BREAKING NEWS: No. 7 Florida kicker Caleb Sturgis expected out Saturday at No. 1 Alabama

No. 7/7 Florida Gators junior kicker Caleb Sturgis is “not expected to play” Saturday against the No. 1/1 Alabama Crimson Tide after aggravating a back injury, a source close to the team confirmed to OGGOA on Friday.

Senior punter Chas Henry will handle all of the Gators’ offensive kicking assignments for the foreseeable future. He kicked field goals with the team “all week,” our source said, and will be supplemented by freshman K Brad Phillips on kickoffs. Phillips converted 90 percent of his kickoffs into touchbacks in high school.

Henry should be able to handle the additional duties respectably. He was the punter and kicker for four years at East Paulding High School in Dallas, GA, and made a school-long 52-yard field goal his junior year.

Sturgis’ injury, which has been called a stress fracture by WKMG Local 6 reporter David Pingalore (who first reported the story), could land him out of action for up to two months. OGGOA‘s source said there was not yet a definitive timetable for his return.

Florida’s starting kicker was 2-for-4 on field goal attempts this season missing from 44-yards against Miami (OH) and 39-yards against South Florida; Sturgis made from 22-yards vs. USF and 44-yards at Tennessee. He also missed an extra point (vs. Miami) and had another blocked (vs. Kentucky).

ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive…is STILL ALIVE!

As the old adage goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”

While owning and operating ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive for the last 12 months has certainly been fun, it has also resulted in long hours, late nights and more hard work then I could have possibly imagined.

Exactly one year ago, OGGOA was created to be THE stomping ground for die-hard Florida Gators fans on the World Wide Web – an online home base to serve as your all-inclusive, one-stop portal for everything you wanted or needed to know about your favorite team. Looking back on our accomplishments over the last 365 days, I am confident that goal is in the process of being reached and hope to continue providing content that you, the reader, will enjoy.

In normal anniversary fashion, allow me to recount what has been accomplished over the past year while simultaneously paying tribute certain individuals and organizations.

BRAGGING

As of press time, OnlyGators.com has registered 1.75 million total hits. We are also approaching 6,000 followers on Twitter and have just under 2,000 Facebook friends. OGGOA has published 1,424 posts on the website, tweeted 17,096 times (since August 2009), received almost 7,000 comments on the website and have been sent (and responded to) more than 2,000 reader e-mails.

FRIENDS and INTERVIEWS

Since last October, OGGOA has interviewed 13 Gators, 12 of which have been published on OnlyGators.com. We sat down for half-hour sessions with former dazzler now ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, New Orleans Saints defensive end Alex Brown, Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Danny Wuerffel and free agent tight end Cornelius Ingram; we were even granted extensive time with QB Tim Tebow.

OGGOA also interviewed Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin, Atlanta Hawks All Star Al Horford, New England Patriots linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, Chicago Bears safety Major Wright, Montreal Alouettes LB Earl Everett, free agent C Chris Richard, current Florida DE Lynden Trail and NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah.

MEDIA COVERAGE

Luckily breaking a number of news stories over the last year, OGGOA has been referenced, covered or linked to by a variety of major media outlets. We appreciate ESPN (four times), Sports Illustrated (two times), USA Today, The Huffington Post, SPORTSbyBROOKS, NBC Sports, AOL FanHouse, Newsday, the Orlando Sentinel (five times), the Palm Beach Post (two times), the Sun-Sentinel, The Press-Enterprise and WWSR radio for providing us with additional opportunities to reach the masses.

APPRECIATION

As mentioned previously, a lot of hard work has gone into making OGGOA a success. Without the following people and organizations (listed in no particular order) we may not have progressed as far as we have in such a short period of time.

– Acceleration.net (web hosting, site design, technical backing)
– Southeastern Conference
– Palm Beach Autographs and Steve Dodson
– Erin Andrews, Danny Wuerffel, Dan Shanoff, Jeremy Fowler, Brady Ackerman
– All of my friends who have supported and promoted this website

APPRECIATION PART DEUX

While everyone listed above has certainly influenced and assisted OGGOA in one way or another, no one has had more of an impact on us than you, our readers. In addition to your endless passion for the Gators, your enthusiasm for what we are doing here keeps us going day-in and day-out. In fact, between the commenters on OnlyGators.com and our biggest fans on Twitter, OGGOA has grown into a bit of an extended family.

