TWO BITS: UF must protect Tebow, deserve No. 2

1 » While concerns about the passing offense seem to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue, Bruce Feldman of ESPN contends that the Florida Gators number one priority for the remainder of the season should be protecting senior quarterback Tim Tebow – and not just because of his concussion three weeks ago. Florida will be facing big-time pass rushers in the South Carolina Gamecocks and Alabama Crimson Tide soon.

2 » Some of those that cover the Gators (or are simply fans of the team) were outraged Sunday to learn that Florida had dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the AP Top 25 Poll after WINNING their game against the Arkansas Razorbacks (losing 30 first-place votes in the process). Steve Eubanks of FOX Sports says the AP voters were justified in changing their votes. Fact of the matter is this: it does not matter who is No. 1 or No. 2 because both teams will meet in the SEC Championship in Atlanta, GA, on Dec. 5 at the Georgia Dome to determine who goes to the BCS National Championship.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: SEC referees; no-huddle offense; Florida WRs in NFL; Kiffin can’t shut up

1 » The work of Southeastern Conference referees has been shaky at best this season, especially that of the crew who was responsible for horrible calls both in last week’s Florida Gators vs. Arkansas Razorbacks game and the previous week’s LSU Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs game. Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated contends that these calls are nothing for Arkansas fans or college football fans to be crying about. “Obviously, they were bad calls,” Mandel said. “You know what else they were? The type of bad calls that take place in almost every single football game. Egregious as they were, those calls did not cost Arkansas the game. They happened with nine minutes left. The Razorbacks still had their chance to kick a go-ahead field goal and/or stop the Gators’ own game-winning drive.” He’s right.

2 » The newly installed “Banzai” offensive package, taken in part from the Oklahoma Sooners‘ hurry-up offense, worked well for the Gators at the beginning of the season. As defenses have gotten tougher and more confusing, senior quarterback Tim Tebow has been taking audibles from offensive coordinator Steve Addazio on the sideline, slowing down the offense. Both Addazio and head coach Urban Meyer don’t want the offense to “stand there so long watching” and lose momentum in the process. Beginning again Saturday against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, expect Florida to employ a more rapid-fire approach, capitalizing on their talent, athleticism and conditioning.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: SEC referees; no-huddle offense; Florida WRs in NFL; Kiffin can’t shut up

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gators football Tuesday 10/20 injury update

Florida Gators seniors, middle linebacker Brandon Spikes (groin, Achilles tendonitis) and defensive end Jermaine Cunningham (groin), both sat out practice on Tuesday. On Monday, head coach Urban Meyer told reporters Spikes is probable for Saturday’s game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Meyer confirmed on Tuesday that both Spikes and Cunningham are probable, so one would assume they were just being given extra time to rest and rehab.

Also off to the side on Tuesday were redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jaye Howard (knee), junior DE Justin Trattou (biceps tendon) and redshirt junior DT Lawrence Marsh (ankle). Meyer said he is hopeful that Howard will be able to play Saturday, while Marsh and Trattou both remain doubtful.

As far as players who have already been ruled out for the 2009 season, freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (hamstring) is expected to be able to participate in spring practice while sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (torn ACL) has been ruled out but should be able to return for summer practice.

Additional note: Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, speaking to reporters about his running backs after Tuesday’s practice, noted that he was becoming more and more impressed with the play of redshirt junior Emmanuel Moody. It was noted that Moody saw limited action Saturday because the Arkansas Razorbacks were forcing runs to the edges while Florida prefers to run Moody up the middle. However, Addazio added as a caveat that he also had two other good tailbacks (alluding to sophomore Jeff Demps and redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey) on the team.

Special thanks to Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel and Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post for some of the information contained in this post.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hernandez makes Mackey Award watch list

Florida Gators junior tight end Aaron Hernandez has been announced as a semifinalist for the 2009 John Mackey Award, which honors the best collegiate tight end in the nation each season. Hernandez was previously on the Mackey Award preseason watch list and solidified his spot with a career-best outing against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday.

Hernandez grabbed career-highs in receptions (seven) and yards (92) while standing out as the most consistent performer on Florida’s offense throughout the game. He currently leads all SEC tight ends in receiving yards (360), average yards per game (60) and receptions (28) while standing second in average yards per catch (12.9). Hernandez leads the Gators in both receptions and receiving yards and will have a good shot at this award should he continue his stellar play.

Tags: , , ,

SIX BITS: Champions Club; Meyer & Mullen; Penalty mistake; SEC awards; Basketball news

1 » In his weekly Monday afternoon press conference, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer named his Champions Club for the Arkansas Razorbacks game. On offense, linemen Mike and Maurkice Pouncey, Carl Johnson, Marcus Gilbert were honored, as was quarterback Tim Tebow, running back Jeff Demps and wide receiver Deonte Thompson. Defense received less accolades, with linemen Omar Hunter and Terron Sanders and safety Major Wright getting praise. WR Riley Cooper was named offensive player of the game while CB Joe Haden brought home the defensive player of the game honors.

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Champions Club; Meyer & Mullen; Penalty mistake; SEC awards; Basketball news

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Were offense’s struggles really Addazio’s fault?

A popular conversation topic the last two days (though some have discussed it all season) has been the play calling of Florida Gators offensive coordinator Steve Addazio. The contention on this issue is that Addazio has done a poor job thus far – calling too many dive plays, not utilizing the ability of some players, and the list goes on. Hell, I was leading the charge. Then I stopped and thought about it for a second. Yes, the Gators offense played terrible Saturday night. But how bad really was Addazio’s play calling? I propose this: Florida moved the ball just fine, it simply did not appear that way.

