10/7: Florida Gators week six practice notes

No. 12/14 Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s sixth game of the 2010-11 season on Saturday against the No. 9/12 LSU Tigers. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.

BRANTLEY WAS LIMITED BUT IS “FINE NOW”

Early in the week rumors surfaced that redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley was questionable for Saturday’s game against LSU after injuring his ribs against Alabama. Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio shot down those reports Tuesday, saying Brantley was “doing great” though he was “a little sore…just like every game.” Meyer expanded on Brantley’s limitations Thursday, noting that he was actually unable to throw the ball for a part of the week. “On the injury front, Brantley’s good,” he said. “He was limited mostly, well, throwing. So we would have another guy go in and throw the ball for him a little bit [because] his ribs were so sore, but he’s fine now.” Meyer insisted that Brantley will be ready to go Saturday without limitations.

TIME HAS COME FOR PLAYMAKERS, EXTRA PROTECTION

Asked whether or not it was time for the coaching staff to push guys like redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose and freshman running back Mack Brown onto the field for increased playing time and touches, Meyer smiled and appeared to provide a genuine response. “Uh-huh. It’s that time. It’s been that time for a while,” he said nodding emphatically. “[Debose is] getting better. He’s getting better.”

And while those playmakers may see the field a bit more, Meyer also received word that he would be getting back one of his favorite offensive players, redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks. Finally recovered from a back injury, Wilks has been cleared to play and will be in action on Saturday. “That’s good news for us that he came back and had a great week of practice,” Meyer boasted. “Great attitude. He’s a good player. He’s like Billy Latsko, he’s just one of those football position guys. Very smooth player. He’s not a home run hitter or anything like that but he’s a guy that gets in your way and blocks you and knows the offense real well.”

OTHER INJURY UPDATES

Though junior RB Jeff Demps “still is limited,” according to Meyer, he is expected to “be at the same tempo he was last week against Alabama” for Saturday’s contest. While the news seems positive for him and sophomore RB Mike Gillislee, the same cannot be said for some other Gators.

Redshirt senior defensive tackle Brandon Antwine will remain out of action, freshman WR Chris Dunkley’s hamstring is “acting up, so he’s not going to be ready either for a couple more weeks,” and freshman WR Quinton Dunbar recently tweaked his hamstring in practice as well. When speaking about the injuries, Meyer noted that Dunbar “was getting better” and called Dunkley “my man.”

Also remaining on the sidelines is junior kicker Caleb Sturgis, who has been replaced by senior punter Chas Henry. “Caleb’s getting better. He won’t kick Saturday,” Meyer said. “I kind of like what our man did, Chas. Caleb’s getting better and he’s feeling better. I’m not sure the timetable because it’s actually is a stress fracture.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
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Week 3: No. 7 Florida Gators at Tenn. Volunteers

