ESPN 850 WRUF – Gainesville, Florida

McElwain Gets First Spring Under His Belt

By on April 12th, 2015

Will Grier dropping back to pass before he throws it to Alvin Bailey

With the completion of the Orange and Blue Debut on Saturday, Florida football head coach Jim McElwain has officially completed his first spring schedule. The Orange squad defeated the Blue 31-6.

The former Colorado State head coach has had to deal with a lack of depth at several positions, including at offensive line and linebacker. Being that it was his first spring in Gainesville, the players still have a lot to learn from his system. McElwain shared what he wants to instill in his players after the game.

“Getting the guys to understand the attention to detail, the focus on the communication, and the mindset to go win this play. That’s where we got to get.”

The position battle that headlined the Orange and Blue Debut and the entire spring is that of the quarterback position. The Gators have six quarterbacks on roster, but it’s going to come down to two players, Will Grier and Treon Harris.

Both took snaps for both the Orange and Blue side. Grier finished 8 of 11 with 136 passing yards, leading the offense to three scoring drives. Grier’s best throw of the day perhaps came off a flea flicker that he tossed for 42 yards to receiver Alvin Bailey. Grier admitted after the spring game that he needs to learn to accept mistakes.

“I just need to be the same steady guy all the time. It wasn’t frustration that the receiver dropped the ball or anything like. It was just more of me wanting to be successful and be perfect in every aspect.”

Harris had a strong showing as well. The true sophomore finished 6 of 10 for 94 yards and a touchdown pass caught by tight end C’yontai Lewis. Harris missed several practices this spring after going home to spend time with his family after his cousin’s death, paving the way for Grier to take more snaps with the first team. Harris said after the game that he has ground to make up.

“I got a lot of catching up to do. From the days that I missed, the install that they put in I wasn’t here. I was reading over it and watching it but I didn’t rep it. So I have to get better at that, catching up.”

The Florida Gators now enter the offseason. They will be back in The Swamp on September 5 against New Mexico State and will start practices again in August.

For full audio clips of quotes above and more, click below:

McElwain says unforced errors needs to be avoided

McElwain’s steps to take for a better offense

McElwain tips his hat to the offensive line

McElwain on what he wants to instill in his players

Grier needs to gain a short memory

Harris says he still needs to catch up

Harris on his growth from last year to this year

Posted in Gator Football, Southeastern Conference | Leave a comment

Gator Softball Takes Series Opener Against Kentucky In Pitcher’s Duel

By on April 12th, 2015

Lauren Haeger looking for the pitching signs after striking out a Wildcat.

The third ranked Florida Gator softball team played in front of a record crowd at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on Saturday as they opened up a series against the 13th ranked Kentucky Wildcats. Almost 2500 fans filled up the bleachers to watch a pitcher’s duel to remember. The Gators would come up on top with a 1-0 victory over the Wildcats behind Lauren Haeger’s two-hit shutout.

Florida third baseman Taylore Fuller believes the bigger the crowd, the better the team performs.

“The better the atmosphere, the better our team plays. We love having our fans here. We love having the support shown through that softball program.”

Fuller was the only Gator to record a RBI against the Wildcats. Kentucky pitcher Kelsey Nunley threw six strong innings, only allowing that earned run to Fuller while striking out five. The one run came off an infield single with the bases loaded after some walks and a base hit. According to Fuller, the Gators were expecting a low scoring affair.

“We knew right from the start that it was going to be a 1-0, 1-1, 2-1 game. So, we knew what we were coming into and we are looking forward to the next couple of games.”

That single run was all Florida needed with Lauren Haeger pitching the way she was; the senior only allowed three base runners all game while striking out four. This win improves her record to 18-0 on the season and drops her earned run average to 1.10. Haeger has never felt better in her college softball career.

“This is the best I have felt in four years. This is the best. I’ve worked really hard in the bullpen this year and it’s starting to pay off and it’s such a relief.”

The Gators are now sitting on a record of 38-4, 9-4 in the SEC. April has been a good month for Florida as they have outscored their opponents 53-7, winning all six games. They look to keep the winning streak alive against Kentucky on Sunday and Monday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively.

The Gators will be without outfielder Bailey Castro this weekend due to flu-like symptoms.

