Week 6: Gators post-game news and notes

By Adam Silverstein
October 11, 2010

Continuing a season of ups-and-downs, the No. 22/22 Florida Gators (4-2, 2-2 SEC) lost their second-straight game on Saturday, this time to the No. 9/9 LSU Tigers (6-0, 4-0 SEC) at home at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. With so much to discuss, OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes.

BRANTLEY MORE HURT THAN LET ON?

Though the coaching staff downplayed his injuries all week, redshirt junior starting quarterback John Brantley was dealing with a number of issues going into the game, reports ESPN’s Joe Shad. According to a “source close to the quarterback,” Brantley has “hairline fractures in four ribs and wore a reinforced protective vest in the game.” Apparently Brantley also has a small fracture in his thumb and was unable to throw on Thursday and Friday because of shoulder issues that resulted from him “overcompensating for the rib injury early in the week.”

Playing injured, Brantley still managed to complete two-thirds of his passes for 154 yards but did give up an interception on a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage. His offensive line did not provide him much help throughout the night, allowing him to be sacked three times and roughed up on a number of other plays.

Brantley continues to refute this report, stating that his ribs are neither cracked nor fractured and that his thumb is just sprained.

DEFENSE SHREDDED BY RUN, PASS

Going into the game LSU’s offense was labeled as questionable with a strong running game but a two-quarterback system that did not have a truly great passer. The Tigers were successful on both the ground and through the air on Saturday, rushing for 161 yards including 88 from starting running back Stevan Ridley and 50 from starting QB Jordan Jefferson; Jefferson and QB Jarrett Lee also matched Brantley’s completion percentage while tossing for a combined 224 yards and two touchdowns. Part of LSU’s success was due to the superior play of wide receiver Terrance Tolliver, who roasted Florida’s secondary to the tune of six receptions for 111 yards and two touchdowns including the game-winner. The Tigers had long scoring drives of 40, 77, 39, 38 and 62 yards on the evening.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOT-SO SPECIAL

In a game where Gators redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, one would think the special teams would be a standout unit. Unfortunately senior punter/kicker Chas Henry missed two makeable field goals on one drive (the first was negated due to a LSU holding penalty), Debose botched the handling of the game’s initial kickoff and junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins drew an unacceptable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by spiking by the ball after running a punt back out near midfield (the punt was already coming back due to a block in the back call, Jenkins’ penalty made it worse).

That is not to mention the field goal unit either being unprepared for or failing to contain Tigers kicker Jordan Jasper on his fake field goal in the waning moments of the game.

MOORE BREAKS OUT, FINALLY

Though he has been clutch all season with his third- and fourth-down conversions, Florida redshirt senior WR Carl Moore hand a standout performance Saturday. He caught four balls for 95 yards including a huge 51-yard third down conversion on the team’s final scoring drive that was the Gators’ longest completion of the season and a career-high catch for Moore.

INJURIES (AND A TURNOVER)

With junior RB Jeff Demps surprisingly being held out of the game with a sprained foot, Florida relied on redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody and sophomore Mike Gillislee to carry the load. Moody responded by giving up a fumble after a 17-yard gain as the Gators were trying to put some point on the board at the end of the first half. Gillislee ended up hurting himself and only carried the ball six times for 20 yards with a touchdown. In fact, freshman QB Trey Burton (who had 30 yards alone on one scoring drive) ended up leading the team with nine rushes for 35 yards and a score.

In another adjustment, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio shifted his starting line around sitting sophomore right tackle Xavier Nixon who has been dealing with a knee injury (and did not have a great week of practice). Redshirt freshman right guard Jon Halapio started instead with redshirt senior Maurice Hurt shifting over to fill Nixon’s tackle position. That would not last for long, however, as Halapio broke a finger in the second quarter and replaced on the line by Nixon with Hurt moving back to guard.

Redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson was also hurt early in the fourth quarter and did not return to the game. Freshman safety Matt Elam was also knocked around late into the contest. Both players are suspected to have suffered concussions.

QUOTES (After the break…)

Head coach Urban Meyer’s opening statement: “I just have to watch the film. I thought our defense played better. It’s a team game, and obviously our offense didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. I have to watch the film and I’ll have more for you during the week.”

Meyer on Brantley playing through injuries: “He’s hurt. He’s hurt. They’re not cracked. There’s partial…there’s something in the side of the ribs…I don’t want to say ‘cracked ribs.’ There’s some damage to his ribs. He’s got a sprained thumb. He fought his tail off. It’s what you expect out of Johnny. Johnny’s a tough nut.”

Meyer on other players being injured: “I thought we’d have him. [Demps is] a tough guy too. It’s just a sprained foot. He tried and obviously that’s an impact. Gillie was out a part of the game too, so we were almost down to no backs. At one point Deonte and Gillie and obviously Demps was out of a game, that was a tough few minutes in that second half to figure out how to get things rolling.”

Meyer on LSU’s defense: “They were pressuring us a lot. They had a lot of blitzes and a lot of pressure. I won’t know until I see the film.”

Meyer on struggling offensively in the first half: “We have to attribute it to something. That’s our job. We’re struggling right now. We got to get a little better and we got to get everybody healthy and rolling. This time of the season, when you’re six games into it, I’m very disappointed with the first half. Wasn’t disappointed in the effort in the second half. Andre Debose pulling out that kickoff return – we need that around here. That’s great to see. [If there’s a] positive, we’ve now identified an electric playmaker. Now he’s gotta do it more consistently and more often.”

