7:42 AM EST, Tue March 03, 2015
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Alligator Army 19 hours ago

Former Florida player Chris "Juice" Johnson dies at 22 of suicide

Sad, sad news. Former Florida player Chris Johnson died Friday night in Pennsylvania of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Associated Press reports. He was 22. Johnson — nicknamed "Juice" during his high school days at Ocala's Trinity Catholic thanks to a running style that recalled O.J. Simpson's — was a running back, defensive back, and linebacker for Florida in 2011 and 2012. He rarely saw the field apart from special teams, and transferred from Florida to Duquesne in early 2013. Johnson was perhaps best-known as a Gator for throwing a punch during an altercation immediately...
Alligator Army Feb 28, 2015

Florida 66, Tennessee 49: Billy Donovan's 500th win showcases routine greatness

A blowout win in a long-lost season still managed to be perfect for Billy Donovan's 500th victory. There were only two chances left, realistically, for Florida to win the 500th game of Billy Donovan's career on the court that could someday bear his name. The Gators could do it on this Saturday, against Tennessee, or on Tuesday, in a Senior Night contest that will honor Florida's lone four-year senior, Jacob Kurtz, a year after four of them walked off the floor unbeaten in SEC play. These Gators decided not to leave Donovan's milestone to the last moment. And their resounding 66-49 triumph...
Alligator Army Feb 28, 2015

Florida vs. Tennessee, Game Thread: Can Dorian Finney-Smith's return buoy Gators?

Florida's got one of its best players back for its meeting with Tennessee. The last time Florida played a basketball game, it lost. The last time Florida played a basketball game with Dorian Finney-Smith, it lost. The last time Florida played a basketball game against Tennessee at home and wore alternate Nike uniforms, like the ones the Gators will don today, it lost — and a friend and I improvised some new words to "Rocky Top" near triple zeroes. The good news, heading into Saturday's game against Tennessee (6 p.m., ESPN2 / WatchESPN), with Finney-Smith returning from suspension and...
Alligator Army Feb 27, 2015

Hot Reads: Florida's new Nike deal, spring practice date set, returning depth

When, in the course of Internet events, a single post about Florida football stands in for what could've been several posts split up, that post shall be called Hot Reads. Florida extends Nike deal through 2023-24 Florida's had a long-standing relationship with Nike, one that dates back to the 20th century. So it makes sense that the Gators signed with the Swoosh again in 2014, as The Alligator's Richard Johnson reports, with Jeremy Foley putting pen to paper in September 2014 that will put the school's team in the's brand apparel until April 2024. Florida's deal with Nike had been set to...
Alligator Army Feb 27, 2015

Video: Vernon Hargreaves III has a killer highlight tape

And it's missing some big plays.
Alligator Army Feb 25, 2015

Florida announces O'Connell Center renovations to be postponed one year

The Gators' old home won't be made new this year after all. In a 5:30 p.m. release on a Wednesday, Florida dropped some of the latest bit of bad news in a frustrating year for its major sports: The planned renovations to the O'Connell Center, which houses Florida's basketball, gymnastics, swimming, and volleyball teams, will be postponed one year from their originally scheduled March 2015 start date. Adam Solomon of Gainesville's WCJB was first to tweet the news, and passed along Florida's reasoning. Costs, scheduling, and change in construction management contributed to the decision to...
Alligator Army Feb 24, 2015

Missouri 64, Florida 52: Gators' flailing second half leads to miserable loss

Florida's awful season gets worse. Florida had a chance to win Billy Donovan's 500th game. The Gators had a six-point lead on the SEC's worst team — mired in the longest losing streak in school history — midway through the second half, too. Then the Gators did what they are best at this year: They lost. Missouri's slow-motion 25-7 run from that six-point hole would extend for the final 11:43 of the game, flipping a 45-39 deficit into the 64-52 final score — and Chris Chiozza's lightly contested layup with 37 seconds to go capped the game's scoring, so it was really more like a 25-5...
Alligator Army Feb 24, 2015

Florida vs. Missouri, Game Thread: Can the Gators get Billy Donovan No. 500?

Florida's looking to secure a milestone for its coach in a very weird season. It shouldn't happen like this. That's been the thought on my mind since last Wednesday, when Florida beat Vanderbilt at home to get Billy Donovan to 499 career wins. I was pretty sure Florida wasn't going to win at LSU on Saturday — and right — which would mean Donovan's next chance at the milestone would come in Columbia, against a Missouri team that's significantly worse than Florida, and maybe the SEC's worst team. Florida should beat Missouri tonight, maybe even without the still-injured Michael Frazier II...
Alligator Army Feb 24, 2015

2015 NFL Combine: Dante Fowler stands out among nine Gators in attendance

Florida may have another top-five pick to add to its program legacy. Every late February we gather 'round our televisions screens once again, as we're used to doing during football season, to gape in awe of insanely athletic human beings doing insanely athletic things in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. I know some people aren't a fan; those who aren't usually just tell me these drills and events have little correlation to how each prospect will ultimately turn out. To those, I say this: POPPYCOCK. But, well, you're sort of right, too. An athlete's transition from college to...
Alligator Army Feb 21, 2015

LSU 70, Florida 63: Outgunned Gators go down fighting in Baton Rouge

Florida doesn't have a Jarell Martin. He was enough for LSU on Saturday. But Florida made sure it wouldn't go gently — for some reason. Jarell Martin was LSU's best player on this Saturday, is a future NBA rotation player, and scored 28 points and had 13 rebounds against Florida. Jacob Kurtz was Florida's best player on this Saturday, as a manager-turned-walk-on who has no professional basketball aspirations, and scored nine points and had eight rebounds for the Gators. That's sort of the story of LSU's 70-63 win over the Gators in a nutshell. Florida's too young, too weak inside, and too...
Alligator Army Feb 21, 2015

