No. 17 Florida Gators at No. 1 LSU Gameday

Location: Tiger Stadium – Baton Rouge, LA [Capacity: 92,542]
Weather Forecast: 85°F, mostly sunny, winds E-SE at 14 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET) [3:39 p.m. kickoff]

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

(17/18) FLORIDA GATORS (1/2) LSU TIGERS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Les Miles
Record: 4-1 (2-1) Record: 5-0 (2-0)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: LSU -14; O/U 42.5

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. on the road.

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

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series against LSU 30-24-3 and is 6-5 against the Tigers since 2000. The Gators are also 16-13 all-time in Baton Rouge (4-2 since 1999).
» Muschamp was a former defensive coordinator at LSU under now Alabama head coach Nick Saban, while Tigers passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales coached Florida’s pass catchers from 2005-09.
» Miles is 3-3 in his career against the Gators.
» Florida has half as many upperclassmen (17 seniors, 17 juniors) as they do underclassmen (36 sophomores, 35 freshmen) on the roster heading into the season.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 64-13 in the first quarter and 106-44 in the first half this season. UF has also scored on their opening drive in four of five games.
» Florida ran the ball for 15 net yards on Saturday after the Gators rushed for 405 yards the week before, the sixth-best single-game performance in team history and the most since 1989. The team had a 100-yard rusher in four consecutive games, its second-longest streak ever, before failing to accomplish that feat against Alabama.
» UF’s offensive line has only allowed five sacks through five games, making them second in the SEC team and tied for 20th nationally allowing just one sack per contest.
» Though Florida is 19-for-21 (90.4 percent) in red zone conversions, the Gators have only scored touchdowns on 11 of those opportunities.
» Florida did not acquire a single turnover against Alabama after forcing four in their previous game and seven total over the prior three weeks.
» The Gators defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (311) since 2000. Florida also has the most interceptions in the nation (72) since 2008.
» UF’s defense is six in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 27.7 percent of those attempted to be successful.
» Florida is No. 7 nationally and second in the SEC in total defense (258.6 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 13 nationally and third in the SEC in scoring defense (14.8 points per game).
» LSU is the only team in the nation with three victories over ranked opponents; they are looking for their second-straight 6-0 start to a season.
» The Tigers have won 13-straight games in their home stadium. LSU’s last loss in Baton Rouge was to Florida, 13-3 in 2009. They are also 4-0 against the SEC East since.
» LSU’s defense has held opponents without a touchdown in 15-of-20 quarters played.
» The Tigers have forced 12 turnovers in 2011 and have converted 75 percent of those into points (eight touchdowns, one field goal). They lead the SEC and are No. 4 nationally in turnover margin at +1.8 per game.
» LSU’s run defense has not allowed a rush of more than 17 years, and the Tigers have allowed just 13 rushing plays of 10 yards or more.
» Florida and LSU are split down the middle when it comes to the four major statistical categories. The Gators top the Crimson Tide in national averages of rushing yards 210.2-172.6 (21st-48th) and passing yards 203.6-177.0 (86th-100th), while LSU leads Florida in points scored 38.0-34.2 (18th-37th) and points against 12.8-14.8 (9th-13th). The teams both defeated Kentucky this year with UF winning 48-10 on the road and LSU earning the victory 35-7 at home.

LAST TIME OUT

Like this year, Florida started the 2010 season 4-0 before being routed by Alabama one week prior to taking on LSU. The Gators returned home to The Swamp and stuck around with the Tigers all night long, leading 29-26 with more than three minutes to play after Andre Debose returned a kick 88 yards for a touchdown and Mike Gillislee ran for a score late in the fourth quarter. LSU engineered a crazy final stand, using a fake field goal to continue their drive and end it with a three-yard passing touchdown with just six seconds remaining in the game. The Tigers accumulated 142 more yards in the game (70 more through the air and 72 additional yards on the ground) , and Jordan Jefferson scored twice on the ground while Jarrett Lee threw two touchdowns to Terrance Toliver.

