Q&A with College GameDay’s Desmond Howard

ESPN College GameDay will emanate from Gainesville, FL for the first time since 2009 on Saturday as the No. 2 Florida Gators (6-0, 5-0 SEC) host the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1 SEC) at 3:30 p.m. in a game that will air live on CBS.

It was announced Wednesday that Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte will be on hand to be the guest picker for the show, which will be set up and aired from the grass outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium’s façade that faces University Drive.

To get fans ready for the program and game, OGGOA had the opportunity to sit down for a question-and-answer session with ESPN‘s Desmond Howard, one of the three analysts who are part of the College GameDay crew.

Be sure to tune in to ESPN on Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon!

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: This is the third time already this season that Florida will be featured on College GameDay. How have you seen the Gators progress and improve from when the program was on-site for the Texas A&M game until now?
DESMOND HOWARD: “That’s simple. The offense has gotten better. Jeff Driskel has gotten more confident. I think the players around him are more confident in him, and the running game with [Mike] Gillislee has become more solidified. They’re playing a very physical brand of football on the offensive side and defensive side, so those are the biggest differences so far?”

AS: The first BCS standings were released on Sunday and obviously Florida being ranked No. 2 was a major point of argument for some. How do you feel about the Gators deserving that spot in the initial standings and do you really think the BCS is worth arguing about so early in the season?
DH: “I don’t have a problem with it at all. It’s like people need something to argue about and debate about so they talk about the BCS rankings. We’re in the middle of October. If anyone knows anything about football, you understand that this is going to shake itself out. Especially with Florida at No. 2 and Oregon at No. 3. You have Alabama at No. 1 so those teams, if they keep going the way they’re going, one of them is going to cancel the other one out. If this was Nov. 22 or something like that, then we’ll be having a conversation. But like I said, they’re still going to play each other in the SEC Championship if they stay on the same course they are on right now, so what is there to argue about? So no, I don’t have a problem with the BCS rankings whatsoever.”

Read the rest of this Q&A with Desmond Howard…after the break!
Continue Reading » Q&A with College GameDay’s Desmond Howard

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ESPN’s Jesse Palmer on the 2010 Florida Gators

During an ESPN conference call yesterday, former Florida Gators quarterback now network analyst Jesse Palmer spoke at length about the upcoming college football season. OGGOA had an opportunity to participate in the discussion and got Palmer to talk a bit about the 2010 version of the team. Read it all…after the break:
Continue Reading » ESPN’s Jesse Palmer on the 2010 Florida Gators

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Gators spring practice news and notes – 04/05

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 the team’s practice from Mon., April 5.

Absences/Injuries:
» There was no sign of redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody at practice. Moody, who was injured for the second time this spring after hurting his right quad on Saturday, had just returned after tweaking his ankle a few days earlier.

» Wide receivers freshman Solomon Patton and redshirt freshman Stephen Alli continued working away from the team. Patton had a boot placed on his left leg to protect his ankle last week but it was no longer there Monday. Expect both to be rested for precautionary reasons.

» Freshman WR Robert Clark, who was fitted for a boot on Friday after injuring his foot, returned to action and caught a particularly nice pass from freshman quarterback Trey Burton. Clark had one of the best days of Florida’s receivers.

» In addition to most of the starting offensive line sitting out, sophomore cornerback Josh Evans (still in a cast and on crutches) and redshirt freshman defensive end Kedric Johnson (with a boot on his right foot) were notable absences.

Scrimmage happenings:
» The big news of Monday’s practice was redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose competing in actual drills. He began the day working mostly in non-contact drills but took some bumps during seven-on-seven competition (wide receivers vs. defensive backs). Up until this point, the most Debose had done while recovering from a torn hamstring last year was jog. He caught a few passes, showed little limitation or trepidation with his legs and even fought with freshman safety Jordan Haden for a pass that was broken up. This is by no means an indication that he is 100 percent, but Debose has certainly come a long way with his healing – good news for Gators fans.

» Joining Clark and Debose with solid performances were pass catchers redshirt junior Deonte Thompson, redshirt senior Carl Moore and sophomore Omarius Hines. Each has continued to show improvement.

» Junior S Will Hill and sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic both came close to grabbing interceptions at points during the day’s drills.

Other notes:
» Five-star 2010 DE commitment Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA) was in attendance at practice hanging out with head coach Urban Meyer.

» Former Heisman Trophy winner and ESPN analyst Desmond Howard was on the sidelines watching practice. He was not with a crew.

Interesting quotes:
» Redshirt junior QB John Brantley on Debose: “He’s a heck of a player. He’s fast as can be. I’m just happy to see him back out there running around. […] He looked good. It can only get better from here. He’s only going to get faster so that’s a plus. He’s been telling me all spring that he wanted to get back out there. He was very happy today. […] I’m hoping for big things from him.”

» Redshirt freshman LB Jelani Jenkins on trying to win a starting job: “Right now, we’re all just playing to get a linebacker spot. I don’t even know how they’re going to do the positions, but we’re all rotating. I’ll play [weak side] and sometimes I’ll play [middle]. I think we’re all playing a few different positions and [coaches are] just planning on putting the three best linebackers out there.”

» Freshman offensive lineman Ian Silberman on enrolling early: “It is going to help tremendously, because I have an advantage from knowing the system. I’m getting the repetitions. It’s helping big time. [Compared to] someone who is coming in over the summer, I’ll have that experience and the weight training edge.”

» Co-defensive coordinator and safety coach Chuck Heater on Dee Finley‘s transition to LB: “It’s a bit uncomfortable to him probably, but it’s the best spot for him physically. He recognizes it’s his best opportunity. […] Hopefully he’ll keep getting better. […] He’ll be a special teams player for us and eventually graduate from there.”

Special thanks to The Gainesville Sun for some of the above quotes.

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