TWO BITS: Herbstreit’s thoughts, Black’s tough

1 » A guest on the Joe Rose Show on 560 WQAM in South Florida, ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit discussed the Florida Gators offense and expressed some concerns about how it has looked since former offensive coordinator Dan Mullen went to take the head coaching job with Mississippi State. “I know the Florida offense was OK last year [...] but when I watched Florida last year, if you had taken Tim Tebow’s creativity and determination and skill away from the offense, I really wonder how they would have scored a lot of points, because they didn’t have a lot of threats downfield,” he said. “I didn’t really see a lot of vertical passing. And I think now, without an athletic quarterback, they’re going to have to be able to complete some balls downfield to be able to open up all that underneath, quick stuff, where they want to get the ball into the hands of [Jeff] Demps and [Chris] Rainey and co[mpany].”

2 » Giving Gators senior safety Ahmad Black lofty praise as the “Manny Pacquiao of college football,” the Miami Herald’s Joseph Goodman notes that the bruiser is already one of the best at his position in the game, regardless of his smaller stature. Florida defensive coordinator Teryl Austin agrees. “That little guy is a good player,” Austin said. “Sometimes there are small guys who play small, but he’s not. He’s a small guy who plays big and that’s important.” Also drawing rave reviews from his teammates in the Gators’ secondary, Black has a team-high 12 tackles and one interception on Saturday against Miami (OH); he may be even more important this week against the South Florida Bulls as UF tries to corrall speedy quarterback B.J. Daniels.

9/8: Meyer’s teleconference and Gators notes

OGGOA had the opportunity to participate in Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer’s Southeastern Conference teleconference on Wednesday (we will be doing so every week). Below are some notes from media availabilities with Meyer and other members of the team over the course of the day:

» Even though sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon may be ready to play Saturday, redshirt senior right guard Maurice Hurt told reporters Wednesday that he believes he will continue starting at right tackle while normal starting RT redshirt senior Marcus Gilbert fills in on the left side. “We’re still getting some guys back and we’re still shuffling the rotation, but for now I think I’m going to be at right tackle,” Hurt said.

» Meyer noted that while it may not have appeared the Gators were trying to throw the ball deep and spread the field in the first three quarters, many of the called pass players were messed up before they could develop due to some of the miscues in the backfield. Additionally, he felt that the team was put in a hole yardage-wise due to some of the bad snaps that was tough to get out from on particular drives.

QUOTES FROM MEYER

Opening statement: “We’re 1-0 but a little disappointed from last week. The guys have come out with some urgency and worked real hard, so we’ll have to play a lot better or we won’t beat South Florida, an excellent team – one of the best quarterbacks we’ll face all year and very athletic on defense, so we better get our game right.”

On if the spread offense allows “little guys” to excel: “We don’t just look for smaller… We look for the best football players and adapt the system to them. So if a guy’s a little undersized – like a Brandon James or Chris Rainey or Jeff Demps – we certainly will not not take them because they don’t fit our system. We’ll make the system fit.”

On the new NCAA rule not allowing schools to offer scholarships to recruits until the summer of their senior year: “I think that’s all in good intent. The problem with rules is, when you make rules, you have to enforce them. But I think the purpose of the rule is very well thought out, and we’re obviously going to follow that rule.”

On redshirt sophomore Sam Robey’s health: “There is a chance he’ll get in [Saturday]. He’s 100 percent healthy now. He’s had injuries all training camp with a knee and then bursitis in his elbow. He practiced a full-go [Tuesday] and is on-call this weekend.”

On Nixon’s health: “We’re very positive from what he did [Tuesday] in practice. Today is a big day for him, but he looked really good [Tuesday] as did [redshirt senior defensive tackle Terron] Sanders and [redshirt senior left guard] Carl Johnson. So we’re expected to have those guys for Saturday.”

On redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan’s health: “He’s still in that pretty long cast. He’s still going to be a few weeks, but we wish we had him because he’s such an intense player.”

On South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels: “He’s a playmaker… He’s a mobile guy and every time there’s a guy that can move around back there, he can be trouble. […] He’s the man on offense that you have to contain. Once he gets out of that pocket, it can be trouble.”

As rookie season begins, brand Tebow expands

Fact is, Tim Tebow was already a brand coming out of high school – just ask anyone who followed his recruitment. Now, after achieving legendary status while playing four years for the University of Florida Gators and being selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos, Tebow is finally able to capitalize on the fame and following he has built over the last handful of years.

On Wednesday, Tebow’s marketing push began by rolling out an official website (TimTebow.com), Twitter account (@TimTebow) and Facebook page (Tim Tebow) at the same time as his brother Robby Tebow and longtime friend Angel Gonzalez publicly debuted their website for XV Enterprises, an agency featuring Tebow as its first client.

While the website and social media accounts are aimed at fans, XV Enterprises’ goal is to become a major player in the sports marketing world by attracting only the best clients who have a particular “it” factor, as Gonzalez explained to CNBC’s Darren Rovell.