Location: Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, TN [Capacity: 102,459]
Weather Forecast: 87°F, 0% chance of precipitation
Time: 3:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
Sirius/XM: 122/143
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 7/10 FLORIDA GATORS TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Derek Dooley
Record: 2-0 Record: 1-1
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -14; O/U 45.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida has won 22 consecutive regular season games, 12-straight on the road and 14 regular season SEC games in a row.
» Under Meyer, the Gators are 5-0 against the Volunteers and 2-0 on the road. This is the 40th all-time meeting between Florida and Tennessee, with UF leading the series 20-19; however, the Vols have an 11-9 advantage when playing at home.
» The Gators lead the nation with eight interceptions in two games. That total is twice as many as any other SEC school and two more than any other team in the nation. Florida has recorded four interceptions in back-to-back games this year; Saturday’s game was the fourth time the defense has picked off four balls under Meyer.
» UF has committed a nation-low 84 turnovers since 2005 and has had 24 games in which they did not give up a single turnover (best in the nation).
» The Gators went 4-for-4 in the red zone against South Florida with three touchdowns and a field goal. Florida’s red zone efficiency is 77 percent on the season including six touchdowns in nine chances.
» Florida has had a kickoff return of 50-plus yards and a rush of 40-plus yards by a player in each game this season. Sophomore running back Mike Gillislee accomplished it against Miami (OH), while junior RB Jeff Demps hit the mark against South Florida.
» UF’s RB coach Stan Drayton held the same position with UT in 2008.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who is looking to rebound from a rough outing in which he started his first collegiate game. He has thrown 117 consecutive passes without an interception and has a 14-1 TD/INT ratio while playing for the Gators.
» Demps…who had a career-long 72-yard rushing TD in the opening game and totaled 255 all-purpose yards last week. Demps leads the nation in rushing yards per touch (8.1) since 2008 and yards per carry (12.5) in 2010.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson…who had career-highs in receptions (six) and receiving yards (83) last week. As Brantley’s primary pass catcher, eight of Thompson’s nine catches this season have been for first downs.
» Tennessee RB Tauren Poole…who has rushed 40 times for 272 yards and three touchdowns this season. Poole is averaging 6.8 yards per carry and ran the ball 23 times for 162 yards (7.0 average) and one touchdown last week against Oregon.
» Sophomore WR Omarius Hines…who made his first career start last week but is moving to slot receiver for the remainder of the season. He had 49 yards on three catches with a touchdown against Miami (OH).
» Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose…who missed the 2009 season with an injured hamstring but hopes to make an impact with redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey gone. Debose did not play against Miami (OH) and saw limited time against South Florida.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted six balls – three in each of the last two games. Senior safety Ahmad Black (three) and junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins (two) are leading the way for the unit with their performance and leadership. Black is also tops in the SEC with 20 tackles on the year and is the conference’s active leader in interceptions (11) and interception return yards (233). Junior starting S Will Hill is expected to see the field for the first time this season.

INJURIES and INACTIVES
Injuries
Doubtful – Redshirt senior defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh (stitches), freshman WR Chris Dunkley (hamstring)
Out – Redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (wrist)

Inactives
(Will update closer to game time)

FLORIDA ON ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

The Gators are not set to be featured in particular during ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast beginning at 9 a.m. on ESPNU (hosted by Erin Andrews) and continuing from 10 a.m. until noon on ESPN. However, the analysts will certainly be discussing the Florida-Tennessee game at various points during the broadcast.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. Tennessee Volunteers preview after the jump!
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9/16: Florida Gators week three 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 third game Saturday against the Tennessee Volunteers. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

HILL WILL PLAY, LIKELY TO START

Early this week OGGOA exclusively reported that junior safety Will Hill, who has missed the last two games due to team discipline, will be traveling with the team to Knoxville, TN, and playing against the Volunteers on Saturday. Co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Heater told the media Wednesday that Hill will indeed travel with the team, and Meyer fully confirmed our report during a media availability Thursday, saying that Hill will play this week and will likely do so as a starter. “Hill’s gonna play,” Meyer said. “I’m not sure [if he’ll start]. I think he will.”

MARSH, DUNKLEY SITTING SATURDAY

One week after being cleared to play, redshirt senior defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh will be forced to miss Saturday’s game against Tennessee. However, Marsh is not being held out due to an injury; instead, he will sit because he severely cut his arm during a freak accident in which he leaned on a sink and accidentally broke it. Marsh had approximately 20 stitches and should be able to return against Kentucky. He will still travel with the team as one of its captains.

Freshman wide receiver Chris Dunkley, who has yet to play this season, continues to have hamstring problems and will remain out of action while recovering. It was originally thought he might see the field this week as he was supposedly coming along nicely.

QUOTES

Meyer on taking his team on the road: “We can’t mess up the routine. All great players, all great teams have routines. When they’re disrupted, that’s usually when you get lack of concentration on your job.”