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Aside from the first hour of GameDay being hosted by Florida alum and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, the Gators will be featured during Saturday’s broadcast from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Because the Tigers are the No. 1 team in the country and the game is at LSU, the focus will primarily be on them with video packages and discussions about the team. Andrews interviewed both Les Miles and Tyrann Mathieu this week. There will be talk about Florida’s quarterback situation and, of course, the three hosts along with a guest picker will make their selections as to who will win the game.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

FLORIDA
» Inactive: Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (lower leg)
» Unknown: Freshman quarterback Jeff Driskel (ankle)

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Freshman quarterbacks Jeff Driskel (#16) and Jacoby Brissett (#17)…either of whom would start their first career game in one of the most hostile environments in college football. Driskel, who has been the backup all season and has gone 7/16 for 73 yards with two interceptions, is expected to start but may be replaced by Brissett due to a bum ankle. Brissett has not seen action during the regular season and did not participate in the team’s spring game either as he was still in high school at the time.
» Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey (#1)…who has 661 yards of total offense this season with five touchdowns (including a punt block return). Rainey is averaging 5.6 yards per carry and 17.6 yards per reception and leads Florida in rushing and receiving this season. He became the first player in school history to have a rushing, receiving and return touchdown in the same game, achieved the school and SEC record for career punt blocks (five), and is the active leader in that category nationally. He also rushed for 100 yards or more in three-straight games, the first UF player to do so since Fred Taylor last accomplished that feat 14 years ago.
» Senior RB Jeff Demps (#28)…who has averaged 8.8 yards per carry so far this year including a career-high 157 two weeks ago. After sitting out most of the team’s second game, Demps now has 324 yards and four touchdowns on the ground this season. He also has the second-most receptions (10) on the team this year. Demps eclipsed the 2,000-yard career rushing mark against Florida Atlantic.
» Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose…who jumped to second on the Gators’ receiving list after posting a 65-yard touchdown last week on the first play of the game. Fans have been waiting for Debose to emerge for some time, and his 154 receiving yards are the second-best on the team through its first five games.
» Sophomore safety Matt Elam (#22)…who is the most valuable member of Florida’s secondary in only his second year. He is third on the team in tackles (22) and created turnovers in three-straight games (fumble-INT-INT) before failing to do so last week.
» Defensive tackles sophomore Dominique Easley (#2) and redshirt senior Jaye Howard (#6)…who have solidified the interior of one of the Gators’ strongest units. Howard is the team’s most experienced player on defense (22 starts), while Easley may be its most dynamic off the snap, with a first-step raved about by teammates and coaches alike. Howard and Easley have combined for 7.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks (Howard) through the first five games.
» Linebackers junior Jon Bostic (#52) and redshirt sophomore will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (#3)…who are 1-2 on the team in tackles. Bostic (29) and Jenkins (26) have each excelled in different areas for Florida. The former has four tackles for a loss and two sacks while the latter has one sack and four pass breakups on the year.
» Sophomore Buck LB Ronald Powell (#7)…who is tied for a team-high with 2.0 sacks and forced two interceptions via quarterback pressures against Tennessee. Powell has 13 tackles on the season including two for losses.
» Redshirt junior Sam LB Lerentee McCray (#34)…who is starting for the first time in his career and is third on the team in tackles for loss with 3.5. He also has two three breakups and three QB hurries on the season.
» Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs (#19)…who has returned for Florida after missing the final eight games of the 2010 season with an injured back. He is 12-for-13 in field goal attempts on the season (long: 51) and perfect with 19 extra points, leading the Gators with 55 points scored this season.

LSU
» CB Tyrann Mathieu (#7)…who is one of the most feared defenders in the nation this season due to his propensity for making game-changing plays. Mathieu leads the SEC in forced fumbles (four) and fumble recoveries (three). He also nabbed an interception this season, scored two defensive touchdowns and leads his team in tackles (35).
» QB Jarrett Lee (#12)…who torched UF for two touchdowns in 2010. He has thrown for 793 yards with seven touchdowns and just one interception in 2011 but is only completing 59.3 percent of his passes.
» QB Jordan Jefferson (#9)…who returned to action last week after missing the first four games due to suspension. Jefferson rushed for two scores against Florida in 2010 and is expected to be mixed into LSU’s offense this week.
» RBs Spencer Ware (#11) and Michael Ford (#42)…who have combined for 625 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Ware is the more powerful of the two, while Ford is elusive and averaging more yards per carry on fewer touches each game.

