9/2: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice notes

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s first game Saturday against the Miami (OH) RedHawks. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

HAMMOND OUT INDEFINITELY

Meyer announced that redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr., who was arrested earlier in the summer for driving under the influence and possession of alcohol by a minor, would not be active for Saturday’s game. In OGGOA‘s opinion, there is a good chance he is also out next week against South Florida. Hammond was indefinitely suspended from the team upon his arrest and had his scholarship pulled by Meyer; he has earned his way back onto the team but will not be eligible for a scholarship until spring or summer (at the earliest).

“It’s week-to-week. I said that months ago,” Meyer said. “He’s being evaluated the same way on the scholarship. The reason why I let you know that is because it was a public deal and a very serious deal. The good news about Frankie is he’s doing everything we ask, which you’d imagine he would.”

ELAM, PATTON, ALLI AVAILABLE

Unlike Hammond, freshmen safety Matt Elam and WR Solomon Patton are not being held out for Saturday. Each player was arrested in July and August, respectively, for underage drinking. The matters were handled internally and they’ll be able to play.

Redshirt freshman WR Stephen Alli, who has been limited all fall with a groin injury, will be playing on special teams Saturday, according to Meyer. “We have to get him on the field,” Meyer said. “He’s a talented guy, but he’s been limited so much.” He was initially listed as probable and is hoping to earn a role in the pass catching rotation now that he is getting healthier. That could come sooner than later.

BOSTIC TO START IN THE MIDDLE…”PROBABLY”

At this point, everyone just wants Meyer to name a starting middle linebacker, and the closest he came to doing so was Thursday when he said that sophomore Jon Bostic would “probably” be the starter (at least for the first defensive snap of the game). Then, he qualified it: “I think [he'll start]. … Don’t be shocked if he’s not.”

QUOTES

Meyer on the Nike Pro Combat uniforms: “I love Nike. I don’t like new uniforms, but I’m a team player so I understand the value of it.”

TWO BITS: RedHawks on Gators, volleyball excels

1 » When out-of-conference opponents speak about the Southeastern Conference or the Florida Gators specifically, speed is usually one of the factors that noticeably separate them from the pack. Miami (OH) RedHawks head coach Michael Haywood has noticed it on video, calling the Gators’ speed “unbelievable” and a major factor on Saturday. “Most people look at it as skill positions,” Haywood said, “but when you watch their defensive front and you watch their defensive ends come off the ball, I mean they are exploding off the ball, dipping and ripping and turning that corner, and that poses a problem for you. You get less people out in the passing game because you have to [block] with backs, you have to leave the tight end in to help out.”

Miami sophomore quarterback Zac Dysert adds that even watching Florida on film is scary. “We don’t really get a chance to practice [against that kind of speed] out here,” he said. “You’ve just got to be ready for everything they’re doing. If you know everything they’re doing, you know where they’re going to be. Speed’s going to be a factor and you’ll have to make quick decisions. You can’t be late on anything.”

2 » Featured on the front page of ESPNU.com the No. 6 Gators volleyball (2-0) are set for three matches (Albany, Bowling Green and Colorado State) in two days this weekend after defeating two top-10 opponents (No. 9 Iowa State, No. 2 Nebraska) last week. “We’re encouraged by how hard the team played in that atmosphere,” head coach Mary Wise told ESPNU, “but we know we have a long way to go. The words ‘a work in progress’ were stated before the weekend and that hasn’t changed after the weekend.” Florida’s two victories were led by junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy, the AVCA Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week, who shined even though the Gators playing in front of a large group of people. “We’ve had some great wins, but we’ve never played in front of a crowd like that before,” Murphy said. “It definitely gives us a lot of convidence. It reassured us that everything we’d been doing over the summer and everything we’ve been doing so far in preseason has been working.”

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

SIX BITS: Austin, Hines, Moore, Okine, Jones

1 » New Florida Gators defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is confident, so much so that he has won over players like junior safety Will Hill. “He came in and was very direct and straightforward,” Hill said, according to The Miami Herald. “He has a lot of high expectations. We come out ready, he tells us what to do and we just do it. Nobody is bumping heads or anything.” Even though Austin lost a lot of playmakers from Charlie Strong’s unit last year, he knows Florida’s defensive prowess is not being ignored. “I don’t think anyone will overlook us,” Austin said. “They may because we did lose so many quality players, but we had quality players [behind them] in the program.” His philosophy? “Guys are going to be aggressive and take the fight to the other team. That’s the mentality. On defense, you never want to sit back. You want to dictate the offense, not have the offense dictate to you.”

