11/15: Straight from the Gators’ mouths…

Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, senior center Mike Pouncey and senior linebacker Brandon Hicks answered questions for the media on Monday about a variety of topics concerning the Florida Gators and their loss on Saturday to the South Carolina Gamecocks at home in Gainesville, FL. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

BRANTLEY: I’M NOT TRANSFERRING

For those of you who hoped thought that Brantley would be transferring at the end of the season, think again. A rumor was started two weeks ago that Brantley would be sitting down after the season with his family and having a serious conversation about whether or not he would remain with Florida next year with the possibility of transferring having already been discussed. But will he?

“[Laughing] Absolutely [I will be here next year]. My dad called me last weekend, right when he landed back from Nashville. He asked me, he didn’t know what was going on. I had no idea either. I haven’t said anything to him about [transferring]. He’s never said anything to me about that. Those are just all rumors,” Brantley said Monday. “I’m a Gator through in and through out. I always will be a Gator. I love this place and have no regrets at all.”

Brantley did admit that his college career has not gone as expected thus far, but he insists that he has no regrets and would have come to play for the Gators even if he knew in advance how things were going to go this year. “I’ve learned so much these past few years, and then this year will definitley help me out later in life,” he said.

As for how next year will go, Brantley said he trusts the coaches and thinks they will do their best to tailor the offense to suit his skill set. “The option deal is not my kind of thing,” he admitted once again, while simultaneously repeating that he is perfectly fine with other players being brought in as substitutions to run those types of plays.

SENIORS LOOKING FORWARD TO THEIR DAY

“I bleed orange and blue,” Pouncey said to open up his media availability on Monday. “I never give up on this program, this team. Obviously I’ll be a pro player one day, but we got two or three more games left and that’s what our main focus is on. We obviously want to send our senior class out on the right note, especially for those guys who gave their lives to this program.”

He said the above while responding to a question about whether or not he was already looking ahead to his NFL future. Asked if he and the senior class think Senior Day next weekend holds less meaning or prestige, Pouncey shook his head no. “It will obviously be an emotional day next weekend. It’s tough for me, because I feel like I gave my all for this program,” he said. “It just sucks to end on a note like this, but I want to finish this season out strong with a couple wins. [...] For guys who gave their life to this program, it doesn’t [hold any less meaning]. We obviously accomplished a lot while I was here – our four years. This weekend coming up is going to mean the world to me.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/15: Straight from the Gators’ mouths…

11/15: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

Head coach Urban Meyer and a small group of players meet with the media each Monday before the Florida Gators compete in a game the following Saturday. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

STAFF/PERSONNEL EVALUATIONS

Though Meyer said that, like every year, he will evaluate his staff and team members at the appropriate time (read: end of the season), he also made it a point that there is still plenty of year left and the No. 1 objective at this point is to win games for the seniors as well as the rest of the team. “We’re into solutions, not blame and not excuses,” he said. “We need to get this place back to where we need to get it.”

Asked if he believed offensive coordinator Steve Addazio would be removed from his current position with different responsibilities next year, Meyer said the following: “I don’t think that will happen. I’m not into blame, I’m not into excuses, we’re into solutions. Right now the solution is somehow have a great Tuesday and Wednesday. I know that’s a coach-speak answer, especially around here, but that’s what we do.”

ENERGY VOID AT ISSUE IN GAINESVILLE

All season, through the close wins and losses, Meyer along with his coaching staff and players discussed “execution” as the main issue. Things changed on Monday with everyone talking about a lack of energy on a game-to-game basis. “I don’t see an offense full of life. I don’t see a lot of energy,” Meyer said. “That’s one thing as a head coach that concerns me. That’s all personnel based and success based. [...] We’re a staff that believes energy equals production.”

“We have energy givers on the team, but it’s a collective effort,” senior center Mike Pouncey added later. “When you have one or two guys giving energy on the field, it turns out like that. [...] [Our team has] guys that just drift away during the course of a game.”

BRANTLEY IS THE QUARTERBACK AT FLORIDA

Contrary to what many may think hope, redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley will remain the Gators’ signal caller now and for the foreseeable future. “He’ll start at quarterback for Florida this weekend,” Meyer said. “We have to do a better job in a lot of areas and to say it’s all our quarterback – that’s not fair – and that won’t be said. Obviously our team wouldn’t say that. [...] We have to raise the level of play around him.”

Though the roles of freshman QB Trey Burton and redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed behind center will expand, Brantley is the starter and will likely remain that way through 2011. He has not raised any issue with being replaced for option plays, and that is likely what will continue happening the rest of his time in the orange and blue.

MEYER PANICKED EARLY ON SATURDAY

Meyer also put the onus on himself for how the team performed once it was down 15-7 to the South Carolina Gamecocks. He said that – as he tends to do – he panicked and that resonated throughout the entire team. Instead, Meyer believes they should have stuck to the offensive game plan (using three QBs, hurry-up offense) rather than putting the ball mostly in Brantley’s hands with the thought that the team had to throw to get out from behind a deficit.

