3/22: Muschamp’s thoughts from spring practice

With the Florida Gators spring practice for the 2011 season underway, head coach Will Muschamp met the media Tuesday afternoon to discuss how individual players are performing, the injury statuses of others, the team’s health and how players are responding to so much information being thrown at them. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes from his availability.

DEBOSE’s POTENTIAL TALENT IS UNDENIABLE

From injuries and ailments to what former head coach Urban Meyer called an inability to learn the entire playbook, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose has yet to live up to the five-star billing he came out of high school with. However, when Debose did see the field in 2010, he often made electric plays including two fantastic kickoff return touchdowns in clutch situations. Muschamp explained how Debose is progressing and what he needs to do to succeed in offensive coordinator Charlie Weis’s system.

“I’ve been pleased with his athleticism in the offseason,” he said. “Being a consistent worker all the time, he’s got to understand it’s a day-to-day thing. It’s not just one day here, one day the next. His consistency in his performance is what I’m stressing on, but athletically, he’s what we want at the wideout position.”

Asked if he saw Debose’s potential, Muschamp dismissed the notion. “Potential is a bad word. It means you haven’t done it,” he said. “He’s got to continue to progress to be the football player he needs to be. God’s blessed him with an awful lot of ability, but he’s got to use that ability. He’s worked hard in the offseason. He had a really good offseason program, and I’m proud of the progress he’s made up to this point. Now it’s time to be productive on the field. That’s what I’m looking for, consistent production on the field.”

OFFENSIVE LINE STEPPING UP

One of Muschamp and Weis’s immediate knocks on Florida’s returning roster was the lack of depth on both the offense and defensive lines. Though that is certainly the case, the unit performed quite well on Tuesday and showed signs of promise.

“We have some guys that can be very productive, but also we’re throwing a lot at them on their side of the ball coupled with what we’re doing defensively,” Muschamp said. “So you’ve got a lot of thinking going on right now. I’ve seen some productive things. We had some good creases in the run game today, as far as running the football. Chris [Rainey] got loose a couple times; Mack [Brown] made a couple nice runs. We’re getting a hat on a hat in the running game, and a lot of that goes to the offensive line.”

He also took a moment out to compliment the offensive line coach Weis brought with him to the Gators. “Frank Verducci is an outstanding teacher. He does a really good job coaching the players,” he said.

QUARTERBACKS STILL ADJUSTING

For redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley, Weis and his pro-style offense was a godsend. Now that everything is in place, all that is left is for him to go out and win that starting job outright by setting himself apart from everyone else. There is no doubt he has the upper hand as of press time.

“John’s done some nice things throwing the ball,” Muschamp said. “We’re kind of re-learning everything as far as playing under center more. [He] threw some nice balls today. He’s been the most consistent, and [the other QBs have] been kind of spotty from that point forward – behind him.

“John’s a mature player. He’s ahead of the other guys simply because of experience and he’s very talented. We just need to continue to progress at that position.”

INJURY UPDATES / POSITION CHANGES

INJURIES
Redshirt senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle): “We went ahead and did a scope on Jaye Howard Monday, to clean up some things in his ankle that have kind of been an issue for the last couple of months. His timetable is uncertain, it was just a scope.”

Redshirt junior DT Earl Okine (wrist): “He had a medical procedure, and he’s going to be fine. Could have probably gone today, but we held him for precautionary reasons.”

POSITION CHANGES
Sophomore F-position/fullback Trey Burton: “He’s doing a nice job. He’s adjusting well in what he’s doing as far as the blocking and the things. Slipping him out of the backfield, Charlie’s using him in a lot of different ways. He fits well in what we do. He’s a smart, productive football player.”

Sophomore linebacker/tight end Gerald Christian: “He’s done fine. We’ve worked some bigger personnel sets [Tuesday on] offense, and he repped at tight end as well, which we said we were going to do that from the beginning. He’s a tough, physical football player. He likes the game; he likes contact. We just need to have more guys that can be productive at that position.”

