10/31: Muschamp’s Monday press conference

Head coach Will Muschamp meets with the media each week to wrap-up the previous Saturday’s game and look ahead to the Florida Gators next opponent. Florida fell 24-20 to the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday and is beginning to prepare for a homecoming game against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Nov. 5. Below are some of the most important notes and quotes from the availability.

WEEKLY INJURY AND ABSENCE UPDATES

Muschamp said Monday that redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley felt “fine” after the game and much better than the training staff would have thought. The plan is to get him back under center this week, something the team will probably wait until midweek to begin testing. “Sometimes when you come off of being inactive, rehabbing an ankle when having an injury, and you come out and you’re on it for 60 minutes in a ballgame, sometimes you would expect some lingering effects from it,” he explained. “We don’t feel like he had any.”

Redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee) remains sidelined and has not done any practicing with the team – just rehab. “We’re still holding out hope,” Muschamp said. “he has kind of shut it down at this point. He’s in there with our medical, which is doing an outstanding job. he’s trying to work through that at this time right now.”

Junior running back Mike Gillislee (ankle), redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs (leg), redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray (shoulder) and sophomore cornerback Cody Riggs (wrist) will all hopefully be back in action on Wednesday, he added. “We feel like most or all of these guys will be available for the game unless something happens this week,” Muschamp noted. Sturgis in particular was planning to kick for Florida on Saturday but felt a “twinge” in his leg during warm-ups and was therefore held out with sophomore Brad Phillips taking his place and doing quite well.

GAME AND OPPONENT STATEMENTS

“You have a hard time winning against good football teams in this league when you don’t capitalize on your opportunities and you give them more opportunities in the game. That was very disappointing. Offensively we moved the ball well in the first half, but our inability to run the football became a one-dimensional game. They have some decent pass rushers on the edge and they were able to affect the quarterback in the game and really disrupt some things we were trying to do in the throwing game. We’ve got to find ways to run the football. We’re continuing to look at that. Some things we had planned in the game, we didn’t do. The first two series of the second half we were backed up coming off of our goal line there. We had some success in the first half. We have to go back and look at the things we did well; we have to identify those and move forward.

Defensively I thought we played solid. We had some opportunities to make some stops there at the end and didn’t get it done. The two fourth-down passes, we were in position to make the plays and Georgia won because they made those plays and we didn’t. We’ve got to finish those plays and those things. As a staff, we’ll continue to work and put those kids in those situations in practice and continue to improve. That falls on my shoulders. Special teams, I was very proud of Brad Philips and the job he did stepping in for Caleb. Brad is a guy that has worked extremely hard and certainly taken advantage of his opportunities. I’m very proud of the job he did in the game. […] Our kickoff coverage and our kickoff return units were outstanding. D.J. Durkin continues to do a nice job with our special teams.”

He also spoke about Florida’s next opponent on Nov. 5, Vanderbilt.

“James Franklin is doing an outstanding job with his football team. You watch these guys on tape and they play hard. They’re very well coached. They’re multiple offensively in what they do; they give you a lot of different looks. They have gone with Jordan Rodgers, as a quarterback is a guy who runs extremely well, is a good athlete and throws the ball well. […] Defensively they’re leading or second in the SEC in interceptions with 15. They’re a pressure outfit. They come after you a pretty good bit. They do a nice job of mixing things up as far as the different ways they try and pressure you. And they attack you in special teams.”

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS

Why is the team reluctant to run between the tackles?
“We did a little bit but we weren’t very effective. When we ran more lateral run game, we weren’t very effective. We got a lot of vertical penetration inside. Some things we went into the game and felt good about they did a nice job of taking away. When we ran it inside, we weren’t very productive with it. That’s what led us to throwing the ball a good bit.” Muschamp added that without Brantley for a few games, Florida could not stretch the field vertically. The Gators have also played much better defense recently and, on Saturday, Brantley not playing from under center also inhibited their ability to run.

Are you concerned about the play of junior tackle Xavier Nixon:
“Xavier has played well for us; he played well for us before we got here. You look at the positives. He’s done some positive things, too. We all want to focus on everything that’s negative. You look at the positive things and build off those and you try to be technical in your corrections. Is it a technique issue? Is it a set issue? Is it an alignment issue? Did the quarterback hold the ball too long? Not everything is on the offensive line. Anytime a sack happens, everybody wants to point the finger at the offensive line and that wasn’t the case Saturday” Muschamp said a number of other things happen in the game – a running back could miss a chip block, wrong formations and sets can be chosen, etc.

