Gators spring practice news and notes – 03/31

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at team practice from Wed., March 31.

Absences/Injuries:
» Redshirt senior wide receiver Carl Moore no-showed practice Wednesday for his second-straight absence. The Gainesville Sun reported Monday that Moore was “seen leaving the field after practice [on Saturday] visibly upset.” Moore had been seen in the football offices earlier in the day. (More in the quotes section.)

» Redshirt sophomore cornerback Adrian Bushell participated in his second consecutive practice and once again did not wear pads (as expected). He will likely return to full activity on Friday. Head coach Urban Meyer suspended him from team activities for two weeks for grades and other off-the-field issues.

» Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose spent most of practice off to the side on a stationary bike. The team continues to bring him along slowly as he recovers from his hamstring injury. Debose is expected to be 100 percent healthy for fall practice, according to The Gainesville Sun.

» Redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody practiced Wednesday and looked good by all accounts, breaking off a few nice runs. He had been out of action for a few days with an injured ankle.

Check out more practice news, notes and interesting quotes…after the break!
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Gators spring practice news and notes – 03/29

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at a team scrimmage from Mon., March 29.

Absences/Injuries:
» Redshirt senior wide receiver Carl Moore no-showed practice Monday. Either the staff is keeping the reason for his absence secret, or they really did not know at the time (see quotes section below). The Gainesville Sun reports that Moore was “seen leaving the field after practice [on Saturday] visibly upset.”

» Redshirt sophomore cornerback Adrian Bushell returned to practice Monday but did not wear pads. Head coach Urban Meyer suspended him from team activities for two weeks for grades and other off-the-field issues. He will also not be given pads at Wednesday’s practice but should return to full activity on Friday.

» Redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody remained out of practice with an injured ankle. There is not an official date for a return.

Check out many more practice, notes and interesting quotes…after the break!
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Gators spring scrimmage news and notes – 03/27

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at a team scrimmage from Sat., March 27.

Absences/Injuries:
» Senior offensive linemen Mike Pouncey, Carl Johnson, Marcus Gilbert and Maurice Hurt all sat out, leaving the line thin and easy to attack for the defense. It should be no surprise that the defensive unit “won” the scrimmage.

» Senior cornerback Moses Jenkins continues to work opposite junior Janoris Jenkins as redshirt sophomore Adrian Bushell sits out on a team-mandated suspension. He will join the rest of the team in practice when he gets his grades up and meets head coach Urban Meyer’s specifications. In his stead, redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown is the one fighting with M. Jenkins for the starting job.

Scrimmage happenings:
» Redshirt junior John Brantley and freshman Trey Burton were the quarterbacks for the scrimmage – each was hurried and out of rhythm, rushing passes and feeling the pressure of the defense.

» Freshman safety Matt Elam picked off and returned a pass from Brantley for a touchdown as he got a lot of time with the first-team defense. It was his most impressive day of practice thus far.

» Matching Elam’s performance and also working with him on the first team was freshman CB Jaylen Watkins, who intercepted a pass from Burton that went through redshirt freshman wide receiver Stephen Alli’s hands.

» Alli continues to shine out wide and could see significant playing time this season even though he has a handful of veterans in front of him, including five who are scheduled to get the most game action.

» One of those five, redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey, is said to be picking up the receiving portion of the playbook quite well even though some were worried about his ability to get it all down. Rainey is becoming a reliable target for Brantley and could impact this team more significantly than some initially expected this season.

» Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Reed got the start at tight end with the first team.

Interesting quotes:
» Brantley on his group of wide receivers: “I know how a lot of these guys run. I trust all of them, right now. They’re doing a great job, getting better every day, and we just keep improving. [Rainey’s] a fast dude. He’s starting to learn all of the routes, and he’s going to be a big playmaker for us this year.”

» Brantley on not having a true backup right now and senior punter Chas Henry getting some work as a passer (from Friday): “Chas isn’t bad. I know he played QB in high school. He hasn’t lost too much of his throwing agility. He can spin it. It does [show] that I need to stay healthy. But the young guy behind me, Trey, is doing very well for a freshman. He’s attaining a lot of knowledge. He’s making progress every day and that’s what you want to see out of your young guys.”

» Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio on Burton’s play (from Friday): “Trey is a really good runner and I think that Wildcat package is realistic for him kind of like we did for Tim [Tebow] when Tim broke in here. He’s working real hard at that. That gives us that package we like to run – the read option, the quarterback runs. I think he’s really done a nice job throwing it, too. He’s really progressing. I think Trey has done a good job of picking things up. I’m really encouraged, honestly. He’s ahead of where we thought he’d be right now. He’s obviously a sharp guy and football is really important to him. He’s a real conscientious guy. Watching him out there, I think he’s going to be a heck of a football player, I really do.”

