Youngblood: “That’s when I heard the snap.”

With two weeks ago being the two-year anniversary of ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive and considering he released a brand new book the very same day, former Florida Gators defensive lineman Jack Youngblood sat down with us recently for an exclusive and extensive hour-long interview about his life and career.

Click here to read an OGGOA exclusive excerpt from Because It Was Sunday: The Legend of Jack Youngblood while learning more about the book.

The first University of Florida student-athlete to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Youngblood is also a member of Florida’s Ring of Honor, the College Football Hall of Fame and the UF Athletic Hall of Fame. He has as accomplished of a career as any player who has put on the orange and blue of the Gators after being named first-team All-SEC and All-America in 1970 and also being selected as the No. 20 overall pick in the first round of the 1971 NFL Draft.

Youngblood went on to be named to seven Pro Bowls and be selected as a first-team All-Pro five times while also winning NFC Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons (1975-76) and the Los Angeles RamsMost Value Player award three times (1975-76, 1979). He played in five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl and had his No. 85 retired by St. Louis prior to being inducted into the team’s Ring of Fame in 2001.

Since retiring for the game of football, Youngblood has done some acting work, served as an analyst with numerous media outlets, and co-hosted Wal-Mart’s Great Outdoors program, which used to air on ESPN on Saturday mornings. He also wrote a biography, has held a number of football administration jobs and continues to work to this day.

OGGOA’s three-part interview with Youngblood covers his college days and professional career while also highlighting some interesting stories and moments in his life and his take on today’s game. This is part three of that interview..

Part I – Youngblood: A career of life-changing moments
Part II – Youngblood: “He doesn’t know how crazy I am.”

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Let’s talk a little bit about the new book. It obviously covers all of the people who have inspired you in your life. Outside of your family and coaches, who would you say is the one person who really lit a fire under you and helped you realize how good of a football player you were or how dominant you could be?
JACK YOUNGBLOOD: “From a football perspective, I would have to say the number one influence had to be Merlin [Olsen]. The life-changing moment for a young kid coming out of the University of Florida, a defensive linemen drafted into what was left of the Fearsome Foursome – one of the dominant forces in the 60s in the National Football League. When I got there in 1971, two of them had moved on and I was trying to find a way to figure out how I could fit into the picture. I knew that I definitely wasn’t going to play inside, but how do I fit in next to Merlin Olsen? I thought it was going to be a short trip. Merlin certainly was a tremendous influence on helping me understand how you played at that level.”

AS: Some will say that the best story in the book is about one of the scariest moments of your life, when you had a gun in your eye. The trigger was pulled but luckily for you the chamber was empty. Everyone will be reading about that in detail in the book, but how did you get in that situation in the first place and what happened when you heard the click and nothing happened?
JY: “It was really an innocent situation. We were at a club in Logan, Utah one evening just having a quiet beer. I had a buddy with his girlfriend with him and we had work the next morning so we called it early around 9:30 or 10:00 and went to our cars parked out behind the establishment there. I walked out along with one of my old wrestling buddies from Idaho. These two guys were hassling one of our friends and the girl. I saw it and walked up and said, ‘What’s the problem here?’ These two little loudmouths kind of turned around and tried to get in my face a little bit. I said, ‘No, no, no. Just go on. Leave these kids alone.” I broke it up. Nothing physical, just stepped in between and said we should go our separate ways. This one guy, he takes off and it’s kind of dark in the place without a whole lot of light but enough. I didn’t think anything of it. The other guy was standing there and I said he should go on and get about his business.

“My buddy had gone ahead of me and he was at the car. He hollered at me, ‘Look out, Jack! He’s got a gun!’ [The gunman] had slipped between two cars and I didn’t see him. He came up behind me, and by the time I was hollered at, he was sticking the gun in the back of my head and when I spun around, it was in my eye. That’s when I heard the snap. At that moment the pain was excruciating. My first thought was that he just put my eye out. The next thing I remember – because you go into a state of shock to a certain degree – was [my friend] Darrell going ‘Don’t kill him Jack! Don’t kill him!’

