08/26: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice notes

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators is in the midst of their third week fall practice and, while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur at Thursday’s press conference courtesy of head coach Urban Meyer. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

There is a ton to read…and you can check it all out by clicking the link below.
Continue Reading » 08/26: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice notes

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Ten months later: Moses Jenkins’ concussion

While the media and Florida Gators fans spent their days and nights concerned about whether or not then-senior quarterback Tim Tebow would fully recover from a concussion suffered during the Kentucky Wildcats game in Oct. 2009, OGGOA informed its readers that then-junior cornerback Moses Jenkins was having an even more difficult time coming back from his.

Barely even mentioned last season, Jenkins’ concussion occurred at the start of the Kentucky game; he suffered whiplash as well and should have been yet another player Gators fans were seriously concerned about at the time.

Here are the details OGGOA exclusively reported on Oct. 28:

According to a source close to Jenkins, the special teams star encountered complications following the whiplash and concussion he suffered against the Kentucky Wildcats. Because of the extreme trauma caused by the hit, Jenkins experienced a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak that was causing his brain to literally tilt inside the cranium. [CSF acts as a “cushion” and allows the brain to “float.”] This left him with headaches, blurry vision and pain on one side of his face.

Jenkins underwent surgery [for clarification purposes, we’ll call it a “procedure”] at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida on Monday to replace the CSF that was being lost and not reproducing fast enough. He stayed overnight for observation and was visited by head coach Urban Meyer on Tuesday. The source said he is recovering nicely and getting extensive treatment to help the CSF begin circulating properly.

Fast forward 10 months: the mainstream media has finally picked up on Jenkins’ suffering – now that the senior finally decided to talk about it.

“It was a bad deal,” Jenkins told reporters Tuesday. “It was about six weeks [before I started feeling better]. I’d get headaches, my eyes would swell. A lot of light and noise irritated it and my head would just pound, pound, pound. I remember I tried to walk fast or jog and my head would spin. It was crazy. […] They pounded right here in the side of my head, sharp pounding. The sad thing is you can’t take medication for it. You can’t take Advil or Tylenol. You have to rest in dark areas.”

Now fully recovered, Jenkins is “ready to go” and hopes to earn a starting job with Florida – something that has eluded him over his three-year career in which he primarily saw time on special teams. Add redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown, who is recovering from an injury of his own (back), to the mix and you have a duo of CBs angling for a starting job who both deserve to be rooted for this season.

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08/23: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators is beginning their third week fall practice and, while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur Monday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

REPLACING BRANDON JAMES…

During his media availability Monday, head coach Urban Meyer announced that junior running back Jeff Demps would be handling kickoff returns, while redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey would get the vast majority of work as the team’s punt returner for the upcoming season. Meyer added that junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins will see time bringing back punts on occasion. OGGOA continues to believe that – considering Demps, Rainey and Jenkins are all very important starters at other positions – fans may see another player (freshman WR Robert Clark?) take over some of these duties as the season progresses (especially if any are nursing injuries).

THE ‘STACHE IS TRASH

Redshirt junior starting quarterback John Brantley had a mustache. Now he doesn’t.

Moving on.

MOVEMENT AT LEFT TACKLE

Whether it is due to a knee injury sustained by sophomore Xavier Nixon, the talent and progression of redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan or both, it appears that the latter has the inside track on the Gators’ starting left tackle job. Patchan, who is returning from a wrist injury and not yet participating fully in practice, could very well supplant Nixon, who started the final five games of the 2009 season.

Starting middle linebacker – being contested by sophomore Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins – and starting cornerback – a battle between redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown and senior Moses Jenkins – both remain open position battles.

