Grading the Florida Gators vs. Kentucky game

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive grades the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Kentucky Wildcats in the fourth game of the 2010-11 season, which took place at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

QUARTERBACKS: A+
Standing on his own, redshirt junior John Brantley had an “A-” performance on Saturday, completing over 68 percent of his passes (24-of-35) for a career-high 248 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Though his 131.81 passer rating was his third-best of the season (due to the turnover), Brantley posted the best performance of his career and was instrumental in the Gators converting 7-of-11 third downs. Of course Brantley’s positive output was overshadowed by freshman Trey Burton, who accounted for six touchdowns on the day. Playing as single wing QB, running back, wide receiver and tight end, Burton rushed for 40 yards and five touchdowns, caught five balls for 37 yards and a touchdown and completed a pass on his only attempt for 42 yards. When you combine Brantley’s significant improvement with Burton’s stellar evening, there is truly no other grade to give his unit.

RUNNING BACKS: B+
After a monster 267-yard performance against South Florida, Florida’s running game came back down to earth against Tennessee. It returned to prominence once again against Kentucky, with all three of the team’s rushers posting good statistics. Junior Jeff Demps (who left the game in the second half with an injured foot) rushed eight times for 57 yards (7.1 average), redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody gained 46 yards on 10 carries (4.6 average) and sophomore Mike Gillislee ran the ball six times for 32 yards (5.3 average). Burton, a QB, scored all of the Gators’ rushing touchdowns, but these backs were instrumental in all six of UF’s scoring drives.

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

Wuerffel’s Words: “Gators’ puzzle is developing”

Through the first week of October, former Florida Gators national championship- and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel will be contributing his post-game thoughts about how the team performed the previous Saturday exclusively here on OGGOA at the beginning of each week.

The 1996 winner of eight football and academic awards, Wuerffel has a unique perspective as a four-year player at Florida who passed for 10,875 yards and 114 touchdowns in his college career. Enshrined in the team’s Ring of Honor in 2006 and set to be immortalized in a statue outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in 2010, he is now the executive director of Desire Street Ministries, which works to revitalize impoverished neighborhoods through spiritual and community development.

Any endeavor, from the simple things to the complex, whether it be folding a paper airplane with your kid or building a new Boeing jet, can be likened to a puzzle. There are multiple parts or steps that have to come together at the right time and in the right manner. Every piece of a puzzle has its place, and every piece is important.

In my opinion, a football team is much like a large and complicated puzzle. Coaches throughout the country work around the clock strategizing how they can fit the pieces that make up their puzzle into the right places. Some teams have bigger pieces, others smaller. Some seem to be faster, others slower. Coaches have tough jobs, and if the pieces don’t look right, they have thousands of fans eager to let them know.

I really like how the Gators’ puzzle is developing this year. While we didn’t start out setting any records and struggled against some subpar teams, I see the pieces of this puzzle coming together nicely.

The defense continues to develop and make big plays, and Johnny Brantley is delivering the ball on-time and accurately (especially on third down, which is instrumental to the team’s success). Additionally, Florida has several talented running backs, and the receivers are developing well, too.

But no matter what they did on the field during those first few weeks, there was a sense that a part of the puzzle was missing, especially when it came to the spread offense.

Well, I think we found it.

Trey Burton adds a dimension to the offense that will help all the other pieces come together. His athleticism and versatility will keep defenses on their heels. I doubt he’ll have many more games with six touchdowns (although that would be great, especially this week against Alabama), but he will be a fun young Gator to watch develop and contribute to the program.

Unfortunately, no football program’s puzzle is ever complete. We will continue to see the Gators grow, which will no doubt include both wonderful and discouraging moments.

I continue to be excited about the direction of this team and am thankful we have a great puzzle master putting it all together: Urban Meyer…the puzzlemeister!

Go Gators,

By joining together people from all walks of life who are interested in redeeming the inner-city, Desire Street Ministries believes that they are bringing together leaders who actually move into the neighborhood, indigenous leaders who already live there, and neighbors who “move in” spiritually through prayer, encouragement and financial support. Please take a moment to visit Desire Street Ministries online or in person and find out how you can help support and/or donate.

9/27: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

Head coach Urban Meyer and a small group of players meet 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.