2 » In case you didn’t know, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Omarius Hines is a beast. So much so, in fact, that the 224-pounder is taking snaps at a hybrid tight end role that he will be featured in this season. “I will play tight end and some slot receiver,” Hines said of his position. “It will create mismatches because I’m fast and strong and stuff, so the linebackers won’t really be able to catch me. He has plenty of fans on the team, too. “He’s one of the strongest guys on the team,” redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody admitted, per the Herald. “I don’t know if you’ve seen his physical physique, but they call him the Greek [god].”

3 » Redshirt senior WR Carl Moore, who has been up-and-down since transferring to Florida, feels he is ready to take on the challenges of being a primary pass-catcher this year. “I can say that when I first got here, I was a little more selfish. I didn’t understand the system and how it had to be. Now I understand everything and I’m all in.”

4 » As OGGOA noted briefly yesterday via Twitter, redshirt sophomore Earl Okine, who was previously a defensive end but was moved to TE during fall practice, is back working at DE now that the team feels more comfortable at the other position. Okine played some TE in high school but is better suited on the defensive front.

5 » Freshman running back Malcom Jones, a preferred walk-on who led his high school team to a 2009 District Championship on 1,449 yards and 14 touchdowns, chose to try his luck with the Gators rather than take a scholarship to Florida International, Jacksonville, Toledo or Tennessee-Martin, according to Clay Today.

6 » Interesting column published by The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley on Thursday, taking a look at how everything seemed to change for Florida football 20 years ago in 1990. As he notes, the Gators were “a bit of a joke” before then, producing top-level talent but never actually winning anything substantial. “No team in college football has won more games the last two decades than Florida. A program that could not get to 10 wins in a season [prior to 1990] has averaged 10 wins a season over the past two decades. Gator teams have won almost 80 percent of their games, 83 percent if you don’t count the Ron Zook years.” Read the rest…

Photo Credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

TWO BITS: Noah golfing, Spikes not endorsing

1 » The good news: Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah participated in his team’s charity golf tournament on Monday. The better news: The picture above shows exactly what the former Florida Gators star wore to the event. At least this picture is funnier than a few taken of him earlier this offseason.

2 » Speaking of unflattering media coverage, New England Patriots rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes unfortunately made a poor decision before becoming a professional, one that has come back to bite him in the form of an adult-themed video being passed around on a number of websites. The NFL, which began looking into the matter almost immediately, may not even be his biggest concern; as Spikes’ agent points out, the player was not trying to knowingly break the personal conduct policy and the actions he took occurred before he was selected by New England in the 2010 NFL Draft. Nevertheless Reebok, which had offered Spikes a marketing deal, has reportedly pulled that offer according to his agent Terry Watson. According to The Boston Globe, which cited a Patriots fan blog, “the deal was worth $60,000 with on-field achievement incentives that could increase its value.” Watson noted that Spikes was dejected and apologetic for his actions. “He’s OK,” Watson said. “There’s nothing he can do about it now but continue to be the person he is, and the kind of leader he will be on and off the field. He can’t rewind what occurred, but he’s been through adversity with football and off the field, like we all have, and knows how to deal with it.”

9/1: 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 Meyer’s media availability (full transcript later):

» Meyer answering OGGOA’s question about redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey’s importance to the offense: “It’s his year. He’s gonna perform. He’s ready for it. He’s up to almost 180 – 178 he told me yesterday. He’s stronger than he’s ever been. He’s now focused on a position that really his body is more trained to be. And he has to give us the home run shot, and he’s got the ability. There’s really not an offense who can function without a home run hitter. And he’s either one or two on our list of guys that can take it to the distance.”

» Asked about whether or not he was concerned about junior running back Jeff Demps returning kickoffs, Meyer said the team is being “very cautious” but “hopefully we don’t return many kicks.” He also noted that Demps getting injured is one of the team’s main concerns; he no longer participates in “non-essential running” drills during practice and the team is “very cautious” with him throughout the week. “He just goes 40 yards every time he touches it at warp speed.”

» Meyer refused to pick either redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown or senior Moses Jenkins as the team’s No. 2 cornerback, saying the duo is both competing in practice and will split time.

» He went out of his way to give shout-outs to freshmen quarterback Trey Burton and safety Matt Elam, redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins and sophomore LB Jon Bostic as four players who will soon become household names among Florida fans.

» Read the rest of what Meyer had to say…after the break!
Continue Reading » 9/1: Florida coach Meyer’s SEC teleconference

Florida Gators’ 2010 Nike Pro Combat uniforms

Click above to enlarge.

