2010 Florida Media Day: Injuries, leadership, starters, freshmen, fall practice updates

By Adam Silverstein
August 10, 2010

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer, offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and a number of players represented the team at the 2010 Florida Media Day on Tuesday in Gainesville, FL. After the break…are some of the biggest stories and most interesting quotes coming out of the event.


OFFENSIVE INJURIES

With the media clamoring for injury updates, the team’s assistant coaches and Sports Information Department all directed them toward Meyer, who hopes to control the release of this information throughout the season. When questioned, Meyer announced that there were three primary injury concerns facing the Gators right now.

Redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Matt Patchan – Suffered a hairline fracture in his wrist during practice Monday and will be out for 10-14 days while it heals in a cast. Will be able to do some work with the team.

Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey – Missed practices with an “accelerated” and “racing” heart rate. The Miami Herald‘s Joe Goodman reports that Rainey had a “non-[invasive] cardiac procedure” to correct the problem. “He had an accelerated heartbeat, but everything is fine,” Meyer said. “Our [medical staff] do a very thorough job here and took care of him. Everything is fine. We have great people here who checked him out. He’ll be cleared to practice in a day or two.”

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose – Told reporters that he is 100 percent healthy after being forced to miss his freshman season due to lingering injuries.

Freshman wide receiver Chris Dunkley – Injuring his hamstring during the 2009 Muck Bowl, Dunkley hoped to be 100 percent healthy by now. Apparently the injury has tightened up on him and he will be sitting for approximately 10 days in an attempt to heal.

TEAM LEADERSHIP

Meyer pointed toward seniors center Mike Pouncey and defensive end Justin Trattou as the team’s most important leaders, indicating that Pouncey especially put Florida on his back over the summer and into the fall. “You can’t be a better leader than Mike Pouncey is now for a team,” Meyer said. “Leadership shows up when its tough, not when it’s easy. Right now Justin Trattou and Mike Pouncey are our big leaders.” He also gave shout-outs to seniors safety Ahmad Black and DE Duke Lemmens.

STARTING DEFENSIVE LINE

Defensive line coach Dan McCarney announced that his first-team defensive line currently consists of defensive ends Trattou and Lemmens and defensive tackles redshirt junior Jaye Howard and redshirt sophomore Omar Hunter. As far as the defensive formations are concerned, Austin put it bluntly: “At the end of the day, they have to make a play,” he said.

RECRUITING CLASS

Quite excited about his new group of freshmen, Meyer said, “I love them as people, and I like their work ethic. They’re good players, too. We’ll find out how good they are.”

He added that five-star defensive end Ronald Powell is one of the best high school players he has ever seen and is also a high-character guy. Meyer said five-star safety Matt Elam “has earned his spot. He’s going to play for us.” When questioned about Elam’s ego growing too large, Meyer quipped, “Am I worried about his ego? … [There are] not a whole lot of egos out there [right now].” He also joked that Elam was “dumpy,” “portly” and “chubby” before he shaped his body over the summer. Elam responded: “I had to lose weight because I couldn’t run with guys like I wanted to. During the spring, I didn’t feel good. I was always tired. My back was hurting. I couldn’t handle the weight.”

AND THE REST…

NOTES

– Florida will be wearing full pads for the first time Wednesday with an initial scrimmage coming up Saturday.

– Meyer is looking for the best six-to-eight playmakers, saying three spots are already taken by sophomore running back Jeff Demps, redshirt senior RB Emmanuel Moody and redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson. Everyone else is competing for playing time. “I’d say it’s completely wide open. There are 10 people trying to get the top six spots.”

– Rainey and Demps will return kickoffs; Rainey and junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins will return punts. The Gators are also planning to try out other players in these roles.

– He also pointed out that the entire staff is doing a better job tweaking the offensive and defensive units than it did a year ago. He noted that linebackers/special teams coach D.J. Durkin is doing a bang-up job in his new role.

– Asked about his thoughts regarding Utah joining the Pac-10, Meyer said that his old school is “one of the greatest unknown secrets in America” college football-wise and that it already had BCS-caliber facilities when he left. Meyer also admitted that he took the Utah interview with “no intention of leaving Bowling Green,” but the program and what it had to offer turned him.

– The head coach plans to once again take time off after the season and recruiting are completed to spend more time with his family. This will be an annual occurrence.

QUOTES

Addazio on redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley‘s abilities: “John is a great athlete. He can run it, pass it, he can do all the above. But we have to utilize the other players’ skills, use the other playmakers he has around him. […] John is a seasoned guy. I’m not worried about him stepping up. He’s running the team, guiding it. His most important development has been leadership.”