“I got him by the throat on the hood of a car, and I’ve got the gun. I took the gun away from him and pinned him and do not remember any of that. And then I looked down as I’m over him, I notice that there’s blood gushing on him. I’m thinking, ‘Oh, that’s nasty. That’s my blood.’ I was bleeding all over everything. Fortunately, there again, divine intervention. You don’t catch an empty chamber by chance.”

Read the rest of our interview with Jack Youngblood…after the break!
Continue Reading » Youngblood: “That’s when I heard the snap.”

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 6

With the 2011 NFL season underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 6 action, many of whom had an impact on their team’s performance. OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Gators accomplished during the sixth week of the 2011 campaign.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Eight receptions [team-high] for 68 yards (targets: 14, long: 16), touchdown [game-winner], fumble

THE REST

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Tackle
LB ANDRA DAVIS, Buffalo Bills: Played as a starter
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Four receptions for 62 yards [team-high] (targets: 6, long: 32)
FS MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Four tackles (three solo)
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Four receptions for 32 yards (long: 14)
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Tackle, QB hit, fumble recovery, touchdown
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Seven tackles (four solo, one for loss) [team-high]
DE DERRICK HARVEY, Denver Broncos: Bye week
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: Bye week
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Bye week
DE JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Eight tackles (three solo, one for loss)
C MIKE POUNCEY*, Miami Dolphins: Will play as a starter [Monday night]
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings Seven receptions for 78 yards [team-highs] (targets: 9, long: 20), rush for five yards, three kick returns for 71 yards (long: 25)
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Played as a reserve
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Eight tackles (six solo, one for loss), QB hit
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Two solo tackles (one for loss)
G COOPER CARLISLE, Oakland Raiders: Played as a starter
DE JARVIS MOSS, Oakland Raiders: Tackle
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Target
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Solo tackle
P CHAS HENRY*, Philadelphia Eagles: Three punts for 131 yards (long: 50)
C MAURKICE POUNCEY, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
OT MARCUS GILBERT*, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
OT MAX STARKS, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Two tackles (one solo), 0.5 sack, two pass defenses, QB hit
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 17 carries for 109 yards [team-highs] (long: 34), two receptions for 22 yards (long: 19)
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Washington Redskins: Two receptions for 55 yards (targets: 10, long: 55)
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: 9/22 for 143 yards, four interceptions (QB Rating: 23.7)

INJURED / INACTIVE
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Knee
LB BRANDON SILER, Kansas City Chiefs: Torn achilles (season)

NOTES
– Wright started for Chicago.
– Murphy played for the first time this season (sports hernia, groin).

PRACTICE SQUAD PLAYERS
DE Justin Trattou* (New York Giants), SS Ahmad Black* (Tampa Bay), OG Maurice Hurt* (Washington)

NOTABLE FREE AGENTS
DE Alex Brown, DE Bobby McCray, CB Lito Sheppard

* Rookie

2011 WEEK: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Gators receive no votes in Top 25 polls

The Oklahoma Sooners held on to their season-long No. 1 spot in the USA Today Coaches Poll, while the LSU Tigers kept the No. 1 ranking they earned from the Associated Press when the latest top 25 polls were released on Sunday. The Florida Gators (4-3, 2-3 SEC), fresh off three-straight losses including a 17-6 defeat by Auburn on Saturday, did not receive a single vote in either poll.