Meyer on Debose: “He’s just grown up as a player. We knew he was talented coming out of high school and he had a really devastating injury a year ago with the hamstring ripped right off the bone. He fought back. He still got a long way to go but he’s got some dynamic potential. Still not there yet, obviously.”

Meyer on evaluating the team at this point: “Obviously, we have a bunch of guys that really gave everything they had, but there are still a bunch of guys who haven’t given everything yet. That’s kind of what we have to identify, address and get better. We’ve got to find a way to get that. Right now, we should be better than we are, and we’ve just got to work our tails off.”

Meyer on if Florida is out of the SEC East race: “Last year it was a unique situation where we won straight through, the East struggled and that was over rather quickly. [We’re] right in the middle of this thing. Everybody is in the middle of it. History shows in the SEC, the team that is last standing healthy and playing well is going to take care of it. One way to do that is to get your guys healthy and play a little better.”

Meyer on the 11 penalties during the game: “We talked about it at halftime. We addressed it. I think we did better as the game wore on, but those were some devastating penalties that we had today.”

Meyer on the almost-comeback: “I love coaching at Florida. I love that stadium. That was wild. I took my headsets off and said, ‘Here we go.’ It sounded like South Carolina in 2006. Great stadium, great fans, great players out there playing their hearts out. It’s college football in the SEC, and we came up short. So we gotta find a way on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday to not come up that short. It’s complicated but it’s not that complicated. You gotta find a way to not come up short, appreciate where you’re at and appreciate this crowd. That was electric when we scored that two-point conversion. That was a heck of a deal for us.”

Meyer (on Sunday) on the season’s outlook: “We’re fine. The key is we have to get better. To start worrying about things far off in the future […] we’re still right in the middle of the season, halfway home. We just have to take care of business this week.”

Brantley on how injured his ribs are: “There was never no doubt that I wasn’t going to play. I knew since Monday or Sunday I was. They’re just a little banged up but nothing too serious. Nothing you couldn’t play through. There was no doubt I wasn’t going to play. They’re just banged up. Thumb’s just sprained, minor thing. Our training staff did a good job getting me treatment, rehabbing me. My body felt pretty good during the game.”

Brantley on getting pressured: “They did blitz us a lot. We knew they would. Things happen, I guess. We knew it was coming and we saw it. Things happen.”

Debose on his kickoff return for a touchdown: “Coach just told me we needed a big play so hit it and that’s what I did.”

Debose on picking up the playbook: “I feel comfortable with what’s going on. Coach is giving me an opportunity and I feel like I’m picking it up.”

Burton on the loss: “Yeah, it’s a tough loss. You get recruited for four years and you never lose in The Swamp. We have only lost in The Swamp that one time since I’ve been recruited and it’s not fun to lose.”

Redshirt freshman LB Jelani Jenkins (who had his first career interception) on the loss: “I thought we played as hard as we could tonight. We could’ve played a lot better and there are definitely things we need to work on.”

LSU head coach Les Miles’ opening statement: “First and foremost, I have to give great credit to Head Coach Urban Meyer and the Florida team. They played their hearts out. Any time you have a victory in The Swamp, it’s an achievement and our guys understand that. They played very well.”

Miles on his team’s performance: “There was no question in my mind that this football team was going to go out and play like this. I felt like we may have been the best team, and I think we did some really good things. The defense played well; we started off dominating the performance. Offensively, we moved the ball on the ground and in the air.”

8 Comments

  1. John Shanks says:

    Man this just gets worse, we’re really getting the hell beat out of us. I’m sure Meyer and company know what’s coming the rest of the season, every team is going to rough us up physically. Smart thing would be to run the hurry up offense with quick short routes and plays. I don’t know if we have that in the offense. Please drag out those old tapes of Oklahoma from 2008 and see what offense you’re supposed to run. Our quarterback and line will last a lot longer.

  2. npgator says:

    Bottom line is we just don’t have the elite players on our team anymore.

  3. Joe says:

    Nobody can be a playmaker until they are given the opportunity. If you aren’t “invested” then you do not get the opportunity. You sit even though the guy ahead of you on the dept chart is hurt or sucks.

  4. triplegator says:

    Read Blitz, find hot receiver. Read blitz, find hot receiver. Rinse, repeat.

    If this keeps up, Brantley’s going to get maimed against South Carolina.

  5. Jesse C says:

    I think it is safe to say that we won’t be breaking out the orange jerseys again this season.

  6. g8ter27 says:

    Well one thing I hate about this offense..(and there are several) is that we wait to cal a play at the line or esle check out of every play called. Brantley is running around back there trying to yell to the line and backs, holding the line for 15+ seconds and hen we wonder why we have all of he false starts and people not executing plays. I don’t think the team knows what play is going on half the time by the time the snap is there.

  7. Gatorgrad79 says:

    npgator – what do you mean “don’t have elite players’?? Top 5 recruiting class 4 years in a row?! We have players we don’t know what the H___ to do with!

  8. jack jarman says:

    Coach Meyer
    I am a die hard Gator fan win or lose that will never change, but I have noticed you show no emotion I think that transfers to the players they need to be yelled at once in awhile

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