9/20: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

Head coach Urban Meyer meets with the media each Monday after the Florida Gators participate in a game the previous Saturday. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

WILSON TO MISS MORE TIME

Redshirt junior guard James Wilson, injured on Sept. 4 against Miami (OH), recently had arthroscopic surgery on his knee and will be out of action for the foreseeable future. Wilson’s injury comes at a time when Florida’s offensive line is as solid as its been all year with sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon back in the starting lineup for the first time on Saturday. Redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (wrist) remains out of action but is close to returning, perhaps as early as Oct. 2 against Alabama.

Senior linebacker Brandon Hicks told the media Monday that, contrary to the belief that it was dislocated, he has actually been playing with a heeling broken thumb over the last three weeks. He will continue to get major time on the field and should continue to impact the game as he has been thus far.

Though redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson went down at the end of the game Saturday, he will be fine. However, redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody‘s bruised thigh will continue to be monitored throughout the week.

WEEK THREE CHAMPIONS

Meyer announced that nine Gators graded out as Champions after the Tennessee Volunteers game. Redshirt senior wide receiver Carl Moore and senior defensive end Duke Lemmens were singled out as Players of the Week.

Offensively, redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, senior center Mike Pouncey and redshirt seniors right tackle Marcus Gilbert and right guard Maurice Hurt were all honored. Four players on defense – senior DE Justin Trattou and LBs senior Hicks, sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins – shined throughout the game. Jenkins was also named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week on Monday for his career-high six tackles and first career sack.

BRANTLEY TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR MISCUE

As OGGOA noted in both our game story and tweets during Saturday’s contest, Pouncey’s bad snap early in the first quarter appeared to have occurred due to Brantley rushing to get a snap off when he realized the play clock was ticking down. The signal caller said the same thing Monday, taking the blame for the poor snap. Though not on him specifically for that mistake, Meyer noted that Brantley must progress and get better.

“I think he’s got to get better,” he said. “There’s one way we evaluate quarterbacks here. He’s 3-0 as a starter at Florida, so that’s pretty good, going on the road and winning a game. To say we’re thrilled with where we’re at offensively, and he’s the focal point of the offense, that would be a false statement. To say that he’s handled himself very well, to say he’s managing the team, to say that he does throw a very nice pass and hit five third-and-longs against Tennessee – those are all very good. We just need to improve. We’re pleased with where we’re at, we just need to keep improving.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 9/20: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 2 recap

With the 2010-11 NFL season now underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 2 action, some 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 second week of the season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Six receptions for 101 yards [team-highs] (targets: 6, long: 46)
LB BRANDON SILER, San Diego Chargers: Six solo tackles, one TFL, two passes defended, QB hit, interception

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: One tackle
LB ANDRA DAVIS, Buffalo Bills: Seven tackles (five solo)
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: One target
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Four tackles (three solo)
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: Two rec. for 15 yards (targets: 5, long: 9)
DE JARVIS MOSS, Denver Broncos: Three tackles (two solo), one sack
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: One solo tackle
DT JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Two solo tackles
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings: Five receptions for 32 yards (targets: 7, long: 13), two kick returns for 44 yards
CB LITO SHEPPARD, Minnesota Vikings Two solo tackles
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Two solo tackles
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Nine tackles [team-high] (five solo)
RB FRED TAYLOR, New England Patriots Five rushes for 11 yards (avg.: 2.2, long: 6)
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots Two solo tackles, two sacks
DE ALEX BROWN, New Orleans Saints: Two solo tackles
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Six receptions for 91 yards [team-highs] (targets: 10, long: 27), touchdown
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: One reception for 20 yards (targets: 3)
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers One tackle
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Three carries for one yard, five receptions [team-high] for 33 yards (targets: 6, long: 14), touchdown

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
C Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh Steelers), LT Max Starks (Steelers), G Cooper Carlisle (Raiders) — S Major Wright (Chicago Bears), S Reggie Nelson (Cincinnati Bengals), QB Tim Tebow (Broncos), DT Joe Cohen (Detroit Lions), DE Derrick Harvey (Jaguars), RB DeShawn Wynn (Saints), QB Rex Grossman (Washington Redskins),

INACTIVES
DE Carlos Dunlap (Bengals), LB Channing Crowder (Miami Dolphins)

NOTES
- Cunningham and Cooper recorded their first NFL statistics.
- Harvin re-injured his hip and may miss some action.