Was there a consideration not to go with Brantley on Saturday?
“We discussed it but we felt like John gives us the best opportunity to win the football game. We talked to John every series about his ankle, where he was with it and how he felt as far as his mobility was concerned, different things we could try in the run game, different things we could try formation wise to help us out as far as giving us a different look. As we continued to push through the game, we felt like John gave us the best opportunity. There is no question in my mind about that.”

Why was Florida unable to get off the field on fourth down?
“You create some situations in practice – jump ball situations – and you try to get the ball off the guy. You work a little more red zone cover routes. Again, as a coach, there’s a lot of different things you can approach as far as working at it. When you get that opportunity again – when you’re sitting out there in front of 90,000 people – you make the play. I have confidence in both players that they will make the play.”

Does the impatience of Gators fans bother you?
“Not at all. Not at all. No. Not at all.”

Will offensive coordinator Charlie Weis remain in the booth?
“We had some procedural issues obviously as far as communication was concerned. That’s something we’re working through right now to see if we benefit by still doing that. We’re in discussions about that right now.”

How do you punish players for committing penalties?
“We have different forms of punishment. A lot of situations we take the guy off the field. Some situations in our football team right now we’re a little bit thin, quite frankly. So we’re doing the best we can do.” Muschamp is insinuating that normally a player who commits a penalty would be pulled from the game for at least a few plays, but their lack of depth roster-wise inhibits that type of punishment.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Muschamp on the mood of the team: “We had a good meeting this morning. I told them we’re going to saddle up and continue to work and continue to press forward and be technical in our approach about the things we did well, the things we didn’t do well, and understand and learn from the film and continue to move forward. We’ve got an experience staff. We’ve got a staff that has been through tough times before and understands that part of it. It’s our job to bring a young team through this and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’ll stay upbeat and be technical about the situation – what you’re doing well and what you’re not doing well.”

» Muschamp on if freshman Jacoby Brissett remains the backup quarterback: “Right now Jacoby would be the No. 2 quarterback. We’ll continue to move forward with that. We create situations within practice where they all are getting reps. We’ll continue to evaluate that. It’s no different than any other position. The guy that plays the best and performs the best in practice deserves the chance to play, and Jeff’s a part of that.”

» Muschamp on why he cannot run the ball like he wants to: “It’s not about what you want to do. It’s about what you can do. We got to do a better job figuring out what we can do. We haven’t done a very good job of that the last couple of weeks.”

» Muschamp on freshman tight end A.C. Leonard being absent on Saturday: “He had a personal issue to handle. He’s fine. He was here this morning and we’re good to go.”

» Muschamp on if he takes losing hard: “There’s nothing good about it. There’s no moral victories. There’s nothing. You deal with it. You watch the film, you’re technical in your approach, you don’t get emotional with the players with it. You show what you did well, what you didn’t do well, what you got to do to improve yourself as a player, as a coach and a football team. The first person you look at is yourself. Too many people in our society want to point a finger at somebody else or blame somebody else for why something happened. I tell the players, ‘When we play well, it’s because you guys did a good job preparing yourself. When you didn’t, it’s my fault.’ That’s the way we do things around here. I don’t ever get over a loss. You live with them for a long time. I learned in this league you better move to the next week. We have another quality opponent on the horizon. You move on with it. When the season is over with it, you sit down, but you don’t ever get over a loss. I don’t.”

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 8

With the 2011 NFL season underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 8 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 eighth week of the 2011 campaign.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Five solo tackles, two pass defenses, 75-yard interception return for touchdown

THE REST

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Bye week
LB ANDRA DAVIS, Buffalo Bills: Active
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Four receptions for 47 yards (targets: 5, long: 26)
S MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Bye week
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Four receptions for 31 yards (targets: 6, long: 10)
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Three tackles (two solo), sack, five QB hits
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Six tackles (five solo), pass defense
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: 18/39 for 172 yards, touchdown, interception (returned for TD) – (QB Rating: 56.8), 10 rushes for 63 yards, fumble
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Solo tackle, QB hit
DE JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Three tackles (two solo)
C MIKE POUNCEY*, Miami Dolphins: Played as a starter
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings Four receptions for 58 yards (targets: 5, long: 22); three rushes for 16 yards, touchdown (long: 10); fumble
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Two receptions for nine yards, touchdown (targets: 4, long: 8); rush for two yards
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: 12 tackles (10 solo, one for loss), pass defense
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Solo tackle
G COOPER CARLISLE, Oakland Raiders: Bye week
DE JARVIS MOSS, Oakland Raiders: Bye week
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Bye week
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Active
P CHAS HENRY*, Philadelphia Eagles: Two punts for 92 yards (long: 52)
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: Solo tackle
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Washington Redskins: Four receptions for 40 yards (targets: 5, long: 15)
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: Active
OG MAURICE HURT*, Washington Redskins: Active

