Week 3: Gators post-game news and notes

By Adam Silverstein
September 19, 2010

Starting slow for the third consecutive game, the No. 7/10 Florida Gators (3-0) once again pulled out a double-digit win against their opponent, taking down the Tennessee Volunteers (1-2) 31-17 on the road at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. With so much to discuss, OGGOA first presents some of the most important notes and quotes.

EIGHT FOR EIGHT IS GREAT

In his six years coaching the University of Florida, head coach Urban Meyer has run eight fake punt plays. And all eight times that decision has paid off for the Gators. On Saturday, Meyer said he did not hesitate to call a fake punt in which sophomore wide receiver Omarius Hines took a direct snap up the field 36 yards for a first down in what would eventually become a touchdown scoring drive. “We’ve been working on that since the beginning of the year,” Meyer said after the game. “We tried to get the numbers, and we got the numbers, and they executed well. As soon as I heard from the press box we had numbers, I knew all we had to do was execute it.” Hines was just as prepared for the play call. “We’ve been practicing it every day in practice,” he said. “It was my chance to get the first down. I wasn’t nervous. We’ve been practicing on it too much. I was ready for it. [Tennessee] had two guys, and when they went outside, I cut inside and got the first down. I knew it was going to work. We really needed that. We were down in the first half. I just tried to help the team get the momentum back.”

SUSPENDED PLAYERS RETURN, CONTRIBUTE

Three Florida players missed the first two games of the season not due to injury but instead because of team suspension. Junior safety Will Hill (most prominently), redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. and sophomore linebacker Dee Finley all returned Saturday, each contributing in one way or another. While Hill was in on some blown coverages in the secondary, he made a few big tackles on special teams, which was also populated by Hammond and Finley. Hammond was also able to make his first catch of the year in the third quarter for a touchdown. “It felt good,” Hammond said. “I just go out there and try to make plays and do what I can for the team. I’m just trying to stay humble. I got another chance at it [after getting arrested]. I made a mistake and I learned from it. Whatever they want me to do, special teams or offense, I’ll do what I need to do just to get back on the team and help them out. I’m trying to move on now.”

GILLISLEE MAKING HIS CASE FOR PLAYING TIME

Sophomore running back Mike Gillislee, like any player, wants to get on the field as much as possible. Stuck behind junior Jeff Demps and redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody, Gillislee appears to be on a mission this season to prove to coaches that he deserves more playing time. Though Demps once again led the Gators in rushing Saturday, Gillislee’s two powerful touchdowns once again proved he is as much of a spark plug as anyone on the team.

HEALTHY OFFENSIVE LINE STICKING TOGETHER

For the first time all season, Florida was able to begin the game and play with its starting offensive line – consisting of sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon, redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson, senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt senior right guard Maurice Hurt and redshirt senior right tackle Marcus Gilbert – healthy and intact. On a rushed snap in the first quarter, Pouncey rolled the ball on the ground to redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, almost causing a turnover. At the end of the game, Johnson appeared to suffer an arm injury, but trainers believe he will be fine.

SECONDARY ROLLS BUT FLAWS EMERGE

Nabbing two more interceptions against the Volunteers, the Gators’ defense continues to lead the nation with 10 grabs on the season. The secondary itself is responsible for seven of them, with redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown bringing down his second of the year on Saturday. However, a unit that was the model of consistency for Florida throughout the first two games showed some flaws against Tennessee, allowing three big catches and two long touchdowns in the contest. Brown was victimized a few time, Hill was out of position on another throw and even junior CB Janoris Jenkins (who muffed a punt for a fumble as a returner) may have blown an assignment.

DEFENSIVE FRONT SEVEN STEPS UP

While the secondary dealt with a few issues, the defensive linemen and linebackers did whatever they had to in order to get pressure on QB Matt Simms and stifle Volunteers star RB Tauren Poole (10 carries for 23 yards). Senior defensive ends Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens, redshirt senior defensive tackle Brandon Antwine, redshirt freshman LB Jelani Jenkins and freshman DE Ronald Powell all achieved sacks, and sophomore LB Jon Bostic pulled down his second interception of the season.

