Florida basketball holds on to defeat FSU 55-51

Hoping to save the University of Florida from a disastrous weekend in Tallahassee, FL, No. 14/16 Florida Gators basketball (5-1) survived a late run to take down the Florida State Seminoles (5-1) 55-51 at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Sunday.

Up a game-high 13 points with 14:30 remaining in the second half, Florida allowed Florida State to rattle off a 15-3 run to narrow their lead to a single point. From there the game went back-and-forth until sophomore forward Erik Murphy put in a layup off an airballed three from sophomore guard Kenny Boynton to ice the contest for the Gators.

The Seminoles began the game with a quick 5-0 run including an opening three-pointer and fastbreak dunk. Minutes later, Gators freshman F Casey Prather hit a trey to give his team their first lead of the game; it would never be relinquished after that point.

A 12-2 run helped Florida extend their lead to 17-11, and a subsequent 9-2 run to end the half allowed the Gators to walk into the locker room up 30-21.

Florida started the second half strong with a 6-0 run including a three from junior point guard Erving Walker, free throw from freshman F Will Yeguete and jumper from Boynton that put them up a game-high 13 points.

Florida State went on their 15-3 run at that point, leaving UF scrambling to keep its 44-43 lead over FSU. After plenty of back-and-forth, Seminoles G Michael Snaer nailed a trey off a loose ball to cut the Gators’ lead to 53-51 with 51.4 seconds left.

Murphy’s layup made it a two-shot game, and Florida State conceded the contest after a turnover with only three seconds remaining.

Boynton led the way for the Gators with a team-high 14 points on 4-of-11 shooting (2-of-5 from downtown) with a game-high three steals and five rebounds. Murphy made his presence felt off the bench playing major minutes in place of senior F Alex Tyus. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting (1-of-1 from three) with a team-high six rebounds (three offensive).

With Tyus and redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin only seeing 14 and 13 minutes on the court, respectively, Florida’s freshmen frontcourt players stepped up. Center Patric Young played 25 minutes grabbing five rebounds and Yeguete notched 22 minutes with five boards of his own.

The Gators were effective in somewhat shutting down Seminoles star F Chris Singleton, who was held to eight points on 2-of-12 shooting while only grabbing five rebounds. Snaer led Florida State with 15 points (5-of-6 from three), and G Derwin Kitchen contributed eight rebounds and four assists.

UF shot better from the field (38.1-33.3%) and the line (68-54.5%) than FSU but not downtown (37.5-41.2%). They grabbed six more rebounds, notched one more block and committed six fewer fouls but turned the ball over three more times (17-14).

Winning their first road game of the season and coming out victorious in Tallahassee for the first time since 2002, Florida will remain on the road for their following two contests – a neutral site contest against Central Florida in Orlando, FL on Dec. 1 and a true road game in Washington, D.C. against American on Dec. 5.

POST-GAME NOTES & QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Florida basketball holds on to defeat FSU 55-51

No. 14 Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles

Location: Donald L. Tucker Center – Tallahassee, FL [Capacity: 14,000]
Time: 7:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: FSN / Sun Sports
Online Video: None.
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 14 FLORIDA GATORS FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton
Record: 4-1 Record: 5-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Coast
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida State +4; O/U 137

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series against Florida State 39-22, but the Seminoles are 4-2 in the last six meetings between the schools. The Gators have been unable to win in Tallahassee recently, dropping their last three contests (2004, 2006, 2008). However, they did win 68-52 last year in Gainesville, FL.
» UF has fared well against the ACC under Donovan, posting a 17-9 record and four straight wins and a buzzer-beater victory over N.C. State.
» The Gators are 65-8 under Donovan in the month of November (41-4 since 2004).
» Sunday’s game is Florida’s first game away from the O’Connell Center this season. It is the first time UF has played a true road game as its first game away from home since facing Jacksonville in 2004.
» Donovan needs just six victories to move into sole possession of third place in SEC history for most wins as an SEC head coach.
» The Gators and Seminoles have different specializations early in the season, splitting four main statistical comparisons. Florida is 46th in the nation in points per game (79.4), 136th in rebounds per game (37.6), 43rd in assists per game (16.0) and 11th in field goal percentage (.505), while Florida State is 21st in the nation in points per game (83.6), 10th in rebounds per game (44.6), 129th in assists per game (14.0) and 28th in field goal percentage (.493). FSU has also allowed fewer points per game (60.4-65.8), is playing better defense (32.7-44.9%) and shoots better from the line (71-67.3%).