INJURED / INACTIVE
DE DERRICK HARVEY, Denver Broncos: Inactive
LB BRANDON SILER, Kansas City Chiefs: Torn Achilles (season)
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Inactive
RB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Torn Achilles (season)

NOTES
– Mike Pouncey injured his neck and missed most of the second half.
– Harvin missed most of the second half but returned.
– McDonald injured his hamstring and missed most of the second half.

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

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

* Rookie

2011 WEEK: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Gators receive no votes in latest Top 25 polls

The LSU Tigers remained the unanimous No. 1 team on Sunday when the latest BCS, USA Today and Associated Press Top 25 polls were released. The Florida Gators (4-4, 2-4 SEC), fresh off their fourth consecutive loss (a 24-20 defeat by Georgia), did not receive a single vote. All of Florida’s losses have been to ranked opponents, and the Gators have now dropped four games in a row for the first time since 1988.

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)

BCS
This Week 1-5: LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Boise State
6-10: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Oregon, South Carolina, Nebraska
11-15: Clemson, Virginia Tech, Houston, Kansas State, Michigan
16-20: Penn State, Michigan State, Georgia, Arizona State, Wisconsin
21-25 Texas, Auburn, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Southern Miss

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

USA TODAY COACHES POLL
This Week 1-5: LSU (41), Alabama (18), Stanford, Oklahoma State, Boise State
6-10: Oregon, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Carolina
11-15: Virginia Tech, Clemson, Michigan, Houston, Penn State
16-20: Michigan State, Wisconsin, Arizona State, Kansas State
21-25: Georgia, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Southern Miss, Texas

Last Week 1-5: LSU (41), Alabama (18), Stanford, Oklahoma State, Boise State
6-10: Clemson, Oregon, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Michigan State
11-15: Wisconsin, Kansas State, Nebraska, South Carolina, Virginia Tech
16-20: Texas A&M, Michigan, Houston, Penn State, Arizona State
21-25: Georgia, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Southern Mississippi

ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL
Last Week 1-5: LSU (47), Alabama (10), Oklahoma State, Stanford, Boise State (1)
6-10: Oregon, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Carolina
11-15: Clemson, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Houston, Michigan State
16-20: Penn State, Kansas State, Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona State
21-25: USC, Georgia Tech, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Auburn

Last Week 1-5: LSU (49), Alabama (10), Oklahoma State, Stanford, Boise State (1)
6-10: Clemson, Oregon, Arkansas, Michigan State, Kansas State
11-15: Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Nebraska, South Carolina, Virginia Tech
16-20: Texas A&M, Michigan, Houston, Texas Tech, USC
21-25: Penn State, Georgia, Arizona State, Cincinnati, West Virginia

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

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10/29: Florida vs. Georgia post-game notes

The Florida Gators (4-4, 2-4 SEC) lost yet again on Saturday, dropping a close one to the No. 22 Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 5-1 SEC) at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL. Florida has now lost four-straight game for the first time since 1988, leaving head coach Will Muschamp with a lot of questions and decisions to answer going forward. OGGOA takes a look at some of the notable occurrences before, during and after Saturday’s game with notes and quotes from both 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.

“We had our opportunities in the game. You have two turnovers inside your 25-yard-line, you give up 14 points on two critical fourth-down plays, the lack of being able to run the football, too many penalties in critical situations. Obviously John [Brantley] went and [it was] a gutsy performance on his part. Very proud of him and his effort. He was a guy who really laid it on the line. We couldn’t get him under center to do some of the things we wanted to do; we knew that going into the game. We felt like we had some things in the throwing game and that’s why we stayed with what we wanted to do in that situations. We got to find some ways to run the football. We cannot be so one-dimensional. That’s something we’ve got to work on. We got a turnover inside the 10, we wind up with two sacks and are out of field goal range. Those are very frustrating to deal with, but we had our opportunities in the last two ball games. We got to close it out and win those games.”

INJURIES AND ABSENCES

Though redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley returned for the Gators, he was severely limited due to his ankle injury and was unable to take snaps from under center. Some other players were held out of the game, while even more were hurt during the contest, further hurting Florida’s already lacking depth going forward.

Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturgis did not play after straining his leg two weeks ago against Auburn, redshirt freshman tackle Chaz Green hurt his ankle Wednesday in practice, and junior running back Mike Gillislee (ankle) dressed but did not play after injuring his ankle two weeks ago.

In the game Saturday, redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray hurt his shoulder, returned to notch a sack but wound up visiting the locker room and did not return for the second half. Sophomore cornerback Cody Riggs injured his wrist during the game and was also forced to leave the field.

PENALTIES, TURNOVERS AND MISCUES

The Gators had two weeks to figure out how to concentrate on discipline and fundamentals, yet their performance on Saturday seemed to indicate that absolutely nothing had been fixed over the bye week. Florida committed 14 penalties for over 100 last yards on Saturday, which unbelievably is their second-worst total of the season. UF remains last in the nation in penalties.

“There’s two different parts as far as penalties are concerned. Some of them are undisciplined and those are the ones that are tough to deal with. I’ve got to do a better job with the others, so I’ll work on it,” Muschamp said.

Perhaps worst of all, many of the Gators’ miscues in this area came at inopportune times. A pass interference call on third down extended a Georgia drive that Florida needed to stop. A personal foul call on Buck linebacker Ronald Powell on special teams pushed the Gators back to the goal line, and multiple delay of game and false start penalties either took Florida out of scoring range or pushed them far enough back where they could not put together a solid drive.

And then there are the turnovers. The Bulldogs scored 14 points off of two UF fumbles near their own red zone. Georgia posted both touchdowns through the air via jump ball passes on fourth down, each of which was converted rather easily.

“We were in position – there were a couple well-thrown balls and well-caught balls,” Muschamp said. “Both touchdowns, they’re in position to make the play and we’re playing the ball and trying to get the ball off the guy and the guy makes a heck of a throw and a heck of a catch. There’s a couple situations. They’re on scholarship too. They made nice plays, but we got to find a way to get them out though.”

INABILITY TO RUN THE FOOTBALL

Florida struggled with their running game for the fourth-straight contest but unlike previous attempts, this time it was because of a lack of trying. Due to Brantley being limited with what he could do on his ankle, the Gators were unable to call plays from under center, which in turn reduced the team’s chances of putting together a consistent power running game.

“No question it affects the run game,” Muschamp said of Brantley’s limitations. “When you’re in the [shot]gun so much and you run the ball so much east and west, you need to be able to run the ball downhill. When you’re in the gun, it’s hard to run the ball consistently downhill. He was limited with his ankle, but we felt like he gave us the best opportunity to be successful in the game, so that’s what we went with. I would do it again. John played well. We just got to figure out how we can run the ball a little bit more effectively.”

One of the other reasons that Florida has struggled running the ball is that their personnel does not fit the type of offense the team wants to run. Muschamp explained that improvement in that area will come with time.

“I think we got to get better on the line of scrimmage. It’s very difficult to run a power running game with what we want to do right now with who we have,” he admitted. “I like the guys we got, but the bottom line is looking at the situations of where we are. It doesn’t take anybody real educated to figure it out right now.”

SACK ISSUES MOSTLY – BUT NOT ALL – ON OFFENSIVE LINE

With Brantley seemingly being sacked whenever the Gators were trying to put something together, the offensive line was immediately blamed for letting too many rushers through. While that may be true most of the time, Muschamp was quick to point out after the game that there are other things going on at the same time.

“When you look at a sack, everybody wants to look at the offensive line. Did the quarterback hold the ball too long? I think there were some situations like that. There are some situations where we didn’t get open down the field and had a busted route,” he explained. “There are a lot of situations when you have a sack; it’s not just the offensive line’s fault every time it happens. That’s the easiest thing to say, but that’s not always the offensive line’s fault. If we’re in a one-back protection or two-back protection, did the backs block right? There are a lot of things that happen as far as protection issues, and that’s not always the offensive line.”

That being said, tackles junior Xavier Nixon and redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan each had their share of struggles on the evening. Nixon kept bouncing off the line for false starts and both men struggled blocking the edge rushers. Muschamp said that Florida’s inability to run the ball ensured that the edge rushers did not have to respect that part of the game, making it even tougher on the tackles and blockers.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Muschamp on the team’s penalties: “I was disappointed with it.”

