Week 10: Florida Gators at Vanderbilt Commodores

Location: Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, TN [Capacity: 39,790]
Weather Forecast: 47°F, sunny
Time: 12:21 p.m. (EST)

TV: SEC Network
Sirius/XM: 220/199
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS VANDERBILT COMMODORES
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Robbie Caldwell
Record: 5-3 (3-3) Record: 2-6 (1-4)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -14.5; O/U 46

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series 32-9-2 against Vanderbilt, are 13-7-1 in Nashville and have not lost this match-up since 1988, a streak of 19 consecutive victories.
» In their last three games against the Commodores, the Gators have won by an average of 26.3 points. The previous two contests were decided by an average of 6.5 points including a 49-42 double overtime victory in Meyer’s first season – 2005.
» Florida is tied for the national lead with 16 interceptions on the season. Six have been returned for more than 30 yards – three for touchdowns.
» The Gators are now 27-for-36 in the red zone in 2010 with 23 touchdowns and four field goals. Earlier this season, Florida had a run of 15 straight scores inside the red zone including 14 touchdowns.
» UF is unranked for the first time under Meyer. The Gators had been listed in every poll since he took over in 2005 until they lost to Mississippi State two weeks ago.
» For the first time in their last few games, Florida outranks their opponent in all four major statistical averages. UF is 80th in passing yards (190.9), 58th in rushing yards (153.3), 55th in points scored (28.4) and 34th in points against (20.3) compared to Vanderbilt being 110th in passing yards (114.1), 77th in rushing yards (142.6), 105th in points scored (18.3) and 78th in points against (27.9). Both fell to LSU, but UF defeated Georgia 34-31 in overtime last week, while VU fell 43-0 to them three weeks ago.
» The Gators’ offense has seen 12 different players overall score a touchdown this year – including defense and special teams.
» Florida is the only school in the nation that has four players with at least three interceptions. Overall, seven Gators have at least one interception.
» UF under Meyer is 40-1 when holding an opponent under 16 points, 29-3 when shutting an opponent out in the fourth quarter, 37-3 when holding an opponent to 35 percent or less on third down, 37-2 when giving up two or less big plays (15-yard run/25-yard pass) and 32-3 when the Gators defense scores or creates three turnovers.
» Vanderbilt defensive ends coach Mike Pelton was the defensive line coach under current Florida DL coach Dan McCarney when he was head coach of Iowa State.
» Three pairs of players were former high school teammates: Gators redshirt freshman left tackle Matt Patchan and Commodores offensive lineman Justin Cabbagestalk (Armwood – Tampa, FL), senior cornerback Moses Jenkins and defensive back Steven Clarke (Boyd H. Anderson – Lauderdale Lakes, FL), and redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown and defensive end Johnell Thomas (Boone – Orlando, FL).

KEEP AN EYE ON…

FLORIDA
» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who had thrown 156 consecutive passes without an interception dating back to 2009, now has a 6-6 TD/INT ratio this season after throwing another pick last week. He has completed 145-of-233 passes (62.2 percent) for 1,459 yards and has a passer rating of 118.2.
» Freshman QB Trey Burton…who set a school record and SEC freshman record by scoring six touchdowns in a single game against Kentucky. He has 10 scores on the season, has played five positions, is second on the team in rushing (49 carries for 248 yards) and is seeing even more time behind center with the team wanting to run the ball better out of the option.
» Junior running back Jeff Demps…who is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and still leads the Gators in rushing (488 yards) after missing a full game and being limited in four others. He was Florida’s leading rusher in its first five games of the season.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey..who returned to action for the first time in over a month against Georgia and has 20 carries for 100 yards (along with 8 receptions for 43 yards) and two touchdowns this year.
» Sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr.…who is quickly becoming one of Florida’s most important pass catchers. He was the team’s leading receiver against Mississippi State and caught three passes for 46 yards against Georgia.
» Senior punter Chas Henry…who is the end-all be-all of Florida’s kicking game now that he has taken over for junior Caleb Sturgis (back) as the team’s field goal kicker. Henry had missed five-straight field goal attempts (one negated by penalty) before nailing back-to-back kicks in the fourth quarter and overtime last week.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted 11 balls this season including three last week against Georgia. Starters senior safety Ahmad Black (three), junior CB Janrois Jenkins, redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (three), and junior S Will Hill (two) have accounted for all of the unit’s picks.
» Black…who has led Florida in tackles five times this season: vs. LSU (13), Georgia (12), Miami (10), Mississippi State (10) and USF (8). He is tops on the team overall with 73 tackles, including five for loss.