CBS SPORTS VIDEO PREVIEW

Track the Florida Gators en route to Baton Rouge

The Florida Gators are on their way to Baton Rouge, LA, to face the No. 1/2 LSU Tigers in their toughest road game of 2011. As a special ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive feature, the following is the flight information for the Gators, who are flying over on an American Airlines Boeing 737-800 twin-jet. You can also track the flight live in the air!

ORIGIN: Gainesville Regional Airport (KGNV)
DESTINATION: Baton Rouge Metro Airport (KBTR)

DURATION: 1 hour 15 minutes

DEPARTURE: 4:46 p.m. EDT [scheduled 4:30 p.m. EDT]
ARRIVAL: 5:00 p.m. CDT [scheduled 4:45 p.m. CDT]

ONLY GATORS…still alive after two years!

It’s been two years – two years and six days to be exact – since I first turned the light on at ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive headquarters and, well, we’re still alive.

What started out as a passion project has turned into something that continues to amaze and humble me day-in and day-out. Never did I think that an idea that popped into my head and a name I wrote on a piece of paper back in 2009 would not only materialize but become an endeavor that is continuously taxing and rewarding at the same time.

Many of you started following us through Twitter as @OnlyGators began months before OnlyGators.com ever existed. As our following slowly grew, I hoped only that the website would satisfy the 2,000-or-so people who chose to read my tweets and trust me for information about the Florida Gators.

Just a few months after the website began, Twitter readers were only a portion of our daily audience. I was surprised how quickly the site took off but considering it started days after Tim Tebow suffered his concussion and just months before Urban Meyer resigned for the first time, perhaps it should not have been much of a shock.

If you’ll allow me to humble-brag for a minute, I feel it is worth noting that OnlyGators.com has amassed more than 4.2 million visits since Oct. 1, 2009. This is our 2,500th post and sometime today the site will register its 15,000th reader comment. Our Twitter account has amassed more than 35,200 tweets and ballooned to over 13,500 followers. (Every number mentioned has more than doubled since 10/1/10).

Whether you’ve been with us from the very beginning or just started logging on here recently, I sincerely appreciate your support and dedication as well as all of the time you have spent on this website when you otherwise could have been working on getting a promotion or spending time with your loved ones.

Please indulge me once more as I wanted to take a moment to thank some people and organizations for supporting us over the last two years. Thanks to Brett, Dustin, Rebecca and Jesse from Acceleration.net for keeping us up and running.

Much love to Erin Andrews for her constant support and generosity, and thanks to many, many other Gators – such as Jack Youngblood, Kevin Carter, Alex Brown, Danny Wuerffel, Mike Peterson, Cornelius Ingram, Joe Cohen, David Nelson, Dorian Munroe, Al Horford, Chandler Parsons and Taurean Green (just to name a few) – for opening up your lives to us at one time or another for our in-depth interviews.

Thanks to Mark Wheeler of Rivals/InsideTheGators.com for bringing me on board and helping me reach an even larger audience, and much appreciation to both Abe Gordon from SiriusXM and Marc Ryan from 100.3 FM The Ticket for putting me on the air on a regular basis. Thanks to dozens of major media outlets including CBS Sports, ESPN, FanHouse, NBC Sports, Sports Illustrated, The Huffington Post and USA Today (just to name a few) for either sourcing or linking to posts from the site.

And thank you to all of my friends, family and colleagues I did not name (you know who you are) for your advice and support.

This may be a bit too much of a reflective post considering we are not going anywhere any time soon, but I’ve always believed in remembering how you started and appreciating what you’ve accomplished along the way.

As Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference.”

While there is no blueprint for what I am trying to accomplish here, there are some exciting possibilities on the horizon for OGGOA over the next few months including one project in particular that I sincerely hope will come to fruition sooner than later.

Here’s to another year!

