10/4: Weis on Brantley, Murphy, Brissett, Debose

As the No. 17/18 Florida Gators prepare for their biggest road test of the 2011 season on Oct. 8 against the No. 1/2 LSU Tigers, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis met with the media on Tuesday to discuss Saturday’s loss and the upcoming contest.


All week leading up to Saturday’s contest against the Alabama Crimson Tide, redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley‘s teammates kept saying how impressed they were with their leader’s confidence and poise. Brantley showcased just that during the game, opening the contest with a 65-yard touchdown pass and completing 69 percent of his passes for 190 yards through just two quarters before being injured. Weis said Tuesday that he was as impressed as he has ever been with Brantley during the game.

“With the exception of the interception where he didn’t ever see the guy – he was trying to throw the check-down to Trey [Burton] and should not have thrown it because he couldn’t really see Trey either. Think about it, he throws 16 passes, he completes 11 and he has three dropped balls,” he said. “You think about it: 14/16 against that defense? He’s stepping up in the pocket. That’s what real quarterbacks look like. Stepping up in the pocket, shuffling a little to the left, shuffling a little to the right. Making the big throw down the field that everyone said he couldn’t make. Stepping up and making the crossing route to Deonte [Thompson]denote which was his fourth read of the play. He goes boom – boom – boom and hits them out the back door.

“He would like to have that interception back, but you notice the one thing I liked the most about him was when that happened, I said three words to him when he came off the field: “Short term memory.” He came back, we went on that two-minute drive right at the end and got the ball down to the 14-yard-line before we got back-to-back sacks. It never fazed him. [He] never lost his cool. I look into peoples eyes. It was pretty easy to see that he expected to play a good game. That’s why it was unfortunate that he got injured.”


Weis also discussed Florida’s two other quarterbacks on Tuesday, noting that each can play and has the opportunity to win the starting job this week.

Redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy: “His biggest asset over those other guys is just a year of experience. Having been involved in the college football program for a year, be it a different offense, gives him a little bit of an upper hand.”

Freshman Jacoby Brissett: “Jacoby probably, the only reason why Jacoby hasn’t been a factor at this point is only because he came here in the summertime. He had to play catch-up over the other guys. The other guys were here in the spring when we put everything in. That’s the only thing that kept Jacoby from possibly being the second guy in. I don’t know how it would have played out if he was here in the springtime with the other guys, but he wasn’t.”

He also addressed whether or not specific thought has been given to redshirting Brissett (or even Driskel before the season began). “Although the thought is in the background, it’s too early in the year to do that. Once Jeff played, you don’t want to put Jacoby in just to hand off. But if Jacoby gives us a chance to win this week, Jacoby will gladly play. He would be more than happy to trot out there for the first time.”


» On if he thinks Brantley will play again this season: “Yeah, I do. You already were told by the head coach that he’ll let you know on Monday. He’s going to let you know on Monday, right? Isn’t that what he said/ He said, “I’ll let you know on Monday,” so the head coach will let you know on Monday.”

» On if he has had to rebuild the offense’s confidence this week: “Our coaching staff, at least the veteran coaches on our staff, have all been through experiences like this before, and we got a good idea how to handle it. It’s not like panic sets in, pandemonium sets in, it’s very matter-of-fact evaluation of what we do and what they do. It’s not a finger-point situation. Let’s be objective about the things that we could have done better and then here’s what we’re going to do to fix it and let’s move on. I don’t think there was any panic or any loss of confidence or all those things. I think that when you have a bunch of experienced guys who have been through the highs and lows, it becomes much more matter-of-fact.”

» On losing to Alabama: “They coached better than I did and they played better than we did. Not ever would I ever not start with the fact that I have to do a better job. When John goes down, I have to do a better job to put us in a better position to make plays.”

» On his evaluation of LSU: “We know it’s a formidable opponent. They’re ranked first in the country. They’ve got a great defense. You’re playing them on the road. It’s loud and you’re playing without your starting quarterback. What that does is, that gives you all the, “us against the world” mentality where you sit there and say, “Yeah, I guess we should just not go. We should just stay home this week.’”

» On if all three quarterbacks could play Saturday: “I would doubt that.”

» On if Driskel did indeed sprain his ankle on Saturday: “All three guys practiced today. What more do you want me to tell you? I’m not going there. It’s just not my territory. I feel I’m overstepping my bounds when I address that subject. I should always follow protocol and I just don’t think that’s my place.”

