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Randy Shannon’s Road to Florida

By on January 15th, 2015

If there is something that Randy Shannon knows, it’s the defensive side of the ball. The former University of Miami player, defensive coordinator and coach at the school is now the associate head coach/co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the University of Florida.

New Florida head man Jim McElwain hired Shannon from the University of Arkansas, where he served as the linebackers coach for the Razorbacks the past two seasons. Shannon is excited to get to work with the new staff that McElwain has brought into UF.

“It’s good to work with coach Mac and be a part of this program,” Shannon said. “The coaching staff, some guys that I’ve known for a while they’re great. We all have the same kind of mentality and we just want to be a part of something that is special.”

Shannon’s accomplishments on defense go back to his days as the defensive coordinator at Miami. In his first season coordinating the defense in 2001, the Hurricanes won the national championship behind a defense that had players the likes of Ed Reed, Jonathan Vilma, and others who would go on to have success on the NFL level.

Shannon’s success on the defensive side of the ball would eventually lead him to become the head coach at his alma mater in 2007. Shannon wouldn’t find the same success as a head coach as he did as a defensive coordinator, as he was fired after four seasons at the helm of the program. Shannon, however, isn’t dwelling too much on his past.

“The past is the past, I can’t change it,” Shannon said. “A lot of great things I did as a player, as a coach, but right now my focus is on trying to get things done at the University of Florida.”

Shannon was also brought in to help recruiting efforts for the Gators. He had success bringing in top classes while at Miami and recruiting South Florida. Even though Shannon has a reputation as a top flight recruiter in South Florida, he wants people to know that he can recruit around the country.

“People label me as a South Florida guy, but people keep forgetting that I recruited a lot of guys from California while I was at the University of Miami,” Shannon said. “A lot of guys from Louisiana, a lot of guys from New York, so I’ve been more versatile than recruiting South Florida.”

While Shannon inherits a team that consistently ranked at the top in most defensive categories during former coach Will Muschamp’s tenure, Shannon knows that he has to make sure the players understand what he wants to do.

Coaching defensive football is something Shannon is known for; he has a great pedigree and a great history of coaching defense and he wants to continue that success now at Florida while having the opportunity to work with a new staff. From being at Miami, Shannon knows what kind of program Florida has in football and overall athletically.  

“There are a lot of programs in the country, but there’s only a few programs in the country like Florida.” 

For audio on Randy Shannon click below:

Shannon 1

Shannon 7

Shannon 8

Shannon 9

Shannon 12

 

 

 

  

 

 

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Thursday Sports Update (1/15)

By on January 15th, 2015

Gator news, college football, college hoops, NBA, NFL and more in our Thursday Sports Update…

** Both Florida basketball teams are in action tonight.   The Gator men host Auburn while the women visit nationally ranked Kentucky.

** In SEC men’s hoops last night, LSU wins at Ole Miss 75-71 and Georgia wins at Vanderbilt 70-67.

** Lots of activity as eligible college football underclassmen have until today to declare for the NFL Draft.   FSU defensive lineman Eddie Golman and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota are going to the NFL while Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott will return to school.

** Coaching changes in the SEC.   Alabama loses Lance Carter to Auburn and Kevin Steele to LSU where he will be the defensive coordinator.   LSU also hires Ed Orgeron to coach the defensive linemen.

** In the NFL, former Gator Chan Gailey will reportedly be hired to be the offensive coordinator for the New York Jets under new coach Todd Bowles.

** More head coaches are named in the NFL; Jack Del Rio will be hired by Oakland and the San Francisco 49ers promote defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.   Chicago and Atlanta are still looking for coaches.

** In the NBA, Orlando surprises Houston 120-113 while Miami loses at Golden State.  Both Orlando and Miami are off today.

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Meet the New Coaches: Offensive Coordinator Doug Nussmeier