Currently featured on Tebow’s website is a four-minute trailer to an upcoming documentary about his path to the NFL, information about the player, pictures, videos and a list of his upcoming Broncos games and events.

The man who some have begun calling T2 has also debuted a new slogan that is sure to catch on with his supporters: GB2 = God Bless + Go Broncos.

TWO BITS: Logo crackdown, Leak’s performance

1 » The University of Florida continues its crackdown on its intellectual property being used by other schools without consent and has recently forced Palm Beach Gardens High School in South Florida to rid themselves of the Florida Gators logo, just as they did to the Two Rivers School District in Russellville, AR, in early July. Below is a news report from CBS 12 detailing the situation.

2 » Marking his first start as a quarterback in the CFL last Friday, former Gators signal caller Chris Leak had a rough showing for the Montreal Alouettes. Leak, who went 15-of-27 for 135 yards and threw two interceptions in his debut, also rushed once but fumbled the ball. He was eventually replaced by Ricky Santos, who outshined Leak with a 10-of-12 performance for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Nevertheless, head coach Mark Trestman remains confident in his backup and refused to put the loss on his shoulders. “Chris is going to own up for the mistakes he made [Friday], but we lost this game as a team and that starts with me,” Trestman said. “I wanted to make sure that every guy left here tonight not thinking that the reason we lost is because we didn’t have the right quarterback in there.” Leak still felt the responsibility. “We didn’t execute offensively, anytime you turn the ball over and have a lack of focus it’s never going to be an easy thing, especially against a good team,” he said.

9/7: Florida reflects on Miami, looks ahead to USF

The Florida Gators make a selection of coaches and players available to the media each Tuesday, many of whom reflect about the previous game while simultaneously looking ahead to the upcoming contest. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

BROWN READY TO STEP UP AS A STARTER

Redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown, who has the second starting CB role all to himself after senior CB Moses Jenkins hyperextended his elbow last Saturday, is confident but realizes it is now up to him to keep his side of the secondary secure.

“It definitely puts a little pressure on me to step up because behind me and Janoris [Jenkins], we got three freshmen,” Brown said. “I know how that is. It’s a little tougher as a true freshman.” Brown is speaking about Josh Shaw, Cody Riggs and Jaylen Watkins, all of whom are his and Janoris Jenkins’ reserves for the foreseeable future. “I’m definitely stepping up and taking the leadership role in that secondary because those are some talented corners. I’m trying to help them mature as fast as I can,” he said, “because one of them is going to have to step up and play.”

TOMLIN WANTS BOTH POUNCEYS (NO KIDDING)

Senior center Mike Pouncey knows he had a terrible game. He knows he needs to improve his snapping. He knows his brother – Pittsburgh Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey – was watching. But what Mike found out in the last few days was that he was not the only guy in Pittsburgh paying attention. “[Maurkice] said the guys up there were joking on my snaps,” Mike said. “He told me [Steelers head coach Mike] Tomlin said, ‘Just tell him to keep playing like that, we’ll take him by the end of the first round.’”

However, Maurkice did end up offering some advice. “He told me when he first started at center two years ago, he did the same thing,” Mike said. “His wasn’t as bad but he had high snaps – snaps were everywhere. He said just get back to work, and that’s what I’m doing.”

HOLTZ KNOWS FLORIDA IS STILL TOUGH

South Florida Bulls head coach Skip Holtz, a close friend of Gators head coach Urban Meyer, is well-aware that UF’s performance on Saturday was more an aberration than the norm for one of the best programs in the country over the last few years.

“Everybody right now is saying Florida is broke after last week’s performance,” Holtz said. “They won by 22 points. Their quarterback was 17 of 25. Their two tailbacks averaged 12 yards a carry and nine yards a carry. Defensively, they didn’t give up a touchdown. They gave up 0.2 yards per rush. [Miami (OH)] had 22 rushes for four yards, not four rushes for 22. They did not give up a touchdown. And that’s a bad day.”

QUOTES

Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio on Pouncey’s struggles: “No one’s got more focus or attention on that than Mike Pouncey. Those things weren’t all Mike Pouncey. Let’s get that clear. I’m not the least bit concerned about Mike Pouncey. Not even a little.”

Pouncey on his own snap problems: “It’s something I wished I had worked on before but I’m glad it happened at game one, rather than up at Tennessee or this week.”

Sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic on playing well as a starter last week and the defense’s performance: “Mainly [the coaching staff was] concerned about me taking charge out there – making calls for the whole defense and telling everybody what to do. Most of the time I was out there worried about my assignment. [Defensive coordinator Teryl] Austin the last couple of weeks has been getting on me about that. [...] You really can’t be satisfied. They still got yards on us. We wanted to get a shutout. We know the field position was bad, but that’s what sudden change is for. We’ve got to go out and pick the offense up when the offense isn’t moving right.”