Meyer on how rivalry games stand out: “The intensity is a little different. […] We plan all summer, we talk about them. […] It’s not that I made this rivalry; this was a rivalry years and years ago. It’s the first SEC game, the third game of the year. I was educated about it six years ago.”

Meyer on redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey: “I did speak with him, and he’s very angry and disappointed that the whole thing happened. But you gotta move on.”

Meyer on how Rainey can get back on the team: “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know. He’s not on the team.”

Meyer on redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose: “He’s more of an outside guy. When we recruited him, we thought he could be that inside [guy]. […] Debose is a receiver. He is more of an elongated receiver that can go make plays. So he’s going to stay outside. He’s just got to learn at that same speed he’s been playing at. […] He’s got a lot of speed – more speed than I thought.’’

Meyer on if Dunkley might redshirt: “No, no. He’s actually had this since November of his senior year in high school. He went through and banged it again in June. Hamstrings are tough injuries. We thought we had it, because we shut him down for a while, that’s exactly what we did. He was 100 percent the last two weeks. We were getting him ready to play and then he tugged it again.”

Meyer about all of the arrests under his watch: “I try to evaluate everything about our program. I’m real upset about that. After a while, enough’s enough. If there’s something that we can improve on, we’re certainly looking into that. It’s like if our graduation rate stinks, then we’ve got to improve that. If there’s other issues in the program, that’s our job to get it better. People making stupid mistakes – that’s something we’ve gotta correct.”

Meyer on the perception that his program is “dirty” because of the arrests: “I don’t care. We do our best to win games. Dirty program? It’s not a dirty program. We follow the rules and some guys make some mistakes and we gotta correct those mistakes. But we follow the rules and we do it the right way at Florida and we have to do a better job of correcting some of the people making mistakes.”

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Week 2: Gators post-game news and notes

Bouncing back from a lackluster showing during the first game of the 2010-11 season, the No. 6/8 Florida Gators ran down the South Florida Bulls 38-14 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. With so much to discuss following the contest, OGGOA presents some of the most important notes and quotes coming out of The Swamp.

RAINEY OUT WITH CONCUSSION

Named by head coach Urban Meyer before the season as one of the Gators’ primary offensive weapons, redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey was knocked out of the game Saturday with a concussion. Rainey had only touched the ball three times prior to heading off the field, and his status for next week’s game at Tennessee is unknown, though Meyer seemed optimistic.

SNAPPING OUT OF “DISASTER MISTAKES”

After a week in which Florida struggled with one of the simplest aspects of the game – snapping the ball – senior center Mike Pouncey and redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley were back in sync and playing well together. Pouncey did have some errant snaps during the Gators’ first two series, one of which Brantley mishandled and fumbled, but overall the problems were corrected and UF’s offense was able to proceed free of easy miscues.

YOUNGSTERS SEE THE FIELD

Offensively, Florida made it a point to get redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose and freshman WR Robert Clark in the game – something the coaching staff failed in doing the previous week. On the defensive side of the ball, youth was all over the Gators’ secondary with freshman cornerback Cody Riggs getting extra time in place of redshirt sophomore starting CB Jeremy Brown, who went down with full body cramps in the second half. Fellow freshman CBs Jaylen Watkins and Josh Shaw also saw action, and freshman safety Matt Elam played as much as he did last week.

MEYER NOT HAPPY WITH HILL, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER

After the game, Meyer explained that junior safety Will Hill was benched for a second straight week because he was “not ready to play.” Earlier in the week, it appeared as if Hill was going to see the field in his normal staring role, but it is being made to look as if there was a change of heart as the game approached. As OGGOA reported last Saturday, Hill was out not because of his preparedness but rather as a team punishment; we are of the belief that he sat for the same reason this week.

Also held out were redshirt sophomore linebacker Dee Finely and freshman defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who Meyer also gave the “not ready to play” tag to. Finley, like Hill, was dressed; Easley was not. Like he said last week with his suspended starters, Meyer expects all three to play against Tennessee.