OGGOA RELATED: Week 1

FOUR BITS: volleyball, soccer, cross, golf, tennis

1 » Continuing their stellar play to open the season, No. 3 Florida Gators volleyball (8-1, 2-0 SEC) followed the football team in defeating the No. 18 Tennessee Volunteers (9-2, 1-1 SEC) 3-1 (28-26, 25-23, 19-25, 25-17) on the heels of another triple-double from junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy. The performance was Murphy’s 18th career triple-double (19 kills, 25 assists, 14 digs), which helped the Gators defeat their sixth Top 25 opponent this season. Florida is next set to dig their heels into No. 15 Florida State on the road Wed. at 7 p.m.

2 » The volleyball team may have been victorious, but No. 5 Gators soccer (6-1-1) was dealt its first loss of the young season on Sunday. Facing the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (8-0-1) on the road at the Duke Nike Classic, Florida fell 2-0 to the two-time defending NCAA National Champions. North Carolina’s Alyssa Rich (61’) and Elizabeth Burchenal (75’) each scored in the second half as the Tar Heels got 10 total shots on goal throughout the contest. UF will remain on the road but hopes to get back on track against Kentucky on Fri. at 7 p.m.

3 » Florida’s cross country teams begin each season by participating in the same event and, for the sixth straight year, the Gators took home the 2010 Mountain Dew Invitational on the heels of great performances by juniors Josh Izewski and Genevieve LaCaze. Izewski’s career-low 24:39:52 in the men’s 8K provided him with the overall individual title for the event, which was hosted at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, FL.

4 » Fifteen men’s golf teams took part in the Olympia Fields Invitational in Chicago, IL, over the weekend, but Florida finished top after recording a three-round total of 845 to defeat Oklahoma State and Augusta State (852) for the event tile. Senior Bank Vongvanij came in second-place individually with a three-round score of 207.

EXTRA BIT » Also in action over the weekend was Gators men’s tennis, which took home a 24-2 overall record (9-0 in doubles matches) at the 2010 Gator Invitational in Gainesville, FL. No. 9 senior Alexandre Lacroix won the event’s singles championship, going 3-0 over the weekend, and also combined for the doubles title with teammate junior Nassim Slilam. The duo is ranked No. 20 in the country.

Gators even out in USA Today, AP Top 25 polls

After dropping in rankings back-to-back weeks following wins, the Florida Gators were steady in the fourth edition of the USA Today and Associated Press Top 25 polls. Just one day after defeating the Tennessee Volunteers 31-17 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN, the Gators fell one and rose one spot in the respective polls.

Ranked No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches’ poll going into the season, Florida was moved down to No. 6 two weeks ago, losing 115 points in the process; voters also dropped them last week to No. 7, taking away 22 more points. For the third straight week the Gators fell in the poll; they are now listed at No. 8 after losing 16 more points.

The AP voters had Florida ranked No. 4 in their preseason poll, but knocked them down four spots after the first week, taking away 172 points from their total. The Gators lost more 201 more points last week, falling to No. 10. However, UF rose this week – one spot to No. 9 – gaining eight points in the process due to Iowa’s loss to Arizona.

USA TODAY
Last Week 1-10: Alabama (55), Ohio State (4), Boise State, Texas, TCU, Oregon, Florida, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa

This Week 1-10: Alabama (55), Ohio State (3), Boise State, Texas, TCU, Oregon, Nebraska (1), Florida, Oklahoma, Wisconsin

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-10: Alabama (52), Ohio State (5), Boise State (1), TCU, Oregon, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Florida

This Week 1-10: Alabama (53), Ohio State (5), Boise State (1), TCU, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Florida, Arkansas

*Numbers in paranthesis represent first-place votes.

Week 3: Gators post-game news and notes

Starting slow for the third consecutive game, the No. 7/10 Florida Gators (3-0) once again pulled out a double-digit win against their opponent, taking down the Tennessee Volunteers (1-2) 31-17 on the road at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. With so much to discuss, OGGOA first presents some of the most important notes and quotes.

