FOUR BITS: Jenkins takes blame; Munroe still out; Patterson speaks on UF; Grant on Donovan

1 » Florida Gators sophomore cornerback Janoris Jenkins knows he played terrible Saturday against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Yes, he let wide receiver Greg Childs amass 135 yards on him including a 75-yard touchdown. But that was also the worst game he’s had his entire Florida career, and he is confident that he will be able to rebound. “[Janoris] told me that was one of the worst games he ever had in his life,” running mate Joe Haden said. “I told him, ‘Don’t worry about it.’” Jenkins had 39 tackles and three interceptions his freshman season and has already followed that up with 37 tackles and two more receptions so far in 2009. “[Janoris] knows it’s a whole new week, and you can expect a real good game out of him,” Haden said.

2 » Fifth-year senior safety Dorian Munroe, after sitting out the entire 2008 season with a torn ACL, was expected to return to the Gators two weeks ago when the team visited Baton Rouge, LA, to take on the LSU Tigers. Unfortunately, Munroe injured his meniscus during the preseason and has been forced to miss additional time. Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald inquired about Munroe’s status and was told by Haden that he was “walking around” at practice on Tuesday. Goodman believes Munroe may be able to resume playing against the Georgia Bulldogs in two weeks.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Jenkins takes blame; Munroe still out; Patterson speaks on UF; Grant on Donovan

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FOUR BITS: SEC referees; no-huddle offense; Florida WRs in NFL; Kiffin can’t shut up

1 » The work of Southeastern Conference referees has been shaky at best this season, especially that of the crew who was responsible for horrible calls both in last week’s Florida Gators vs. Arkansas Razorbacks game and the previous week’s LSU Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs game. Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated contends that these calls are nothing for Arkansas fans or college football fans to be crying about. “Obviously, they were bad calls,” Mandel said. “You know what else they were? The type of bad calls that take place in almost every single football game. Egregious as they were, those calls did not cost Arkansas the game. They happened with nine minutes left. The Razorbacks still had their chance to kick a go-ahead field goal and/or stop the Gators’ own game-winning drive.” He’s right.

2 » The newly installed “Banzai” offensive package, taken in part from the Oklahoma Sooners‘ hurry-up offense, worked well for the Gators at the beginning of the season. As defenses have gotten tougher and more confusing, senior quarterback Tim Tebow has been taking audibles from offensive coordinator Steve Addazio on the sideline, slowing down the offense. Both Addazio and head coach Urban Meyer don’t want the offense to “stand there so long watching” and lose momentum in the process. Beginning again Saturday against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, expect Florida to employ a more rapid-fire approach, capitalizing on their talent, athleticism and conditioning.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: SEC referees; no-huddle offense; Florida WRs in NFL; Kiffin can’t shut up

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Were offense’s struggles really Addazio’s fault?

A popular conversation topic the last two days (though some have discussed it all season) has been the play calling of Florida Gators offensive coordinator Steve Addazio. The contention on this issue is that Addazio has done a poor job thus far – calling too many dive plays, not utilizing the ability of some players, and the list goes on. Hell, I was leading the charge. Then I stopped and thought about it for a second. Yes, the Gators offense played terrible Saturday night. But how bad really was Addazio’s play calling? I propose this: Florida moved the ball just fine, it simply did not appear that way.

13:45 (1) - 7 plays, 32 yards - FG Missed [ST]15:00 (3) – 8 plays, 29 yards – FG Good [score]
08:43 (1) – 6 plays, 10 yards – Punt [bad drive]08:18 (3) – 3 plays, -1 yard – Punt [bad drive]
04:16 (1) – 3 plays, -5 yards – FUM [Bad/miscue]04:40 (3) – 2 plays, 21 yards – FUM [miscue]
14:57 (2) – 12 plays, 56 yards – RZ FUM [miscue]03:10 (3) - 1 play, 77 yards – Passing TD [score]
07:35 (2) – 4 plays, 31 yards – RZ FUM [miscue]00:07 (3) – 6 plays, 20 yards – Punt [bad drive]
03:26 (2) – 5 plays, 20 yards – FG Good [score]09:40 (4) – 5 plays, 67 yards – Rush TD [score]
03:08 (4) – 14 plays, 69 yards – FG Good [score]

In 13 Gators drives, five ended with a score (38.5%), eight ended with a score or in scoring position (61.5%), 3.5 ended in a miscue (27%) and one ended in a special teams gaffe. In all, Addazio’s play calling, while you may not necessarily agree with it, resulted in 3.5 attributable failed drives (27%) over an entire game’s span.