By on January 15th, 2015
The Florida football coaching staff has changed dramatically in the last couple of weeks. One of the most important new faces is the new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. Let’s take a look at Nussmeier’s journey to becoming a Gator.
To start with, Nussmeier had an impressive college career at the University of Idaho, leading the team as a quarterback to 35 wins over four seasons. In 1993 he was presented the Walter Payton Award for being the Division 1-AA player of the year. After spending a few years in the NFL/CFL, he took a coaching position in 2003 at Michigan State as an offensive assistant alongside Jim McElwain. From then on, it would appear that he and McElwain followed very similar career paths.
After leaving Michigan State, Nussmeier moved on to the NFL, becoming the quarterbacks coach of the St. Louis Rams for two seasons. He would then return to coaching college ball replacing Jim McElwain twice as the offensive coordinator at both Fresno State and then Alabama, where he helped lead the team to their second national championship in a row in 2012.
Finally the dynamic duo are back at it, working together to reshape Florida’s football program. Both McElwain and Nussmeier realize they have a long way to go, but are prepared for the challenge. In one of his first press conferences as Florida’s OC, Nussmeier said the first job is to get to know the players.
“The biggest thing right now is getting to know the kids. I think that’s important that we take time before we start talking about system, before we start taking about what plays and who’s going to play where. It’s getting to know them as people.”
One thing that Nussmeier is looking to accomplish during his time here is building Florida’s quarterbacks and bringing in a new one with every recruiting class. With so much experience being a quarterback coach, this is his specialty, and he enjoys working with young quarterbacks especially.
“Anytime you have young quarterbacks it’s difficult because it takes time and everybody wants instant results. But the good thing is you get to build them from phase one.”
The question is, will the Gator offense improve in the 2015 season? Coach Jim McElwain says he has faith and that Doug Nussmeier’s track record has proven what great work he can do.
To listen to Nussmeier’s audio clips, click below.
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Wednesday Sports Update (1/14)

By on January 14th, 2015

We’ll talk SEC men’s hoops, some NFL, Gator news and much more in our Wednesday Sports Update…

** Top ranked Kentucky wins in SEC men’s basketball as the Wildcats beat Missouri 86-37.  Elsewhere in the league, Texas A&M nips Mississippi State 74-70; Tennessee upsets 19th ranked Arkansas 74-69 and South Carolina nips Alabama 68-66.  Two more SEC games tonight.

** In college football, LSU hires Alabama assistant Kevin Steele to be the team’s new defensive coordinator.   Steele takes over for John Chavis, who left for a job at Texas A&M.

** The final AP and College Coaches polls are out to wrap up the college football season.   The highest ranked SEC team is Alabama at number four.   Georgia finishes ninth with Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, and Auburn also ranked.

** The deadline for college football underclassmen who are eligible to declare for the NFL Draft is tomorrow.   Players like Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Marcus Mariota still have a decision to make public.

** The New York Jets may have their new head coach in Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.   Multiple reports say the Jets are close to hiring him to replace Rex Ryan.

** In Gator news, Florida gymnast Bridget Sloan has a severe ankle sprain suffered in Florida’s opening meet of the year last Sunday.   Depending on her recovery, she could return to the team later this year.

** In the NBA, Orlando hosts Houston tonight while Miami is at Golden State.

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Ohio State Wins College Football National Championship

By on January 13th, 2015

The Ohio State Buckeyes overcame four turnovers with an opportunistic defense and a punishing ground game to beat the Oregon Ducks 42-20 in the college football national title game last night in Dallas.

Ohio State and former Gator coach Urban Meyer wins his third national title, all in the span of the last nine years.

Oregon jumped out to a 7-0 lead but the Buckeyes took a 21-10 lead into halftime.   The Ducks rallied to trail only 21-20 before Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott took over as he rumbled for 246 yards and four touchdowns on 36 carries to lead the Ohio State offense.

Heisman Trophy winning Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for over 300 yards in what could be his final game as a collegiate player.

Ohio State third string quarterback Cardale Jones threw for 242 yards and ran for a score but it might have been the Buckeyes defense that made the difference in this game as it overcame four turnovers by the offense and did a nice job in keeping Oregon’s high powered offense in check most of the night.

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Tuesday Sports Update (1/13)

By on January 13th, 2015

Ohio State wins college football’s first national championship playoff game, NFL moves, NBA and more in our Tuesday Sports Update…

** Ohio State whips Oregon 42-20 in college football’s national championship game in Dallas last night.   Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer wins his third overall championship in the process.

** In other college news, former UF defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, Michigan’s defensive coordinator last year, will stay with the Wolverines as the defensive line coach under new coordinator D.J. Durkin.

** When the Florida football team plays East Carolina again next year, it will do so with the Pirates having a new offensive coordinator as Lincoln Riley is hired away by Bob Stoops and Oklahoma.

** In the NFL, the Buffalo Bills hire former Jets coach Rex Ryan and John Fox is out as the head coach in Denver.

** In the NBA, Orlando upsets Chicago on the road 83-82.  The Magic host Houston tonight while Miami is at Golden State.

** Two SEC teams are ranked in the new AP Top 25 men’s college basketball poll with Kentucky number one and Arkansas also in the poll.