» On redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose stepping up recently: “The arrow has been pointing up on Andre for about a month. He’s been a very, very slow start – didn’t have a great training camp. He’s got tons of ability, an ability to be a front-line, top-line wide receiver. But he’s got to show you evidence of that. You don’t just go by reputation. They have to show you evidence. That’s part of the good thing that Will’s done since he’s been here. People don’t play based off of reputation; they have to give you evidence. For about the last four weeks…for him, the arrow’s clearly pointing up.”

» On if any changes will be made to the offensive line: “They have to get pressed more and not feel comfortable. With guys that play better or worse, they need to know that they’re not just handed a position. It’s still the same cast of characters that is involved in the mix. […] It’s not a question of who the people are, it’s just a question of how you intend to utilize them.”

FOUR BITS: Young, Jaeckel, cheer, Jenkins

1 » Florida Gators sophomore forward/center Patric Young, one of the most important pieces to the team’s 2011-12 season, was named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list on Monday. The Wooden Award is presented each year to the nation’s most outstanding college basketball player and is awarded after the postseason has concluded. Every player in the nation is eligible to win except freshmen, medical redshirts and transfers. Young is one of seven players representing the Southeastern Conference on the watch list and the only one from Florida.

2 » Gators senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel picked up a pair of prestigious weekly honors after standout performances over the weekend. Jaeckel was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday and was honored with the AVCA National Player of the Week award just one day later. Over the course of two road games against Auburn and Georgia, Jaeckel totaled 29 kills, 12 blocks, four digs and two service aces. Florida swept both opponents 3-0 and is now 11-3 with a 4-1 record in SEC competition so far this season.

3 » UF cheerleader Tarin Moses wrote a Sideline Report blog for AmericanCheerleaders.com, which takes readers through a day in the life of a member of the Gators’ spirit squad before, during and after a big contest at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Though the majority of Florida fans already know of the traditions Moses writes about, the entry is an interesting look at the game from her perspective.

4 » Former Gators cornerback Janoris Jenkins, playing his final collegiate season with the North Alabama Lions after transferring due to multiple rules violations, was named the Gulf Coast Conference Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday because he had an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown and a blocked field goal during his team’s game on Saturday. It was Jenkins’s third touchdown of the season (punt return, fumble return), and he is also third on North Alabama with 33 tackles through five games. The Lions have started the 2011 season 5-0.

Extra BIT » Offensive tackle Max Starks has not played a game in the NFL this season after being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers when the lockout ended this summer. Due to a massive amount of injuries and an intense need for a player who knows the system, Pittsburgh flew Starks in to work out for the team on Tuesday, NFL.com‘s Jason LaCanfora reports. Starks was originally cut by the Steelers due to weight issues and concerns stemming from offseason neck surgery. When asked last week if Starks was an option to return, head coach Mike Tomlin flat-out said no.

10/4: Debose’s maturity and confidence in Driskel

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 Tuesday 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.


Redshirt sophomore Andre Debose on Saturday made his most significant contribution from the wide receiver position to date, catching two passes and taking the first play 65 yards for a touchdown. Debose was pleased with his play after the contest, noting Tuesday that it was “definitely a nice feeling to be involved in the offense.”

Asked what changed this week, Debose explained, “Coaches always [said] it was pretty much my practicing and my practicing habits, me being consistent in practice and showing the coaches that I can compete at a competitive level on Saturday.”

He also feels like he can be consistent game-in and game-out as long as he continues to get chances to prove himself. “I definitely will be getting my opportunities and that’s all I’ve been asking for – the opportunity to make plays,” Debose said. He also hopes to go back to returning kickoffs as soon as possible. “Coach always preaches that if you don’t practice you don’t play. I didn’t practice the kick return position so I didn’t play it. I’m trying to get back there as soon as I can,” he said.


Considering redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley has been ruled out for Saturday’s game, freshman Jeff Driskel is by far the most likely player to take his spot in the huddle. In addition to Driskel himself needing to get his head in the game and mature quickly, the support of his teammates is going to be important going forward.

If comments that Debose and redshirt sophomore guard Jon Halapio made on Tuesday are any indication, Driskel is not lacking in that department. “We have the ultimate confidence in Driskel. I feel like he can get the job done,” Deobse said. “His whole attitude has changed since the time he has been here until this point. He’s a whole different person. He let us know that he doesn’t consider himself a freshman.”

