10/25: Straight from the Gators’ mouths…

Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, senior safety Ahmad Black, senior center Mike Pouncey, sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic, redshirt senior tackle Marcus Gilbert and redshirt senior LB Brandon Hicks answered questions for the media on Monday about a variety of topics concerning the Florida Gators. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

TEAMMATES RALLY BEHIND RAINEY

Though he was not supremely effective for the Gators early in the season, redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey is an electric playmaker whose talent could have seriously helped Florida over their last three-game stretch. No one knows that more than his teammates, who all had good things to say both about Rainey’s talent and his improved attitude after missing a month due to suspension.

“He’s practicing and he’s practicing great,” Pouncey said. “He’s one of those guys that can take it to the house on any play. Like I’ve been saying the whole year, he’s our best player.” Brantley concurred with Pouncey’s sentiments. “He looked good. He looked really determined, fast,” he said. “He’s really changed as a person. He’s changed his attitude to football. He’s working really hard. He just wants to get out on that field and play, that’s all he wants to do.”

Gilbert noticed that Rainey’s mistake not only was a blow to the team but also seriously affected the person who committed it. “He’s very explosive, like a Percy [Harvin]-type. I think he’s going to bring a lot of explosiveness to the offense, big plays,” he said. “He’s so much more mature now in practice, he’s ready. I felt bad for him because, Chris, he loves this game. For him being suspended, that kind of hurt me to see him down, walking around campus with his hoodie on. He just wants to be out here and play. I think he’s going to take full advantage of this chance this coming Saturday.”

GAME WEEK-LIKE PRACTICE ON THE BYE

Bye weeks are usually a little more relaxed practice-wise, but head coach Urban Meyer remarked early Monday that Florida’s practices last week were very much what they would be like if there was a game to be played this past Saturday. His players universally agreed with that sentiment.

“Everyone was ready to play,” Brantley said. “We wanted to practice and we wanted to succeed. To see [everyone work so hard], after especially such a hard weekend, was a great thing.” Black shared Brantley’s thoughts exactly. “It was great,” he said of practice. “You would have thought we had a game. Everybody went hard, went tough. [I’m] just excited to be out there again this week.”

Pouncey, the leader of the offensive line, felt the same way. “I seen a bunch of guys that really want to win,” he said. “We came out and practiced hard on the bye week. Most teams don’t do that, we did. We practiced [like] we had a game that Saturday.” Gilbert believes that trend will continue during preparation for Georgia and does not expect UF to lose a step. “Last week I think we came out to practice and we had a tremendous practice,” he said. “We look forward to the same this week.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
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10/5: Addazio defends Brantley, Pouncey, option

Florida Gators offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio along with redshirt senior left tackle Marcus Gilbert, redshirt senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders and senior punter/kicker Chas Henry players spoke to the media Tuesday as the team took a final look back on its crushing loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide and ahead to its match-up against the LSU Tigers at home on Saturday.

BRANTLEY IS “GREAT” AND READY TO PLAY

With Las Vegas odds-makers pulling down the LSU-Florida line for Saturday’s game due to redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley‘s “questionable” status, his health was a topic of conversation on Tuesday. Even though Brantley said Monday that his rib injury was “nothing major” and that he was just “a little sore…just like every game,” concerns arose. Addazio did his best to squash those rumors, saying Brantley was “doing great” and would be starting as scheduled this weekend.

POUNCEY THE “BEST OFFENSIVE LINEMAN IN AMERICA”

Questioned Tuesday about senior center Mike Pouncey’s status on the interior of the line and whether or not moving him out of that role has been considered, Addazio was slightly agitated when considering his response. “Change for what? Absolutely not. Are you kidding me? We’re talking about a first-round draft pick, the best offensive lineman in America and a phenomenal football player and the leader on this football [team],” Addazio said. “Unequivocally [that concept has] never even entered the realm of possibility.” He was also asked whether or not Pouncey is more talented as a guard. “When you say ‘play better,’ are you talking about actually playing the game? He grades out a Champion every week. Absolutely not. […] You won’t want to play against him.”

Pouncey’s snaps have also been an issue of contention with fans and the media, but Addazio noted that they are much better than publicized. “I went through the film like a fine-tooth comb for us and we had one low, one wide, one high out of 60 whatever-odd plays there were. You don’t want any. You never want any. But that’s no different from last year at any given point. It really isn’t,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of focus on that right now … but that’s just the truth. You don’t want any, but there’s no more. There was opening day, we all know that. From that last game? That’s all there was.”