Please continue “Liking” and sharing our posts [below each thread], commenting on articles you find interesting and letting us know what features and coverage we can add in order to help you enjoy your OGGOA experience even more.

I appreciate all of your continued support and dedication. It astounds me each day how many new visitors come to this site and how you have made OGGOA the fastest growing Gators website on the Internet. I am truly grateful.

Here’s to another year!

Adam Silverstein
Owner, editor

9/30: Florida Gators week five practice notes

No. 7/7 Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s fifth game Saturday against the No. 1/1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni also spoke on Wednesday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.

DEBOSE CONTINUES TO GROW

As Meyer alluded to last week at this time, redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose saw his first legitimate action last Saturday against Kentucky, catching four passes in the first quarter for 36 yards. Azzanni explained on Wednesday that Debose’s limited time on the field was by design based on the number of plays to which he had been assigned.

“[We] just had a small package for him. He practiced really hard last week. When you’re a young guy, the way you practice dictates how much you play here. That’s how it is,” Azzanni said. “He practiced great last week. So what did I do? I put together a little package for him and said, ‘This is your package. Go get it.’ […] He had a good game. […] He’s a young guy. I want him to go play really hard, really fast, and I don’t want him thinking a bunch. […] I thought he executed his package well. The way he practices this week, the package will grow.”

Meyer had similar things to say Thursday about Debose’s improvement.

“[He's] getting close. He had a good week. He’s still very much involved,” he said. “I made the comment last week and it’s going to [stay true] for the next week: If he doesn’t practice very well [he won't see the field]. He’s really coming on. Good to see that, too.” Part of what Meyer is looking for is how Debose understands and executes the playbook. “He just can’t handle it [all] right now,” Meyer continued. “That’s where a guy like [freshman quarterback] Trey [Burton] does. It’s amazing. Trey – boom – got it and go. But that’s not uncommon. It took [redshirt junior WR] Deonte [Thompson] a while. [Debose]’s doing a good job. Really good week of practice.”

DEMPS REMAINS PROBABLE

Even though he was limited in practice on Thursday, junior running back Jeff Demps continues to be listed as Probable on the Gators’ unofficial injury report. Demps had been wearing a protective boot for the last few days, which is now off according to Meyer. “[He was] limited today still. We’re going to try to practice him [Friday] more. But he’s still limited. He’s probably for the game Saturday. He wasn’t full speed moving around.”

Should Demps have difficulty playing, it was made clear that redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody and sophomore Mike Gillislee will have increased roles. Meyer also mentioned that freshman Mack Brown could see additional time. “[Brown’s] a freshman with really big wide eyes. A nice guy that has a lot of talent and he’s getting a lot better,” he said.

OTHER INJURY UPDATES

Redshirt senior defensive tackles Lawrence Marsh (hamstring, stitches) and Brandon Antwine (shoulder) are both “ready to go,” according to Meyer, who also said junior kicker Caleb Sturgis is slowly recovering from a nagging back injury. “He’s got that back issue. He fought through it [during] last week’s game,” he said. “It’s going to be something he’s going to have to deal with and work through and he has been. He’s done a nice job with it.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 9/30: Florida Gators week five practice notes

FOUR BITS: Rivers commits, Florida wants canoe

1 » It is being widely reported Thursday that five-star 2011 guard Austin Rivers (Winter Park, FL) has officially committed to the Duke Blue Devils. Considered the top players in his class, Rivers was originally committed to the Florida Gators before opening up his recruitment and then completely spurning the Orange and Blue. His decision to play at Duke is not a surprise considering he has been raving about head coach Mike Krzyzewski for months and admitted that he is seeking the spotlight above all else.

2 » Though Florida and Miami (FL) may not play an annual football game anymore, the rivalry between the two schools continues to exist and, when they do face-off, it is as heated as ever. Intrepid University of Florida student senators Andrew Hart and Jon Ossip realized this and decided that because the Gators won the last game between the two schools (26-3 on Sept. 6, 2008), it is about time Florida is delivered the Seminole War Canoe Trophy. Though Florida symbolically holds the trophy now, it is physically in Miami’s possession and has been located at the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame since 1987 (the year of the final home-and-home series). You can read more about the senators’ mission to bring the trophy home in this story by The Alligator.

