11/3: Austin, Azzanni, Henry discuss Georgia

Florida Gators defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Teryl Austin, wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni and senior punter/kicker Chas Henry spoke to the media Wednesday, taking a look back at the team’s game against the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, FL, last Saturday.

THANK THE OL FOR THE UP-TEMPO OFFENSE

After Florida’s victory over Georgia, head coach Urban Meyer credited Azzanni with helping implement and set-up the Gators’ new up-tempo offense. On Wednesday, Azzanni said it was the willingness of the offensive line to adapt to the new system that made it work so well against the Bulldogs. “Our O-line has been really great about it because they’re the guys who had to buy in,” he said. “The little skinny guys on the outside can run all day, it’s the big boys that had to buy in – they’ve been great.”

And why was Azzanni so instrumental in this offense being successful? “That’s just my background. That’s the world I’ve lived in for the last eight years of my career,” he said. “I just put it out there on the table and every week we’ve been a little more, a little more. Those guys have been great. We’re not running any new plays or anything, it’s all the same thing, it’s just how we’re doing it. Just to get a spark in the offense. I can’t say enough for coach [Urban] Meyer and coach [Steve] Addazio for believing in me and letting me put that out on the table and saying, ‘Hey, I think this will help us and spark this offense a little bit.’ I can’t say enough for those guys trusting me and letting me help out and get this thing rolling.”

HENRY LAUGHED AT “CHOKE” FROM SIDELINE

As he prepared to kick what he thought would be a 37-yard game-winning field goal, Henry was confused. Not because of the pressure of the situation or a “choke” signal from Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham but rather the fact that the Bulldogs called a timeout. Recounting the situation, Henry recalls, “I’m ready. I didn’t even know they had a timeout, I completely forgot. I’m like, ‘This is the kick.’ All of a sudden I hear the whistle blowing and I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ I start laughing like, ‘You’re going to ice me? I’m not the kicker. You’re going to ice me?’”

Moments later Henry noticed Grantham grabbing his throat, gesturing towards him and screaming. “I see a guy doing the choke. So I take my helmet off, I give him a little smooch at him – blew him a little kiss,” he said. Henry added that Grantham’s immaturity did not bother him; he said it was just a part of the emotion of the game.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/3: Austin, Azzanni, Henry discuss Georgia

Grading the Florida Gators vs. Georgia 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 Georgia Bulldogs at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, which took place at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL.

QUARTERBACKS: B+
Was redshirt junior John Brantley spectacular on Saturday? Certainly not. His 16-of-25 performance for 193 yards and an interception proves that. However, if you combine his offensive contributions with his willingness to share the starting quarterback role, ability to operate in Florida’s no-huddle offense and the output of freshman Trey Burton (2-of-2 for 26 yards, 17 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns), you have a top-notch performance from this unit. Throw out Brantley’s interception as a miscue from sophomore wide receiver Omarius Hines and you have a mistake-free showing that also included a perfect clutch pass to redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson and his second longest throw of the year – a 40-yard dart. With an increased ability to see the field, healthy backfield and more streamlined offense, Brantley should only improve as the season continues – something to keep an eye on week-to-week.

RUNNING BACKS: B+
Head coach Urban Meyer noted leading up to the Georgia game that Florida must have explosive home run plays in its running game in order to succeed with their plan to win from an offensive perspective. That was achieved Saturday, though the biggest play came on a 51-yard option keeper by Burton. Junior running back Jeff Demps (at around 90 percent health) and redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey (running the ball due to depth issues) got all the work in the backfield with Rainey getting the majority of the carries (16 to Demps’ nine). For not having played in five weeks and practicing the entire offseason mostly at WR, Rainey had a more than respectable performance averaging 5.2 yards per carry and totaling 89 on the game. Demps ran the ball for 38 yards (4.2 average). The duo certainly exceeded expectations but was certainly not stellar comparative to what the unit has done in the past.

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

Gators defeat Tigers 88-62 in exhibition finale

No. 9/11 Florida Gators men’s basketball finished its short exhibition season undefeated, taking down the Georgetown College Tigers 88-62 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, on Wednesday night.

Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton led the way for the Gators with 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting (4-of-9 from downtown) with three assist, while junior point guard Erving Walker was effective on both ends of the floor, scoring 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting with seven assists and six steals. Senior forward Chandler Parsons contributed to the effort with nine points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

As a team, Florida shot 55.9 percent (33-of-59) from the floor and led 44-19 going into halftime. The Gators started the second half with a lack of intensity and focus likely due to their large lead, allowing the Tigers to score 43 points in the final 20 minutes.

“Top 10 teams don’t hold a team in the first half to 32 percent from the field, 14 percent from the three-point line and then look at the second half, defensively, [and not do the same],” head coach Billy Donovan said after the game. “To give up 53 percent in the second half from the field and 50 percent from the three-point line, to me, is the reason why I don’t believe we’re a top-10 team. Because of that right there. Top 10 teams, to me, don’t do those things.”

Florida officially begins the 2010-11 season on Friday, Nov. 12 when they take on UNC-Wilmington at 7 p.m. The game will be available live on Sun Sports

Other stat lines:
– Senior F Alex Tyus – eight points (4-of-7), two assists
– Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin – 10 points (5-of-6), four rebounds
– Sophomore G Erik Murphy – seven points (3-of-5), three rebounds, two steals
– Freshman C Patric Young – seven points (2-of-4), three rebounds, two blocks
– Freshman G Casey Prather – four points (1-of-5), three reb., two blocks, two steals
– Freshman F Will Yeguete – six points (1-of-1), three rebounds

DONOVAN’s POST-GAME QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Gators defeat Tigers 88-62 in exhibition finale

11/3: Florida coach Meyer’s SEC teleconference

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 the event:

RUNNING BACKS ARE HEALTHY

Junior Jeff Demps saw limited action Saturday against Georgia, and redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey (carrying the ball due to lack of depth) returned from suspension during the same game. Somewhat conspicuous by their absences last weekend were RBs sophomore Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody (thigh), both of whom were still hobbled with injuries. Meyer declared both players 100 percent “for the first time in a while” on Wednesday, also noting that Demps (foot) continues to be evaluated daily.

Other injury updates from Meyer:
» Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose (ankle) – will participate in practice on a limited basis Wednesday, return in full Thursday
» Junior kicker Caleb Sturgis (back) – will not play Saturday
» Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle) – did not practice Tuesday but may see the field Wednesday
» Redshirt senior guard Carl Johnson (calf) – strained his calf during practice but should return to practice soon and will be a full-go Saturday

PROUD OF BRANTLEY, BURTON

Asked if he upset at how redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley has been playing recently (considering he has no touchdowns and five interceptions in his last four games), Meyer said he is “a little disappointed” in his performance but refuses to pin the offense’s previous struggles on him, saying many players were at fault for his miscues. Meyer added that Brantley has handled adversity “like a grown man” this season and is very proud of him.

As far as freshman QB Trey Burton goes, Meyer realizes that the team has put a lot on his plate and thinks “it should be illegal what we ask that kid to do,” in regards to the multiple positions he plays on the team. He believes Burton has brought “tremendous value” to the team with his talent and work ethic but refused to compare his contributions to those of Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow in 2006 saying he is impacting the team in a similar not same way.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/3: Florida coach Meyer’s SEC teleconference

11/2: Donovan, players on second exhibition

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes from his latest media availability in the following post. Additional material from Florida’s starting five can also be found below.

TYUS’ COMMITMENT NEVER IN DOUBT

Though senior forward Alex Tyus nearly transferred after his sophomore season and tested NBA Draft waters last year before ultimately deciding to return to the team, Donovan never questioned his commitment to the University of Florida at any time.

“After his sophomore year a lot of it had to do with the position and where he was having to play. I don’t think it was necessarily any ill feelings towards Florida or myself,” Donovan said. “It was probably this thing that was ingrained into him early on in his career by a lot of different people that he had to play this position in order to become this kind of player. It was really the furthest thing from the truth, and it really was not reality.

“I’ve never really questioned his commitment. Alex is a great kid, he wants to win, I think he has a good relationship with his teammates. It was probably a product of him being younger and getting advice and opinions from some people that maybe really didn’t understand what the reality was of some of the situations.”