» Muschamp on not taking advantage of momentum: “It’s disappointing. You felt good about getting the kickoff return, getting some points on the board, getting some momentum for your team. And then we lay it on the ground twice. We only get one turnover defensively, and we just had some critical mistakes at critical times. We got to make those plays. I told them the last two ball games the bottom line was Auburn and Georgia made those plays and we didn’t. We’re going to have our opportunities and when we get in those situations we need to make the plays.”

» Muschamp on offensive coordinator Charlie Weis calling plays from the booth: ”Just to see the game better. We didn’t feel like we were getting the information right and were searching for some answers for this time offensively to figure out what we can do well. That was something we felt like we could benefit from.”

» Muschamp on sophomore Brad Phillips filling in for Sturgis: “Brad was outstanding. Here’s a guy that steps in, missed the first one, came back and hit two more. Kicked off extremely well with a pretty good wind coming from the one side. He kicked one real deep in the end zone when he was with the wind. I was really proud of his efforts; he stepped up when another guy went down.”

» Muschamp on defensive struggles: “We didn’t get lined up a couple times and had some tempo issues there late. That’s something we worked on and prepared for. We got to make some stops in the red zone. You got to force field goals when they’re in those situations. That’s about where it is.”

» Muschamp on now just playing for pride: “That’s the way it is all the time with me. I don’t ever really talk about the SEC race. I talk about what we got to do to get better as a program every day and stay the course of what we’re trying to do. It’s not always just about the SEC race. We don’t always talk about that. We understand our goal at the beginning of the season. We understand our expectation – the University of Florida has to go to Atlanta. Our job as a competitor is to go out every day – whether you’re a coach or a player – is to work hard to get better, work hard to improve yourself. And that’s what we’re going to do. “

» Muschamp on losing four-straight games: “I don’t really think about losing a whole lot, but obviously it’s happened so we got to regroup and reevaluate where we are. We need to move forward. It’s disappointing, and you can believe there is no one more disappointed or impatient than I am. We’ve got to evaluate ourselves first of all starting with me and then we work from there.”

» Muschamp on how he felt during the game: “I felt good the whole game. I felt like we were in a situation to go win the football game. We had the ball late to win the game. That’s what you want to be in these situations. You got to make the plays in those situations to get it done.”

» Muschamp on how far away the team is right now: “This year? We’re not close. No, I don’t. I think we’re close. I think we got to build our numbers back. I think we got to get better on the line of scrimmage.”

» Senior RB Jeff Demps on the fourth-straight loss: “Things just didn’t go our way tonight like we wanted it to. We just got to stick together as a team. We have to unite from this and stay together.”

» Demps on his kick return touchdown: “All of the credit goes to those 10 guys that were blocking. They gave me a big hole to run through and made it easy.”

» Brantley said that he was still considered “probable” up until game time. He went out early to test the ankle during warm-ups but went back to the locker room to get a bit more treatment and stay off of it was much as possible until the game began.

» Brantley on the 4th and 10 design: “It was a little bit deeper midfield. I was stepping up and knew I had to get it out – the time clock in my head said I had to get it out.”

» Brantley on Weis calling plays from the booth: “He can see the field better up there. I had the headset on each time and we were communicating just fine. There wasn’t too much of a difference.”

Bulldogs trap Gators, win 24-20 in Jacksonville

The previously named World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party was only a celebration for one team on Saturday as the No. 22 Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 5-1 SEC) fought back from a 14-point deficit to defeat the Florida Gators (4-4, 2-4 SEC) 24-20 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL during the teams’ annual rivalry game.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt defeated Florida for just the third time in his 11 years with the Bulldogs, rallying his team from behind after the Gators had the momentum in their favor much of the first half.

UF lost their fourth game in the month of October and has dropped four consecutive contests for the first time since the 1988 season.

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley returned for Florida after missing 10 quarters of action and was proficient early on before his high-ankle sprain began to wear on him. He finished the game just 12/33 for 245 yards and a touchdown. Brantley was sacked six times and barely moved the ball in the latter part of the contest.

UGA signal caller Aaron Murray, who also struggled throwing the ball at times, was 15/34 for 169 yards with two touchdowns and an early interception, recovering nicely after an early miscue and leading his team in the game’s deciding drive.

Florida started with a mix of good and bad plays on their first possession. Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey opened the game with a return to UF’s 47, but it was negated by a holding penalty. On the next play, senior RB Jeff Demps took a screen pass 72 yards; however, Florida was unable to capitalize as sophomore kicker Brad Phillips shanked a 38-yard field goal wide right.

