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!
Continue Reading » Second week of spring practice underway (notes)

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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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Grading the Florida vs. Cincinnati game

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive grades the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the final game of their season, the 2010 Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, LA.

QUARTERBACKS: A+
When the best player in school history plays the best game of his career in the final game of his career, it is tough not to give him an “A+” grade. And that is exactly what senior quarterback Tim Tebow has earned – not just for his outstanding performance Friday evening but for his career in the Orange and Blue. Pick your poison: was it the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award he was given before the game, the Sugar Bowl record 12 consecutive completions, the career-long 80-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Riley Cooper, the Sugar Bowl and BCS bowl game record 533 yards of total offense, the Sugar Bowl/BCS record 482 passing yards, the 31 completions which set a new Sugar Bowl record, the Sugar Bowl high four touchdowns or the 88.6 completion percentage that set a BCS record? The answer, of course, is “all of the above.”

RUNNING BACKS: A-
Tebow was once again the leading ball carrier for the Gators with 14 touches for 51 yards and a touchdown, but both redshirt junior Emmanuel Moody and redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey came up big throughout the game. Moody rushed eight times for only 14 yards but scored two touchdowns on the ground (he also had four receptions for 19 yards) while Rainey caught four passes for 71 yards and ran four times for 27 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Mike Gillislee cleaned up at the end of the fourth quarter and took a ball 52 yards for a final line of five carries for 78 yards. Sophomore Jeff Demps, the true starter, left the game after he dislocated his elbow on his third rush of the game. Though the attempts and yards were not there, three rushing touchdowns brought this unit up a half-grade.

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the Sugar Bowl after the jump…
Continue Reading » Grading the Florida vs. Cincinnati game

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Grading the Florida vs. Alabama game (+ FSU)

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive will grade the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2009 SEC Championship in Atlanta, GA. Following those grades, OGGOA has provided its overlooked grades (without explanations) for the Florida State Seminoles game.

QUARTERBACKS: B
Florida seemingly decided to put the entire offense on senior quarterback Tim Tebow’s shoulders. How else could you explain the 35 passing attempts and team-high 10 carries? On the ground, Tebow rushed for 63 yards. Through the air, he completed 57 percent of his passes for 247 yards and a touchdown. But he also threw a costly interception into the end zone and came up short on numerous occasions. Like the strategy or not, Tebow was responsible for almost every offensive snap of an offense that failed to get the job done against a stout Alabama defense.

RUNNING BACKS: I
Inexplicably, Florida’s running backs touched the ball a total of three times on Saturday. Three. In the Gators’ first 12 games, sophomore Jeff Demps averaged eight carries (7.7 yards), redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey averaged seven touches (6.4 yards) and redshirt junior transfer Emmanuel Moody averaged five rushes (7.3 yards). That is a total of 20 running plays and well over 100 yards of rushing that were not part of Florida’s offensive game plan. The only possible grade for this unit is “incomplete.”

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the SEC Championship after the jump…
Continue Reading » Grading the Florida vs. Alabama game (+ FSU)

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Poll Reviews: FIU/FSU MVP, most important

Over the past two weeks, OGGOA asked you to participate in three polls. The first two determined your Most Valuable Players for the Florid International Golden Panthers and Florida State Seminoles games, while the third determined which administrator was most important to University of Florida athletics. An OGGOA-record total of 875 combined votes (292 average) were cast, and the results are in:

Who was your Florida Gators MVP vs. FIU?
QB Tim Tebow (50%, 92 votes)
QB John Brantley (25%, 47 votes)
RB Chris Rainey (13%, 25 votes)
LB Brandon Spikes (12%, 22 votes)

Who was your Florida Gators MVP vs. FSU?
QB Tim Tebow (77%, 203 votes)
TE Aaron Hernandez (21%, 55 votes)
LB Brandon Hicks (1%, 4 votes)
RB Jeff Demps (1%, 3 votes)

Tebow’s third and fourth OGGOA MVP honors came in back-to-back weeks for the first time all season. His previous victories were against Georgia and Arkansas. Both victories are well-deserved, especially the Florida State one seeing as Tebow put up five touchdowns and had his best performance of the season.

Who has done more for the Florida Gators?
AD Jeremy Foley (39%, 166 votes)
HC Steve Spurrier (32%, 135 votes)
HC Urban Meyer (27%, 114 votes)
HC Billy Donovan (2%, 9 votes)

Reviewing the results of this poll, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the respect and appreciation for what Foley has done for UF’s athletic program is wide-spread. Often times, fans look at the coaches and players and do not know who is really taking care of things behind the scenes. Though I do not need to convince you to vote for Foley, this is just a taste of what he has done since becoming the athletic director in 1992. He hired Meyer, Donovan, Becky Burleigh (soccer), Tim Walton (softball) while retaining Buddy Alexander (men’s golf) and Mary Wise (volleyball) and helping the Gators finish as the top-ranked overall program in the Southeastern Conference in 15 of his 16 years.

