September 12, 2008

Five questions with UF's Emmanuel Moody

First, the link to my story on Emmanuel Moody in today's sports section of The Miami Herald: Florida Gators football still waiting for Moody to produce

GAINESVILLE -- Now for the online supplement: Five questions with Coppell, Texas, native and Southern Cal transfer Emmanuel Moody. (Obviously, these questions and answers were asked during the preseason. Moody did not speak with the media this week.)

MoodyGATOR CLAUSE: What have you done to prepare for the season?
MOODY: "I've been spending time in the playbook. The more reps I get the more I get used to all the schemes. I'm taking rep after rep in practice."

GATOR CLAUSE: How does the talent at Florida stack up to the talent at USC?
MOODY: "There's talent at both schools. No matter what school you go to, if it's a school like Florida or USC, there's going to be competition there."

GATOR CLAUSE: Your main competition for playing time is Kestahn Moore. What have you learned from Moore since you've been at Florida?
MOODY: "I give him a lot of respect for working hard. He works hard every day, so I kind of just see what he does and just try to pick it up to his tempo."

GATOR CLAUSE: You don't sign autographs with your name, could you tell me a little bit about that?
MOODY: "I [write] a cross and I [write] Jesus and I [write] my number under Jesus. The cross represents the crucifixion that the Lord died for us. I put my number under His name because I count myself less and he's my savior. So my identity is in Christ and that's why I [write] Jesus, because I no longer live for myself. I live for Christ."

GATOR CLAUSE: When did you become so religious?
MOODY: "When I was 16 at a church retreat. Before then I was a totally different person but it changed my life for the better. I was getting into a lot of trouble and I was the complete opposite of what I am today, sinners of sinners. But I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit and became saved."

-jo-

September 11, 2008

UF isn't getting the job done; Put me in charge of Percy Harvin's Heisman campaign, please

GAINESVILLE -- Florida has only played two games and already Percy Harvin's Heisman campaign is on life support. Bring in the doctor ...

That's me. I'm the marketing genius that is going to resurrect Harvin's Heisman hopes. Here are 10 steps to getting Harvin to New York. And that's what Florida really wants, right? That's what Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has said several times. Tebow wants to cast his vote in December for his good buddy Percy Harvin.

10. Call an emergency meeting with every member of Florida's sports marketing team. It's almost like Florida wants everyone to think Tebow is the best player in college football. It's almost like Florida wants Tebow to win back-to-back Heismans. What happened to the Percy-in-2008 campaign?

9. Percy Harvin is the best player in college football. Direct and to the point. Slap it on a poster.

8. Percy has only spoken with reporters one time this season. One........stinking........time! That's no way to pimp a Heisman hopeful. Note to Percy: Reporters vote for the Heisman.

7. Let Harvin play his real position. And by real position we mean the position Harvin will play in the NFL. Harvin is a receiver yet he only had one reception against Miami. It's a nice gimmick when Harvin lines up in the backfield, but he should never have more rushing attempts than receptions.

6. Percy Harvin should be returning kickoffs. Nothing says Heisman moment like a kickoff return for a touchdown against Georgia.

5. Every time Tim Tebow opens his mouth during a press conference, he should be praising Percy Harvin. "Percy won the game tonight," Tebow said. "Percy is the hardest working man on the team," Tebow said. "Percy is the greatest player in college football," Tebow said. "I'm naming my first born child after Percy Harvin," Tebow said.

4. Everyone knows what Tebow did last summer. What type of charitable work did Percy do? Donate blood, perhaps? Adopt a dog? ESPN College GameDay needs to know!

3. Speaking of ESPN ... Why is Erin Andrews doing a feature on Tebow lifting weights? Harvin is the real story. He's a college receiver who can bench press 400 pounds. As a professional journalist and Heisman Trophy marketing genius, I'm volunteering my services to do an in-depth story on exactly how Harvin got so big and strong this offseason.

2. Talk to reporters, Percy.

1. Repeat after me, Percy. Reporters are my friends.

-jo-

September 08, 2008

Emails I get: UF's offense is inconsistent; Thoughts on late field goal

From time to time, Gator Clause publishes emails that come our way. Here's one that caught our attention ... (email in blue; To get an email published on Gator Clause you have to leave your name and your email must make sense.)

DeVontae Brooks of parts unknown writes:

Hey Jo,

That was a great game Saturday night and Miami's defense is very good already and will be great by the end of the season. Although I'm a big Gator fan, I always give respect when it is due and they have a [heck] of a team to build the future with. What's up with [Florida offensive coordinator] Dan Mullen he can call a good game sometimes and others times like Saturday look awful? He and [Florida coach] Urban Meyer need to quit all the cute [stuff] and not run every play out of the spread trying to get outside.

You would think they would learn that after so many years that it is OK to line up in the I-formation or a single-back formation and run it straight at people. This is why Florida will have problems recruiting 5-star backs because they are too [dang] prissy on their offense. I have no problem with them running the spread offense, but please try having the quarterback under center sometimes. Look at Oklahoma's success on offense over the years. I think they have the perfect offensive scheme because they always mix it up. It is painful to watch the Gators sometimes because they try to run around people a lot when sometimes you just need to knock the [heck] out of somebody and run right at them.

Sounded like you had a great weekend, though that podcast says it all for me. I know you had more than just some barbecue to get you sick. LOL! What did you think about Florida kicking that field goal on fourth down with a few minutes to go? Randy Shannon was [PO'd] about that and was out of his mind on the sideline. What else did he expect them to do? It is in the rules of the game and I didn't think too much of it. He barely shook Urban Meyer's hand. It wasn't like Georgia's celebration after they scored. He even made a comment about it on Sunday. Keep up the excellent work.

DeVontae,

At first I thought UM coach Randy Shannon might have gotten caught up in the moment, but after he had a few hours to cool off he was still upset about Florida's late field goal. Here's what Shannon said in his Sunday press conference:

''I'll just say this one statement,'' Shannon said. "Sometimes when you do things, and people see what type of person you really are, you turn a lot of people off. Now, whatever you want to get out of that, I won't say it again. But it helped us. It helped us more than you'll ever know.''

Clearly, Shannon is drawing a line in the sand. He got beat and he is looking for something, anything, to take away from the game as leverage. (Of course, there's nothing wrong with that. Gotta do what you gotta do, right?) It should be noted that Meyer said repeatedly last week that Miami has the most talented team in the country. Some interpreted this to mean that Miami should be better, a shot at UM's coaching staff.

Personally, I could care less. It's a football game. You play football games to score points.

-jo-

September 07, 2008

The Day After: Gators-Canes still on the brain

Florida coach Urban Meyer did not have a Sunday teleconference today. A spokesman for the Gators told me receiver Carl Moore's diagnoses on Sunday is still a "hip pointer."

GAINESVILLE -- Here are some random thoughts popping into focus as I watch the NFL today, reflect on last night's game and flip through the pages of my reporter's notebook...

--I used to like Brett Favre.