AILING DEMPS SHOULD PLAY SATURDAY

Junior running back Jeff Demps aggravated a foot injury on Saturday against the Kentucky Wildcats, something that forced him to get X-rays after the game (they were negative). Doctors have diagnosed Demps with a sprained foot and have placed him in a temporary boot so it can heal for a few days before he returns to practice. “[We are] hearing positive things about [Demps returning] later in the week,” Meyer said Monday. “We’ll update you as we go. It’s not broken. It’s not a stress fracture. [The X-ray] came back negative. Now [we] just gotta get him healthy. […] I think we are going to have Demps, so I’d rather not even think that way.”

WEEK FOUR CHAMPIONS

Meyer announced that 24 Florida players graded out as Champions after the Kentucky game, more than double any other game so far this season. Freshman quarterback Trey Burton, redshirt junior QB John Brantley and redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard were singled out as Players of the Week.

Offensively, senior center Mike Pouncey; wide receivers redshirt junior Denote Thompson, redshirt senior Carl Moore and redshirt sophomore Frankie Hammond, Jr.; running backs Demps, redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody and sophomore Mike Gillislee; redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson; redshirt senior left tackle Marcus Gilbert; redshirt senior right guard Maurice Hurt; sophomore right tackle Xavier Nixon; and redshirt freshman G Jon Halapio were honored. Nine players on defense – senior defensive ends Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens; safeties senior Ahmad Black and junior Will Hill; cornerbacks junior Janoris Jenkins and redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown; linebackers redshirt senior A.J. Jones and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins; and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Omar Hunter – shined Saturday.

It appears that there were even more Champions this week, but Meyer said there were too many to name. “There’s too many names on there to get into each one of them,” he said.

Burton was also named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week on Monday for his school-record six touchdown performance. He is the fifth Florida player this year to win a weekly SEC honor and the second to win Freshman of the Week.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 9/27: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

WR Rainey agrees to deferral for misdemeanor

Florida Gators redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey has agreed to deferred prosecution for a misdemeanor stalking charge after originally being charged with a third-degree felony for aggravated stalking, according to Florida Today.

Rainey must adhere to the following terms: six moths probation, no hostile contact with the woman, counseling, performing 10 hours of community service, paying a $50 fine and donating $100 to a domestic abuse center. As long as he fulfills the requirements and obligations presented to him by the court, he will be granted amnesty and the charges will be dismissed in six months’ time as he is a first-time offender.

Indefinitely suspended by the Gators, Rainey may have a renewed hope of returning to the team. A misdemeanor charge and admission by the state of Florida that he may have been overcharged in the first place could help him get back on the field. Nevertheless, head coach Urban Meyer has already ruled him out for Saturday’s game against the No. 1/1 Alabama Crimson Tide.

State attorney Bill Cervone explained the decision and plea agreement:

“Although I believe that probable cause existed for a felony charge because the facts involve an at least arguable threat, which is within the legal definition of felony stalking, the Defendant was never in a position to have acted on that threat and there is little if anything in his actions that night or in his background to suggest that he would have done so.

“Misdemeanor stalking is legally the more appropriate charge when no imminent danger was perceived or can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and the harassing contact, not done in person, occurred in a short, compressed time period. The Victim has in fact essentially stated that she was more annoyed than threatened, and that she did not want an arrest or prosecution, only the resolution of an immediate problem.” […]

“As a result, the case is being re-cast as a misdemeanor stalking offense, which as a matter of law more closely reflects the facts involved. Since the Defendant has no prior criminal history other than an unrelated drivers license charge that was resolved with no conviction, he will be treated as any first offender would in similar circumstances and offered a deferral agreement. The terms of that agreement have been crafted to address the concerns of my office and, if complied with, will allow the Defendant and everyone else involved to move on.”

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 3 recap

With the 2010-11 NFL season now underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 3 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 third week of the season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
LB BRANDON SILER, San Diego Chargers: Five solo tackles, sack, three tackles for loss, two QB hits, safety
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: 12 rec. for 140 yards (targets: 14, long: 26)
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Team-high five receptions for 119 yards (targets: 6, long: 70)

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Three solo tackles
LB ANDRA DAVIS, Buffalo Bills: Six tackles (three solo)
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Two targets, tackle
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals One reception for eight yards (targets: 2)
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Two tackles (one solo), pass defended
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Tackle, QB hit
DE DERRICK HARVEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Solo tackle
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings: Team-high six rec. for 62 yards (targets: 8, long: 24), touchdown; two carries for 13 yards; two kick returns for 41 yards; tackle
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Two tackles (solo/TFL), QB hit
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Team-high six receptions for 65 yards (targets: 7, long: 25), one rush for 13 yards
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Two tackles (one solo)
RB FRED TAYLOR, New England Patriots Six rushes for 16 yards (avg.: 2.7, long: 5)
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots Two tackles (one solo)
DE ALEX BROWN, New Orleans Saints: Five solo tackles, TFL, pass defended
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Target
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers Solo tackle
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Two carries for 13 yards (avg.: 6.5, long: 9), four receptions for 57 yards [team-high] (targets: 4, long: 46)

