Will Muschamp Follows In Gene Chizik’s Footsteps

Nothing surprises us when it comes to recruiting. Some of the most unbelievable rumors end up being verified on occasion. For instance, Auburn Tigers football head coach Gene Chizik’s approach when recruiting against the Florida Gators is laughable at best, but does become more humorous when a player tells us how it actually went.

Defensive end Jordan Jenkins – who would go on to sign with the Georgia Bulldogs – has claimed that Chizik told him that Will Muschamp “follows in his shoes.” Jenkins stated that Chizik brought up the stops at Auburn and Texas that both men had as assistant coaches. Is that really something that would sway a recruit to the Tigers? And if Muschamp is following in Chizik’s footsteps, is a national championship in Coach Boom’s future?

Recruiting can take an ugly turn when one school is trying to fight off others, but this isn’t ugly, it’s just fact. Does Al Golden tell potential Hurricanes that Jimbo Fisher was an assistant before he was the head coach at Florida State? Does Les Miles tell players that Nick Saban used to coach LSU?

Neither school wound up with Jenkins and we’re more than glad the star high school DE wasn’t telling this story as the reason he ended up choosing Auburn.

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Men’s Basketball Recap: Florida Gators 63 – Auburn Tigers 47; Gators Lose Will Yeguete For Season In Win

The No. 11/12 Florida Gators improved to 22-6 (10-3 SEC) on Tuesday night witha 63-47 win over the Auburn Tigers, but they may have lost sophomore forward Will Yeguete for the season in the process.

A 16-point victory is always welcome even if it could be considered a second-straight ugly performance against Auburn, but the loss of Yeguete hurts. The sophomore left the game with a broken foot and early signs point to him being out six weeks minimum. Add it all up and that means the season is over for Yeguete. Quick healing and superhuman return times have been known to happen among athletes, but this may be asking too much. With the season quickly coming to a close, Billy Donovan needs another option to step up and fill in for the spark Yeguete provided.

As for the game, Florida made over 50% of their shots from the field and from behind the three-point line, but turnovers kept it from being a model win. The Gators turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and another six in the second. Turnovers have done in Donovan’s teams in recent years and against someone with more talent than the Tigers, this one might have been a loss. Luckily for Florida, the shots were falling.

Junior guard Kenny Boynton led the way with 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Boynton is finding his touch again and also made six of his nine attempts from downtown. Senior guard Erving Walker and freshman guard Bradley Beal both scored 13. We’ll continue to keep our fingers crossed for a return for his sophomore season from Beal regardless of how unlikely it is becoming.

The issue for the Gators as they head into the end of the season may be finding points elsewhere. Junior forward Erik Murphy was the only other Gator to attempt more than two shots. When the three guards are in their respective zones, all is good in Gator Nation. If two are having off nights, someone else needs to step up. With Yeguete out, that may be more than just one additional scorer. Mike Rosario, we’re talking to you. Get healthy and find your rhythm. Your time may have finally come.

Men’s Basketball Preview: Florida Gators Vs. Auburn Tigers – February 21, 2012

If the No. 11/12 Florida Gators play anything like they did on Saturday against the Arkansas Razorbacks, the Auburn Tigers are in for a very long night. The 21-6 (9-3) Gators host the 14-12 (4-8) Tigers in a Tuesday night SEC matchup between teams headed in different directions.

The Facts

Opponent: Auburn Tigers
When: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 – 7:00 PM
Where: Gainesville, FL
Broadcast: ESPNU, GatorVision, XM 199
Records: Florida: 21-6 (9-3 SEC, 13-1 Home), Auburn: 14-12 (4-8 SEC, 1-8 Away)
Rankings: Florida: 11/12, Auburn: NR
Current Streak: Florida: W2, Auburn: W1
Point Spread: Florida -17
Over/Under: 134
Calculated Score: Florida 75-58/76-59
Points Scored: Florida: 78.9, Auburn: 63.6
Points Allowed: Florida: 65.5, Auburn: 64.2
Last Meeting: Florida 45-40 (January 20, 2011)

The Preview

Let’s all just pretend the last matchup between Florida and Auburn didn’t happen. There’s no reason for us to go there. It felt like a loss all around and was the farthest from a testament to good basketball you can get. The teams combined for 85 total points. The Gators scored 98 against the Razorbacks on Saturday. So moving right along…

Florida has now won two straight after dropping two in a row. Each win becomes more valuable at this point and victories like the one on Saturday against Arkansas are fresh in the minds of the NCAA Selection Committee. It’s not only what they would want to see from a team with talent like the Gators, it’s what they need to see. This team should be winning those games in a convincing fashion and Tuesday night is no different.

The Gators have only one loss at the Stephen C. O’Connell center this season and will do everything in their power not to make it two. The Tigers may have drawn the short end of the stick traveling to Gainesville this late in the season to face a team hungry to prove it belongs among the nation’s best. If this one is anything like Saturday night, Florida will be firing on all cylinders. These are the games everyone watches and another big win will go far.