QUOTES (After the break…)

Meyer on winning on the road: “You saw two young teams trying to figure things out. I’m very proud of our guys, coming on the road and winning in the SEC. […] That’s something that we will never take for granted. I’m pretty happy winning at this stadium. I want to thank our following. I can imagine what goes on in this stadium. I just wanted to thank the fans. They were awful loyal to stick around and support us.”

Meyer on the win as a whole: “We’re 3-0. I don’t know [if we’re good enough to compete in the SEC]. We have to somehow beat Kentucky and get to 4-0. Are we good enough yet? We just won at Neyland Stadium with a bunch of guys who worked really hard against a really talented team. We were good enough to win at Neyland Stadium. That’s all I cared about. We were. Can we beat Kentucky at home? I don’t know. That’s a coin flip. We’ll work real hard in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. Young football players do that. That’s how you improve. We’re working hard to get a little better.”

Meyer on the flow of the game: “Our tempo was not good. That sometimes happens on the road. It happens at home, too. That’s something we’re working on. That has to get better. If you’re snapping the ball every time at one second [left on the play clock], you know there’s something [wrong]. We’ve either got to shorten the names of plays, get wristbands looking different. Or we may just have to hustle a little bit quicker and get in and out of the huddle and get to the line of scrimmage. I imagine that’s what we have to do.”

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on his unit: “I thought we played pretty sound defense. We had a couple of coverage mistakes […] that were mostly coverage errors and one was a bad call on me. We’ll get those things cleaned up. Our guys played hard all day.’’

Hines on the importance of the game: “It was a really big win. Big rivals. Coach [has] been talking about it all week. It was a big rival, big game, so we just prepared hard during practice and it carried over during the game.”

Brantley on how the team is playing: “We’re winning. That’s all that matters to us. It’s not about stats, about anything like that. As long as we get the ‘W,’ that’s all that matters. […] We want to get things started quicker, but in the end, as long as we’re the better team on the field that day, that’s all that matters.”

Trattou on stopping Poole: “We knew they had a big line and a big back so that’s what we focused on. We know we can lean on each other. We have no quit. […] We definitely wanted to try and expose that young offensive line. We’re a more experienced group. Anytime you go on the road in the SEC, you definitely have to bring your defense. We definitely showed up.’’

Brown on mistakes he made: “The coaches get on me about leaving my eyes in the backfield. I got caught. I jumped the out. It was a good scene. They caught us off guard. I was just hoping he’d drop it. You give up a big play on the road, I felt like I owed the team.”

Vols head coach Derek Dooley on the fake punt: “It was a big play. It was a good call by them. They made a good play and got us on that.”

Dooley on the game: “It was a little roller coaster, but the [Gators] have some big guys and they’re fast, and for some of our young guys they had some big eyes out there. We did a lot of things that we didn’t do in practice, so that tells me it’s experience. When you haven’t been out in those games, to keep it simple and to stay calm and execute the simple things, we made things a little more complex than they had to be. That comes from experience.”

Special thanks to The Gainesville Sun and University of Florida for the above quotations.

10 Comments

  1. J Boof says:

    Adam – no defensive player in your MVP selection list? I thought Bostic had a great game at a time when we needed the LBs to step up.

  2. Oscar says:

    Please Meyer…. do something with Adazzio… that way is just way over his head trying to be the offensive coordinator of this team. The offense looks unprepared, out of sync, out of rythm, etc, etc…. Clear signs of a unit that is not well coached. We have gotten by on pure talent so far…. it won’t be the case against Alabama, LSU or South Carolina… there is a disaster waiting to happen unless Adazzio gets a clue or someone other than him takes charge of leading the offense.

  3. Will says:

    Couldn’t agree more with Oscar. Dooley says give Addazio a break – sure thing – back to the Offensive Line coach. We are not calling plays for our talent. You cannot run the triple option with a QB who is no threat to run. I’m miffed. If we see it, doesn’t Coach? Or is his feirce loyalty going to cost us 3 games?