QUOTES

On the players’ weights: “Every player has got a prescribed weight. It’s [decided] through myself, the position coach and Mickey [Marotti]. Every player has a certain weight that they should meet. We have a very fit football team right now. We have very few guys that have weight issues as far as being overweight. You can probably count them on one hand, which is unusual. Most of the guys are in shape. We had a good five-week offseason program, and those guys did an outstanding job of running. They’re in good condition at this point.”

On the team’s aptitude: “It’s all new for everybody. Everybody’s a freshman a little bit, on both sides of the ball.”

On slowing down the installations: “As a staff, we need to sit down and make sure that we’re not doing so much right now that it’s slowing us down in how we’re playing and [with] the physicality we need to play with on both sides of the ball. […] We’ve got a lot of guys swimming right now. We’ve thrown an awful lot at them – on both sides of the ball. They’re seeing a lot of looks right now. Just an awful lot is going on in their mind right now. We’ve thrown a bunch at them. They won’t see as many looks throughout the season as they’ve probably seen the last four days.“

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DT Terron Sanders: “It was a dream come true”

Former Florida Gators defensive tackle Terron Sanders has taken a bumpy road filled with injuries and setbacks to get to this point in his playing career. A redshirt senior, Sanders remains in Gainesville, FL rehabbing with trainer Marty Huegel in order to heal a torn right labrum he had surgery on after the Florida State game.

Sanders, who signed with Craig Schaeffer and Glen Lansky of Elite Sports Agency, plans to head to Sarasota, FL after his rehab is complete so he can begin training for Florida’s Pro Day in April. He spent some time over the weekend with OGGOA recounting his collegiate career and looking ahead to the future.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Let’s start at the beginning. I read you were a fan of the Gators growing up but obviously had plenty of other schools vying for your services out of high school. What was it like to receive a scholarship over from Florida and how long did it take you to jump on it?
TERRON SANDERS: “It was kind of a dream come true for me, actually. Coach [Greg] Mattison and Coach [Steve] Addazio told me that Coach [Urban] Meyer wouldn’t consider offering until I came up for a camp. So I came up for the camp, did whatever I could do, and when they called me in the office after the camp and told me that I really impressed them and they were really interested in me. That made me feel good. A week later I got a call with them offering me the scholarship. It felt surreal almost. I felt like I was kind of dreaming. It wasn’t something that I really expected because I didn’t know how well I did at the camp. It took me five minutes – if that – to call them back and tell them that I was going to be a Gator. Coach Addazio called, offered me the scholarship. [I asked for] a week to think about it, got off the phone with him and told my dad they offered me a scholarship. My dad asked me what I was waiting for, so I turned around, called Coach Addazio right back and told him that I’d come. There was no question about it; it was what I wanted to do.”

AS: Between your senior year of high school and the 2008 season, you tore your meniscus in your left knee twice, the one in the right knee once and suffered a high ankle sprain. Coming back from injury so many times, what were you going through mentally and how did you prepare physically to come back the next season?
TS: “I wasn’t doing what I needed to do when I first got here. I wasn’t accomplishing my goals. I was kind of disappointed in myself. I had the motivation for myself to get better and do what I needed to do.”

AS: After going through all of that you ended up starting 12 games in 2008 including the SEC Championship and BCS National Championship. How special was it getting to play that season and seeing the end result?
TS: “That was another one of those surreal moments. You kind of had to pinch yourself afterward. To sit back, look at the turnaround I made, it felt good to know that I did everything I could to become a part of that. I knew how important it was to be a part of that. And I knew that, if I hadn’t pushed myself, and I didn’t have the people around me – the family members, the support group that I had – it wouldn’t have been possible. After it happened, I went back to my hotel room, spent some time with my family and just embraced the moment. It was something that was an amazing feeling. A lot of people say it’s an once-in-a-lifetime feeling to experience two National Championships. The second one I was a part of, and I feel like I added my contribution. It was an incredible feeling.”

Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Terron Sanders…after the break!
Continue Reading » DT Terron Sanders: “It was a dream come true”

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12/28: Meyer and Paterno Outback Bowl presser

The Florida Gators are currently in Tampa, FL, preparing for the 2011 Outback Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. Below are some notes from head coaches Urban Meyer and Joe Paterno, who held a combined media availability on Tuesday.

STEPPING DOWN IS SACRIFICING FOR HIS FAMILY

Since announcing his decision to resign, Meyer has cited the primary reason as the ability to spend more quality time with his family. Tuesday he said that his family’s commitment to him over the past few years has allowed him the opportunity show dedication back to them.

“I have a great family, as close as you can imagine, and we asked them… at one point in a five-year period we lived in four different states bouncing kids in and out of school, not by choice but just with that in mind that we’re going to go as hard as we can and then at some point pull away,” he said. “They’ve sacrificed for us now we’re going to sacrifice for those kids. It’s kind of a humbling feeling to do that. Not many people have that opportunity to step away and give back to the people that have given so much to us. The people are those kids. They deserve to have their dad go watch the games and be around. I think last December was kind of a frontal blow and let’s evaluate this whole thing for a minute, and we did.”

STATE OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL COULD BE IMPROVED

Asked about the college football landscape, Meyer was quite critical about how things have changed since he first got into the profession decades ago.

“College football, I don’t know if this is the appropriate time, I’m very concerned about it,” he said. “I can’t speak for Coach Paterno. I got into coaching 25 years ago for guys like Joe Paterno, Bo Schembechler, the Earle Bruces of the world, the unselfishness, the teamwork, the struggle. […] I’m concerned, but I’m sure I’m not the only one, and it’s part of life right now. I hope to see it come back to the way it was, and that was a team sport that a bunch of good guys doing it the right way and guys getting education, graduating from college and looking at their college experience as the greatest experience they’ve ever had. That’s what I love college football for.”

Citing Paterno in particular, Meyer heaped praise on one of his idols in the profession. “I’ve known Coach Paterno longer than he’s known me. I was one of those guys that knew I wanted to be a football coach,” he said. “Obviously, whenever you know that, you pick your idols and pick the guys you want to pattern, you like to do it their way. Obviously Coach Paterno is at the top of the list.”

Paterno shared some warm thoughts about Meyer as well. “I have said this privately and publicly, and that’s why I hate to see him go, I think that Urban has been one of the innovators with some of the things they’ve done on the field,” he said. “I haven’t been to his practices, but some of my coaches have had some experience with him. My son, Jay, worships the guy. I keep telling him, ‘Your old man’s a head coach too you know.’”

JENKINS’s INJURY HAS BEEN SEASON-LONG

Junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins, arguably Florida’s most consistent and talented defender this season, played basically the entire year with a torn ligament in his right shoulder. Jenkins played quite well through the injury but will be missing the Outback Bowl after undergoing surgery to repair it after the Florida State game.

“He had a labrum tear in I want to say the second week or third week of the year,” Meyer said. “He was strapped down all year. He fought through it. He’s a competitor. He never missed practice, he never missed anything, and it got really bad near the end. He’s doing great and he’s a great competitor. Obviously you saw the way he played. He played like an all-conference player.”

Meyer admitted that he had not yet spoken to Jenkins about playing professionally and does not know if he plans to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft.

DEFENSIVE REPLACEMENTS

With Jenkins and and redshirt senior defensive tackles Lawrence Marsh and Terron Sanders all out for the game, Meyer went over who would replace each player on defense. Redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown will start in place of Jenkins with redshirt junior CB Moses Jenkins and freshman CB Cody Riggs splitting time on the other side. Redshirt sophomore Omar Hunter will play on the punt team and is slated to start inside along with redshirt junior Jaye Howard for Marsh and Sanders. Also getting playing time will be freshmen DTs Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley as well as redshirt senior DT Brandon Antwine.