THE OPTION REMAINS EFFECTIVE AND WILL BE USED

Another point of contention after Saturday’s loss was the offense’s continued use of the option with Brantley as a less-effective signal caller in the formation comparative to former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. Addazio, like head coach Urban Meyer insisted that the option is effective and will continue to remain a part of Florida’s offense. How big of a part, however, remains to be seen.

“You’re not going to major in it. We’re always going to operate percentage-wise a little differently based on who our guys are,” Addazio said. “Right now, just so you know in the option game right now with John Brantley, we’re averaging five yards [per] carry. You need to know that. That’s a fact. You need to have an element, an option, in your game so you can keep the defense balanced and keep the defense honest and it’s a part of who we are. That won’t change.

“How many calls…that’s going to be dictated by what we see and what’s happening. You take that element out, however many snaps that element is, you take that out and they no longer have to line up their pressures, their blitzes and you’re in a whole different kind of ball game. As Coach [Meyer] spoke about, that’s a part of who we are. That won’t change. […] It’s like everything else: Get a little better, operate a little better. The element is there, the element will always be a part.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
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No.7 Florida Gators at No.1 Alabama Crimson Tide

Location: Bryant–Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, AL [Capacity: 101,821]
Weather Forecast: 67°F, clear skies
Time: 8:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
Sirius/XM: 122/143
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 7 FLORIDA GATORS No. 1 ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Nick Saban
Record: 4-0 (2-0) Record: 4-0 (1-0)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Alabama -8; O/U 48

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida has won 24 consecutive regular season games, 13-straight road games and 16 regular season SEC games in a row. Combined with Alabama, the duo have combined to win 52-straight regular season games. The teams have also won three of the last four national titles and have two of the last three Heisman Trophy winners.
» UA is 21-14 all-time against UF, holding a 6-5 lead in the series at Tuscaloosa. The Gators and Crimson Tide are an even 8-8 in the state of Alabama and have split the last two SEC Championship games with Florida winning in 2008.
» The Gators are 4-10-2 against defending national champions all-time, 3-2-1 since 1990, 4-6 when the team is from the SEC (3-0 since 1993). Florida is also 3-7 against Associated Press No. 1-ranked teams all-time and 2-1 in those contests under Meyer.
» The Gators lead the nation with 12 interceptions through three games. Their +8 turnover margin is tied for fourth in the country.
» For the third time in four games this season, Florida got a defensive touchdown via an interception return against Kentucky. UF has recorded at least two interceptions in every game this year, four coming from outside the secondary.
» Alabama (11.3) and Florida (12.8) are ranked first and second in the SEC (second and fourth, respectively, in the nation) in fewest points allowed per game since 2009.
» The Gators have the best red zone touchdown percentage in the SEC since 2007 (156/226 – 69%) and have the best red zone scoring defense in the nation (59/82 – 72%) in that same time period.
» Florida has gone 14-for-14 in the red zone over the last two games with 13 touchdowns and a field goal. The Gators’ red zone efficiency is 89.5 percent on the season including 16 touchdowns and one field goal.
» UF has scored 30+ points in five straight games, the longest active streak in the SEC.
» Florida has committed a nation-low 87 turnovers since 2005 and has had 24 games in which they did not give up a single turnover (best in the nation). Alabama is ranked third in the nation, only having given up 90 turnovers in the same time span.
» The Crimson Tide’s defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 38-straight games.
» Gators redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan attended Armwood High School (Tampa, FL) with the Crimson Tide’s Petey Smith.
» Florida redshirt senior left tackle Marcus Gilbert and freshman wide receiver Solomon Patton both attended St. Thomas Aquinas high school (Fort Lauderdale, FL) along with Alabama’s Nick Williams.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who threw 156 consecutive passes without an interception and has a 16-2 TD/INT ratio while playing for the Gators. He set career-highs in completions (24), attempts (35) and yards (248) vs. Kentucky.
» Freshman QB Trey Burton…who set a school record and SEC freshman record by scoring six touchdowns in a single game last week. Burton has eight scores on the season and has been working extensively out of the Wildcat formation while also playing H-back, WR, tight end, fullback and special teams.
» Junior running back Jeff Demps…who has led the Gators in rushing in every game this season with totals of 98, 139, 73 and 57 yards. He ran the ball a career-high 26 times two weeks ago against Tennessee and left the Kentucky game early with a sprained foot. Demps is also No. 2 in the SEC with a 32.5-yard kick return average.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson…who set a career-high in yardage (86) for the second time this season last week. As Brantley’s primary pass catcher, 16 of Thompson’s 18 catches this season have been for first downs.
» Redshirt senior WR Carl Moore…who is improving each week. After catching two first downs against Tennessee, Moore notched four more on four catches against Kentucky.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted eight balls this season. Senior safety Ahmad Black (three), redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (three) and junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins (two) and are leading the way for the unit. Brown returned one for a touchdown last week, and Black is tops on the team with 30 tackles on the year while also being the conference’s active leader in interceptions (11) and interception return yards (233). Jenkins leads the SEC with seven passes defended.
» Sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic…who has nabbed three interceptions in four games (all in UF territory) and been a tackling machine (20 in the last three contests).
» Senior punter Chas Henry…who has not only been Florida’s most valuable special teams player but will also be handling all kicking duties for the Gators for the foreseeable future with junior kicker Caleb Sturgis out of action.
» Redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard…who had one of the best games of his career against Kentucky and will pay tribute to deceased walk-on defender Lamar Abel by wearing his No. 62 jersey.