KEEP AN EYE ON…
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton and junior point guard Erving Walker…a backcourt duo that has combined to average 28.6 point per game and has accounted for 21 of their team’s 31 three-pointers this season.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin and senior forwards Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus…Florida’s three frontcourt starters who have combined to average 17.7 rebounds per game.
» Freshman PG Scottie Wilbekin…who has posted a commendable 14-2 assist-to-turnover ratio while running the point in relief of Walker.
» Freshman F Will Yeguete…who has been a spark off the bench for the Gators averaging 5.8 rebounds per game and 3.8 points per game in just 10.3 minutes.
» FSU F Chris Singleton…who is the ACC’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year and is currently averaging a team-high 17.4 points per game, 10.8 rebounds per game and a conference-high 3.6 steals. He recently became the first player in ACC history to score a triple-double including steals with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 steals against UNC-Greensboro.

INJURIES

» Active: Redshirt senior C Vernon Macklin (knee)
» Inactive: Redshirt junior F Adam Allen (knee)

Week 13: Gators post-game news & notes

Falling flat on their faces with an embarrassing 31-7 loss to the No. 22 Florida State Seminoles (9-3) on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL, the Florida Gators (7-5) completed their worst season under head coach Urban Meyer in lackluster fashion. OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes.

COMPLETE REBUILDING EFFORT PROMISED

Meyer got right to it after the loss Saturday, going on a mini-rant about what he needs to do in order to turn the Gators around immediately.

“I can assure you we are going to rebuild this thing and build it up the right way and do it right. Obviously we are down a little bit. I didn’t believe we would be that far down – but we are,” he said. How do you build up a program? I’ve done it a few times. You build it up with tough players, tough coaches, and you got to play better. You have to have a plan to win.

“Obviously this is the first time…2010 is the first time in 10 years we did not follow a plan to win. You can’t turn the ball over. I didn’t think our guys did not play hard…we [just] did not play smart. We did not coach smart and we didn’t take care of the ball. Four turnovers – I know at least three led to direct touchdowns. And I didn’t manage the game right on that fake punt. With that said, we’re going to be rebuild it right though, not wrong. We’re going to rebuild it right.”

He added that his immediate plan is to prepare the team to honor the seniors with a bowl win and recruit at a high level to infuse the program with some new players. “Recruit our butt off is what we’re going to do – and that starts tonight,” Meyer said. “Coaches are all on the road tomorrow, so we’re going to recruit our butt off and build this thing back up. Obviously we’re down. We got to build this thing back up. […] How do you rebuild it? Tough-ass players and tough-ass coaches.”

THE QUARTERBACKS AND JOHN BRANTLEY

Though the three-quarterback system was cute and effective coming out of the bye week against Georgia and the following week against Vanderbilt, it has blown up in Florida’s faces over the last few games. Whether that is because of how the coaching staff has handled the transition of signal callers during drives (mostly) or simply the concept all together (somewhat), Meyer said it will certainly be looked at soon and could be completely revamped before the bowl game.

“There’s a chance, sure. I have no idea [right now]. I know one thing – we went up and down the field before our quarterback-slash-tight end got hurt. Had some decent drives. I think we ran the ball for 200-something yards. We were just really ineffective in certain areas. Really, really ineffective,” he said. “If that’s because of three quarterbacks, we’ll blow that thing completely out of the water. We’re in immediacy and then we’re in the future; right now we’re in immediacy, we’re going to do everything we can to win the bowl game and work our tail off.”

It should be noted that Meyer has referred to redshirt freshman Jordan Reed as someone who will play tight end for this team in the future, mentioning that is the position he believed he would succeed at. This is the first occasion recently that Meyer has referred to him as a quarterback, though that is probably a minor point.