THOMPSON AND MOORE STEP THEIR GAMES UP

One week after redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson barely contributed and redshirt senior WR Carl Moore did not catch a single ball, both players played a major part of the Gators’ offense. The duo combined to catch 11 passes for 123 yards, though Thompson did drop another touchdown (which was well-defended) and bobbled a few of the passes he ended up bringing in. Each will have to remain consistent throughout the season, and Saturday was a good first step toward that end.

QUOTES (After the break…)
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Week 2: No. 6 Florida Gators v. South Florida Bulls

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 89°F, 20% chance of precipitation
Time: 12:21 p.m. (EST)

TV: SEC Network [affiliates]
Sirius/XM: 219/200
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 6 FLORIDA GATORS SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Skip Holtz
Record: 1-0 Record: 1-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -15; O/U 50

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Saturday is the first-ever meeting between Florida and South Florida in football.
» The Gators are sporting an 11-game home winning streak and have won 21 consecutive regular season games. The Orange and Blue has a .897 (113-13) winning percentage at Florida Field since 1990, good for best in the nation.
» Under Meyer, Florida is 9-0 against intrastate opponents (5-0 vs. FSU, 1-0 vs. Miami, FIU, FAU and UCF).
» The Gators and Bulls were the only two teams in the country to record four interceptions in the first week of the 2010 season. This is the third time UF has picked off four balls under Meyer, the first time four different players did so.
» Florida is 8-3-2 all-time against Big East opponents.
» UF committed a nation-low 84 turnovers since 2005 and has had 23 games in which they did not give up a single turnover (best in the nation).
» The Gators limited Miami (OH) to 0.2 yards per carry last week, four rushing yards on 22 carries. This is the fewest allowed by a Florida defense since it held Tennessee to -11 rushing yards on Sept. 16, 2006.
» For the 20th time in 22 games, the Gators did not allow a single punt return yard.
» South Florida has won six of its last nine games against teams ranked in the Associated Press and/or USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll(s).
» Florida assistant head coach/defense and defensive line coach Dan McCarney was on staff at USF in 2007; co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Heater worked with Holtz at Notre Dame in 1990.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who is looking to rebound from a rough outing in which he started his first collegiate game. He has thrown 86 consecutive passes without an interception and has a 12-1 TD/INT ratio while playing for the Gators.
» Junior running back Jeff Demps…who had a career-long 72-yard rushing TD last week. Demps leads the nation in rushing yards per touch (7.8) since 2008 and yards per carry (7.9) since 2009; he complied 98 yards on Saturday.
» Florida’s veteran offensive line…which is hoping senior center Mike Pouncey has overcome his snap problems and continue to be a strong leader for the group.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey…who has moved to the slot after playing running back for two seasons. Rainey hopes to be explosive while playing a modified “Percy Position” and could very well be the team’s best offensive weapon this season. He had a career-high six catches last week.
» Bulls starting QB B.J. Daniels…a dual-threat signal caller who draws comparisons to Michael Vick. Daniels went 15-of-22 for 264 yards and two TDs through the air and rushed five times for 23 yards and one TD on the ground last week against Stony Brook. He finished the 2009 season with 1,983 passing yards, 772 rushing yards and 23 total TDs, completing 53.7 percent of his passes and earning a QB rating of 139.55.
» Redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown…who is now the team’s full-time starter opposite junior CB Janoris Jenkins. Brown missed last season with a back injury and is starting his first game Saturday.
» Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose…who missed the entire 2009 season with a hamstring injury but is expected to make an immediate impact offensively. Debose did not play against Miami (OH) and will see the field for the first time against South Florida.
» Sophomore RB Mike Gillislee…who has achieved a run of more than 40 yards in back-to-back games, rushing for a 41-yard gain against Miami (OH) and a 52-yard gain in the 2010 Sugar Bowl.