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
C Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh Steelers), LT Max Starks (Steelers), G Cooper Carlisle (Raiders) — S Reggie Nelson (Bengals), DE Carlos Dunlap (Bengals) DE Jarvis Moss (Broncos), DT Joe Cohen (Detroit Lions), DT Jeremy Mincey (Jaguars), CB Lito Sheppard (Vikings), RB DeShawn Wynn (Saints), QB Rex Grossman (Washington Redskins)

INACTIVES
S Major Wright (Chicago Bears), QB Tim Tebow (Broncos), LB Channing Crowder (Miami Dolphins)

NOTES
- Cunningham started his first NFL game.
- Dunlap was active for his first NFL game.

OGGOA RELATED: Week 1 | Week 2

TWO BITS: soccer, volleyball victorious; Lacroix

1 » No. 7 Florida Gators soccer (8-1-1, 2-0 SEC) continued its hot start over the weekend with a pair of 2-0 road victories against the Kentucky Wildcats (6-3, 0-1 SEC) on Friday and the Vanderbilt Commodores (4-5-1, 0-1-1 SEC) on Sunday. Friday’s contest saw sophomore midfielder/forward Erika Tymrak (47’) and junior MF/F Tahnai Annis (81’) with goals, while freshman F Taylor Travis (14’) and redshirt sophomore MF McKenzie Barney (79’) contributed scores on Sunday. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Katie Franie broke Jordan Kellgren’s (1999-2002) Florida career solo shutouts record with her 22nd on Sunday. The Gators return home for a pair of matches this weekend, facing Mississippi State on Friday and Ole Miss on Sunday.

2 » Also performing well over the weekend was No. 3 Florida volleyball (10-1, 3-0 SEC), which defeated the Ole Miss Rebels (9-4, 3-1 SEC) 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-19) on Sunday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Junior middle-back Cassandra Anderson and sophomore right-side Tangerine Wiggs notched a combined 16 kills and five blocks to lead the Gators. Junior RS/setter Kelly Murphy continued her streak of significantly contributing to her team’s victory with six kills, five digs, two blocks and a team-high 18 assists. Senior outside hitter Callie Rivers added 10 digs and seven kills.

Extra BIT » Florida senior tennis player, No. 9 Alexandre Lacroix, won the 2010 Napa Valley Classic title on Sunday, defeating No. 8 Eric Quigley of Kentucky 10-6 in the final. Lacroix combined to win his three matches 30-15 at earned a USTA wild card for a future event with his victory.

Florida rises in latest USA Today, AP Top 25 polls

For the first time this season, the Florida Gators (4-0, 2-0 SEC) advanced in both the USA Today and Associated Press Top 25 polls. Just one day after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats (3-1, 0-1 SEC) 48-14 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, the Gators 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 three weeks ago, losing 115 points in the process; voters also dropped them two weeks ago to No. 7 (taking away 22 more points) and last week to No. 8 (losing 16 more points). With Texas losing, Florida was promoted back to No. 7 this week, gaining 47 points.

The AP voters had the Gators ranked No. 4 in their preseason poll, but knocked them down four spots after the first week, taking away 172 points from their total. Florida lost 201 more points two weeks ago, falling to No. 10. However, UF rose last week – one spot to No. 9 – gaining eight points in the process. Because Texas lost, the Gators are now listed at No. 7 with an 88-point increase.

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

Last Week 1-10: Alabama (57), Ohio State (2), Boise State, Oregon, TCU, Nebraska, Florida, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, LSU

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

This Week 1-10: Alabama (57), Ohio State (2), Boise State (1), Oregon, TCU, Nebraska, Florida, Oklahoma, Stanford, Auburn

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

Week 4: Gators post-game news and notes

After starting slow for their first three games, the No. 8/9 Florida Gators (4-0, 2-0 SEC) came out of the gates strong Saturday night en route to a dominating 48-14 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats (3-1, 0-1 SEC) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. With so much to discuss, OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes.