WeekResultBCSUSA TodayAssociated Press
Preseason--No. 10 (930)No. 10 (894)
2W 24-6 vs. Toledo-No. 9 (974)No. 12 (875)
3L 16-21 at Miami-No. 20 (410)No. 18 (405)
4Open-No. 18 (398)No. 19 (412)
5W 31-17 vs. Tennessee-No. 19 (449)No. 20 (414)
6W 24-7 at Kentucky-No. 19 (515)No. 18 (481)
7W 30-10 vs. Arkansas-No. 17 (574)No. 17 (536)
8L 6-17 at LSU-No. 22 (240)No. 22 (249)
9L 17-36 at Missouri-NR (4)NR (17)

USA TODAY COACHES POLL
This Week 1-5: Oklahoma (31), LSU (15), Alabama (12), Wisconsin (1), Stanford
6-10: Oklahoma State, Boise State, Clemson/Oregon, Arkansas
11-15: Nebraska, South Carolina, Michigan State, West Virginia/Virginia Tech
16-20: Kansas State, Michigan, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Houston
21-25: Illinois, Penn State, Auburn, Washington, Arizona State

Last Week 1-5: Oklahoma (32), LSU (15), Alabama (11), Wisconsin (1), Stanford
6-10: Boise State, Oklahoma State, Clemson, Oregon, Michigan
11-15: Arkansas, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Nebraska, Illinois
16-20: West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Kansas State, Michigan State, Arizona State
21-25: Texas, Houston, Texas A&M, Baylor, Penn State
Florida finished “No. 26″ with 72 voting points.

ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL
This Week 1-5: LSU (41), Alabama (11), Oklahoma (6), Wisconsin, Boise State (1)
6-10: Oklahoma State, Stanford, Clemson, Oregon, Arkansas
11-15: West Virginia, Kansas State, Nebraska, South Carolina, Michigan State
16-20: Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, Michigan, Auburn, Georgia Tech
21-25: Houston, Washington, Illinois, Arizona State, Georgia

Last Week 1-5: LSU (40), Alabama (10), Oklahoma (8), Wisconsin, Boise State (1)
6-10: Oklahoma State, Stanford, Clemson, Oregon, Arkansas
11-15: Michigan, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Nebraska, South Carolina
16-20: Illinois, Kansas State, Arizona State, Virginia Tech, Baylor
21-25 Texas A&M, Texas, Michigan State, Auburn, Houston
Florida finished “No. 26″ with 86 voting points.

BCS
First Week 1-5: LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Boise State
6-10: Wisconsin, Clemson, Stanford, Arkansas, Oregon
11-15: Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia
16-20: Michigan State, Texas A&M, Michigan, Houston, Auburn
21-25 Penn State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Texas, Washington

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

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Video of Will Muschamp’s rant after non-call by officials during Florida-Auburn game

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp exploded during the first quarter of Saturday’s eventual 17-6 loss to the No. 24 Auburn Tigers when he perceived that officials failed to properly penalize Auburn running back Onterior McCalebb for interfering with Florida redshirt senior RB Chris Rainey during an punt return.

Rainey wound up muffing the punt, which was ruled to be recovered by the Tigers. The turnover resulted in a touchdown for Auburn a few plays later.

Muschamp unleashed a somewhat explicit verbal tirade that was caught by ESPN‘s microphones. Timothy Burke of SportsGrid.com was able to isolate the audio from the broadcast and compiled the video below.

10/15: Florida at Auburn post-game notes

The Florida Gators (4-3, 2-3 SEC) fell again on the road on Saturday, dropping a 17-6 decision to the No. 24 Auburn Tigers (5-2, 3-1 SEC). OGGOA takes a look at some of the notable occurrences before, during and after Saturday’s game with notes and quotes from both head coach Will Muschamp and the players.

MUSCHAMP’s GAME RECAP

Early in his post-game media availability, Muschamp provides his own quick recap of the game as he sees it from offense, defense and special teams.

“It was a tough, hard-fought game. Obviously three turnovers lead to 10 points. It’s tough to win the game. We’ve gone three games where we haven’t gotten a turnover defensively or on special teams. We’ve got to create some positive momentum for our football team and our offense, and we’re not doing enough of that. That’s something we’ve got to be able to do. [Turnovers] leading to 10 points was just really, really disappointing.”

