Gators’ rookies continue to roll in preseason

Four weeks of preseason action have now come to a conclusion, and the majority of the Florida Gators‘ 10 rookies have been regularly participating for their respective teams. OGGOA takes a look at how they have been performing thus far with only one more week to go before the 2010-11 NFL regular season begins.

QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos
Game 3 Passing: 5-of-10 for 72 yards, one TD, one INT (14.4 avg., 67.5 QB rating)
Game 2: Did not play – ribs
Game 1 Passing: 8-of-13 for 105 yards (8.1 avg., 87.0 QB rating)
Game 1 Rushing: Two carries for 10 yards, one touchdown

CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns
Game 3 Defense: Five tackles (two solo), one pass defended
Game 3 Kick returning: one attempt for 12 yards
Game 2 Defense: Two tackles (one solo), two passes defended
Game 2 Kick returning: Two attempts for 43 yards (long 28)
Game 1 Defense: Three solo tackles, one pass defended
Game 1 Kick returning: One attempt for 34 yards

C MAURKICE POUNCEY, Pittsburgh Steelers
Game 3: Worked as first-team center
Game 2: Worked as first-team center
Game 1: Worked as first-team guard, second-team center

LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots
Game 3: Did not play – undisclosed
Game 2: Did not play – undisclosed
Game 1: Did not play – concussion

DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals
Game 4 Defense: One tackle (one solo), two QB hits
Game 3 Defense: Four tackles (three solo), one sack, one Gator Chomp
Game 2 Defense: One tackle
Game 1 Defense: Did not play – concussion

LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots
Game 3 Defense: Seven tackles (five solo), one QB hit
Game 2 Defense: Three solo tackles
Game 1 Defense: Eight tackles (three solo) [team-high]

S MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears
Game 3: Did not play – finger
Game 2: Did not play – finger
Game 1 Defense: Seven tackles (six solo)

TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots
Game 3: Did not play – undisclosed
Game 2 Receiving: Four receptions for 46 yards [team-highs], one touchdown
Game 1 Receiving: Three receptions for 26 yards (long 21)
Game 1 Rushing: One carry for six yards

WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles
Game 3 Receiving: Three receptions for 39 yards [T-team highs], one touchdown
Game 2 Receiving: Two receptions for 22 yards
Game 2 Special Teams: Two tackles
Game 1 Receiving: Three receptions for 61 yards (long 46) [team-high]

WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills
Game 3: Two receptions for 34 yards, one touchdown
Game 2: Did not play – ankle
Game 1 Receiving: Five receptions for 47 yards [team-highs], one touchdown

KR BRANDON JAMES, Indianapolis Colts
Game 3 Kick returning: Six attempts for 144 yards (avg. 24, long 34)
Game 3 Punt returning: Two attempts for six yards, one fumble
Game 2 Punt returning: Two attempts for 22 yards (long 19)
Game 1 Kick returning: Four attempts for 99 yards (avg. 24.8, long 28)
Game 1 Punt returning: One attempt for five yards
Game 1 Receiving: One reception for two yards

FOUR BITS: Harvin hopeful, Miami (FL / OH) notes

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Percy Harvin returned to the field Saturday, catching two balls for 30 yards for the Minnesota Vikings. After the game, he told reporters that he was hopeful doctors have finally found what has been causing him severe migraine headaches for most of his life. “I did a test [Friday] night. They found some things that we think is the main cause of it,” Harvin said. “I know we said that a couple times, but I think this time we found what the main cause was. I’m not saying I won’t ever get a headache again, but hopefully we can slow it down a little bit.” He also spoke about the upcoming season. “I’ve got a lot of work to do as far as condition-wise,” he said, “but otherwise, it just felt good to get out there [Saturday] and have something to base my performance off of.”