--Why was Florida tackle Phil Trautwein flagged for that personal-foul penalty? I couldn't figure it out from the press box. Whatever the reason, it ruined the Gators' momentum in the first quarter.

--Trautwein's personal-foul penalty wasn't as costly as the one charged to UM lineman Orlando Franklin at the end of the first half. It led to Jeffrey Demps' blocked punt.

--Florida receiver Louis Murphy apologized after the game for his smack talk earlier in the week. I don't know what to think about this. On one hand, it seems commendable. On the other hand, it's not like Murphy called out someone's mom. Whatever...

--Florida free safety Major Wright only had two tackles.

--Florida strong safety Ahmad Black appeared to hold his own against Miami's athletic skill players.

--Miami's only scoring drive featured a Wondy moment. Does anyone remember this? I had to chuckle a little bit in the press box.

--Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez said after the game that he was benched for the season opener because he didn't practice hard enough the week before Hawaii. Yeah, right...

--Linebackers: How many future first-round picks were on Florida Field last night? Two, I say. Florida middle linebacker Brandon Spikes and UM freshman reserve linebacker Sean Spence.

--The fourth quarter was Tebow time. That's a good sign for the Gators.

--Several reporters who cover Miami keep telling me that Florida will lose at least two games this season. Doesn't say much for Miami, I guess. I thought the Canes were pretty good.

--UM quarterbacks Robert Marve and Jacory Harris are both going to be excellent. Will one transfer?

--Tebow has 130 pass attempts without an interception, a new Florida record. Danny Wuerffel held the previous record at 121 pass attempts.

--Florida has not committed a turnover in each of its last four games.

--Florida had five penalties for 35 yards. Not bad for the Gators. One of those penalties was on redshirt sophomore guard Marcus Gilbert (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas), who filled in for Jim Tartt. Meyer said he wants to get Tartt back into the line-up as soon as possible.

--The Gators started the second half with two fruitless offensive drives. Tebow appeared to be pretty frustrated after the second drive. He was seen on the sidelines screaming at Meyer to leave the offense on the field for a fourth-and-two from the UF 48. Meyer punted.

-jo-

September 01, 2008

AUDIO: Listen to WR Louis Murphy call out 'The U'

GAINESVILLE -- In Sunday's paper, Gator Clause and The Miami Herald was the first to bring you UF quarterback Tim Tebow's and receiver Louis Murphy's impressive display of proper pregame smack talk. For a link to that story CLICK ME!

Now Gator Clause is the first to bring to you the audio file of Murphy's diss on The U. Murphy says Florida is the real 'U.' CLICK THE PLAY BUTTON BELOW!

Produced and edited by Joseph Goodman, The Miami Herald

In today's Miami Herald, read how the Gators are preparing to crush the Canes in The Swamp.

Also in today's Miami Herald, the Miami Hurricanes set their sights on a Swamp battle (by Manny Navarro) and a history of the UF-UM series (by Jeff Shain).

-jo-

August 23, 2008

Harvin back on the field but limited; Tebow says Harvin at full speed

GAINESVILLE -- Florida receiver Percy Harvin practiced sparingly on Saturday. It was Harvin's first action since the beginning of fall camp, according to Florida coach Urban Meyer and quarterback Tim Tebow. 

Meyer said that "there's a chance" that Harvin could play in the season opener next Saturday against Hawaii. The decision will be made next week, Meyer said.

Tebow said Harvin practiced at full speed even though the receiver did not participate in contact drills.

For those that want to try and read between the lines, Meyer did not mention Harvin among the Gators' top four receivers.

"[Louis] Murphy, Carl Moore and Riley Cooper have separated themselves and then Deonte Thompson," Meyer said. "Those guys have to all be on the same page and going."

The Gators will not practice on Sunday. For the players, the break comes as a welcomed respite. Florida practiced for over two hours on Friday while Tropical Storm Fay was passing over Gainesville. The Gators practiced for 2 1/2 hours on Saturday as well.

"Right now on offense we're not very good because we're beat up," Meyer said. "I'm kind of counting on Monday when the ball is snapped we have our best 11 players going and right now they're not."

"He still didn't do everything but he did a lot," Tebow said. "You notice there's a different gear when Percy steps onto the field."

"Everybody has been going the whole fall camp and their legs are a little blown and a little slower then Percy comes out full speed, it makes everyone look a little slower."

--Freshman defensive lineman Matt Patchan practiced with the scout team on Saturday. Meyer said Patchan will rejoin the defensive line rotation on Monday.

--Meyer said that running back Emmanuel Moody, the transfer from Southern Cal, isn't the all-purpose back the Gators would like him to be. There is room for improvement, according to Meyer.

--Senior kicker Jonathan Phillips is ahead of freshman Caleb Sturgis, according to Meyer.

--Freshman defensive tackle Omar Hunter continues to participate in full-contact drills.

--Meyer remembering his first conversation with running back Chris Rainey: "Ever sit with a three-year-old and had a good, solid discussino about Santa Claus? That's what it was like. Now we talk about life, football and academics. It's kind of neat now. We're beyond the Santa Claus thing."

RECRUITING: Seffner Armwood defensive end Ryne Giddins (6-4, 235 pounds) attended the Gators' practice on Saturday.

-jo-

August 19, 2008

Oddsmakers think Harvin is healthy; Set betting line at 1,500 yards; UF favored to win SEC over UGA; Plus a bookie's insight

A different and off-beat angle on some UF storylines that you guys won't read anywhere else...

GAINESVILLE -- Working hard today for you guys. I was in Orlando early Wednesday morning to cover Sen. Barack Obama's speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. You can find that story on MiamiHerald.com, if you like. I missed UF's Wednesday practice, obviously, but I still have some interesting notes to pass along.

In between listening to and analyzing Obama's speech, I conducted an interview of sorts with an online gambling house, BoDogLife.com. The boys at BoDogLife.com, an offshore sports book, have set a collection of gambling lines and odds for various college football statistical measures, including the Heisman Trophy and BCS national championship. You can beat on pretty much everything, if that's your sort of thing.

One of the numbers that caught my eye was the website's over/under on UF receiver Percy Harvin's combined rushing and receiving yards. The line is set at 1,500 yards. Last season, Harvin combined for 1,622 yards receiving and rushing. I asked the betting house if they "knew something I didn't" regarding Percy's injury.

"[Harvin] was running full speed in earlier practices this week," said Jimmy Shapiro, a publicist for BoDogLife.com "I think they are just being more cautious than anything at this point. I'm OK with the number."

It should be noted that Harvin must play in the first game of the season for the wager to have action. Read into that however you like.

Still, 1,500 yards seems like an interesting number, considering Harvin had over 1,600 combined receiving and rushing yards last season and missed two games.

ODDS FAVOR UF TO WIN SEC
Another interesting number that sticks out is BoDogLife.com's odds for UF to win an SEC championship. UF has better odds than Georgia. In the BCS odds, Georgia is slightly ahead of Florida. UGA has 5-1 odds to win the BCS title. Florida is 11/2 (5.5/1).