If you want to blame Florida’s offense for its struggles on Saturday – that is fine. Just blame the right people. Two fumbles by quarterback Tim Tebow, one by tight end Aaron Hernandez and one more by running back Chris Rainey are unacceptable. Two of said fumbles occurred while the Gators were in the red zone on the way to score, and Tebow’s first fumble was on Florida’s own 30, which resulted in an Arkansas Razorbacks rushing touchdown. And of course there is kicker Caleb Sturgis’ missed field goal on the first drive. Take away the miscues – which are the blunders of players and not the coordinator – and the play calling is not looking so much at fault now, is it?

Now check out Florida’s previous game against the LSU Tigers. The Gators scored on three of eight drives, were successful on four, and were in scoring position for two more (missed field goal, interception). Only two were bad drives – a 7-play 44-yard effort that ended on downs and a 5-play 16-yard drive that ended in a punt – 25% of the failures.

And all of this is if you attribute the failed drives to the play calling and not the execution.

I am not here to contend that Addazio is doing a great job, does not need improvement and is taking over where his predecessor Dan Mullen left off. Quite the contrary. I just want the blame to fall on those who deserve it the most – in this case, the players.

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Spikes probable, Trattou doubtful for Miss. State

Senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes has had a rough start to his final season with the Florida Gators. Diagnosed with Achilles tendonitis, Spikes has been taking pain injections and limping – both literally and figuratively – through practices and games all year. He seemed to have overcome his injury two Saturdays ago, tallying 11 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble against the then-No. 4 LSU Tigers.

That performance earned Spikes an SEC Defensive Player of the Week honor as well as nominations to the 2009 Rotary Lombardi Award and Butkus Award watch lists. He was looking to follow it up with a strong game this past weekend against the Arkansas Razorbacks on homecoming weekend in The Swamp.

Instead, Spikes aggravated a groin injury that some believe he first suffered during practice on Wednesday. He came out of the game immediately and was in street clothes when the second half began. Even so, head coach Urban Meyer, during his weekly Monday afternoon press conference, has declared Spikes probable for Saturday’s game at the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

[UPDATE:] Meyer also spoke about defensive end Justin Trattou, who injured his biceps tendon during the Arkansas game. Trattou is listed as doubtful for Saturday.

OGGOA will keep you updated on Spikes’ health and status throughout the week.

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FOUR BITS: Another Lochte; Volleyball sweeps; Soccer ties, wins; Cross Country finishes 2nd

1 » Former Florida Gators student-athlete Ryan Lochte is one of the most decorated swimmers in school history. A star in college, Lochte moved on to win three gold, one silver and two bronze medals combined in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. Looking to return the 2012 Games in London, Lochte is not the only member of his family with aquatic tendencies. His brother Devon, 19, is a redshirt freshman at Florida and plans to compete in mid-distance free style and butterfly this season. “[Devon] has got some real good physical tools and a nice feel for the water,” said Gators swimming coach Gregg Troy. While Devon not nearly as good as his older brother, he is getting there. “If he’s 110 percent devoted and dedicated and willing to push his body, I think he’s going to be better than me,” Ryan said. In truth, all that Devon cares about is getting to the Olympics and achieving his secret lifelong goal. “We never really told anyone, but we want to be in the Olympics on the same relay team,” Devon said.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Another Lochte; Volleyball sweeps; Soccer ties, wins; Cross Country finishes 2nd

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Grading the Florida Gators vs. Arkansas game

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive will grade the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Arkansas Razorbacks in The Swamp.

It is tough to evaluate Tim Tebow week-in and week-out, because you feel tempted to grade him an A every time. In looking at Saturday’s game, you see Tebow led the Gators on a 14-play, 69-yard drive at the end of the fourth quarter that resulted in a 27-yard, game-winning field goal by Caleb Sturgis. You also see that he went 17-for-26 for 255 yards passing, one touchdown (the longest of his career) and added 69 more yards on the ground. But that would be looking over the two fumbles he had in the first half, the fact that it took him 27 carries to get those 69 yards and the six sacks he suffered – a handful of which he could have avoided by throwing the ball out of bounds when he was outside the pocket.