Florida vs. LSU, Game Thread: Gators enter the Tigers' den

Can Florida pull an upset in Baton Rouge? Don't count on it. Look: Florida's a major, major underdog for this game at LSU (2 p.m., CBS, or so said GatorZone) on this Saturday. The Tigers beat Florida more comprehensively than any other squad this season, thumping them by 18 points in the O'Connell Center back in late January. That game was a five-point affair early in the second half, and a 14-2 LSU run put the Gators away. But that was a) in Gainesville and b) with the services of Dorian Finney-Smith and Michael Frazier II available to the Gators. Both players had forgettable games —...
Alligator Army Feb 20, 2015

Florida Gators Weekend Open Thread: Gym, hoops vs. LSU, baseball vs. Miami highlight slate

Florida's teams traveling to LSU and holding down the fort against Hurricanes will face the stiffest tests of the weekend in Gators sports. Florida will be calling Baton Rouge and battening down the hatches this weekend. Two of the most important sporting events of a packed weekend featuring at least five distinct Gators teams in action on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will happen in Baton Rouge, as Florida's No. 2 gymnastics team meets No. 3 LSU in an SEC showdown on Friday night that is likely to feature two Super Six teams, and Florida's basketball team aims for Billy Donovan's 500th win...
Alligator Army Feb 20, 2015

NCAA finds Joker Phillips committed violation, levies no further penalties on Florida

You do the right thing, and it works out. Former Florida wide receivers coach Joker Phillips committed a Level II NCAA violation by having impermissible contact with a recruit last summer, the NCAA announced on Friday. But Florida won't face any further penalties related to the violation. A former University of Florida assistant football coach visited a prospect off-campus before NCAA rules allow for recruiting contact, according to a decision issued by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The contact with the prospect resulted in the school receiving a recruiting advantage. In its...
Alligator Army Feb 20, 2015

NCAA report on violations by Joker Phillips at Florida to be released; Gators issue statement

I don't expect much to come from this. The NCAA will release its findings from an investigation into possible violations committed by Florida — and likely by former Florida wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Joker Phillips — Friday afternoon. Florida's statement on the matter is short, and hints that it is solely related to Phillips: "We have not received the report yet, but we will receive it later today. However, this is a final resolution to a matter that we dealt with last June regarding one of our former assistant football coaches." If that is truly the case, it's...
Alligator Army Feb 19, 2015

Kevin O'Sullivan, Brett Morales both have perfect showings for Florida baseball

Why take out a pitcher with a perfect game going? Because it's the right thing to do. Through six innings, all Florida sophomore Brett Morales allowed on Wednesday night against USF were zeroes. Zero hits, zero walks, zero men on base. He was perfect, and two thirds of the way to a perfect game — something that has never happened in the history of Florida baseball. And then Kevin O'Sullivan pulled him. Florida would go on to win 13-3, with junior Harrison Bader keeping up his white-hot start on a 2-for-3 night with three RBI and freshman JJ Schwarz powdering a two-run homer as part of a...
Alligator Army Feb 18, 2015

Florida 50, Vanderbilt 47: I'm not sure what I just watched, but the Gators won

I understand so much less about the game of basketball following that viewing. Florida beat Vanderbilt, 50-47, on Wednesday night. That makes sense. Sort of. The rest? Well... It's cliche to open up a sports article by saying a game was "a tale of two halves," and seeing how Florida ended the first half on an eight-minute scoring drought before roari ... er, purring back to finish the game victorious despite not having Dorian Finney-Smith or Michael Frazier II, you'd think that could be the case. But it really wasn't. This game was a poor showing by both teams, and though it's nice for...
Alligator Army Feb 18, 2015

Florida vs. Vanderbilt, Game Thread: ¿Quien es más desafortunado?

Florida could get Billy Donovan's 499th career win tonight, because anything is possible. But. So Florida, already the unluckiest team in America, will play Vanderbilt on Wednesday night (7 p.m., SEC Network / WatchESPN). It will do so without Dorian Finney-Smith, suspended tonight and "likely more" games after it, and without Michael Frazier II, still nursing a high ankle sprain sustained against Kentucky on February 7, and with just seven scholarship players, none of whom score more than 8.8 points per contest. But Florida's only slightly more unlucky this year than Vanderbilt has...
Alligator Army Feb 18, 2015

Dorian Finney-Smith suspended by Florida vs. Vanderbilt, "likely more" games

What a great year this has been. Florida has suspended junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith indefinitely, effective for Wednesday night's game against Vanderbilt and "likely more" games, the school announced in a release. Junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith has been suspended indefinitely from the team for violating team rules and will miss Wednesday night’s Southeastern Conference home game against Vanderbilt and likely more games, according to Coach Billy Donovan. Donovan said he would address the issue after the game between the Gators and Commodores. That note about Finney-Smith's...
Alligator Army Feb 18, 2015

On #TeamBadLuck, and what Florida's misfortune is — and isn't

Yes, Florida is unlucky. No, that's not an excuse. Yes, this is hard to totally understand. No, that's not an excuse. The saying "three is a trend" — another hoary cliché that everyone knows without knowing the provenance — is always fun to use; if we're going to decide something is a consensus opinion, three people having that opinion, or furthering it, seems like a good arbitrary threshold. If that saying is true, "Florida is unlucky" went from fringe belief to trend this week. Adam Silverstein wrote about it on Monday at Only Gators, more to challenge the assumption by presenting...

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