One of the major issues with the system on Saturday was the fact that the coaching staff seemed to only bring redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley in on third-and-longs – obvious passing downs. Though Brantley’s performance was no doubt lackluster, he was not necessarily given a fair shake or allowed to possibly build any type of momentum throughout the contest. “Some of those are early first and 10s, it wasn’t all third and medium. But yeah, it probably is [unfair],” Meyer said. “We’re just trying to do the best we can to move the ball right now. Trying to find that mix.”

FAILED FAKE PUNT AND PENALTIES

In addition to the Gators’ three fumbles and interception, one of the most catastrophic mistakes made during the game was Meyer’s call of a fake punt on a 4th and 5 from inside Florida territory. Claiming he “just wanted to make something happen” for the team early with that call, Meyer realizes he made a game-changing mistake with the call. “It didn’t happen. It killed us,” he said.

Also of issue were the numerous drive-stalling penalties that landed the Gators in vulnerable spots throughout the game. “Awful. Real huge concern. That’s a huge concern,” he said of the miscues.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Week 13: Gators post-game news & notes

McCarney leaves Florida for top job at North Texas

Florida Gators assistant head coach, defense/defensive line coach Dan McCarney has accepted an offer to become head coach of the North Texas Mean Green, according to ESPN’s Joe Schad.

McCarney, who has coached at Florida since 2008, will be taking the reins of a program for only the second time in his 33-year coaching career.

After starring as an offensive lineman at Iowa from 1972-74, McCarney became an assistant coach at the school from 1977-89. He later moved on to Wisconsin to be a defensive coordinator and coach the defensive line from 1990-94 before being the head coach of Iowa State for over a decade from 1995-2007. Though he took Iowa State to five bowl games and had his best years from 2004-05, McCarney was let go after a 4-8 season in 2006. He coached the defensive line for South Florida in 2007 before Florida head coach Urban Meyer brought him on staff the following season.

He is the fifth coach to leave the Gators since last year and eighth since the season they won the 2009 BCS National Championship.

ESPN reports that McCarney’s salary will be “in the mid-six figures” and is a “significant jump” over what the previous head coach was paid.

Though multiple sources are reporting that an agreement has been reached between the two parties, Meyer denied knowledge of the situation after the game on Saturday. “No, not that I know of,” Meyer said. “I have not been made aware of that.”

In addition to being located in the talent-rich state of Texas, North Texas will be cracking the seal on a brand new $78 million stadium next season. The Mean Green went 3-9 (3-5) in regular season competition this year.

UPDATE: “I’m happy for Coach McCarney and his family,” Meyer said in a statement released by UF on Nov 30. “He has a proven track record as a head coach and we were fortunate to have him on our staff for the last three years. He did a great job with our defensive line and I fully expect him to be successful at North Texas.”

Seminoles embarrass Gators with 31-7 rout

Everything went wrong for the Florida Gators (7-4) Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL, as the No. 22 Florida State Seminoles (9-3) snapped a six-game losing streak to their bitter in-state rivals by cruising to a dominant 31-7 victory.

Down 7-3 going into the second quarter, Florida State put together a 21-point effort before halftime by taking advantage of a number of Florida miscues. The Seminoles would add a touchdown in the second half and shut the Gators out for the final three quarters of the game, earning their biggest win in the series since 1988 (52-17).

After a phantom facemask penalty on senior safety Ahmad Black helped FSU earn a field goal on their first possession, redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose returned the ensuing kickoff for 62 yards. UF got on the board quickly putting together a five-play, 32-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 20-yard pass from redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley to freshman WR Robert Clark.

A fumble by redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed (in at QB) ended what appeared to be a promising drive for Florida in the middle of the first quarter, and a second fumble by redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey on the Gators’ next possession at their own 14 gave Florida State the ball back in scoring position. Two plays later QB Christian Ponder tossed a quick pass to WR Lonnie Pryor to give the Seminoles a 10-7 lead that they would never look back from.

Faced with a three-and-out at their own 36 yard line on their next possession, UF attempted a fake punt on 4th and 5; unfortunately senior punter/kicker Chas Henry was stopped a yard short for the team’s first failed fake punt under head coach Urban Meyer. On the very next play, Ponder completed a 39-yard touchdown pass to WR Rodney Smith who beat redshirt junior cornerback Moses Jenkins for a wide-open score to put FSU up 17-7.