Getting the ball back a few minutes later, Brantley led the Gators down the field with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that consisted of mostly throws and ended in a 31-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed on 4th and 19.

Following the ensuing kickoff, Georgia turned the ball back over to Florida when a pass from Murray hit running back Isaiah Crowell in the helmet and was intercepted by Gators freshman cornerback Marcus Roberson. Florida took over in the red zone but was unable to capitalize after Brantley was sacked twice and redshirt senior transfer guard Dan Wenger committed a false start penalty on 4th and 30.

Looking to reduce their deficit, the Bulldogs opened the second quarter with a 32-yard field goal from Blair Walsh after gaining 67 yards on 12 plays.

Kicking the ball back to the Gators, Georgia saw their deficit increase as quickly as it decreased after Demps returned the kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, putting Florida back ahead double digits, 14-3.

UF failed to take full advantage of a good opportunity the next time they touched the ball. UGA punter Drew Butler’s attempt only went 26 yards, and the Gators gained just 35 yards on the ensuing possession, ending it with a 43-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs answered by moving the ball well once again, but Walsh missed a 33-yard field goal after the offense gained 61 yards. Florida took over but was pushed back following a bad snap and false start that resulted in a third-and-22. Rainey took a handoff for 13 yards but fumbled the ball and turned it over on UF’s 25.

Only gaining five yards on their first three plays, Georgia called a successful jump ball on fourth-and-five that resulted in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Murray to wide receiver Michael Bennett.

Another miscue by the Gators cost them their seven-point lead midway through the third quarter. Backed up at their own nine, Florida turned the ball back over to UGA when redshirt junior WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. fumbled a reception at UF’s own 18-yard-line.

Forced into a fourth down situation, the Bulldogs decided to go for it again and tied the game after Murray threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to WR Tavarres King.

The Gators used special teams to quickly flip the field as redshirt sophomore WR Andre Debose returned the ensuing kickoff 66 yards. Florida was unable to gain a first down, however, and settled for a 40-yard field goal from Phillips to jump ahead 20-17.

Georgia drove the ball over 60 yards again on their next possession, but Walsh missed a 37-yard field goal attempt and handed the rock back to UF. The Gators had two delay of game penalties between three incomplete passes, forcing them to punt again.

The Bulldogs refused to waste another scoring opportunity, using RB Richard Samuel to drive the ball down the field before he plowed into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown to give Georgia its first lead of the game, 24-20 with 13:18 left in the contest.

UF and UGA traded possessions from that point with neither team finding much success moving the ball. Faced with a fourth-and-10 on the Bulldogs’ 46, Brantley was sacked and the Gators turned the ball over with 5:32 left to play.

Georgia ran out the clock from there, driving all the way to Florida’s one-yard-line before the clock ran out and they took their first victory over their biggest rival since 2007.

The Gators were the first team this season to score first against the Bulldogs and also became the only team to score a touchdown in the first quarter against UGA.

Roberson’s first half interception was the first of his career and the first turnover recorded by Florida since they played Kentucky at the end of September.

Three of the four offensive touchdowns scored on Saturday were converted on fourth down with both of Georgia’s coming off of fumbles by UF in their own territory.

Miscues doomed the Gators all evening. Florida committed 14 penalties for 101 yards in addition to turning the ball over twice. Brantley lost 43 yards on sacks as well as a bad snap that he was forced to fall on, and UF’s running backs ran the ball a combined 15 times for just 34 yards.

Georgia outgained Florida 37:40-22:20 in time of possession and accounted for 128 more total yards (354-226) in the contest.

The Gators hope to regroup in their homecoming game next Saturday against Vanderbilt. The contest will air live on the SEC Network at 12:21 p.m. Check your local listings.

Photo Credit: Stephen Morton/Associated Press

Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Georgia Gameday

Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 84,000]
Weather Forecast: 71°F, sunny, winds NNW at 13 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
SiriusXM: 91
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS (22) GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 4-3 (2-3) Record: 5-2 (4-1)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +3; O/U 48.5

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 afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

Story: Gators QB John Brantley remains on schedule
Notes: Florida discusses Georgia rivalry week