Meyer on replacing Tim Tebow: “I want to make it clear that we do miss him. We are not relieved he is gone, we are excited. I would not be as excited if the guy behind him taking snaps was not any good, but he is really good, so the excitement is about personnel, not that a player moved on. I am more excited because the guy who is going to take the snaps this year is a really good player.”

Meyer on the team’s motivation: “It’s the year of development and accountability. We are coaching as hard as we ever have. Other than ’07, this has been one of the newest [teams], but I will tell you what, there is a lot of talent running around on that field. I think you will be excited to see what that Florida team looks like. Not now, they are awful right now, but in a couple of weeks, they will be pretty good. […] You have 29 practices to play one game – 22 the rest of the season.”

Meyer on developing the team: “We have spent a lot of time on that. We have had so much transition in the last few years that we have taken a different approach. I always take the coaches on a getaway for a few days and this year we did nothing but evaluate drills. Last year we did not have to evaluate drills because it was the same group of guys that came back. If you hire a guy from a different system and he is used to drilling his players a certain way and it has nothing to do with what we do, then it slows down the development of the player. So it has been ridiculous, the amount of time and detail we have spent on each drill. I will watch every drill, I will stay up late tonight watching every drill – not so much the plays, but the development of those guys, because there are a bunch of players that need to be developed and it is going really well.”

Meyer on the importance of fall practice: “There is not a wasted second in our practices right now. … Couldn’t tell you what our starting lineup is right now.”

Meyer on recruiting nationally: “I’d sign the whole state of Florida if we could.”

Meyer on the Gators’ national stature: “I was a Gator fan growing up in Ohio. Television – you see them. The Gators – you see those orange helmets, those uniforms, you see success.”

Meyer on Boise State banning Twitter: “Do [the players] miss a game if they’re on Twitter or something?”

Brantley on his star quality: “I don’t know. I’m just a regular dude from Ocala.”

The following quotes are courtesy of the University of Florida:

Addazio on the upcoming season: “It’s always exciting. Every year, it’s what fires you up. You come in here, you have to shape it, mold it and you have new people to incorporate and work with, new faces and a lot of returning faces as well. It’s a real exciting time of year. We’re excited to be started.”

Austin on fall practice: “Every guy is competing for starting cornerback, it doesn’t matter where you line up or what order. We’re trying to find out who the best guys are right now so we have spirited competition. What’s really important is how they’re doing now and what they’re doing now. We’ve got to have our best guys on the field in a month.”
Austin on college football: “It’s still football. At the end of the day, our guys have to run with the ball, work very hard and always have to be physical and good tacklers. Those are things, no matter what level of football you’re at, you have to do. I don’t think it’s a big adjustment.”

Co-defensive coordinator Chuck Heater on the safeties: “I’m pleased with the depth of our safety position. Obviously Ahmad (Black) and Will (Hill) have played a lot and Matt Elam was here in the spring, which was helpful to him. We have Josh Evans, who has done a nice job in early fall camp but he got hurt the third day of spring practice, unfortunately. It would be huge for us for those two young guys to come along.”

Black on being a leader: “I am trying to step up. I have to. I am one of the few seniors that we have on defense and one of the guys that has been there for a while. It is my job to help these young guys and help them do what they are supposed to do.”

Brantley on his pass catchers: “We have a great receiving crew. We spent a lot of time together this summer, just trying to get the timing down between us. They all came out there everyday and worked on conditioning with great attitudes, wanting to get better. That has definitely carried over into camp right now. They have been having a really good last few days. Everyone’s been looking fast and everyone is excited every practice and just getting better. I know I am excited to see what they can do this season.”

Demps on Brantley taking over: “It really has not changed. We have always been the Florida Gators that are going to come out each and every day and give you 100 percent effort and go hard four to six seconds.”

Senior linebacker Brandon Hicks on fall practice: “It’s not that much different than any other camp. But between both of our players and coaches, you can’t have a teammate come in lagging. This is when we get down and dirty and work our hardest to be the best man and player you can be. We really get to see how far we can push our limits. Once the camp is over, you see where you stand as a player and a coach. It’s all out since it’s my last camp. We are diving in head first. The people that are there with you can only make you better. You have to be a team player to play this game, but also find a way to improve and stand out individually.”

Hunter on his improvement: “I am in better shape. I thought I was in good shape but last year I was coming back from an injury, so I think this year I’m in better shape. I feel that I am quicker, stronger, and definitely faster. The training has helped me all around.”