Keep in mind that these numbers only mean that this online sports book thinks people will jump at these odds. Nothing else.

In addition to the sports book's publicist, I also spoke with Richard Gardner, BoDog sports book manager, about the numbers and odds placed on UF quarterback Tim Tebow.

“The Florida Gators should score a lot of points this season, something they have been doing ever since Tim Tebow took over the reigns," Gardner said. "This season, Tebow should put up similar numbers through the air but his Ground numbers should be smaller due to the influx of talent In the Florida backfield. USC transfer Emmanuel Moody and freshmen Chris Rainey should take away some carries that would normally be reserved for Florida’s do-all quarterback.

"Tebow’s passing numbers should improve in terms of yardage, however, don’t expect a big increase in his touchdowns through the air. Expect the Gators to pound the ball in with their new and improved running game and Tebow’s touchdown numbers should decrease slightly from last season as a result."

Gardner, online sports bookie, on the early numbers for BCS champion betting trends. And also a few betting tips:

"This should be a very interesting year in the BCS. With heavyweights Ohio State and USC playing early in the season, the race for the No.1 spot in the BCS will be heated early in the season. We have seen a substantial amount of money come in on Ohio State in the past week and currently have them No.2 behind USC in terms of shortest odds.

"The No.1 ranked team, Georgia, comes in third, but injury concerns and suspensions have made the bettors shy away from them so far. The rest of the top six come in with Missouri, Florida and Oklahoma as all short-odd favorites to take home the BCS championship. A team to watch out for is Texas Tech. They have been bettors' favorites for most of this offseason, and at 30/1 may be the best value on the board.”

-jo-

More UF-related wagers at BoDogLife.com. In blue font, I added last year's numbers:

Odds to win the 2008 BCS National Championship      
Florida                          11/2

2008 Regular Season Wins - Florida
Over                              10 (-130)
Under                            10 (EVEN)

Odds to win the SEC Conference
Florida                           3/2
Georgia                          2/1
Auburn                           3/1
LSU                                4/1
Alabama                         7/1
Tennessee                      9/1
South Carolina                15/1
Mississippi                      35/1
Arkansas                        40/1
Mississippi State            45/1
Kentucky                        50/1
Vanderbilt                      50/1

Odds to win the SEC East Division
Florida                            4/5
Georgia                           5/4
Tennessee                       4/1
South Carolina                  8/1
Kentucky                         20/1
Vanderbilt                       30/1

How many Passing Yards will Tim Tebow (FLA) have in the 2008 Season?
Over/Under        3,550 3,286

How many Passing TD’s will Tim Tebow (FLA) have in the 2008 Season?
Over/Under        32  32

How many Rushing Yards will Tim Tebow (FLA) have in the 2008 Season?
Over/Under        725  895

How many Rushing TD’s will Tim Tebow (FLA) have in the 2008 Season?
Over/Under        18 .5   23

How many Combined Receiving and Rushing Yards will Percy Harvin (FLA) have in the 2008 Regular Season?
Over/Under 1,500   1,622

How many combined Receiving and Rushing TD’s will Percy Harvin (FLA) have in the 2008 Regular Season?
Over/Under        12    10

Odds to win 2009 BCS National Championship
USC                             7/2
Ohio State                   4/1
Georgia                       5/1
Florida                       11/2
Oklahoma                    6/1
Missouri                     14/1
West Virginia             15/1
LSU                            20/1
Texas                         20/1
Clemson                     22/1
Virginia Tech              30/1
Tennessee                  30/1
Wisconsin                   30/1
Auburn                       35/1
Texas Tech                40/1
Florida State              50/1
Illinois                        50/1
Penn State                  50/1
Michigan                     50/1
Alabama                     55/1
Miami                         60/1
Notre Dame                65/1
South Florida              75/1

Odds to win the 2008 Heisman Trophy
Tim Tebow (FL)                        7/2
Chris Wells (Ohio St.)                6/1
Chase Daniel (Missouri)             6/1
Knowshon Moreno (UGA)           8/1
Michael Crabtree (TTech)         10/1
Pat White (WVU)                      10/1
Sam Bradford (Okl)                   14/1
DeMarco Murray (Okla)             15/1
Matthew Stafford (UGA)           15/1
Graham Harrell (TTech)           16/1
Percy Harvin (FL)                     20/1

August 17, 2008

PODCAST: Receiver Percy Harvin is not a team leader; Does it matter to UF's success?

Your weekly Sunday podcast...

Harvin_2GAINESVILLE -- Florida receiver Percy Harvin started a fight with freshman running back Chris Rainey during fall camp. Harvin is a junior and a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate. He is also, arguably, the most gifted athlete in college football.

But Harvin [PICTURED] has a history of assaulting other athletes and is a maverick among his teammates. Will Harvin's poor attitude affect the Gators' chances of winning a national championship? Gator Clause addresses the important topic on this podcast. Run time is four minutes and 21 seconds. Click the play button.

-jo-

Podcast edited and produced by Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald.

August 08, 2008

Percy, Spikes didn't show up to media day

FOLKS, DON'T FORGET TO SEND A LINK TO C.I.'S GET-WELL CARD TO ALL YOUR GATOR FRIENDS...SIX DAYS LEFT UNTIL I GIVE C.I. THE CARD!

GAINESVILLE -- Florida's annual preseason media day was this morning. It's when all the reporters from around the state (and some from around the country) travel to Gainesville to interview the Gators' players. It's really a shame that two of the team's most important players decided not to show.

Percy Harvin was nowhere to be seen and neither was Brandon Spikes. Florida's official statement as to why these players skipped out: No clue.

I've got a suggestion. Maybe it's because a Sports Illustrated photographer wasn't there. No Erin Andrews, then no Percy, right?

Not cool.

Let the speculation begin, I guess. What else are reporters supposed to write about today? Percy Harvin, the Heisman Trophy candidate who is slow to recover from offseason heel surgery, can't even meet the press? (Must be pretty bad.) Spikes can't either?

Well, at least we know Tim Tebow is an accountable team leader. Tebow spoke at length with reporters today. In other words, Percy didn't show and Tebow was stuck answering questions about why his best receiver isn't practicing right now.

I don't know much about Percy's situation (He's hurt) but I do know this: Don't expect Percy or Spikes to be around next year for media day either.

(Check back later for more from media day, including behind-the-scenes pictures of Florida's new weight room and coaches' offices.)

-jo-

August 03, 2008

CAMP COUNTDOWN: Seven strengths in seven days...No.1: Experience, of course

Less than 24 hours until fall camp. Hope everyone enjoyed our CAMP COUNTDOWN. Posted below are individual links to the series...

7: TIGHT ENDS
6: SPECIAL TEAMS
5: BRANDON SPIKES
4: OFFENSIVE LINE
3: WIDE RECEIVERS
2: QUARTERBACKS
1: And the No.1 team strength entering fall camp is ... experience.

