is receiving today:








MEYER GETS MAD, Deseret News (Salt Lake City)







What do all these headlines tell us? Well, for starters, it tells us that Fanhouse.com needs a content editor. Seriously, do three columnists really need to weigh in on this one topic? Besides that, it tells us that Florida is the most talked about college football team in the country.

You know who's not ripping Meyer right now? Florida fans. That's all that really matters, right? During the Canes' heyday, did all the negative national press hurt UM? No, it actually fueled UM's success. The same logic applies here.


Broward's Brombacher pitches perfect game for Florida Gators

GAINESVILLE -- Before we begin another day of overanalyzing Urban Meyer's WWF smack down of now famous and soon to be First Amendment hero/martyr/saint Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel, let's take a moment to point out some news that actually means something. That's right, folks, Stephanie Brombacher of the Florida Gators softball team pitched a perfect game on Thursday night.

The Plantation American Heritage grad faced 15 batters and sat them all down in a five-inning, 10-0 victory against South Florida. Brombacher's performance comes at an important time for 13th-ranked Florida (21-3, 4-1 SEC). The Gators travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., this weekend for a three-game series against the fifth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (22-7). Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game will be on ESPNU. Two wins against Alabama would likely move Florida into second place in the Southeastern Conference (behind LSU).

Brombacher (17-3) needed just 56 pitches to retire her 15 batters on Thursday. It was the first perfect game for a Florida pitcher in six years. The junior right-hander struck out five USF Bulls to give her 116 strikeouts on the season.


March 25, 2010

Sophomore Josh Evans likely out for the spring

GAINESVILLE -- Lost in the all the sword fighting of Wednesday post-practice nonsense was some pretty important news. Sophomore defensive back Josh Evans is likely out for the spring with a left knee injury, according to a team official.

The extent of the injury is unknown, but Evans of New Jersey went down at the beginning of Monday's practice during light contact drills. Losing Evans is a blow for the Gators. He was a solid contributor and expected to compete for a spot on the Gators' two-deep depth chart this fall. He still will, but his knee injury might be a minor set back.


Video of Urban Meyer outburst

So, here's the video of Urban Meyer's exchange with an Orlando Sentinel reporter. Nice work by photographer Steve Johnson (soon to be a Miami Herald summer intern) for recording the action. Like I wrote before, the incident is not has bad as people are making it out to be. Should have been handled privately and without the threats, but I'm pretty sure Urban isn't going to try and prevent a newspaper from covering his team regardless of what's written. That would be a dumb move.

'High-major schools' already reaching out to the Ray Shipman network; Miami in play

GAINESVILLE -- Several "high-major schools" have already contacted Miami Monsignor Pace coach Mark Lieberman about adding Ray Shipman to their rosters. Shipman announced his intentions to transfer from the University of Florida on Wednesday.

The bottom line here is that with his athleticism and good grades, Shipman will have plenty of options in the coming weeks. But knowing Shipman, he'll probably stay close to home. Expect the Shipman family to strongly consider the University of Miami. Miami has already contacted Lieberman and Shipman Sr. about adding the sophomore guard.

Lieberman called Miami a "viable option" on Thursday. Expect more about the Shipman story from Herald reporter Barry Jackson, as Gator Clause has now passed the Shipman baton back to South Florida.


My take on Urban Meyer's outburst

GAINESVILLE -- Urban Meyer is a smart man. He's one of the best coaches in the business. Maybe THE best. Those have been my opinions about Meyer since I began covering the Florida Gators nearly four years ago. Those opinions were reaffirmed on Wednesday when he publicly confronted a reporter about a story regarding receiver Deonte Thompson.

What was written and who wrote it and what newspaper the guy worked for: all that stuff isn't important. At least not to Meyer. You know what's important to Meyer? His football team. And right now -- this spring -- they're young, searching for confidence, searching for starters, searching for leaders, banged up at key positions, new coaches, questions lingering about Meyer's health, new quarterback, no more Tim Tebow, no more Brandon Spikes, no more Joe Haden. Basically, it's a mess of really talented but young players trying to figure out how to be a team. Meyer simply helped the process along on Wednesday. He provided a spark. He gave his Gators something to rally behind. It's us against them, gentlemen, good guys vs. bad guys, and I got your backs.

In reality, is that the case? Is a reporter really a "bad guy," as Meyer so strategically put it. No, of course not. They're just guys covering sports, doing their jobs, selling papers, getting hits. But reality, or perspective, is an interesting thing. One guy's reality is not the next guy's reality. Meyer is very good -- no, great; like Patton-esque -- at shaping his players' realities. So sorry the fall guy had to be a reporter. As one American writer so wryly put it, so it goes.

The media will likely hammer Meyer on Thursday about Wednesday's outburst. That's just the way it works. We all know this and Meyer knows this, too. He's smart. Oh, so smart. Time to circle the wagons, boys. Players were not made available for interviews on Wednesday and probably won't be for awhile. Instead, Meyer made himself available. What Meyer did wasn't out of line. It was out of character, but certainly not out of line. He didn't swear. He didn't raise his voice. Most of the stuff he said wasn't true, but when has that ever mattered. Meyer was just being a leader for a team that needs one. Welcome back.


March 24, 2010

Florida Gators QB John Brantley misses practice with strep throat; Receiver in hospital; Urban Meyer questions/threatens reporter

GAINESVILLE -- Quickly before I write for tomorrow's paper, here's a run down of news and observations from Florida's football practice on Wednesday.

-QB John Brantley missed practice with strep throat and a fever.

-Why is freshman QB Trey Burton always getting hit? He's wearing the red jersey! That means go easy on the guy. He's pretty important.

-Brandon Spikes and Carlos Dunlap were at practice.

-Dorian Munroe was in street clothes. Says he's still hopeful he can play next season. A Florida official says it's not likely.

-Receiver T.J. Lawrence visited Shands Hospital on Wednesday to undergo tests, according to a Florida official. Specifics were not available on Wednesday afternoon.

-Players were not made available after practice. Instead, coach Urban Meyer expressed his concerns -- very publicly, I might add -- with a reporter from the Orlando Sentinel about a blog post that was written about UF receiver Deonte Thompson.

"If that was my son, we'd be going rounds right now," Meyer said.

The blog post apparently suggested that Thompson didn't like Tim Tebow's quarterbacking style. Meyer later called the reporter "a bad guy."

Meyer was attempting to protect his player from media scrutiny. At least that's how I interpreted the incident, which was very awkward. Meyer isn't known for showing much emotion, so he must have been pretty mad. It was only the second time this spring that Meyer has spoken with reporters.

Essentially, Meyer told the reporter that if he painted a Florida player in a bad light again that the Orlando Sentinel would be banned from the University of Florida.

"Be very careful," Meyer said.




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