Though Debose said that redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy and freshman Jacoby Brissett are also getting reps in practice, he thinks Driskel brings something special to the table. “He has a strong arm, and when things are going bad, he can always get away with his legs. That’s one thing he can bring to the offense that Johnny B couldn’t,” he said. “He can keep a lot of plays alive a lot longer, so the scramble rules play into effect.”

Halapio said Driskel is “confident in the huddle” and though “he’s young, he’ll get it right this week.” He continued, “Obviously he’s a young quarterback, but I have full faith in him and we fully support whoever will be playing that quarterback position on Saturday.”


» Debose on how hurt he was two weeks ago: “I had sprung [sprained] my ankle, and I feel like I’m 100 percent now. It was pretty bad. I couldn’t walk for a while. With our training staff, they helped me get back as fast as possible. It was pretty bad. I was walking on crutches after the game and had a boot for a couple days after that. I was just determined to get back.”

» Debose on why the offense struggled moving the ball against Alabama: “We really couldn’t get a run game started. That had a lot to do with it. Once you’re one-dimensional, the defense can kind of pin your ears back and it’s kind of hard.”

» Debose on how he gets along with redshirt freshman WR Quinton Dunbar: “Our relationship is great. I’m always pushing him and he’s always pushing me. When he was on the field, I just always tried to tell him little advice on what he can do to get better. He does the same for me. It’s a friendly competition. We’re never putting each other down or anything like that.”

» Debose on how the team can be more successful this week: “I would definitely say we have to get our run game started. Our whole offense is kind of based on our run game. Once we get our run game started, I feel like our team will open up.”

» Redshirt freshman tackle Chaz Green on the team’s performance vs. Alabama: “We obviously struggled and need to do better. Everybody will take that upon himself to get better. We got to do better on protection of course. We don’t like to give up any sacks. That’s something that we pride ourselves on. We got to get better in that area and we got to get better in our run blocking.”

» Green on the offensive line not creating holes to run the ball: “It was rough because that’s what we pride ourselves on. It was rough but, like I said, we just got to look at film and correct it. We got to make sure we correct our technique and make sure we get it back to where it [was].”

» Halapio on not playing well against Alabama: “We feel like it’s just motivation. We’re going to go out there and play to our best abilities. It’s motivation for this week to get better, go up to Louisiana and handle [our] business.”

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 4

With the 2011 NFL season officially underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 4 action, many of whom had an impact on their team’s performance. OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Gators accomplished during the fourth week of the 2011 campaign.

WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings Five receptions for 42 yards (targets: 7, long: 22), four rushes for 67 yards (long: 20), kick return for 25 yards


LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Two tackles (one solo)
LB ANDRA DAVIS, Buffalo Bills: Three tackles (one solo)
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Two receptions for 18 yards (targets: 3, long: 12)
FS MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Six tackles (five solo)
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Two receptions for 17 yards (targets: 5, long: 9), solo tackle
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Two tackles, pass defense, QB hit
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Seven tackles (five solo), pass defense
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Solo tackle, two pass defenses
DE DERRICK HARVEY, Denver Broncos: Two tackles (one solo)
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: Rush for -1 yard
DE JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Three solo tackles (one for loss)
C MIKE POUNCEY*, Miami Dolphins: Played as a starter
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Played as a reserve
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Six tackles (three solo)
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Solo tackle, QB hit
G COOPER CARLISLE, Oakland Raiders: Played as a starter
DE JARVIS MOSS, Oakland Raiders: Solo tackle for loss, QB hit
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Played as a reserve/on special teams
P CHAS HENRY*, Philadelphia Eagles: Two punts for 87 yards (long: 45)
C MAURKICE POUNCEY, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
OT MARCUS GILBERT*, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Tackle, half-sack
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Three receptions for 27 yards (targets: 6, long: 11), two rushes for 24 yards (long: 20)
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Washington Redskins: Four receptions for 62 yards [team-highs] (long: 20)
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: 15/29 for 143 yards, touchdown, two interceptions (QB Rating: 48.5), five rushes for two yards

DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Pectoral
LB BRANDON SILER, Kansas City Chiefs: Torn achilles (season)
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: MCL
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Sports hernia

– Wright returned to action this week after suffering a concussion.
– Haden sprained his knee during game action.
– Mike Pouncey was injured against San Diego but returned to the game.
– Warren was signed by New England this week.
– Tight end Cornelius Ingram was released off the Detroit Lions’ practice squad.