GAINESVILLE -- Last season was more about learning than it was about winning for the Florida Gators. The team that won a national championship in 2006 and the team that returned for 2007 were entirely different. From Tim Tebow to Urban Meyer, everyone had something to learn. Experience came in different forms.

061201_meyer_hmed_5phmediumFor Meyer, 2007 was the first time he had ever been a third-year head coach with a team. There were signs of inexperience. A number of Gators were arrested in the offseason following the national championship. The experience led to some in-house changes this offseason, including the hiring of full-time player mentor Terry Jackson. Distractions were limited this offseason. (Jamar Hornsby was dismissed from the team but that was addition by subtraction. Just my opinion.)

For Tebow, 2007 was about learning how to lead. He cried after losing to Georgia. The quarterback displayed a much different emotion after the Michigan defeat. He was just plain angry and admitted that his team lacked focus leading up to the bowl game.

Brandon Spikes wasn't in top form last August when the 2007 fall camp began. The experience helped him prepare his body correctly this offseason. Now, UF strength coach Mickey Marotti says Spikes is one of the Gators' most physically fit players.

Ncf_g_haden2_195One of the Gators' starting cornerbacks was a true freshman last season and the other was still learning how to play football. As a result, Florida's secondary was the worst in the Southeastern Conference. Joe Haden [PICTURED] and Wondy Pierre-Louis begin this season as preseason all-SEC defenders.

Those are just a few examples of how the Gators begin fall camp on Monday with the experience needed to vie for a conference and national championship. All told, the Gators return 17 starters. Depth and team speed are two of the Gators' greatest team strengths this season but experience might be the most important.

"With guys leaving early now -- and our championship year we had four guys on defense leave as juniors; last year we lost Derrick Harvey as a junior -- I think the shift of leadership has to go from the young players," Meyer said. "That's a big point of discussion with our group, and already has been, that just because you're a senior, that's not entitlement. We had some issues a year ago that weren't very good for our outfit. (Tony Joiner/Kyle Jackson?) If you're a sophomore, you walk the walk, talk the talk, do everything the right way, then you're a leader."

OK, with the countdown done and fall camp set to begin. Let's have some fun and predict the two-deep depth chart for offense and defense.

OFFENSE
LT: Phil Trautwein; Matt Patchan
LG: Jim Tartt; Carl Johnson
C: Maurkice Pouncey; Mike Pouncey
RG: Mike Pouncey; James Wilson
RT: Jason Watkins; Marcus Gilbert
TE: Cornelius Ingram; Aaron Hernandez
WR: Percy Harvin; Deonte Thompson
WR: Louis Murphy; Justin Williams
WR: Carl Moore; David Nelson
RB: Kestahn Moore; Emmanuel Moody
QB: Tim Tebow; Cameron Newton

DEFENSE
DE: Jermaine Cunningham; Carlos Dunlap
DT: Javier Estopinan; Torrey Davis
DT: Terron Sanders; John Brown
DE: Justin Trattou; Duke Lemmens
SLB: A.J. Jones; Ryan Stamper
MLB: Brandon Spikes; Lorenzo Edwards
WLB: Dustin Doe; Brandon Hicks
SS: Ahmad Black; Will Hill
FS: Major Wright; Will Hill
CB: Joe Haden; Markihe Anderson
CB: Wondy Pierre-Louis; Jacques Rickerson

SPECIALISTS
K: Caleb Sturgis; Jonathan Phillips
P: Chas Henry; Caleb Sturgis
PR: Brandon James; Chris Rainey
KR: Brandon James; Chris Rainey

FRIENDLY REMINDER: Free doughnuts!!!

-jo-

August 02, 2008

CAMP COUNTDOWN: Seven strengths in seven days...Quarterbacks (Podcast exclusive: Will Tebow turn pro?)

A quick heads up before we continue our CAMP COUNTDOWN series. Check out the combined efforts of The Miami Herald's college football crew in today's paper. Excellent work focusing on key questions concerning UF, UM, FSU, FIU and FAU. No paper in the state covers more college football teams than The Herald. CLICK ME! for the online version.

There will be plenty of time during preseason practice and two-a-days to write about the unknowns. For one week, let's break down the Gators' perceived strengths...Friendly reminder: Free doughnuts at 6 a.m. on Monday morning!!

TWO DAYS TO GO...Quarterbacks

GAINESVILLE -- Life is so much easier for a reporter when there's no quarterback controversy to worry about. The only thing remotely controversial about the Gators' signal caller, Heisman winner Tim Tebow, is whether or not this is his final season with the Gators. Well, is it? That is the topic Timtebowof today's Gator Clause Podcast. For now, let's focus on what we know for sure.

THIS IS WHAT WE KNOW FOR SURE: Tim Tebow [PICTURED] will run the football. (And he has no earlobes.) Last season Tebow was the Gators' best running back in addition to being a pretty good passer. He was Larry Csonka with an arm. (I wrote that a bunch last season.) Now, will Tebow once again lead the Gators in rushing this season? Probably. In words of Florida coach Urban Meyer, UF is going to "ride that horse." Meyer says he's going to limit Tebow's carries, but does anyone believe that's really going to happen? Not me.

There are drawbacks to Tebow the horse, of course, of course: 1. The running backs don't get any better. 2. Tebow gets hurt.

Tebow is not Superman. He's more like Captain America. (Or maybe Batman on account of the earlobes thing.) Tebow broke his leg in high school and last season he injured his right shoulder and later broke his right hand against FSU. Chances are Tebow will get hurt at least once this season. That's bring us to today's Camp Countdown topic: Quarterbacks and not just Tebow. Florida has some pretty good back-ups waiting for some playing time.

NewtonCam Newton [PICTURED, NO.13] will begin camp as the second-string quarterback. Newton's personality has blossomed this offseason. He is now one of the team's vocal leaders and plays with more confidence, according to one member of the football team. The players respect him. Newton, a sophomore, played sparingly last season but will likely be given more game-time opportunities in 2008 to improve his poise.

Behind Newton on the depth chart is Brantley. Brantley, a redshirt freshman, is the team's best pure passer. He's more accurate than both Tebow and Newton and has the potential to one day be UF's starter. His development last season was limited by injuries (shoulder and hand). If Brantley stays healthy throughout fall camp, he could quickly turn into a realistic option.

QUARTERBACKS PRE-CAMP PODCAST
(Run time is four minutes and 50 seconds.) Outline:
1. Greetings
2. Five things Tebow will work to improve during fall camp.
3. 15 Tebow predictions, including a prediction on whether or not Tebow will turn pro after this season.

-jo-

July 16, 2008

Tebow drives the ball 360 yards; Waffles between Caddyshack and Happy Gilmore

I offer you proof that Tim Tebow is indeed fallible. He would rather watch Happy Gilmore than Caddyshack...