** Four SEC men’s games tonight in college hoops.   Alabama is at South Carolina, Mississippi State visits Texas A&M, Missouri visits Kentucky and Arkansas is at Tennessee.

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Monday Sports Update (1/12)

By on January 12th, 2015

The national championship in college football, NFL playoffs, college hoops, Gator sports, NBA and more in our Monday Sports Update…

** College football’s national title game is tonight as Ohio State takes on Oregon; you can hear all the action live on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 7 pm.

** In Gator sports, the Florida women’s basketball team drops to 1-3 in SEC play after losing at Missouri 66-47 Sunday.   Florida plays at nationally ranked Kentucky Thursday.

** The top ranked Gator gymnastics team opens its season with a win at Ball State on Sunday but Bridget Sloan, who scored a 10 on vault, injured her ankle during a routine and will be evaluated this week.

** In the NFL, the conference championships are now set.  In the AFC, New England will host Indianapolis after the Colts beat Denver Sunday, and in the NFC, Seattle will host Green Bay after the Packers edged Dallas yesterday.

** In NFL coaching news, it looks like Rex Ryan could be named the new coach of the Buffalo Bills any day now, and former Gator and current Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn looks to be a hot commodity as well; the New York Jets are said to have interest in him for that job.

** In college hoops, Duke took its first loss at the hands of North Carolina State 87-75 on Sunday.  Rutgers also knocks off fourth ranked Wisconsin 67-62.

** In the NBA, Miami downs the LA Clippers 104-90.  Orlando is at Chicago today while the Heat have the day off.

 

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Florida Men’s Basketball cruises past Mississippi State 72-47

By on January 11th, 2015

Eli Carter scored 20 points off the bench as the Florida men’s basketball team blew out the Mississippi State Bulldogs 72-47 on Saturday night.

The Gators improve to 2-0 in conference play, 9-6 on the season.

It was Carter’s first double-digit scoring outing since November 17th against Miami in the second game of the season. He shot 6-for-8 from the floor including 4-for-6 from behind the arc.

“Eli Carter’s shot chart over his career looks like an EKG exam,” Florida head coach Billy Donovan joked. “This was a game where his shots were going in and it’s always easy to be engaged in a game when you’re making shots or it’s going well offensively for you and I’m trying to him over and through that he’s a smart player.”

Junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith continued his consistent play. He added 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting, with six rebounds and two blocks.

Florida managed to get the job done without the services of Jon Horford and with an ill Michael Frazier II on the floor, who has been battling strep throat the past few days.

The Gators were clicking together offensively, notching 19 assists on 28 made field goals. Despite a 29-point lead with just under 11 minutes left in the game, Donovan knew his squad was not in a position to take their foot off the pedal.

“There’s a human element (of) wanting to play and be in a comfort zone and this team cannot play in a comfort zone,” Donovan said. “We’re not talented enough, we’re not deep enough, we’re not physical enough, we’re not strong enough.”

“We need to play with incredible passion and desire and for each other and become a team. If we don’t do that, we’re below average,” Donovan added.

Florida handled the ball with care, committing only seven turnovers while forcing 15 Mississippi State turnovers. One game after Kasey Hill had six turnovers and only one assist against South Carolina, the point guard had seven assists and just one turnover against the Bulldogs.

“We are not going to be able to out-talent people,” Donovan reiterated. “We got to become a really good team. It’s got to be a team that its sum is greater than its parts. And their focus needs to be not ‘How I am doing’ but ‘How do I make the other four guys around me better? How do I make my teammates better?’”

Looking ahead, the Gators will hope to continue their conference success when they host the Auburn Tigers (9-6, 1-1) on Thursday night.

To listen to the quotes from the story, click below:

Donovan says the team is better as a whole than the sum of its parts

Donovan says he was proud of Carter and his contributions

Donovan says the team has to play together in order to win

 

 

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Catching up with Gator legend Delisha Milton-Jones

By on January 11th, 2015

When most people think about some of the greatest legends in the history of the University of Florida’s athletic programs, rarely do they consider any athlete that has played for the women’s basketball program. However, current WNBA Atlanta Dream forward Delisha Milton-Jones should definitely give most people reason to pause because her accolades at both the collegiate level and the professional level scream of greatness.