2012 Football Recruiting: Stefon Diggs Commits To Maryland; Five-Star Receiver Stays Home

Five-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs made his commitment announcement Friday night. The decision came down to four schools: Auburn, Florida, Maryland and Ohio State. All signs were pointing to a Maryland decision since Diggs’ announcement took place in a Maryland bar – a popular location that hosts the Terrapins’ coaches’ radio shows – that was packed full of Terps’ fans. Although Maryland became more and more likely as the decision drew near, the Gators were, for the most part, considered the heavy favorites in receiving a commitment from Diggs. A Florida commitment from Diggs was thought to be coming when the receiver referred to the Gators as “we” and when he tweeted about dreaming of playing in The Swamp. However, for the Gators, that dream was not meant to be; Diggs signed with Maryland.

Although the failure of Florida to secure commitments from Diggs, Nelson Agholor, Tracy Howard and several other uncommitted recruits makes it hard to think of it as a positive recruiting cycle, it is important to acknowledge the Gators brought in an extremely solid top-five recruiting class, and a fairly large one at that. With 23 signed recruits, Florida addressed the main concern: depth. One must come to realize one recruit, such as Diggs, does not make or break a school. How has Alabama done since they lost out on Tim Tebow? Two NCAA championships. (This rule does not apply to Cameron Newton.)

Gators’ fans, keep your heads up. The Gators will look to recruit in a state packed with skill position players all over the recruiting board. For example, another positive is that Florida appears to be establishing a pipeline in the heart of Seminole land at Lincoln High School in Tallahassee with the help of former Gator great Jacquez Green.

For the Gators, they now look forward to a new season starting with spring practice. Recruiting is probably over for this cycle, but for 2013, it has already begun.

2012 Football Recruiting: Stefon Diggs To Announce; Are The Florida Gators Still In The Race?

Five-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs is all set to make his college destination known to the world on Friday evening. The Olney, Maryland (Our Lady of Good Counsel) product has moved up his announcement to 6:00 PM and will doing so from the same place the Maryland coaches conduct their weekly radio shows. So does that mean the Terrapins are in for some good news? We’ll find out soon enough.

A recruit from Maryland announcing at a place where Maryland coaches talk Maryland football on a weekly basis. Signs may seem to point the way of the Terps, but as always we have to remember that recruiting is far from an exact science. For all we know, Diggs may still have some thinking to do and it’s not out of the realm of possibility to believe a surprise may be coming.

The Florida Gators are among the final four and fans of the orange and blue, Maryland, Auburn and Ohio State will be awaiting the news patiently (or impatiently to be more accurate). Each of the other three has plenty to offer even if Maryland does seem to be the hometown favorite at the moment.

Take a few minutes out of your happy hour on Friday evening to check your phone, pull up Twitter, or do whatever you have to do. Diggs will be a great addition to whichever program he chooses and all four would more than welcome him.

2012 Football Recruiting: Jordan Jenkins Commits To Georgia; Gators Lose Top Defensive End To Bulldogs

The Georgia Bulldogs added one of the nation’s top high school defensive ends on Monday night with the commitment of Jordan Jenkins. The 6’3”, 245-pound DE from Harris County (Hamilton, GA) chose the Bulldogs over the Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers. The announcement may have come to as a surprise to many that expected it to be down to the Gators and Tide.

Listed as a defensive end, Jenkins can play outside linebacker with equal effectiveness. He has good speed for his size and proved his versatility by lining up at defensive tackle during the Under Armour All-American Game – a game during which he totaled eight tackles and two sacks. Don’t expect to see him at DT again anytime soon though; Jenkins provides the Bulldogs with someone that can play DE in a 4-3 alignment, but just as easily excel at LB in a 3-4.

With the pickup, Georgia’s recruiting class gets a boost by keeping Jenkins inside of the state’s borders. Don’t expect this to derail the Gators though; Will Muschamp and his coaching staff aren’t stopping. Still in it with a number of top prospects, Florida isn’t done.

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2012 Football Recruiting: Jordan Jenkins To Announce Monday Night; Florida Gators Among Finalists

One of the nation’s top defensive players will announce his college of choice on Monday night. Defensive end Jordan Jenkins will make his commitment live on Fox Sports South at 7:00 PM, less than two hours before the start of the national championship game. The Florida Gators are among the finalists vying for the services of the five-star (Scout) or four-star (247Sports, ESPN, Rivals) – depending on your service of choice – prospect.

Having the Alabama Crimson Tide also among his finalists and making the announcement when he is, may lead many to believe Jenkins is Tuscaloosa bound. While that’s a definitely possibility, don’t jump to conclusions.  Jenkins has been rumored to be down to the Tide and Gators for a while now, but as with anything you hear in the recruiting world, those could just be rumors. Also among his finalists are the Auburn Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs.

Jenkins developed a great relationship with Florida hybrid defender Ronald Powell early during the recruiting process. Powell took Jenkins under his ridiculously chiseled wing and joked with him as a brother might. The thought at the time was that the 6’3”, 245-pound Jenkins would fit perfectly into the buck position currently manned by Powell. The younger could learn from the older for a year or two while also providing great depth at both defensive end and outside linebacker.