PROVING HIS WORTH

When punishing sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr., Meyer chose to take him off of scholarship rather than immediately suspend him from games or kick him off the team, giving the player a chance to earn his way back in his coaches’ and teammates’ good graces. Hammond has been doing just that over the last few weeks, proving that he has his head on straight, will not duplicate his mistake and is an integral part of the team. Though Meyer will not reinstate Hammond’s scholarship before the season, a successful year off the field could get him back on track before spring or summer

IF YOU GON’ DO IT – DO IT JUST LIKE THIS

After the scrimmage on Saturday – the team’s final one of the fall – Meyer graded out a number of players as Champions of the team. Offense: QB Brantley, senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt senior T Marcus Gilbert, redshirt sophomore fullback T.J. PridemoreDefense: senior safety Ahmad Black, defensive ends senior Duke Lemmens and junior defensive end William Green, linebackers sophomore Jon Bostic and senior Lorzenzo Edwards.

INJURY UPDATES

Meyer said that redshirt senior defensive tackle Brandon Antwine has been out of action the last few days after suffering a concussion; he may return on Tuesday if cleared by doctors. Redshirt senior WR Justin Williams hurt his shoulder during practice and has been using a sling. Junior WR Deonte Thompson’s hamstring acted up on him, causing him to sit out Saturday’s scrimmage, but he will be fine; likewise, freshman WR Chris Dunkley’s hamstring injury is believed to be behind him.

QUOTES

Meyer on Saturday’s final scrimmage and where the team is at right now: “We weren’t very good. … It really was not a very good scrimmage. Defense played well – about what you’d think for where we’re at right now. I’m hitting the panic button a little bit right now. We’ve got to get better faster than what we are at right now. It’s not that we’re not good, it’s just consistency of the offensive and defensive line[s]. We have to get them all in there. Once Patchan comes back and Xavier Nixon gets back, we’ll look a little better on the offensive line. When DT and Carl [Moore] and Omarius Hines [are] all together, we’ll look a little better, but right now, it’s not Florida football yet.”

Meyer comparing Brantley and Tim Tebow: “Somebody asked me today about the difference between John Brantley and Tim Tebow. Outward appearances, there’s a big difference. Inward … his competitiveness and leadership are fantastic right now, much better than I thought. I was really worried about that. When you have a guy like that [Tebow] in front of you, [Brantley] didn’t show much. Today we did the two-minute drill and he did fantastic. He ran the whole show and acted like a veteran quarterback – like he is. I’m really encouraged by John. Everybody knows he can throw the ball. The other part is fantastic right now as far as management of the team and leadership.”

Meyer on how the freshmen are performing: “Just OK. Actually, [I’m] a little disappointed in some of them. I thought they’d go take a spot. A few guys are doing decent – [safety] Matt Elam, [DT] Dominique Easley and [WR] Quinton Dunbar – who has been very good for us and might play this year. [DE] Ronald Powell had a great practice today, but didn’t have a great camp. He’s coming on strong now. Some of those big-game guys, I thought we’d have some of them cracking the lineup right now … but not yet.”

Special thanks to The Gainesville Sun and Palm Beach Post for the above quotations.

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8/18: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators is in the midst of their second week of fall practice and, while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur Tuesday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

STARTING OFFENSIVE LINE SET?

Stringing together an announcement from offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio that senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt senior tackle Marcus Gilbert, and redshirt senior guards Carl Johnson and Maurice Hurt have all earned starting jobs on the OL with one from Pouncey stating that sophomore Xavier Nixon has won the starting left tackle job, the Gators front five may finally be set in stone. Nixon was competing with redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan for the role, even though the former started five games for Florida last season. It is important to note that there are sentiments that Nixon has yet to officially win his gig and redshirt junior G James Wilson may have the opportunity to beat out Hurt.

BROWN LOSES BLACK

Freshman running back Mack Brown became the 11th frosh to lose his black helmet stripe, getting it removed on Wednesday with the help of Pouncey. There are 15 more – notably defensive end Ronald Powell – still awaiting this ritual.

A few of you have asked me via Twitter (@onlygators) what exactly the “black stripe” is and what it means when it is removed. Here is a quick synopsis: As freshmen (or transfers), players have black stripes of tape placed on their helmets (front-to-back) indicating that they are new to the program; these are removed once each individual player proves that they deserve to be a Gator. This can occur by recommendation of a coach or fellow player. Head coach Urban Meyer spoke about it Tuesday: “It’s basically to de-recruit, to get rid of the nonsense, to make them understand that they’re not an outstanding freshman. They’re just another guy on the team trying to make their way. […] They walk up in front of the team, either in a team meeting or on the field and the young man stands up and sometimes gets very emotional because now he’s a Gator. His helmet’s like everybody else. It’s kind of cool.”

