Gator News And World Report (12/23/2004)

The Gator News and World Report for Thursday, December 23, 2004. Gators get tough; Strong declines Notre Dame offer; Gators give extra effort; Former Gator Wambach grabs top soccer honor; Lamenting the No. 1 who got away; Dixon gets boxed out; UF may target area players and more...

Florida Gator

Cup runneth over with all the bowl games
It is time for the annual bowl picks and I hate to toot my own horn but I've really done a lot of research this year. Unfortunately, almost all of it was on this new Titleist driver I've got my eye on.

Top recruit opts for Penn State
Florida's decision to fire Ron Zook in October likely cost the Gators a chance to land the nation's consensus No. 1 recruit, Greenbelt, Md., wide receiver Derrick Williams, who orally committed to Penn State on Wednesday on national television.

Strong declines Notre Dame offer
Just like his new head coach did a few weeks ago, Florida defensive coordinator and interim head coach Charlie Strong is saying no to Notre Dame.

Lamenting the No. 1 who got away
Top high school prospect Derrick Williams chose Penn State over the Gators, perhaps because of the firing of Ron Zook.

Dixon gets boxed out
As a young coach just starting out at his alma mater, Dwayne Dixon was told by a fellow assistant to keep a cardboard box in his office — just in case.

UF may target area players
University of Florida recruiters lately have not been knocking down construction barriers on I-95 in an effort to sign this area's best football talent. The Gators have signed only one marquee player — redshirt sophomore Ray McDonald Jr. of Glades Central — directly out of high school in the past four years.

Davis gives players pep talk
The Miami Hurricanes had a surprise visitor Wednesday morning at their last practice before breaking for Christmas: former UM coach Butch Davis.

Gators lose out on top recruit
Ron Zook was known as a master recruiter while the head coach at Florida. Almost two months after being fired, his impact is still being felt . . . but in a different way, now.

Florida Gator Basketball

Gators get tough
Anthony Roberson could sense the impending rout from the body language of Eastern Kentucky point guard Matt Witt.

Gators give extra effort
Now that's what Florida coach Billy Donovan was talking about.Three days after he blasted his team for a lack of focus and passion and questioned the players' mental toughness and commitment in a 32-point win over Georgia Southern, Donovan got what he wanted against Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday night.

Gators Run Over Eastern Kentucky
After Florida's loss to Louisville on Dec. 11, Cardinals coach Rick Pitino told Gators coach Billy Donovan to be careful in his team's impending game against Eastern Kentucky.

Donovan pleased with UF win
The confession came in the second half as Florida's offensive assault kicked back into gear. The margin was widening, and the Gators weren't letting up.

Florida Gator Soccer

Former Gator Wambach grabs top soccer honor
Landon Donovan and Abby Wambach won the U.S. Soccer national player awards for 2004.

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