Ten months later: Moses Jenkins’ concussion

While the media and Florida Gators fans spent their days and nights concerned about whether or not then-senior quarterback Tim Tebow would fully recover from a concussion suffered during the Kentucky Wildcats game in Oct. 2009, OGGOA informed its readers that then-junior cornerback Moses Jenkins was having an even more difficult time coming back from his.

Barely even mentioned last season, Jenkins’ concussion occurred at the start of the Kentucky game; he suffered whiplash as well and should have been yet another player Gators fans were seriously concerned about at the time.

Here are the details OGGOA exclusively reported on Oct. 28:

According to a source close to Jenkins, the special teams star encountered complications following the whiplash and concussion he suffered against the Kentucky Wildcats. Because of the extreme trauma caused by the hit, Jenkins experienced a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak that was causing his brain to literally tilt inside the cranium. [CSF acts as a "cushion" and allows the brain to "float."] This left him with headaches, blurry vision and pain on one side of his face.

Jenkins underwent surgery [for clarification purposes, we'll call it a "procedure"] at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida on Monday to replace the CSF that was being lost and not reproducing fast enough. He stayed overnight for observation and was visited by head coach Urban Meyer on Tuesday. The source said he is recovering nicely and getting extensive treatment to help the CSF begin circulating properly.

Fast forward 10 months: the mainstream media has finally picked up on Jenkins’ suffering – now that the senior finally decided to talk about it.

“It was a bad deal,” Jenkins told reporters Tuesday. “It was about six weeks [before I started feeling better]. I’d get headaches, my eyes would swell. A lot of light and noise irritated it and my head would just pound, pound, pound. I remember I tried to walk fast or jog and my head would spin. It was crazy. […] They pounded right here in the side of my head, sharp pounding. The sad thing is you can’t take medication for it. You can’t take Advil or Tylenol. You have to rest in dark areas.”

Now fully recovered, Jenkins is “ready to go” and hopes to earn a starting job with Florida – something that has eluded him over his three-year career in which he primarily saw time on special teams. Add redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown, who is recovering from an injury of his own (back), to the mix and you have a duo of CBs angling for a starting job who both deserve to be rooted for this season.

TWO BITS: Jenkins’ future, coaches adjusting

1 » It is no secret that Florida Gators junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins is already a top prospect for the 2011 NFL Draft – and he has not even played a down in the 2010 season yet. ESPN currently ranks him as the No. 10 overall draft prospect for next year, and Jenkins is aware that he could very well follow in Cleveland Browns rookie CB Joe Haden’s footsteps not only at Florida but also in the pros as well. Pahokee High School head coach Blaze Thompson told the Palm Beach Post Tuesday that Jenkins is “one of those guys that doesn’t accept the back seat and isn’t intimidated by many people. The NFL is his dream. If by the end of the year he’s slated as a first-round pick, I would say Florida’s losing a corner. It’s hard to pass that money up.” The Post’s Jason Lieser also points out something else interesting – that new Gators defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was dejected to learn that Jenkins was only a sophomore when he was evaluating defensive backs prior to the 2010 NFL Draft; he was looking at Haden, but Jenkins stood out to him on film.

2 » Though Florida’s coaching staff has changed drastically since last season, assistant head coach and defensive line coach Dan McCarney believes the current lineup is as good as ever. “I think they all come from phenomenal programs, good people, they are winners,” he said, according to Florida Today. “Most, if not all, have a great background with Urban Meyer, which makes it pretty unique. […] I’ve been on some great staffs. I think this one may be as good as any I’ve ever been around.”

Extra BIT » Remember when OGGOA told you that former Gators softball player and ESPN sideline reporter Jenn Brown had signed an endorsement deal with Icehouse? Yeah, that’s not going to happen. According to MillerCoors, which distributes Icehouse, ESPN decided to nix the deal even after they initially approved it when Brown’s agent broached the subject. Brown can now continue to enjoy her Coronas without having to worry about angering her sponsor.

Basketball nabs first 2012 commit – SG Frazier

Offered a scholarship to the University of Florida by Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan just over a month ago, four-star 2012 shooting guard Michael Frazier (Tampa, FL) decided to commit to the team even though he is two years out from heading up to Gainesville, FL.