BACK TO THE FUTURE

After being monitored the last few practices while recovering from a hamstring injury, freshman wide receiver Chris Dunkley is back running at full speed, according to WR coach Zach Azzanni. However, perhaps contrary to what many expected coming out of National Signing Day, all indications are that freshman WR Quinton Dunbar is the more impressive and making the best case for playing time.

In other WR news… redshirt senior Carl Moore clarified to the media on Wednesday that, when he left practice for a few days in the spring, he was not considering leaving the team but was simply dealing with some personal issues. Since returning, Moore has solidified his spot as a starter and – like redshirt junior Deonte Thompson – is making strides every day during practice.

OTHER NOTES

» Redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins is inching closer and closer each day to winning the starting role in the middle.

» Redshirt sophomore DE Earl Okine has been working at tight end the last few practices, according to Addazio. In fact, his position appears to have officially switched if you look at hiss GatorZone.com profile. Okine took limited snaps at TE in high school, catching 15 passes his senior year to go along with his 84 tackles and 11 sacks as a DE.

QUOTES [After the break…]
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8/14: Florida Gators 2010 fall scrimmage updates

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators has been participating fall practice for just about a week and, while the activities were closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur during Saturday’s scrimmage. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details learned throughout the day.

INJURY UPDATES

Redshirt junior running back Chris Rainey (accelerated heartbeat) may have returned to practice Friday, but he was held out of contact drills once again Saturday. With Sunday off, he will probably resume those exercises on Monday. Senior linebacker Brandon Hicks (dehydration) did not return to practice and is still recovering. He will also likely be back Monday.

Other players held out of Saturday’s scrimmage include left tackles sophomore Xavier Nixon (minor injuries) and redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan (wrist). The duo, who are competing for the starting job, were replaced by redshirt senior right tackle Marcus Gilbert, though redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson saw some action there also.

POSITION BATTLES

Nothing new on starting middle linebacker (still a competition between sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins), but defensive coordinator Teryl Austin told reporters Saturday that (as expected) redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown and senior Moses Jenkins separated themselves from the freshmen in the race for starting cornerback. Freshmen Trey Burton and Tyler Murphy continue to compete for back-up quarterback behind redshirt junior starter John Brantley.

“I THOUGHT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT HYBRID ANIMALS”

Always searching for roster flexibility, the Gators have been experimenting with using redshirt sophomore wide receiver Omarius Hines at tight end. Hines has bulked up a bit (up to 222 lbs.) and has good size for the position but is still primarily a receiver. Similarly, redshirt freshman TE Jordan Reed is still playing Wildcat quarterback – especially on goal line formations. And though Murphy will likely convert to receiver once five-star QB recruit Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL) joins the program in 2011, he has not been working out at that position as of yet.

WIDE RECEIVERS STAND OUT

WR coach Zach Azzanni raved about freshman Quinton Dunbar’s performance Saturday, noting that “He jumped over the top of our corner and made a heck of a touchdown catch. He has a lot of natural talent,” according to the Palm Beach Post’s Jason Lieser. Dunbar apparently took advantage of freshman cornerback Josh Shaw on this play, but junior CB Janoris Jenkins admitted that the secondary as a whole did not grab a single interception all day mostly because of Brantley’s accuracy.

There was also a lot of talk about redshirt senior WR Carl Moore being perhaps the most consistent pass catcher of fall practice thus far…and no one should be surprised (in our opinion) that redshirt sophomore Frankie Hammond, Jr. is reportedly working his tail off to make the team and earn the respect of both his peers and coaches.

QUOTES

Brantley on his pass catchers: “Our receivers have come a long way. They’ve been catching the ball really well. [They are] running fast, running great routes. It’s been hot out there and they just keep going. That’s what I like to see. They just keep going.”

