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

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Christian Green drops UF, down to FSU and UGA

Reports from Rivals Tuesday night had four-star athlete recruit Christian Green (Tampa, FL) dropping the Florida Gators from his final three and narrowing his focus to two teams – the Florida State Seminoles and Georgia Bulldogs.

The St. Petersburg Times spoke with his father, Hiram Green, who confirmed his son’s latest decision. “It’s between those two,” he said. Lifelong Seminoles fans, Green and his family always considered Florida State as his top option, but a push from Georgia head coach Mark Richt could sway him North.

Green’s older brother Brandon committed to the Florida A&M Rattlers on Sunday. Florida A&M is also located in Tallahassee, FL, and Green will take an official visit to FSU this weekend. He checked out Florida two weeks ago.

“They’re an excellent program,” Hiram Green said of the Gators. “They’ve got an excellent coaching staff and [head coach] Urban Meyer is a first-class person. It was tough for [Christian].”

Photo Credit: BallHype.com

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FOUR BITS: NFL Combine, Strong poaches recruit

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, linebacker Ryan Stamper, defensive end Jermaine Cunningham and kick returner Brandon James have received invites to the 2010 NFL Combine. Juniors who have declared for the 2010 NFL Draft have yet to receive invitations, but fans can expect DE Carlos Dunlap, cornerback Joe Haden, tight end Aaron Hernandez and safety Major Wright to participate in the event from Feb. 24 to March 2 in Indianapolis, IN.

2 » Three-star athlete Marcus Smith (Columbus, GA) had an outstanding scholarship offer from Florida and was prepared to take it…that is until Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong came calling. “If Louisville would have never been in the mix, I would have probably went to Florida,” Smith told the Courier-Journal. “But I’m glad Louisville came into the mix. I like coach Strong a lot, and I really wanted to play for coach Strong. Louisville is a great program. He wants me to play quarterback, he established that during our talk this morning. To tell you the truth, I just want to play, so I am good wherever he wants me.” Upon taking his position with the Cardinals, Strong said he would not poach recruits the Gators were interested in unless they initiated contact.

3 » The Gators hosted their biggest remaining recruiting weekend the past few days and a number of both committed and undecided prospects came away impressed. Four-star running back Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA), who at one point was wavering after head coach Urban Meyer announced his leave of absence, solidified his recruitment after getting extensive time with new running backs coach Stan Drayton. Brown also told Adam Gorney of Rivals that Meyer may return as soon as March. “He looked pretty fine to me,” Brown said. “He looked healthy. I know he wants to coach, so I know he’s going to be there. He’s going to take a couple weeks off in February, but he’ll be back.” Fellow four-star recruits offensive tackle Chaz Green (Tampa, FL) and wide receiver Christian Green (Tampa, FL) raved to numerous sources about their respective experiences.

4 » Coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers with just two seconds remaining in the game, the Florida women’s basketball team gained a bit of revenge by taking down the Mississippi State Bulldogs 55-52 on the road on Sunday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum. Sophomore guard Trumae Lucas scored seven points off of the bench in the waning minutes while senior forward Sharielle Smith led the Gators with 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting while also grabbing seven boards.

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TWO BITS: Meyer’s health; recruiting weekend

1 » As a prelude to announcing his very early top 25 for 2010, The Gainesville Sun‘s Pat Dooley dropped some knowledge on how Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer is holding up since his decision to take a leave of absence rather than resign. Most of this is known already, but a succinct wrap-up from a beat writer close to Meyer is always nice.

Meyer told me he has gained 10 pounds after losing so much weight because food had lost its appeal during the stressful 2009 season. He has never been one to sleep past 7 a.m. but he’s sleeping in now. He is excited about his new coaching staff and his new recruits and especially being at Florida. His leave of absence will start after National Signing Day and he’s looking forward to spending time with his family.

2 » With just over two weeks until National Signing Day (Feb. 3), the Gators are set to host their biggest of the three remaining recruiting weekends on campus from Jan. 15-17. Here is a list of attendees. Commitments: five-star defensive tackle Dominique Easley (Staten Island, NY), four-star running back Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA), four-star defensive end Lynden Trail (Miami, FL), four-star wide receiver Quinton Dunbar (Miami, FL), three-star linebacker Gideon Ajagbe (Coconut Grove, FL). Recruits: five-star LB Christian Jones (Winter Park, FL) [unofficial], four-star WR Christian Green (Tampa, FL), four-star offensive lineman Chaz Green (Tampa, FL), three-star LB Darrin Kitchens (Homestead, FL), three-star safety Jeremy Deering (Tampa, FL).

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Three 5-stars commit at Army All-American Bowl

Eleven high school football players announced their college commitments during the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX, an all-star game that DirecTV offers annually. Four-star tight end Gerald Christian (West Palm Beach, FL) and four-star defensive back Jaylen Watkins (Cape Coral, FL) were the only Florida Gators commitments participating at the start of the game, but the team has acquired three additional big-names over the course of the afternoon.