 Milton-Jones playing for UF.

During her four year career as a Gator, Milton-Jones led UF’s women’s basketball team to four consecutive NCAA tournament berths while amassing a number of awards and eclipsing a number records.

She was the first Gator athlete, male or female, to earn first team All-America honors for basketball and was a three time All-SEC honoree. By the time she graduated, she had scored over 1,000 points, had over 1,000 rebounds, and was named SEC Player of the Year after her senior season.

“I’ve never been the type of person to set goals. All of the records that I have in Florida…that was just from me playing, and playing hard,” said Milton-Jones. “I never said I wanna go out and I wanna score 20 points every night or anything like that, I just went and I just played. And I felt like if it got me to the point where I was in college, where I received all these wonderful accolades, I figured I could do the same even in my professional life.”

Milton-Jones was proven right because after playing for a short time in the American Basketball League (ABL) and being drafted into the WNBA by the Los Angeles Sparks in 1999, she went on to win two WNBA championships and two Olympic gold medals. Despite these amazing accomplishments, Milton-Jones says her fondest memories as a player do not come from her attainment of accolades.

“Every setting that I’ve been in, whether it was high school, collegiate, or even professionally, internationally or here in the States, it would all come from the locker room. Yes, I’ve won championships and they’re special in their own right, the same for the Olympic medals. But the camaraderie that you share on those long bus rides and the locker room, those are the moments that stand out the most because they really touch your heart in a special way.”

 Milton-Jones after winning the gold medal with the U.S. women’s basketball team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

As she approaches her 17th season in the league, Milton-Jones is currently the oldest active player in the WNBA at 40 years old. But despite her age, Milton-Jones says she will continue to play as long as she is able to help her team.

“I really enjoy playing and I’m still training and participating in the sport at a high level. And as long as I’m gonna be an asset to a team, I will play. If I’m gonna become a liability, no, I’ll shut it down.”

Athough Milton-Jones suffered a season-ending achilles injury last season, she’s completely committed to getting back on the court in time for the beginning of the upcoming season in order to help her team win.

“I’m pushing myself to the limit because I want to come back not looking like a 40 year old out there on the court with 20 something year olds. I wanna look like I left, like no one could tell the difference…that that lady out there was 38, 39 years old. So I’m pushing myself and refining my lifestyle, my eating habits, my training habits, everything. So I’m looking forward to coming back and having a breakout season.”

The upcoming season of the WNBA begins this May, but in the meantime, you can catch Delisha Milton-Jones working as a sideline reporter for the Atlanta Hawks as she continues to rehab in the offseason.

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Gator Women’s Hoops Fall in SEC Play Against Ole Miss, 64-57

By on January 9th, 2015

Despite a late rally, the Florida women’s basketball team (9-7, SEC 1-2) could not recover from its first half struggle in its 64-57 home loss against Ole Miss (12-4, SEC 2-1) Thursday night.

The Gators struggled the entire first half with scoring. Ole Miss scored 13 points before the Gators scored their first pair of the game.

The Ronni Williams layup gave the team a spark that she kept lit. With 7:04 left in the half, the score was 22-9 Rebels, and Williams was responsible for six of Florida’s points.

Despite the momentum of Florida, the Rebels didn’t falter as they took a 35-20 halftime lead.  The Gators ended the half shooting just 31% from the field, 57% from the free throw line, and they were 0-6 from behind the arc. They also accumulated 15 turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play.

Gator coach Amanda Butler spoke about her team’s struggle.

“We’ve not been able to establish that way we want to play and then really carry that out consistently,” she said.

Ole Miss opened up the second half on a 7-3 run, stretching the score to 41-23. From that point on, it seemed to be all Ole Miss. With 12:08 left in regulation, the Gators trailed the Rebels 51-30, Ole Miss’ largest lead of the game.

But the Gators mounted and charge and with 52 seconds left in the game, Florida cut its deficit to just 60-57.

“When we started to just score it became easy, we were scoring easily,” said forward Kayla Lewis. “We scored off of our defense, we were getting the ball inside the paint off the dribble, and those were things that we couldn’t do in the first half because we were turning the ball over.”

With time working against them, the Gators begin to foul. Made free throws stretched Ole Miss’ lead to 7 and then time expired.

Next up for the Gators is a road match up against Missouri. You can listen to the game right here on ESPN 850 WRUF. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.

For audio clips, click the links below:

Butler on Trends

Lewis on Second Half

 

 

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