Florida honored by media in preseason SEC poll

The Florida Gators were predicted by members of the media on Monday to win the 2011 Southeastern Conference Championship in men’s basketball.

Florida earned eight first-place votes for the overall title and 13 first-place votes for the East division crown. Mississippi State, which received 18 votes to win the West, followed them in championship polling with three votes. Kentucky was tabbed as second in the East with three votes.

The Gators return all five starters from a year ago and have significantly beefed up their bench with a young but talented freshman class. The media elected two starters, senior forward Chandler Parsons and sophomore guard Kenny Boynton, to the preseason All-SEC second team. Boynton was named SEC Freshman of the Year last season.

Grading the Florida Gators vs. Miss. State 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. With basketball beginning practice last week and so much to discuss following the game, we unfortunately had to skip over our grades for the LSU Tigers game. However, this week, we are back with grades as we take a look at how the Gators fared against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the seventh game of the 2010-11 season, which took place on homecoming at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.
Continue Reading » Grading the Florida Gators vs. Miss. State game

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 6 recap

With the 2010-11 NFL season now underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 6 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 sixth week of the season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: Six carries for 23 yards, touchdown (long: 6)
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings: Three receptions for 21 yards, two rushes for 18 yards, 95-yard kickoff return touchdown (total: three returns for 134 yards)
DEFENSE
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: 16 tackles (10 solo)
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Two solo tackles, interception (62-yard return)

Videos of Tebow, Harvin and Haden’s plays available by clicking here.

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Five tackles (four solo, TFL), pass def.
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: Team-high six rec. for 81 yards (long: 27)
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Two solo tackles, sack
LB CHANNING CROWDER, Miami Dolphins: Three solo tackles
CB LITO SHEPPARD, Minnesota Vikings: Beat for three touchdowns
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Six tackles (four solo), sack
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Four receptions for 61 yards (targets: 6, long: 30), one rush for 18 yards
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Three tackles (two solo)
DE ALEX BROWN, New Orleans Saints: Two solo tackles
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Reception for four yards, carry for 43 yards
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Tackle
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Target

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
DE Derrick Harvey [solo tackle], DT Jeremy Mincey (Jacksonville Jaguars)

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
C Maurkice Pouncey, LT Max Starks (Pittsburgh Steelers); G Cooper Carlisle (Raiders) – DE Jarvis Moss (Broncos), DT Joe Cohen (Detroit Lions), CB Lito Sheppard (Vikings) WR Riley Cooper (Philadelphia Eagles), RB Fred Taylor (Patriots), LB Brandon Siler (San Diego Chargers), QB Rex Grossman (Washington Redskins)

BYE WEEK
LB Andra Davis, WR David Nelson (Buffalo Bills); WR Andre Caldwell, S Reggie Nelson, DE Carlos Dunlap (Cincinnati Bengals)

INACTIVES
S Major Wright (Chicago Bears)

NOTES
– Tebow recorded his first NFL touchdown.
– Haden recorded his first NFL interception.
– Harvin recorded his third NFL kick return in two seasons.
– Crowder saw his first action this season after sitting out first four games (groin).
– Sheppard was beat for three touchdowns.

OGGOA RELATED: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

TWO BITS: Wise wins No. 700, soccer triumphs

1 » No. 1/1 Florida Gators volleyball (15-1, 9-0 SEC) won its 11th straight match on Sunday while also earning head coach Mary Wise her milestone 700th career win with yet another dominating victory in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. In fact, volleyball won twice at home over the weekend, defeating the Auburn Tigers 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-22) on Friday and the Georgia Bulldogs 3-1 (19-25, 25-20, 25-19) on Sunday. Junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy reached a feat of her own on Friday, becoming the 29th player in program history to amass 1,000 points. She recorded her nation-high fifth triple-double of the season on Friday and performed in dominating fashion once again on Sunday. Combined she posted 26 kills, 43 assists and 19 digs in the two matches. Wise’s career record now stands at 700-131; she is the 16th coach in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball history to reach the milestone and has won 18 Southeastern Conference Championships while also coaching teams to 18 NCAA Regional Semifinal berths and seven Final Four appearances.

2 » Hoping to rebound from only their second tie and loss of the season last week, No. 13 Florida soccer (12-2-2, 6-1-1 SEC) also had a thrilling weekend, winning a pair of matches at home in Gainesville, FL. On Friday the Gators defeated the Tennessee Volunteers (7-7-1, 4-2-1 SEC) 4-2, while on Sunday Florida took down No. 21 Georgia (9-3-4, 4-1-3 SEC) 2-1 in overtime. Junior midfielder/forward Tahnai Annis (27’, 53’) and junior F Lindsay Thompson (29’, 32’) each posted a pair of goals for UF on Friday with sophomore MF/F Erika Tymrak (82’, 97’) running the entire offensive show on Sunday. The Gators only have three more regular season matches this season before the 2010 SEC Tournament begins on Nov. 3 in Orange Beach, AL.