INJURIES AND ABSENCES

In addition to redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (lower leg) and redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee) being ruled out early in the week, it turns out that neither senior running back Jeff Demps (ankle) nor sophomore Buck linebacker Ronald Powell (neck) were cleared to play. Muschamp said Monday that both players were expected to be fine for the game but admitted Saturday that Powell did not practice all week and Demps was a game-time decision.

Perhaps even worse for Florida, injuries piled up for the Gators on Saturday. Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs, who hit two field goals, injured his leg and was unavailable for the remainder of the game. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose appeared to hurt his ankle and changed out of his uniform. Redshirt senior left guard Dan Wenger was wearing a boot on the sideline, junior left tackle Xavier Nixon appeared hobbled, and both junior RB Mike Gillislee and sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley were injured during the game but eventually returned.

ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS

Will Brantley play against Georgia?
“I’m hoping so. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know. His rehab is going very well.”

Was there any indication in practice that there were punt return problems?
“We haven’t had any issues at all.”

Why didn’t Gillislee get the ball more as previously suggested?
“We weren’t really doing much in the run game. That kind of dictated that. We felt like we needed to open it up more and work the perimeter. We did have some read series runs where he was a part of that and didn’t get the ball in those situations.”

Why did freshman Kyle Christy take over at punter?
“We just had not been flipping the field in the punting. We felt like we needed to look at a possible change in that situation, and Kyle had been punting extremely well. His operation time had been the issue. He had his operation time down pretty much throughout the week, and we felt like he deserved that opportunity.”

MUFFED PUNTS AND NUMEROUS MISCUES

Two important factors have dug Florida into big holes over the last two weeks – penalties and turnovers. Though the Gators committed their fair share of penalties on Saturday, their turnovers were much more detrimental to the outcome of the game. UF muffed four punts in the game and gave up two of them. Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey fumbled one in a play that should have been an interference call against an Auburn player; it eventually cost Florida a short-field touchdown.

Replacing Rainey after his third muffed punt, sophomore WR Robert Clark followed suit and let one slip between his arms. Clark’s fumble resulted in a field goal. After the game, Muschamp explained why the change was made and why Clark was chosen.

“Bobby’s done an outstanding job. Chris was gassed a little bit and was tired and had a hard time fielding a couple,” he said. “Bobby’s been doing it all year for us and being very effective. We’ve had Frankie [Hammond] back and several guys back. Andre’s been back but he was hurt. I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Bobby.”

DRISKEL AND BRISSETT SPLIT TIME

Freshman Jacoby Brissett was named the Gators’ starter this week after a full week of practice, but as offensive coordinator Charlie Weis mentioned on Tuesday, it appeared as if classmate Jeff Driskel would get his fair share of snaps, too. That is exactly what happened during the game, which wound up being a tale of two halfs as Brissett started the first portion of the game and Driskel led the team after halftime.

Muschamp explained that having just six points going into the locker room was unacceptable and that Florida “needed to do something different from what we were doing” in the second half. “We knew Jeff was going to play in the game,” he said. “We came in at halftime and talked. Jacoby’s play was nothing that we were disappointed with. We just weren’t moving the ball effectively enough, and we felt like we needed a change. Jeff had a couple nice drives. We need to do more. We need to play better around both guys.”

He also acknowledged that “playing as a true freshman quarterback in this league is difficult” and thinks both signal callers are “going to be fine” in the long run. Muschamp also refused to place the blame on their shoulders. “You can’t score six points and win games. It’s going to be tough. You got to score more points than that,” he said. “It’s not all their fault either. We got to play better up front. We got to play better at the wideout position. We got to develop some things in the run game. We got to do a lot.”