» Alabama’s “Start Fast – Finish Strong”…which is a motto held by the team that has been utilized extensively this year. The Crimson Tide have a 56-16 edge in the first quarter and a 31-3 advantage against opponents in the fourth quarter this season.
» Crimson Tide RB Mark Ingram…who has 12 100-yard performances in his career and is second on his team with 33 carries for 308 yards and four touchdowns after missing the first two games of the season.
» Alabama RB Trent Richardson…who leads his team with 47 carries for 356 yards and four touchdowns.
» Crimson Tide WR Julio Jones…who leads his unit in receptions (20), yards (303) and touchdowns (2). The team has three receivers with double-digit catches this season.
» Alabama QB Greg McElroy…who has yet to lose a game as a starter in college (18-0) and is 34-0 dating back to his senior year of high school. McElroy has not lost a game since the 8th grade. He has thrown 70.9 percent of his passes for completions this year with 899 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions.
» Crimson Tide S Robert Lester…who leads the SEC with four interceptions.

INJURIES and INACTIVES
Injuries
Game-time decision – Junior RB Jeff Demps (foot)
Out – Redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan

Inactives
(Will update closer to game time)

FLORIDA ON ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

The Gators are set to be heavily featured in during ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast beginning at 9 a.m. on ESPNU (hosted by Erin Andrews) and continuing from 10 a.m. until noon on ESPN. Even though the “World Wide Leader in Sports” did not choose to host the event in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Florida and Alabama will be given an entire segment during the main program. There will be a “rivalry revisited” look at the recent history between the two teams and how the series has played out over the last few years, columnist Pat Forde will take a look at the game, and Desmond Howard, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit will talk about UF’s defense. The Crimson Tide will also receive a feature on McElroy, while the Gators get one on Burton. Chris Fowler, Herbstreit and Corso will conclude by discussing the Gators’ chances of an upset while making picks at the end of the show. [Notes in this section are as of press time.]

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators at Alabama Crimson Tide preview after the jump!
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Grading the Florida Gators vs. Kentucky game

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive grades the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Kentucky Wildcats in the fourth game of the 2010-11 season, which took place at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

QUARTERBACKS: A+
Standing on his own, redshirt junior John Brantley had an “A-” performance on Saturday, completing over 68 percent of his passes (24-of-35) for a career-high 248 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Though his 131.81 passer rating was his third-best of the season (due to the turnover), Brantley posted the best performance of his career and was instrumental in the Gators converting 7-of-11 third downs. Of course Brantley’s positive output was overshadowed by freshman Trey Burton, who accounted for six touchdowns on the day. Playing as single wing QB, running back, wide receiver and tight end, Burton rushed for 40 yards and five touchdowns, caught five balls for 37 yards and a touchdown and completed a pass on his only attempt for 42 yards. When you combine Brantley’s significant improvement with Burton’s stellar evening, there is truly no other grade to give his unit.

RUNNING BACKS: B+
After a monster 267-yard performance against South Florida, Florida’s running game came back down to earth against Tennessee. It returned to prominence once again against Kentucky, with all three of the team’s rushers posting good statistics. Junior Jeff Demps (who left the game in the second half with an injured foot) rushed eight times for 57 yards (7.1 average), redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody gained 46 yards on 10 carries (4.6 average) and sophomore Mike Gillislee ran the ball six times for 32 yards (5.3 average). Burton, a QB, scored all of the Gators’ rushing touchdowns, but these backs were instrumental in all six of UF’s scoring drives.