VANDERBILT
» QB Larry Smith…a dual threat signal caller who has completed 89-of-176 passes this season for 1,030 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. Smith has also carried the ball 75 times for 205 yards (2.7 average) with a long of 57 and three touchdowns on the ground.
» CB Casey Haward…who shares the NCAA lead with five interceptions on the season and is the first Commodore in team history to grab a pick in four consecutive games.
» DE Tim Fugger…who ranks third nationally with four forced fumbles and is already third all-time in Vanderbilt’s single-season ranks in the category.

INJURIES and INACTIVES
Injuries
Active – Junior RB Jeff Demps (foot), sophomore RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring), redshirt senior RB Emmanuel Moody (thigh)
Probable – Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose
Questionable – Freshman WR Robert Clark

Inactives
Redshirt junior DT Jaye Howard (ankle), redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (broken wrist), junior K Caleb Sturgis (back), sophomore LB Dee Finley (fractured collarbone), freshmen RB Mack Brown, WRs Quinton Dunbar and Chris Dunkley (hamstrings)

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators at Vanderbilt Commodores preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Week 10: Florida Gators at Vanderbilt Commodores

OGGOA Caption Contest Result: Burton/Georgia

We received over 200 submissions for the third ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive caption contest and a winner has been chosen to receive a FREE Florida Gators rug ($149.99 value) courtesy of the generous folks at Gameday Rugs.

Reader Chris C. sent in two entries that made our top five and were eventually slotted at No. 1 and No. 3 during the voting process.

Official Steve Johnson demonstrates proper “technique” to UGA VIII in his first Florida-Georgia game.

Ascending from his hole at midfield, official Steve Johnson declared, “I definitely see a shadow. Sorry ‘Dawgs, six more years of losses.”

Because we had so many good entries, honorable mention for this contest goes out to the following readers for their submissions. We will do our best to try and find you folks a consolation prize to ease the pain of not being victorious.

First a graphic submission from Tim M.:

George A.: “Coach, what should I do? Should I score this touchdown mimicking Lebron’s layup at the end of his Nike commercial? Should I be like Tebow? Should I be a tight end, halfback, slot receiver or QB?”

OGGOA has given away multiple Florida Gators DVDs, a Game Day purse, T Bow Towels, Gillette Pro Fusion razors, a Turlington Scarf and a variety of other goodies throughout our 13 months of existence. There are a number of other giveaways coming up in the near future, so stay tuned!

Thank you to everyone who participated!

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Track the Florida Gators en route to Nashville

The Florida Gators are on their way to Nashville, TN, to face the Vanderbilt Commodores in their ninth regular season game of the 2010-11 season. An ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive EXCLUSIVE, 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 while it is in the air!

ORIGIN: Gainesville Regional Airport (KGNV)
DESTINATION: Nashville International Airport (KBNA)

DURATION: 1 hour 10 minutes

DEPARTURE: 4:46 p.m. EDT [scheduled 4:45 p.m. EDT]
ARRIVAL: 4:56 p.m. CDT [scheduled 4:59 p.m. CDT]

TWO BITS: Noah featured in major publiations

1 » Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, featured both in the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated is just beginning his fourth NBA season. Signing a five-year, $60 million extension over the summer, the former Florida Gators star and two-time national champion finally feels at peace in the NBA and is making a case to be known as one of the best centers in the league. ESPN The Magazine‘s feature story focuses on Noah’s living arrangements, comfort in Chicago and acceptance by the fans, while Sports Illustrated‘s article concentrates on Noah’s ascension within the NBA, struggles since joining the league and turn from draft-day pariah to fan favorite.

Below is a video ESPN.com shot to accompany the Noah story as published online.

