The AP All-America's first team
• Evan Turner
20.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg
• John Wall
16.9 ppg, 6.4 apg
• Wes Johnson
16.0 ppg, 8.4 apg
• Scottie Reynolds
18.5 ppg, 3.3 apg
• DeMarcus Cousins
15.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg
I can't argue with any of these selections. These five players wowed the college basketball nation all year. And, you have to give Kentucky credit for making it work with all the stars. This was an awesome college basketball season.
James Anderson of Oklahoma State was sixth in the balloting with 27 votes and was joined on the second team by Sherron Collins of Kansas, Greivis Vasquez of Maryland, Jon Scheyer of Duke and Da'Sean Butler of West Virginia.
The third team was Greg Monroe of Georgetown, Cole Aldrich of Kansas, Damion James of Texas, Luke Harangody of Notre Dame and Darington Hobson of New Mexico.
|Our Athletic Program is one of the best in the country....and definitely in the SEC. Just take a look at all the 1-2 and 3 finishes in the conference. This says a lot about our talent, our AD, and our commitment to excellence.|
|Lacrosse ^||6-4||0-2||--||NR NR|
It began with Tim Tebow.
The former Florida Gators quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner dined with Kelly at a downtown Buffalo steakhouse as Tebow visited the Bills in advance of April's draft, according to a Twitter post by Kelly's wife, Jill.
"He's a class act and a great guy," Kelly said of Tebow, according to his wife's post.
Kelly has been a vocal supporter of Tebow and has made it little secret he'd like to see the team draft him.
"I wish I could say more," Jill Kelly wrote. "If only I were there too! LOL! It was a great night! Now before U go 2 bed - pray for our Buffalo Bills!"
The Bills, who hold one draft pick in each of the first four rounds (overall Nos. 9, 41, 72 and 107), have started nine different quarterbacks since Kelly retired. Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick split time in 2009, with Fitzpatrick taking the reins in Week 6.
The quarterback who led the Bills to four AFC championships has said a key to a return to greatness for the franchise begins under center.
"Whether it's Tim Tebow, whether they'll have a shot at him when draft time comes ... you have to look at the top three quarterbacks in the draft, really study them," Kelly said to USA Today in November. "And you look for a guy with good character, good leadership ability and good arm strength."
The Bills went to four straight Super Bowls from 1990 through the 1993 season with Kelly at quarterback. But there's been little to shout about in Orchard Park lately: Coach Dick Jauron was fired in November and 2009 was the team's 10th consecutive season without making the playoffs.
Kelly said he sought to offer assistance in luring coaches and players to Buffalo and eventually wanted to become part of an ownership group that would keep the Bills in western New York.
"You have to start with the head coach and you have to start with finding a good signal caller," Kelly said, according to the USA Today report. "You look at Indianapolis. You look at Pittsburgh. You look at New England. You look at what Drew Brees is doing in New Orleans. San Diego. All the teams that are doing well, they all have quarterbacks.
"The teams that are struggling, they don't have a quarterback," Kelly added. "You need that guy behind center, not only the guy who can throw the ball and make big plays. But to be the leader and be able to pull people together."
We put little stock in a player's pedigree. And we put even less stock in the "pundits" and their outdated weapon of choice, the opinion.
So it is today that we dive into one of the biggest stories of the 2010 NFL Draft by looking at the college productivity of six legendary quarterbacks here in the modern pass-happy era.
|Six Big-Name College Quarterbacks|
|* Using the NFL formula for passer rating, not the NCAA formula|
• Was the most accurate of any of these six passers.
• Dominated the average per attempt category -- our favorite number -- by better than 1 yard per attempt over the No. 2 player on the list.
• Boasts a passer rating so sky high it defies description, nearly 20 full points better than the No. 2 player on the list.
Elsewhere, Player F was No. 2 in total TD passes -- but easily No. 1 in TD pass percentage. Player F threw a TD on 8.9 percent of his pass attempts -- easily outpacing Player A, who threw a touchdown on 6.6 percent of his pass attempts.
Finally, Player F protected the ball much better than any of the other quarterbacks on this list. Player F threw an interception on just 1.52 percent of attempts -- easily outpacing Player C, who threw an interception on 2.60 percent of attempts. And you know what we've always told you: quarterbacks who throw picks lose games. Quarterbacks who don't throw picks win games.
Dying to know who they are, aren't ya? Well, the numbers represent the college career stats of six of the greatest quarterbacks in the modern history of the SEC. Here goes:
• Player A is Peyton Manning. He played for Tennessee in the SEC and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 draft.
• Player B is Tim Couch. He played for Kentucky in the SEC and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft.
• Player C is Eli Manning. He played for Ole Miss in the SEC and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft.