ESPN CERTAINLY AN OPTION FOR MEYER

Meyer has worked as a college football analyst on two occasions: in 2007 during FOX’s broadcast of the BCS Championship game and last week during ESPN’s broadcast of the Las Vegas Bowl. Though some have criticized him as being a bit dry and fidgety during his appearances, Meyer looks relatively comfortable as a commentator and would likely fill such a role nicely. He admitted Tuesday that he may actually have a future with ESPN.

“They called and said, ‘Why don’t you drive up for the day?’” Meyer said of contact he had from the network while he was on vacation in New York. “So I brought my son and he loved it. What I found out is… What a place. Great people.”

Meyer said he will not think about working in television until after the bowl game on Saturday but that it is certainly an option. “Some guys are really good at that,” Paterno said of doing TV work. “Urban’s going to be great at it. […] I hope he never becomes ‘Dr. Urban.’ We can only have one doctor at a time.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 12/28: Meyer and Paterno Outback Bowl presser

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Muschamp’s excitement extended to the players

A handful of Florida Gators were available for comment after head coach Will Muschamp’s introductory press conference on Wednesday. Here is what they said:

Junior running back Jeff Demps

On his impression of Muschamp: “I think that helps out a lot to have that players’ coach. Guys that you want to be around, you want them to have that high-energy. The team feed off the coaches, and that’ll be great.”

On what Muschamp said to them an hour earlier: “Basically the same stuff, but he went into a lot more detail, obviously.”

On if he’s pumped for next year: “Yeah, I’m very excited. He’s a high-energy guy.”

On concerns about the offense changing: “It was a little concerning at first because we was just running around like a chicken with our head cut off not knowing what’s going on. But to sit down and actually talk with him, having a conversation with him, know he’s a real, great coach and he told us that it would be in his best ability to bring in the best guy he feels can help turn this offense around. So I’m not really worried anymore.”

On former head coach Urban Meyer remaining involved: “It helps out a lot because if we have a question that we feel like we can’t talk to coach Muschamp as soon as possible, we know we can still fall back on coach Meyer – he’ll maybe have an answer to it.”

Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley

On meeting Muschamp for the first time: “We were real excited to have a chance to meet him. He approached the team like any other head coach would, with a lot of confidence. He told us our plans, how to finish out this season. I think he’s going to be a great fit for here, the University of Florida.”

Freshman QB Trey Burton

On the team’s excitement level: “Yeah, real excited. We’re all real excited as team, so we got to take it and ride with it.”

On if it is hard to have a new head coach so early in his career: “It’s tough but it comes with the job. You got to know when you’re going to a school that it’s possible you [won’t] know who your coach is the next day. Coaches change all the time.”

On winning the 2011 Outback Bowl: “He’s a Hall of Fame coach, one of the best coaches ever to play college football. That’s our main goal: to get him out here with a win, especially against coach [Joe] Paterno.”

On his thoughts about Mickey Marotti returning: “Coach Mick’s an awesome coach, he gets the best out of you. I think we’re all looking forward to him staying.”

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr.

On Muschamp: “Everybody embraces him. I feel like he has a tremendous history at Florida, being from here. It gives you definitely a little more comfort knowing he knows the expectations, the traditions and everything that goes on in the university.”

On Muschamp’s speech: “As he was talking, I just found out that he had a lot of history at Florida. That definitely was a plus, him knowing the traditions and being at some of the games. That definitely made me feel a little more comfortable.”

On what the team is focused on: “It’s been kind of hectic, but we are just focused on the bowl game and sending Coach Meyer out the right way. You want to end on a positive note. [Having Coach Muschamp around[ probably might make practice – amp it up just a little bit – knowing that he’s out there. That definitely will help out.”

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jaye Howard

On being coached by Muschamp after he recruited him to Auburn: “I really wanted him to be my coach and now he’s my coach.”

Redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown

On Muschamp: “He’s definitely a very fiery coach. He’s very passionate about what he does. He loves football.”

Sophomore tight end Omarius Hines

On Muschamp: “I’m excited to see what Coach Muschamp has for us. We’ve got a new coach now, so we don’t have to stress about who we’re going to get.”

Thanks to the University of Florida, Gainesville Sun and Orlando Sentinel for the quotes from Hammond, Howard, Brown and Hines.

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11/18: Meyer provides player updates, injury news

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s 11th game of the 2010-11 season on Saturday against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.

FORGET ANY RUMORS, MEYER’s BACK

When discussing staff evaluations (which he will do after the season), Meyer casually noted Monday that he will be back in 2011. Though most assumed that would be the case considering he is feeling better and under contract, rumors persisted throughout the early part of the season that he decided to come back for only one more year. He put those questions to rest on Thursday. “Oh yeah. One hundred percent. Absolutely,” Meyer said when asked to clarify that he would be back at Florida next season.

STICKING WITH THREE QUARTERBACKS

Meyer also said on Monday that he panicked when last weekend when South Carolina jumped out ahead and simultaneously shut down freshman quarterback Trey Burton early. He noted the same thing would not happen this week as the Gators will stick with the three QB system for the entire game. As for how they manage the rotation? “A lot of it’s based on flow, but we script a few series and we get those guys in the game,” he said. “A lot of it is flow, how they’re playing and how we’re moving the ball.”

Though Meyer said after the Vanderbilt game that redshirt freshman Jordan Reed‘s future was at tight end, he gave a cryptic answer Thursday when asked if he had given any consideration to moving him back to signal caller full-time. “I don’t know. We’re just trying to get this [win]. At some point that will be discussed,” he said. “The task at hand is we got to get this seventh win somehow.”

INJURY UPDATES

» Junior running back Jeff Demps (foot) – active – “He hasn’t practiced in six or seven weeks. He kind of goes through the motions because he’s a tough kid and holds onto the ball. Devastating.”
» Redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones (hamstring) – out
» Redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle) – active
» Sophomore LB Jon Bostic (bruised sternum) – probable
» Sophomore LB Dee Finley (broken collarbone) – out
» Sophomore RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring) – active – close to 100 percent
» Freshman DT Dominique Easley (suspension) – eligible

QUOTES

On senior center Mike Pouncey: “I love the term ‘Gator Great,’ because I think that’s really descriptive. He’ll certainly go down in that trophy room as one of the greatest players ever to play here. Part of a national championship, leader, tough, moved positions. He’s one of my favorites of all time because of his passion and love for the game and his love for this university. He loves Florida.”

On rallying the troops for the game: “I asked them to stick together and let’s send these seniors out winners. I’m proud of those guys. We just got to get them a win. They can finish as one of the winningest classes in SEC history and Florida football history.”

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11/11: Meyer provides injury news, player updates

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s 10th game of the 2010-11 season on Saturday against the South Carolina Gamecocks. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.

PLAYERS GETTING HEALTHIER FOR SATURDAY

After a season full of injuries, the Gators may be the healthiest they have been in quite some time going into Saturday’s game against the Gamecocks. On Thursday, Meyer said junior running back Jeff Demps (foot) will play though his snaps will be limited, redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle) will play at almost full speed and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle) is probable for action.

Meyer also said he expects sophomore linebacker Dee Finley (collarbone), who has missed the majority of the season, to return next week.

JENKINS’ EXTRA YEAR, EASLEY BACK IN THE FOLD

As OGGOA exclusively reported one full year ago, senior cornerback Moses Jenkins has been granted a fifth year of college eligibility due to missing two seasons with injury. Meyer officially announced the medical redshirt approval to the media Thursday.

