Seven Gators named to 2012 AP All-SEC teams

Seven members of the Florida Gators football team were voted onto to the 2012 All-SEC Teams on Monday, as chosen by Associated Press voters.

Florida had six players selected to the first team: redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed, senior running back Mike Gillislee, redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis, junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, junior safety Matt Elam and sophomore punter Kyle Christy.

Gators sophomore cornerback Marcus Roberson was placed on the All-SEC second team.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp finished second to Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin in SEC Coach of the Year voting. Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel won SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year, while Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones took home SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

The Gators had the second-most total All-SEC selections with seven, one behind Alabama’s eight. However, Florida’s six first-team nods were the most in the conference.

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Snell’s Slant: You cannot turn the ball over six times and expect to win an SEC game

A three-year starter for the Florida Gators who played under head coaches Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, former guard Shannon Snell has joined OGGOA as a football columnist to provide his unique perspective on the team throughout the 2012 season. Snell, who played in 46 games over four seasons and started 36 contests, was named a First Team All-American by Sporting News in 2003 and spent two seasons in the NFL.

In all of my years of watching the Gators play football, Saturday’s performance was one of the most disappointing that I can remember.

With a trip to Atlanta, GA and the SEC Championship Game on the line (not to mention an inside track to the BCS title game and an opportunity to get some revenge for last year’s loss), Florida simply did not come out ready to play.

Let’s start with the positives.

I cannot praise the Gators defense enough for its performance on Saturday. This unit came ready to play. Know this: Aaron Murray is an incredible quarterback. I went to Hillsborough High School in the Tampa, FL area, and we were rivals of Plant High School, which is where Murray attended.

I’ve had the chance to watch him grow and mature over the last three years and become one of the best signal callers in the country. For that incredible Florida defense to force him into three interceptions and that many incompletions proved that the unit is simply playing at another level right now. It seemed like every time Georgia got onto Florida’s side of the field, the defense made a game-changing tackle or turnover. It is not often that a defense can single-handedly will a team to a victory but that almost happened.

That’s not to say the defense did nothing wrong. The rushing defense was not up to standard and the number of penalties committed was unacceptable. All things considered, the defense played lights out and made enough plays to give the offense an opportunity to win the football game.

Caleb Sturgis was his usual reliable self. It is amazing how many times this guy converts a clutch field goal to keep the Gators in a game. Sturgis accounted for all of Florida’s points in the game. I saw here on OGGOA that he now has over 300 career points and is just one of three players in school history to reach that mark. Incredible.

OK, here we go…

Wow. Six turnovers. You cannot, cannot, absolutely cannot win an SEC game, not to mention an SEC rivalry game, if you turn the ball over six times. The fact that the Gators even had an opportunity to overcome that is astounding, to be honest.

Read the rest of this edition of Snell’s Slant…after the break!
Continue Reading » Snell’s Slant: You cannot turn the ball over six times and expect to win an SEC game

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No. 10 Georgia outsts No. 2 Florida 17-9 in hard-hitting, turnover-filled rivalry game

With an opportunity to clinch the Southeastern Conference East division for the first time since 2009, the No. 2 Florida Gators put together their worst game of the season, turning the ball over six times and failing to score a single touchdown as the No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs outplayed them and completed a 17-9 upset victory.

Georgia (7-1, 5-1 SEC) now controls its SEC East destiny after taking down Florida (7-1, 6-1 SEC) in consecutive years for the first time since 1987-89. The Gators were held without a touchdown for the first time since Oct. 15, 2011 (at Auburn) and the first time against the Bulldogs since 1988.

Florida got off to a rough start on its first possession as sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel fumbled on the first play of the game when handing the ball off to senior running back Mike Gillislee. Driskel would recover his fumble but coughed the ball up again just two plays later, handing it over to Georgia on the 20-yard line. A pair of 10-yard gains resulted in a touchdown for Bulldogs freshman RB Todd Gurley and a 7-0 lead.

Things did not get any better for the Gators when they got the ball back as Florida converted a first down before turning it over on downs at the Georgia 36. Junior wide receiver Solomon Patton tried to convert a 4th-and-1 on a jet sweep but was taken down by his neck and seriously injured his arm on the play.

UF redshirt junior WR Andre Debose fumbled the ensuing punt return though redshirt senior WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. was able to recover it. The Gators then forced their first turnover of the game as redshirt sophomore linebacker Neiron Ball intercepted QB Aaron Murray but coughed the ball up again when Driskel fumbled three plays later.

With UGA on the nine-yard line and about to score, Florida senior safety Josh Evans intercepted Murray to begin UF’s best possession of the first half. The Gators used 15 plays to drive 70 yards and reduced their deficit to 7-3 after redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis connected on a 38-yard field goal.