QB coach Scot Loeffler on Brantley: “He’s doing a much better job of leadership and taking command of the offense. It’s his time to step up and be the leader and he’s taking that challenge on and doing a much better job with it. I thought Johnny did a fairly good job today of going to the right place with the ball. We’ve just got to make plays when plays present themselves and when the play is not there obviously protect the football. That’s our plan to win around here. We need to protect the football and make sure we do a great job helping our team continue to win.”

Austin on Jenkins’ corner play: “He did some good things out there. Sometimes as a corner you don’t get a lot of looks, but when the play does come your way, are you in position to make the play and you make the play, and he did that [Saturday].”

Brown on finally being healthy: “This is as excited as I’ve ever been here. I’m just taking it all in. I’ve been away from the game so long, you just want to help out. I spent two years not playing at all, not even practicing, so the opportunity just to go out there and contribute just brightens my day.”

Thanks to the News-Press, Miami Herald and Palm Beach Post for the above quotations.

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SIX BITS: Brown, Harvin, Sheppard, soccer

1 » After two years of sitting and waiting while his back healed and pain subsided – “I’ve had a million procedures done, but we’ve got it taken care of…” – Florida Gators redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown is ready to claim the spot across the field from junior CB Janoris Jenkins. And while he is feeling better than ever, Brown still remains cautious. “I’d be lying if I said mentally I’m just ready,” Brown told the Miami Herald. “There are certain things I second-guess, like should I really just … throw myself in there? In the back of my head I’m just thinking, ‘Man, this might be my back again.’ […] I’ve been away from the game for so long, I just want to play and help out. I spent two years not playing at all, not even practicing. The opportunity to go out there and contribute just brightens my day.”

Five more BITS on Percy Harvin, Lito Sheppard, Gators soccer, baseball commitments and Ean McQuay…after the break!
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FOUR BITS: Position battles, Harvin, T2, Green

1 » When OGGOA published our Florida Gators 2010 Fall Practice Preview, two of the position battles we discussed were for middle linebacker and starting cornerback. The Gainesville Sun has published some choice quotes from defensive coordinator Teryl Austin about these competitions which support our thoughts that MLB is between sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins while the race to start opposite junior Janoris Jenkins is being led by redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown.

On middle linebacker: “Who starts is still to be determined. […] Jelani, you look at his speed, his absolutely flat out speed. He sees the ball and he goes and gets it. Jon brings some speed, but he’s also a thumper. He gives you that big body who can sit down on some guards and fullbacks and get that [inside] stuff. […] Each type can get the job done the way we want it. It’s just a matter of how it shakes out at the end.”

On cornerback: “Right now, it’s full speed ahead for Jeremy. We’re real pleased with where he is. […] Jeremy Brown and Moses Jenkins are involved in that position, in addition to any of our freshmen.”

Three more BITS on Percy Harvin, Tim Tebow and William Green…after the break!
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8/5: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators began fall practice Thursday and, while the activities were closed to both the media and public, a bunch of players spoke with the former group in a press conference setting following the morning session. As the rookies/freshmen hit the field for the second practice of the day (the veterans competed earlier), OGGOA has compiled some of the key details learned throughout the day.

PRACTICE NOTES

» Redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan and sophomore Xavier Nixon shared first-team duties at left tackle. This may be a position of contention for quite some time.
» In similar fashion, sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins are splitting first-team middle linebacker duties; however…
» Redshirt senior A.J. Jones and senior Brandon Hicks admitted that the coaches are making the linebackers learn all three positions. They also noted that the team may indeed run four linebackers at times but nothing is set in stone one way or another.
» Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. practiced today. He is no longer on scholarship and is attempting to earn his way back onto the team.
» Redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody is practicing even after having two surgeries this year to clean out bone spurs from his injured ankle. He will workout in full most days but may take some time off for precautionary measures.
» Though redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown, senior Moses Jenkins and freshmen Josh Shaw and Jaylen Watkins were the early favorites to start opposite junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins, freshman Cody Riggs got some major endorsements from the team’s veterans, many of whom were impressed with his fluid footwork.

Check out what the players had to say about Thursday’s practice, last year’s team and the upcoming season…after the break!
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