Nevertheless, Muschamp did point out that the passers have a long way to go. “Both guys didn’t do anything that really killed us in the game but again didn’t do enough to help our football team,” he said. “We had a missed throw there on the flea flicker – it was wide open and we need to hit that and we need to take advantage of those situations when we have opportunities to make those. The more reps and the more turns those young men get, they’re going to be really good football players. I’m excited about both of them. We just need to continue to move forward. It’s been tough with Jeff being hurt a little bit. Going into the fifth week of the season, Jacoby didn’t have a whole lot of reps because he’s a third stringer. That’s the reality of it and that’s part of the game.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Muschamp on losing three-straight games: “I told [the players] that losing is hard. Losing is tough. It’s not fun. But we’re going to stay the course here, OK? The guys fought and competed hard in the game, and I felt that way a week ago. We didn’t get the results we wanted but we took a positive step forward. I saw some good things. I saw some things that we obviously need to correct. Very proud of our effort, how we competed in the game in a tough place to play. I thought that we didn’t win the game and that’s what everybody wants to see, but I see a lot more than that. I saw things that we’ve got to do as a program to take steps forward, and I thought that we did some of those things tonight. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get the win.

» Muschamp on if he is happy his defense played much better: “Well, it wasn’t good enough.”

» Muschamp on if he hoped a wide receiver would emerge this season: “It’s more than anything not necessarily somebody emerging, just somebody playing consistently. That’s the biggest issue right now – consistent play at the position. We’re not getting enough consistent play at the position.”

» Hammond on the team’s numerous issues: “It’s football. Nothing’s going to come easy. They did a good job scheming things up and playing at the line of scrimmage. We have to go back, look at the mistakes we made, see what the problems were and make a correction.”

» Hammond on how much of a difference Brantley would make: “You have a veteran quarterback with more experience. He makes things happen.”

» Hammond on having two weeks off: “The bye week I think will be beneficial for us. We can get guys who are banged up with nicks and knacks back. We got two weeks to prepare for Georgia, so we got kind of a jump start. We can break it down even more, analyze and see what they’re really all about.”

» Redshirt sophomore guard Jon Halapio on the offensive line’s play: “I could have done a better job. I don’t know where the mistakes were because we haven’t watched film.”

» Redshrit senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard on the play of senior defensive end William Green: “He went hard. Willie Green shows up to play every day and he went hard in the game tonight.”

» Howard on tough opponents: “The last few weeks have been pretty tough in the trenches. I think our defense stood up today. We played hard and we have to continue to do that.”

» Howard on the defense handling Auburn’s offense: “We had complete confidence coming into this game that we were going to play. Our coaches preached adjusting to the temp – the hurry-up offense. We adjusted well to it and came to play.”

Florida drops third straight, falls 17-6 at Auburn

Following consecutive blowout losses to two of the nation’s top-three teams, the Florida Gators were expecting to bounce back on the road Saturday evening against the No. 24 Auburn Tigers. Instead of taking a step in the right direction, Florida (4-3, 2-3 SEC) dropped their third-straight Southeastern Conference game, this time 17-6 to Auburn (5-2, 3-1 SEC) after giving up three turnovers including two on special teams.

The Gators started the 2011 season 4-0 and dropped to 4-3 for the second consecutive year after Saturday night’s defeat. UF had not lost three-straight games since 1988 but have now done so in back-to-back seasons.

The miscues started early and occurred often for the road team.

Florida and Alabama traded possessions early in the game with Gators freshman quarterback Jacoby Brissett throwing an interception on the second play of the contest and each team punting twice.

On the Tigers’ third punt of the game, UF redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey muffed the catch; the ball was recovered by AU linebacker Daren Bates.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp exploded in anger on the sideline, questioning the referees as to why interference was not called on Auburn.

Three plays later, Gators sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley jumped offsides, but Tigers QB Barrett Trotter continued the play and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DeAngelo Benton for the first score of the game.

