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.


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.


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.”


» 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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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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11/3: Florida coach Meyer’s SEC teleconference

OGGOA had the opportunity to participate in Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer’s Southeastern Conference teleconference on Wednesday (we will be doing so every week). Below are some notes from the event:


Junior Jeff Demps saw limited action Saturday against Georgia, and redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey (carrying the ball due to lack of depth) returned from suspension during the same game. Somewhat conspicuous by their absences last weekend were RBs sophomore Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody (thigh), both of whom were still hobbled with injuries. Meyer declared both players 100 percent “for the first time in a while” on Wednesday, also noting that Demps (foot) continues to be evaluated daily.

Other injury updates from Meyer:
» Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose (ankle) – will participate in practice on a limited basis Wednesday, return in full Thursday
» Junior kicker Caleb Sturgis (back) – will not play Saturday
» Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle) – did not practice Tuesday but may see the field Wednesday
» Redshirt senior guard Carl Johnson (calf) – strained his calf during practice but should return to practice soon and will be a full-go Saturday


Asked if he upset at how redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley has been playing recently (considering he has no touchdowns and five interceptions in his last four games), Meyer said he is “a little disappointed” in his performance but refuses to pin the offense’s previous struggles on him, saying many players were at fault for his miscues. Meyer added that Brantley has handled adversity “like a grown man” this season and is very proud of him.

As far as freshman QB Trey Burton goes, Meyer realizes that the team has put a lot on his plate and thinks “it should be illegal what we ask that kid to do,” in regards to the multiple positions he plays on the team. He believes Burton has brought “tremendous value” to the team with his talent and work ethic but refused to compare his contributions to those of Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow in 2006 saying he is impacting the team in a similar not same way.

QUOTES (After the break…)
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10/28: Meyer says Rainey active, RBs healthy

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


Topic number one on the agenda Thursday for Meyer was determining whether or not redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey would be active and eligible to play Saturday against Georgia. Evaluating him since he returned to the team, Meyer said Rainey went above and beyond what the team asked of him and will be able to play his first game in six weeks. “Chris is gonna play,” Meyer said. “He had a good week. And beyond. He really had a good week.” In addition to his duties as a slot receiver, Rainey will be playing in the backfield for a lot of the game due to some of his teammates still being a little dinged up.


Florida’s biggest struggle this year has been on the injury front. With all three of the team’s main rushers injured over the last few weeks, Meyer told reporters that, before the Mississippi State game, he was informed that he would have no healthy runners. That will not be the case Saturday as the trainers have declared junior starter Jeff Demps (foot) near 100 percent for the first time in five weeks; redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody (thigh) and sophomore Mike Gillislee (hamstring) will also be good to go.

Unfortunately, the running backs were not the only Gators trying to overcome injuries. A number of other players have been in and out of action over the last two weeks.

» Junior kicker Caleb Sturgis (back) – out, aggravated hairline fracture in vertebrae
» Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose (ankle) – probable, will play on a limited basis
» Redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle) – probable, limited
» Senior cornerback Moses Jenkins (elbow) – active
» Redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (wrist) – out


On the importance of this game: “It’s the whole world, man. First of all, it’s Florida-Georgia.”

On practice this week: “We had a really good week. We pounded them real good the last two weeks in practice, eased up a bit [Wednesday and Thursday]. I’m expecting a good performance.”

On Sturgis not playing: “Probably could [play], but for the best interest of the young man, that’s a pretty tough injury.”

On how senior punter Chas Henry has been kicking in practice: “He did good today – hit every one. 40-45 [yarders] are going to be tough, I’d say [we can go for it] inside the 40.”

On sophomore WR Omarius Hines contributing: “He’s improving and he’s actually been here for a few years but he’s still a young player. He’s got a lot of talent. It’s time he steps up and plays.”

On freshman RB Mack Brown not playing since early in the season: – “He’s been having hamstring issues. [Chris] Dunkley and Quinton Dunbar and Josh Shaw – Josh Shaw was a knee. All those kids were kind of planning on playing and they’ve been banged up. The minute they’re ready to come back, they get dinged up again. I think Mack’s getting close, but he’s also had hamstring issues.”

On redshirting M. Brown: “No, I didn’t say that. It’s still too early.”

On being able to bring recruits to Florida-Georgia: “I think both teams should be able to bring recruits, 25 tickets or something like that. Not official visits, but they can just go get tickets, sign up for tickets, go to the game and then go home. No contact or anything – that would be a mess. They deserve to go watch this game because they’re going to get to play in it. Absolutely.”

On if he has “anything up his sleeve” for the game: “We’re not at that point. It’s much easier when we’re leading the SEC in offense and defense to have something up your sleeve. Where we are right now – just trying to get a little better, man.”

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10/27: Austin, players talk about Georgia game

Florida Gators defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Teryl Austin, redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Omar Hunter and senior linebacker Lorenzo Edwards spoke to the media Wednesday, taking a look back at two weeks of practice and ahead to the match-up against the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, FL, on Saturday.


Asked about the health of his unit on Wednesday, Austin gave updates on three players in particular according to the Palm Beach Post‘s Jason Lieser. Austin noted that redshirt freshman LB Jelani Jenkins (concussion) was back to full speed and practicing, redshirt junior DT Jaye Howard (ankle) was limited and is questionable, and senior cornerback Moses Jenkins (elbow) will be a game-time decision.


Both Hunter and Edwards believe it is up to the players, not the coaches, to make sure Florida does not lose its fourth-straight game for the first time since 1988. Each has taken the three consecutive losses hard but thinks the team has turned a corner over the last two weeks.

“It was hard losing those three games, that’s more games than I’ve ever lost in high school,” Hunter said. “Losing three games in a row, it was a big burden on me. But you just got to let that go and move on to the next game.”

Adds Edwards: “This is our team. This is the players’ team. We have to step up as leaders and lead this team and not just let the coaches do it. We play a big role and our leadership and accountability and as leaders on this team we have to do a better job of getting a lot more people involved.”


Not that we’re trying to call out anyone here, but Edwards provided a very curious answer when asked how three straight losses has affected the psyche of the team this year. “Obviously it has a big effect on us. I think it just makes us want to work harder and get better at the things we need to get better at,” he said. “These three losses came as a wake-up call and will suit us very well in the future because with winning comes losing and you have to experience losing in order to celebrate the full effect of a win.”

Obviously Edwards means that, when you lose, wins are that much sweeter and that losses often help ignite a team that has too high of an opinion of itself. Nevertheless, the way he said it was certainly off-putting.

QUOTES (After the break…)
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