Week 4: Gators post-game news and notes

By Adam Silverstein
September 26, 2010

After starting slow for their first three games, the No. 8/9 Florida Gators (4-0, 2-0 SEC) came out of the gates strong Saturday night en route to a dominating 48-14 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats (3-1, 0-1 SEC) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. With so much to discuss, OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes.

TREY-MENDOUS PERFORMANCE

Freshman quarterback Trey Burton was obviously the man of the match for the Gators on Saturday, setting a Florida record for most touchdowns in the game with six. He surpassed Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow’s five touchdown performance against South Carolina in 2007 (Tebow also had two passing scores), and also set a school record for total points by a non-kicker (36). Above all else, Burton proved that the Gators have other weapons besides junior running back Jeff Demps, and his versatility was an important factor in the team’s dominating performance Saturday evening.

“Trey Burton was fantastic. Someone told me he had six touchdowns. Six touchdowns. There’s a lot of great players who have played in this stadium, and I think he broke some record. That’s tremendous,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “I thought he was a good player when we recruited him, a really good player. We had no idea what we had until we figured it out during training camp. Versatility, the intelligence, the competitiveness, those are things you just don’t know until you get your hands on a player.”

DEBOSE GETS SOME THROWS

After barely seeing the field during the first three weeks of the season, redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose made his true debut in impressive fashion during the first quarter on Saturday. On Florida’s first series, he caught a 14-yard pass and a seven-yard pass to help the Gators score their first points in the first quarter all season. He also had catches of seven and eight yards to finish the first quarter with a team-high 36 yards. “It feels really good,” Debose said after the game. “I’ve been practicing really hard this week. That made feel really ready for tonight.”

Meyer noted that Debose’s plays in the first quarter were scripted, which is part of the reason he did not see much action the rest of the game. “That was on purpose. He earned that,” Meyer said of Debose’s touches. “All you gotta do is practice well, and Debose will be nonexistent next week if he doesn’t practice well. Florida may be a little different. You earn your right to get on that field, and he actually earned that right this week during practice. He did a great job. […] No, he wasn’t [practicing well in previous weeks]. It was not because he wasn’t trying; it was just because the multitude – it’s that deer in the headlights look. He really locked in this week, and we simplified some things.”

ENTIRE OFFENSIVE LINE BANGED UP

Anyone who watched the game noticed that, at one time or another, seemingly every starting offensive lineman was down with a lower leg injury. Turns out, every starting offensive lineman did suffer a lower leg injury. “At one point, every one of our linemen either had a sprained ankle or swollen knee, and they battled through it,” Meyer said. “We were close to TKO there, and they fought through it.” None are expected to be limited going into next week’s game at Alabama.

Also of note is the fact that redshirt senior Marcus Gilbert, the team’s right tackle who had been starting at left tackle with sophomore Xavier Nixon out of commission, was moved back to left tackle against Kentucky. Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio made the move to make the line more stable, placing the younger Nixon at right tackle. Chances are, based on the performance of the unit Saturday, this is a permanent decision.

FIRST QUARTER FIRSTS

Coming into Saturday’s game, Florida had not scored a single point in the first quarter in any of its first three contests. As Meyer preached to the media and players during the week, the Gators made it a point to start strong against the Wildcats, putting up a pair of touchdowns in the opening period. Brantley came out throwing, and Debose’s presence provided UF with that extra bit of explosiveness the team has apparently needed.

THREE IS A CHARM FOR THREE FLORIDA DEFENDERS

Senior safety Ahmad Black came into the Kentucky game with three interceptions on the season. It was probably a bit of a surprise for many to see redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown and sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic join him in that club after each picked off Kentucky QB Mike Hartline. Brown returned his for a touchdown, high-stepping into the end zone; though his other two interceptions were also impressive, this one could very well be the most memorable for a player who struggled through back injuries for two years. The Gators lead the nation with 12 interceptions as a team.

INJURIES AND ABSENCES

Demps, after running the ball eight times for 57 yards, left the game at the beginning of the second half with what Meyer believes his a sprained foot. Apparently Demps hurt the same foot last week and aggravated the injury during the game. “Dempsy has a foot that they’re taking a look at. He hurt it last week, we’re hoping it’s just a sprained foot,” Meyer said. The Miami Herald reports that Demps had an X-ray on his foot last night, most likely to make sure it was not broken or fractured.

Redshirt senior defensive tackles Lawrence Marsh (stitches, hamstring) and Brandon Antwine (shoulder) also missed the Kentucky game, but Meyer was confident that both would be back in action at Alabama next Saturday. Freshman defensive lineman Dominique Easley (foot, funeral) missed a bunch of practice this week; whether or not he will be ready for the following game is up in the air.

QUOTES (After the break…)

Meyer’s opening statement: “Our offense made a huge emphasis about coming out of the gate fast. They responded. I thought Steve Addazio really did a heck of job, mix of run-pass. Johnny obviously, we had a bunch of guys play their best game as Gators, and Johnny first and foremost played really well. We got a little bit of a lull in the second quarter, but then to see the guy come out in the second half and lead the team up-and-down the field, [he] really did a good job.”

Meyer on the wide receivers: “I thought [redshirt senior] Carl Moore was fantastic today, we were running some option routes with him. Big third-down catches. [Redshirt junior] Deonte [Thompson] played well. Andre Debose got his hands on a few balls finally, and [sophomore] Omarius Hines played well.”

Meyer on the defense: “Coach [Teryl] Austin just went through some names in [the locker room] of guys that played well, but [senior defensive ends Justin] Trattou and Duke [Lemmens] were two names who stood out. And then obviously Jeremy Brown. That kid’s been through a lot to see him step in front of a ball and take it the other way was really a good deal for him.”