TREY-MENDOUS PERFORMANCE

Freshman quarterback Trey Burton was obviously the man of the match for the Gators on Saturday, setting a Florida record for most touchdowns in the game with six. He surpassed Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow’s five touchdown performance against South Carolina in 2007 (Tebow also had two passing scores), and also set a school record for total points by a non-kicker (36). Above all else, Burton proved that the Gators have other weapons besides junior running back Jeff Demps, and his versatility was an important factor in the team’s dominating performance Saturday evening.

“Trey Burton was fantastic. Someone told me he had six touchdowns. Six touchdowns. There’s a lot of great players who have played in this stadium, and I think he broke some record. That’s tremendous,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “I thought he was a good player when we recruited him, a really good player. We had no idea what we had until we figured it out during training camp. Versatility, the intelligence, the competitiveness, those are things you just don’t know until you get your hands on a player.”

DEBOSE GETS SOME THROWS

After barely seeing the field during the first three weeks of the season, redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose made his true debut in impressive fashion during the first quarter on Saturday. On Florida’s first series, he caught a 14-yard pass and a seven-yard pass to help the Gators score their first points in the first quarter all season. He also had catches of seven and eight yards to finish the first quarter with a team-high 36 yards. “It feels really good,” Debose said after the game. “I’ve been practicing really hard this week. That made feel really ready for tonight.”

Meyer noted that Debose’s plays in the first quarter were scripted, which is part of the reason he did not see much action the rest of the game. “That was on purpose. He earned that,” Meyer said of Debose’s touches. “All you gotta do is practice well, and Debose will be nonexistent next week if he doesn’t practice well. Florida may be a little different. You earn your right to get on that field, and he actually earned that right this week during practice. He did a great job. […] No, he wasn’t [practicing well in previous weeks]. It was not because he wasn’t trying; it was just because the multitude – it’s that deer in the headlights look. He really locked in this week, and we simplified some things.”

ENTIRE OFFENSIVE LINE BANGED UP

Anyone who watched the game noticed that, at one time or another, seemingly every starting offensive lineman was down with a lower leg injury. Turns out, every starting offensive lineman did suffer a lower leg injury. “At one point, every one of our linemen either had a sprained ankle or swollen knee, and they battled through it,” Meyer said. “We were close to TKO there, and they fought through it.” None are expected to be limited going into next week’s game at Alabama.

Also of note is the fact that redshirt senior Marcus Gilbert, the team’s right tackle who had been starting at left tackle with sophomore Xavier Nixon out of commission, was moved back to left tackle against Kentucky. Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio made the move to make the line more stable, placing the younger Nixon at right tackle. Chances are, based on the performance of the unit Saturday, this is a permanent decision.

FIRST QUARTER FIRSTS

Coming into Saturday’s game, Florida had not scored a single point in the first quarter in any of its first three contests. As Meyer preached to the media and players during the week, the Gators made it a point to start strong against the Wildcats, putting up a pair of touchdowns in the opening period. Brantley came out throwing, and Debose’s presence provided UF with that extra bit of explosiveness the team has apparently needed.

THREE IS A CHARM FOR THREE FLORIDA DEFENDERS

Senior safety Ahmad Black came into the Kentucky game with three interceptions on the season. It was probably a bit of a surprise for many to see redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown and sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic join him in that club after each picked off Kentucky QB Mike Hartline. Brown returned his for a touchdown, high-stepping into the end zone; though his other two interceptions were also impressive, this one could very well be the most memorable for a player who struggled through back injuries for two years. The Gators lead the nation with 12 interceptions as a team.

INJURIES AND ABSENCES

Demps, after running the ball eight times for 57 yards, left the game at the beginning of the second half with what Meyer believes his a sprained foot. Apparently Demps hurt the same foot last week and aggravated the injury during the game. “Dempsy has a foot that they’re taking a look at. He hurt it last week, we’re hoping it’s just a sprained foot,” Meyer said. The Miami Herald reports that Demps had an X-ray on his foot last night, most likely to make sure it was not broken or fractured.

Redshirt senior defensive tackles Lawrence Marsh (stitches, hamstring) and Brandon Antwine (shoulder) also missed the Kentucky game, but Meyer was confident that both would be back in action at Alabama next Saturday. Freshman defensive lineman Dominique Easley (foot, funeral) missed a bunch of practice this week; whether or not he will be ready for the following game is up in the air.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Week 4: Gators post-game news and notes

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