Adam Silverstein
Owner, editor

4 BITS: Larson avoids jail, Pouncey gets fined

1 » Florida Gators redshirt freshman forward Cody Larson will not serve any jail time in South Dakota even though his 120-day suspended sentence was revoked earlier this week by Minnehaha County Judge John Schlimgen due to Larson’s arrest in Florida on April 10. According to KSFY ABC, Judge Schlimgen re-invoked Larson’s suspended sentence due and gave him two more years of probation. Larson’s jail sentence will remain suspended as long as he stays out of trouble and follows a number of terms and conditions set forth by the Minnehaha County State Attorney’s Office. If he violates his probation again, chances are the judge will not be as lenient next time. Larson remains indefinitely suspended from the Gators basketball team because his legal status had not yet been decided until Friday. Head coach Billy Donovan will likely reinstate him soon, as he did with junior F Erik Murphy after his case was settled.

2 » Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was fined $7,500 by the NFL on Friday due to an unnecessary roughness call he got Sunday against Houston. Pouncey was fined for what the NFL determined was a late hit, though Pouncey said he did not hear the whistle and will not let the fine affect him. “I’m not changing how I play,” he said.

3 » Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap was praised by Pro Football Focus as the second-highest rated player at his position in the league. Dunlap does not have a sack yet this season after registering 9.5 in 2010 (including 8.5 in the final six games). He does, however lead Cincinnati with eight quarterback pressures, which is a great sign for the player. “Once you get one usually you get on a roll. Right now though the first one is the toughest,” Dunlap told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I’m getting quarterback hits and pressures. Eventually they are going to turn into sacks.”

4 » On the injury front, New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (sprained MCL) returned to practice for the first time on Thursday since getting hurt in Week 2. He is considered “on track” to play. Oakland Raiders wide receiver Louis Murphy, who has yet to play this year due to a sports hernia/groin injury, resumed practicing this week but was limited. Murphy, a starter in 2010 who was looking like Oakland’s most promising receiver, has fallen on the depth chart due to his absence and will have to work his way back up. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Earnest Graham was injured during practice on Thursday. Graham hurt his hamstring and is questionable to play on Saturday. Though he may not be raking in the scores, he has been an integral part of Tampa Bay’s offense up to this point.

Updating the item above, Hernandez is listed as questionable on the Patriots’ injury report, Murphy will miss one more week, and Pittsburgh’s new left tackle Max Starks has earned the starting role for Sunday’s game.

10/5: Quinn counting on Gators’ defensive line

As the No. 17/18 Florida Gators prepare for their biggest road game of the 2011 season on Oct. 8 against the No. 1/2 LSU Tigers, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media on Wednesday to discuss the team’s big upcoming contest.

DEFENSIVE LINE NEEDS TO STEP UP, BIG TIME

Considering Florida’s defensive line was supposed to be its strongest position on its unit, it was quite disappointing how ineffective it was this past weekend. A lot has been said recently about how physical Alabama was on both sides of the line of scrimmage, but Quinn said physicality had not previously been an issue for the Gators.

“I don’t think we weren’t a physical team leading up to that point. I wouldn’t say it has been a history of the whole season, in my opinion,” he said. “I’m looking forward to us hitting blocks and getting back to the style that we taught. That’s what I expect to see.”

Quinn said that is the line’s top priority heading into the LSU game. “The number one thing I’d say we addressed is we want to hit blocks. At times the tape showed we were catching but not shedding violently when we were hitting our guys,” he explained.

With the Tigers’ offensive line only having allowed three sacks all season long, Quinn realizes his first line of defense is up for another rough outing on Saturday. He explained Wednesday why LSU has been so successful in protecting their quarterback this year.

“It’s a combination of things,” he said. “Their offensive line is playing well. They also utilize their tight ends and their [running] backs involved in the protection. At times you’ll see some seven-man protections – usually that’s the five offensive linemen, the tight end and a back. Most teams are using six-man protections – the offensive line and maybe a back or tight end. They’re playing well as a unit; it’s an experienced bunch coming back.”

PLAYER THOUGHTS AND EVALUATIONS

Sophomore defensive end Sharrif Floyd (and if he will play inside more): “Not this week there hasn’t been [any extra work]. Really the focus has been on us sharpening up our skills. There will be some times where he’ll play inside at tackle, but we’ve really been focusing him outside.”