Down a touchdown, Florida employed F-back Trey Burton behind center and ran the ball on four of five plays to get down to Auburn’s 23-yard-line. UF ended the drive with a 47-yard field goal by redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturgis to reduce their deficit to 7-3.

The Gators struck again on their next possession. Brissett completed three passes to redshirt junior WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. as part of a 12-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a 25-yard field goal.

Auburn took over with 2:33 left and drove down to Florida’s 28 but failed to connect on a 45-yard field goal, taking just a one-point lead into the locker rooms.

The Tigers outgained the Gators 80-30 offensively in the first quarter, but UF took over in the second, compiling 76 yards of offense compared to just 22 for AU.

Auburn and Florida began the second half by substituting their quarterbacks. The Tigers sent in second-year player Clint Moseley for Trotter, while the Gators replaced Brissett with fellow freshman Jeff Driskel.

Both teams punted on the first possession of the second half, but Florida freshman punter Kyle Christy dropped his attempt, picked it up and shanked the ball just 18 yards. Auburn K Cody Parkey missed a 42-yard field goal on the ensuing possession, his second failed attempt of the game.

The Gators got the ball back and began driving down the field with Driskel. UF offensive coordinator Charlie Weis called a flea flicker on second-and-one at AU’s 48; though the first part was executed well, Driskel overthrew redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed, who was streaking down the middle of the field.

After another punt each from Florida and Auburn, the Tigers put together the longest scoring drive of the game, a seven-play, 66-yard effort that resulted in a 14-yard rushing touchdown by RB Onterio McCalebb.

The Gators tried to respond with a long drive of their own but stalled on fourth down in the red zone. Sturgis was ruled out with an injury after the half and kicking a field goal was not an option for Florida at the time.

UF punted once again but pushed AU back inside their own five. Auburn ran the ball three times but was stuffed by Florida’s defense and punted from their end zone.

Freshman WR Robert Clark replaced Rainey as punt returner after the latter muffed his first four punts of the evening. Clark did not do any better, letting the Tigers’ punt fall between his arms as he tried to field it.

Auburn recovered with less than three minutes to play and eventually kicked a 42-yard field goal to take an 11-point lead with 35 seconds remaining.

Miscues by the Gators wound up costing them the game. Florida’s three turnovers – two fumbles on special teams and an interception on the second play of the game – resulted in 10 points for the Tigers. Auburn outgained their opponent 278-194 on the evening and made sure to score when it counted.

Tigers RB Michael Dyer led all playmakers with 23 carries for 73 yards. Hammond had 40 yards on four receptions for the Gators, a season-high for a Florida wide receiver.

UF will now have a bye week to try and cure what ails them before heading into the World’s Largest Cocktail Party against Georgia in Jacksonville, FL on Oct. 29. The game will air live on CBS at 3:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Dave Martin/Associated Press

Florida Gators at No. 24 Auburn Tigers Gameday

Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium – Auburn, AL [Capacity: 87,451]
Weather Forecast: 71°F, clear, winds W at 4 mph
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN/ESPNHD
SiriusXM: 91
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS (24) AUBURN TIGERS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Gene Chizik
Record: 4-2 (2-2) Record: 4-2 (2-1)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -3; O/U 50.5

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before week four action? No problem. OGGOA has been here all week compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. on the road.

Story: QB Brissett earns second start at Auburn
Notes: RB Gillislee to see increased workload, might start at Auburn