2 » A new book named The Real U: 2001 to 2010: Inside the Eye of the Hurricane, which may be released in December, will allege that the University of Miami Hurricanes football team is guilty of numerous NCAA violations, according to the Miami Herald. The book is the work of Nevin Shapiro, a Miami booster who is “facing years in prison for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme,” reports the paper. Shapiro, who calls the publication “a tell-all book from the fan and booster perspective,” says it is aimed at making “the average fan aware of what really exists under [the Hurricanes] uniform. They might be great players, but they’re certainly not great people. I’m speaking of no less than 100 former players.” The book appears to be a revenge piece for Shapiro, who feels that players turned their back on him once they became professionals. The Herald lists linebacker Jon Beason, WR Devin Hester, safeties Antrel Rolle and Randy Phillips, and quarterbacks Robert Marve and Kyle Wright specifically as players who were close with Shapiro. Read the Herald’s entire story here.

3 » Interesting note about the Gators’ 2010 season opener: The Miami (OH) RedHawks were scheduled by request of former Florida head coach Ron Zook, who attended the school and hoped to play his alma mater in the future. According to the Palm Beach Post, the contract for the game was finalized in 2004, the year after Miami (OH) had just completed a 13-1 season and just a few months before Zook would be fired. “At the time the game was scheduled, Miami was looked at as a team that was headed in the same direction as Boise State,” head coach Mike Haywood said. “They were accepting all comers at that time. Unfortunately, things changed and took a different course. We’re trying to build it back to where it was at that time.”

4 » Gators sophomore running back Mike Gillislee may be third on the team’s depth chart behind junior Jeff Demps and redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody, but RB coach Stan Drayton believes that he is easily the most powerful of the bunch and will be able to earn snaps this season. “When you’re talking about playing through contact – not necessarily making people miss – but playing through contact, Gillislee is probably the best of my group,” Drayton said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “That’s Mike’s M.O. […] I can see him being used anywhere on the field, including the goal line. He’s not going to be solely a goal line back. He’s got to be a back that’s competitive in all situations for us.”

Photo Credit: Unknown

8/28: Florida Gators 2010 fall scrimmage notes

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators concluded fall practice on Saturday with a scrimmage, and while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

2010-11 SEASON CAPTAINS NAMED

Five Florida football players were voted as captains by their teammates Saturday, according to head coach Urban Meyer. Redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones and seniors safety Ahmad Black, center Mike Pouncey, defensive end Justin Trattou and DE Duke Lemmens were all announced as captains.

OPENING DAY STARTING LINES SET

In addition to naming captains, offensive coordinator Steve Addazio and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin announced their starting lines for the Gators’ home opener against the Miami (OH) RedHawks. On offense, from left to right, are senior Marcus Gilbert (LT), redshirt senior Carl Johnson (LG), Pouncey (C), junior James Wilson (RG), senior Maurice Hurt (RT). Gilbert is moving from RT to LT, Hurt is moving from RG to RT and Wilson is taking over at RG. This became necessary after both first-team LTs, sophomore Xavier Nixon (knee) and redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan (wrist), were ruled out for next Saturday due to their respective injuries.

Defensively, Trattou and Lemmens will start at the ends while redshirt sophomore Omar Hunter and redshirt junior Jaye Howard occupy the tackle positions. Austin did not name a starting middle linebacker or second cornerback.

QUOTES

Meyer on the 2010-11 offense: “It’s going to look different. [...] If you’d asked me in the middle of the summer, I couldn’t tell you. It’s going to look a little different. There are going to be some things we’ve not done, including even when Chris Leak was here. So, there will be some interesting things to look at. We’ve kind of got an idea who the playmakers are on offense. We have a good feel for what we are right now. Steve Addazio has done a really good job.”

Addazio on the 2010-11 offense: “Basically, who we are isn’t going to change. You’ll see these tweaks coming out. You’re going to see more stuff, without a doubt. But our goal here is to always take advantage of the guys we have. Different guys have different talents. That’s where you’ll see the little tweaks. You’ll see change. It’s about getting the ball in the hands of the playmakers, about doing what our players can do great. That’s what we’ve always been about. Fundamentally, that is so locked in. It could come in a two-back under center formation. It could come in a lot of shapes and forms. We’re going to really get that thing spread around.”