INJURIES and INACTIVES
Injuries
Probable – Sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon, redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed (knees), redshirt senior defensive tackles Terron Sanders and Lawrence Marsh
Doubtful – Freshman WR Chris Dunkley (hamstring)
Out – Redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (wrist)

Inactives
None (will update closer to game time)

FLORIDA ON ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

The Gators will be featured, in part, during ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast beginning at 9 a.m. on ESPNU (hosted by Erin Andrews) and continuing from 10 a.m. until noon on ESPN. In the first hour, Andrews, Desmond Howard and David Pollack will discuss what level of concern Florida should have for their team after a rough first week. Later in the show, Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso will talk about the fumbling problems the Gators experienced against Miami (OH) and how easy or difficult it may be to get those fixed in a week’s time.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. South Florida Bulls preview after the jump!
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9/9: Florida Gators week two 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 second game Saturday against the South Florida Bulls. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

NIXON HEALTHY…BUT ACTIVE?

Sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon (knee) has been cleared to play Saturday; whether or not he will actually step on the field (or how long he will play) is another subject all together. Though Nixon is healthy enough to participate in game action, the Gators may choose to let him heal for another week if offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio believes his unit will be steady enough without him.

On Wednesday, redshirt senior right guard Maurice Hurt, who has been filling in at right tackle while redshirt senior RT Marcus Gilbert has been playing on the left side, was under the impression that he would once again start there this week. “We’re still getting some guys back and we’re still shuffling the rotation, but for now I think I’m going to be at right tackle,” Hurt said. No matter what is decided Saturday, it looks like Nixon will return to his starting role against Tennessee the following week.

INJURY UPDATES

As Meyer predicted earlier in the week, it looks like redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed (knee) will be ready to go Saturday. Reed’s snaps may be limited, but his presence should allow for a more typical rotation at the position with him and sophomore wide receiver Omarius Hines as the primary plug-ins.

Meyer noted that freshman WR Chris Dunkley, who is still recovering from hamstring issues stemming from the conclusion of his high school career, is doubtful. With redshirt sophomore Frankie Hammond, Jr. (DUI) returning, redshirt freshman Andre Debose looking to get on the field and other receivers ahead of him knowledge-wise, Dunkley needs to get healthy while simultaneously learning the requirements of the position. Fellow freshman WR Quinton Dunbar is also hoping to see some action shortly.

Additionally, redshirt senior defensive tackles Terron Sanders and Lawrence Marsh will both be active and on the field playing Saturday against the Bulls.

BURTON BACKING UP; MURPHY STANDING IN

Last week we alerted you that the perception that freshman quarterback Tyler Murphy had replaced fellow freshman signal caller Trey Burton as the team’s primary backup behind redshirt junior starter John Brantley was likely a one-week scenario due to the fact that Burton was learning a bevy of other positions. Now that Reed is back in the mix at tight end and H-back, Burton has moved back to the No. 2 QB role (though he will likely see time on the field in other positions, too).

Simultaneously this week, Florida utilized Murphy as a stand-in for South Florida starting QB B.J. Daniels, a dual-threat player with a big arm and quick feet. Murphy apparently did well in this role during practice and was instrumental in helping the Gators prepare for their opponent this week.

For what it’s worth, Meyer continuously compares Burton’s talent and potential impact to that of former Florida stars WR Percy Harvin and TE Aaron Hernandez.

QUOTES

Meyer on Nixon’s starting status: “We don’t know that yet. That’s up to coach Addazio. We did talk about that today, and he hasn’t decided yet. Today’s practice was … key.”

Meyer on Dunkley’s progress: “He’s getting real close. He actually had a good day [Thursday]. I don’t know if he’ll get in this week [because] he’s had that hamstring forever. I wouldn’t say he was about 100 percent until last week. We’d like to get him involved. Same with Quinton Dunbar, who’s doing a nice job. […] It’s just learning. [Dunkley] missed almost all of training camp. We’re in the season now and it’s hard to learn. We’re game-planning now. But he’s doing a good job. Talented guy.”