  4. brlgator says:

    My defensive MVP goes to Justin Trattou. I didnt have a chance to watch the game over again yet but my brother did and said Trattou dominated. He said it got so bad Tenn stopped running to his side altogether.

    Run defense was solid and we are going to need that unit this year especially against USC. WOW that freshman rb is nasty. He s gonna be the best SEC rb since Darren McFadden and maybe better (not kidding)

    I still think we need to releive addazio of his play calling.

    We need to get Gillisilee the ball more.

    Oline’s gotta do a bit better of a job but I ll chalk that up to the fact that this was 1st units first game altogether.

    Secondary got toasted a little bit but atleast it was in situations where they were trying to make a play. Against some of the better SEC opponents we need to learn when to gamble and when not too but its good to get the kinks out now.

  5. brlgator says:

    almost forgot…how about aaron hernandez’s game yesterday?!?!!?!?

    PS Oggoa nation its on us to help adam out with gator chomp-o-meter. We gotta get back on it

  6. Aligator says:

    If it costs us three games it costs us three games. This is a rebound year anyways and that includes with coaches. If that happens, I promise the sun will come out tomorrow.

  7. I really think some of you need to step down off the ledge here. The Gators are a young offense with a new starting quarterback and two primary receivers (Thompson and Moore) who are each growing as well. Thompson was barely thrown to last season (is now improving each week) and this is Moore’s first opportunity at legitimate playing time. I saw where Oscar said the unit is “not well coached” – I disagree. Could there be improvements in the coaching? Maybe. But to say they’re not well coached is a reach.

    BRL – Gillislee doesn’t get the ball more because they rely on him so much for special teams. But I’m sure he’ll consistently get a few more carries here and there.

  8. brlgator says:

    Adam,

    Yea I heard meyer talk about that during his weekly local radio show at beef o’brady (PS for all you sofla gators 940am carries that show, i think its on thursday evenings). My hope is with moody nicked up they will give gillislee more carries. I know special teams is very important and maybe more important/emphazied to the gators than any other team in the nation but IMO the loss on special teams if gillisslee gets more carries and has to be replaced or subbed occasionally on special teams is greater then the loss we suffer not getting him the ball more on O

    we are gonna have some leads in the 4th quarter and we will need an RB to put the game on ice and as much as demps is our homerun hitter who needs to get the most touches on offense, i want gillislee getting those ICE carries

    I agree with adam everyone needs to calm down a bit (me especially) lets take out our frustration on UK next week

  9. ejlgator says:

    Adam,

    First time I am commenting and I just wanted to say that I love this blog. Keep posting and doing your thang…can’t get enough OGGOA.

    Rewatched the game yesterday and I walked away with a completely different impression (first time watch is always too emotional to really be critical). I thought the D-line was phenomenal. Our defense went in to the game with the game plan of stuffing the run and forcing Simms to beat us. Accomplished. Trattou is a stud. He has an unbelievable motor and he completely dominated his side of the line. UT has a young line so let’s hope that this body of work can continue as we play better offenses.

    I know Will Hill made a couple of mistakes in coverage, but he made mistakes of COMMISSION not OMISSION which is exactly what you want to see. Seemed to me that he was overly aggressive because he felt like he had something to prove. Nevertheless, the kid established a presence in the middle of the field and I love it. Now we have two hard hitting safeties in the middle. This young defense has the ability to become one of the best in the nation. Real exciting.

    Walked away from my second watch feeling a lot better about the team – especially Johnny B. He made some great throws and some big third down plays. I feel confident that if we need to rely on his arm for a comeback, the kid has the moxie and ability to get the win. He just does not seem to get flustered.

    My post is a little long winded so I’ll leave my thoughts on Addazio for a later time. Young team that keeps improving every week. Very exciting team with a lot of talent. If we keep getting better we will have a shot at playing for the SEC championship. Go gators!

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