For the second straight year, the No. 3/4 Florida Gators have been chosen by Nike as one of 10 schools which will wear special uniforms for at least one game during the 2010-11 season. Just like in 2009, Florida will be outfitted in the Nike Pro Combat System of Dress, uniforms “engineered to provide superior protection and durability, while utilizing advanced fabrics and tooling to reduce weight.”

Florida’s version, which features an “alligator-skin motif used in the jersey numbers, pant, gloves and footwear inspired by [the] menacing Gator mascot,” will be worn on Oct. 30 against Georgia at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, FL, (and perhaps on other occasions if the team so chooses). The theme of the 2010 design is “PRIDE,” which is stitched on the inside collar of the jersey and located on the gloves.

Click each picture below to see a larger, more detailed version.

Alabama (11/13), Boise State (9/6), Miami (FL) (11/20), Ohio State (11/27), Oregon State (12/4), Pittsburgh (11/26), Texas Christian (9/4), Virginia Tech (9/6) and West Virginia (11/26) are the other nine schools who will be participating in Nike’s campaign.

Florida was represented Wednesday by former running back Errict Rhett, who led the Gators in rushing for four-straight seasons and played seven years in the NFL.

DETAILED HQ IMAGES: Standing | Helmet | Jersey | Pants | Gloves | Cleats

WALLPAPERS: Nike Desktop | Nike iPhone | OGGOA Desktop | OGGOA iPhone

OGGOA RELATED: Early details emerge about Florida Gators’ 2010 Nike Pro Combat uniforms

Photo Credits: Nike

Early details emerge about Florida Gators’ 2010 Nike Pro Combat uniforms

OGGOA UPDATED: Florida Gators’ 2010 Nike Pro Combat uniforms

For the second straight year, the Florida Gators have been chosen by Nike as one of 10 schools which will wear special uniforms for at least one game during the 2010-11 season. Just like in 2009, Florida will be outfitted in the Nike Pro Combat System of Dress, which are uniforms “engineered to provide superior protection and durability, while utilizing advanced fabrics and tooling to reduce weight.”

The Gators’ 2009 uniforms were centered around the theme “Finish the Mission” and included Nike Vapor Trail 2.0 gloves with a Gator Head logo, a white helmet with a blue F, and a special blue jersey with unique graphics. Though the 2010 version will not officially be released until Wednesday at 10 a.m., OGGOA has uncovered some details about the uniform.

Florida’s jersey will feature an “alligator-skin motif used in the jersey numbers, pant, gloves and footwear inspired by [the] menacing Gator mascot.” It will be worn on Oct. 30 against Georgia at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, FL, and perhaps on other occasions if the team so chooses.

Alabama (11/13), Boise State (9/6), Miami (FL) (11/20), Ohio State (11/27), Oregon State (12/4), Pittsburgh (11/26), Texas Christian (9/4), Virginia Tech (9/6) and West Virginia (11/26) are the other nine schools who will be participating in Nike’s campaign.

Florida will be represented Wednesday by former running back Errict Rhett, who led the Gators in rushing for four-straight seasons and played seven years in the NFL.

8/31: Florida Gators week one practice notes

Game week practice for the Florida Gators‘ 2010 season opener is officially underway and, with their first game coming on Saturday at 12 p.m. against the Miami (OH) RedHawks, coaches and players were made available to the media after practice on Tuesday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

SIXTH CAPTAIN ADDED

Five Florida football players – redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones and seniors safety Ahmad Black, center Mike Pouncey, defensive end Justin Trattou and DE Duke Lemmens – were voted as captains by their teammates Saturday, according to head coach Urban Meyer. On Tuesday, Meyer said that redshirt senior defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh has been added, giving the Gators six captains this year.

TWO REDSHIRTS HANDED OUT

Freshmen defensive end Lynden Trail and defensive tackle Leon Orr will both be redshirted for the 2010-11 season, according to assistant head coach and defensive line coach Dan McCarney. “They’re not ready to play in the SEC, not ready to play winning football,” McCarney said, according to the Palm Beach Post‘s Jason Lieser. Ouch!

Trail would have been – at best – the seventh DE to play this season, while Orr has at least five other players in front of him. Trail, along with tight end Michael McFarland, had his black helmet stripe removed during practice on Monday.

Meyer noted Tuesday that wide receiver Solomon Patton had his stripe taken off.

QUOTE

Redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody on redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey breaking out: “I think he’s going to have a big year this year. We’re excited to see him returning punts as well. […] He’s making plays left and right. He’s taking them to the house sometimes. He’s making people miss, making people look foolish, breaking ankles out there. One time he made a play on Jelani Jenkins and Jelani didn’t know where Rainey was. Once he gets the ball in his hands this season, it will be electric.”

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