“I chose Florida because of Coach Donovan and the outstanding staff,” Frazier told ESPN. “Coach Donovan has a proven history of winning national championships and excels in player development. UF is an excellent academic school as well. It’s always been one of my favorite schools.”

Frazier, who boasted offers from 20 other schools ranging from Michigan to Harvard at the time his conversation with Donovan, has a 4.0 GPA and is considered to be both a bright student and extraordinary shooter.

“He’s the best shooter ever to come out of our program,” Florida Elite AAU coach Conrad Foss told The Gainesville Sun. “And with those perimeter skills he’s become much better at putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket. He’s becoming a complete player.”

Here is what ESPN has to say about Frazier’s abilities:

Frazier’s ability to shoot the ball makes him special because he has two of the greatest qualities a shooter can have: great self-confidence in his stroke and a short memory to focus on the next shot. He rarely misses open shots when his feet are set. He shoots over smaller defenders with ease and is a willing passer when he draws an extra defender. Frazier is also smart at moving without the ball and creating clean looks at the basket. Opponents must find him immediately in transition because he will spot up on the break and knock it down from beyond the arc. While he can knock it down from 3, his midrange game (15- to 18-foot jumpers) is most efficient. Defensively, he needs to be more committed and engaged as an on-ball defender, but Frazier and his coaches — H.B. Plant coach Mike Phillips and his Florida Elite U-17 USSSA coach, Conrad Foss — are committed to getting him ready for his first day of practice at Florida.

FOUR BITS: Elway, Haden, Pouncey, Spikes

1 » Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway continued to support Denver Broncos rookie signal caller Tim Tebow, calling for analysts and media to be fair when evaluating the former Florida Gators star on a game-to-game basis. “There’s just so many positives about this guy, and yet all the focus seems to be one negative,” Elway said on Denver radio Monday. “He didn’t get drafted in the first round because of his release. He was drafted in the first round because he has so many intangibles that you can’t coach.”

2 » Stepping into a starting role while veteran Eric Wright was on the mend, Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden worked with the first-team during practice all last week. But when it was game time, Wright resumed his role and Haden was shifted over to nickel back, a position he is still learning. “It just shows I’m starting to gain coach’s trust,” Haden said about working with the starters all week. “They keep putting me out there with the ones, so I’ve just got to keep getting better every day. I feel like I’m just getting better.” Head coach Eric Mangini agrees. “The key for Joe is to figure out a place of how he can help us and then to keep making his case to play more,” he said. “But those other guys, they’re making their case for him to play less and I think that’s a good thing because that’s competitive and you want that to be the situation. Nothing is given to anybody, it has to be earned. He’s working at it, but those other guys are working at it too and however it pans out, those guys will play.”

3 » Pittsburgh Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette believes rookie center Maurkice Pouncey has already won the starting job outright after two preseason games. “He’s no longer competing for the starting job at center. Give it to him now,” he wrote Sunday. “Pouncey is so dominant at the position that it’s not even close. He looks like a Pro Bowler after two preseason games. Not only does he block his man, he often blocks TWO men, getting one and then running downfield to obliterate someone else. The man consumes defenders.” Pouncey entered Saturday’s game during the second series, came back in for the third series and never left – playing through almost three full quarters.

4 » New England Patriots veteran linebacker Gary Guyton injured his knee on the fourth day of camp, allowing rookie Brandon Spikes to step in and get the majority of work as a starter next to Jerod Mayo. Now that Guyton has returned, his starting job may be gone for good, as ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss notes that Spikes “is getting starter-type respect” from coaches. Guyton is hopeful he can win his job back throughout the remaining few weeks, but Spikes is impressing everyone from head coach Bill Belichick to veteran nose tackle Vince Wilfork. “He’s every bit the person I thought he was,” Wilfork said about Spikes. “Looking at the guy playing in college, he’s playing with that same mentality on this defense. He’s a hard-nosed, tough player who loves football. That’s exactly what he’s brought. That’s exactly what we need on this football team – somebody that loves this game and is not afraid to hit, tough, smart.”