2 » With Noah and former Florida teammate, Atlanta Hawks forward/center Al Horford, signing nearly identical five-year, $60 million extensions, comparisons between the two players continue to be made in the NBA just like they were in college. Horford, who was taken No. 3 in the 2007 NBA Draft compared to Noah who was drafted in the No. 7 slot, was considered by many to be the better pro prospect coming out of college. However, when looking closely at their numbers and production since joining the league, many executives might take Noah over Horford if given the opportunity.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

11/4: Meyer delivers good, bad injury updates

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s eight game of the 2010-11 season on Saturday against the Vanderbilt Commodores. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.

FIRST THE GOOD NEWS

Injured early against Mississippi State and out for Saturday’s game against Georgia, redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle) “looked really good” at practice on Thursday and is expected to play against Vanderbilt, according to Meyer. Joining him will be junior running back Jeff Demps (foot), who saw some action in Jacksonville, FL, but has been limited in practice all week for precautionary reasons. Earlier this week, Demps said he still had pain in his foot when cutting but feels fine when running straight. Meyer also affirmed his statement on Wednesday that both sophomore RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and redshirt senior RB Emmanuel Moody (thigh) are 100 percent healthy and ready to return to the field.

NOW THE BAD…

Meyer announced Thursday that redshirt freshman tight end Desmond Parks – who has yet to see the field in 2010 – will miss the remainder of the season after having his third wrist surgery in two years. “He’s a tough kid, man. Good dude. The whole deal,” Meyer said. “He won’t play again this year, but we’re pushing for spring practice.”

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle) is still being hampered by his injury, has barely been able to practice this week and “doesn’t look good for the game.” Also out of action Saturday is redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (wrist) and freshman WR Robert Clark (ankle).

DUAL ROLES BENEFIT THE OFFENSE

Redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey and redshirt freshman TE Jordan Reed have been playing two positions for the Gators this season, with Rainey carrying the ball as a running back and Reed taking snaps as a Widcat quarterback. That will continue Saturday, according to Meyer, as Rainey will be taking at least half of his snaps in the backfield and Reed will continue to be used along with redshirt junior starter John Brantley and freshman Trey Burton. In fact, Meyer promised Reed would throw the ball this week, for what it’s worth.

QUOTES

On if the up-tempo offense is now second-nature and if there have been any tweaks to it: “Working through the glitches…you know, we had penalties last week. You couldn’t have done what we done without a bye week.”

On redshirt freshman guard Jon Halapio: “He’s one of our most improved players on the team. Just the way he practices, his work ethic, his toughness. He’s going to be a really, really fine offensive lineman in this conference. […] He’s what you look for in recruiting.”

On if players are looking ahead to South Carolina: “No, I don’t see that at all. My basic concern is getting them up to go play [the Vanderbilt] game. It’s an early game, that’s a pain in the rear end.”

On why they decided to bring the quarterbacks in-and-out: “If you take Johnny out of the game, they’ll play one defense. If [you] keep Johnny in the game, they’ll do blitz-a-thon like it’s been. The tempo, having them pop in and out, it’s hard – especially in a noisy stadium – to start changing defenses. You get mistakes.”

On sophomore tight end Jordan Reed playing more: “He’s really worked really hard. Coming of age. He’s earned his right [to play]. He can help us.”

On potentially resting Demps instead of playing him: “We’re just being smart right now. If he can go, he’ll go.”

On Burton: “Trey’s one of those rare breeds that knows the offense – knows it really well. He’s one of those guys that just picks it up [snaps his fingers] so fast.”

OGGOA Caption Contest: Win a Gators rug!

If you like FREE SWAG and think you have a good sense of humor – this is the contest for you! E-MAIL your funniest caption to the picture below to OGGOA at contest@onlygators.com and win a FREE Florida Gators rug ($149.99 value) courtsey of Gameday Rugs! There will be ONE WINNER, but you are encouraged to submit multiple captions in order to increase your chances of winning.

Gameday Rugs features 10 different Florida Gators rugs, each expertly made and exceptionally crafted. We had the opportunity to take a look at the logo entry rug and football field area rug, each of which was plush and soft and designed to outlast the competition. Both were heavy duty and high-quality, meaning they will stay in place and last for quite some time. The bright color-fast yarns used to create them ensure that they stay bright and, because they are UV stabilized, they will not fade if you choose to use them outside or by a window. Best of all is the fact that they are stain resistant, so feel free to put one by your door for guests to wipe their feet or in any high-traffic room.