• Player D is JaMarcus Russell. He played for LSU in the SEC and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft.
• Player E is Matt Stafford. He played for Georgia in the SEC and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft.
Tim Tebow has been downgraded by some teams for having poor throwing mechanics.
The list tells us many things.
First, it tells us the SEC has dominated the draft in recent years, as you probably already knew. But five guys at the most important position on the field taken No. 1 overall in a 12-year stretch is a remarkable accomplishment, even by the lofty standards of the dominant conference in college football.
Second, it tells us that NFL talent evaluators are out of their freaking minds.
Tebow, as you know, is the biggest question mark in the 2010 draft among the pigskin punditistas. He's the highest rated passer in the history of SEC football. He was easily a better passer than Peyton Manning or Stafford or Couch or any of the guys whose ability to pass was never really questioned by NFL talent analysts.
And yet NFL evaluators, for some reason, aren't sold on Tebow. Couch and Russell are two bona fide NFL busts, even though pro football talent evaluators couldn't usher them into the league fast enough. Yet these same talent evaluators harbor grave doubts about the ability of the greatest and most efficient passer in SEC history to pass the ball at the next level.
Consider, Charley Casserly, the longtime NFL executive turned NFL Network analyst, who was on the air Thursday telling the world that Tebow will go no higher than the fourth round of the draft next month.
Other executives seem obsessed by the trivia over Tebow's mechanics, while overlooking the rather irrefutable fact that he dominated college football like no player in memory and despite the fact that he was, by any objective measure, a much better passer than Couch, Russell, Stafford, and either of the Manning brothers.
Tebow didn't just pass the ball far more effectively than any of these No. 1 overall picks. It pays to remember that, in his spare time, he set the SEC career record for rushing touchdowns. And he won a Heisman Trophy. And two national titles. Other than that, he didn't do much.
The anti-Tebow crowd will argue, weakly, that he was surrounded by greater talent than those other passers. The anti-Tebow crowd, of course, is confused.
Let's look at Peyton Manning. Last we remember, he played with not one, not two, but three receivers taken in the top two rounds of the draft: Joey Kent, Marcus Nash and Peerless Price. His team was so loaded with talent that it won the national title the year after he left.
JaMarcus Russell played with arguably the most talented teams of the past decade. They won national titles in 2003 and 2007 and he watched as 34 of his LSU teammates were grabbed in the NFL draft.
Stafford? Well, Georgia is a prolific pipeline of NFL talent. Stafford was one of three starting offensive players from the 2008 Bulldogs taken in the first 50 picks of the 2009 draft (Knowshon Moreno, Mohamed Massaquoi).
Ole Miss is hardly the SEC's best hotbed of talent. But almost the entire offensive line that protected Eli Manning was good enough to earn a shot in the NFL, including not one but two of his centers: Ben Claxton (2003 draft) and Chris Spencer (2005), one of a small handful of centers ever taken in the first round of the NFL draft.
Couch? Sure, he didn't have much around him. In fact, he's one of just three first-round draft picks to come out of Kentucky in the last 25 years. But in any case, his passing numbers pale in comparison to those produced by Tebow.
The anti-Tebow crowd could also throw out the old David Klingler argument. You know, "anybody can put up big stats in the college game." But Tebow didn't just put up big stats ... he put up supremely efficient stats. He was more accurate, and produced more big passing plays, and was more likely to put the ball in the end zone, and more likely to keep it out of the hands of opposing defenders, than any of the recent collection of No. 1 passing phenoms to come out of the SEC.
Tebow was, by any measure, a better player, a better quarterback and, yes, a better passer than any of these No. 1 picks.
We understand that college success does not translate to NFL success. The long history of Heisman winners turned NFL busts underscores that argument.
However, in the gamble that is the NFL draft, we'll roll the dice on the proven and unmatched passing talent of Tebow rather than on the sorry track record of pro football talent evaluators.
Here is the video if you haven't seen it....tell me what you think?
PTI co-host and Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon
Meyer acted like "a bully" (podcast)
"If that was me and he threatened me, I could guarantee Urban Meyer one thing ... the second swing. He could have the second swing. Because a guy like this only understands one thing. I mean he wants to intimidate, he wants force. He's gonna threaten the wrong dude. And somebody, I know quite a few people, even reporters, who would say let's go back where you don't have all your boosters and let's go."
Associated Press sports columnist Jim Litke
Meyer blows top when a few quiet words were enough
Meyer did himself few favors with this latest public tantrum. If the point was to protest how Thompson's quote was blown out of proportion, blowing up at a reporter in full view of a camera might be the worst way to make it.
A few quiet words on the side would have accomplished that. Besides, Meyer's doctors, family and friends have been lecturing him for some time now to reduce his stress, not amp it up.