GAINESVILLE -- Tim Tebow is in Los Angeles today for the filming of the 2008 ESPY Awards. ESPN will air the show at 9 p.m. on Sunday. Tebow was a consensus all-American and won the Heisman, Maxwell and Davey O'Brien Awards last season and now Tebow can add Best Male College Athlete of the Year to that list. (Assuming he wins, wink-wink.)

Tebow, his brother and father played in the ESPY Awards celebrity golf scramble on Tuesday. Gator Clause caught up with Tebow shortly after he walked off the 18th green. Most of the questions were lighthearted and fun. We'll have plenty of time to ask Tebow SERIOUS questions about football before the season starts.

HeismantebowcropGATOR CLAUSE: How's the golf game these days?
TEBOW: "It needs improvement. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to work on fixing the hook."

GATOR CLAUSE: So, what's the worst aspect of your golf game?
TEBOW: "That's a good question. I can be talented at times and make some good golf shots and drive the ball pretty far and do some nice things but the consistency of doing it over and over is a problem."

GATOR CLAUSE: What's your longest drive?
TEBOW: "Oh, you know. Probably 360 or 365. Somewhere in there."

GATOR CLAUSE: What did you shoot today?
TEBOW: "I shot a 94 and my brother [Peter, a senior at UF], who was my partner, shot an 85."

GATOR CLAUSE: What was the format?
TEBOW: "We were playing two-person, low ball, low total. My brother beat me but we were on a team. But we still lost to my dad."

GATOR CLAUSE: Since we're on the golf theme, which is a better golf comedy: Happy Gilmore or Caddyshack?
Caddyshack_poster406pxhappygilmoreposterTEBOW: "I'm going to say Caddyshack is funnier to me. Well, I mean, I think Caddyshack is funnier to most people but what's funnier to me would be Happy Gilmore. It's more my style and it's a more recent movie. Caddyshack is a classic and I know most people would say that's one of the best movies ever but I have to go with Happy Gilmore. If I had to pick one to watch right now it would be Happy Gilmore."

GATOR CLAUSE: What was the most surreal conversation you had today with a celebrity?
TEBOW: "I was talking with Keith Jackson and I wanted him to say "Whoa, neelie!" but I held it in."

GATOR CLAUSE: Who do you want to sit next to at the ESPYs?
TEBOW: [Laughs...and then more laughs, as if blushing through the phone.] "I don't know. I don't really care. It has never been a huge goal of mine or anything. But obviously it's cool to see a lot of cool people. It's interesting and fun because you get to meet some people and build some relationships."

GATOR CLAUSE: Who did you meet?
TEBOW: "Eli Manning was cool. Keith Jackson. Ray Allen and some of the Celtics guys."

GATOR CLAUSE: The ESPY Awards thing is kind of gimmicky but it raises awareness for a good cause, cancer research. How has the disease affected the lives of people close to you?
TEBOW: "The Jimmy V Foundation does great work. Cancer affects everybody and it has definitely affected people close to me. It has affected my grandma, an uncle and several of my best friends' parents."

Tebow_3GATOR CLAUSE: Coach Meyer recently had a birthday. Did you get him anything?
TEBOW: "Maybe a pat on the back. No, I just got back from a mission trip. I got to wish him happy birthday but I didn't get him anything. I plan on getting him a few victories this year...hopefully...maybe."

GATOR CLAUSE: Where was this latest mission trip to?
TEBOW: "Thailand." (Tebow's older sister lives in Thialand.)

GATOR CLAUSE: Have you offered Coach Meyer to play safety yet?
TEBOW: [LAUGHS] "No, I haven't thrown that out there yet."

GATOR CLAUSE: Complete this sentence: Ahmad Black is a bit undersized but he can ...
TEBOW: "... make up for it with great athleticism, heart and skill at his position."

GATOR CLAUSE: What have you worked on the most this offseason?
TEBOW: "I've worked on everything but the main focus going into fall camp will be not always trying to make the big play and being content with taking the check down and always try to put my team in the best position possible and making great decisions play in and play out."

-jo-

July 07, 2008

Gators to invade China; Plus Carl Weathers and Chuck Norris references

Before we get started, I've got some really important news to pass along. I adopted another dog today. His name is Cahaba. Here's a picture. A free Gator Clause T-shirt goes to anyone who can tell me the significance behind the name Cahaba.
Cahaba

GAINESVILLE -- Got a UF-related Olympics blog post today but first a quick reason for my absence on Sunday.

I didn't post on the blog this weekend because I was busy covering the Coke Zero 400 over at the Daytona International Speedway. Part of my Gators gig in Gainesville involves traveling to places like Daytona, Jacksonville, Tampa, St. Pete and Orlando and covering random sporting events for The Miami Herald. So, don't be surprised to see my byline on a story about Tampa Bay Rays baseball, Jacksonville Jags football or a down-and-dirty report from the Lower Alachua County Roller Derby. (Five bucks to any witty poster who can decode that last literary reference.)

Sword_2ANYWAY, I saw plenty of Gators fans in Daytona, plenty of bikinis (see picture below) and one overrated actor. You guessed it, Kevin Costner. Costner was at the race pimping his lasted movie, Swing Vote. Very fitting title considering he was in Florida, if you ask me. Costner was arrogant and stuck on himself. I pretty much wanted to soil the media room when he started talking about his band. Costner has a band AND he wrote a song about NASCAR. While he was telling reporters about a Richard Petty lyric in one of his songs (What a tool, right?) I reminded myself that this was the same guy who gave us a movie like The Postman. I secretly wished that Chuck Norris, Mel Gibson and Carl Weathers would walk into the room carrying Scottish swords [PICTURED] with three-foot blades and cut off Costner's head. That's pretty sick, I realize. But I forgive myself and so does Tebow. Of course, Costner also gave us Field of Dreams and Bull Durham, so I guess it evens out.

The sports reporters covering the race were only allowed to as Costner a couple of questions. I had my hand up but the press conference proctor ended the interview before I could shout mi pregunta across the room: Can your fans expect a sequel to "Water World" anytime soon?"

Like I was saying, the University of Florida swimming program will be well represented in the 2008 Beijing Games by three UF swimmers: Dara Torres, Ryan Lochte and Caroline Burckle. Torres, Lochte and Burckle will now join Team Michael Phelps for what is being dubbed by ... well, just me ... as the Chinese Takeover.

In addition to the three Gators swimmers, UF swim coach Gregg Troy has been asked to be an assistant coach at the Olympics with Team Michael Phelps. (I'm trying to nail down an interview with Troy this week for you guys.)

Torres was the Olympic Trails' second biggest story next to Phelps. Torres, who is 41 years old, will be competing in her fifth Olympic Games. She qualified in the 100- and 50-meter freestyle sprints. Burckle, NCAA Swimmer of the Year in 2008, qualified in the 200-meter freestyle. She will also swim in the 4x200-meter relay. Lochte qualified in the 400- and 200-meter individual medley races and the 200-meter breaststroke.