EIGHT FOR EIGHT IS GREAT

In his six years coaching the University of Florida, head coach Urban Meyer has run eight fake punt plays. And all eight times that decision has paid off for the Gators. On Saturday, Meyer said he did not hesitate to call a fake punt in which sophomore wide receiver Omarius Hines took a direct snap up the field 36 yards for a first down in what would eventually become a touchdown scoring drive. “We’ve been working on that since the beginning of the year,” Meyer said after the game. “We tried to get the numbers, and we got the numbers, and they executed well. As soon as I heard from the press box we had numbers, I knew all we had to do was execute it.” Hines was just as prepared for the play call. “We’ve been practicing it every day in practice,” he said. “It was my chance to get the first down. I wasn’t nervous. We’ve been practicing on it too much. I was ready for it. [Tennessee] had two guys, and when they went outside, I cut inside and got the first down. I knew it was going to work. We really needed that. We were down in the first half. I just tried to help the team get the momentum back.”

SUSPENDED PLAYERS RETURN, CONTRIBUTE

Three Florida players missed the first two games of the season not due to injury but instead because of team suspension. Junior safety Will Hill (most prominently), redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. and sophomore linebacker Dee Finley all returned Saturday, each contributing in one way or another. While Hill was in on some blown coverages in the secondary, he made a few big tackles on special teams, which was also populated by Hammond and Finley. Hammond was also able to make his first catch of the year in the third quarter for a touchdown. “It felt good,” Hammond said. “I just go out there and try to make plays and do what I can for the team. I’m just trying to stay humble. I got another chance at it [after getting arrested]. I made a mistake and I learned from it. Whatever they want me to do, special teams or offense, I’ll do what I need to do just to get back on the team and help them out. I’m trying to move on now.”

GILLISLEE MAKING HIS CASE FOR PLAYING TIME

Sophomore running back Mike Gillislee, like any player, wants to get on the field as much as possible. Stuck behind junior Jeff Demps and redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody, Gillislee appears to be on a mission this season to prove to coaches that he deserves more playing time. Though Demps once again led the Gators in rushing Saturday, Gillislee’s two powerful touchdowns once again proved he is as much of a spark plug as anyone on the team.

HEALTHY OFFENSIVE LINE STICKING TOGETHER

For the first time all season, Florida was able to begin the game and play with its starting offensive line – consisting of sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon, redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson, senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt senior right guard Maurice Hurt and redshirt senior right tackle Marcus Gilbert – healthy and intact. On a rushed snap in the first quarter, Pouncey rolled the ball on the ground to redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, almost causing a turnover. At the end of the game, Johnson appeared to suffer an arm injury, but trainers believe he will be fine.

SECONDARY ROLLS BUT FLAWS EMERGE

Nabbing two more interceptions against the Volunteers, the Gators’ defense continues to lead the nation with 10 grabs on the season. The secondary itself is responsible for seven of them, with redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown bringing down his second of the year on Saturday. However, a unit that was the model of consistency for Florida throughout the first two games showed some flaws against Tennessee, allowing three big catches and two long touchdowns in the contest. Brown was victimized a few time, Hill was out of position on another throw and even junior CB Janoris Jenkins (who muffed a punt for a fumble as a returner) may have blown an assignment.

DEFENSIVE FRONT SEVEN STEPS UP

While the secondary dealt with a few issues, the defensive linemen and linebackers did whatever they had to in order to get pressure on QB Matt Simms and stifle Volunteers star RB Tauren Poole (10 carries for 23 yards). Senior defensive ends Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens, redshirt senior defensive tackle Brandon Antwine, redshirt freshman LB Jelani Jenkins and freshman DE Ronald Powell all achieved sacks, and sophomore LB Jon Bostic pulled down his second interception of the season.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Week 3: Gators post-game news and notes

Florida plays rocky, still tops Tennessee 31-17

Head coach Urban Meyer improved to 6-0 against one of his team’s greatest rivals as the No. 7/10 Florida Gators (3-0) overcame a rough start to defeat the Tennessee Volunteers (1-2) 31-17 on the road at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN, on Saturday.