Meyer on getting Florida got the ball to Burton by design and his number change: “Because he was 13, and him and Dee Finley were both on kickoff together. That was the reason, there was no magical story behind No. 8. […] We’re not trying to get him the ball [in particular], it’s just he’s kind of taken that position. […] We do what we do, and that’s get the ball in the hands of fast players.”

Meyer on Burton’s effort: “My biggest concern is we have him doing too much. We’re going to fix that tomorrow when we come in as coaches. There are certain things he has to do, and other things there’s other people that can do that stuff.”

Meyer on Moore’s improvement: “He’s practicing that way and he’s playing that way. He’s not the same player. It’s not just what you see out there, it’s more importantly what you see Tuesday and Wednesday during practice.”

Meyer on reaching 100 wins: “I feel very blessed when you think about some of these coaches who I’ve known for a long time don’t get to coach players like I get to coach and don’t get to coach at places like I get to coach. So I’m very humbled and appreciative, and I told our players that.”

Meyer on Debose playing early: “That was on purpose. He earned that. All you gotta do is practice well, and Debose will be nonexistent next week if he doesn’t practice well. Florida may be a little different. You earn your right to get on that field, and he actually earned that right this week during practice. He did a great job. […] No, he wasn’t [practicing well in previous weeks]. It was not because he wasn’t trying, it was just because the multitude – it’s that deer in the headlights look. He really locked in this week, and we simplified some things.”

Meyer on Alabama: “I’ve not watched them on tape. We all know. I think they won today at Arkansas, and Arkansas’ a heck of a team. Our guys will practice really hard. There’s one way to try to compete up at a road stadium, and that’s to go as hard as you can on Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s what we do around here. I think our guys will be anxious. We’ll make sure we get healthy. That’s going to be a real physical game up there.”

Meyer on everything coming together this week: “Our preparation was really good. The growth of young players… It’s game four. If you flip on the film game one to game four, all our staff asks is for them to get a little better each week and they’ve done that. We looked like Bozo the Clown in the first game against Miami, come back in the second game beat a pretty good team, third game go on the road get a little bit better, fourth game all three phases kind of click. You see what’s coming down the road here, better click.”

Meyer on if players have been thinking about Alabama: “I think some of the older players have. I think younger players are just trying to figure out when the formation tells you to line up on the right, you line up on the right. Debose is lining up on the right now. That’s a good thing. I heard of some discussion in there. They’re the No. 1 team in America, we’re getting ready to go play them and we’re going to do the best we can.”

Meyer on his feelings about the offense: “I thought our quarterback played really well, and our receivers. [In previous games] I didn’t have that confidence because I didn’t see it in practice. I’m starting to see it in practice. I’m hoping to say that again this Wednesday. If we do, we have a shot.”

Meyer on Kentucky’s fake field goal: “I told the guys upstairs, there’s no way to see that on the side[lines]. That’s a good little play. That’s the responsibility of the guys upstairs – they have to watch. What they do is act confused, the guy runs off the field and he stands right there. I’ve seen it, never had it happened to us. We gotta burn a timeout if we see something like that.”

Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley on Moore: “Carl Moore did a great job. He’s really came on well this season. I’m happy to see he’s been doing such a great job. It’s easy to put the ball in a receiver’s hands when the line is blocking so well.”

Brantley on Burton’s performance: “It was awesome. He deserves it. He works so hard, and he does anything for this team. He came in as a quarterback, and we tell him to do a lot of things… He was open arms with it, he was open-minded. He just wants to make this team better, and he’s doing that. He deserves what he did tonight, that’s for sure.

Burton on his performance: “It felt like a dream the whole night. I’ve always wanted to come here and play every since I was a little kid. To get this opportunity, I’m so thankful for the ability to play this game.”

Senior center Mike Pouncey on Burton: “Like I been saying the whole time, Trey’s one of those guys that doesn’t say nothing. He just plays as hard as he can and he does everything the right way and it’s paying off for him. He had a heck of a game. He doesn’t say anything. When the coaches yell at him, ‘It’s yes, sir.’ He just does everything the right way.”

Pouncey on the offense starting strong: “We got tired of hearing all the junk, man. We just wanted to come out and prove everybody wrong, they had us on upset alert. We wanted to just keep everybody from all the negative stuff, talk about all the positives we got in our program.”

Debose on his playbook knowledge: “I’ve learned the playbook pretty well now that I’ve played the outside and inside,” Debose said. “I’d say I have a pretty good understanding of the playbook.”

Bostic on his interception: “I didn’t really think the quarterback was going to throw that right there. I kind of stepped in the window. I don’t even really know what I was doing [after catching it], I couldn’t figure out whether blocks were setting up, I was kind of just running around so they could set up the blocks.”

Brown on his interception: “I just read the receiver, read a three-step drop from the quarterback. He lifted his shoulders, so I knew he was breaking down. Just read it perfect, took it to the crib.”

Redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard on Alabama RB Mark Ingram: “He is no different from any other running back,” Howard said after Saturday’s win over Kentucky. “We have [Jeff] Demps on our team, Mike Gillislee, so we go against good backs in practice. We are just going to try to bring it to them.”

Howard on the importance of next week’s game: “It was a nasty taste last year with the loss and this offseason was dedicated to beating Alabama. We’re just going to go out there and let it all hang out. To me it’s like the biggest game of the year. Whoever wins out of this game is set on a smooth sailing path.”

4 Comments

  1. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Well, heck, Pouncey. If all it takes to get you guys to come out fast is to put you on upset alert every week, that could probably be arranged!

  2. Mr2Bits says:

    Any word on whether Demps will be playing this coming weekend? Hate to lose one of our best weapons this week.

  3. cooklyn says:

    demps said on twitter he’ll be good to go

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