We noted in the middle of Meyer's change of heart last December that usually it's losing that turns coaches inside out. Meyer spared himself much of that pain by winning everywhere he's been, including two of the last four national championships, at Florida. Yet no matter how smooth the road looks ahead, he remains one of the those guys who focuses obsessively on cracks the rest of us barely notice.
The only thing that's changed for Meyer is he seems more determined than ever to fix each and every problem himself.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution college football writer Tony Barnhard
Meyer wrong–again–in confrontation with reporter
The issue was the way others outside the program picked up the quote and used it out of context. That is wrong and it is unfair to the kid.
But when that happens, the smart coach doesn't go after the reporter who quoted the kid CORRECTLY in an attempt to intimidate the rest. You sit down with all the reporters and explain to them that the kid is upset and, if there is any doubt about the context of the quote, Meyer as the head coach provides it in a calm, rational manner. Then the story goes away. But now this story has gone viral and, like Gundy, Meyer will soon be in the YouTube Hall of Fame. Not smart.
Orlando Sentinel UF beat writer Jeremy Fowler
Why Urban Meyer says I'm a “bad guy”
A reporter's probably not doing his or her job without getting blasted once in awhile.
But maybe Meyer felt like making a statement. Considering Meyer is a guy who is trying to suppress his stress level, his doctors probably would have frowned on today's incident.
Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi
Urban Meyer dead wrong to threaten reporter over Tim Tebow quote
First Urban Meyer quits.
Then he comes back.
Then he takes a leave of absence.
Then he doesn't take a leave of absence.
Now, incredibly, he is threatening reporters because one of his players was quoted correctly?
Can you say Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?
Good grief, that Florida coaching job really is a pressure-cooker, isn't it?
Gainesville Sun football beat writer Robbie Andreu
This wasn't about Tebow
The players who buy in, the players who do the right thing on and off the field, in the classroom and in the community … Meyer absolutely loves these guys. They are like sons to him.
Meyer saw one of his sons hurting in a big way Wednesday and he came to his defense. Simple as that.
ESPN blogger Chris Low
So much for Meyer easing back into things
Meyer and the whole Florida offensive staff are probably a little sensitive about the way Tebow's mechanics and delivery have been picked apart by NFL people. ...
Anybody who's ever been around Tebow for any period of time knows what a stand-up guy he is. So it's only human nature for his coaches and teammates to want to stand up for him if he's cast in a negative light.
Tebow would do the same for them.
But for Meyer to direct thinly veiled threats at Fowler, telling him to be careful, and then suggesting that they would probably be going at it (fighting) if Meyer were the father in this case comes across as amateurish for a coach who's won two of the last four national championships.
What Rivals had to say about practice
* Tight end Gerald Christian was today's outstanding player. He caught everything thrown at him and made a couple of tough grabs behind his body. If he can block, Christian will probably see the field as a true freshman.
* As a whole, the tight end position looks to be in great shape, despite the departure of Aaron Hernandez. Jordan Reed also made some athletic grabs today and continues to impress at the tight end position. The way the tight ends are playing now, there is a chance Florida tinkers with some two tight end sets later on in the spring.
* Tight end Desmond Parks did not dress today and his left hand was wrapped up.
* Running back Emmanuel Moody impressed today and was a close runner-up to Christian for player of the day. He had several nice runs, including one that he would have taken for a touchdown off left guard. The offensive line did a great job on the seal and Moody did the rest.
* He fumbled one ball in goal line drills. Moody took the carry wide to the left and was hit hard by linebacker Jon Bostic. The ball came loose and rolled out of bounds.
* Once again, John Brantley had an up-and-down day. He had a couple of great throws mixed in with a few that were either behind or over his receivers.
* Trey Burton continued to struggle throwing the ball. He threw an ugly interception to Will Hill when he waited too long to pass and then threw into double coverage.
* He seems to have a great grasp of the option and made some great reads today. On one play he was hit in the backfield by defensive end William Green. The coaches didn't blow the whistle and Burton finished the play by running to his right in for three-yard touchdown.
* The first team offensive line, from left to right, was Xavier Nixon, James Wilson, Mike Pouncey, Maurice Hurt and Marcus Gilbert. For the second practice, Carl Johnson did not participate in contact drills.
* A lot of guys moved around on the offensive line today. Wilson saw snaps at both guard spots, Pouncey moved to right tackle for one series and Nick Alajajian played center some. He struggled snapping the ball in the shotgun, botching a few. Jon Halapio also saw time on the first team at left guard.
* Wide receiver Omarius Hines had a nice day. He caught a few balls and looked very physical going at defensive backs after the catch.