The Seminoles would have to work a bit harder for their final points of the quarter, putting together a 12-play, 73-yard drive that concluded with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ponder to WR Taiwan Easternling. The Gators appeared to bounce back quickly with 2:47 left on the clock as Reed and Rainey ran the ball for a combined 60 yards to just enter the red zone. However, after a Florida State timeout to slow things down, Brantley was brought in for Reed on 2nd and 8 and subsequently threw an interception.

FSU would put the game away for good on their first possession of the third quarter, piecing together a 10-play, 71-yard touchdown drive; Ponder tossed his third score of the day with a 29-yard pass to WR Willie Haulstead.

In addition to their numerous miscues, Florida appeared undisciplined and inept by committing 11 penalties for 79 yards (most courtesy of the offensive line). The Gators outgained the Seminoles 212-112 on the ground, but UF was no match for a FSU passing attack that almost quadrupled their effort (221-64).

Brantley, who mostly saw work on obvious passing downs until Reed left the game with a concussion in the second half, finished 6-of-12 for 52 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Reed and Rainey rushed for 74 and 73 yards, respectively, and junior running back Jeff Demps took nine carries for 44 yards. Ponder finished 16-of-24 for 221 yards with three touchdowns, and Smith ended up as his leading receiver with four receptions for 79 yards and a score.

Saturday’s loss was just Meyer’s second rivalry game defeat during his tenure at Florida (Georgia, 2007) and his first to Florida State.

Photo Credit: Steve Cannon/Associated Press

Week 13: Florida Gators at Florida St. Seminoles

Location: Doak Campbell Stadium – Tallahassee, FL [Capacity: 82,300]
Weather Forecast: 65°F, clear skies
Time: 3:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: ABC/ESPN
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Sirius/XM: 212/198
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS No. 22 FSU SEMINOLES
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher
Record: 7-4 Record: 8-3
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Coast
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida State -2; O/U 51

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series with Florida State 33-19-2. The Gators have won six straight games against the Seminoles including going 5-0 under Meyer with a 2-0 mark in Tallahassee. UF has won the last six meetings between the two teams by an average of 21.8 points and the last three by an average of 30 points.
» The Gators are 17-1 in rivalry games under Meyer including nine consecutive wins and a 5-0 mark against the Seminoles.
» UF is tied for the national lead with 17 interceptions on the season. Seven have been returned for more than 30 yards – three for touchdowns.
» Florida is back out of the BCS, Associated Press and USA Today top 25 after returning to the rankings three weeks ago. This season is the first time the Gators have been unranked in all three under Meyer. Florida had been listed in every poll since he took over in 2005 until they lost to Mississippi State three weeks ago.
» The Gators’ offense has seen 15 different players overall score a touchdown this year – including defense and special teams.
» Florida is the only school in the nation that has four players with at least three interceptions. Overall, eight Gators have at least one interception.
» The Seminoles slightly out-rank the Gators in all four major statistical averages; however, their statistics come against what many would consider inferior ACC competition. Florida State is 63rd in passing yards (212.6), 33rd in rushing yards (183.4), 37th in points scored (31.7) and 14th in points against (18.8) compared to Florida being 70th in passing yards (202.8), 49th in rushing yards (161.4), 40th in points for (31.3) and 26th in points against (20.2). The teams have not faced a common opponent this season.
» UF under Meyer is 42-1 when holding an opponent under 16 points, 29-3 when shutting an opponent out in the fourth quarter, 38-3 when holding an opponent to 35 percent or less on third down, 39-2 when giving up two or less big plays (15-yard run/25-yard pass) and 33-3 when the Gators defense scores or creates three turnovers.
» FSU’s Fisher has faced UF 16 times while an assistant at Auburn, LSU and Florida State; Florida is 11-5 in those contests (4-2 vs. Auburn, 4-3 vs. LSU, 3-0 vs. LSU).
» Gators defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, while defensive backs coach at Wake Forest (1991-93), faced the Seminoles three times and won every meeting.
» Florida freshman offensive lineman Chaz Green and Florida State’s Christian Green both attended Tampa Catholic High School. Gators defensive lineman Glen Watson and the Seminoles’ Anthony Porterfield both went to Escambia High School. FSU WR Jared Haggins attended Lakeland High School with a number of UF’s seniors.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