Because the team did not get into a rhythm, Meyer said the up-tempo was ineffective. The team could not gain any yardage on first down – leading to too many 3rd down and longs – and it went away from utilizing Burton simply because he was shut down early by South Carolina’s run defense.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/15: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

SIX BITS: soccer-NCAA, volleyball-SEC, Whitson

1 » Opening up the 2010 NCAA Tournament at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL, on Friday, No. 5 Florida Gators soccer (19-2-2, 9-1-1 SEC) scorched the Mercer Bears (10-9-1, 7-3 A-Sun) 3-0. Redshirt sophomore midfielder McKenzie Barney (15’, 73’) and junior MF/forward Tahnai Annis (48’) scored Florida’s three goals as the Gators out-shot the Bears 16-7. Unfortunately…

2 » Florida was not so fortunate in second-round action, taking the Duke Blue Devils (11-7-4, 7-3 ACC) into penalty kicks after the teams were held scoreless through regulation and two overtimes. In PKs, the Gators (19-2-3, 9-1-1 Sec) fell to the Blue Devils 4-2. Duke made all of its attempts while Florida only received goals from Barney and redshirt senior goalkeeper Katie Fraine with Annis’ saved and junior F Lindsay Thompson’s attempt going wide. The Gators end the 2010 season having won both the Southeastern Conference Championship and regular season title.

3 » In better news for the University of Florida, the No. 1 Florida volleyball team (24-1, 17-0 SEC) clinched at least a share of the 2010 SEC regular season title on Sunday by defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide (10-17, 2-15 SEC) 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-17) on Senior Day at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy was impressive once again, leading the Gators with 10 kills and no errors along with 15 assists and seven digs. She notched her 12th-straight double-double and has been having an impressive season. Florida’s seniors also got in on the action with OH Callie Rivers, middle-back Lauren Bledsoe and libero Erin Fleming combining for 18 kills, 15 digs and six blocks on Sunday. UF has three more regular season matches – all on the road – before the 2010 SEC Tournament begins.

Three more BITS including an interesting piece on a Florida baseball commit…
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: soccer-NCAA, volleyball-SEC, Whitson

Week 11: Gators post-game news & notes

Losing the Southeastern Conference Eastern division title in pathetic fashion after winning two straight, the Florida Gators (6-4, 4-4 SEC) are searching for answers after dropping their third consecutive home game, this one to the South Carolina Gamecocks (7-3, 5-3 SEC) 36-14. With so much to discuss, OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes following the contest.

MEYER LEFT WITHOUT ANSWERS

After Saturday’s game, head coach Urban Meyer was – to put it succinctly – speechless. Most of the questions he was asked in his post-game press conference were met with responses that provided little or no insight into what he believes needs to be done with this team from this point forward.

On why the offense was so poor: “If I had an answer for that, then we wouldn’t have struggled. Probably the same thing it looked like to you guys – very non-functional deal.”
On how he evaluated redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley’s performance: “About like our offense – just struggled. Our whole offense struggled. I’m not into individual stuff yet, I have to evaluate it.”
On who is the team’s best option at QB: “I can’t answer that right now. John Brantley’s our option at quarterback.”
On what disappointed him the most: “Um…the most disappointing thing? It’s hard for me to start or to let you know that, I probably have to take some in-depth thought right now and I’m not prepared to do that.”
On why the offense can’t deal with the opposition dropping eight and/or blitzing this year unlike previous years: “That’s a good question. I’m not prepared to answer that at this moment. I will be.”

ALL THAT’s LEFT IS WINNING FOR THE SENIORS

Both Meyer and Brantley made it a point after the game to explain that the team needed to keep its head held high and continue competing with maximum effort for the remainder of the season in honor of its dedicated senior class. “A group of seniors – I get emotional over seniors because I love those guys,” Meyer said. “They’ve made Florida football; the last several years have been pretty powerful stuff. I just look at Ahmad Black, [Justin] Trattou, [Duke] Lemmens and [Mike] Pouncey and all those cats right there and just want to make sure we give them the best we can – do the best we can for them.”

Brantley shared a similar sentiment: “These last two games we’re just going to play for these seniors. These seniors have been through a lot here,” he said. “They’ve dedicated their lives to this program. They deserve the best. We got to win these last two games, I think that’s the best we can do for them right now. We’re just going to play our hearts out for them.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Week 11: Gators post-game news & notes

Gators out of top 25 – again – after loss to ‘Cocks

The Florida Gators (6-4, 4-4 SEC) were knocked out of the top 25 polls for the first time under head coach Urban Meyer a few weeks ago after losing at home to Mississippi State. Back-to-back wins against Georgia in Jacksonville, FL, and Vanderbilt on the road saw Florida earn a spot back in all three polls last week. Unfortunately for Meyer and the Gators, that recognition would not hold for long as Florida has once again been bounced out of the rankings after suffering an embarrassing 36-14 defeat by the South Carolina Gamecocks (7-3, 5-3 SEC) in a de facto SEC East title game on Saturday.

