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3 posts from August 21, 2013

August 21, 2013

Boom goes the dynamite

Last Thursday, the Internet (mainly Twitter) went B-A-N-A-N-A-S over this…


Jon Bostic’s smashing highlight was ESPN SportsCenter’s top play, but on Wednesday the NFL fined the former Florida star and current Chicago Bears linebacker $21,000 for the hit on San Diego Chargers wideout Mike Willie.

SEE: Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7

Screen shot 2013-08-21 at 10.57.11 PM

Gators defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin -- Bostic’s position coach last season -- said the crushing shot went viral in Florida’s locker room too.

“The clip of that hit? It was pretty popular. Coaches, players alike -- everyone looked at it,” Durkin said. “Obviously we’re all really proud of him. You can’t find a better guy than Jon Bostic to represent our program. All the guys feel strongly about that, so everyone was talking about it.”

Bostic was a three-year starter at UF and a second round pick (50th overall) in April's NFL Draft. As a senior, Bostic was named a second-team All-SEC preformer. 

Durkin wasn’t so sure a fine was justified but didn’t go so far as calling out the league. Instead, he teased his former player via text.  

“I think that was such a bang-bang play. Obviously I don’t think he was intending to do anything with it,” Durkin said. “I just texted him a little bit ago. He got fined 21-grand or something like that -- and I said, ‘The good news is, you have the money now so you can go pay that. The bad news is you just got fined for that.’”

Bears linebacker Lance Briggs vehemently disagreed with fine, tweeting out…

Screen shot 2013-08-21 at 10.46.34 PM

So what say you: Was the hit league or illegal?

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Sweet Road Alabama: 2014 SEC slate set

GAINESIVLLE -- Florida drew the short straw when the 2014 Southeastern Conference schedule was released Wednesday.

The Gators must travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to play the Crimson Tide, back-to-back BCS National Champions, on Sept. 20.

Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin was unaware of Florida’s brutal slate next season, saying, “I’m ready for the Toledo Rockets coming into town here in a couple of days. We take them one at a time.”

Florida hosts LSU, its permanent cross-division rival, on Oct. 11, while travelling to Tennessee (Oct. 4) and Vanderbilt (Nov. 8). The Gators have two bye-weeks next season, one before the UT contest and another before their annual game in Jacksonville with Georgia (Nov. 1).

UF opens league play hosting Kentucky on Sept. 13.

The Gators’ non-conference opponents are Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Eastern Kentucky and Florida State.

The full schedule:

Aug. 30: Idaho

Sept. 6: Eastern Michigan

Sep. 13: Kentucky

Sept. 20: at Alabama

Sept. 27: BYE

Oct. 4: at Tennessee

Oct. 11: LSU

Oct. 18: Missouri

Oct. 25: BYE

Nov. 1: Georgia (in Jacksonville)

Nov. 8: at Vanderbilt

Nov. 22: Eastern Kentucky

Nov. 29: at Florida State

Playing at Alabama is rough, but I think Florida’s slate this season might be more difficult overall with road games at Miami, LSU, South Carolina and Missouri.

What say you?

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Fantasy Fulfilled

GAINESVILLE -- Mark Herndon is no longer a walk-on running back.

Florida’s third-string tailback behind starter Matt Jones and backup Mack Brown was awarded a scholarship Tuesday.

Coach Will Muschamp announced the honor in front of the whole team, immediately making the sophomore cry.

“I just broke down. It brought tears to my eyes,” he said. “The first thing I did was call my mom. She was ecstatic.”

Herndon (5-9, 193) has impressed during training camp, leapfrogging heralded freshmen Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane on the depth chart.

“When I first got here, Coach Muschamp told me that it’s at least two years until you get a scholarship, so I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “When he told me today, I felt like I was in a dream. My mouth just dropped.”

(Coach Brian White hugs tailback Mark Herndon | Courtesy of @GatorZoneScott

Herndon, from Ocala, said he grew up a huge Gators fan, but his family couldn’t afford to come to games. Herndon turned down scholarship offers from small schools out west, instead chasing his dream of wearing orange and blue.

“I always preach to younger kids to follow your dreams,” he said. “If I took a scholarship and went to a smaller school or something, I would be giving up on what I really wanted to do.”

But it wasn’t easy.

As a walk-on last season, the sophomore didn’t eat full meals sometimes because of the financial burden on his family.

His $20,000 scholarship now alleviates that problem.

No more Pop Tarts or Ramen.

“This is going to sound funny, but [the biggest perk] is food,” he said. “Now with the training table and all kinds of stuff. I might gain a few more pounds.”

Herndon said he wasn’t the only emotional wreack when Muschamp announced the honor. Running backs coach Brian White shed tears too.

“That just made my heart mel because you know the guys deserves it,” linebacker Neiron Ball said. “It just makes you feel good.”

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

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