For full audio clips of quotes above and more, click below:

Fuller expected a close, low-scoring game

Fuller comments on Lauren Haeger and her work ethic

Fuller loving the home atmosphere

Haeger explains how she was on the top of her game

Haeger on her pitching approach

Haeger feeling better than ever

Walton pleased with Lauren Haeger’s work all season

Walton on Bailey Castro’s status

 

Posted in Gator Softball, Southeastern Conference | Leave a comment

Stage Is Set For Orange And Blue Debut

By on April 11th, 2015

After a month of spring practices and scrimmages, the Florida football team is ready to take the field for their annual Orange and Blue Debut. Contrary to previous reports, the event on Saturday is going to play out more like an actual game than a scrimmage. All in all, head coach Jim McElwain is pleased with the effort his team gave throughout the spring.

“Overall, I think the adapting to the change offensively, those guys have done a pretty good job. And defensively, we got a good defense. We’ve got some good players over there. Those guys are playing their tails off.”

The Gators are going to compete in four 12-minutes quarters with a running clock except in the last two minutes of each half.  The quarters will be followed by an overtime period that will be untimed. McElwain stated that he is going to limit the live plays during the scrimmage to prevent potential injury to the offensive line. Essentially, the both lines of scrimmage will not being going at full speed at times during the debut. McElwain tips his hat to the offensive line this spring.

“We’ll compliment our offensive line, for how few they are and how many reps they took.”

On another note, wide receiver Chris Thompson has been excused from the team to handle a legal matter. The junior has a formal complaint against him in a battery incident.

Staying on the offensive side of the ball, McElwain announced on Thursday that offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will take responsibility of play-calling to start the season. After being hired in January, it has been unknown if Nussmeier or McElwain will be calling plays.

The Orange and Blue Debut will kickoff on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Players will sign autographs in both end zones after the game.

For full audio clips of quotes above and more, click below:

McElwain applauds the offensive line

McElwain pleased with the team’s adaptability

McElwain on the status of Chris Thompson

McElwain’s thoughts about the scrimmages during the spring

Posted in College Football, Gator Football, Southeastern Conference | Leave a comment

Gator Baseball Cruises to Game One Victory Over South Carolina

By on April 11th, 2015

The Florida baseball team uses a lot of hitting and enough pitching to defeat the South Carolina Gamecocks 14-3 Friday night in Gainesville in the first of a three game series. The Gators offense has scored 36 runs and gotten 39 hits in its last two games.

Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan was pleased with the win.  

“Tonight was big especially after the Missouri series where we only had nine hits the last two games but that’s baseball. Hitting’s contagious sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a bad way and it seems like things are kind of going our way right now. Kind of a weird game the way it started, both starters seemed to struggle a little bit; I mean we scored three and then turn around and give up two. Both guys were a little bit off and left the ball a little bit up.”

The Gators jumped out to an early lead in this one thanks to Harrison Bader hitting his team leading 10th home run in the bottom of the first to give Florida the 1-0 lead. Later, Jeremy Vasquez hit a two run single to push the cushion to 3-0.

Bader says getting out to an early lead is big for this team.

“The big thing about our hitting is when we get out ahead early we kind of seem to get things rolling so I got a good pitch and did what I did with it.”

The Gamecocks would answer back with two runs of their own in the second after sophomore Gene Cone hit a two-out single off of Logan Shore and Kyle Martin made it 3-2 with an RBI hit.

South Carolina would tie things up in the fifth inning. Bobby Poyner replaced Florida starter Logan Shore (4.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R) after Shore loaded the bases with no outs. Poyner would get the first batter he faced to hit into a double play to tie the game but a big inning was avoided.

Poyner talks about coming into the game in that situation.

“I knew it was a real turning point in the game. I had to jump ahead and throw strikes early. The goal was to get a strikeout or a double play.”

The Gators responded with five runs in the bottom half of the frame. Freshmen Christian Hicks got things going with a lead off home run to right field, his second long ball of the year. Harrison Bader, Buddy Reed, and JJ Schwarz all had RBI doubles in the inning as well.

Florida would add insurance runs the next couple innings that included Schwarz leading the seventh off with his fifth home run in the last two games. The Gamecocks wouldn’t score another run the rest of the game as Poyner, Shaun Anderson, and Frank Rubio didn’t surrender a single hit in five innings of relief work.  

