Ronald Powell the Latest to Declare for 2014 NFL Draft; DE/LB to Leave Florida Early

Ronald Powell has become the latest underclassman to declare his intentions to leave Florida early and enter the 2014 NFL Draft. The hybrid defensive end/linebacker had one season of eligibility remaining.

Ronald Powell, Florida Gators

The top recruit in the nation coming out of high school, much was expected of Powell before he ever stepped foot on campus. He was the second top prospect to sign with the Gators under former head coach Urban Meyer and if his impact were to even be close to that of the first–Percy Harvin–Florida fans were in for a treat.

Powell struggled early, but mostly due to those high expectations. It’s not that he underperformed during his freshman season; it’s that so much more was expected out of him. Will Muschamp’s arrival as the new Florida head coach may have been a good thing for Powell in the long run. While it did take him some time to get used to his role as a “buck” linebacker, Powell started to come on strong during the season half of the 2011 season. Seven of his nine tackles for loss and four of his six sacks came in the final six games of the season.

Powell wouldn’t get a chance to build on his strong end to the 2011 season as his 2012 season was over before it began. He tore his ACL during the Orange & Blue Debut, putting him on the shelf for all of 2012.

When the 2013 season came around, Powell was ready to contribute again. While he was back to full strength, he also greatly benefited by the play of defensive lineman Dominique Easley and fellow buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. The emergence of Fowler allowed Powell to move between buck and more of a traditional linebacker role throughout the season.

Powell played well enough throughout the season that this announcement isn’t much of a surprise, but it’s also widely believed he would benefit greatly from one final year of development. However, after suffering the type of injury he did, it’s understandable that he would leave now and not risk getting hurt at the college level again. Early predictions have Powell falling somewhere in the middle rounds of the draft.

While I wish Powell all the luck in the world, the one thing I would have really wished for him during his time at Florida was more wins. Due to the injury forcing him to miss the 11-2 2012 season, Powell played for the Gators during seasons in which they finished 8-5, 7-6 and 4-8.

No. 6, Tyler Murphy, LSU, and My Never-Ending Love of the Florida Gators

Yes, I am alive. And yes, my love of the Florida Gators hasn’t died. It has just been dormant on this one particular display vehicle. While active on other mediums, The Bull Gator site has been left out in the cold. My name is Joel and I haven’t posted anything on this site in 63 days.

Tyler Murphy, Florida Gators

In that time, the Gators have marched (if that’s one way of putting it) to a 4-1 start behind an elite defense, an impressive after-thought turned hero of a quarterback and a schedule that’s about to take a turn into the realm of increased difficulty. I’d like to say I’m pleased with the season so far, and I am, but I’m also cautious and worried about what’s right around the corner. The defense gives me hope, while the offense has my wondering if it can keep up with the scoring prowess of some of the teams on the horizon.

As the Gators continue the 2013 season, I’d like to say my contributions to the blog part of The Bull Gator network will increase, but I honestly can’t promise that. Oddly enough, my first season as a football season ticket holder coincides with the lowest post output since this site’s inception. But the love is there and is never-ending. To use a phrase that honestly makes me laugh just a little every time I hear it, I bleed orange and blue.

For now, I’m back if for one post in the middle of a season with plenty to look forward to. Enjoy the thoughts of someone that has been observing from the sidelines (or, more accurately, from 21 rows up).

Speaking of hope and looking forward, I ever so briefly looked forward to what No. 6 would bring to the Gators this season. His contributions were limited and are now over as it stands for 2013, but that quickly brings me to another No. 6 and a player that is fast becoming one of the nation’s best.

(more…)

Ronald Powell Stays On Track To Return To Florida Gators In October

Florida Gators Buck linebacker Ronald Powell was on track to take a major leap forward in 2012. The junior had shown flashes in the past, but was said to have been a workout warrior during the offseason. Powell appeared determined to live up to the enormous hype that came with being the nation’s top high school prospect a few years ago and people had taken notice. Then he tore the ACL in his left knee.

Not long ago, you would have seen “torn ACL” followed by “will miss the entire season.” Instead, Powell was given a timetable of being out four-to-six months. Still ambitious, but not out of the realm of possibility. If all continues to go as planned, Powell could make his debut in October. That’s great news for Florida and the to-be star defender, but everything is still very much in TBD mode.

Powell could be completely cleared to return, but he shouldn’t be rushed. Manning the position in his absence are Lerentee McCray and Dante Fowler Jr. We’ve heard of McCray’s positive progression and we’ve also heard that Fowler could command serious playing time from game one. Basically, the Gators seem to be in good hands at the Buck position. If the two are performing well, there’s no reason to rush Powell and risk further injury.