Junior linebacker Jon Bostic (and the punch he threw Saturday): “He’s one of the guys we really count on for leadership for our team. For him to lose his composure was disappointing for us, knowing that he’s one that we’re really counting on in a leadership role for us. We talked to him about that and he understood that. I didn’t ask him specifically regarding that play. I would think it would be a culmination of things when you’re frustrated. He just lost his head and who he is and how to play. That won’t be part of our defense, that’s for sure.”

Redshirt senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard (and his progression this year): “I’m pleased with the progress that Jaye is making. He didn’t play the spring, so as we went through training camp he kind of developed a role with us where he can play nose and defensive tackle. For me to keep seeing him keep improving like he is has been a real positive for us and for him too. I’m pleased with where he’s headed.”

The team’s quarterbacks: “All the guys, to me, are impressive at QB. That’s a spot on our team that we got some really talented guys. They all kind of jump out at you in different ways, and he’s certainly one that has to me. Although they’re different in their own ways, they’re all really talented.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On his unit’s performance against Alabama in the second half: “We did start off the second half. Kind of our message was: “Let’s settle down and go back to playing our style of football.” We kind of got back to playing our style where we can play physical, get our hands on people. I thought we did that for a time in the third period and then, as it wore on in the game, it kind of fell back to where we all weren’t on the same technique. […] I’d like to give [Alabama] credit. They out-physicaled us in the game. That’s hard to accept and swallow and that’s what happened. We addressed it and now we’re moving forward.”

» On how the team is responding to an injured player: “As a whole team, any time a guy steps down, it’s not necessarily just [on] one player. We kind of had that message early in the season. We had one of our defensive players down for two games. It was the same message. […] Going through that experience sends the message for when another guy is down, it does not fall on one player to get it done [in his place].”

» On the challenges of facing two different quarterbacks at once: “When you go through the offseason, you have the study of who the QBs are. You kind of make some notes and go through a mock game preparation. That was important at the start of the week knowing, ‘OK, this player is back into it.’ You really had to have a little bit of plan for both styles of player because they’re different. One is really mobile and wants to move and is running and one is not so much of that. I guess that would be the biggest challenge, knowing the different style of the quarterback in the game.”

» On how the defense can better create pressure: “It’s going to start with the whole defense. Sometimes when you’re max protected you can do some different things from a cover standpoint – they have less guys out. It’s the back-and-forth. If they’re going to keep more in than there is more you can adjust in your coverage.”

» On the secondary playing well against Alabama: “It was certainly hard for us to find a lot of silver linings for us in that performance for our defense. They didn’t have a lot of opportunities with the amount of carries they had. Certainly in some of the man-to-mans we denied the ball. […] Although we played poorly on third down, there were some things on the back end that we saw as positives.”

10/5: WR Hammond impressed with QB Brissett

With the No. 17/18 Florida Gators preparing for their toughest road test of the 2011 season, three prominent offensive players were made available to the media on Wednesday to discuss how the team is progressing heading into their showdown with the No. 1/2 LSU Tigers on Oct. 8 at 3:30 p.m. in Baton Rouge, LA.

OFFENSIVE LINE’s MANTRA STAYS THE SAME

Even though redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley is out (at least) for the LSU game on Saturday, redshirt senior transfer guard Dan Wenger said his unit has not changed its mindset whatsoever this week. “It’s just a matter of everyone picking it up. In reality, it doesn’t change much. We still have the same job to do regardless of what play is called or who is back there or who is in the huddle making the play call from Coach [Charlie] Weis,” he said. “There is some picking him up, whoever it may be, but at the same time our jobs don’t change just because someone different is back there.”

Wenger also said that he spoke with and apologized to Brantley for allowing him to get sacked twice and injured late in the second quarter on Saturday. “It was tough. Unfortunately it’s football and I apologized to him,” he explained. “It’s just one of those things where we have to come together and he understands that it wasn’t intentional and that I feel terrible about it. We just got to move on, can’t let it affect the games until he comes back. It’s LSU now. Let’s take care of business.”