3 » Leave it to two columnists writing about Alabama and Florida the longest, The Birmingham News’ Paul Finebaum and The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley, to name the duo college football’s biggest rivalry. Finebaum believes this is the case because of the immense success of both programs and how dominant the Southeastern Conference. Dooley, on the other hand, contends that the Crimson Tide is the one team that can actually beat the Gators with any type of consistency, even though they only play twice every six years and in SEC Championship games. The fact is that both are right. While the rivalry may be stronger between Florida and Florida State, Georgia, Tennessee or even Miami, none of those games played today can match the importance and size of a game between these two behemoths.

4 » OGGOA columnist and former Gators quarterback Danny Wuerffel will be part of a special lunch with the Tampa Gator Club on Friday beginning at 11:30 a.m. Wuerffel will be on-hand to discuss Florida’s football season, tell the story of his life and sign autographs from fans. For more information, visit http://www.tampagatorclub.com.

Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images

9/29: Gators players, coaches speak to media

A number of Florida Gators players spoke to the media on Wednesday as the team takes a look back on its 48-14 home victory over the Kentucky Wildcats and ahead to its match-up against the No. 1/1 Alabama Crimson Tide on the road on Saturday.

Linebackers and special teams coach D.J. Durkin, redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody, sophomore right tackle Xavier Nixon and redshirt freshman LB Jelani Jenkins all had plenty to say…which you can read after the break!
Continue Reading » 9/29: Gators players, coaches speak to media

9/29: 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:

» Meyer said junior running back Jeff Demps is no longer wearing a boot previously placed on his sprained foot. Demps is listed as Probable for the Alabama game, and Meyer hopes he will be able to practice in full Thursday and Friday.

» Asked about redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey’s status with the team, Meyer said it is unchanged. “I haven’t even thought about it because our focus is on Wednesday’s practice,” he said. “At the appropriate time I’ll sit down and have that discussion. But that’s certainly not now.” He added that while arrests used to bother him a great deal, he realizes there is only so much he can do to curb them. “I have [lost sleep over them] in the past. I haven’t now, recently,” he said. “Someone makes a very stupid decision, there’s a terrible consequence for it. That’s all we can do. I used to lose a lot of sleep over that.”

» The subject was brought up about whether or not Alabama has become one of Florida’s main rivals. Meyer dismissed that notion, saying when he decided to coach the Gators he was told about three rivalries: Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee. “I haven’t given it any thought,” Meyer said. “We’re not going to put a board downstairs like we [do] for the rivals.”

» Meyer credited defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Teryl Austin with helping further develop CBs junior Janoris Jenkins and redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown during the offseason. He also said that football and reputation are two very important things to Jenkins, which is why he respects him so much.

“[Jenkins] came in here as one of the best workers we’ve ever had as a true freshman,” Meyer said. “He and Jeremy Brown came in and stole the show. Jeremy went through a back injury and is now coming out of it. Janoris went through a very good freshman year and kind of an average second year, pretty good, but nothing like it is now. Coach Austin has done a very good job with him. Some of these guys around here get a certain feeling of status when they play very well, and I don’t see that with Janoris. I saw that a little bit last year.”

MEYER QUOTES

Opening statement: “We have our hands full this week with the most talented team in the country.”

On Florida’s last loss at Alabama: “I remember we had a very bad team and we didn’t play well.”

On redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley’s progression: “I thought he’s done well. I thought we obviously looked awful in the first game, made some improvements in the second game, by the third game made some more improvements first time on the road. And then the fourth game, I thought he played really well.”

On his winning expectations upon taking the Gators job: “I thought you could win or I never would have moved my family across the country. I never put a number on it.”

SABAN QUOTES

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban also spoke Wednesday.

On Florida: “[They are] probably the most successful team in our league … the last 3-4 years.”

On Meyer: “I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for Urban Meyer, what he’s been able to accomplish as a coach, probably more than anybody in the country – his head coaching career in the last 7-8 years. Schematically they do a really good job, they’re always well-prepared for what they do. He’s a diligent worker. I think he cares about college football and college football players and that’s why he was interested in being involved in the agent deal to make things better for college football and college football players. I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for him from that standpoint.”