We all want to see Powell on the field as we hope for a great year from the junior, but no one – fans, coaches, players or Powell himself – should want to rush him back if there’s an opportunity to give him a little extra time rehabbing.

Dante Fowler Jr. Impresses In Practices, Ready For The Real Thing

Five-star recruit Dante Fowler Jr. waited until National Signing Day to commit to the Florida Gators. The defensive end/linebacker – who is working at the Buck position at Florida – was committed to the Florida State Seminoles until he pulled the switch. It didn’t come as much of a surprise, but we’re still happy with his final decision. Even more so now.

Fowler has been making a name for himself since day one. He’s been a standout at the Buck with Ronald Powell out. Fowler constantly finds himself disrupting the offense and has been in the backfield almost as much as the Gators’ running backs. His next goal is to carry that over to game days.

With Powell watching from the sidelines for part of the season, Fowler will get an opportunity to shine. He’ll split time at the Buck with Lerentee McCray, but there are already a number of people that believe Fowler could make the position his own once the games begin.

Fowler was a big get for the Gators and by the sounds of it he’s already living up to the hype.

Injury Report: Ronald Powell Will Play For Florida Gators In 2012

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp has said buck defender Ronald Powell will play during the 2012 season. Powell tore the ACL in his left knee during the Orange and Blue Debut, putting him out of action for four-to-six months. Progressing phenomenally through his rehabilitation, Muschamp was always positive on his outlook for Powell. Now it appears as if the junior will play in 2012.

Powell is a key piece of the Gators’ defense and while Florida has done well recruiting his position, he’s the one with the experience. He’s also the one that has shown flashes of greatness at times. I’m typically among the few that believe that, but Powell’s inconsistency over his first two seasons did include some play in which his potential came out. Unfortunately that inconsistency meant it was hard to figure out how his future would turn out as it was truly only flashes.

During the spring, we heard stories of Powell’s determination to become the player he was meant to be. He even treated the injury as a minor setback, working hard to come back as quick as possible. We don’t know how quick that will be, but Powell will play and has been cleared for weight-room work and light running.

Injury Report: Ronald Powell’s Rehab On Schedule

It wasn’t long ago that a torn ACL meant you would be out for a minimum of 12 months. Due to that, it was somewhat surprising when Florida Gators linebacker/defensive end Ronald Powell was given a timetable of four-to-six months. It was great news, but many weren’t sure he’d be able to make it back in that amount of time. Well, we’re nearly one month in and Powell is making great progress.

The surgery was successful and Powell is already showing great progress in his rehab. There’s no guarantee he’ll be back in time for the beginning or even the middle of the 2012 football season, but it’s becoming harder and harder to doubt he will be either. Florida is sticking with the four-to-six month prognosis for now as they watch him rehab. Head coach Will Muschamp is confident Powell will make a full recovery and is very pleased with his progress so far.

Drafting The Florida Gators To Go Head-To-Head Against…The Florida Gators

The football offseason brings about boredom and plenty of it. It has forced us at The Bull Gator to come up with ways to occupy our time whether they are fun or trivial exercises in futility. Some examples include past attempts at coming up with the best Florida Gators of all-time at each jersey number and a draft consisting of only players available from the schools we have attended. This is another one of those exercises.

One Eyed Willy and I conducted a draft where we each attempted to fill a starting roster made up of all Gators. The rules were simple: 1) you need to fill each position with a player that could realistically line up at that position, and 2) your only real wildcards are going with a fullback or a third wide receiver and playing either a 4-3 defense or a 3-4.

Once we were done, we gave the teams to Evandagator and he let us know which team he thought would win if they went head-to-head. We didn’t tell him which team belonged to which one of us, so he could give his unbiased opinion (we aren’t completely sure which one of us he likes more just yet). We also posted the teams on Alligator Alley (one of the message boards on Inside The Gators) to see what they thought as well.

First up, the teams:

*The numbers in parenthesis indicate the overall pick the player was selected. Some players don’t have numbers next to their names because once we realized we only had positional openings left where we wouldn’t be competing for players, we each filled our rosters in one lump selection.

(more…)

Injury Report: Ronald Powell Expected To Make Full Recovery After Surgery

There was a collective sigh among Florida Gators fans when they found out Ronald Powell had torn his ACL in the Orange and Blue Debut. Potential seeps out of Powell and 2012 was to be the season where it all came together for the buck defensive end/linebacker. He had been mentioned as a practice star and someone that was more than determined to turn around his career and become a consistent star. The ACL tear may have been a setback, but Powell was going to make sure it wasn’t a big one.