For most of the game, the entire Florida rushing attack was averaging 1.2 yards per carry. For a unit that led the nation most of the year in rushing, that is simply unacceptable. Arkansas game-planned for the dive play, and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio kept calling it – so it is hard to put all the fault on the backs. Even so, 3.5 yards per carry on 19 attempts is just not acceptable. Jeff Demps saved the unit from complete failure with his run and touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Continue Reading » Grading the Florida Gators vs. Arkansas game

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Week 7: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Ark. Razorbacks

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Time: 3:30 p.m. (EST)
Weather Forecast: 68°F – Partly sunny

Online: Live for FREE at
Sirius: 217; XM: 201

Florida Gators Arkansas Razorbacks
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Bobby Petrino
Record: 5-0 (3-0) Record: 3-2 (1-2)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC West
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -24.5, O/U 58
Head-to-Head Stats: Gainesville Sun

Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow…who is currently second all-time to former Georgia Bulldogs running back Herschel Walker in Southeastern Conference rushing touchdowns with 48. He needs one more to tie Walker’s record.
– The UF secondary…which has an interception in 17 straight games back to 2008.
Arkansas Razorbacks running back Michael Smith…who torched the Gators for 133 yards on 20 carries and 43 more on six receptions in 2008. Smith will be a game-time decision to play with a hamstring injury.
– Linebacker Brandon Hicks…who was shoved by Razorbacks quarterback Ryan Mallett after making a hard tackle along the Arkansas sideline in 2008. Revenge?

– The Gators have won seven consecutive games against the Razorbacks, never scoring less than 33 points in each victory. Florida is 7-1 all-time against Arkansas.
– Saturday’s game pits the top rushing offense in the SEC, Florida at 284.6 yards per game, against the top passing offense in the conference, Arkansas with 318.2 yards per game. The Gators also lead the nation in total defense (202.6 yards per game) and scoring defense (6.4 yards per game).
– Last time the Razorbacks played a No. 1-ranked team, they defeated the LSU Tigers 50-48 in three overtimes in 2007. Arkansas is 4-11 all-time in games against the No. 1-ranked AP team.
– The Gators are in the middle of the longest winning streak in school history with 15 consecutive victories. They also hold the longest active winning streak in the NCAA and are tied with the Auburn Tigers for the longest winning streak in SEC history.
– Scoring at least 41 points in four of their first five games, Arkansas has already beaten a ranked team this season, the then-No. 17 Auburn Tigers 44-23 last week.
– On Saturday, Florida looks to win its 21st consecutive homecoming game.

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

Continue Reading » Week 7: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Ark. Razorbacks

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FOUR BITS: Florida Gators defense edition

1 » ESPN’s SEC blogger Chris Low sat down with Florida Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong to speak about his career and the 2009 UF defense. “I told Urban Meyer this summer that Charlie’s a better coordinator than he was three years ago,” South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier said in an interview. “Not only do they have outstanding athletes, but they’re very well-coached, disguise coverages very well and seem to know what the other team is doing all the time.” Great interview by Low; I highly recommended that you give it a once over.

2 » Expanding on Strong is the Gainesville Sun, who adds more from Spurrier and picked the brain of LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles as well. Spurrier continued, “Charlie, like all good coaches, if there is a better way to do something, he looks for it.” Miles agreed. “The way he attacks you,” Miles said, “he’s constantly stirring the pot looking to be better.” Strong’s defense faces their toughest test of the season Saturday against the Arkansas Razorbacks. If some Florida fans had their way when Meyer was hired, Strong wouldn’t even be the one coaching the unit. “I got killed [for retaining Strong] … e-mails, phone calls, letters. What are you doing?” Meyer said. “Florida’s defense wasn’t very good. But I did some research. Obviously, it was a great hire. I’m glad he’s part of our staff. I fight to keep him every year. He’s on top of his game right now.”

3 » Defensive end Carlos Dunlap could very well be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Yet you never would have thought that if you were following him throughout last season. Back then, he was just a player with great potential – a guy who had all of the talent and ability in the world but did not work hard enough for Meyer or Strong to make them think he could be a solid contributor to the Gators defense. Now? All of that has changed and something clicked in Dunlap that is fueling him to be the dominant force that was always inside him. “He is much, much improved right now from any time last year,” Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney said. “He’s working harder. His attitude is better. His practice habits are better. I’m really proud of him.”

4 » The Gators coaching staff’s focus on Saturday’s game against the Razorbacks is not one dimensional. In addition to trying to beat the Arkansas on the gridiron, Florida wants to win over the recruits that will be in the stands. That list of recruits just got bigger as Gators coach McCarney contacted junior defensive tackle Brodrick Lee of Tarpon Springs High School and invited him to take an unofficial visit to Gainesville on Saturday. 6’2″ and 285 pounds, Lee draws double teams in high school and is very athletic. He has already drawn interest from the Auburn Tigers, but the Gators being involved is obviously a coup for the youngster.

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