OGGOA has given away multiple Florida Gators DVDs, a Game Day purse, T Bow Towels, Gillette Pro Fusion razors, a Turlington Scarf and a variety of other goodies throughout our 13 months of existence. There are a number of other giveaways coming up in the near future, so stay tuned!

Best of luck to everyone!

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11/3: Austin, Azzanni, Henry discuss Georgia

Florida Gators defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Teryl Austin, wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni and senior punter/kicker Chas Henry spoke to the media Wednesday, taking a look back at the team’s game against the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, FL, last Saturday.

THANK THE OL FOR THE UP-TEMPO OFFENSE

After Florida’s victory over Georgia, head coach Urban Meyer credited Azzanni with helping implement and set-up the Gators’ new up-tempo offense. On Wednesday, Azzanni said it was the willingness of the offensive line to adapt to the new system that made it work so well against the Bulldogs. “Our O-line has been really great about it because they’re the guys who had to buy in,” he said. “The little skinny guys on the outside can run all day, it’s the big boys that had to buy in – they’ve been great.”

And why was Azzanni so instrumental in this offense being successful? “That’s just my background. That’s the world I’ve lived in for the last eight years of my career,” he said. “I just put it out there on the table and every week we’ve been a little more, a little more. Those guys have been great. We’re not running any new plays or anything, it’s all the same thing, it’s just how we’re doing it. Just to get a spark in the offense. I can’t say enough for coach [Urban] Meyer and coach [Steve] Addazio for believing in me and letting me put that out on the table and saying, ‘Hey, I think this will help us and spark this offense a little bit.’ I can’t say enough for those guys trusting me and letting me help out and get this thing rolling.”

HENRY LAUGHED AT “CHOKE” FROM SIDELINE

As he prepared to kick what he thought would be a 37-yard game-winning field goal, Henry was confused. Not because of the pressure of the situation or a “choke” signal from Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham but rather the fact that the Bulldogs called a timeout. Recounting the situation, Henry recalls, “I’m ready. I didn’t even know they had a timeout, I completely forgot. I’m like, ‘This is the kick.’ All of a sudden I hear the whistle blowing and I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ I start laughing like, ‘You’re going to ice me? I’m not the kicker. You’re going to ice me?’”

Moments later Henry noticed Grantham grabbing his throat, gesturing towards him and screaming. “I see a guy doing the choke. So I take my helmet off, I give him a little smooch at him – blew him a little kiss,” he said. Henry added that Grantham’s immaturity did not bother him; he said it was just a part of the emotion of the game.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/3: Austin, Azzanni, Henry discuss Georgia

Grading the Florida Gators vs. Georgia game

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive grades the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Georgia Bulldogs at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, which took place at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL.

QUARTERBACKS: B+
Was redshirt junior John Brantley spectacular on Saturday? Certainly not. His 16-of-25 performance for 193 yards and an interception proves that. However, if you combine his offensive contributions with his willingness to share the starting quarterback role, ability to operate in Florida’s no-huddle offense and the output of freshman Trey Burton (2-of-2 for 26 yards, 17 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns), you have a top-notch performance from this unit. Throw out Brantley’s interception as a miscue from sophomore wide receiver Omarius Hines and you have a mistake-free showing that also included a perfect clutch pass to redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson and his second longest throw of the year – a 40-yard dart. With an increased ability to see the field, healthy backfield and more streamlined offense, Brantley should only improve as the season continues – something to keep an eye on week-to-week.

RUNNING BACKS: B+
Head coach Urban Meyer noted leading up to the Georgia game that Florida must have explosive home run plays in its running game in order to succeed with their plan to win from an offensive perspective. That was achieved Saturday, though the biggest play came on a 51-yard option keeper by Burton. Junior running back Jeff Demps (at around 90 percent health) and redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey (running the ball due to depth issues) got all the work in the backfield with Rainey getting the majority of the carries (16 to Demps’ nine). For not having played in five weeks and practicing the entire offseason mostly at WR, Rainey had a more than respectable performance averaging 5.2 yards per carry and totaling 89 on the game. Demps ran the ball for 38 yards (4.2 average). The duo certainly exceeded expectations but was certainly not stellar comparative to what the unit has done in the past.

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the Georgia game after the jump…
Continue Reading » Grading the Florida Gators vs. Georgia game

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