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
Last Week 1-25: Oregon (50), Auburn (4), TCU (2), Boise State (3), Wisconsin, LSU, Ohio State, Nebraska, Stanford, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Iowa, Arkansas, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Arizona, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Central Florida, Florida, Texas A&M

This Week 1-25: Oregon (46), Auburn (6), Boise State (5), TCU (2), Wisconsin, LSU, Ohio State, Stanford, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Missouri, South Carolina, Nevada, Texas A&M, Iowa, Miami (FL), Mississippi State, Arizona, Utah, Northwestern

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Oregon (49), Auburn (2), TCU (2), Boise State (7), LSU, Wisconsin, Stanford, Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Iowa, Arkansas, Utah, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Florida, Central Florida

This Week 1-25: Oregon (38), Auburn (12), Boise State (9), TCU (1), LSU, Wisconsin, Stanford, Ohio State, Nebraska, Alabama, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Nevada, USC, Iowa, Mississippi State, Arizona, Miami (FL), Utah

BCS
Last Week 1-25: Oregon, Auburn, TCU, Boise State, LSU, Stanford, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Alabama, Iowa, Utah, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Nevada, Florida, South Carolina, Kansas State, Texas A&M

This Week 1-25: Oregon, Auburn, TCU, Boise State, LSU, Stanford, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Michigan State, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Nevada, Texas A&M, Iowa, Mississippi State, Arizona, Utah, Miami (FL), Florida State

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

Blew out: Gamecocks put Gators to sleep 36-14

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer did not plan it like this. He did not expect his team to get trounced at home on Saturday, less than one week after calling for The Swamp to be covered in blue as extra motivation for Florida to win what would have been its 12th Southeastern Conference East division title. Instead what Meyer and the No. 22 Gators (6-4, 4-4 SEC) received was a manhandling by the No. 23 South Carolina Gamecocks (7-3, 5-3 SEC) and head coach Steve Spurrier, who led his team to a 36-14 victory for their first SEC East championship.

Winless in their previous 12 games in Gainesville, FL, South Carolina finally got their first victory in a dominant performance that saw them rush for 239 yards compared to Florida’s 35. Running back Marcus Lattimore accounted for 212 of them on 40 carries while also notching three touchdowns.

The Gators moved away from the three-quarterback offense that did them so well the last two weeks, relying on redshirt junior QB John Brantley the majority of the game. He had arguably his worst performance as a starter, going 16-of-31 for 130 yards and an interception. Brantley did not have much help, however, as Florida’s play calling was suspect and its playmakers were held silent.

In fact, after redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, UF did not score again until redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey took a pass from redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed for a touchdown with 7:12 in the fourth quarter.

Gamecocks QB Stephen Garcia handed his team’s offense well, going 15-of-22 for 156 yards, finding WR Alshon Jeffery six times for 53 yards and keeping 12 balls for 28 yards on the ground and one score.

Florida struggled converting third downs, only doing so twice in 14 tries on the evening, and also had difficulty getting South Carolina off the field letting them convert 50 percent of their attempts (8-of-16). USC outgained UF 395-226 yards and possessed the ball for 40:46 compared to only 19:14 on the other side.

Though the game was seemingly out of reach due to their anemic offense, the Gators also turned the ball over twice late in the game including a tipped Brantley pass that was intercepted and a mishandled handoff from Brantley to junior running back Jeff Demps that was recovered.

UF now hopes to salvage what is left of their season as they take on Appalachian State next week in what will be Florida’s Senior Day – their final home game of the year.

Photo Credit: John Raoux/Associated Press

Week 11: No. 22 Florida vs. No. 23 South Carolina

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 61°F, clear skies
Time: 7:15 p.m. (EST)