On what Meyer has done right: “Consistency and performance is really the basis of success. You can have one good team one year, but to do it year in and year out and be dominant as they have been, I think that’s the ultimate respect that anyone deserves in terms of having a successful program.”

On freshman QB Trey Burton:: “I think he certainly did a lot of things in the last game, he’s obviously being a quarterback when he gets into quarterback position and runs the quarterback runs not dissimilar to what [Tim] Tebow did. He certainly has the speed and quickness and size to be very good at that. … just looks like one of those smart instinctive guys that, no matter how they use him, he seems to be having success.”

On why Alabama and Florida are successful: “I can’t really speak for their program, I know they have a lot of good players and great staff and do a good job of coaching. I would like to think our success here is attributed to having a good program, having a good staff, having a lot of good players that we’re able to develop not only as football players but character and attitude that … [make them good] students as well.”

On not hiring Meyer as an assistant coach in the past: “It was when I went to [coach] Toledo. I really kind of messed that one up. He called my house and talked to Teri. Teri really interviewed him, that’s my wife. She told me when I came home that night. Of course, I think I was coaching the Houston Oilers and [was] trying to finish the season and hire a staff and be a head coach. She said, ‘Boy this really interesting guy called and really sounded like a top-notch, bright, articulate [coach]. You really need to talk to this guy. You really need to talk to this guy.’ And it was Urban. I never did in the haste of [taking a new job]. That was one of the obviously biggest mistakes I ever made.”

This post will be updated later Wednesday. Stay tuned.

9/27-28: Florida footballers speak to the media

A number of Florida Gators players spoke to the media on Monday and Tuesday as the team takes a look back on its 48-14 home victory over the Kentucky Wildcats and ahead to its match-up against the Alabama Crimson Tide on the road on Saturday.

Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio, redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, senior defensive end Duke Lemmens, redshirt senior wide receiver Carl Moore and redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown all had plenty to say…which you can read after the break!
Continue Reading » 9/27-28: Florida footballers speak to the media

FOUR BITS: Pouncey, Tebow, Nike, Eckstein

1 » Facing his hometown Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie center Maurkice Pouncey continued his next-level play as a youngster stuck right in the middle of a veteran team. He was excited to play so close to home and showed it with how he played all game. “It felt amazing,” Pouncey told The Lakeland Ledger of playing Tampa Bay. “I’m 20 minutes from Tampa, and pretty much all of Lakeland came up here to support me.” Also having Pouncey’s back is veteran wide receiver Hines Ward, who thinks the former Florida Gators star will truly be something special. “He’s had a lot of help from all of the veterans. Right now, he’s learning on the run,” Ward said. “When Maurkice gets three or four years into the league and finally figures this whole thing out, look for a lot of Pro Bowls. […] When the game slows down and he starts seeing the defense and making the calls, he’s going to have Pro Bowl after Pro Bowl after Pro Bowl.” As far as how the two get along? “I love everything about the kid – the tenacity, he doesn’t quit. Unfortunately, I hate him because he’s a Gator,” said Ward, a Georgia Bulldog, “but I love everything about him.”

Also… Asked by the paper about his brother, senior center Mike Pouncey‘s, snap problems earlier in the season, Maurkice had the following to say: “When I first moved over, I had the same thing. I had the horrible snaps, snaps everywhere. He is such a high profile player, everyone’s going to notice it. Even the commentator said it last night that he’s still one of the best linemen in college football. The snaps will get better. They’ve been getting better all along.” Has he given him any advice? “Nah, I’ve always thought my brother was a better player than me. Don’t tell him that, though.”

2 » For the first time in his short career, Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow was the team’s No. 3 quarterback and technically listed as inactive for its game Sunday. he reason? Head coach Josh McDaniels‘ game plan did not call for Tebow. “[We] didn’t have anything [in the game plan] relative to Tim being in the game and playing a role in it, and we’ll try to do that the best we can each week,” McDaniels said.

3 » Tebow may not have seen the field Sunday, but he has been hitting television screens as one of two players prominently featured in Nike‘s newest commercial. Check out this trailer where he and Detroit defensive tackle Nndamukong Suh watch a Manny Pacquiao fight while getting fitted for suits.

4 » Check out this feature story on former Gators now San Diego Padres second baseman David Eckstein put together by the Los Angeles Times on Monday. Eckstein has become an instrumental part of the resurgent Padres in his two years with the club.

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