Whether it’s orange and blue or another color combination, we’ll have more on Jenkins and his decision Monday night.

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Florida Gators 2012 Football Schedule Has Its Benefits And Drawbacks

On Wednesday, the Florida Gators’ 2012 football schedule was released to anticipation not experienced in quite some time. That anticipation had as much to do with the Gators as it did with the new (and improved?) 14-team SEC. We knew Florida would be facing the Texas A&M Aggies and Missouri Tigers, but we weren’t entirely sure when and how those games would impact the rest of the schedule. Now we know.

A few thoughts come to mind with the releasing of the schedule. There are those parts of the schedule that benefit the Gators, but there are also those that could be seen as drawbacks. We already anticipate 2012 to be an uphill battle for Florida. 2011 didn’t answer many questions and left us all wondering what the future would bring. If the future was supposed to be 2012, it’s now 2013. Rebuilding doesn’t happen overnight, especially with an incomplete roster. Roster concerns are a discussion for another time though. For now, the schedule.

A completely unintentional twist to the schedule is the start of it. The Gators will close the 2011 season with the Gator Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes are soon to be coached by former Florida head man Urban Meyer (as if you weren’t aware of that fact). Florida opens the 2012 season against the Bowling Green Falcons. Meyer just so happened to be the Falcons’ head coach 10 years ago. It’s a merely a minor coincidence and one I had to reach for, but it’s there.

To have the Gators not open their SEC schedule with the Tennessee Volunteers is a problem. Okay, so it may only be a problem to me and a select few others who feel that matchup should always kick off the conference schedule. On one side of the coin, that game hasn’t always started the SEC games for Florida. On the other, it has for a while now and we’re (read: I’m) used to it. It doesn’t create a problem per say, but starting the conference schedule with Texas A&M in week two will be a change and possibly a challenge. It might not be a change we have to become accustomed to though as 2013 will bring the first of the “true” schedule templates for the near future. 2012 is simply a blip as the conference gets comfortable with 14 teams.

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Florida Gators vs. Furman Paladins: The Quickest of Previews

A quick rundown of Florida’s game against Furman because there might not be time for a fuller one. Such is the life of the casual blogger. You may have not known this, but our lives are very demanding. We have commitments that include a day job, wasting time reading articles covering sports we don’t even like, trying to watch The Wire from start to finish, and general sitting around. So from time to time, you get the brief.

I won’t even go into the must-win analysis again. You know what this game could mean, I know what this game could mean, the Gators know what this game could mean. It’s not often we find ourselves here. As Florida fans, the sun has been shining as of late and even 2010′s 7-5 regular season was 6-4 after 10 games. (That doesn’t help at all, does it?) But things could be worse; we could be cheering for 4-6 (0-6) Tennessee. Okay, so that may have been a cheap shot, but it’s really all we’ve got this year.

On we go to Furman; to a 6-4 team that wraps up their regular season on Saturday against Florida. A team South Carolina defeated by 19 last season and Missouri beat by 40 the season before that. A team that lost to Auburn by 32 in 2009 and former Gator Ingle Martin took to overtime against Pittsburgh in 2004. A team Florida should beat, but by how much is anyone’s guess.

There are victories and moral victories. The moral type are typically losses, but in this case Florida needs it to be a win. The Gators need a real victory and a moral one and a moral one won’t include anything less than an old-fashioned butt whupping at The Swamp. With depth issues and problem units impeding Florida’s progression as a team, that may be too much to ask for, but this is a game the Gators should win big time after time. The 2010 Florida team had it’s problems as well, but still managed to beat Appalachian State by 38. The Gators need that again. We all need that again.

Predicting The Florida Gators Record After The Loss To The Georgia Bulldogs

The find out what the below means, go here for the original post. Here’s the short version: One Eyed Willy and I predicted how many times out of 100 each SEC team would beat each of their opponents. Each week we go back and revise our predictions for the Gators based on what occurred. It could be based on Florida’s play or that of their future opponents, but things change. If the Gators win, we bump that game to 100. If they lose, it drops to zero. Simple enough.

A fourth-straight loss means we power through the predictions at light speed to not force us to relive the horror. After all, it’s Halloween; we have enough of that going around.

For a little history, we start with our original prediction for the Gators:

After the defeat the loss to Auburn:

And where we stand after loss number four:

Yes, what you see above is that neither of us is willing to give Florida more than 75 wins against Vanderbilt. In any given season, that would seem blasphemous. Because we haven’t seen an entire 60 minutes from the Gators in a month, it seems just about right.

The two of us end up with the same total score this week and that score isn’t a pretty one. We have Florida rounding out to a record of 7-5, but just barely. If you take it each game at a time, that would actually come out to 6-6. The Gators will have to show us a lot of Saturday in The Swamp to boost our confidence again, but sitting at 4-4 with South Carolina and FSU still on the schedule means a split of the final four is entirely possible.