* Robert Clark worked some with the running backs today during tackling drills. It was probably a numbers issue, but he did motion into the backfield during one play. The coaches might experiment with him some in a hybrid role.
* Receiver Solomon Patton had another bad day, dropping several passes that hit him right in the hands. He looked great on Wednesday and Friday, but since the pads have come on, he has struggled.
* Justin Williams made the catch of the day, for the offense anyway, when he slipped to the ground and then reached up to haul in a Brantley pass while he was still on the turf.
* Linebacker Brandon Hicks made the overall catch of the day when he reached behind him with one hand to snag an errant Brantley pass. It was one of the best plays of the spring so far.
* The linebacker position was extremely fluid again today. Bostic appears to be the starter at middle linebacker today, but Brendan Beal and Lorenzo Edwards continue to take snaps with the first team repeatedly.
* Bostic and Beal lined up on the field at the same time in the nickel package. Bostic played the Will linebacker position, while Beal manned the middle.
* Jelani Jenkins had a very solid day and made several nice plays. He hits hard and always goes in with a full head of steam. During special teams drills, he blew up a blocker on kick returns right in front of head coach Urban Meyer.
* Safety Matt Elam continues to get time as the extra defensive back in the nickel. It seems that he is now leading freshman cornerback Joshua Shaw for that position.
* Coaches yelled at freshman safety Jordan Haden after he whiffed on a block in kick return drills. He responded with a terrific block on his next try.
* Punter Chas Henry got a lot of work today during the special teams portion of practice. He has a phenomenal leg and punted one ball over 80 yards in the air. Even wind-aided, that's quite impressive. He will probably be a starting punter in the NFL in the near future.
I found this on Fanhouse....
The Washington Redskins haven't had much success with University of Florida products recently -- is a list of failed Gators in burgundy and gold really necessary? -- but there they were Wednesday signing former Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman.
And there they'll be Saturday in Gainesville for an extended visit with Tim Tebow.
A three-man evaluation team of coach Mike Shanahan, general manager Bruce Allen and director of player personnel Scott Campbell are scheduled to put the Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national champion through a private workout on the UF campus.
Washington has the fourth-overall pick in the draft and is believed to covet Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford -- like a lot of teams -- while also having Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen on the radar. Tebow is rated as a second- or third-round quarterback choice by most analysts, but helped his stock Wednesday when he unveiled a new (and improved) throwing motion at Florida's pro day. The Redskins' regional scout was at the session attended by close to 100 NFL coaches, executives and personnel types. Now Shanahan and Allen will check out what the buzz is about.
Tebow also has individual workouts scheduled with Buffalo, Cleveland, New England and Seattle. Per league rules, such workouts have to be held on the prospect's campus or in or near his hometown; in Tebow's case, that would be Jacksonville. Washington opted for Gainesville, where Tebow will throw to his former Florida receivers.
The Redskins' quarterback depth chart is topped by incumbent starter Jason Campbell, a restricted free agent who was kept off the open market when he was assigned a high tender offer for RFAs. Washington can match any offer sheet Campbell signs with another team or receive a first round draft pick as compensation if it chooses to let him go.
You have to give this team credit for mounting a serious comeback though. And, truly against what I think was a better team than Florida State on this day....they still almost won. Could have won if they could hit more free throws.
And. you gotta give the coaching staff lots of credit for making good adjustments at half time.... getting the players to buy in to those adjustment and come out looking like a different team and playing a a better brand of basketball in the second half.
It just wasn't enough. The effort was there though. And, that by itself is encouraging.
To Ryan Reid thank you for being such a gentlemen during your career and leaving it all on the court. It's a shame you didn't have a good last game.
To Soloman Alabi I hope you make the right decision for you and your family in going to the NBA or staying.
To Devidas, Luke, Michael, Terrance, Derwin, Xavier, and Chris....good season. I have seen you guys grow and develop by leaps and bounds.
The future is just as bright in Tallahassee as it is in in Gainesville. To take this team and add Jon Kreft, Ian Miller, Bernard James, and Okaro White to it will be a team that will compete in the ACC for the #1 spot. I truly believe that.
Outstanding job Coach. You know how proud I am of you. You took young men with raw talent and got 3rd Place in the ACC out of it. And, a berth to the NCAA Tourney.
And, to all the "Fire Coach Ham" post I have already read....you guys are ridiculous...completely ridiculous. I can't even get into why....but, you want even know what heights your program has reached under Coach Ham until he has decided on his own terms to depart from the Tallahassee.
This is Coach Austin giving his initial assessment of practices. I think Gator Country asked some stupid questions...especially the one about is the SEC better than the Big Ten where he had experience. No one is going to touch the answer so quickly. The is less than two months into this change. Anyway....please view.
I found this on the Gator Message Board and I had to share it......