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

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08/24: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice notes

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators is in the midst of their third week fall practice and, while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur Tuesday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

POUNCEY MOVING OVER?

Senior center Mike Pouncey told the media Tuesday that he may be forced to play right tackle to start the season while a number of players at that position get healthy. “I might have to play tackle in the first couple of games,” he said. “We’ll see. We still don’t know. It doesn’t matter to me. I feel like I’m a great player wherever I play, and I just want to win. I didn’t expect it. I thought I was going to play center, but I’ll do whatever it takes to help us win games. If it means me having to play tackle, that’s what it’s going to be. […] [Sam] Robey is ready [to play center]. He’s been sitting behind me and my brother. He’s just waiting for his opportunity. If he gets it, I think he’s going to take full advantage of it.”

Left tackles redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan and sophomore Xavier Nixon may both miss the opening game (or more) with injuries, forcing senior right tackle Marcus Gilbert over. Pouncey would fill in for him on the right, and Robey would play center.

NO. 2 SPOT

With redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley taking the reigns of the team this year, head coach Urban Meyer and QB coach Scot Loeffler are searching for a primary backup. Competing for the job are freshmen Trey Burton and Tyler Murphy, and it was long assumed that Burton was in the process of winning the job outright. However, whether due to Burton’s involvement in other roles on the team or not, Murphy is the one who has been getting the majority of the No. 2 snaps behind center.

QUOTES

Pouncey on the freshman class’ swagger: “Everybody needs to come in with that type of attitude, but at the end of the day the freshmen need to shut their mouths and come play. They haven’t done nothing on Saturday and most of the fans don’t even know who they are. Until they prove themselves, they need to sit back and let the older guys play. That whole recruiting class is cocky.”

Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio on Burton: “He’s the total ballplayer. He lines up. He’s taking snaps, direct runs, playing that hip/fullback/flexed-out guy [like Aaron Hernandez]. He’s powerful, he’s smart, he’s a really good athlete. He’s got great hands. That’s been really fun to watch over the last five or six days. He’s just like, ‘Hey, I want to do whatever it takes to help this team and get on that football field.’ He does everything. He’s a fun guy to be around. […] Trey Burton has had a great week. He makes plays in a lot of different positions. It’s really fun to watch him develop right now. That guy is playing all over the field making plays. He’s playing it all. He’s a playmaker. So, that’s really cool. He’s really done a great job. He’s very versatile. Hernandez was very versatile. Trey is maybe slightly different. He can do a lot of things. It’s pretty amazing, really.”

Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni on freshman WR Chris Dunkley: “He’s getting there. We’re spending extra time out there on the practice field trying to get him right mentally. It’s just mental stuff. Physically, he can do it, but mentally … he’s catching up – probably right where I thought he was: goes left when he’s supposed to go right a couple times. That’s to be expected when you’re coming back. He’ll be fine. We’ll get him going.”

Azzanni on freshman WR Robert Clark: “[He’s] had an unbelievable camp for us. When you talk about a gritty, little tough kid – he’s everything you want in a football player. Scrappy. He’s everything that you love to coach. He’s had a really good camp. We’re really pleasantly surprised with Robert Clark. […] He’s a hybrid guy, an inside slot guy, absolutely. He’s the same as [Chris] Rainey. He does the same things a Rainey does.”

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

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08/23: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators is beginning their third week fall practice and, while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur Monday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

REPLACING BRANDON JAMES…

During his media availability Monday, head coach Urban Meyer announced that junior running back Jeff Demps would be handling kickoff returns, while redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey would get the vast majority of work as the team’s punt returner for the upcoming season. Meyer added that junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins will see time bringing back punts on occasion. OGGOA continues to believe that – considering Demps, Rainey and Jenkins are all very important starters at other positions – fans may see another player (freshman WR Robert Clark?) take over some of these duties as the season progresses (especially if any are nursing injuries).