13:45 (1) - 7 plays, 32 yards - FG Missed [ST]15:00 (3) – 8 plays, 29 yards – FG Good [score]
08:43 (1) – 6 plays, 10 yards – Punt [bad drive]08:18 (3) – 3 plays, -1 yard – Punt [bad drive]
04:16 (1) – 3 plays, -5 yards – FUM [Bad/miscue]04:40 (3) – 2 plays, 21 yards – FUM [miscue]
14:57 (2) – 12 plays, 56 yards – RZ FUM [miscue]03:10 (3) - 1 play, 77 yards – Passing TD [score]
07:35 (2) – 4 plays, 31 yards – RZ FUM [miscue]00:07 (3) – 6 plays, 20 yards – Punt [bad drive]
03:26 (2) – 5 plays, 20 yards – FG Good [score]09:40 (4) – 5 plays, 67 yards – Rush TD [score]
03:08 (4) – 14 plays, 69 yards – FG Good [score]

In 13 Gators drives, five ended with a score (38.5%), eight ended with a score or in scoring position (61.5%), 3.5 ended in a miscue (27%) and one ended in a special teams gaffe. In all, Addazio’s play calling, while you may not necessarily agree with it, resulted in 3.5 attributable failed drives (27%) over an entire game’s span.

If you want to blame Florida’s offense for its struggles on Saturday – that is fine. Just blame the right people. Two fumbles by quarterback Tim Tebow, one by tight end Aaron Hernandez and one more by running back Chris Rainey are unacceptable. Two of said fumbles occurred while the Gators were in the red zone on the way to score, and Tebow’s first fumble was on Florida’s own 30, which resulted in an Arkansas Razorbacks rushing touchdown. And of course there is kicker Caleb Sturgis’ missed field goal on the first drive. Take away the miscues – which are the blunders of players and not the coordinator – and the play calling is not looking so much at fault now, is it?

Now check out Florida’s previous game against the LSU Tigers. The Gators scored on three of eight drives, were successful on four, and were in scoring position for two more (missed field goal, interception). Only two were bad drives – a 7-play 44-yard effort that ended on downs and a 5-play 16-yard drive that ended in a punt – 25% of the failures.

And all of this is if you attribute the failed drives to the play calling and not the execution.

I am not here to contend that Addazio is doing a great job, does not need improvement and is taking over where his predecessor Dan Mullen left off. Quite the contrary. I just want the blame to fall on those who deserve it the most – in this case, the players.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Spikes probable, Trattou doubtful for Miss. State

Senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes has had a rough start to his final season with the Florida Gators. Diagnosed with Achilles tendonitis, Spikes has been taking pain injections and limping – both literally and figuratively – through practices and games all year. He seemed to have overcome his injury two Saturdays ago, tallying 11 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble against the then-No. 4 LSU Tigers.

That performance earned Spikes an SEC Defensive Player of the Week honor as well as nominations to the 2009 Rotary Lombardi Award and Butkus Award watch lists. He was looking to follow it up with a strong game this past weekend against the Arkansas Razorbacks on homecoming weekend in The Swamp.

Instead, Spikes aggravated a groin injury that some believe he first suffered during practice on Wednesday. He came out of the game immediately and was in street clothes when the second half began. Even so, head coach Urban Meyer, during his weekly Monday afternoon press conference, has declared Spikes probable for Saturday’s game at the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

[UPDATE:] Meyer also spoke about defensive end Justin Trattou, who injured his biceps tendon during the Arkansas game. Trattou is listed as doubtful for Saturday.

OGGOA will keep you updated on Spikes’ health and status throughout the week.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: Sturgis honored, UF No. 2 in AP, Mullen meeting, Marsh’s return

1 » Florida Gators kicker Caleb Sturgis has been named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after going 3-4 on field goal attempts Saturday against the Arkansas Razorbacks including a game-winner with 0:09 left on the clock. [UPDATE:] Sturgis was also named one of the Lou Groza National Collegiate Placekicker Award’s “Stars of the Week.” Sturgis missed his initial 37-yard attempt but went on to hit, consecutively, from 30 yards, 51 yards and 27 yards. Sturgis’ final kick earned him a spot in Florida football lore, potentially saving the Gators’ season and chances at a third National Championship in four years.

2 » Astoundingly, Florida fell to No. 2 in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll with the Alabama Crimson Tide jumping into the No. 1 spot. Apparently the Gators’ 23-20 last-second victory was not enough for the voters, who dropped Florida in a 30-vote swing. It is not so much being No. 2 that bothers me; it is that there was such a heavy swing of votes following a hard fought victory by one team (UF) to another team (Alabama) that only won 20-6 at home, scoring their only offensive touchdown late in the fourth quarter. At least it doesn’t bother the players. Regardless, the Gators were ranked ahead of the Crimson Tide in the first BCS Rankings released Sunday.

3 » Moving on. This Saturday night will be the first time head coach Urban Meyer and his former offensive coordinator Dan Mullen go face-to-face across the gridiron. Mullen, now head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, has his new team off to a 3-4 (1-2 SEC) start including a close home loss to the then-No. 7 LSU Tigers at home at Scott Field. Mullen remains close friends with Meyer and worked with him from 1999 until last season, where he helmed the offense that won the Gators two National Championships in 2006 and 2008. He also remains close with Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Sturgis honored, UF No. 2 in AP, Mullen meeting, Marsh’s return

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 Page 11 of 13  « First  ... « 9  10  11  12  13 »