MACKLIN NEEDS TO STEP UP AS A LEADER

With so many freshmen set to play significant minutes coming off the bench this season, Donovan has been impressed with the leadership shown by two of the team’s seniors – Tyus and Chandler Parsons. However, when it comes to redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin, Donovan sees room for improvement and attributes the gap to Macklin never being in a similar situation before.

“Vernon in particular has got do a better job leading this time of year for us. He’s got to understand the big picture in terms of what we’re trying to do. Vernon has got to prove that he can lead under duress, under adversity, under difficult circumstances,” he said. “I’ve tried to create some adversity in practices for him and for our team to see how they will respond. I don’t think Vernon has responded like I would like to see him respond. He’s done a great job up to this point. He’s played well and he’s worked hard. He himself has got to be able to handle and be a calming force in a lot of ways for our team. There’s no doubt in my mind that he can do that.”

Macklin understands what Donovan is looking for and hopes to satisfy his coach’s request. “I’m a vocal person, I just got to not let little things get to me and not have them affect the way I still be vocal in practice,” he said. “If something is not going my way, I still got to be a vocal person.”

WILBEKIN INJURY UPDATE

Freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who had been impressing Donovan daily in practice, strained his neck in the Gators’ first exhibition game and has not practiced since. He will sit out Florida’s exhibition finale against Georgetown College. “We’re hoping to have him back maybe by the weekend,” Donovan said. “[That’s] maybe a little bit on the positive side, maybe [he’ll practice] a little bit later than that.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/2: Donovan, players on second exhibition

Response from Georgia proves they don’t get it

Georgia Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had an opportunity on Tuesday, after deciding not to address the situation on Monday, to issue an apology regarding Grantham’s despicable gestures during overtime of Saturday’s loss to the Florida Gators.

No matter who the apology was to – the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, the Southeastern Conference or even just Gators senior punter/kicker Chas Henry – it would have been accepted and the relatively minor issue would have blown over. Instead, Richt and Grantham played the “move on” card.

“I’ll just say that emotions run high,” Richt said. “People do things they probably wish they didn’t do, so I think that [the choke sign] was what was being communicated. I don’t think he’s necessarily proud of it. We’re just going to learn from it and move on.”

Grantham spoke briefly Tuesday evening. “As a competitor, sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment,” he said. “I wish the situation hadn’t happened. It was a tough, hard-fought game. They won it, and I’m ready to move forward and finish out the year strong.” Asked whether or not he would apologize, Grantham said: “I’ve kind of basically said what I’m going to say.”

Here’s what members of the media had to say about it Tuesday:

Tony Barnhart – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

This is totally unacceptable on any level. And I don’t want to hear this “heat of competition” crap from anybody. I don’t care how intense a game is. A coach does not attempt to intimidate a student-athlete from another school. You don’t do it. Period.

If I’m Jeremy Foley, the athletics director at Florida, I’m on the phone to my friend, Greg McGarity, who worked for me for 19 years. And I’m raising some hell.

This not about competition or the intensity of the Georgia-Florida rivalry. This is about the adults in charge acting like adults. Georgia fans complain to me all the time that they think Mark Richt’s program doesn’t have enough discipline. If the adults can’t control themselves how in the hell do we expect the players to do it?

11/2: Addazio, McCarney, players discuss Georgia

Florida Gators offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio, assistant head coach, defense/defensive line Dan McCarney, junior safety Will Hill, redshirt senior guard Carl Johnson and redshirt freshman G Jon Halapio spoke to the media Tuesday as the team took a final look back on its win against the Georgia Bulldogs and ahead to its road game against the Vanderbilt Commodores.

SPEEDY BACKFIELD CREATES HOME RUN THREATS

As head coach Urban Meyer has mentioned repeatedly over the last few weeks, one of the reasons for Florida’s inefficient offense during its three-straight losses was a lack of the home run plays. Addazio believes that element has officially returned now that junior running back Jeff Demps and redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey are back playing. “The ability to have Demps and Rainey together back there, the ability to create a lot of speed back in that backfield again, gives you those opportunities for home run balls. [Options and dives] can be home run strikes now, they’re not just necessarily four-or-five-yard strikes.”

