CHOMPING: On Spikes, Lil’ Wayne lyrics and Slive

Covering the Florida Gators as close as I do every day, I often find the need to vent regarding some of the coverage the team receives, what occurs on the field or things that happen as it relates to the Gators. Normally I will express these opinions outside of OGGOA, but on rare occasions like this, I feel the need to put my thoughts into print.

1. Brandon Spikes’ eye gouge incident

Did Spikes eye gouge Georgia Bulldogs running back Washaun Ealey? You bet he did. Does he deserve to be held accountable and handed a suspension and/or punishment for his actions? Of course he does. (He has been suspended for the first half Saturday against the Vanderbilt Commodores.) My issue comes with the media coverage and fan reaction to this incident. Ladies and gentlemen, this is football. If you think that a dozen eye gouge attempts (and worse actions) do not go on every game in piles and at the end of plays – you are kidding yourselves. Spikes’ issue is that he did it where people could see it. He also happens to play for the No. 1 team in the country – a team that is one of the most hated in the nation. People are up in arms about Spikes’ eye gouge like it was as bad as Oregon Ducks’ RB LeGarrette Blount’s post-game punch. It wasn’t. Punishment was deserved. Don’t rake this guy over the coals for feeling he needed retribution for the eye gouges and helmet rip-offs he experienced all game long at the hands of Georgia. At some point, anger and the need for retribution do take over. Even so, there are no legitimate excuses for his actions. He is not the only one at fault here, though he is the only one who will receive punishment.

2. Lil’ Wayne gives Lane Kiffin a shout out on new mixtape [after the jump...]

Continue Reading » CHOMPING: On Spikes, Lil’ Wayne lyrics and Slive

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Volleyball sweeps again, soccer earns No. 1 seed

Sweeping their sixth consecutive Southeastern Conference opponent, the No. 10/12 Florida Gators volleyball team (18-3, 12-2 SEC) took down the Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-19, 2-13 SEC) 3-0 (25-23, 27-25, 25-22) on the road Sunday in Starkville, MS. Florida sophomore right-side/setter Kelly Murphy recorded her seventh triple-double of the season with 11 kills, 25 assists and 10 digs. Murphy’s triple-double was the 13th of her career, a Gators record.

The Florida volleyball team will return home to host the Georgia Bulldogs (14-10, 5-8 SEC) next Friday at 7 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

In soccer news… The Gators (14-4-2, 8-1-2 SEC) have earned the top seed in the SEC Championship Tournament and will face the defending champion No. 8 Tennessee Volunteers (8-8-3, 4-5-2 SEC) on Wednesday, Nov. 4 in Orange Beach, AL. Meeting earlier this season in Knoxville, TN, Florida and Tennessee tied 2-2 after two overtimes.

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Grading the Florida vs. Georgia game

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 Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, FL, at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

QUARTERBACK: A+
After two consecutive weeks of below-average play, Tim Tebow came back big against Georgia in his hometown of Jacksonville. Four total touchdowns including two on the ground as well as 85 rushing yards helped Tebow secure two all-time SEC records (rushing touchdowns, rushing yards by QB). 15-of-21 passing was respectable, though Florida seemed to shy away from putting the ball in the air in the second half. All-in-all, this was one of Tebow’s career-best days and the leader of the Gators offense deserves kudos for a great performance.

RUNNING BACKS: B
It is tough to expect this unit to make an impact when the three main players combined for 16 total attempts. Jeff Demps averaged 6.2 yards per carry while Emmanuel Moody had 3.7 and Chris Rainey had 3.0. Four-star freshman Mike Gillislee got some playing time late in the game and exploded on a 49-yard run but was injured on the play. For avoiding mistakes and contributing when given the opportunity, these guys played just fine.

Continue Reading » Grading the Florida vs. Georgia game

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SIX BITS: Wrapping up the Florida-Georgia game

1 » Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow broke two all-time Southeastern Conference records (rushing touchdowns, rushing yards by a QB), his team clinched the SEC Eastern division title and a berth in the SEC Championship game and the offense got back on track following a few sluggish outings.

2 » According to Tebow and senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, the two team leaders got into a “skirmish” at some point after the Mississippi State Bulldogs game last week. “Me and T’s friends, brothers. It wasn’t nothing,” Spikes said. “It was all positive. We came together me and him, got the team together and we kind of got things right.” Tebow admitted the story was true. “There was [an issue],” Tebow said. “A lot of turmoil this past week.”

3 » Head basketball coach Billy Donovan visited the Gators football team Thursday night to discuss the difficulties in defending a national title. Donovan told the team that sticking together through adversity was important. “He motivated us,” Tebow said. “He talked to a lot of the leaders on our team and really challenged us.”