Powell had surgery to repair the tear earlier this week and the outlook is very good. All signs point to Powell being able to play during the upcoming season and he may be able to return earlier than is usually believed with an injury such as the one he suffered. Head coach Will Muschamp thinks Powell has a very good chance of living up to the original timetable set of four-to-six months. We should see Powell this fall; now it’s up to his rehabilitation to determine just how much.

Injury Report: Ronald Powell Tears ACL; Florida Gators Defender Out 4-6 Months

Florida Gators defensive end/linebacker Ronald Powell experienced a setback to his rise to superstar status when it was discovered that he tore the ACL in his left knee. Powell suffered the injury in the first half of Saturday’s Orange and Blue Debut, but it was first thought it was just a sprain. After an MRI, it was revealed the junior’s injury was more serious and Powell will miss four-to-six months.

There is never a good time to tear an ACL, but April is better than August in Powell’s case. If he can recover completely from the injury, there’s a chance he won’t miss a single game of the 2012 season. However, it was only a few years ago that a torn ACL was considered a 12-month injury. With Powell’s new found determination and dedication to redefining his play, he will look to take care of his knee and do everything in his power to limit his time away from football-related action.

While many would say Powell has yet to live up to the lofty expectations that came with being the nation’s top high school player, he has shown flashes of greatness even if at times they may have seemed few and far between. Those flashes coupled with his outstanding speed and pass rushing ability provide hope though. Powell has always had potential and during this particular offseason, it seemed as if he was more than ready to live up to it. This is a setback definitely, but head coach Will Muschamp has said the defender’s spirits remain high and Powell is already working hard to get back to 100%.

“Ronald is in good spirits and is very eager to do whatever is necessary to have a healthy, speedy recovery.” – Will Muschamp, Florida Gators Head Coach

For more Florida Gators coverage, like the TBG Facebook page and follow TBG on Twitter.

“10 Things I Want Out Of The Florida Gators 2012 Football Season” – The Bull Gator

We spend so much time discussing what’s best for the Florida Gators; what will help the sports teams both on and off the field. From time to time, we decide to be selfish though and discuss what’s best for us. These thoughts could help the football team or they could help us as fans. We may want a certain player to succeed because he’s a vital part of the roster or just because we like his jersey number. Whatever the case, these are the things we want out of the Gators’2012 football season. One Eyed Willy was up first; now it’s my turn.

10. The return of The Swamp. I get that it’s a rough time for our country and the economy isn’t what it used to be, but that won’t stop me from longing for the return of a packed house. I want it to be hard for me to get tickets when I want to make the drive to Gainesville. I want the place to be full for each and every home game regardless of who the Gators are playing. I want to feel the energy I did during 1997 against Florida State and 2006 against South Carolina. I don’t want anyone but Gators to get out alive. Bring back the intimidation factor and that feeling of fear put into opponents when they walk out of the visitor’s tunnel.

9. Quinton Dunbar. The spring star needs to do the same on Saturdays in the fall. This one is dedicated to Dunbar because of his jersey number. Florida needs a star wide receiver and realistically it’s up for grabs. I honestly wouldn’t care if it were Andre Debose or Ja’Juan Story or anyone on the roster, but I’m going with Dunbar because, for whatever reason, he’s the one I want to see break out. If Dunbar can translate his spring success to the fall, good things will come for the Gators just as they did in 2006 when Dallas Baker put it all together.

8. On that note, I want offensive fireworks. I’ll even narrow it down to the passing game. Remember Danny Wuerffel? What about Rex Grossman? Tim Tebow’s final game? Whatever happened in 2010 and 2011 was a kick back to the dark ages. The passing game needs to return and Brent Pease can lead it. Will Muschamp mentioned keeping the offense the same, but not even he knows what that offense is. However it works out, it better include short passes, long passes, and every other pass in between.

7. Success for Ronald Powell. Another one chosen for the jersey number of the player mentioned. I don’t just want Powell to be average. I don’t just want him to be good. I want Powell to absolutely dominate. His first two seasons in Gainesville have been rough. He’s had as many ups and downs on the field as anyone, but every so often we get a glimpse. We see the talent and dream of the potential. Powell will be a junior this fall and it’s time for him to live up to that No. 1 overall recruit billing.

6. Jarvis Williams. Louis Oliver. Lawrence Wright. Reggie Nelson. Major Wright. You know what’s coming next. Matt Elam. Like homeruns, big hits can completely change whatever direction momentum may have been headed. It doesn’t have to be Elam that lowers the boom, but he’s the likely candidate. We revere that group of former Gators for more than just the big hits, but the big hits are what we remember first. Elam is well on his way to being a great defensive back; let’s see him make a few of those game changing plays.

(more…)