Game Two of this three game series will take place Saturday; you can catch the game live on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 5;55 pm.

Sound from tonight’s game below:

Bader 1

Bader 2

Poyner 1

Poyner 2

Sully 1

Sully 2

Sully 3

 

 

 

 

Posted in Gator Baseball | Leave a comment

Friday Sports Update (4/10)

By on April 10th, 2015

A big Gator sports weekend, mass exodus at Kentucky basketball, MLB results, NBA and more in our Friday Sports Update…

** A big weekend in Gator sports coming up starting today.   Over the weekend, Gator baseball, softball, women’s tennis, and lacrosse will host games and matches.   And, the Orange and Blue Debut takes place as well!

** A sworn complaint has been filed against Florida wide receiver Chris Thompson over an alleged incident with a female.   According to Florida coach Jim McElwain, Thompson has been excused from practice to deal with the situation.

** The annual spring game will be played with four quarters at 12 minutes each with a running clock.

** A total of seven players from the Kentucky men’s basketball team will declare for the NBA Draft.   An eighth, Alex Poythress, is a possibility as well.

** Round two of The Masters today in Augusta, Georgia.   Jordan Spieth ripped the course for an eight under 64 to take the first round lead.   Three Gators are in the tournament; Camilo Villegas (72) Billy Horschel (70) and Matt Every (73).

** Both the NBA and NHL regular seasons are coming to a close with teams still jockeying for playoff positions.

** In Major League Baseball, Tampa Bay faces Miami this weekend while the 3-0 Atlanta Braves take on the New York Mets.

 

 

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Florida Baseball Hosts No. 21 South Carolina This Weekend

By on April 10th, 2015

The Florida baseball team hopes to carry the confidence of a 22-2 victory into a big series against division opponent South Carolina at home this weekend. Florida is 25-9 on the season but is tied with USC for the third spot in the SEC East with a 6-6 record.

The Orange and Blue will send sophomore ace Logan Shore to the mound this Friday in hopes of taking Game One. Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said there is a possibility of seeing former starter and now reliever Bobby Poyner on the mound either Saturday or Sunday but officially Florida’s starting pitchers for Saturday and Sunday are TBA.

South Carolina is coming off of wins against the Citadel and Appalachian State this week. The Gamecocks will have Wil Crowe who has a 3-3 record with a 4.03 ERA on the mound on Friday.

You can hear the game live on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 6:55 pm.

Posted in College Baseball, Gator Baseball | Leave a comment

Gator Lacrosse Stays Golden in Conference, tops Marquette 16-5

By on April 10th, 2015

They say the best defense is a good offense, and that was certainly a philosophy the Gator lacrosse team (10-4, 4-0 BIG EAST) embraced on Wednesday. Defender Caroline Fitzgerald notched her first career goal in the midst of a 8-2 second half run to help Florida defeat Marquette 16-5.

Fitzgerald hadn’t even taken a shot in 34 games.

Meanwhile Florida coach Amanda O’Leary felt that her team “came out a lot harder” in the second half, and “competed for ground balls and did the little things we needed to do to be successful.”

Then Fitzgerald would score again, and the Gators defense would ride their confident sophomore to 10 turnovers while allowing just five goals. But Fitzgerald didn’t spend the game on her defensive end, as she moved up to the midfield.

“She did a great job filling a position that she wasn’t used to playing, but she stepped up and did what we asked her to do,” said O’Leary.

Another part of giving up just the five goals was another defensive leader for Florida, Mary-Sean Wilcox. The Gator goalie was in the zone, racking up a season high nine stops; that makes it 16 saves over just the last two games.

It was a tremendous job in goal according to coach O’Leary.

“I thought she started out kind of slow, but really turned it on and made some critical saves throughout the game.”

As for the Gators offense, it was the same old cast of characters as Shannon Gilroy put four goals in against the Golden Eagles, moving her career goal total to 14th all time. Mollie Stevens added another couple, and she has now scored in 18 straight games. And Devon Schneider was as efficient as you can be, scoring three goals on three shots.

Florida continues BIG EAST play this Saturday as they welcome in Villanova at 1pm. It will be the last home game for Florida so it will be Senior Day at the Diz. Two of Florida’s seniors, Shannon Gilroy and Nora Berry, have played a huge role in defining “Phase II” of Florida lacrosse after the initial class graduated. Mikki Offit rounds out the Gator three player senior class to be honored on Saturday.