FLORIDA
» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who had thrown 156 consecutive passes without an interception dating back to 2009, now has an 8-8 TD/INT ratio this season after throwing an interception last week. He has completed 188-of-304 passes (61.8 percent) for 1,968 yards and has a passer rating of 119.6.
» Freshman QB Trey Burton and redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed…both of whom will spell Brantley at quarterback in Florida’s new three-QB system. Burton set a school record and SEC freshman record by scoring six touchdowns in a single game against Kentucky. He has 12 scores on the season, has played five positions and is second on the team in rushing (64 carries for 316 yards). Reed got his first meaningful snaps behind center two weeks, going 16-of-29 for 180 yards with three touchdowns and a pick. He also ran 40 times for 186 yards with five more scores.
» Junior running back Jeff Demps…who is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and still leads the Gators in rushing (487 yards) after missing two full games and being limited in six others. He was Florida’s leading rusher in its first five games of the season.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey..who returned to action for the first time in over a month against Georgia and has 34 carries for 227 yards (along with 18 receptions for 173 yards) and five touchdowns this year.
» Redshirt freshman WR/kick returner Andre Debose…who set a school single-season record with his second kickoff return touchdown two weeks ago. With an 88-yard return against LSU and a 99-yard return against South Carolina, he is the only freshman nationally with two in 2010 and one of only two players nationally with two in 2010. He is one of the reasons why the Gators rank No. 5 nationally and No. 1 in the SEC in kickoff returns with a 26.4 average.
» Sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr.…who is quickly becoming one of Florida’s most important pass catchers. He was the team’s leading receiver against Mississippi State and caught three passes for 46 yards against Georgia and another three passes for 49 yards and a touchdown against Vanderbilt the following week.
» Senior punter Chas Henry…who is the end-all be-all of Florida’s kicking game now that he has taken over for junior Caleb Sturgis (back) as the team’s field goal kicker. Henry had missed five-straight field goal attempts (one negated by penalty) before nailing back-to-back kicks in the fourth quarter and overtime a month ago.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted 13 balls this season. Starters senior safety Ahmad Black (three), junior CB Janrois Jenkins (three), redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (three), and junior S Will Hill (three) have accounted for all but one of the unit’s picks.
» Black…who has led Florida in tackles seven times this season: vs. South Carolina (career-high 16), LSU (13), Georgia (12), Miami (10), Mississippi State (10), USF (8) and Vanderbilt (4). He is tops on the team overall with 96 tackles, including nine for loss.

FLORIDA STATE
» QB Christian Ponder…who leads his team in offense having passed for 1,817 yards and 17 touchdowns to go along with eight interceptions. He has also rushed 88 times for 159 yards and four scores. Ponder did not play in last year’s game due to injury.
» WR Bert Reed…who is Ponder’s top pass catcher hauling in 50 balls for 514 yards and two touchdowns this season.
» RBs Chris Thompson and Jermaine Thomas…who have combined for 1,128 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
» LB Nigel Bradham and DE Brandon Jenkins…who lead the Seminoles, respectively, with team bests in tackles (80) and sacks (10).

INJURIES

» Active: Senior C Mike Pouncey (lightheadedness)
» Probable: Junior RB Jeff Demps (foot), junior CB Janoris Jenkins (concussion), redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (hamstring), redshirt senior LB A.J. Jones (hamstring), sophomore LB Dee Finley (fractured collarbone)
» Questionable: Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose (ankle)
» Inactives: Redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (broken wrist), junior K Caleb Sturgis (back), freshmen RB Mack Brown, WRs Quinton Dunbar and Chris Dunkley (hamstrings)

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators at Florida State Seminoles preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Week 13: Florida Gators at Florida St. Seminoles