Muschamp’s presser | Weis comments on offense | Quinn comments on defense

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Auburn leads the all-time series against Florida 42-38-2, and the Tigers have won consecutive contests against the Gators. However, Florida has a 7-3 record the last 10 times the teams have played, and Auburn has a 25-8-1 advantage in home games.
» Each of the last four games in the UF-AU series have been decided in the final minute; the Tigers have won three of those four contests.
» In their four victories, the Gators are outscoring opponents 54-3 in the first quarter, while in their losses they have been outscored 24-10. UF has also scored on their opening drive in four of six games.
» Florida has half as many upperclassmen (19 seniors, 16 juniors) as they do underclassmen (34 sophomores, 33 freshmen) on the roster the season.
» Muschamp was a former graduate assistant and defensive coordinator at Auburn. Defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson played with the Tigers from 1999-02 and began his coaching career as a student and graduate assistant at AU.
» The Gators had a 100-yard rusher in four-straight games to start the season, the team’s second-longest streak ever, before failing to accomplish that feat in each of the last two weeks against two of the country’s best defenses.
» Though Florida is 20-for-22 (90.9 percent) in red zone conversions, the Gators have only scored touchdowns on 11 of those opportunities.
» UF’s offensive line has only allowed six sacks through six games, making them second in the SEC team and 24th nationally allowing just one sack per contest.
» The Gators not forced a turnover in two weeks after acquiring four in their previous game and seven total over the first four weeks of the season.
» Florida’s pass defense is allowing just 176.0 yards per game, good for fourth in the SEC and 12th nationally.
» The Gators defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (311) since 2000. Florida also has the most interceptions in the nation (72) since 2008.
» UF’s defense is 12th in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 30.8 percent of those attempted to be successful.
» Florida is No. 11 nationally and fifth in the SEC in total defense (291.0 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 20 nationally and third in the SEC in scoring defense (19.2 points per game).
» Auburn is 9-0 in games decided by four points or less (5-0 in SEC action) under Chizik and 19-2 when leading at halftime.
» Since 2000, the Tigers are 23-4 (.852) at home in night games.
» AU has an 11-game home winning streak.
» Florida leads Auburn in three of four major statistical categories. The Gators top the Tigers in national averages of passing yards 186.3-170.7 (98th-106th), point scored 30.3-27.8 (53rd-65th) and points against 19.2-29.2 (20th-79th), while Auburn leads Florida in rushing yards 204.0-194.0 (27th-30th). The teams both defeated Florida Atlantic at home this year with UF winning 41-3 and AU earning a 30-14 victory.

LAST TIME OUT

Florida and Auburn have not squared off since 2007, when a last-second 43-yard field goal by AU kicker Wes Bynum lead the Tigers to a 20-17 upset of the No. 4 Gators at home in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Auburn handed Florida its first loss of the season (and first loss in The Swamp under Urban Meyer) while simultaneously snapping UF’s 11-game winning streak. The Tigers jumped ahead early and led 14-0 at the half. By the time the third quarter ended, the Gators were still down by 14 points, 17-3. However, consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter – a pass from quarterback Tim Tebow to tight end Cornelius Ingram and a rushing score by Tebow – tied the game with just over seven minutes to play. Auburn got the ball back with 3:38 remaining and drove it 35 yards down the field on 10 plays to seal the victory with Bynum’s kick.

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Aside from the first hour of GameDay being hosted by Florida alum and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, the Gators and Tigers will only be featured as a mention and during the picks segment on Saturday’s broadcast from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

FLORIDA
» Inactive: Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (lower leg), sophomore Buck linebacker Ronald Powell (neck), redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee)