Posted in Gators Lacrosse | Leave a comment

Florida softball captures a win in Tallahassee

By on April 9th, 2015

Gators head home with a 5-1 win over the Noles

In-state rivals Florida State and Florida faced off Wednesday night at JoAnne Graf Field in Tallahassee. Lauren Haeger was in the circle for the Gators but the offensive spotlight was on senior outfielder Bailey Castro, who hit two home runs in the game to help Florida beat FSU 5-1.

The offensive momentum started in the second inning when Castro shot a home run into left field to get the scoring going and later Justine Mclean singled in a run to give UF a 2-0 lead.

In the third inning, Aubree Munro drew a bases load walk to up the Gator lead to 3-0 but the Seminoles scored their only run in the third to cut the deficit to 3-1.

But Florida put the game away with two more runs as Nicole Dewitt had an RBI hit and Castro hit her second home run of the game.

Pitcher Lauren Haeger was solid in the circle, allowing only one run and five hits in a complete game effort.  She also only gave up one walk while gaining six strikeouts in the game.

With this win, the Gators have now won 35 consecutive non-SEC games dating all the way back to last year. Also, the Gators now lead the all time series record against the Seminoles 20-14.

The Gators have improved their record once more (37-4) as they head into a home weekend conference series at home against Kentucky.  First game is set for Saturday at four o’clock.

Posted in Gator Softball | Leave a comment

Jeremy Foley speaks on renovations, UF coaches

By on April 9th, 2015

University of Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley has plenty of things on his slate, and he discussed some of them in an appearance on “Sportscene” with Steve Russell on ESPN 850 WRUF on Wednesday.

Foley spoke about having to prioritize the renovation projects across Gator athletics based on need, and announced that the O’Connell Center renovations will get started next March. According to Foley, after opening in 1980, the O’Connell Center is “home to national championship programs, home to the most dominant program in the SEC in volleyball” but that it has become “old and tired, and it’s time to do something about it.”

Off of the heels of planning a renovation to the O’Connell Center, Foley said an indoor practice facility for football simply had to be built. The O’Connell Center was no longer a backup for the football team to practice in, and Foley insisted “you can’t have a football program and have no place to go (for practice if bad weather hits).”

Foley also took the opportunity to comment on some of the topics surrounding Gator basketball head coaches.

When asked why he has shown such patience with Florida women’s coach Amanda Butler despite lackluster success, Foley says it is because he has great confidence in her.

“I think when she took over this program it was less than ground zero. I think we were in a hole.”

Foley reaffirmed that he and his staff believe that keeping Butler as the head coach is “the best course of action right now.”

When speaking of Billy Donovan and the rumors that the NBA would come calling, Foley said those rumors come up almost every year and that he fully intends to have Donovan back as coach next season.

 

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Dante Fowler: The Countdown to Draft Day

By on April 9th, 2015

Dante Fowler to head to the NFL after a great season with the Gators.

Projected first round draft pick Dante Fowler worked out in the Swamp Tuesday in Florida’s Pro Day. It would be the last moment Fowler played in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as a Gator. Fowler announced after his excellent junior season that he would be declaring for the NFL draft.

Fowler led the Gators with 15 tackles for a loss and 17 quarterback hurries and had eight and a half sacks. He also made first-team All-SEC in 2014 and was voted team and defensive MVP and was a captain for his final season.

Fowler has not mentioned his favorite of NFL prospect teams quite yet, but he did mention he worked out with the Titans as well as the Falcons and has heard interest from some Florida NFL teams.

Dante Fowler has always loved the game of football and he discusses what the experience of going to the NFL means to him.

“It’s really life changing you know. I am doing what I love at the end of the day. Just being able to work and get better and better. I am a pro now and this is my career. This is my first step to being the person I want to be.”

Fowler also knows the time commitment he is going to have to give to become a successful pro player.

“I love this game. With me loving this game I am going to do anything I have to do to get better. I am going to put the time in. I am not just doing it because I made it, but because I love the game.”

Tune into the NFL draft on April 30th to see where Dante Fowler ends up.

To hear more from Fowler, click on the links below:

dante fowler 8

dante fowler 11

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