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Tebow shines as Gators top ‘Noles on Senior Day

Senior quarterback Tim Tebow knew his farewell in The Swamp was going to be an emotional one. What he may not have known was that his sendoff would include a five-touchdown performance en route to a 37-10 No. 1 Florida Gators (12-0, 8-0 SEC) victory over the in-state rival Florida State Seminoles (6-6, 4-4 ACC). The win marked Florida’s sixth straight against Florida State, their 20th all-time in Gainesville, FL.

Tebow went 17-for-21 for 221 yards and three touchdowns through the air, also rushing 15 times for 90 yards and two TDs in front of a Ben Hill Griffin Stadium-record crowd of 90,907. His numbers moved him into sole possession of the Southeastern Conference and Florida records in total offense with 11,389 career yards. He, along with the 24 other seniors, won their 47th career game, extending their dominance as the winningest senior class in SEC history. The win was the Gators’ 22nd consecutive victory and 12th of the season, marking the first time that the Orange and Blue has posted a 12-0 regular season record.

Junior tight end Aaron Hernandez was Tebow’s favorite target on Saturday, registering five receptions for 83 yards and two TDs. His two scores came on pitches, one of which he took for 37 yards into the end zone. Hernandez then threw the ball into the stands, a common move by players who score in their final home game. Sophomore running back Jeff Demps shined in the backfield, totaling 106 yards on seven carries with a career-tying long of 62. Redshirt sophomore RB Chris Rainey was also impressive, earning 73 yards on eight carries with a long of 45. Tebow had a dynamic 47-yard run of his own, but fumbled the ball at the conclusion of the play, turning it over to Florida State.

The Gators took a 30-0 lead into the end of the third quarter, when Seminoles kicker Dustin Hopkins hit a 20-yard field goal to end the shutout. FSU also scored on a nine-yard pass from QB E.J. Manuel to wide receiver Jarmon Forston against Florida’s second-string defense with 6:03 left in the fourth. Aside from those scores, the Gators defense dominated the Seminoles. Senior linebacker Ryan Stamper and junior Brandon Hicks each registered seven tackles, though two of Hicks’ were for a loss. He also forced a fumble and had two sacks on the afternoon. Junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap had three tackles (one for a loss) and a sack, while junior cornerback Joe Haden and freshman Adrian Bushell each nabbed an interception.

Florida will take on the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0, 8-0 SEC) in the 2009 SEC Championship on Saturday at 4 p.m. from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.

Senior Day Celebration: Watch

Urban Meyer Postgame Press Conference: Watch

Tim Tebow Postgame Press Conference: Watch

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SIX BITS: Injury update, crowd noise, practice, Nelson honored, no Miami, Watkins signed

Senior quarterback Tim Tebow on his final home game »

1 » While speaking with the media on Wednesday afternoon, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer updated the statuses of some of his injured players. Redshirt junior linebacker A.J. Jones, who sprained his MCL Saturday against the Florida International Golden Panthers, is officially out for the Florida State Seminoles game and will also miss the SEC Championship in two weeks. Junior Brandon Hicks will start in his place. Redshirt junior transfer running back Emmanuel Moody (ankle) is questionable while senior defensive end Jermaine Cunningham (shoulder) and redshirt junior defensive tackle Terron Sanders (rib) are probable.

2 » In order to get ready for the extreme volumes produced by the crowd in The Swamp, FSU coaches piped noise into Doak Campell Stadium during practice on Tuesday. Redshirt freshman quarterback E.J. Manuel, who is starting in place of the injured Christian Ponder, benefited from the move, which should allow him to feel slightly more comfortable on Saturday. “It’s something you have to learn,” head coach Bobby Bowden said. “He’s had experience playing away from home at Wake Forest with about 40,000 people, and he’s played here in front of our crowd. Now he’s going to play down there, where it’s probably as loud a noise as he’s ever heard.”

3 » Due to inclement weather in the Gainesville, FL, area, the football team has had its practice schedule shifted around. This should not be much of an issue overall, though anything that could possibly take a team out of rhythm should be noted. However, with this veteran group, an issue like this should be minor.

Three more BITS on David Nelson, the ‘Canes and Jason Watkins after the jump…
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Injury update, crowd noise, practice, Nelson honored, no Miami, Watkins signed

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