Florida started slow in the first quarter when a poor snap by senior center Mike Pouncey on third-and-long forced the Gators to punt. On the next offensive drive, UF stalled after failing to convert a one-yard run on two consecutive plays, turning the ball over on downs on the Tennessee 46.

With good field position, the Volunteers took advantage of the miscue, drove 25 yards and allowed kicker Daniel Lincoln to curve in a 49-yard field goal to put UT up 3-0 going into the second quarter.

The Gators’ offense was kick-started on its next possession when redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson helped out redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley with a 16-yard catch for a first down on 2nd and 11. Freshman WR Robert Clark kept the drive alive with an eight-yard reception for another first down, allowing sophomore running back Mike Gillislee to score a touchdown from two yards out.

Tennessee was in the process of going three-and-out on its next drive, until junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins muffed a 43-yard punt giving the Vols the ball at Florida’s 40. However, sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic would bail Jenkins out four plays later, intercepting a pass from QB Matt Simms in the end zone on 3rd and goal.

Going into the half with a tight 7-3 lead, the Gators were hoping to dominate the second portion of the game just as they had their two previous contests. Things seemed to be going well early in the third quarter, when junior kicker Caleb Sturgis connected on a 44-yard field goal to cap a 10-play, 54-yard drive and give UF a 10-3 lead.

That advantage would be short lived as Simms found a wide open WR Denarius Moore for a 49-yard touchdown early in Tennessee’s next possession. Coverage of Moore was blown by redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown, who gave up a 15-yard reception one play earlier and did not receive any help from junior safety Will Hill (starting his first game of the season) on the subsequent play.

With the score tied at 10 and the Gators on the verge of punting from their own 39, Meyer called a game breaking fake punt to turn the tide. Sophomore WR Omarius Hines took a direct snap 36 yards to the Volunteers’ 25, turning the game around. Redshirt senior Carl Moore made a leaping first down catch to keep the drive going, and Brantley competed a seven-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. six plays later to give the Gators a 17-10 lead.

“The momentum switched in this stadium. Once that momentum goes, it’s hard to get it back,” said Meyer after the game about the call. Hines noted the impact of the play to ESPN. “That was a big boost because we really needed that,” he said. “We were struggling in the first half, and I’m glad I could boost the team back up.”

Hoping to redeem himself for his earlier gaffe, Brown intercepted Simms on Tennessee’s next drive. Florida handed the ball back to Gillislee who, five plays and 41 yards later, tumbled into the end zone to give the Gators a 24-10 lead.

UF achieved back-to-back sacks on Simms courtesy of redshirt senior defensive tackle Brandon Antwine and redshirt freshman LB Jelani Jenkins, knocking the Vols back to the one-yard line. Though a safety call was overturned by video replay, Tennessee punted the ball to midfield. The Gators failed to capitalize as junior RB Jeff Demps was stripped by LB Austin Johnson on 2nd down, keeping the Volunteers alive.

Backed up with a 3rd and 25, Simms completed a 19-yard pass to WR Luke Stocker giving his team the opportunity to go for it on 4th down. Stocker’s reception became integral for Simms, who found WR Justin Hunter wide open in Florida’s end zone for a 35-yard touchdown on blown coverage by Hill.

With their lead reduced to seven, the Gators struck again on the very next drive. Thompson caught a 24-yard pass to get the series going, and Moore once again saved the effort by pulling down a 12-yard catch on 3rd and 9 at the Vols’ 27. From the Wildcat formation, freshman QB Trey Burton rushed for a two-yard touchdown four plays later to give Florida a 31-17 lead.

After struggling to get going, the Gators posted 317 total yards of offense, were 8-of-14 on third down and controlled the clock for 36:46. Brantley finished 14-of-23 for 167 yards and a score, Demps took a career-high 26 carries for 74 yards and Gillislee touched the ball eight times for 27 yards and two touchdowns. Thompson led Florida with four catches and 55 receiving yards.

Florida’s defense held Tennessee star running back Tauren Poole to 23 yards and a fumble (recovered by freshman S Matt Elam on 10 carries, but Simms did well through the air, going 19-of-31 for 259 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Gators hope to continue building momentum next week when they return home to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.; the game will air live on ESPNU.