He also provided an update on freshman DT Dominique Easley, who did not travel with the team to Vanderbilt and was in the coaching staff’s doghouse as of late for unspecified reasons. Meyer said Easley is fulfilling the obligations placed before him and is back with the team though he is not practicing yet.

QUOTES

On how redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey has been lately: “It’s what you’d expect and what we’re going to demand. Everything’s right on the point. The minute he starts to slip at all, it’ll be a terrible price to pay. We’re watching him real close. According to our academic people, he’s doing a good job.”

On the night game atmosphere: “I think it’s really great for these fans here. I love this stadium and I love to see our fans have a great time.”

On what the team will do during the day Saturday: “The preparation doesn’t stop until the foot hits the ball. So we’re going to say a lot about your assignments, your technique. The most prepared team is going to win.”

On who is returning punts: “We got three guys ready this week – Debose, Rainey and JJ [Janoris Jenkins]. I’m still evaluating that.”

On redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed: “What happens in this darn recruiting is when you have a guy like [Aaron] Hernandez, another kid won’t come. So you get stuck and then they leave after their junior year and you’re like, ‘Oh.’ Jordan’s future is probably at tight end. As of right now, we’re worried about Saturday’s game, not his future. And he’s worried about Saturday’s game.”

On if fans will see more of redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley: “Johnny’s our quarterback. The other guys are tempo, they’re curve balls, they’re what we’ve done around here in the past.”

On what it will take for freshman TE Gerald Christian to break through: “Keep developing. Consistency. Typical young player that you wish he was a junior in college right now. He’s got a great potential.”

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11/8: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

Head coach Urban Meyer and a small group of players meet with the media each Monday before the Florida Gators compete in a game the following Saturday. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

SUNDAY FUNDAY = BLUE-OUT SATURDAY

During his weekly Florida Football with Urban Meyer post-game program on Sunday, Meyer looked back at the team’s victory against the Vanderbilt Commodores with great pride – especially for the fans. “Gator Nation covered that stadium. We came rolling in there at 9:00 in the morning – orange and blue everywhere,” he said. “I even heard one of our players say, ‘You know you took over a stadium when they’re doing the wave’ – the orange and blue people. It was great, and I want to thank them.

“This team – we’re not a great team – but we’re getting better, getting better in all areas. I admire guys that fight, show toughness, come together as a team and give everything for their university. I’ve never really done this, but I want to make this the most intense stadium in the history of Florida football this Saturday. This is for the SEC [East] Championship. Get there early. I want everybody to wear blue – head-to-toe – including our players. Let’s make this one of those ones, when you get those great books about Florida Gator history, let’s put this down in there as one of the great weekends in Florida football history.

“November in Gainesville playing for a championship, this is why we’re all here. Once again, I’m going to go on record – I want this to be the most intense week in Florida football history. Let’s wear blue, let’s make this place nuts, let’s have a lot of fun with this, and let’s show up and make this one of the ones you put this right in the history books as one of the great days in Florida football history.”

STATUS / INJURY UPDATES

Discussing Saturday that freshman defensive tackle Dominique Easley was basically in the coaching staff’s doghouse and did not travel with the team to Vanderbilt, Meyer said Monday that he is still with the team but “has got to do things we ask him to do” in order to get back involved. He is confident that everything will be worked out in the end.

» Junior running back Jeff Demps – will play Saturday, how much is not yet known
» Redshirt sophomore DT Jaye Howard – “promising” that he will be able to play
» Redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan – seeing a specialist on his wrist due to an ongoing problem, likely out for the season
» Junior kicker Caleb Sturgis – out

CHAMPIONS

Meyer announced Monday that 18 Gators had earned the designation of Champions after Saturday’s win over the the Commodores. Offensively, Meyer named redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed as his most valuable player along with redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey, freshman quarterback Trey Burton, redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr., senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson, redshirt senior tackle Marcus Gilbert, redshirt senior guard Maurice Hurt, redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks, sophomore RB Mike Gillislee, freshman TE Gerald Christian and redshirt freshman G Jonotthan Harrison as his champions. On the defensive side of the ball, freshman DT Sharrif Floyd won the MVP award, while redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins, redshirt senior DT Terron Sanders, redshirt sophomore defensive end Lerentree McCray, redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones and senior LB Brandon Hicks were champions.