Read the rest of this Florida-Georgia game story…after the break!
Continue Reading » No. 10 Georgia outsts No. 2 Florida 17-9 in hard-hitting, turnover-filled rivalry game

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Gameday: No. 2 Florida Gators vs. No. 10 Georgia

Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 84,000]
Weather Forecast: 75°F, few showers (30% precipitation), winds NNW at 20 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT

Tickets: Starting at $98 on TiqIQ

TV: CBS/CBSHD (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper

No. 2 FLORIDA GATORS No. 10 GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 7-0 (6-0 SEC) Record: 6-1 (4-1 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -6.5, O/U 45

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on what has been going on with the Gators over the last week? No problem. OGGOA has been here the whole time posting a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam on Saturday.

Muschamp has managed expectations, set team intensity level | Florida running Boise State’s offense, SEC-style | No special approach for UF-UGA game says Muschamp | Dan Quinn talks defense

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Georgia leads Florida 47-40-2 in the all-time series and boasts a 42-38-2 advantage in neutral sites. The two teams have played annually since 1944 with the Gators holding a 36-31-1 advantage in those 68 games. UF is also 18-4 in the last 22 meetings with UGA and has not dropped consecutive games to the Bulldogs since 1987-89.
» Muschamp, who played college football for Georgia, will be facing his alma mater for the ninth time in his coaching career; he is 3-5 in the prior eight contests. He is also 0-5 all-time in the UF-UGA series as a player and head coach, going 0-4 as a player and losing his sole game as a head coach in 2011.
» Richt is 3-8 against Florida since taking over as head coach.
» The Gators can clinch the SEC East for the first time since 2009 with a victory on Saturday. The Bulldogs cannot clinch the division but can put themselves in a prime position to win it with a victory.
» The Okefenokee Oar is up for grabs on Saturday and has been a trophy awarded to the game’s victor since 2009. It was fashioned from a 1,000-year-old cypress tree and represents the Okefenokee Swamp, which separates the states and was once part of a border dispute. The Oar is awarded to the student body president of the winning university and is not presented on the field.
» Florida is one of two teams nationally (Notre Dame) with three victories over ranked opponents this season. UF is the only team in the country with a pair of top-10 wins and earned them in consecutive home victories for the first time in school history.
» The Gators are 11-1 against unranked opponents and 3-5 against ranked teams under Muschamp since he took over in 2011. Florida earned all three victories over ranked opponents this season, defeating Tennessee, LSU and South Carolina.
» UF has started the season 7-0 for the first time since 2009 and sixth time in history.
» Florida was 0-5 when trailing at the half in 2011 but have started the 2012 season 3-0 in that category with all three victories vs. SEC opponents (two ranked).
» The Gators are 9-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 1-4 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards. UF is also 11-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 9-3 when scoring first and 11-1 when leading at the half.
» Florida has scored on 25-of-27 red zone trips (92.6 percent) but have only converted 17 of those possessions (63 percent) into touchdowns.
» UF has converted 39-of-99 of its third-down attempts (39.3 percent) this season.
» The Gators have held their opponents to 29-of-106 on third down conversions (27.4 percent), which is good for fifth-best in the nation. UF was second nationally in third-down defense (27.3 percent) last season.
» Florida is averaging 34:07 in time of possession through seven games, a margin that ranks third nationally and just 25 seconds behind the country’s leader.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 121-28 in the second half and 61-13 in the fourth quarter. UF was the only team in the nation that had not allowed a fourth-quarter point until two weeks ago.
» Florida had a stretch of not allowing a touchdown in nine-straight quarters and is fourth in scoring defense nationally (12.14 points per game).
» The Gators are +11 in turnover margin through seven games after being -12 in 2011. UF has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (333) since 2000.
» Florida has grabbed eight interceptions so far in 2012 (three games with two each) and has already tied its 2011 total of eight picks. UF has registered at least one pick in six-of-seven games and has also forced seven fumbles.
» The Gators are third nationally in pass efficiency defense (90.60), seventh in total defense (282.0 yards per game) and 10th in rushing defense (97.29 yards per game).
» Florida has at least two kickoff returns for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons after never having more than one in a single season before 2010. UF has not yet registered a kick return (or punt return) in 2012.
» The Gators are first nationally in net punt average (44.24 yards per punt).
» Georgia has an even turnover margin this season (10 gained, 10 lost).
» The Bulldogs have scored on 23-of-27 red zone trips (85.2 percent) and have converted 21 of those possessions (77.8 percent) into touchdowns.
» Georgia leads the nation in plays of 20+ yards this season with 45.
» Richt is the fourth-winningest active head coach (minimum 100 games) having been victorious in 74.1 percent of his games with the Bulldogs. He is 8-of-21 (29.6 percent) against top 10 opponents.
» Georgia is ranked anywhere from 47th to 75th nationally in every major defensive category except pass defense, in which UGA is 28th in the country.
» The Bulldogs have allowed 40-of-110 third-down attempts to be converted this season (36.36 percent), which is 49th nationally, 44 spots behind the Gators.
» Georgia is 109th nationally in net punt average (33.82 yards per punt), 108 spots behind Florida in the same category.