FOUR BITS: Heimerdinger, Brantley, Driskel, FSU

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receivers coach and current Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger was diagnosed with cancer recently, leaving the team facility on Wednesday to undergo his first round of chemotherapy. Only 58 years old, Heimerdinger has already had an exemplary NFL career and will attempt to continue doing his job during treatment. He has decided to call plays from the sidelines for Tennessee’s game on Sunday and wishes to do so the remainder of the season as long as his health allows him to. Heimerdinger, a college roommate of Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, was first a Florida graduate assistant in 1980. He returned to the school to coach wide receivers from 1983-87, spending his first year under Shanahan (the offensive coordinator at the time) and his tenure under head coaches Charley Pell and Galen Hall. OGGOA sends our thoughts and prayers out to the Heimerdinger family; we hope he has a speedy and full recovery.

2 » Gators fans come in all ages, sexes, shapes and sizes, but it was a 10-month-old having recently undergone surgery for a heart murmur that received a special visit from redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley. Named after the signal caller, Brantley Bowen had a seven-hour surgery to correct his heart problem just days after Florida lost to South Carolina. He is now resting comfortably and expected to make a full recovery. With both parents huge Gators fans, Brantley spent an hour-and-a-half with the family and even brought a long a gift basket including toys and autographs that his father has prepared for the occasion. “It makes me more proud that I did name my son after him,” Brantley Bowden’s mother Maegan McGalliard told the Orlando Sentinel. “It kind of makes me proud to be a Gator.”

3 » Five/four-star Florida quarterback commit Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL) has almost arrived in Gainesville, FL. In just over a month, Driskel will enroll early at the University of Florida and begin his mission to become the Gators’ signal caller of the future. While some have been so impressed with Driskel’s high school performances that they already want him to supplant Brantley or any other quarterback on the team, the high school senior is taking the hype in stride and just trying to do the best he can with the opportunities he’s provided. Nevertheless, his high school head coach Nate Gierke told The Gainesville Sun that Driskel is truly something special. “He’s an unbelievable football player. He’s the best high school player I’ve ever seen,” Gierke said. “What he’s done for our team this year, it’s just remarkable. He’s got that innate talent to make things happen. He’s done that for four years for me.”

4 » When talking about Saturday’s game against the Florida State Seminoles, considering which team “needs the win more” is basically irrelevant with any regard to predicting a winner. With that being said, The Florida Times-Union covered both sides of the argument, addressing why both schools could really use a victory this weekend. A win for Florida, according to Michael DiRocco, would extend their streak over FSU to seven games, help the team get a better bowl game, quiet critics and assist in recruiting. Garry Smits, on the other hand, believes a victory for Florida State will end their difficult losing streak, earn them a state championship, get head coach Jimbo Fisher off on the right foot and send-off a senior class – that has been through a lot – the right way.

Photo Credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

11/24: 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 (for the final time this season). Below are some notes from the event:

INJURY UPDATES

Meyer touched on the status of a number of players dealing with injuries. He said both cornerbacks – junior Janoris Jenkins (concussion) and redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown (hamstring) – should be good to go Saturday, as will redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones (hamstring). However, Meyer called redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle) questionable for the game after he tweaked his injury during warm-ups before the Appalachian State game.

He also confirmed that senior center Mike Pouncey left practice early Tuesday due to lightheadedness but said he is perfectly fine. Meyer added that redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (wrist) has had successful wrist surgery and is in line to return to action in the spring after missing the entire season.

HAMMOND DOING THE RIGHT THINGS

After having his scholarship pulled over the summer due to an arrest for driving under the influence, redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. is in line to earn it back even though Meyer said Wednesday that his status remains “undetermined.” According to Meyer, Hammond is currently being evaluated on the selflessness he shows the team, how he is performing academically and his ability to stay out of trouble and be a good citizen off the field. He has been the Gators’ best pass catcher over the last few games and is starting to exhibit the talent that the coaches always believed he possessed.

QUOTES

On redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson’s issues this year: “Similar problems. I have seen him progress, may not at the pace he’d like to, but he’s a hard working guy and he’ll get better and better.”

On playing in Tallahassee, FL: “We got to really play well down there. We got so many young players playing in that environment.”

On Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton’s play at Florida: “Oh yeah, he was a great player. Just a ridiculous athlete.”

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