Nine other former or current Gators qualified for Beijing.
Gators Representing Other Countries in Beijing:
Bradley Ally, Barbados
Brett Fraser, The Cayman Islands
Shaune Fraser, The Cayman Islands
Gabriel Mangabeira, Brazil
Ricardo Monasterio, Venezuela
Omar Pinzon, Colombia
Adam Sioui, Canada
Gemma Spofforth, Great Britain
J.B. Walsh, Philippines

Swimming, of course, isn't the only thing Gators are good at. They can run, too. Here's the list of Gators who qualified for track and field events in the Beijing Games.

Hazel Clark, U.S., 800 meters
Kristin Heaston, U.S., shot put
Kerron Clement, U.S., 400 hurdles
Mariam Kevkhishvili, Georgia, shot put
Tianda Ponteen, St. Kitts, 400 meters
Calvin Smith, U.S., 4x400 meters
Novlene Williams, Jamaica, 400 meters

Nascar These race fans had been in the infield at Daytona for three days when I took this picture. They said they didn't change or clean the water once and had been drinking in that tub pretty much all day every day. NOT ONE WATER CHANGE. No chlorine or nothing. They were Dick Trickle fans.

-jo-

June 28, 2008

Preseason mags predict biggest Cocktail Party in years

OK, THE BRAIN TRUST here at Gator Clause is finally getting around to picking up the preseason college football mags. We're looking at four mags this morning -- all laid out on the floor -- and Tim Tebow is staring up from three of them. Cost me a bunch of dough. Or one Dustin Doe. (That's $32.)

GAINESVILLE -- If the prediction polls in the preseason college football magazines are correct, then the hype surrounding the annual rivalry game between Florida and Georgia will be intoxicating once November roles around.

Put it this way. If Florida at LSU (2007) was one big keg of beer (and it was, even in the press box), then the Cocktail Party in 2008 will be shots of pure grain alcohol.

Two preseason mags -- Athlon and Phil Steele's -- have the Gators No.1 in the country. The other two mags -- Lindy's and Sporting News -- have Georgia No.1. Sounds like a showdown in Jacksonville, folks. Hopefully it won't rain like last year.

A few more observations from the mags...
1. Phil Steele must be the world's loneliest man. Also, Steele ranks USF (No.8) ahead of Georgia (No.9).

2. Steele's magazine prints different covers for different parts of the country. There's thumbnail examples of nine covers on the back of the mag I'm looking at. There's apparently a Florida cover with Tebow and Percy Harvin running play-action. For some reason, I have the Alabama cover. (Two fat linemen -- Bama's Andre Smith and Auburn's Lee Ziemba -- are on the cover.) I bought this magazine in the Gainesville Books-A-Million on 13th. Go Figure.

Img003031_23. If you count Phil Steele's Florida cover and national cover, then Tiny Timmy is on five covers -- Steele's, Lindy's, Sporting News and Athlon.

4. Do Miami and Florida State even exist anymore? Not according to these preseason mags. For some reason, I don't think the 'Noles and 'Canes need any more motivation against the Gators.

5. Tebow looks about 12 years old on page 10 of Sporting News' preseason mag.

6. The best page of all four mags: There's an Altoids add on page 9 of Athlon that's making me laugh. The "curiously strong mint" apparently, "Awakens like a horse whip on the backflesh."

7. USF defensive tackle George Selvie does not get enough love. That guy might be the best college football player in all of Florida.

8. You know how they say Southerners fry just about anything. Well, these silly mags rank just about anything. Athlon actually decided to rank the new coaches of 2007 (last season). Nick Saban is ranked No.8. That seems like a pretty high ranking for a guy that makes $4 million per, went .500 in the conference, finished 7-6 on the year and lost his final four regular-season games, including one to La-Monroe.

Img0030419. There's a dancer on the cover of Lindy's that has a scarlet letter 'A' on her chest. That's a bit damning, if you ask me. Sounds like a lawsuit.

10. Something that has always killed me about Tim Tebow, the guy's got no earlobes. Seriously, his ears are just fused to his head like a bat or something. Athlon's cover gives you a good shot of this. My theory has always been that Tebow is a demigod and therefore genetically superior to the rest of us. His ears are streamlined to reduce drag. I think God made it where Tim could play football without a helmet. Here's my preseason prediction: Tim gets his helmet knocked off by an Ohio State lineman on the last play of the game of the 2008 BCS national championship game in Dolphin Stadium, but then Tebow runs for a game-winning touchdown with no helmet.

Here's the rest of the top 10s:

ATHLON
1. Florida
2. Ohio State
3. Oklahoma
4. USC
5. Georgia
6. Missouri
7. West Virginia
8. Auburn (Way overrated!)
9. LSU
10. CLEMSON

Sporting News
1. Georgia
2. Ohio State
3. USC
4. Oklahoma
5. LSU
6. Missouri
7. Clemson
8. West Virginia
9. Florida
10. Illinois (Question: Did the guys at Sporting News watch the Rose Bowl?)

Lindy's
1. Georgia
2. USC
3. Ohio State
4. Oklahoma
5. Missouri
6. Florida
7. LSU
8. Texas
9. Clemson
10. West Virginia

Phil Steele's
1. Florida
2. Ohio State
3. Oklahoma
4. USC
5. Clemson
6. West Virginia
7. Missouri
8. USF (Canes' and 'Noles pay attention here.)
9. Georgia
10. Penn State

-jo-

If Tim Tebow was a chicken...

GAINESVILLE -- ... he would be impeccable. [baCAULK!] OK, OK. That one's kind of old. But not these:

If Jason Watkins was a freeway, he would be impassable.

If Matt Patchan was a Hurricane, he would blow hard.

If Percy Harvin had a dog, it would be an ankle biter. (And he would teach it to heel.)

If Urban Meyer was German, he would be a Frankfurtor.

I regret the day I ever have to write that Major Wright made the wrong decision in leaving the right cornerback vulnerable.

What does Phil Trautwein drink when he eats fish?

That Frankie Hammond Jr., he's a real cut up.

OK, that's quite enough.

-jo-

June 18, 2008

Tebow 7/2 odds for the 2008 Heisman; Check out the complete list

HeismanGAINESVILLE -- Our friends at Bodoglife.com like to email Gator Clause wager-related nonsense in the hopes that I'll post it on the blog. Guess it worked this time. The Internet betting house recently released early lines on the 2008 Heisman Trophy. Florida's Tim Tebow won the award last year and he's the favorite to win it this year at 7-2 odds.

Listed below is Bodoglife.com's complete Heisman Trophy field as of Wednesday morning. A few things that might be of interest to Florida fans:

1. Florida dynamo Percy Harvin is listed at 15-1 odds. Harvin, of course, is the fella Tebow has tabbed to win the 2008 Heisman. I've learned that it's always a good idea to listen to Tim Tebow. In 2007, Tebow was 10-1 odds to win the Heisman. Harvin and Tebow are the only Florida players listed.

Harvin highlights, courtesy of YouTube.