On the final day of practice with no pads, the Florida offense practiced a little-used formation from last season and a freshman playmaker emerged.
Here is the Friday report of Florida’s second practice of the spring.
QUARTERBACK: John Brantley looked much improved from his first day of practice. I’ve been really impressed with the sharpness on the ball when he throws the out and corner routes. This is a key throw that scouts in the NFL look for, and Brantley will pass those tests with flying colors. There was a play in seven-on-seven where he showed his intelligence with the ball. He rolled out left to avoid the pass rush, carefully dissecting what he saw on the move. Then he set his feet and threw back across his body, hitting Justin Williams in stride for a completion. It seems sometimes like Brantley sees things in slow motion, anticipating where the receiver will get open.
Trey Burton had a much better day than his Wednesday practice. The freshman has an unusual throwing motion but he delivered the ball on the money during seven-on-seven and the short full scrimmage on Friday. He made some nice throws over the top of defenders in one-on-ones. He had a nice connection with Solomon Patton, which may be something Florida fans get used to seeing over the next few years.
The quarterbacks also worked a lot from under center. They spent a few periods of practice taking snaps from under center and handing off to running backs. The quarterbacks later took snaps under an imaginary center in seven-on-seven and took snaps under center in the short full scrimmage. You could have counted the number of times they worked from under center last spring on one hand.
RUNNING BACK: There still isn’t a lot to say here until the shoulder pads go on about the running backs. Emmanuel Moody hasn’t gotten many reps in passing drills, but he did make a catch out of the slot today. To be fair, Mike Gillislee hasn’t been easily spotted either. It’s just a tough time to notice their productivity when they aren’t running against a defense. We should know more about them after Saturday morning’s goal line scrimmage.
WIDE RECEIVER: My MVP of Friday’s offense came in Solomon Patton. He is going to play right away this fall. During one-on-ones, he scored three touchdowns. The first one came as he ran a stop-and-go route right by Will Hill for an easy touchdown. Right after Patton made his move, Urban Meyer screamed “whoa, whoa, whoa” because he was so impressed with the move. Patton gets to full speed in no time.
The second time came on a post pattern on Josh Evans for a touchdown. The third might have been the most impressive. Coach Meyer apparently got sick of seeing Patton burning the safeties, so he stuck Janoris Jenkins on him. Jenkins was playing bump coverage and initially pushed Patton two yards behind the line of scrimmage. Patton then ran right around him, and Burton placed the ball perfectly over his shoulder for a touchdown. As Patton was running back to the group, Meyer puts his two arms up in the air to signify a touchdown.
Robert Clark is a guy I think will have a significant role in this offense. He’s another one who could play the slot. While the wide receivers were working on running routes with the quarterbacks, Clark ran a skinny post from the slot position and looked like he was shot out of a cannon.
Carl Moore also had a few nice catches today. He ran a comeback route ten yards down the field and dove for a ball towards the sidelines. He’s got the frame to be the big wide receiver in the offense, but he needs a big spring to earn it.
Deonte Thompson was much more consistent on Friday than his first practice. He started the full scrimmage with three straight catches, two of them coming in traffic where he ripped the ball away from a defensive back. He’s got strong hands that make him a big target for the quarterback.
TIGHT END: It was another tremendous practice for Jordan Reed. He’s going to be an interesting one to watch this spring because of his potential. He’ll make plays every once in a while that make it easy to understand why Coach Meyer compared him to Cornelius Ingram after Wednesday’s practice. He’s got an athletic frame that allows him to go up and catch overthrown balls.
Gerald Christian may not have the speed that Reed has, but he’s certainly got the ball skills. Brantley overthrew him on a ball Friday, and Christian jumped up and made a one-hand catch, only to lose the ball when he hit the ground. He has surprising athleticism for his chiseled frame.
It sounds ridiculous to compare them to a duo the Gators had so recently, but Reed could into the Ingram part of the offense with Christian becomes the Aaron Hernandez.
OFFENSIVE LINE: This is the other difficult position to judge without pads, but here is the way they lined up today. Xavier Nixon was at left tackle, James Wilson was at left guard, Mike Pouncey was at center, Maurice Hurt was at right guard and Marcus Gilbert was at right tackle. Carl Johnson was dressed but didn’t practice for the second-straight day.
We did see Sam Robey in the pit for most of practice, and he had a brace on his left knee. I would assume it was nothing serious because he looked to be walking fine. During the full scrimmage, the offensive line played well, but the contact was only limited because the coaching staff instructed them to keep the defensive players up and off the ground.
THE MODERATOR: Ok, thanks, guys. Appreciate your time. Good luck tomorrow. Joined by Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton now. Florida State comes in as the ninth seed, 22-9. Making back-to-back NCAA appearances for the first time since '92/'93. Coach go ahead and make an opening statement and we'll take questions after that.