BRISSETT MOVING ON UP

The focus this week has been on freshman QB Jeff Driskel likely starting his first game on Saturday, but head coach Will Muschamp explained Wednesday that fellow freshman Jacoby Brissett has actually moved into the second reserve spot.

That did not come as much of a surprise for redshirt junior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr., who praised Brissett’s progress in learning the offense.

“[He’s] just being more comfortable and just being more sure of himself, learning the plays, getting in the rhythm, setting his feet, making progressions, making throws,” he said. “[He’s] just a poised quarterback. He makes great decisions in practice. He hasn’t had the chance or opportunity to actually do it in a game situation. He’s made tremendous strides and he’s a good quarterback.”

Hammond also said Brissett had the best arm of the three reserves “just because of his size” but thinks whoever starts on Saturday will do a good job.

“In my opinion, all three of them are ready right now. They’re all practicing right now, getting reps and getting themselves prepared,” he said. “Nobody really knows who is going to actually go out there against LSU. We’re getting all three quarterbacks prepared, and I don’t really have a personal preference. Any one of them can go out there and all three of them can get the job done.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Hammond on if the offense is bothered by not knowing who will start at QB: “It doesn’t really change anything from our perspective. We kind of got into a rhythm with JB. Since he’s out, we kind of just have to play it by ear and just be athletes. Every ball is not going to be perfect. Even JB doesn’t throw a perfect ball every time. Just be an athlete, play it by ear, if the ball is in the air, come down with it.”

» Hammond on if he would prefer knowing the starter: “You never know what the situation may be. One of them could go in the first play and roll an ankle or whatever and be out. All three of them getting an equal amount of reps, in my opinion, is beneficial to keep them going and for later on down the season.”

» Hammond on if the team’s unity changed after the Alabama loss: “There was no finger-pointing. There were mistakes made everywhere and things we can learn from every aspect of the football game. We came in, didn’t point any fingers. It was everybody’s fault. You can’t point one thing out. If anything, in my opinion, it made us closer, stronger and is something we can learn from and build on.”

» Wenger on if the offensive line got together after the Alabama game to work things out: “Some of us usually go Thursday nights out to eat. It’s not one of those things where we have to get together on our own. We all know. We all were feeling pretty miserable about it and we don’t want that feeling again. We’re doing everything we can to not have that feeling repeat itself. At this point, like I said, we’ve moved on from it. We’re learning from our mistakes and moving forward, taking it one game at a time.”

» Wenger on how defensive lines in the SEC compare with those he played against while at Notre Dame: “Very good. At Notre Dame there was a lot of Big 10 and Big east schools and some Pac-12 schools now I guess, if that’s what they’re calling it. It’s different. I’d probably say just the athletic and talent is higher than what I’ve seen in the past. People will always ask, ‘What was probably the best comparison?’ USC in 2008 when they had [Rey] Maualuga and [Brian] Cushing and those guys was the closest I’ve seen to what the SEC has.”

» Redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed on if it was easier for him to come into games last year: “Probably because I had to learn less things than they have to learn. They have to learn the whole playbook. I had to just learn a few packages last year.”

» Reed on what Driskel brings to the table: “The play is never over with Driskel. He’s real mobile. Just keep running around and hopefully he’ll see you.”

» Reed on Brissett: “I see a lot of good things out of Jacoby. He’s got a real strong arm and he’s really athletic as well. I think he could be a really good player.”

» Reed on how the offense will play without Brantley: “With young quarterbacks, we have to make every play we have a chance to make. Got to keep his confidence up.”

FOUR BITS: Larson faces jail, Starks returns to Steelers, Noah spotted, Hill arrested

1 » Florida Gators redshirt freshman forward Cody Larson may have had his legal matter settled in the state of Florida (he accepted deferred prosecution for his misdemeanor criminal trespassing charges) but how his actions will impact his legal status in South Dakota is another story. According to Keoland.com, Larson’s 120-day suspended jail sentence may be invoked due to him violating the law. “Minnehaha County State’s Attorney Aaron McGowan filed a motion this week asking a Sioux Falls judge to drop the suspended sentence and consider jail time on the prescription drug charges from last year,” the website reports. “A court date has been set for Friday. That’s when it will be up to a judge to decide if Larson serves any or all of those 120 days.”