2. Players with in-state ties you can bet on:

Noel Devine (West Virginia, RB, soph.), Devine is listed at 35-1 odds, this North Fort Myers native once lived with Deion Sanders. Deion tried to be a father figure for troubled little Noel (ironical name, I agree) but Noel whadn't have'n that. He split after three days. True story: Devine once challenged Chris Rainey to a foot race in a parking lot in Lakeland, Fla., and lost by two steps. In the words of Chris Rainey, "I'm like, 'Damn. It's good to be Chris Rainey.'"

Matt Grothe (South Florida, QB, jr.) Dubbed the poor man's Tim Tebow (Boy, does old Grothe hate to hear that.), the Bull's quarterback is long shot to win the Heisman, 60-1.

Ncf_us_spiller_195Here's a pretty good bet. Clemson running back C.J. Spiller (pictured) is listed at 60-1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy. The Lake Butler native snubbed Florida for Tommy Bowden's Tigers but almost transferred to Gainesville after his freshman year. (Why a running back would transfer to Florida -- Hello, Manny Moody! -- with Tebow behind center is beyond me.) Luckily for Spiller he stayed at Clemson and is now poised to have an incredible season in 2008.

3. Surprisingly, there aren't any Miami Hurricanes or Florida State Seminoles listed. One would think FSU receiver Preston Parker would have a better chance to win a Heisman than Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis (70-1). So many Miami quarterbacks have won Heisman Trophies that Robert Marve should be listed by default.

Berry_24. Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry intercepted Tim Tebow last season and returned it for a touchdown. Now Berry is listed at 80-1 odds to win the Heisman. Berry will be playing safety this season for the Vols.

Berry chose Tennessee over Florida, among other schools. The sophomore is considered the best defensive back in the Southeastern Conference this season by some preseason mags.

5. Other than Tebow, Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno (10-1 odds) is probably the best bet to win Heisman. If both teams are undefeated when they meet in Jacksonville, then the head-to-head performances of Moreno and Tebow might be a determining factor for many voters.

IN WAGER-RELATED NEWS: Florida and Georgia are both 6-1 odds to win the national championship. USC (3-1) is the favorite. Miami is 35-1, FSU is 50-1 and USF is 100-1.

Eric Berry (Tenn)
80/1
Todd Boeckman (OhioSt.)
35/1
Sam Bradford (Okl)
16/1
Rudy Carpenter (ASU)
35/1
Jimmy Clausen (ND)
80/1
Michael Crabtree (TTech)
10/1
Chase Daniel (Missouri)
8/1
James Davis (Clem)
50/1
Noel Devine (WVU)
35/1
Armanti Edwards (App. State)
100/1
Arian Foster (Tenn)
50/1
Matt Grothe (USF)
60/1
Max Hall (BYU)
65/1
Cullen Harper (Clem)
25/1
Percy Harvin (FL)
15/1
Graham Harrell (TTech)
15/1
P.J. Hill (Wisc)
22/1
Ian Johnson (Boise St.)
40/1
Jeremiah Johnson (Ore)
100/1
James Laurinaitis (Ohio St.)
70/1
Dan LeFevour (C. Mich)
70/1
Kellen Lewis (Ind)
50/1
Jake Locker (Wash)
50/1
Jeremy Maclin (Missouri)
35/1
LeSean McCoy (Pitt)
20/1
Colt McCoy (Tex)
28/1
Stephen McGee (Tex A&M)
60/1
Joe McKnight (USC)
25/1
Knowshon Moreno (UGA)
10/1
DeMarco Murray (Okla)
15/1
Curtis Painter (Purdue)
60/1
Terrelle Pryor (Ohio St.)
100/1
Todd Reesing (Kan)
25/1
Javon Ringer (Mich St.)
35/1
Zac Robinson (Ok. State)
75/1
Mark Sanchez (USC)
40/1
C.J. Spiller (Clem)
50/1
Matthew Stafford (UGA)
14/1
Tyrod Taylor (V. Tech)
60/1
Tim Tebow (FL)
7/2
Willie Tuitama (Arz)
75/1
Chris Wells (Ohio St.)
5/1
Pat White (WVU)
12/1
Juice Williams (ILL)
40/1
John Parker Wilson (Ala)
40/1
Field  10/1

-jo-

June 04, 2008

Guess where Chris Leak is at now

GAINESVILLE -- Here's a quick update of your favorite national championship MVP. Former Florida quarterback Chris Leak signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League earlier this week.

ChrisleakLeak, for those of you who have already forgotten, is the quarterback who led Florida to the 2006 national championship. In the process, Leak taught current Florida quarterback Tim Tebow everything he knows.

We had hoped to see Leak behind center back in The Swamp with Team Florida of the AAFL, but the AAFL put its operation on hold and Leak was forced to find work elsewhere. The CFL is a good start for Leak, who went undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft. Doug Flutie, another shorty, got his start in the CFL and Flutie is now a CFL Hall of Famer.

Leak is one of five quarterbacks, including former Hawaii QB Timmy Chang, trying to make the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' roster. No word yet on whether or not Leak and Chang have picked up where Tebow and former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan left off last season: Who's the better system quarterback? Maybe the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will finally find an answer to this important question -- end the debate once and for all. In a related thought, is a Tiger-Cat like a Thunder Cat?

-jo-

June 03, 2008

PRIMETIME: Miami at Florida set for 8 p.m. (Book your hotels now!)

GAINESVILLE -- It's going to be crazy in Gainesville for the second Saturday of the season. The SEC released its tentative television schedule on Tuesday and Florida hosts Miami at 8 p.m. on Sept. 6. ESPN will carry the rivalry game.

(I hope everyone realizes what this means. If you're driving up for the game and you plan on getting a hotel, then you better go ahead and book your room now. The Swamp is going to be absolutely rocking by the time kickoff rolls around and no one is going to want to drive back down Florida's Turnpike after that.)

FLORIDA SEASON OPENER
Bring your sunscreen to the season opener. Florida begins the season against Hawaii with a 12:30 p.m. kickoff on Aug. 30.

ABC and ESPN and ESPN2 apparently passed on Florida-Hawaii, leaving Raycom with the first-week leftovers. (And I thought Hawaii-Florida was a pretty intriguing game. Shows what I know.)

I understand the reasoning for ABC and ESPN passing over Florida-Hawaii. ABC is airing Alabama-Clemson (8 p.m.) in Atlanta. (No shocker there.) ESPN is hoping Appalachian State can repeat last season magic and upset another national power. This time it would be LSU in Death Valley at 6:45 p.m. App State took down Michigan last season but only one or two people watched the game on live television (Big Ten Network).

But you know Florida gets absolutely no respect from national television execs when ESPN2 opts for Mississippi State vs. Louisiana Tech over Florida-Hawaii. What a joke, right? Florida STILL has a kid named Tim Tebow. Did somebody at ESPN forget that shortly after airing the Heisman Trophy ceremony?

ANYWAY, guess ESPN didn't want to double book Florida two weekends in a row. Here's the rest of the tentative SEC television schedule.