Addazio on his excitement about the offensive playmakers: “I just really like what [Chris] Rainey has done right now. He’s electric. We’re got Trey Burton popping around in a lot of different places right now. Omarius Hines, I think he’s really going to have a breakout year. Andre Debose is ready to make an impact. He’s ready to get out there and start to go. He’s a young guy, but he’s electric. He can make plays now. Robert Clark has made a bunch of plays in camp. He’s a tough guy, an athletic, tough guy. You just like him in there.”

Special thanks to The Gainesville Sun for the above quotations.

TWO BITS: Soccer wins again, Leak to start

1 » Moving up two spots after an opening week in which they went 2-0, No. 9 Florida Gators soccer (3-0) remained undefeated after taking down the Florida Atlantic Owls (0-2) 3-0 Friday night at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Redshirt sophomore midfielder McKenzie Barney (4’), junior MF/forward Tahnai Annis (7’) and sophomore F/MF Natalia Torosian (14’) all scored for the Gators within the first 14 minutes, forcing the Owls to concentrate on defense the remainder of the match. Florida looks to continue their winning streak on Sunday against San Diego State at home.

2 » Former Gators quarterback Chris Leak will be making his first CFL start next Friday, filling in for Montreal Alouettes starting quarterback Anthony Calvillo. For the first time in his career, Leak will be able to practice as the team’s starter for a week rather than be thrown into the game in a back-up role. “It’s good. It gives the coaches a chance to tweak things to my strengths and see what things we can do offensively to help us win the game,” Leak said in a media availability. “It’s going to be a fun week and we’re going to work hard and get the game plan in and just go out there and execute.”

Elam, Patton arrested for possession of alcohol

Florida Gators freshmen safety Matt Elam and wide receiver Solomon Patton were each arrested over the summer for possession of alcohol by a minor (person under the age of 21), according to the Miami Herald.

The Herald reports that Elam was “arrested for allegedly possessing a can of carbonated malt liquor in the parking lot of a bank on NW 1st Street in Gainesville,” while Patton was “arrested at Plasma Lounge in downtown Gainesville and charged with a second-degree misdemeanor for allegedly possessing a drink containing vodka.”

Elam pleaded no contest to the charge on July 21 and was ordered to pay a fine of $121-184 by Alachua County court; Patton’s prosecution was deferred on Aug. 18 by request and will likely result in his record being wiped clean after he completes community service.

Though, according to co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Heater, Elam will not be suspended for the Sept. 4 opener against Miami (OH), Patton’s status has yet to be decided. Elam is expected to see significant playing time this season while Patton’s role is that of a back-up.

On June 14, a source close to the team told OGGOA that head coach Urban Meyer and his coaching staff held an emergency meeting with players to inform them that, more than ever, accountability and responsibility were important to the program this offseason. This occurred after redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. was arrested for DUI. The Gators adopted an “if one falls, all fall” mentality that was taught in practical application immediately after the impassioned meeting.

OGGOA will update this story as more information is made available.

Danny Wuerffel to guest blog for ONLY GATORS

With the Florida Gators 2010-11 football season set to begin on Sept. 4, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive is making a concerted effort to provide our readers with additional perspective from someone who has plenty of experience inside the huddle at The Swamp. On Tuesday, former national champion and multiple award-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel agreed to join OGGOA as a guest blogger for the entire month of September.

There are four games scheduled for Florida next month – Sept. 4 vs. Miami (OH), Sept. 11 vs. South Florida, Sept. 18 at Tennessee and Sept. 25 vs. Kentucky – and Wuerffel will be contributing his post-game thoughts and keeping readers abreast about how he thinks the team performed each Monday following the Gators game.