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

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Georgia leads the all-time series against Florida 46-40-2 and holds a 40-37-1 advantage in games played in Jacksonville, FL. However, the Gators are on a three-game winning streak against the Bulldogs and also hold records of 8-2 in the last 10 match-ups and 18-3 dating back to 1990.
» Florida’s victory over Georgia in 2010 (34-31) marked the first time in the history of the series that a game went into overtime. Neither UF nor UGA was ranked in that contest for the first time since 1979.
» For the first time in series history, both the Gators and Bulldogs enter Saturday’s game coming off of a bye week. Florida took a three-game losing streak into the off week, while Georgia had won five consecutive games before getting a week of rest.
» The Bulldogs are 12-4 under Richt following a bye week.
» Richt is 2-8 against UF since taking over as head coach of UGA.
» Muschamp, who played college football for Georgia, will be facing his alma mater for the eighth time in his coaching career; he is 3-4 in the prior seven contests. As a player with the Bulldogs from 1991-94, Muschamp’s teams were 0-4 against the Gators.
» Florida is undefeated this season when out-rushing their opponent or leading at the half; however, UF is winless when tied/trailing at the half or being out-rushed.
» In their four victories, the Gators are outscoring opponents 54-3 in the first quarter, while in their losses they have been outscored 31-10. UF has also scored on their opening drive in four of seven games.
» The Bulldogs are outscoring their opponents 61-10 in the first quarter; Georgia’s defense has only allowed three first-quarter points to be scored this season.
» Florida has half as many upperclassmen (19 seniors, 14 juniors) as they do underclassmen (35 sophomores, 33 freshmen) on the roster the season.
» 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 three games (all losses).
» Fourteen different Florida players made their first career start this season including five freshmen; 15 total freshmen have seen game action this year.
» The Gators offense has struggled as of late, and Florida has had major problems putting the ball in the end zone. UF has scored points in 19 of 28 quarter this season and touchdowns in only 15 of those quarters.
» Turnover margin has also been a consistent issue for the Gators. Florida is -7 on the season and has given up the ball exactly that many times in their three losses.
» The Gators not forced a turnover in three weeks after acquiring four in their previous game and seven total over the first four weeks of the season.
» UF’s offensive line has only allowed 11 sacks through seven games, making them second in the SEC in that category.
» Florida is No. 11 nationally and fifth in the SEC in total defense (289.1 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 16 nationally and third in the SEC in scoring defense (18.9 points per game).
» UF’s pass defense is allowing just 168.4 yards per game, good for third in the SEC and sixth nationally.
» The Gators’ defense is fifth in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 27.5 percent of those attempted to be successful.
» Florida’s defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (311) since 2000. UF also has the most interceptions in the nation (72) since 2008.
» Georgia is the only team in the SEC to score first in every game this season.
» The Gators and Bulldogs each lead in two of the four major statistical categories. Florida tops Georgia in national averages of rushing yards 175.7-162.4 (41st-54th) and points against 18.9-20.4 (16th-27th), while UGA leads UF in passing yards 248.7-178.0 (47th-100th) and points scored 32.3-26.9 (36th-71st). The teams each defeated one common opponent – Tennessee – this season, with the Gators winning 33-23 in week three and the Bulldogs claiming victory 20-12 in week six.

LAST TIME OUT

The Florida-Georgia game one year ago was one for the ages, ending in overtime after Gators punter Chas Henry kicked a 37-yard field goal to claim a hard-fought victory. Florida led 21-7 at the half after scoring on three rushing touchdowns in the second quarter. Georgia fought back to tie the game 24-24 in the middle of the fourth quarter, but a 51-yard touchdown run by Trey Burton (his second score of the game) gave UF the late advantage. Aaron Murray’s 15-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green tied the game once again, sending it into overtime for the first time in series history. On the Bulldogs’ first overtime possession, Will Hill intercepted Murray and nearly returned it to end the game, falling just short of the goal line. The Gators took over and Henry iced the game, making up for a missed field goal earlier in the contest.

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Aside from the first hour of GameDay being hosted by Florida alum and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, the Gators and Bulldogs rivalry game will be featured in a separate segment about the series and will also be one of the games argued about during the pickets segment on Saturday’s broadcast at approximately 11:45 a.m.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

Read the remainder of OGGOA’s Gameday Preview including an injury report, players to keep an eye on and multiple preview videos…after the break!

Continue Reading » Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Georgia Gameday

Jockey releases video in support of Tim Tebow

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow received a message of support from one of his sponsors, Jockey, in a video posted by the company on Saturday.

The brand has also posted a new billboard in Denver, CO featuring Tebow.

Click here for more Tebow-Jockey related stories and videos from OGGOA.

NCAA’s newest rule changes just a small step

The NCAA on Thursday announced that its Board of Directors has approved a variety of sweeping rule changes that improve academic standards, provide further support to student-athletes and revamp the basketball recruiting process.