Defensive end Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA) []
Height: 6’4″ – Weight: 225 lbs.
Considered a heavy Florida lean for months (on Dec. 18 he said the Gators were “most definitely at the top” of his list), Powell had second thoughts about his commitment after head coach Urban Meyer resigned and then decided to take a leave of absence instead. Meyer eased Powell’s reservations after a phone conversation. Powell also indicated that he wished to play college ball away from home with the USC Trojans his only other option. “Coach Meyer is a hell-of-a coach,” he said last month. “The college is in a college town. The players, the players definitely make you feel at home. I mean just all around, it’s a great school, a great place to be.”
More on Ronald Powell from OGGOA.
Finalists: Florida, USC
COMMITTED TO: Florida Gators

Safety Matt Elam (West Palm Beach, FL) []
Height: 6’0″ – Weight: 205 lbs.
A Florida commitment for over a year, Elam played games throughout the recruiting cycle. He reaffirmed his commitment to Meyer and the Gators after his official visit in December; however, Meyer’s about-face caused Elam to question his decision, leading him to decommit from Florida and make a commitment to the Florida State Seminoles. Elam finally spoke to Meyer earlier this week to work everything out. He then decommitted from FSU and listed Florida as his leader, stating that he could not leave Coach Meyer while putting his faith in him.
More on Matt Elam from OGGOA.
Finalists: Florida, Georgia, Florida State
COMMITTED TO: Florida Gators

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, PA) []
Height: 6’3″ – Weight: 310 lbs.
Once believed to be a sure-thing for Ohio State Buckeyes’s 2010 recruiting class, Floyd was also seriously considering Florida. He promised to “shock the world” with his announcement Saturday and was thrilled with the Gators’ decision to hire George Edwards as their new defensive coordinator. Reports from San Antonio had Floyd leaning toward joining the contingent of Florida commitments on Saturday, and his budding friendship with Powell and desire to play around top-tier talent only further that sentiment. “Florida overall, I genuinely care about Coach Meyer and we talk on a daily basis,” Floyd said. “I just like Florida and what the program has to offer.”
More on Sharrif Floyd from OGGOA.
Finalists: Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State, South Carolina
COMMITTED TO: Florida Gators

In addition to the players profiled above who committed to the Gators on Saturday, the following recruits (who have chosen not to announce their respective decisions during the game) are also being targeted by UF: five-star offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN), five-star DE Jackson Jeffcoat (Plano, TX), five-star DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (Portland, OR), four-star wide receiver Christian Green (Tampa, FL) and four-star WR Ivan McCartney (Miramar, FL).

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TWO BITS: Meyer still working, Christian Green

1 » Though a leave of absence is looming in his near future, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer is still very much involved in the program at this point in time. Recruiting is one of Meyer’s passions and staying off the road (at least right now) is surely frustrating him, but he is still making an impact with high school players over the phone. He is simultaneously trying to fill out the remainder of his coaching staff. The Gators have lost four assistants (and a graduate assistant) since the 2009 SEC Championship, but Meyer has already filled in three staff spots with only one more to go. Once his staff is complete and National Signing Day passes on Feb. 3, Meyer will take a step back from the program – hopefully temporarily but potentially permanently.

2 » Florida may have landed a commitment from four-star wide receiver Chris Dunkley (Pahokee, FL) at the Under Armour All-American Game, but the team is still looking for more pass catchers to fill out its 2010 recruiting class. Enter four-star WR Christian Green (Tampa, FL). Though Green is seemingly favoring the Florida State Seminoles (he is a lifelong fan of the team and much of his family went to FSU), he is also considering the Georgia Bulldogs and Gators. “I like the Florida program,” Green told Gerry Hamilton of Scouts, Inc. “I feel like Coach Meyer and those guys motivate players to win and they are going to make you better as a player. That and they win national championships. I think that’s important to go to a school that is going to win national championships, and they have proven they can.”

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Meyer’s decision stuns Gators 2010 recruits

Aside from having to hire a new head coach after Urban Meyer‘s shocking resignation, one of the most immediate issues facing the Florida Gators football program in 2010 is retaining recruits from one of the top incoming classes in the country. With 20 recruits currently verbally committed to the Gators and plenty more considering their commitment one way or another, losing Meyer will almost certainly a blow to the team’s recruiting – how big of a blow is yet to be determined. Numerous sources including Rivals, GatorCountry, the Palm Beach Post, the Orlando Sentinel, the Gainesville Sun and the Sporting News have spoken with these recruits over the past few hours, and OGGOA has compiled some information on where each of them stand.

Because the list is so long, it is best to view it after the jump!!!
Continue Reading » Meyer’s decision stuns Gators 2010 recruits

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SIX BITS: Tebow aims high, SEC reigns supreme

1 » Steve Wieberg of USA Today wrote a terrific article about Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow that printed Friday. “Already a Florida legend, Gators’ Tebow is aiming higher,” focuses on Tebow’s ability to make selflessness cool, his fire and devotion and potential prospects on the next level in the National Football League. “Football. Athleticism. Leadership. Charity Work. His faith. You name it. I’ve never seen anybody who had all that in one package,” said former Georgia Bulldogs head coach Vince Dooley. “That’s what puts him in a class by himself.”

2 » Saturday is going to be filled with plenty of college football action. Conference championships, rivalry games and career-defining moments will be aplenty, but the day truly belongs to the Southeastern Conference and its championship game. Tommy Hicks of the Mobile Press-Register contends that “it’s the SEC’s world, and all the other leagues and teams are just playing in it.”

3 » Just because four-star running back recruit Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA) committed to the Gators does not mean teams have stopped pursuing him. At the top of that list is the Tennessee Volunteers and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron, who visited Brown and tried to persuade him to switch. “He said they would play me as a freshman and that in their offense, the back gets the ball more than the backs in a spread offense. He said in the spread, I’ll be sharing carries with receivers and three or four running backs.” Florida immediately called and spoke to Brown’s father. “I’m committed to Florida, I’m not taking any other visits but Florida,” Brown said.

Three more recruiting BITS and an extra BIT after the jump…
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tebow aims high, SEC reigns supreme

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