COACH HAMILTON: Take the bottle on the floor? Sorry about that. NCAA protocol.
THE MODERATOR: We both want to have these jobs again.
COACH HAMILTON: Let me turn this around. Take nice shot of this. Probably don't know very much about our basketball team. We've been a team that's been kind of a grind-it-out team this year. We've hung our hat on our defensive prowess. We've been fairly consistent with that all year. We are a team of one senior and one junior and sometimes we play like we are a young team. But overall, I like this team. I like our potential. I think that our best ball is still ahead of us. We're developing and growing. But we're very capable of playing very good basketball. And we -- when we are a little more efficient on the offensive end, we can be a very good basketball team. And hopefully as we move into this tournament this weekend that we will show some improvement over -- in some areas we worked very hard on over the last week or so.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach. We'll go ahead and take questions.
Q. Leonard, my name is Ken Murray. I'm filling in for the Miami papers.
COACH HAMILTON: Did you say Miami?
COACH HAMILTON: You really don't know who you are working for?
Q. Right now, but I'm still getting the checks.
COACH HAMILTON: That's the main thing.
Q. Could you talk about where your program is right now? How important would it be to the program to get a win here? You came last year, you lost as a fifth seed. How important is it to win here and where is the program right now?
COACH HAMILTON: I think every team that's participating in the NCAA tournament that's here, we all have aspirations of wanting to win a national title. That's why you work so hard during the year, to do that. And I think you come here knowing that you have to be at your very, very best in order to make that happen. We have a tremendous amount of respect for the Zags. We know they're a very good basketball team. They've developed a lot of tradition over the years. So we realize that this would be a very important step for our basketball team is to come into the NCAA tournament and not only just win but move deep into the tournament and put ourselves in a position that we're playing at our very, very best and let's just see what happens.
Q. You mentioned in your opening that not a lot of people know about your program. You're playing against a team that 25, 30 years ago no one knew about their program. But now they've kind of got a cult following with their fans and people across the nation. Do you feel that you're going up against -- I know it's an eight, nine seed, but do you feel you're going up against not only a team but a cult?
COACH HAMILTON: Well, I think in college basketball, the good and unique thing about basketball is that you have a right to earn your reputation. And you have to give credit where credit is due. These guys have earned the right to be considered one of the better basketball programs in the country. When you look at their non-conference schedule, they play a non-conference schedule that's as tough as probably 85, 90% of the teams in the country. You look back at Michigan State and Duke and Cincinnati and Illinois.
Anytime you're a competitor, you like to be put in those situations where you are playing a team that's nationally ranked, that's gotten a lot of recognition. They have earned that status, and you have an opportunity to go play against them. I told our players I can't think of a better bracket to be in than to play against -- I guess you have to call them a perennial power now. And if we're successful against them, you get a chance to play against the local team that's the number one seed. I think the stars are lined up for us. All we have to do is go out and play and be successful. I like this opportunity and I give them a lot of credit. They've earned the right to have the following that they have. They are really committed. They definitely have earned it.
Q. Leonard, can you talk about the qualities that make Chris Singleton such a good defensive player? How has that developed? It's easy for guys to play offense. A lot of guys don't want to play defense. What has made him that kind of player?
COACH HAMILTON: I think that's an excellent observation. It says a lot about his character, his tough conditions, his ability to understand that the -- to evaluate his abilities and see how he can best take advantage of his God-given talents. He played center in high school. Was basically the back to the basket; step out and shoot a standing jumper. He's basically come from -- he's gone from being an interior player in high school to a perimeter player in college, which is even more of an adjustment. He never played in a high school game where he took 15 shots in a game. That's unusual for a guy who is a McDonald's All-American. But I think what he's done, he's adapted, realizing the transition on the offensive end is probably one that he's still in the process of making. But the thing that he's capable of doing is using his left, his anticipation, his size, his strength and athleticism to impact the game.
I think he does a very good job of taking away vision because of his long arms. I think he is a good athlete, he has good anticipation and he has a strong athletic body. And I think that he has innate quickness. He has a sense of how to anticipate where the ball is going, that gave him the ability -- the opportunity to lead the ACC in steals this year. That has never been done by a guy 6'9".
I think a guy 6'9", playing the perimeter that leads the league in steals and in the top five of blocked shots is -- says a lot about the direction that he's allowed his ability to take him. I think he's only scratched the surface of his game. He's still adjusting to the perimeter. I think you're going to see him just continue to keep going up and getting better and better as he moves through his career.