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the Kentucky game after the jump…
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9/27: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

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

AILING DEMPS SHOULD PLAY SATURDAY

Junior running back Jeff Demps aggravated a foot injury on Saturday against the Kentucky Wildcats, something that forced him to get X-rays after the game (they were negative). Doctors have diagnosed Demps with a sprained foot and have placed him in a temporary boot so it can heal for a few days before he returns to practice. “[We are] hearing positive things about [Demps returning] later in the week,” Meyer said Monday. “We’ll update you as we go. It’s not broken. It’s not a stress fracture. [The X-ray] came back negative. Now [we] just gotta get him healthy. […] I think we are going to have Demps, so I’d rather not even think that way.”

WEEK FOUR CHAMPIONS

Meyer announced that 24 Florida players graded out as Champions after the Kentucky game, more than double any other game so far this season. Freshman quarterback Trey Burton, redshirt junior QB John Brantley and redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard were singled out as Players of the Week.

Offensively, senior center Mike Pouncey; wide receivers redshirt junior Denote Thompson, redshirt senior Carl Moore and redshirt sophomore Frankie Hammond, Jr.; running backs Demps, redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody and sophomore Mike Gillislee; redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson; redshirt senior left tackle Marcus Gilbert; redshirt senior right guard Maurice Hurt; sophomore right tackle Xavier Nixon; and redshirt freshman G Jon Halapio were honored. Nine players on defense – senior defensive ends Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens; safeties senior Ahmad Black and junior Will Hill; cornerbacks junior Janoris Jenkins and redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown; linebackers redshirt senior A.J. Jones and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins; and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Omar Hunter – shined Saturday.

It appears that there were even more Champions this week, but Meyer said there were too many to name. “There’s too many names on there to get into each one of them,” he said.

Burton was also named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week on Monday for his school-record six touchdown performance. He is the fifth Florida player this year to win a weekly SEC honor and the second to win Freshman of the Week.

QUOTES (After the break…)
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Week 4: Gators post-game news and notes

After starting slow for their first three games, the No. 8/9 Florida Gators (4-0, 2-0 SEC) came out of the gates strong Saturday night en route to a dominating 48-14 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats (3-1, 0-1 SEC) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. With so much to discuss, OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes.

TREY-MENDOUS PERFORMANCE

Freshman quarterback Trey Burton was obviously the man of the match for the Gators on Saturday, setting a Florida record for most touchdowns in the game with six. He surpassed Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow’s five touchdown performance against South Carolina in 2007 (Tebow also had two passing scores), and also set a school record for total points by a non-kicker (36). Above all else, Burton proved that the Gators have other weapons besides junior running back Jeff Demps, and his versatility was an important factor in the team’s dominating performance Saturday evening.

“Trey Burton was fantastic. Someone told me he had six touchdowns. Six touchdowns. There’s a lot of great players who have played in this stadium, and I think he broke some record. That’s tremendous,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “I thought he was a good player when we recruited him, a really good player. We had no idea what we had until we figured it out during training camp. Versatility, the intelligence, the competitiveness, those are things you just don’t know until you get your hands on a player.”

DEBOSE GETS SOME THROWS

After barely seeing the field during the first three weeks of the season, redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose made his true debut in impressive fashion during the first quarter on Saturday. On Florida’s first series, he caught a 14-yard pass and a seven-yard pass to help the Gators score their first points in the first quarter all season. He also had catches of seven and eight yards to finish the first quarter with a team-high 36 yards. “It feels really good,” Debose said after the game. “I’ve been practicing really hard this week. That made feel really ready for tonight.”

Meyer noted that Debose’s plays in the first quarter were scripted, which is part of the reason he did not see much action the rest of the game. “That was on purpose. He earned that,” Meyer said of Debose’s touches. “All you gotta do is practice well, and Debose will be nonexistent next week if he doesn’t practice well. Florida may be a little different. You earn your right to get on that field, and he actually earned that right this week during practice. He did a great job. […] No, he wasn’t [practicing well in previous weeks]. It was not because he wasn’t trying; it was just because the multitude – it’s that deer in the headlights look. He really locked in this week, and we simplified some things.”