Game Notes:
- Five-star freshman defensive end Ronald Powell had the first sack of his career.
- Meyer is 6-0 against Tennessee in his Florida career.
- Meyer is now eight-for-eight in fake punt calls with the Gators.
- Hammond’s touchdown was also his first reception of the season.

Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Week 3: No. 7 Florida Gators at Tenn. Volunteers

Location: Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, TN [Capacity: 102,459]
Weather Forecast: 87°F, 0% chance of precipitation
Time: 3:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
Sirius/XM: 122/143
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 7/10 FLORIDA GATORS TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Derek Dooley
Record: 2-0 Record: 1-1
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -14; O/U 45.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida has won 22 consecutive regular season games, 12-straight on the road and 14 regular season SEC games in a row.
» Under Meyer, the Gators are 5-0 against the Volunteers and 2-0 on the road. This is the 40th all-time meeting between Florida and Tennessee, with UF leading the series 20-19; however, the Vols have an 11-9 advantage when playing at home.
» The Gators lead the nation with eight interceptions in two games. That total is twice as many as any other SEC school and two more than any other team in the nation. Florida has recorded four interceptions in back-to-back games this year; Saturday’s game was the fourth time the defense has picked off four balls under Meyer.
» UF has committed a nation-low 84 turnovers since 2005 and has had 24 games in which they did not give up a single turnover (best in the nation).
» The Gators went 4-for-4 in the red zone against South Florida with three touchdowns and a field goal. Florida’s red zone efficiency is 77 percent on the season including six touchdowns in nine chances.
» Florida has had a kickoff return of 50-plus yards and a rush of 40-plus yards by a player in each game this season. Sophomore running back Mike Gillislee accomplished it against Miami (OH), while junior RB Jeff Demps hit the mark against South Florida.
» UF’s RB coach Stan Drayton held the same position with UT in 2008.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who is looking to rebound from a rough outing in which he started his first collegiate game. He has thrown 117 consecutive passes without an interception and has a 14-1 TD/INT ratio while playing for the Gators.
» Demps…who had a career-long 72-yard rushing TD in the opening game and totaled 255 all-purpose yards last week. Demps leads the nation in rushing yards per touch (8.1) since 2008 and yards per carry (12.5) in 2010.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson…who had career-highs in receptions (six) and receiving yards (83) last week. As Brantley’s primary pass catcher, eight of Thompson’s nine catches this season have been for first downs.
» Tennessee RB Tauren Poole…who has rushed 40 times for 272 yards and three touchdowns this season. Poole is averaging 6.8 yards per carry and ran the ball 23 times for 162 yards (7.0 average) and one touchdown last week against Oregon.
» Sophomore WR Omarius Hines…who made his first career start last week but is moving to slot receiver for the remainder of the season. He had 49 yards on three catches with a touchdown against Miami (OH).
» Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose…who missed the 2009 season with an injured hamstring but hopes to make an impact with redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey gone. Debose did not play against Miami (OH) and saw limited time against South Florida.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted six balls – three in each of the last two games. Senior safety Ahmad Black (three) and junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins (two) are leading the way for the unit with their performance and leadership. Black is also tops in the SEC with 20 tackles on the year and is the conference’s active leader in interceptions (11) and interception return yards (233). Junior starting S Will Hill is expected to see the field for the first time this season.

INJURIES and INACTIVES
Injuries
Doubtful – Redshirt senior defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh (stitches), freshman WR Chris Dunkley (hamstring)
Out – Redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (wrist)

Inactives
(Will update closer to game time)

FLORIDA ON ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

The Gators are not set to be featured in particular 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. However, the analysts will certainly be discussing the Florida-Tennessee game at various points during the broadcast.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. Tennessee Volunteers preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Week 3: No. 7 Florida Gators at Tenn. Volunteers

Track the Florida Gators en route to Knoxville

The No. 7/10 Florida Gators are on their way to Knoxville, TN, to face the Tennessee Volunteers in their first road contest and Southeastern Conference 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: Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport (KTYS)

DURATION: 1 hour 20 minutes

DEPARTURE: 4:26 p.m. EDT [scheduled 4:15 p.m. EDT]
ARRIVAL: 5:32 p.m. EDT [scheduled 5:26 p.m. EDT]

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