Rainey also earned the Southeastern Conference‘s Special Teams Player of the Week award for his two blocked punts against Vanderbilt.

LEAK > SPURRIER?

When discussing redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley on Monday, Meyer said as an aside that former starter Chris Leak was one of the top three signal callers in school history. Asked to evaluate that statement later, Meyer said, “I go champion – champion – champion,” when judging quarterbacks, rather than worrying about who has won the Heisman Trophy. That puts Leak over current South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier…at least in Meyer’s book.

QUOTES (After the break…)
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11/4: Meyer delivers good, bad injury updates

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s eight game of the 2010-11 season on Saturday against the Vanderbilt Commodores. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.

FIRST THE GOOD NEWS

Injured early against Mississippi State and out for Saturday’s game against Georgia, redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle) “looked really good” at practice on Thursday and is expected to play against Vanderbilt, according to Meyer. Joining him will be junior running back Jeff Demps (foot), who saw some action in Jacksonville, FL, but has been limited in practice all week for precautionary reasons. Earlier this week, Demps said he still had pain in his foot when cutting but feels fine when running straight. Meyer also affirmed his statement on Wednesday that both sophomore RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and redshirt senior RB Emmanuel Moody (thigh) are 100 percent healthy and ready to return to the field.

NOW THE BAD…

Meyer announced Thursday that redshirt freshman tight end Desmond Parks – who has yet to see the field in 2010 – will miss the remainder of the season after having his third wrist surgery in two years. “He’s a tough kid, man. Good dude. The whole deal,” Meyer said. “He won’t play again this year, but we’re pushing for spring practice.”

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle) is still being hampered by his injury, has barely been able to practice this week and “doesn’t look good for the game.” Also out of action Saturday is redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (wrist) and freshman WR Robert Clark (ankle).

DUAL ROLES BENEFIT THE OFFENSE

Redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey and redshirt freshman TE Jordan Reed have been playing two positions for the Gators this season, with Rainey carrying the ball as a running back and Reed taking snaps as a Widcat quarterback. That will continue Saturday, according to Meyer, as Rainey will be taking at least half of his snaps in the backfield and Reed will continue to be used along with redshirt junior starter John Brantley and freshman Trey Burton. In fact, Meyer promised Reed would throw the ball this week, for what it’s worth.

QUOTES

On if the up-tempo offense is now second-nature and if there have been any tweaks to it: “Working through the glitches…you know, we had penalties last week. You couldn’t have done what we done without a bye week.”

On redshirt freshman guard Jon Halapio: “He’s one of our most improved players on the team. Just the way he practices, his work ethic, his toughness. He’s going to be a really, really fine offensive lineman in this conference. […] He’s what you look for in recruiting.”

On if players are looking ahead to South Carolina: “No, I don’t see that at all. My basic concern is getting them up to go play [the Vanderbilt] game. It’s an early game, that’s a pain in the rear end.”

On why they decided to bring the quarterbacks in-and-out: “If you take Johnny out of the game, they’ll play one defense. If [you] keep Johnny in the game, they’ll do blitz-a-thon like it’s been. The tempo, having them pop in and out, it’s hard – especially in a noisy stadium – to start changing defenses. You get mistakes.”

On sophomore tight end Jordan Reed playing more: “He’s really worked really hard. Coming of age. He’s earned his right [to play]. He can help us.”

On potentially resting Demps instead of playing him: “We’re just being smart right now. If he can go, he’ll go.”

On Burton: “Trey’s one of those rare breeds that knows the offense – knows it really well. He’s one of those guys that just picks it up [snaps his fingers] so fast.”

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