» Addazio on quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler saying he throws a good ball (from Friday): “Loeffler thinks he throws it better than [Henry]. That Loeffler is an awful athlete.”

» Addazio on how the offense will change this year: “It’s going to be different. We were an option football team a lot last year. We’ll still run option football, but you’ll see those Tim carries will be divided up amongst tailback carries and throws, so that makes you different for sure. […] I know what the offensive line will be. I’m not worried about the offensive line. […] It’s a matter of getting a good working package together. Can we throw it? Heck yeah. Can we run block? Heck yeah. Do we have good tailbacks? Yes. I think we’ve got to find that package, and then we’ve got to find that tight end. That’s not a little piece, that’s a big piece right there.”

» Co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Heater on Brown’s play since his recovery: “You wouldn’t know he had a [back] problem, which is great. That’s the way you like it, but it was a significant issue for him for a couple years, so we just keep hoping that it’s not going to be an issue and he keeps playing the way he’s playing because he’s really done a nice job.”

Special thanks to The Gainesville Sun and the Palm Beach Post for the above quotes.

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Second week of spring practice underway (notes)

With the Florida Gators beginning spring practice for the 2010 season last Wednesday, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at the start of week two.

» Be sure to read over 1,000 words on the return of head coach Urban Meyer and the start of spring practice in OGGOA‘s first post on the subject. Then supplement your reading with more notes from over the weekend!

More notes from Monday 03/22:
» ESPN‘s Ivan Maisel interviews redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley:

» Sitting out: running backs junior Jeff Demps and redshirt junior Chris Rainey, redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (hamstring) and redshirt seniors guard Carl Johnson and defensive tackles Lawrence Marsh and Terron Sanders
» Absent: redshirt sophomore cornerback Adrian Bushell (academics, disciplinary)
» Injuries: sophomore safety Josh Evans (knee/leg) and redshirt freshmen tight end Desmond Parks (wrist/hand) and guard/center Kyle Koehne (shoulder, 3-6 weeks)

» Senior linebacker Brandon Hicks may have had the play of the day with a one-handed interception on Brantley on an inside route.

» Senior Duke Lemmens is starting at defensive end with the first team. In fact, he is also switching to tight end on some plays, too – we’re guessing mostly so the other DEs have a big body to fight against.

» Both secondary specialists, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and co-defensive coordinator Chuck Heater are splitting the duties in the defensive backfield. Austin is spending much of his time with the cornerbacks, while Heater continues to handle the safeties like he has previously.

» Sophomore RB Mike Gillislee is really impressing coaches and spectators with his play thus far and could be in line to steal some carries away from Demps and redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody. Moody, especially, must be careful as Gillislee is currently out-performing him head-to-head.

More quotes on Urban Meyer‘s return:
» Offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and former interim head coach Steve Addazio: “[Meyer’s] involvement is becoming greater. It’s unscripted, you know what I mean? Ultimately, you’re in uncharted waters. I mean, he’s doing great, so there’s nothing negative or anything like that. He’s doing fantastic. I’m going to help him wherever I can with the workload wherever I need to take it.”

» Heater: “This week, he’s really been back in earnest. How he basically crystallizes what the expectations are, what your role is and having those meetings, communicating those things to me, I was, ‘OK, I’ve heard these things before.’ So his energy was certainly there. He’s excited about being back. That’s the part that’s fun for all of us.”

Check out Florida Gators spring practice videos from March 19-20 after the break!
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More notes from first week of spring practice

With the Florida Gators beginning spring practice for the 2010 season last Wednesday, there was plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a weekend practice wrap-up.

» Be sure to read over 1,000 words on the return of head coach Urban Meyer and the start of spring practice in OGGOA‘s first post on the subject.

More notes from the first weekend of spring practice:
» As we mentioned Friday, redshirt sophomore cornerback Adrian Bushell – who was expected to supplant Joe Haden next to junior Janoris Jenkins – is still being held out of spring practice as punishment. Senior [we are looking into why his redshirt has not registered] Moses Jenkins is filling in next to J. Jenkins in the interim.

» Backing up J. Jenkins and already turning heads is impressive four-star frosh CB Jaylen Watkins. Redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown is second behind M. Jenkins.

» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley is continuing to turn heads with his impressive arm and ability to hit receivers in stride. His pass catchers, notably redshirt freshman Stephen Alli, redshirt sophomore Frankie Hammond, Jr. and frosh Solomon Patton are all really impressing.

» Frosh QB Trey Burton, dazzling coaches with his legs and toughness, has plenty of work to do as a passer. He was also lit-up by coaches for trotting into the end zone on a naked bootleg, something he made up for with good effort the rest of practice.

» Injury: sophomore safety Josh Evans injured his left knee during a one-on-one drill and had to be helped off the field.

» Sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic is getting every opportunity to start alongside senior Brandon Hicks and redshirt senior A.J. Jones. Also competing with him is redshirt sophomore Brendan Beal. Though redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins and sophomore converted S Dee Finley will also be competing for playing time.

» OGGOA previously reported that S Dorian Munroe was denied a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA but is in the process of appealing that ruling. Munroe believes his career is now over after numerous knee injuries and will try his hand at coaching when the hammer comes down. Meyer offered Munroe a chance to work with the coaching staff this season, one he will certainly accept.

» JuCo defensive tackle Edwin Herbert has been released from his scholarship due to his lack of ability, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Thanks to The Gainesville Sun and Miami Herald for some of the details in this post.

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Notes and quotes from the start of spring practice

With the Florida Gators beginning spring practice for the 2010 season on Wednesday, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece.

Blink your eyes and check out over 1,000 words and two videos on Florida Gators football after the jump!
Continue Reading » Notes and quotes from the start of spring practice

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Three’s a charm: Wright to enter NFL Draft, too

After conflicting reports surfaced early Monday about his status for next season, Florida Gators junior safety Major Wright told Joe Schad of ESPN that he has decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility and declare for the 2010 NFL Draft. “I’m going to the NFL,” Wright said in a text message to Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald.

“I enjoyed my time in Gainesville, they were some of the best years of my life,” Wright said in a University of Florida release. “Beyond winning championships, I will take with me some great memories of personal friendships from my teammates and lessons learned from the coaching staff. I will always be a Gator and look forward to watching them play from the sidelines in the future.”

Wright is the third Florida junior to declare Monday, joining defensive end Carlos Dunlap and center Maurkice Pouncey whose announcements were made earlier in the day. Five juniors in total are making themselves eligible for the draft – cornerback Joe Haden and tight end Aaron Hernandez are the other two.

“Major will be missed in our secondary and by his teammates,” said head coach Urban Meyer. “He was a physical player who had a presence on the football field and was someone our players looked up to and gravitated to. They enjoyed being around him both on and off the field. We wish him the best of luck.”

Fellow junior S Ahmad Black, Wright’s 2008 running mate and one of three starters at the position in 2009, has “decided to stay in school and get his stock up in next year’s NFL Draft,” his father Bruce Black told the The Miami Herald Saturday night. Black will likely start at safety along with sophomore Will Hill.

The Gators’ 2010 starting secondary will likely consist of Black and Hill along with sophomore CB Janoris Jenkins and redshirt freshman CB Adrian Bushell on either side. That is, of course, unless one of Florida’s four incoming freshman at the position do not usurp one of their roles.

Take a moment and enjoy the best play of Wright’s Gators career:

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Streaks and records following Florida vs. FSU

- Defeating the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday, the No. 1 Florida Gators posted a 12-0 regular-season record for the first time in school history. The Gators also extended their nation-leading, school-record win streak to 22 games, 21 of which have been by a double digit margin.

– Florida won their sixth straight game against Florida State, outscoring them 182-58 since 2006 under head coach Urban Meyer. The Gators are now 33-19-2 all-time against the Seminoles, holding a 20-8-1 record at home in The Swamp.

– 90,907 fans attended the Florida-Florida State game on Saturday, a new Ben Hill Griffin Stadium record.

– The Gators 2009 senior class, the winningest senior class in Southeastern Conference history, improved to 47-6 in their careers, two games better than the previous record.

– Florida’s defense held their opponent to under 100 rushing yards for the fourth straight game and ninth in 2009.

– The Gators were 10-for-13 on third-down conversions, while the defense held the Seminoles to only 2-of-11 in the same scenario.

– Struggling in the red zone early in the season, Florida is now 11-of-14 in the red zone over the past three games. Two of the three empty possessions were the Gators running out the clock. On Saturday, Florida was 4-for-4 in red zone opportunities.

– The Gators have only yielded 11 touchdowns in 2009, with two coming on pick-sixes. This is four fewer than the next lowest total in the nation. Florida has allowed a mere 118 points in 12 games (9.8 average), also good for lowest in the nation.

– A 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter was the Gators’ longest of the season. It resulted in an 18-yard rushing TD by senior quarterback Tim Tebow.

– Tebow broke QB Chris Leak‘s SEC and Florida total offensive yards records, bringing his career total to 11,389 yards after a 311 combined yardage performance.

– Senior kick returner Brandon James broke the SEC career kickoff return record with the 108th of his career on Saturday.

– Sophomore running back Jeff Demps tied his career long with a 62-yard run on Saturday. He topped 100 yards for the third time in his career (106).

– Redshirt freshman cornerback Adrian Bushell made his first career interception on Florida State’s last play of the game.

– 25 seniors were honored before the game on Senior Day. The class’ numerous accomplishments can be found here.

– The Gators wore special Nike Pro Combat uniforms for the game.

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