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Freshman quarterback Jacoby Brissett (#17)…who will start his second one again for injured redshirt senior John Brantley (#12). Brissett, who had not played a down in his college career until he was named the starter one week ago, went 8/14 for 94 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against LSU. Fellow freshman QB Jeff Driskel (#16) may also see time behind center. Driskel was the backup to Brantley all season but was unable to play last week due to an ankle injury.
» Junior running back Mike Gillislee (#23)…who will see extensive playing time against Auburn and may even earn a start. Gillislee led Florida in rushing last week and is third on the team with 242 yards and rushing touchdowns. He set career-highs in carries (11) and rushing yards (84) in separate games this season.
» Redshirt senior RB Chris Rainey (#1)…who has 712 yards of total offense this season with five touchdowns (including a punt block return). Rainey is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and 15.3 yards per reception and leads Florida in rushing and receiving this season. He became the first player in school history to have a rushing, receiving and return touchdown in the same game, achieved the school and SEC record for career punt blocks (five), and is the active leader in that category nationally. He also rushed for 100 yards or more in three-straight games, the first UF player to do so since Fred Taylor last accomplished that feat 14 years ago.
» Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose (#4)…who jumped to second on the Gators’ receiving list with mirror image 65-yard touchdowns in each of the last two weeks. Fans have been waiting for Debose to emerge for some time, and his 219 receiving yards are the second-best on the team through its first six games.
» Sophomore RB Trey Burton (#8)…who took many direct snaps last week after primarily serving as a receiver and running back in the team’s first five games. Burton is being used to help fill the void at the quarterback position created by Brantley’s injury.
» Sophomore safety Matt Elam (#22)…who is the most valuable member of Florida’s secondary in only his second year. He is tied for second on the team in tackles (34) and at one point created turnovers in three-straight games (fumble-INT-INT). His 12 tackles against LSU one week ago marked a career high.
» Defensive tackles sophomore Dominique Easley (#2) and redshirt senior Jaye Howard (#6)…who have solidified the interior of one of the Gators’ strongest units. Howard is the team’s most experienced player on defense (23 starts), while Easley may be its most dynamic off the snap, with a first-step raved about by teammates and coaches alike. Howard and Easley have combined for 8.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks (Howard) through the first six games.
» Linebackers junior Jon Bostic (#52) and redshirt sophomore will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (#3)…who are 1-2 on the team in tackles. Bostic (42) and Jenkins (34) have each excelled in different areas for Florida. The former has five tackles for a loss and three sacks while the latter has one sack and four pass breakups on the year.
» Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs (#19)…who has returned for Florida after missing eight games one year ago with an injured back. He is 13-for-14 in field goal attempts on the season (long: 51) and is perfect with 19 extra points, leading the Gators with 58 points scored this season. Sturgis is tied for the national lead with 13 field goals made.

AUBURN
» RB Michael Dyer (#5)…who is one of the best backs in the nation with a propensity for making game-changing plays. Dyer is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and has rushed for 679 yards with eight touchdowns this season. He has run for more than 110 yards in four of six games and has scored at least one touchdown in five of six contests.
» WR Emory Blake (#80)…who is the Tigers’ position leader in receptions (19), yards (333) and touchdowns (four). Blake caught a touchdown in each of Auburn’s first four games but was held to just three receptions for 16 yards last week at South Carolina.
» Defensive end Corey Lemonier (#55)…who has registered five tackles for loss, three sacks and a forced fumble over the last three games. He is also the team’s leader in all three categories with seven, four and two, respectively.
» Punter Steven Clark (#30)…who leads the SEC and is T-1 nationally with 20 punts downed inside the 20-yard-line this season. Clark is averaging 39.7 net yards per punt.
» QB Barrett Trotter (#14)…who started hot but has struggled as of late for the Tigers. After combining for five touchdowns and one interception in the first two games of the season, Trotter has thrown four scores and five picks in the last four contests. He has not topped 200 yards passing since the team’s season opener against Utah State and nearly lost his job after going just 6/19 for 81 yards last week.

Track the Florida Gators en route to Auburn

The Florida Gators are on their way to Auburn, AL, to face the No. 24 Auburn Tigers in their second-straight road game. As a special ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive feature, the following is the flight information for the Gators, who are flying over on an American Airlines Boeing 737-800 twin-jet. You can also track the flight live in the air!

ORIGIN: Gainesville Regional Airport (KGNV)
DESTINATION: Montgomery Regional Airport (KMGM)

DURATION: 49 minutes

DEPARTURE: 4:42 p.m. EDT [scheduled 4:30 p.m. EDT]
ARRIVAL: 4:31 p.m. CDT [scheduled 4:20 p.m. CDT]

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