GEORGIA GASSED BY NO-HUDDLE OFFENSE

A common theme the players have expressed since the Georgia game ended on Saturday was how winded and unprepared the Bulldogs were for Florida’s enhanced no-huddle offense. “The no-huddle was actually harder in practice than it was in the game,” Johnson said. “It was fairly easy because Georgia was so tired. They weren’t even getting in their stance half the time because they were so tired. It wasn’t that bad. I thought it would be a lot, lot worse, but they make it so much harder in practice. We don’t have the 40-second clock rule in practice. The coaches are like, ‘Get on the ball, run another play!’”

Halapio shared similar sentiments. “I felt sorry for them boys because we practiced that bonazi stuff, that no-huddle stuff for two weeks. We were in shape. We had no mercy against them,” he said. “They were breathing and they couldn’t even get set. They were all walking around. They couldn’t even do trash talk or nothing. They couldn’t even talk to each other they were so gassed out.”

HILL EVALUATES HIS PERFORMANCES THIS SEASON

No matter what the coaches said about how he played, Hill knew he was better than the performance he was giving on the field throughout the season. After missing UF’s first two contests, Hill regained his starting job against Tennessee and has been performing admirably but with plenty of mistakes since. Though he suffered another miscue on Saturday, he hopes that he has now turned a corner.

“I played decent [early in the season]. I didn’t play like a top guy. I was just playing as a regular guy,” Hill said Tuesday. “I know what the coaches expect and I know what the team expects and I wasn’t up to those expectations. I was just average. [Saturday] was a big game for me. To be able to step up and help the team, I’ve been thinking about a lot of stuff like how can I help the team, how can I better myself, how can I better the team? By me performing the way I did, it just showed a lot of improvement.”

FIVE-STAR FRESHMEN DEFENDERS COMING INTO OWN

McCarney raved Tuesday about the progress of freshman defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and defensive end (currently outside linebacker) Ronald Powell. He said Floyd is “the most improved freshmen that I’ve got on the defensive line right now,” adding that injuries have “given Sharrif more of an opportunity and he’s really gaining confidence, improving. I think he’s one of the most improved players on our defense right now.” As for Powell, his improvement has come from a variety of directions. “He’s playing lower. He’s playing with better fundamentals. He’s playing with better technique. He’s understanding the game. He’s understanding the game plan. He’s understanding schemes, what people are trying to do to him,” McCarney said. “He’s really improved a lot – immensely. He’s one of the most talented, most mature freshmen I’ve ever been around [and] I’ve been doing this a lot of years.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/2: Addazio, McCarney, players discuss Georgia

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 8 recap

With the 2010-11 NFL season now underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 8 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 eighth week of the season.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings: Team-high six catches for 104 yards (targets: 8, long: 30), two-point conversion, two kickoff returns for 31 yards

LB ANDRA DAVIS, Buffalo Bills: Three tackles (two solo)
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Three receptions for 25 yards (targets: 5, long: 9)
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Solo tackle
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Six tackles (four solo)
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Two solo tackles
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: Four rec. for 54 yards (targets: 7, long: 19)
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: Two carries for one yard, touchdown

DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Four solo tackles
LB CHANNING CROWDER, Miami Dolphins: Four tackles (three solo), pass deflection
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Three solo tackles (one for loss), quarterback hurry
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Two rec. for 33 yards (long: 27)
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Seven tackles (five solo, one for loss)
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Solo tackle
DE ALEX BROWN, New Orleans Saints: Solo tackle, QB hit, Gator Chomp
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Solo tackle
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rush for two yds, rec. for two yds
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: Completed 4-of-7 passes for 44 yards, fumbled ball on first snap (returned for a touchdown)

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
C Maurkice Pouncey, LT Max Starks (Pittsburgh Steelers); G Cooper Carlisle (Raiders) – DE Jarvis Moss (Broncos); DE Derrick Harvey, DT Jeremy Mincey (Jacksonville Jaguars); WR Louis Murphy (Oakland Raiders), LB Brandon Siler (San Diego Chargers)

BYE WEEK
LB Mike Peterson (Atlanta Falcons), S Major Wright (Chicago Bears), CB Joe Haden (Cleveland Browns), WR Riley Cooper (Philadelphia Eagles)

INACTIVES
CB Lito Sheppard (Vikings), RB Fred Taylor (Patriots)

OGGOA RELATED: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7

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