THE ‘STACHE IS TRASH

Redshirt junior starting quarterback John Brantley had a mustache. Now he doesn’t.

Moving on.

MOVEMENT AT LEFT TACKLE

Whether it is due to a knee injury sustained by sophomore Xavier Nixon, the talent and progression of redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan or both, it appears that the latter has the inside track on the Gators’ starting left tackle job. Patchan, who is returning from a wrist injury and not yet participating fully in practice, could very well supplant Nixon, who started the final five games of the 2009 season.

Starting middle linebacker – being contested by sophomore Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins – and starting cornerback – a battle between redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown and senior Moses Jenkins – both remain open position battles.

PROVING HIS WORTH

When punishing sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr., Meyer chose to take him off of scholarship rather than immediately suspend him from games or kick him off the team, giving the player a chance to earn his way back in his coaches’ and teammates’ good graces. Hammond has been doing just that over the last few weeks, proving that he has his head on straight, will not duplicate his mistake and is an integral part of the team. Though Meyer will not reinstate Hammond’s scholarship before the season, a successful year off the field could get him back on track before spring or summer

IF YOU GON’ DO IT – DO IT JUST LIKE THIS

After the scrimmage on Saturday – the team’s final one of the fall – Meyer graded out a number of players as Champions of the team. Offense: QB Brantley, senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt senior T Marcus Gilbert, redshirt sophomore fullback T.J. PridemoreDefense: senior safety Ahmad Black, defensive ends senior Duke Lemmens and junior defensive end William Green, linebackers sophomore Jon Bostic and senior Lorzenzo Edwards.

INJURY UPDATES

Meyer said that redshirt senior defensive tackle Brandon Antwine has been out of action the last few days after suffering a concussion; he may return on Tuesday if cleared by doctors. Redshirt senior WR Justin Williams hurt his shoulder during practice and has been using a sling. Junior WR Deonte Thompson’s hamstring acted up on him, causing him to sit out Saturday’s scrimmage, but he will be fine; likewise, freshman WR Chris Dunkley’s hamstring injury is believed to be behind him.

QUOTES

Meyer on Saturday’s final scrimmage and where the team is at right now: “We weren’t very good. … It really was not a very good scrimmage. Defense played well – about what you’d think for where we’re at right now. I’m hitting the panic button a little bit right now. We’ve got to get better faster than what we are at right now. It’s not that we’re not good, it’s just consistency of the offensive and defensive line[s]. We have to get them all in there. Once Patchan comes back and Xavier Nixon gets back, we’ll look a little better on the offensive line. When DT and Carl [Moore] and Omarius Hines [are] all together, we’ll look a little better, but right now, it’s not Florida football yet.”

Meyer comparing Brantley and Tim Tebow: “Somebody asked me today about the difference between John Brantley and Tim Tebow. Outward appearances, there’s a big difference. Inward … his competitiveness and leadership are fantastic right now, much better than I thought. I was really worried about that. When you have a guy like that [Tebow] in front of you, [Brantley] didn’t show much. Today we did the two-minute drill and he did fantastic. He ran the whole show and acted like a veteran quarterback – like he is. I’m really encouraged by John. Everybody knows he can throw the ball. The other part is fantastic right now as far as management of the team and leadership.”

Meyer on how the freshmen are performing: “Just OK. Actually, [I’m] a little disappointed in some of them. I thought they’d go take a spot. A few guys are doing decent – [safety] Matt Elam, [DT] Dominique Easley and [WR] Quinton Dunbar – who has been very good for us and might play this year. [DE] Ronald Powell had a great practice today, but didn’t have a great camp. He’s coming on strong now. Some of those big-game guys, I thought we’d have some of them cracking the lineup right now … but not yet.”

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

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