Photo Credit: Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun

Tebow, Harvin, Haden make big plays Sunday

Though OGGOA will still be posting our Florida Gators in the NFL week six recap on Monday, we wanted to take a moment to showcase the performances of three players in particular who made big plays for their respective teams on Sunday.

» Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow scoring his first career touchdown:

» Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin with his third career return TD:

» Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden with his first career interception:

Third-straight loss drops Florida out of polls

Defeated for the third-straight week, this time to an unranked opponent, the Florida Gators (4-3, 2-3 SEC) become unranked themselves, falling out of both the USA Today and Associated Press Top 25 polls. Florida lost to the Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-2, 2-2 SEC) 10-7 on Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

The Gators are out of the top 25 for the first time under head coach Urban Meyer. No. 22, where Florida was ranked in both polls last week, was the lowest the team had been listed during Meyer’s tenure.

WeekResultBCSUSA TodayAssociated Press
Preseason--No. 10 (930)No. 10 (894)
2W 24-6 vs. Toledo-No. 9 (974)No. 12 (875)
3L 16-21 at Miami-No. 20 (410)No. 18 (405)
4Open-No. 18 (398)No. 19 (412)
5W 31-17 vs. Tennessee-No. 19 (449)No. 20 (414)
6W 24-7 at Kentucky-No. 19 (515)No. 18 (481)
7W 30-10 vs. Arkansas-No. 17 (574)No. 17 (536)
8L 6-17 at LSU-No. 22 (240)No. 22 (249)
9L 17-36 at Missouri-NR (4)NR (17)

USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Ohio State (49), Oregon (6), Boise State (1), Nebraska (2), TCU (1), Oklahoma, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Utah, Michigan State, South Carolina, Arkansas, Iowa, Stanford, Wisconsin, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Air Force, Michigan, West Virginia

This Week 1-25: Oregon (42), Boise State (11), Oklahoma (4), TCU (1), Auburn (1), LSU, Alabama, Michigan State, Utah, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Florida State, Arizona, West Virginia, South Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Miami (FL)

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Ohio State (34), Oregon (15), Boise State (8), TCU (1), Nebraska, Oklahoma (2), Auburn, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, Utah, Arkansas, Michigan State, Stanford, Iowa, Florida State, Arizona, Wisconsin, Nevada, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Florida, Air Force, Oregon State, West Virginia

This Week 1-25: Oregon, Boise State, Oklahoma, TCU, Auburn, LSU, Alabama, Michigan State, Utah, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Stanford, Iowa, Arizona, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Missouri, South Carolina, West Virginia, Arkansas, Texas, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Miami (FL)

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

Week 7: Gators post-game news and notes

The No. 22/22 Florida Gators (4-3, 2-3 SEC) lost their third-straight game on Saturday, falling 10-7 to the Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-2, 2-2 SEC) on homecoming at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. With so much to discuss, OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes following the contest.

“WE’RE NOT VERY GOOD RIGHT NOW”

A handful of times in his post-game press conference, head coach Urban Meyer uttered the above phrase, and based on Florida’s performance over the last three contests it is quite obvious that sentiment is true. For the Gators, it all starts with health and execution, two things the team has been severely lacking lately.

“Obviously we got to get a lot better, Meyer said. “When you’re dealing with health issues, that’s part of it. We are going to have a chance to reflect a little bit here on the bye week and make some adjustments.” His biggest disappointment right now? “Finding a way to win a game. We’ve won a lot of games around here as guys made a play here, made a play there. You find a way to win a game. If you look back there’s been some big time wins around here where guys stepped up and made a play. We just have to do that. Right now we’re not.”

INJURED RUNNING BACKS SPELL DOOM FROM GET-GO

Prior to kickoff, Meyer was told “we were going to be without a tailback” by the training staff. That is one of the reasons Florida spread the ball five-wide to start the game and attempted to run the offense through the air rather than on the ground. “We were going to come out throwing, it just wasn’t real successful at it so we had to find ways to create movement, move the ball,” he said.

That proved to be difficult for the Gators as some of the running backs, who may not have been playing in different circumstances, got injured again as the game went on. “We were down to zero backs at one point today,” Meyer said. “[Junior starter Jeff] Demps came out, [redshirt senior Emmanuel] Moody had a thigh strain, [sophomore Mike Gillislee] had a sprained ankle. I thought there were some guys who made some spark plug plays like [freshman quarterback] Trey [Burton] and [sophomore wide receiver] Omarius Hines.”

“We even ran Omarius on a couple counter plays because it’s tough to get the run game going. We had a couple direct snaps to [Burton]. Even on third downs because we were misfiring a little bit too. I thought [Burton] provided a spark and he’s one of our only runners. [...] Omarius is a good runner. Barebones now.”