Q. What do you think your guys learned from last year? And does it carry over? Does it apply?
COACH HAMILTON: I think if it's anything, when I look back at last year, they are going to have a better understanding that you have to play 40 minutes. You can't -- if you have a lull in any -- at any point, anything is capable of happening. I also think that we've talked about the fact that I'm not real sure you can give a lot of credence to seeds and how you're placed in the NCAA tournament. A lot of people vote. You don't really get a chance to see a whole lot of teams. You go in with information on paper. But it's really a very difficult process to properly seed these teams. You saw what happened today. I mean -- and I think you have guys who have been on the committee all year, they've been thinking about it, they've been reading, they've been watching some games on TV. Now you still have those seeds that are supposed to be not as good as the higher seeds and they still have the upsets. There have been near upsets in even some of the other games. So this tells you that this process is very, very difficult. And that's why I think I'm always champion in increasing the field for that simple reason. This happens every single year.
You have a lot of people playing very good basketball. And I think we need to include a lot of people. When you take that into consideration, there are a lot of good teams that are still not participating in this tournament. Not to get off the subject, but I'm just saying that this is very difficult process. That's why I think our guys understand that it shouldn't matter if the 16th seed or the second seed, whoever you are playing will be a good basketball team if you want to advance, you can't take any of those possessions off. Last year we went up at halftime and came out the first five or six minutes, we weren't totally as sharp as we were and we got our hats handed to us in an overtime game.
Q. Is there any part of Gonzaga's game that keeps you up at night, that you guys have been studying or anything you look at and say, "okay, there's one thing we need to focus on"?
COACH HAMILTON: Good basketball team. They are a typical ACC opponent for us. They're loaded with talent. They have quality, depth; seven foot, 6'11", 6'8". They got two 6'5" guards that are as good as any guards we faced all year. We are faced with these type of opponents on a regular basis. They are a good basketball team. You have to put them in that same category. And so we have tremendous amount of respect. But I'm not sure I'll stay up at night worrying about anybody. But I do have a healthy respect for them. Because I think they're really, really good basketball team. Very well coached and loaded with talent.
Q. Leonard, you won 22 games, you won 10 games in the ACC. There's not many people in this room, a lot of talk in the town has been about Gonzaga. The ACC tournament, the Final Four, people said was a sign of the struggles the league had this year. Do you guys -- you guys who are in the tournament for the ACC think you are trying to play for the league and show it's not what the pundits have said it's been all year?
COACH HAMILTON: I think what has happened over the years, we have had such great basketball in the ACC. Most people think they've dominated for a long period of time. But you have had a lot of perennial powers, basically Duke and Carolina, that's always been consistent at the top. I think we've added three additional teams and the gap is narrowing just like it is all over the United States in every league. I think there's lot of close proximity from the top teams in our league to the bottom teams in our league.
Last year Carolina just kind of blew through the NCAA tournament. But when you go back and look at the games they played in the ACC, they won a lot of close games throughout the whole year. They had a lot of hard-fought games. They might have had some games that maybe on paper they won by 12, 15 points, then the last four or five minutes of the game, they were 3-4, 5 points going down the stretch. No one said that the league was a great, great league because they -- because the best -- the team that walked through the NCAA tournament by a large margins, you know, had a lot of close victories against very good basketball teams in the ACC.
I think sometimes beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. You can use stats and things and come to your own conclusion. I don't think there's anything I have to try to prove. I think the league speaks for itself. I think the whole climate of basketball is changing all over the country. I think you have a lot of great, good basketball teams that don't get the exposure and the acclaim and recognition.
Once again, I'm a champion for adding more teams because I think that's the nature of what's going on in our league. And I think it's obvious that's what's happening in the ACC. No longer will you be able to just pick a favorite and say the team is going to win a game. Every night in the ACC we're going to war in the conference play.
Q. You talked about grinding out wins this year. Is it safe to -- and you're the top-rated defensive team with opposition field goal percentage. Is it safe to have to say that you win games with your defense and you could lose games with your defense as well? And how important is that defense going to be tomorrow?
COACH HAMILTON: It's interesting. We took a tour to Spain this summer. We averaged 106 points per game. And as we practiced those ten days prior to going to Spain, we didn't run a defensive drill. We did all offense. Because we feel that we wanted to be that running team that averaged 80 or 90 points a game. Once we got into the practice session, we found out that our skills still had not developed to the point where we could be quite as efficient on the offensive end as we like to. But we're very capable. I think when we go to practice, it's amazing to me how consistently and how well we shoot the ball from the perimeter in all our shooting drills and a lot of our scrimmages, how well we shoot the ball, how well we shoot the ball from the free-throw line.