Date                 Time         Network  Game

(Thu.) Aug. 28  7 p.m         ESPNU      Vanderbilt at Miami (Ohio)

(Thu.) Aug. 28  8 p.m.        ESPN        N.C. State at South Carolina

(Sat.) Aug. 30 12:30 p.m. Raycom   Hawaii at Florida

(Sat.) Aug. 30  5 p.m.        ESPN       Appalachian State at LSU

(Sat.) Aug. 30  6:45 p.m.  ESPN2    Miss. State at La. Tech

(Sat.) Aug. 30  8 p.m.        ABC       Alabama vs. Clemson (Atlanta)

(Sun.) Aug. 31  3:30 p.m.  ESPN       Kentucky at Louisville

(Mon.) Sept. 1  8 p.m.        ESPN       Tennessee at UCLA

(Thu.) Sept. 4  8:30 p.m.    ESPN       South Carolina at Vanderbilt

(Sat.) Sept. 6    12:30 p.m. Raycom   Southern Mississippi at Auburn

(Sat.) Sept. 6    3:30 p.m.    ABC        Ole Miss at Wake Forest

(Sat.) Sept. 6  8 p.m.        ESPN     Miami at Florida

(Sat.) Sept. 13  12:30 p.m.  Raycom UAB at Tennessee

(Sat.) Sept. 13  3:30 p.m.     CBS       Georgia at South Carolina

(Sat.) Sept. 13  3:30 p.m.     ABC    Arkansas at Texas

(Sat.) Sept. 13  7 p.m.          ESPN2  Auburn at Mississippi State      

(Sat.) Sept. 20  8:13 p.m.     ABC      Georgia at Arizona State

(Thu.) Oct. 23  7:30 p.m.     ESPN     Auburn at West Virginia

(Fri.) Nov. 28    12:30 p.m.  Raycom Mississippi State at Ole Miss

(Fri.) Nov. 28    2:30 p.m.     CBS      LSU at Arkansas (Little Rock)

(Sat.) Dec. 6      4 p.m.         CBS     SEC Championship Game (Atlanta, Ga.)


All Times Eastern

Tentative and Subject to Change

Additional games to be added as become available

-jo-

May 15, 2008

NCAA 09 overall ratings: Florida, Miami, FSU, UGA, LSU and Tenn.; Tebow leads all with 99

HERE'S SOMETHING WE CAN ALL ARGUE ABOUT ...

GAINESVILLE -- For those video game nuts out there, here's a sneak peek at some individual player ratings for NCAA '09. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has an overall rating of 99. Percy Harvin has a speed rating of 98.

Some random thoughts: Florida tight end Cornelius Ingram isn't rated among the Gators' best...LSU defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois appears to be underrated...Florida linebacker Dustin Doe is overrated...What, no Drew Weatherford?...A punter is Tennessee's second highest rated player...Georgia's video-game likeness looks pretty stinking good.

-jo-

FLORIDA

Tim Tebow, junior, quarterback 99

Percy Harvin, junior, wide receiver 96

Brandon Spikes, junior, middle linebacker 95

Dustin Doe, junior, outside linebacker 93

Phil Trautwein, redshirt senior, offensive tackle 92

Jim Tartt, senior, offensive guard 91

Maurkice Pouncey, sophomore, offensive guard 91


MIAMI

Eric Moncur, senior, defensive end, 93 (Miami)

Randy Phillips, senior, cornerback, 92 (Belle Glade)

Lavon Ponder, senior, safety, 91 (Miami)

Colin McCarthy, junior, outside linebacker, 91

Jason Fox, junior, offensive tackle, 90

Graig Cooper, sophomore, running back, 88

Darryl Sharpton, junior, linebacker, 88 (Coral Gables)


FLORIDA STATE

Myron Rolle, sophomore, rover (strong safety), 97

Derek Nicholson, junior, middle linebacker, 94

Everette Brown, redshirt sophomore, defensive end, 94

Antone Smith, junior, running back, 92 (Pahokee)

Marcus Ball, sophomore, outside linebacker, 92

Preston Parker, sophomore, wide receiver, 92 (Delray Beach)

Patrick Robinson, sophomore, cornerback, 91 (Miami) 


GEORGIA

Knowshon Moreno, sophomore, running 96

Dannell Ellerbe, senior, middle linebacker 95

Asher Allen, junior, cornerback 95

Jeff Owens, senior, defensive tackle 95 (Plantation)

Trinton Sturdivant, sophomore, offensive tackle 93

Matthew Stafford, junior, quarterback 93

Prince Miller, junior, cornerback 92


LOUISIANA STATE

Herman Johnson, redshirt senior, offensive guard, 96

Tyson Jackson, senior, defensive end, 93

Darry Beckwith, senior, middle linebacker, 95

Curtis Taylor, senior, free safety, 94

Ciron Black, junior, left tackle, 94

Al Woods, junior, defensive tackle, 93

Kirston Pittman, senior, defensive end 93


TENNESSEE

Demonte Bolden, senior, defensive tackle, 94

Britton Colquitt, senior, punter, 94

Robert Ayers, senior, defensive end, 94

Eric Berry, sophomore, defensive back, 94

Rico McCoy, junior, outside linebacker, 91

Lucas Taylor, senior, wide receiver, 91
Josh McNeil, junior, center, 89

May 03, 2008

Gators to raise awareness for charities with strength-and-agility competition

GAINESVILLE -- Anyone ever stumble across a cable TV show called Ninja Warrior while flipping through the channels? Hilarious stuff. Basically, it's a Japanese reality show aimed at exploiting dorks. The producers find the weirdest people possible (this is just me assuming everyone in Japan is not like the people on this show) and run the freaks through obstacle courses suspended about 10 feet above some nasty, muddy water. See dork run. See dork fall. See dork splash. Repeat.

Now imagine the freaks on Florida's football team running around and risking bodily harm for your entertainment. (OK, I realize that happens every Saturday in the fall.) ANYWAY, part of Florida's annual summer workout rigors always include a strength-and-agility competition. This is nothing new. What is new is that the competition is open to the public this summer and will take place at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Friday, July 25. Mark your calendars.

Ninja_warrioThe athletic department is calling the event "Friday Night Lights," or some derivative of that. According to one of the football players, a large portion of the football team is going to split into six groups and compete against each other in several different athletic disciplines: Pulling tires, roller derby, four square, calf roping, etc... The winners get nothing. They're amateurs, duh. Each team, however, will "represent" a charity already associated with Shands Medical Center. For some reason, the UAA was hesitant to say the football team was going to raise money for charities. Apparently, the NCAA frowns on raising money for anyone accept the NCAA.

Here's hoping that the athletic department let's crazy ol' coach Urban Meyer design a bizarre obstacle course in the vein of Ninja Warrior. Or, better yet, here's hoping Urban Meyer competes with the dorks of Team Sportwriter against his own players. Now, that would be weird. (All in the name of charity, of course.)

-jo-



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