ENTIRE OFFENSIVE LINE BANGED UP

Anyone who watched the game noticed that, at one time or another, seemingly every starting offensive lineman was down with a lower leg injury. Turns out, every starting offensive lineman did suffer a lower leg injury. “At one point, every one of our linemen either had a sprained ankle or swollen knee, and they battled through it,” Meyer said. “We were close to TKO there, and they fought through it.” None are expected to be limited going into next week’s game at Alabama.

Also of note is the fact that redshirt senior Marcus Gilbert, the team’s right tackle who had been starting at left tackle with sophomore Xavier Nixon out of commission, was moved back to left tackle against Kentucky. Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio made the move to make the line more stable, placing the younger Nixon at right tackle. Chances are, based on the performance of the unit Saturday, this is a permanent decision.

FIRST QUARTER FIRSTS

Coming into Saturday’s game, Florida had not scored a single point in the first quarter in any of its first three contests. As Meyer preached to the media and players during the week, the Gators made it a point to start strong against the Wildcats, putting up a pair of touchdowns in the opening period. Brantley came out throwing, and Debose’s presence provided UF with that extra bit of explosiveness the team has apparently needed.

THREE IS A CHARM FOR THREE FLORIDA DEFENDERS

Senior safety Ahmad Black came into the Kentucky game with three interceptions on the season. It was probably a bit of a surprise for many to see redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown and sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic join him in that club after each picked off Kentucky QB Mike Hartline. Brown returned his for a touchdown, high-stepping into the end zone; though his other two interceptions were also impressive, this one could very well be the most memorable for a player who struggled through back injuries for two years. The Gators lead the nation with 12 interceptions as a team.

INJURIES AND ABSENCES

Demps, after running the ball eight times for 57 yards, left the game at the beginning of the second half with what Meyer believes his a sprained foot. Apparently Demps hurt the same foot last week and aggravated the injury during the game. “Dempsy has a foot that they’re taking a look at. He hurt it last week, we’re hoping it’s just a sprained foot,” Meyer said. The Miami Herald reports that Demps had an X-ray on his foot last night, most likely to make sure it was not broken or fractured.

Redshirt senior defensive tackles Lawrence Marsh (stitches, hamstring) and Brandon Antwine (shoulder) also missed the Kentucky game, but Meyer was confident that both would be back in action at Alabama next Saturday. Freshman defensive lineman Dominique Easley (foot, funeral) missed a bunch of practice this week; whether or not he will be ready for the following game is up in the air.

QUOTES (After the break…)
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9/20: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

Head coach Urban Meyer meets with the media each Monday after the Florida Gators participate in a game the previous Saturday. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.

WILSON TO MISS MORE TIME

Redshirt junior guard James Wilson, injured on Sept. 4 against Miami (OH), recently had arthroscopic surgery on his knee and will be out of action for the foreseeable future. Wilson’s injury comes at a time when Florida’s offensive line is as solid as its been all year with sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon back in the starting lineup for the first time on Saturday. Redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (wrist) remains out of action but is close to returning, perhaps as early as Oct. 2 against Alabama.

Senior linebacker Brandon Hicks told the media Monday that, contrary to the belief that it was dislocated, he has actually been playing with a heeling broken thumb over the last three weeks. He will continue to get major time on the field and should continue to impact the game as he has been thus far.

Though redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson went down at the end of the game Saturday, he will be fine. However, redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody‘s bruised thigh will continue to be monitored throughout the week.

WEEK THREE CHAMPIONS

Meyer announced that nine Gators graded out as Champions after the Tennessee Volunteers game. Redshirt senior wide receiver Carl Moore and senior defensive end Duke Lemmens were singled out as Players of the Week.

Offensively, redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, senior center Mike Pouncey and redshirt seniors right tackle Marcus Gilbert and right guard Maurice Hurt were all honored. Four players on defense – senior DE Justin Trattou and LBs senior Hicks, sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins – shined throughout the game. Jenkins was also named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week on Monday for his career-high six tackles and first career sack.

BRANTLEY TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR MISCUE

As OGGOA noted in both our game story and tweets during Saturday’s contest, Pouncey’s bad snap early in the first quarter appeared to have occurred due to Brantley rushing to get a snap off when he realized the play clock was ticking down. The signal caller said the same thing Monday, taking the blame for the poor snap. Though not on him specifically for that mistake, Meyer noted that Brantley must progress and get better.