DE Justin Trattou* (New York Giants), SS Ahmad Black* (Tampa Bay), OG Maurice Hurt* (Washington)

DE Alex Brown, DE Bobby McCray, CB Lito Sheppard, OT Max Starks

* Rookie

2011 WEEK: 1 | 2 | 3

Gators DT Dominique Easley accused of attacking former Crimson Tide CB Reggie Myles

Updated Oct. 4 at 5 p.m.

Florida Gators sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley has been accused by former Alabama Crimson Tide cornerback Reggie Myles of attacking him outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday evening following Florida’s 38-10 loss to Alabama.

According to the Tuscaloosa News, Myles “filed a complaint with the University of Florida Police Department” alleging that, unprovoked, Easley “tackled [him] from behind…on a walkway outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium shortly after midnight.”

The paper reports that Myles was able to identify his alleged attacker as Easley because a cell phone was dropped at the scene that he took into his possession and handed over to police. “[Easley’s] parents were asking me for the phone back,” Myles told the paper, explaining that is how he determined to whom it belonged.

Myles himself was detained following the incident for public intoxication and criminal mischief due to his actions and behavior following the alleged attack. His lawyer expects those charges to be dropped.

The University Police Department had not identified Easley as the attacker as of Monday, but Sgt. Steve Wilder and Maj. Brad Barber told the Tuscaloosa News and The Gaiensville Sun respectively that an investigation is ongoing.

The Sun reported Tuesday that the UPD has been unable to speak with Easley in order to get his side of the story because the player’s attorney, Huntley Johnson, declined an interview on behalf of his client.

Barber also told the Sun that the UPD “will continue the investigation with the information we have at this time,” which does not include any surveillance videos as none are believed to be available at this time.

He added that the investigation will likely conclude soon, and the Sun said the UPD is looking into whether or not “Myles’s behavior might have contributed to the incident.”

10/3: Will Muschamp’s Monday press conference

Head coach Will Muschamp meet with the media each Monday to wrap-up the previous Saturday’s game and look ahead to the Florida Gators next opponent. Below are some of the most important notes and quotes from the availability.


Muschamp began by discussing Florida’s flaws after a lackluster performance.

“Obviously I’m disappointed at the outcome of the Alabama game and I think it all starts with me,” he said. “We need to do a better job of coaching and player. It’s a line of scrimmage game and that was really the story of the game. We were dominated up front on both lines of scrimmage. Our inability to run the ball consistently in the game – when you become a one-dimensional team against them, it’s tough. And defensively [we need to improve] stopping the run, playing blocks up front, leveraging the ball and tackling.”

He also touched on a few positives.

“First half we moved the ball extremely well throwing the football,” he said. “John [Brantley] was completing over 70 percent of his passes and really played well on third down. John Brantley played an outstanding football game. It was unfortunate with his injury. We started the game fast defensively, came out in the second half and had some good stops. Settled down a little bit and played a little better technique as far as upfront playing blocks.”

Finally, he talked about what the LSU Tigers bring to the table.

“They’ve got a balanced football team,” Muschamp said. “Offensively they run the ball extremely well. They’re big up front. Spencer Ware and Mike Ford are two outstanding backs. They throw the ball well down the field. Jarrett Lee has played really well for them to this point. Getting Jordan Jefferson back, a guy that has won a lot of football games for them, does give them a different wrinkle offensively. Very talented at the wideout position, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.

“Defensively very good up front. Tyrann Mathieu is a guy, No. 7, who shows up an awful lot on film as far as his playmaking abilities. He’s an outstanding player. Got a lot of respect for John Chavis, their defensive coordinator. A lot of guys up front that can play. They do a nice job with their defensive line and rotating their guys. Special teams they’re top 15 in the country in net punting and they’ve got some very talented returners.

“Again, we’ve got our work cut out for us. But again, I think it’s a great opportunity for our football team. I told the team this morning, ‘Football is a tough deal. If you don’t’ play as well as you’ve liked to play, you got to wait a week to play. It’s not like basketball where you go out and play the next night. You got to get that taste out of your mouth. There’s no better opportunity than going to Baton Rouge and playing LSU.”


Redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee) is out again this week, and Brantley will also miss the LSU game as expected. [More on Brantley’s injury and status here.] Freshman safety De’Ante Saunders, who was suspended for Saturday’s game due to a violation of team rules, will be available to play but will not necessarily get his starting job back right away. “We’ll work through the week and see who practices the best and gives us the best opportunity to be successful,” Muschamp said of Saunders.