Photo Credit: John H. Reid III/Cleveland Browns

08/23: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators is beginning their third week fall practice and, while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur Monday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

REPLACING BRANDON JAMES…

During his media availability Monday, head coach Urban Meyer announced that junior running back Jeff Demps would be handling kickoff returns, while redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey would get the vast majority of work as the team’s punt returner for the upcoming season. Meyer added that junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins will see time bringing back punts on occasion. OGGOA continues to believe that – considering Demps, Rainey and Jenkins are all very important starters at other positions – fans may see another player (freshman WR Robert Clark?) take over some of these duties as the season progresses (especially if any are nursing injuries).

THE ‘STACHE IS TRASH

Redshirt junior starting quarterback John Brantley had a mustache. Now he doesn’t.

Moving on.

MOVEMENT AT LEFT TACKLE

Whether it is due to a knee injury sustained by sophomore Xavier Nixon, the talent and progression of redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan or both, it appears that the latter has the inside track on the Gators’ starting left tackle job. Patchan, who is returning from a wrist injury and not yet participating fully in practice, could very well supplant Nixon, who started the final five games of the 2009 season.

Starting middle linebacker – being contested by sophomore Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins – and starting cornerback – a battle between redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown and senior Moses Jenkins – both remain open position battles.

PROVING HIS WORTH

When punishing sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr., Meyer chose to take him off of scholarship rather than immediately suspend him from games or kick him off the team, giving the player a chance to earn his way back in his coaches’ and teammates’ good graces. Hammond has been doing just that over the last few weeks, proving that he has his head on straight, will not duplicate his mistake and is an integral part of the team. Though Meyer will not reinstate Hammond’s scholarship before the season, a successful year off the field could get him back on track before spring or summer

IF YOU GON’ DO IT – DO IT JUST LIKE THIS

After the scrimmage on Saturday – the team’s final one of the fall – Meyer graded out a number of players as Champions of the team. Offense: QB Brantley, senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt senior T Marcus Gilbert, redshirt sophomore fullback T.J. PridemoreDefense: senior safety Ahmad Black, defensive ends senior Duke Lemmens and junior defensive end William Green, linebackers sophomore Jon Bostic and senior Lorzenzo Edwards.

INJURY UPDATES

Meyer said that redshirt senior defensive tackle Brandon Antwine has been out of action the last few days after suffering a concussion; he may return on Tuesday if cleared by doctors. Redshirt senior WR Justin Williams hurt his shoulder during practice and has been using a sling. Junior WR Deonte Thompson’s hamstring acted up on him, causing him to sit out Saturday’s scrimmage, but he will be fine; likewise, freshman WR Chris Dunkley’s hamstring injury is believed to be behind him.

QUOTES

Meyer on Saturday’s final scrimmage and where the team is at right now: “We weren’t very good. … It really was not a very good scrimmage. Defense played well – about what you’d think for where we’re at right now. I’m hitting the panic button a little bit right now. We’ve got to get better faster than what we are at right now. It’s not that we’re not good, it’s just consistency of the offensive and defensive line[s]. We have to get them all in there. Once Patchan comes back and Xavier Nixon gets back, we’ll look a little better on the offensive line. When DT and Carl [Moore] and Omarius Hines [are] all together, we’ll look a little better, but right now, it’s not Florida football yet.”

Meyer comparing Brantley and Tim Tebow: “Somebody asked me today about the difference between John Brantley and Tim Tebow. Outward appearances, there’s a big difference. Inward … his competitiveness and leadership are fantastic right now, much better than I thought. I was really worried about that. When you have a guy like that [Tebow] in front of you, [Brantley] didn’t show much. Today we did the two-minute drill and he did fantastic. He ran the whole show and acted like a veteran quarterback – like he is. I’m really encouraged by John. Everybody knows he can throw the ball. The other part is fantastic right now as far as management of the team and leadership.”

Meyer on how the freshmen are performing: “Just OK. Actually, [I'm] a little disappointed in some of them. I thought they’d go take a spot. A few guys are doing decent – [safety] Matt Elam, [DT] Dominique Easley and [WR] Quinton Dunbar – who has been very good for us and might play this year. [DE] Ronald Powell had a great practice today, but didn’t have a great camp. He’s coming on strong now. Some of those big-game guys, I thought we’d have some of them cracking the lineup right now … but not yet.”

