2011 Outback Bowl post-game news and notes

By Adam Silverstein
January 2, 2011

With the 2011 Outback Bowl now in the books and the Florida Gators set to undergo a major shake-up on the coaching staff and within the program, this is as good of a time as any to share some news and notes that OGGOA picked up over the past weekend.

SENIOR BOWL PARTICIPANTS

A source close to the players told OGGOA on Saturday that senior safety Ahmad Black, senior center/guard Mike Pouncey and redshirt senior offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert will all participate in the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl.

UPDATE: When rosters were officially announced on Sunday, punter/kicker Chas Henry has also accepted an invitation to play on Jan. 29.

Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow – the No. 25 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft – and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper both participated in the game last year.

JUNIORS DECLARING FOR THE DRAFT

Though nothing has been officially confirmed, most close to the program believe junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins will indeed declare for the 2011 NFL Draft. Jenkins, considered to be one of the top three defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties) available, is projected as a first round pick even though he is coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder (an injury he played with most of the season).

Also expected to declare is junior S Will Hill, who was projected to be a high pick before the season but has failed to live up to the expectations of both analysts and fans. ESPN grades Hill out as a 68 in its “draftable defensive backs” projections, eight points below Black (76) and 24 under Jenkins (92). In addition to his on-the-field problems, Hill is believed to have a poor attitude off the field and has been disciplined numerous times this past season. People he has spoken with personally have been told he will not be returning to Florida for his senior year.

WALKING OFF THE FIELD BEFORE CELEBRATING

Though a number of the Gators’ injured players – including those who were hurt during the game – remained on the field to celebrate after Florida’s 37-24 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions, a few healthy players ran directly into the locker room instead. Hill, redshirt senior wide receivers Carl Moore and Justin Williams and redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose all hurried off the field. Though Hill is likely to declare for the draft and both Moore and Williams are leaving/graduating, Debose’s departure was curious.

Checking in on Debose, OGGOA has learned that he has been quite disappointed with his time at UF thus far, a feeling that is not surprising considering he missed his first season due to injury and was only used sparingly in 2010 as a kick returner even though he showed explosive ability and the Gators struggled offensively. A source close to the team told us that Debose does not practice nearly as hard as the other young receivers and truly does not have a full grasp of the playbook, something head coach Urban Meyer noted early in the season. Not to make a mountain out of a mole hill – Debose simply could have been exhausted or sick or feeling down after being benched due to muffing two kickoffs – his exit from the field so suddenly is worth noting.

With a new coaching staff coming in and the ability to get a fresh start with an offensive coordinator and position coach, Debose may be getting exactly what he needs.

TWO OTHER CURRENT COACHES ARE GONE

In addition to offensive coordinator Steve Addazio and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin moving on, the Palm Beach Post has confirmed that co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Chuck Heater (surprisingly) and wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni (not surprisingly) will not be retained. “I will not be back next year,” Heater told the paper. With reports that Florida has hired former player Aubrey Hill as their new WR coach, Azzanni’s departure is not as much of a shock as Heater’s.

QUARTERBACKING YOUR 2011 GATORS IS…

Perhaps the most important position on the field – quarterback – is the Gators biggest question from a personnel perspective going into next season. Though redshirt freshman QB Jordan Reed said he was perfectly fine with moving to tight end to start the season, he has showed some ability behind center and may hope to get that opportunity in a spread offense elsewhere. Redshirt junior QB John Brantley, who has publicly acknowledged he is considering transferring, will have a pro-style offense in place at Florida should he choose to stay. Their decisions could be independent or related depending what Muschamp has to say and what Brantley’s family helps him decide.

8 Comments

  1. tony smith says:

    There was very little coaching for offensive players. Debose should do better under Weis. I hope he stays around.

    Carl Moore was completely under-utilized this year. It was awful.

    I so hope Brantley leaves. If he stays, the new coach might feel pressured to play him – like Meyer — when he doesn’t look good out of the pocket or in the spread. Let’s face it, he was bad all year, regardless of the formation. Reed looks better than Brantley — AND HE IS A FRESHMAN.

  2. alreegator says:

    I agree. I hope Brantley seeks his success
    elsewhere.

  3. Mr2Bits says:

    Really sucks about Heater. His coaching skills of our corners and safeties was second to none.

    This is what I am seeing so far.

    HC – Will Muschamp
    OC/QB – Charlie Weis
    DC/DL – Dan Quinn
    LB – DJ Durkin
    Secondary – Travaris Robinson
    WR – Aubrey Hill
    TE – Brian White
    RB – Stan Drayton
    Offensive Line – Matt Moore
    Special Teams – Rich Bisaccia

  4. ncgator says:

    Muschamp is going to a pro-set offense so starting Reed or Burton at QB makes no sense. Their better suited for other positions and neither one can throw anyway. Brantley is a stiff in any system and has no future in the NFL, so he should be content finishing his career at Florida as a back-up. Driskell is the future at Florida and should start next fall. Sure he’ll take his lumps, but starting a quality highly recruited freshman makes more sense than trying to run this patchwork three QB cluster—k we had this year.
    Will Hill is a whiner and one of several players that came to Florida with a sense of entitlement. I’d take a player with less talent that works his ass off in practice over a guy like Hill any day. Thomson and Moore are two of the worst receivers we’ve ever had. They run crappy routes and drop more balls than they catch. Good riddance. I don’t know what the deal is with Dubose! I’ve been waiting for 2-years for this guy to live up to his 5-star rating and nothing. Either he was way overrated and isn’t good enough to earn a sarting spot or he’s really, really stupid and can’t learn the playbook. Either way, his star is dropping like a rock. Lastly, Pouncey was another guy who was a major contributor to this piss-poor offense. Good luck in the NFL and I hope you’re planning to switch to guard.

  5. Thomas says:

    While Reed was a nice change of pace running the ball from the QB position, he looked awful and uncomfortable throwing the ball on Saturday. Regardless of Brantley’s decision, I expect an open competition for the position and would not be surrosed with driskel winning the starting job.

  6. SC Gator says:

    I can’t help put think that not holding onto Heater is a
    bad move. Dude has done a hell of a job and it seems far fetched to
    think we are getting anyone better.

  7. steelgators says:

    Just a couple of thoughts on these observations after the Bowl game.
    First, I am curious to see if Coach Muschamp is going to open practice back up to the media this year. There was so much speculation as to who was practicing hard, who wasn’t, and who wasn’t showing up. Coach Meyer had the team under complete lockdown, only releasing tidbits when he wanted to. All I have to say is when practice was open to the media, and there was somewhat accountablility to them, we were a much better football team than we were this year being in total lockdown.
    Second, as mentioned above, too many of these five stars come in with a sense of entitlement. We need players who want to come to practice everyday with their lunch pale packed and ready to bring it and show that they deserve to be Florida Gators. Take a look at some of the schools like TCU, who did what they did with no five star players, but players who wanted to win at any cost. I will take eleven Ahmad Blacks any day over a team of Will Hills.

    Go Gators!!

  8. Beep says:

    If I was Debose, I’d be pissed too. When he was recruited, Urban went on and on about how Debose was his favorite recruit, and then he refused to let him play. I love Debose, and it sounds like his attitude could use some adjusting, but seeing what he can do and then never giving him a chance to do it is just inexplicable to me. The offense flat-out sucked this year, you have Percy Harvin Lite on the roster and you won’t let him do anything but kickoff returns? I guess that’s what you get with an idiot like Addazio making the offensive decisions. I really hope this kid isn’t disillusioned enough to leave, because he has a chance to be a really great player once someone gives him the opportunity.

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