I think that sometimes when you have those freshmen-dominated type teams against the competition we're playing against, you have a period of development in growing up. I think we're going through that. And I think we're very fortunate to find ways to win games in spite of the stage that we're at. So I'm not overly concerned about how we have to win games. I just want to make sure we go out and just kind of play as well as we can each and every game. And then we'll see what happens from there, offensively and defensively.
Q. What went into when you made the change about ten games ago, move Snaer to two guard and how has he played? What has he given you?
COACH HAMILTON: What happened we were playing Michael and Deividas Dulkys were both playing 22 minutes a game. Deividas is a sophomore, Michael is a freshman. Michael went through periods most freshmen go through. They are developing, they are learning, they are making a few mistakes. They still are playing hard. Michael developed into one of our better defenders while he's going through the early stages of making the adjustment to college. Deividas had been shooting 40% from the three-point line. He was shooting the ball extremely well. But for whatever reason, I thought Deividas was starting to put a lot of pressure on himself and he was getting great looks and he went through a period where he's 1-of-16 from the three-point line. We thought we would take a little pressure off of him and switch the roles. And Michael is playing better now that -- he was inserted into the lineup. Deividas started shooting the ball much better when he had a little less pressure. They both were playing about the same amount of minutes. So it was kind of a wash in terms of who started, because they both -- Deividas might be playing more minutes than he was playing when he started. I'm not real sure it made that much difference from that standpoint. I thought it helped the overall team.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, best of luck.
Now, it's on to the future and the future I think is bright for the Florida Gator Basketball team. We have some exciting recruits coming in and this team has grown leaps and bounds.
I don't think we get Brandon Knight....but I love Irving Walker at the point.
Kenny Boyton finally showed why he is a prize possession for the Gators. This experience will only make him better. But, 27 points as a freshman in the tournament is awesome.
Great job Billy with this young team and I can't wait til next year.
"My judgment is that he's not an NFL quarterback," Henne told Curts Stevenson and Anita Marks of WQAM in Miami. "I leave it at that."
Is Henne a NFL QB yet or is Ronnie Williams and Ricky Williams the QB. They certainly have as many snaps as Henne. We are tallking about a player that has been in the league two years. And, he now judging NFL talent.
As long as he is QB of the Dolphins I hope they lose every game....
A Gator Board poster wrote....
"If I were Henne though, I’d be more concerned about my own masquerade at the position, before calling someone else a pretender. He might draw more scrutiny then he desires."
I couldn't have put it better myself.
No more discussion on who should have gotten in and who should not have. My brackets are done...no more changes.
So, it's time to enjoy two of the best days in college basketball. I will try to catch as much as possible on my laptop.
I am excited to see a lot of different players. I think John Brantley will surprise a lot of people of QB.
I can't wait to see Andre Debose who had hamstring surgery and red shirted last year. I want to see what Solomon Patton will do. Both of these players have been labeled as the next Percy.
I am definitely wanting to see Matt Elam who was the hardest Gator to keep committed.
Jordan Reed moved from QB to TE and Coach Meyer said, "he looked good." I am excited for Jordan to get on the field.
Also, Jordan Haden, Joe's brother is in school early...can't wait to see what he has.
The WRs were definitely scrutinized last year. I am looking to see if Carl Moore made it all the way back from back surgery. I want to see if Deonte Thompson steps up now along with Justin Williams and Omarius Hines. Also, don't forget about Stephen Ali who was an early entry last year at WR and red shirted.
There is so much more but, I will address Special Teams and Defense tomorrow.
Update On Lacrosse From Gatorsports....3/20
The No. 10 Florida lacrosse team battled against a quick, aggressive Syracuse squad to defeat the No. 11 team in the country, 16-11, in front of 937 fans at Donald R. Dizney Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Gators were led by sophomore attacker Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.), who tied her career-high and her own school record with six goals while adding an assist for a season-high seven points. Florida also saw hat tricks from sophomore midfielders Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) and Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.).
Sophomore attacker Janine Hillier (Farmingdale, N.Y.) tied her career high in points with four (2 goals, 2 assists), adding two draw controls. Sophomore attacker Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) scored and added an assist while sophomore midfielder Jamie Reeg (Atlantis, Fla.) scored her first goal of the season.
The Gators were a perfect 4-for-4 from free position and outshot the Orange, 27-20. Florida won the battle on the draw, 18-10, continuing the Gators’ streak of winning the game when out-drawing their opponent. Chesterman and Dashiell each had a team-high four draw controls, which is Chesterman’s career high.
“The draw is so important,” Florida head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “When you possess the ball, they can’t score. Those 18 draws were critical because we needed possession of the ball. Their attackers are such threats and if you give them an inch, the ball is going in the back of the net.”
Heisman Trophy Winners Since 1970 ....just not relevant to me before then.
Reggie Bush (vacated)
Florida Football 2011 Commitments