4 » Kicker Caleb Sturgis may have nailed a game-winning field goal two weeks ago, but he has never been more impressive than he was in his performance Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs. Sturgis hit a career- and Florida-Georgia series-long 56-yard field goal in the second quarter and followed it up with a 44-yard shot in the fourth. He also made all of his extra points. “I thought that was a big momentum-changer for us,” head coach Urban Meyer said of the 56-yarder.

5 » While plenty of praise was offered to Tebow, wide receiver Riley Cooper and the entire offensive performance on Saturday, New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau, who was at the game acting as a member of the press, lauded the play of the Gators’ linebackers. “I told [Spikes] he has something you just can’t coach, that you’re born with it,” Seau said. “He has leadership, and (I told him) not to take any of it for granted. He has that skill that Tebow has on offense, which is allowing your actions, your words to grab other people around you so they can elevate their games.”

6 » Not all of Spikes’ actions were in good taste Saturday. Could a suspension be coming for him? Spikes, who was victimized with an eye poke and had his helmet ripped off twice during the game, obviously felt the need to get even and took out his aggression on running back Washaun Ealey. While he may have been wronged often during the game, retaliation is not acceptable. A suspension from playing in the Vanderbilt Commodores game next week is a possibility. However, if the SEC does not voice any particular displeasure, Meyer may simply punish Spikes in practice. [UPDATE:] Sunday morning, Meyer said Spikes is a “very emotional player, and if that’s the case I’ll have a very serious talk with him.”

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Florida Gators clinch SEC East with Vols victory

No. 1 Florida Gators have clinched the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division title and earned a spot in the SEC Championship game after a 41-17 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday afternoon and a 31-13 win by the Tennessee Volunteers against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the evening.

This will be the Gators third SEC title game appearance in the last four years. Florida won the last two contests and earned berths to the BCS National Championship games in those respective seasons (2006 vs. Arkansas and 2008 vs. Alabama). The 2009 game will be played on Dec. 5 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.

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Tebow, Gators dominate Bulldogs 41-17 in Jax

No. 1 Florida Gators (8-0, 6-0 SEC) senior quarterback Tim Tebow totaled four touchdowns on the day and broke two Southeastern Conference all-time records as his team went on to rout the Georgia Bulldogs (4-4, 3-3 SEC) 41-17 in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on Saturday. Florida has won 17 of the last 20 against Georgia and took their second consecutive game in the series by at least 24 points.

Tying Bulldogs running back Herschel Walker‘s SEC record of 49 rushing touchdowns last week, Tebow broke it Saturday with 1:32 left in the first half on a beautiful 23-yard TD run. He would add a four-yard TD rush in the third quarter to finish the day with an SEC-record 51 rushing scores. Tebow is now two touchdowns behind RB Kevin Faulk formerly of the LSU Tigers who has the most touchdowns rushing and receiving (53). Additionally, Tebow broke former Arkansas Razorbacks QB Matt Jones‘ all-time SEC record of rushing yards for a quarterback.

On top of to Tebow’s two rushing scores, he completed two more through the air to wide receiver Riley Cooper, who finished with a team-leading four receptions and 78 yards. Cooper had a spectacular catch for his second touchdown, a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone. Tebow lead the team in rushing with 18 carries for 85 yards, and no running back received more than seven carries (Emmanuel Moody).

Defensively, the Gators were just as dominant. Redshirt junior linebacker A.J. Jones grabbed a pair of interceptions and has now picked off three balls in two weeks. One was an athletic move where he tipped the ball and then dove to come up with the turnover. Senior LB Brandon Spikes added a pick-six in the fourth quarter, and redshirt junior LB Ryan Stamper also grabbed one with 11:54 to go in the game. Florida’s secondary held Georgia star sophomore wide receiver A.J. Green to three catches for 50 yards, though it did allow two TDs.

The special teams unit was also special Saturday, with sophomore kicker Caleb Sturgis hitting two field goals including a career-long 56-yard shot and punter Chas Henry totaling three kicks for 145 yards – two inside the five and once again no return yards given up by the coverage unit.

On the injury front, Spikes appeared to hurt himself early in the game but returned while RB Chris Rainey left in the second half with what seemed to be a serious left shoulder injury. Redshirt senior safety Dorian Munroe, who missed the 2008 season with a torn ACL and had not yet played in 2009, made his debut on special teams and looked good.

The Gators continue to own the nation’s longest winning streak at 18 games. Florida will return home to Gainesville, FL, and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium next weekend to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-6, 0-5 SEC). The game will air on ESPN/2 at 8:15 p.m.