The 1996 winner of the Heisman Trophy, Johnny Unitas Award, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, NCAA QB of the Year Award, Draddy Trophy and Davey O’Brien Award (also 1995), Wuerffel has a unique perspective as a four-year player at Florida who passed for 10,875 yards and 114 touchdowns in his Florida career.

A first-team All-America selection in 1995 and 1996, many of Wuerffel’s numbers remain the best in Southeastern Conference history and the second-best in national history. In 1995, his efficiency of 178.4 set a single-season collegiate record, and in his Heisman year of 1996, his 3,625 yards (SEC record), 39 TDs (led nation, SEC record) and efficiency rating of 170.6 made him the first QB to ever post a rating of 170 or more in back-to-back years. Wuerffel led the Gators in passing in each of his four seasons (1993-96) and still holds Florida records for most career passing touchdowns and most passing touchdowns in a season (in which he also holds second place). In fact, one out of every 9.74 passes Wuerffel threw in his career would be scored for a touchdown.

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, Wuerffel is now the executive director of Desire Street Ministries, which works to revitalize impoverished neighborhoods through spiritual and community development.

Keep a look out for his contributions exclusively here on OGGOA as the season begins!

OGGOA RELATED: Exclusive interview with Danny Wuerffel

SIX BITS: Meyer, Fricke, Murphy, James, Patriots

1 » On the heels of FOX Sports’ piece about Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer on Tuesday comes another from the New York Times’ Pete Thamel, who notes that Meyer has a new perspective on his coaching career these days. In fact, it even led him to discard his Blackberry for a time being in place of an “older model with no Internet connection. He programmed seven numbers in it – for his four immediate family members, his two sisters and his father. No one else knew the number.” His wife, Shelley Meyer, is happy with his progress and health now. “As scary and hard as it was on the family and the team, so much good has come out of it,” she said. “The way he is now, he could go 10 more years.” Even strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti noticed something wrong with Meyer’s weight – by looking at his butt. “When he’d walk, his pants would sag halfway down,” Marotti said. “He looked like one of our players. He completely lost his entire rear end.”

2 » A university spokesperson announced Thursday that senior Florida basketball guard Hudson Fricke has decided to transfer to Milligan College. A walk-on who only played 22 minutes in three years, Fricke’s only points came on four free throws during the 2007-08 season. OGGOA wishes him the best of luck with his new team.

3 » Recapping what coaches learned during Oakland Raiders training camp this offseason, Jerry McDonald of the Contra Costa Times notes that former Gators wide receiver Louis Murphy “is far and away the Raiders’ best and most dangerous receiver” even though he “still drops too many passes for a real level of comfort. Murphy, who caught 34 balls for 521 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie, was the team’s best WR and second-leading pass catcher in 2009-10.

4 » Tough night for former Florida kick returner Brandon James on Thursday. While returning a punt for the Indianapolis Colts, James muffed the catch, allowing the Green Bay to recover the ball in the endzone for a touchdown. Additionally, rookie cornerback Ray Fisher returned a kickoff 58 yards for a TD. With Devin Moore likely to be the team’s primary returner, there is a chance James loses his opportunity with the Colts.

5 » No. 9 Gators soccer (2-0) looks to stay undefeated Friday night as they take on the Florida Atlantic Owls (0-1) at 6 p.m. at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

6 » Conspicuous by their absences Thursday night were New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez and linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, neither of whom participated in the team’s third preseason game. Hernandez missed practice this week with an undisclosed injury, and Cunningham has yet to participate in a single NFL down this season. Both, however, are expected to see major playing time this year. Florida rookie LB Brandon Spikes, who did play, recorded seven tackles (five solo) and a quarterback hit.

Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

08/26: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice notes

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators is in the midst of their third week fall practice and, while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur at Thursday’s press conference courtesy of head coach Urban Meyer. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

There is a ton to read…and you can check it all out by clicking the link below.
Continue Reading » 08/26: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice notes

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