DEFENSE CAN’T STOP THE RUN

Mississippi State was successful in milking the clock in the second half by running the ball on 27 of 28 plays in that period with their one non-run being a shovel pass. An astounding 26 of those 27 runs gained positive yardage. In fact, on their final offensive possession, the Bulldogs wasted almost six minutes of precious playing time before punting the ball and leaving Florida on their own four with just two minutes remaining.

After the game Meyer noted that MSU succeeded by always being plus-one (having an extra blocker) and chipping away a few yards at a time – something UF used to do routinely when they had a power rushing quarterback and strong offensive line.

INJURIES CONTINUE TO PILE UP

In a game Florida entered with apparently no healthy running backs and plenty of other injuries, the Gators had four more players hurt – three early on in the contest. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose went down with an ankle sprain on a kickoff return, redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins suffered a concussion while playing defense and redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard also hurt his ankle at some point in the first half. UF even lost their kickoff specialist during the game.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Week 7: Gators post-game news and notes

Gators run over by Bulldogs, drop third straight

The No. 22/22 Florida Gators (4-3, 2-3 SEC) missed a game-tying 42-yard field goal with only seconds remaining to lose their third straight game for the first time since 1999 as the Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-2, 2-2 SEC) defeated them 10-7 Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

Florida’s loss was its first to Mississippi State at home since 1965 and its first defeat on homecoming in 22 years. It also marked the first time the Gators lost three regular season games since 1988. UF will be unranked when the new top 25 polls are released on Sunday for the first time under head coach Urban Meyer.

The Bulldogs’ win Saturday was a marquee victory for head coach Dan Mullen; it also gave Mississippi State its first four-game winning streak since 1999 (8-0).

After three consecutive three-and-outs to start the game, MSU took over from their own 32. They brought the ball downfield with a 30-yard pass completion from quarterback Chris Relf to wide receiver Chad Bumphis and a subsequent 16-yard gain up the middle on a keeper by Relf. Four plays later, the Bulldogs put the first points on the board with a 31-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

The Gators responded by moving the ball down the field with a few short passes and a 14-yard run by sophomore running back Mike Gillislee. Faced with 4th and 5 on Mississippi State’s 34, redshirt junior QB John Brantley threw an interception to cornerback Jonathan Banks, turning the ball over in what would have been a punt situation anyway.

It did not take long for the Bulldogs to capitalize as Mullen’s offense put together an 11-play, 64-yard drive that ended in a rushing touchdown for Relf from six yards out to go up 10-0 in the first quarter.

Florida looked anemic starting the second quarter, failing to convert a 4th and 1 from their own 39; freshman WR Robert Clark was dropped behind the line for a two-yard loss. Mississippi State was unable to capitalize, handing UF the ball back with 13:20 left.

That is when the Gators offense showed signs of life as Brantley led them down to MSU’s 20 with a 15-play, 59-yard drive that took 6:20 off the clock. UF was unable to capitalize, however, as senior punter Chas Henry missed a 38-yard field goal.

Going into the half, Florida was without redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle), redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins (head) and redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle), all of whom went down with injuries early.

The Gators finally got on the board with their first possession in the third quarter by utilizing freshman QB Trey Burton extensively on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that drew the Bulldogs’ lead closer at 10-7.

Hope was raised momentarily later in the third quarter when it appeared MSU had fumbled on UF’s side of the field. After a review the play was overturned, Mississippi State missed a 40-yard field goal to give the ball back to Florida once again.

Taking over from their own 23, the Gators appeared to move the ball with ease, gaining positive yardage on their first six plays of the series including a 31-yard run by sophomore WR Omarius Hines. On 2nd and 4 from the Bulldogs’ 17, junior RB Jeff Demps coughed the ball up by fumbling while attempting to spin out of a tackle.

MSU succeeded in milking the clock by running the ball nine-straight times on their next possession, getting it to midfield while wasting almost six minutes before punting. As a whole, the Bulldogs ran the ball on 27 of 28 plays in the second half gaining positive yardage all but once.

UF took over with 2:09 remaining from their own four with an opportunity to tie or win.

With time running out, Brantley engineered a 13-play passing drive in which he completed nine passes for 76 yards, getting the ball to Mississippi State’s 25 with nine seconds left. Henry came on to attempt a 42-yard field goal but kicked the ball wide right, crushing the hopes of Florida fans in The Swamp.

Brantley finished the night 24-of-39 for 210 yards and an interception. Hines led the Gators with 58 yards rushing on six carries, though Burton also ran eight times for 43 yards. Redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond led the way with five receptions for 69 yards, and Burton added five catches of his own for 37 yards. Relf and RB Vick Ballard were responsible for nearly all of Mississippi State’s offense, rushing a combined 22 times for 180 yards and a touchdown.

Florida will take a three-game losing streak into their bye before facing Georgia in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, FL, on Oct. 30. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m., and the game will air live on CBS. Even though the Gators have lost three straight, they still control their destiny in the Southeastern Conference as Eastern Division foe No. 10/12 South Carolina also fell Saturday.

Photo Credit: Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun

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