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Week 9: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Location: Jacksonville Municipal Stadium – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 84,000]
Time: 3:30 p.m. (EST)
Weather Forecast: 83°F – Partly Sunny

TV: CBS
Online: Live for FREE at CBS Sports.
Sirius: 217; XM: 200

Florida Gators Georgia Bulldogs
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 7-0 (5-0) Record: 4-3 (3-2)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -14.5, O/U 48
Head-to-Head Stats: Gainesville Sun

KEEP AN EYE ON…
Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow…who is currently tied with former Georgia Bulldogs running back Herschel Walker in all-time Southeastern Conference rushing touchdowns with 49. He needs one more to break Walker’s record.
– Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green vs. Florida cornerback Joe Haden…whose battle could be the highlight of the game. Haden will try his best to match-up with the Bulldogs’ greatest weapon who has already caught 41 balls for 682 yards and six touchdowns on the season including individual performances of 137 and 152 yards. Green has scored touchdowns in five of Georgia’s seven games.
– Florida’s kicker…as Caleb Sturgis has missed two 37-yard field goals and an extra point combined over the last two weeks. Jonathan Phillips could step in for Sturgis and take his job back.
– The I-formation…which the Gators worked on all summer and found success with last week against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Florida may use it more extensively this week, especially in the red zone where the team needs to be more efficient.

STREAKS:
– The Gators are in the middle of the longest winning streak in school history with 17 consecutive victories. They also hold the longest active winning streak in the NCAA and the longest of any SEC team since the Auburn Tigers won 20 straight from 1993-94.
– The Bulldogs are 6-1 when playing the defending national champion, including victories over Florida in 1997 and 2007.
– Meyer is 13-1 in rivalry games against Georgia, Tennessee Volunteers, Florida State Seminoles and Miami Hurricanes. His sole loss came against Georgia in 2007.
– Georgia leads both the all-time series against Florida (46-38-2) and all games played in Jacksonville (40-35-1).
– Florida leads the SEC in total offense (457), rushing offense (258.3), scoring offense (36.3) and third-down efficiency (.460). The Gators have converted 48.6% of their offensive drives into points including 34.7% into touchdowns and have 33 runs of 10-plus yards on first down, including 13 for 20 yards or more – all tops in the SEC.
– On defense, the Gators have only surrendered six touchdowns all season (fewest of any team in the nation) and average 10.1 points per game (No. 2 in the nation). Florida has held its past three opponents to a combined 16% on third down conversions and have forced opponents into a three-and-out on 57.3% of their drives – best in the SEC.

Read OGGOA’s complete Florida vs. Georgia preview after the jump…

Continue Reading » Week 9: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs

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FOUR BITS: Henry up for Guy Award, new SEC rule, UF-UGA HOF, soccer going for SEC title

1 » Florida Gators junior punter Chas Henry was named a candidate for the 2009 Ray Guy Award on Thursday. Given annually to the nation’s top collegiate punter, the award may very well end up on Henry’s mantle. He has yet to allow a single punt return yard in 2009, making the Gators one of only two teams in the country to accomplish that feat. Named the preseason All-SEC First-Team punter, Henry has punted the ball 18 times on the season with 16 not returned and seven downed inside the 20-yard line.

2 » SEC commissioner Mike Slive told The Associated Press on Friday that conference coaches who violate the ethics rules against criticizing officials in public will face a suspension or fine (even for the first offense) instead of public reprimands like in the past. The new rule, which is already in effect, was unanimously agreed upon by the conference’s athletic directors and university presidents, including Florida’s Jeremy Foley and Bernie Machen. The ruling comes on the heels of three SEC coaches being warned in the last two weeks including the Tennessee VolunteersLane Kiffin, Arkansas RazorbacksBobby Petrino and Mississippi Sate BulldogsDan Mullen. “I was no longer interested in reprimands” Slive told the AP.

3 » Former Florida quarterback Rex Grossman and defensive back Lawrence Wright have been inducted into the 14th Anniversary class of the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame. They were honored along with Georgia Bulldogs inductees Garrison Hearst and David Pollack. Grossman was 3-0 against the Bulldogs including performances where he went 27-of-35 for 407 yards and two touchdowns (2001, 24-10 victory) and 36-of-41 setting a school record for completions (2002, 20-13 victory). Wright was a Thorpe Award winner who owned a perfect 4-0 record against Georgia and was part of a senior class that claimed four-straight SEC championships and won the 1996 National Championship. He forced two fumbles and recorded a sack against Georgia in 1995.

4 » REMINDER: No. 10 soccer (13-4-2, 7-1-2 SEC) will host SEC East rival No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks (15-2-1, 7-2-1 SEC) TONIGHT at 6 p.m. at James G. Pressly Stadium. The Gators, with 23 points, currently lead the SEC and can take home the regular season title with a win Friday night. If you are in Gainesville, FL, be sure to go out and support them! Admission is FREE!

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