In order for freshman QB Jeff Driskel to step in and be successful while replacing Brantley, Muschamp indicated Monday that the entire team (not just the offense) is going to have to take their game to another level. “We got to pick it up around him,” he said. “We got to play better up front. We got to play better at wideout. We got to play better at tight end. We got to play better on defense. We got to do a better job on special teams in creating some momentum and controlling the field position. It’s not a one-man deal. It’s a collective deal around him as a football team.”

He also said that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis would work with Driskel this week to figure out exactly what he’s best at and scale down the playbook to better suit his skill set. “More than anything, you do what he can do and you do what he does well,” Muschamp said. “That’s what Charlie will do. We’ve talked about it this morning as far as how we’ll approach the game. There’s no question that you hit it with the mindset of doing the things he feels comfortable with. It’s no different than we did with John.”


» On junior linebacker Jon Bostic losing his cool during the game: “It’s not something that we’re going to have at the University of Florida and Jon understands that. Jon’s a good football player and a great young man. There are times that we lose our composure and our poise a little bit. We got to be able to maintain that.”

» On junior S Josh Evans taking some bad angles during the game: “We need to leverage the ball better. There’s no question about that. When the ball hits the second level, we need to get it on the ground.”

» On how the offensive line can improve its protection: “Movement up front as far as just gaining some movement so you can positively get the ball down the field. We were throwing the ball extremely well, so we kind of went with what was working at the time, and that was throwing the football. We threw for close to 200 yards in the first half and John was completing 70 percent of his passes.”

» On senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard coming in for extra film work on Sunday: “We have a lot of guys that come in on Sunday. That’s the day off for them.”

Muschamp rules QB Brantley out against LSU

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp, at the start of his weekly press conference on Monday, ruled out redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley for Saturday’s road game at the No. 1/2 LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, LA.

Brantley, who injured his lower right leg against the Alabama Crimson Tide late in the second quarter last Saturday and did not return to the game, has reportedly been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain but no further information (such as severity and timetable for return) has been made available.

Brantley has has started every game for Florida since Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow graduated in 2009 but will likely be replaced by freshman QB Jeff Driskel on Saturday. Driskel will be the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Gators since Chris Leak (vs. Kentucky, 2003) if he continues to beat out redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy and freshman Jacoby Brissett during practice this week.

“Jeff is a very mature young man,” Muschamp said of the team’s back-up. “He’s a guy that went through spring with us. He’s an outstanding athlete and an outstanding quarterback. He’s got legs and he can run. He’s a guy that can give you some variety as far as escape in the pocket, evading the rush. That’s a positive.”

Muschamp provided few details about Brantley’s injury on Monday, saying simply that the player hurt his lower leg and that surgery has been ruled out. He promised to update Brantley’s status each Monday, indicating that the injury will keep him out multiple weeks.

“John’s disappointed. He’s playing very well. He really threw the ball extremely well against a really good football team,” Muschamp said. “He’s disappointed and it hurts for him, but it’s time to pick up the other guy. And that’s what our team will do.”

Driskel is 7/16 for 73 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions this season.

Brantley’s status iffy at best for LSU game

Florida Gators redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley, who injured his right leg against the Alabama Crimson Tide late in the second quarter on Saturday and did not return to the game, has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain according to three separate reports from ESPN, the Palm Beach Post and InsidetheGators.com (sub. req.).

Brantley has started every game for Florida since Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow graduated in 2009 and did not miss a single start in 2010 even though he was injured during the year and had his quarterbacking duties split three ways throughout the second half of the season.

The difference between a normal sprained ankle and a high ankle sprain is that the latter consists of torn ligaments in the lower leg (between the tibia and fibula) rather than in the ankle itself. It is typically more severe than a regular sprained ankle (even grade three sprains) and usually takes an extended period of time to fully heal.

Head coach Will Muschamp did not provide much comment about Brantley’s injury after Saturday’s game but promised to provide an update on Monday when he holds his weekly press conference.

Seeing as the Gators have kept most of the players’ injuries close to the vest this season, Muschamp may or may not provide a completely clear picture as to Brantley’s injury and expected recovery period.

Should Brantley be unable to go Saturday, freshman QB Jeff Driskel will make his first start against the No. 1/2 LSU Tigers on Saturday in Baton Rouge, LA. Driskel is 7/16 for 73 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions so far this season.

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