Gators fall in second USA Today, AP Top 25 polls

Just three days after defeating the Miami (OH) Redhawks 34-12 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, the Florida Gators fell three and four spots, respectively, in the latest USA Today and Associated Press Top 25 polls.

Ranked No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches’ poll going into the season, the Gators dropped three places and lost 115 voting points in the process. The AP voters had Florida ranked No. 4 in their preseason poll, but knocked them down four spots, taking away 172 points from their total.

Even though the Gators won their opener by 22 points, sloppy play as the result of over a dozen fumbled snaps and the inability to consistently move the ball on offense found them much criticism over the weekend. That, combined with the more refined play of some of their competitors, led to Florida’s fall in the rankings.

USA Today 1-10: Alabama (55), Ohio State (4), Boise State, Texas, TCU, Florida, Nebraska, Oregon, Iowa, Oklahoma

AP 1-10: Alabama (47), Ohio State (4), Boise State (8), TCU, Texas (1), Nebraska, Oregon, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma

*Numbers in paranthesis represent first-place votes.

FOUR BITS: Addazio, volleyball, soccer, Harvin

1 » When things do not always go as planned for the Florida Gators, the fan base seems to freak out. Like last year, fans’ frustrations have already been pin-pointed on offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio. But as both the Orlando Sentinel‘s George Diaz and The Gainesville Sun‘s Pat Dooley will tell you, it was only one game and Addazio may indeed deserve a break. “I wasn’t happy with some the play calls Saturday, especially the screen pass from the 1-yard line that should have been ruled a safety,” Dooley wrote in particular. “But with Addazio as coordinator, Florida is now 14-1. I think that has to count for something. Let’s see what happens the rest of the way. Off the ledge, people. Like I’ve said a million times, nobody suffers winning like Gator fans.”

2 » Facing a top-15 opponent for the third time in their first five matches of the 2010 season, No. 4/6 Florida volleyball (5-0) defeated the No. 13/15 Colorado State Rams (5-1) in four sets – 25-22, 25-19, 25-27, 25-21. The victory, which won the Gators the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational emanating from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, featured another brilliant performance from junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy. She, along with senior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe, recorded 13 of Florida’s 10 kills. One day prior, in matches that took place earlier in the invitational, volleyball swept the both the Bowling Green Falcons (25-12, 25-11, 25-16) and Albany Great Danes (25-8, 25-21, 25-14) in three sets.

The Gators will host another tournament, the Nike Big Four Classic, beginning Friday. The other three teams participating in the event are No. 1 Penn State, Texas and Stanford, and all game information is available via OGGOA’s Upcoming Schedule table at the top right of your screen.

3 » Also running through the competition this year is No. 7 Florida soccer (5-0), which had six different players score while shutting out the Jacksonville Dolphins (2-3) 6-0 on Friday at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Junior forward Lindsay Thompson (27’), junior F/midfielder Tahnai Annis (30’), freshman F/MF Maggie Rodgers (45’), redshirt sophomore MF McKenzie Barney (50’), freshman defender Mary-Ann Krlin (80’) and sophomore F/MF Natalia Torosian (90’) all punched goals through. As a team, Florida had 30 shots on Jacksonville, 14 of which were on goal. UF is set to face Florida State next on the road Friday at 7 p.m.

4 » Though he missed most of training camp grieving two deaths and suffering from another severe bout of migraine headaches, former Gators wide receiver Percy Harvin says he is “ready to play ball” for the Minnesota Vikings beginning Thursday night in the NFL’s 2010-11 season opener against the New Orleans Saints (including former Florida defensive end Alex Brown and running back DeShawn Wynn). Harvin, who will be on of quarterback Brett Favre’s primary pass catchers along with the team’s kick returner, believes he is finally getting his migraines under control with the help of numerous doctors. “There’s no miracle solution for them,” he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “The people I talked to had them for 40-plus years. My mom had them for 35 years and is just now growing out of them. It’s just something you got to hope to maintain. [...] I think we have a great plan.”

Wuerffel’s Words: “Don’t be too alarmed…”

For the entire month of September, 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.

As I watched the Gators game Saturday, I couldn’t help but remember the countless times in my career I heard a coach harp on us about “the fundamentals” of football. Usually, though, that would be an admonishment about blocking and tackling – the two most basic fundamentals of tackle football.

For the Gators this week, I guess we were all reminded there is one more basic level that comes even before that: the snap – the fundamental exchange between the center and the QB. Without that, blocking doesn’t much matter.

But don’t be too alarmed Gators fans. The first game is often a little sloppy. This problem will be remedied quickly, and we’ll get the chance to see how our new group of athletes can truly play in the coming weeks.

My worst game my senior year was the first one but fortunately for me, no one remembers that one.

As for me, I’m still optimistic about this group of guys and the season ahead. The defense should have a very solid year, and I’m excited to see Johnny Brantley develop as our QB. I think he’s got all the tools to have a great season.

And in case you missed it…Jeff Demps is FAST!

Lots of excitement to come!

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.

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