“I think he’s got to get better,” he said. “There’s one way we evaluate quarterbacks here. He’s 3-0 as a starter at Florida, so that’s pretty good, going on the road and winning a game. To say we’re thrilled with where we’re at offensively, and he’s the focal point of the offense, that would be a false statement. To say that he’s handled himself very well, to say he’s managing the team, to say that he does throw a very nice pass and hit five third-and-longs against Tennessee – those are all very good. We just need to improve. We’re pleased with where we’re at, we just need to keep improving.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
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Week 3: Gators post-game news and notes

Starting slow for the third consecutive game, the No. 7/10 Florida Gators (3-0) once again pulled out a double-digit win against their opponent, taking down the Tennessee Volunteers (1-2) 31-17 on the road at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. With so much to discuss, OGGOA first presents some of the most important notes and quotes.

EIGHT FOR EIGHT IS GREAT

In his six years coaching the University of Florida, head coach Urban Meyer has run eight fake punt plays. And all eight times that decision has paid off for the Gators. On Saturday, Meyer said he did not hesitate to call a fake punt in which sophomore wide receiver Omarius Hines took a direct snap up the field 36 yards for a first down in what would eventually become a touchdown scoring drive. “We’ve been working on that since the beginning of the year,” Meyer said after the game. “We tried to get the numbers, and we got the numbers, and they executed well. As soon as I heard from the press box we had numbers, I knew all we had to do was execute it.” Hines was just as prepared for the play call. “We’ve been practicing it every day in practice,” he said. “It was my chance to get the first down. I wasn’t nervous. We’ve been practicing on it too much. I was ready for it. [Tennessee] had two guys, and when they went outside, I cut inside and got the first down. I knew it was going to work. We really needed that. We were down in the first half. I just tried to help the team get the momentum back.”

SUSPENDED PLAYERS RETURN, CONTRIBUTE

Three Florida players missed the first two games of the season not due to injury but instead because of team suspension. Junior safety Will Hill (most prominently), redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. and sophomore linebacker Dee Finley all returned Saturday, each contributing in one way or another. While Hill was in on some blown coverages in the secondary, he made a few big tackles on special teams, which was also populated by Hammond and Finley. Hammond was also able to make his first catch of the year in the third quarter for a touchdown. “It felt good,” Hammond said. “I just go out there and try to make plays and do what I can for the team. I’m just trying to stay humble. I got another chance at it [after getting arrested]. I made a mistake and I learned from it. Whatever they want me to do, special teams or offense, I’ll do what I need to do just to get back on the team and help them out. I’m trying to move on now.”

GILLISLEE MAKING HIS CASE FOR PLAYING TIME

Sophomore running back Mike Gillislee, like any player, wants to get on the field as much as possible. Stuck behind junior Jeff Demps and redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody, Gillislee appears to be on a mission this season to prove to coaches that he deserves more playing time. Though Demps once again led the Gators in rushing Saturday, Gillislee’s two powerful touchdowns once again proved he is as much of a spark plug as anyone on the team.

HEALTHY OFFENSIVE LINE STICKING TOGETHER

For the first time all season, Florida was able to begin the game and play with its starting offensive line – consisting of sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon, redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson, senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt senior right guard Maurice Hurt and redshirt senior right tackle Marcus Gilbert – healthy and intact. On a rushed snap in the first quarter, Pouncey rolled the ball on the ground to redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, almost causing a turnover. At the end of the game, Johnson appeared to suffer an arm injury, but trainers believe he will be fine.

SECONDARY ROLLS BUT FLAWS EMERGE

Nabbing two more interceptions against the Volunteers, the Gators’ defense continues to lead the nation with 10 grabs on the season. The secondary itself is responsible for seven of them, with redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown bringing down his second of the year on Saturday. However, a unit that was the model of consistency for Florida throughout the first two games showed some flaws against Tennessee, allowing three big catches and two long touchdowns in the contest. Brown was victimized a few time, Hill was out of position on another throw and even junior CB Janoris Jenkins (who muffed a punt for a fumble as a returner) may have blown an assignment.

DEFENSIVE FRONT SEVEN STEPS UP

While the secondary dealt with a few issues, the defensive linemen and linebackers did whatever they had to in order to get pressure on QB Matt Simms and stifle Volunteers star RB Tauren Poole (10 carries for 23 yards). Senior defensive ends Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens, redshirt senior defensive tackle Brandon Antwine, redshirt freshman LB Jelani Jenkins and freshman DE Ronald Powell all achieved sacks, and sophomore LB Jon Bostic pulled down his second interception of the season.

QUOTES (After the break…)
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