Senior guard Carl Johnson on the toughest position to play as a freshman: “Definitely offensive line is hard to play as a freshman. At Florida, it is hard because our offense is very complex, it’s hard, it’s tough. Coming from high school, especially at a talent level where most of the recruits here are, you are so much better than your opponents that you don’t really have to go full speed every single play. But in college, your opponents are just as big, they are just as fast, they are just as strong, so you kind of have to tweak the way you play. Plus, you have to tweak the way you play mentally because I am pretty sure in high school you didn’t have to know every single position your offense ran, but in college as an offensive lineman, I have to know center, guard, and tackle in case someone goes down. You have to know them like the back of your hand.”

Trattou on his senior season: “Camp’s going really well so far. The guys are all coming together and everything is coming along well. I look forward to camp every day. It’s my senior year, so I just try to go out there and have fun. I definitely have put more effort into everything this year than I ever have. This is my last shot as a Gator, so I definitely want to put all that I have into it. My personal goal really is to just do anything I can to help this team, especially provide leadership. I know if I can do that, then everything else will take care of itself.”

Sanders on the upcoming year: “I feel anxious because I missed spring (with a knee injury) and to see my boys out there practicing made me just want to be out there with them. I now have that opportunity and I just have to get football ready.”

The following quotes are courtesy of The Gainesville Sun:

Debose on missing his freshman season: “I feel like it was a blessing in disguise because me coming in as a freshman having a lot of hype, it kind of calmed everything down. I’m really enjoying how things are, without all the hype. […] There were a lot of times I hit rock bottom where I had to talk to my parents. They just talked me up and reassured me, just let me know to stay humble and stay positive about everything. Everything happens for a reason.”

Debose on the upcoming year: “I feel like I need to get better in [running] my routes. I’ve got to get in football shape and just learn the offense, the ins and outs and everything about the offense. It’s pretty much just the mental part of the game. Catching is kind of a natural for me, but just learning, just learning the playbook that’s all I’m focused on right now.”

Thompson on Brantley: “He’s just an unbelievable passer. You can run a bad route and he’ll make you look good.”

Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni on his job: “Complete passes. I don’t know. I just go out and coach my rear end off with the receivers. We all work on the game plan together. I guess as far as practice me and Coach Loeffler organize things in the passing game.”

Azzanni on Debose: “He made some catches [Tuesday] where there are no drills for that. It’s called being born with it. He makes catches other guys could not make, guys like you couldn’t make. He has a knack for body position, which is so important for a receiver. He’s a natural.”

Freshman defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd on playing early: “My goal is to dominate whatever coach puts in front of me, go as hard as I can, sprint to the ball, and possibly get my way on the field some way, some how.”

Senior linebacker Lorenzo Edwards on playing in his last year: “I’ve been busting my butt for this. This is my last chance and I’m going to make the most of it.”

13 Comments

  1. TheBrave says:

    Not to second guess, but why would you have your #1 corner fielding punts? Seems a bit risky if you ask me. But hey, if it works, it works.

  2. Daniel M. says:

    Goodman is all amped up on honey glazed donuts again.

    Perhaps Rainey had a non-INVASIVE cardiac procedure?

    I’m no doctor but I did sleep at a…….nevermind.

  3. TheBrave – I completely agree with you. I have always thought that starters should not be returners unless there is a DISCERNIBLE difference between them and the next guy. Hester is a good example. I’d prefer to see a younger guy who is not starting back there.

    Daniel- Spoke to two doctors who both agreed that non-invasive procedures are commonly used to treat these issues. The doctor I spoke to specifically pointed to Reentrant Tachycardia and Wolff-Parkinson-White as two syndromes that Rainey may have.

  4. GatorDynasty says:

    Robert Clark should be a returner.

  5. Phil says:

    Janoris Jenkins returning punts? wha…??? I bet by the start of the season it’ll just be Rainey and Clark returning

  6. Timmy T says:

    Too many guys with great skills to put a guy like Janoris back there to receive punts, kicks, whatever. Boatload of fast cats that can take on that responsibility.

    Adam, I just registered so I could comment, but I’ve been a reader for about 8-9 months now. I sincerely appreciate the job you do here on OGGOA. The interviews are top-notch, and you guys update throughout the day to keep clowns like myself informed about all things Gator related. Awesome job man. Keep up the great work.

  7. Timmy T says:

    ADAM, I have to ask. I see your name listed for the credits, and no one else. Do you do all the articles and posts/links by yourself, or are there some folks who help you?

  8. TX Gator says:

    Well done, sir. Thanks, Adam

  9. Mark F. says:

    WPW is one form of reentrant tachycardia

  10. brlgator says:

    Rumor out of gville is urban is closing practice to all nfl scouts and coaches.

  11. Actually that’s a rumor out of Alabama about Florida, which was picked up by ProFootballTalk and turned into a story. They have since changed their tune.

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