TV: ESPN/ESPNHD
Sirius/XM: 219/199
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 22 FLORIDA GATORS No. 23 USC GAMECOCKS
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Record: 6-3 (4-3) Record: 6-3 (4-3)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -6.5; O/U 51.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series 23-4-3 against South Carolina, are an undefeated 12-0 in Gainesville and 4-1 since Meyer took over.
» In their last three games against the Gamecocks, the Gators have won by an average of 23.3 points including a 56-6 thumping two years ago in The Swamp.
» With a win Saturday, UF would sweep the SEC East for the third straight season and 11th time since divisions were created in 1992. The contest is a de facto SEC East title game with the winner representing the division in the 2010 SEC Championship.
» Florida is tied for the national lead with 17 interceptions on the season. Seven have been returned for more than 30 yards – three for touchdowns.
» UF is back in the BCS, Associated Press and USA Today top 25 after being unranked in all three 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.
» Florida and South Carolina outrank each other in two of the four major statistical averages. UF is 77th in passing yards (200.4), 51th in rushing yards (158.8), 38th in points scored (31.3) and 23rd in points against (19.6) compared to USC being 39th in passing yards (248.7), 73rd in rushing yards (146.7), 50th in points scored (29.4) and 41st in points against (21.9). Both teams defeated Georgia, Vanderbilt and Tennessee this season, though Florida defeated Kentucky (South Carolina lost 31-28) and the Gators lost to Alabama whom the Gamecocks beat (35-21).
» The Gators’ offense has seen 15 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, eight Gators have at least one interception.
» UF under Meyer is 41-1 when holding an opponent under 16 points, 29-3 when shutting an opponent out in the fourth quarter, 38-3 when holding an opponent to 35 percent or less on third down, 38-2 when giving up two or less big plays (15-yard run/25-yard pass) and 33-3 when the Gators defense scores or creates three turnovers.
» South Carolina’s Spurrier is arguably the most accomplished coach in Florida history with a 122-27-1 record at the school (most wins in history) along with six SEC titles and a national title. As a player, he won the 1996 Heisman Trophy while playing quarterback.
» Steve Spurrier, Jr., G.A. Mangus and Jamie Speronis were all former Gators coaches; Mangus was also a QB at UF from 1988-91.
» John Brantley and Gamecocks players Antonio Allen and Dion LeCorn all player for Ocala Trinity High School; Brantley was also born in Columbia, S.C.

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 8-6 TD/INT ratio this season after throwing two touchdowns last week. He has completed 156-of-251 passes (62.2 percent) for 1,616 yards and has a passer rating of 122.0.
» Freshman QB Trey Burton and redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed…both of whom will spell Brantley at quarterback in Florida’s new three-QB system. Burton 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 and is second on the team in rushing (55 carries for 278 yards). Reed got his first meaningful snaps behind center last week, going 11-of-19 for 120 yards with a touchdown and a pick. He also ran 16 times for 84 yards with another score.
» Junior running back Jeff Demps…who is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and still leads the Gators in rushing (488 yards) after missing two full games 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 23 carries for 108 yards (along with 12 receptions for 118 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 and another three passes for 49 yards and a touchdown against Vanderbilt the following week.
» 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 two weeks ago.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted 13 balls this season including one last week against Vanderbilt. Starters senior safety Ahmad Black (three), junior CB Janrois Jenkins (three), redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (three), and junior S Will Hill (three) have accounted for all but one of the unit’s picks.
» Black…who has led Florida in tackles six times this season: vs. LSU (13), Georgia (12), Miami (10), Mississippi State (10), USF (8) and Vanderbilt (4). He is tops on the team overall with 77 tackles, including six for loss.

SOUTH CAROLINA
» WR Alshon Jeffrey…one of the best pass catchers in college who leads the SEC with 114.9 yards and seven touchdowns.
» RB Marcus Lattimore…who ranks second in the SEC in rushing average with 94.0 yards per game to go along with 11 touchdowns.
» QB Stephen Garcia…who has taken over the starting job and thrown for 2,065 yards on 151-of-223 passing with a 14-9 TD/INT ratio. Garcia also has 140 rushing yards on 69 attempts along with four touchdowns.

INJURIES

Active
Junior RB Jeff Demps (foot), redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jaye Howard, redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose (ankle)

Inactives
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)

FLORIDA ON ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

The match-up between the Gators and Gamecocks will be heavily featured during ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast beginning at 9 a.m. on ESPNU (hosted by Erin Andrews) and continuing from 10 a.m. until noon on ESPN. An entire segment of Saturday’s main program will be dedicated specifically to the Florida-South Carolina match-up with video packages and analysis from the show’s three hosts – Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit. The trio – along with a guest – will also be picking the game in the show’s final segment.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. USC Gamecocks preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Week 11: No. 22 Florida vs. No. 23 South Carolina

OGGOA Caption Contest Result: Sanders/TD

We received over 300 submissions for the fourth ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive caption contest and a winner has been chosen to receive a FREE Florida Gators logo art piece courtesy of the generous folks at Church Hill Classics.

Reader Nikhil B. sent in a few strong entries but also came away with the No. 1 spot.

In the middle of his plié, Terron Sanders suddenly realized end zone dances are much less formal.

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.

Jonathan S.: “This is just like high school: Small crowd small stadium, and me scoring touchdowns!”

Rooter: ”Since I started using new Arrid Triple Xtra Dry with the new fresh powder scent, my friends follow me everywhere.”

OGGOA has given away multiple Florida Gators DVDs, a Florida Field rug, 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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