2 » After nearly three months away from football, former Gators offensive tackle Max Starks has officially been re-signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, the same team that cut him shortly after the lockout ended due to concerns over his weight and status following offseason neck surgery. Starks, a favorite of the front office but reportedly a problem for the coaching staff, returned Wednesday and found his old No. 78 jersey hanging in his locker. “It was good to see everybody and everybody was happy to see me,” he told the Steelers’ website. “It was like old times. There are a lot of old faces and some new faces. It’s comfortable and it’s home. I am happy to be back.” OGGOA spoke with Starks a few weeks ago in an exclusive interview that will be published on the website in the coming days. He hopes to returns to the NFL gridiron as soon as Sunday.

3 » Back in Gainesville, FL working out with fellow former Florida forward Al Horford while the NBA lockout continues, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was caught by TMZ on Tuesday…having some fun in a pool. No, not that kind of fun. If you care to see two pictures of Noah playing beer pong, you can click here.

4 » Former Gators power forward Dametri Hill was arrested on Tuesday for not paying child support and for two previous charges of marijuana possession. According to the St. Petersburg Times, police caught up with Hill at the Tampa International Airport booked him with a warrant for contempt of court. After leaving Florida, Hill played with the San Antonio Spurs for a short time before pursuing professional basketball in seven countries over a 14-year period. He has recently participated in basketball camps as a coach and had hoped to continue living around the game.

Extra BIT » The University of Florida announced Wednesday that the 2012 Orange & Blue Debut spring game will take place on April 7 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. It will be a busy day on campus at UF with a track and field meet, baseball game and softball game also taking place.

Youngblood: “He doesn’t know how crazy I am.”

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

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

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

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

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

OGGOA’s three-part interview with Youngblood covers his college days and professional career while also highlighting some interesting stories and moments in his life. This is part two of that interview. Part three will be published next week.

Part I – Youngblood: A career of life-changing moments

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: You succeeded very quickly when you started in the NFL, just like you did in college. In back-to-back seasons you won the NFC Defensive Player of the Year award, but a pair of Pittsburgh Steelers – Mel Blount and Jack Lambert – took the overall NFL award. I was always curious if you felt a little slighted not getting that honor?
JACK YOUNGBLOOD: “I never looked at those awards as if they were something that you should covet. It’s wonderful to be acknowledged, but that’s not why you played. You played to win ballgames during the regular season and then in the postseason. You’re paid to be the best, was my perspective. My job was to be the best defensive end in the National Football League. That’s what I was paid to do, and that’s what I expected myself to do. All of the trophies, all of the plaques, all of the dinners, all of the acknowledgements were just icing on the cake. Defensive linemen don’t get Players of the Year. Linebackers and defensive backs do because they’re intercepting balls, going back for touchdowns, having 400 tackles in a year, that type of stuff. That’s linebacker stuff. That’s not the working man. [Laughing]”

AS: Let’s talk about your time with the L.A. Rams when, let’s face it, the team had a crazy amount of success. From 1973-79 you won seven-straight NFC West titles, five NFC Championship games and played in a Super Bowl. What was it like to be part of such a dominant organization for such a long period of time?
JY: “There’s no question that it was rewarding to be an integral part of the nucleus of a good franchise. It was a really good football team. It was rewarding and at the same time, because we had got our nose busted on us four times with the door slamming in our face in the championship game. That was humiliating. It was a great experience. I loved my players. We truly had – and this wasn’t just rhetoric – we had a family. We had 12 or 15 guys that, if not once or twice a week we would get 12-15 of the guys together and we’d eat someplace, bring the wives and bring the kids. We had that kind of a close relationship. To be good, to be really good, I believe you have to have trust in your fellow players. That was a big thing that I think we grew to and that became one of the factors integral to how we played as well as we did in the 1970s, especially on defense.”

Read the rest of part one of our interview with Jack Youngblood…after the break!
Continue Reading » Youngblood: “He doesn’t know how crazy I am.”

 Page 468 of 780  « First  ... « 466  467  468  469  470 » ...  Last »