Read the rest of the Florida-Georgia preview including injuries and absences and which players to look out for from both sidelines.
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 2 Florida Gators vs. No. 10 Georgia

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10/23: Pease coaching to players’ strengths

With the team preparing for its eighth game of the season, a 3:30 p.m. neutral site game against the No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, FL, No. 2 Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media Tuesday to discuss his unit’s recent production and significant improvement on the field.

BOISE STATE OFFENSE, SEC-STYLE

Discussing Florida’s offense on Tuesday, Pease cautioned that the team’s low yardage numbers (especially in the passing game over the last three weeks) are not indicative of how productive the team has been on that side of the ball. To his point, the Gators have scored 75 combined points in the last two games including 44 against a South Carolina defense that ranks as one of the best in the country.

“I’m not worried about yards. We’re not going to win any statistical wars this year, and I don’t think we’re trying to,” he said. “I don’t think we’re set up that way yet, especially [as a] coordinator in his first year with a new quarterback. We’re definitely not going to be like West Virginia and those teams where we’re throwing for all these yards.”

Pease insists that his top priority has been calling running an offense that plays to the strengths of Florida’s playmakers. That includes giving senior running back Mike Gillislee plenty of touches and allowing sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel to use his legs in addition to his arm. So while the Gators may not be putting up the same numbers that his Boise State offenses have in the past, the system is not much different.

“We are running the Boise State offense,” he said, “other than probably Kellen Moore couldn’t do some of the runs that Jeff can do. If you go back and look, we had a kid named Grant Hedrick that ran those runs rather than Kellen Moore, just doing the same thing that Jeff does.

“Did you see them as much? No, because Jeff’s in there every play. Grant wasn’t in there every play. We still have the system in place. Now, are you seeing as many throws? No, because Kellen Moore probably isn’t back there until [Driskel] grows into Kellen Moore or a good-throwing quarterback.”

While Florida may not be airing it out in 2012, that is certainly not off the table.

“I’m not saying we can’t down the road but you got to be built a little differently and that’s just not our deal,” Pease said. “It’s all a flow. It’s a game flow of special teams, where you to get the ball and playing off your defense sometimes.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On the importance of taking care of the ball: “If there’s one stat you really want to chart every week, it’s ball security. Outside of winning, there’s really one goal board that we have that we really look at and it’s our turnover margin. We stress to kids that we want to be in the top 10 of the nation. It is evident, if you’re in the top 10 of the nation, you’re probably going to be a team with a winning record. […] If you look at the top 10 teams, they’re usually the ones that got the plus category. It takes both sides of the ball. It takes our defense and our special teams getting them, much like last weekend, and then it takes us taking care of it.”

» On Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones: “When we were at Boise State last year, we played him the first game. That kid…going in I don’t think we knew enough about him. We knew he transferred and was probably a good player. After going against him and just watching how fast he played the game, the strength he played with, how they used him, he is definitely an impact player. He can cause fumbles. He’s all over the field. They move him. He’s in coverage. He’s rushing. He’s got an extreme talent and plays the game extremely well.”

» On redshirt senior tight end Omarius Hines seeing his role expand in the offense: “He’s worked hard. He’s done good things with the ball. It’s just a matter of us putting him in position to get the ball specifically. You can see – he makes a catch like that. He’s unique because he’s got great size for wherever we put him with great speed. He can get on the edge. He can go down the middle. He can catch it, and he can run it. He’s a guy that, once again, causes problems wherever we put him [for defenses].”

» On redshirt sophomore QB Tyler Murphy lining up at wide receiver in the WildGator package: “It wasn’t necessarily a receiver position. It was where we aligned the quarterback at the time.”

» On not running a pass-happy offense in the SEC: “What we faced in the WAC last year is a little different than what we face every week here. You got to always have a game plan that you’re going to be able to handle the Clowneys and the Montgomerys and the Mingos and the Jones, those kind of people.”

On leaving Boise State for Florida: “I wasn’t really ever considering any other jobs because I was happy at Boise State. This opportunity came up and another opportunity [Alabama] came up.”

On the team’s attitude and energy: “Kids are kids. They’re loose and having fun. Coaches are probably tighter. I’m not understanding them all yet. I’m probably a little bit more intense than I need to be sometimes.”

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