“These changes demonstrate a remarkable resolve by presidents,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a press release. “They represent a return to and a focus on values that are at the core of what intercollegiate athletics are all about. They also represent a clear signal to the world about what we care about and what we stand for.”

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

The NCAA has mandated that the minimum Academic Progress Rate (APR) to participate in postseason activities for any given team will be raised to 930 from its previous level of 900. The implementation will take a few years, but the NCAA set up a three-level penalty structure including loss of practice time and postseason suspension, coaching suspension and financial aid reductions

Furthering this goal, the Board of Directors also decided that junior college transfers that hope to join a four-year institution must have a 2.5 grade-point average instead of the 2.0 previously required and must meet a number of other qualifications as well. They also created an academic redshirt for first-year students to receive aid and practice but not compete if they are not immediately eligible.

SUPPORTING STUDENT-ATHLETES

Another piece of legislation was passed that effectively gives student-athletes on full scholarships with or without additional financial aid the ability to receive up to $2,000 in additional monies in order to cover the full cost of attendance for their university. It is one small step the NCAA is taking to try and ensure that student-athletes are able to receive enough financial aid.

“It’s not going to deter rule-breakers but should help out kids who don’t have enough to pay a bill or two,’ CBSSports.com‘s Bryan Fischer told OGGOA on Thursday. “If players or agents or coaches want to break the rules, they’re still going to. This isn’t a deterrent so much as it is increasing the amount of aid to players.”

Another perhaps greater changed made by the NCAA was approving “multi-year grants up to the full term of eligibility” for student-athletes “though one-year grants will remain the minimum.” In other words, colleges can promise players four-year scholarships that cannot be reduced or cancelled for on-field reasons – only academic ones.

In addition to ensuring student-athletes receive an education and fulfill the “student” part of the name, the change may provide an advantage to smaller schools that could potential promise full grants while larger institutions may not be willing to offer as much.

“If a kid wants to play in the SEC or go to the NFL, he’s still going to go to places like Florida if they’re that caliber of athlete,” Fischer said. “I don’t think it will have as big an impact as people are making it out to be in sports like football because the vast majority of scholarships are renewed currently.

“It could give a small advantage to schools like Stanford or Vanderbilt who can tell parents they’re guaranteed a great degree. It might hurt depth at some schools. Multi-year scholarships could be huge in equivalency sports like baseball though.”

BASKETBALL RECRUITING

No longer will basketball coaches be restricted in the number of times they can call, text message or contact a potential recruit via social media. The NCAA is allowing unlimited contact between the two parties as long as that contact remains private; public messaging would violate the organization’s rule that schools cannot publicize their recruiting efforts.

This change has been adopted for a number of reasons but mostly because coaches and schools were often receiving secondary violations for what wound up being minor instances or perhaps even accidental contact.

“The most important change is that communication is much more deregulated,” Fischer said. “Coaches don’t have to worry about accidental texting or calling a recruit, and in many ways we’ll see who really wants to work on the recruiting trail.”

The NCAA also implemented new contact rules and earlier visits that, as Fischer explained, “move the rules more in line with what is actually happening.

Coaches are now allowed to contact student-athletes earlier in the recruiting cycle, and recruits can take official visits beginning Jan. 1 of their junior year of high school. Representatives of a university can also visit a recruit’s school during their junior year for evaluation purposes with some restrictions.

CONCLUSION AND OTHER RULE CHANGES

With these changes, the NCAA is proving that they have recognized the need to reform some facets of collegiate athletics and understand that changes have to be made going forward in order for the system to continue long-term.

Fischer thinks the commitment to reform is one that has a chance of lasting as long as the organization continues to take steps in the right direction.

“The takeaway from these reforms is that the Presidents and the NCAA are serious about making changes,” he said. “They know all about the negative press and the issues facing the organization and are committed to fixing things. It might not be the right avenue in some cases but at least they’ve gotten the message that it’s time to change.”

Additions to the changes written about above:

– Universities can provide financial aid to former student-athletes who want to return to college to complete their degrees even if their eligibility has been exhausted athletically.

– The July recruiting period in basketball will be three four-day periods that span from Wednesday evening to Sunday evening.

– The April recruiting period in basketball will be limited to “certified events that begin after 6 p.m. on Friday and before 4 p.m. on Sunday.” No contact may occur during the Final Four, standardized tests or over Easter weekend.

– Coaches can begin contacting junior-year student athletes beginning on June 15, 2012, while the rest of the provisions go into effect on Aug. 1, 2012.

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