Special thanks to The Gainesville Sun and Palm Beach Post for the above quotations.

FOUR BITS: Theismann, Chow, Hill, NFL Draft

1 » Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow’s initial performance as a professional did little to sway his doubters – most notably former QB Joe Theismann and UCLA Bruins offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Theismann, who has been on Tebow’s case since before the 2010 NFL Draft, claims that many of his contemporaries were surprised to see the signal caller drafted I n the first round. “I would hope there isn’t anybody who would say Tim Tebow was going to come in and start for the Broncos this year,” Theismann said, according to The Denver Post. “It would have been too great an expectation for him. […] if you can’t refine his delivery, then he’s going to struggle to become a consistent quarterback. […] It’s long and low. Randall Cunningham had a long windup, but it was high. Tim’s is long and low. The ball is away from his body a long time.”

Chow agrees. “I don’t think Vince [Young] was ready because of where he came from. I don’t think Tebow is quite ready because of where he came from,” he said. “The intricacies of a pro passing game are unbelievable. It takes time. […] They said they were going to change his throwing style and that’s a bunch of bologna. You don’t change, in one summer, the throwing style a guy has been using for 20 years of his life.” Chow doesn’t even thing Tebow will survive as a running QB. “Tebow’s strength, obviously, is running the ball, and he’s not going to be able to do that in the NFL. We tried to do some of that stuff my first year with Vince, and he had a little success. But once teams figured it out – which in the NFL it usually takes them a half, or a quarter to figure things out – it wasn’t very effective anymore. All it’s going to do is you’re taking a lot of hits. And you’re not going to survive if you take a lot of hits in the NFL.”

2 » Florida Gators junior safety Will Hill knows it is his time to shine in the team’s starting secondary. Now holding the full-time job, Hill is aware that he will have an important role in the team’s success. “I feel the same responsibility as when Major [Wright] was here last year,” Hill said, according to The Gainesville Sun. “Just become a leader and help the team win the next game. […] I’ve been looking forward to [starting] for a while now. I just have to sit back and do my job and everything will come to me.”

Two more BITS on the 40-second clock and 2011 NFL Draft…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Theismann, Chow, Hill, NFL Draft

USC’s Baxter admits he “misspoke” about contact

In early June, administrators for the USC Trojans accused five schools – the Florida Gators, Alabama, Oregon, Washington and Fresno State – of illegally contacting running back Dillon Baxter about a transfer to their respective universities.

Less than a month later, USC athletic director Mike Garrett was forced to send letters to each school apologizing for the previous accusations and attempting to make amends for “any inconvenience or embarrassment” that was caused.

ESPN’s Shaun Assael has since uncovered a letter of admission from Baxter, who fessed up to misleading his university about what exactly happened in June.

“I misspoke when I said coaches had contacted me from other schools,” Baxter wrote in a letter to the school. “I am truly sorry for all of the chaos I have caused and it was not my intention to implicate other schools and their coaching staffs.”

Baxter began his letter by explaining that he spoke with friends at the implicated institutions, not coaches or administration officials. While he claims he did not understand the rules, many – including USC – appear to believe the whole situation was a hoax and that Baxter purposely misled them.

That is part of the reason that he has been suspended for the team’s opener against Hawaii on Sept. 2. “I’ve done a couple things, and things happen, and I made a mistake,” Baxter told reporters last week. “But I’m going to move on from here on out.”

USC head coach Lane Kiffin called Baxter’s one-game opening-season punishment “an extremely strong message and a very severe punishment for a player that may potentially be the most skilled player on our whole roster.”

Florida rookies complete less impressive week

The first week of the 2010 NFL preseason saw 10 Florida Gators rookies in action, many of whom contributed nicely to their respective team’s performances. Due to injuries and other circumstances, there was much less action in the second week of the preseason for these Gators. Nevertheless, OGGOA is here to recap.

QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos
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 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

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

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

DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals
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 2 Defense: Three solo tackles
Game 1 Defense: Eight tackles (three solo) [team-high]

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

TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots
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 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 2: Did not play – ankle
Game 1 Receiving: Five receptions for 47 yards [team-highs], one touchdown

KR BRANDON JAMES, Indianapolis Colts
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

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