Gameday: No. 2 Florida Gators vs. South Carolina

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 80°F, sunny, winds W at 9 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT

Tickets: Starting at $100 on TiqIQ

TV: CBS/CBSHD (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper

No. 2 FLORIDA GATORS No. 7 USC GAMECOCKS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Record: 6-0 (5-0 SEC) Record: 6-1 (4-1 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -3.5, O/U 41

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on what has been going on with the Gators over the last week? No problem. OGGOA has been here the whole time posting a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam on Saturday.

Florida ignoring the BCS hype | Spurrier discusses the Gators | Brent Pease confident in passing game | Updates from Muschamp and Spurrier

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Florida will be featured on College GameDay for a nation-leading 35th time in school history. The Gators will be hosting the program for the 12th time but first since Nov. 28, 2009. UF has already appeared on College GameDay twice this season (2-0) as the visiting team at Texas A&M and Tennessee. Florida is 7-4 overall as hosts in Gainesville and 23-11 all-time when featured on the program.

» OGGOA’s Q&A with ESPN analyst Desmond Howard
» ESPN: Seven video previews of UF-USC

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida leads South Carolina 23-6-3 in the all-time series and boasts a 12-1-0 advantage in Gainesville with its first and only loss coming in the last meeting (2010). The two teams have played consecutively every year since 1992; the Gators are 17-3 in those games but have lost the last two marking their first time falling in consecutive games to the Gamecocks since the 1930s.
» UF is 4-3 against USC over the last seven years since Spurrier took over.
» Florida is 11-1 against unranked opponents and 2-5 against ranked teams since Muschamp took over the program in 2011. The Gators earned both victories over ranked opponents this season, defeating Tennessee on the road and LSU at home.
» This is the highest-ranked South Carolina team that Florida has ever faced.
» The Gators have started the season 6-0 for the first time since 2009 and the eighth time overall in school history.
» Florida defeated a ranked opponent at home for the first time since Nov. 15, 2008 and beat an SEC West team in Gainesville for the first time since Oct. 17, 2009.
» The Gators were 0-5 when trailing at the half in 2011 but have started the 2012 season 3-0 in that category with all three victories vs. SEC opponents (two ranked).
» Florida is 9-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 0-4 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards. UF is also 10-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 8-3 when scoring first and 10-1 when leading at the half.
» The Gators have scored on 19-of-20 red zone trips (95 percent) but have only converted 11 of those possessions (55 percent) into touchdowns.
» Florida has converted 32-of-83 of its third-down attempts (38.6 percent) this season.
» The Gators have held their opponents to 26-of-92 on third down conversions (28.3 percent), which is good for seventh-best in the nation. UF was second nationally in third-down defense (27.3 percent) last season.
» Florida is out-possessing opponents by an average of 7:48 through six games, a margin that ranks fourth nationally.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 98-23 in the second half and 57-10 in the fourth quarter. UF was the only team in the nation that had not allowed a fourth-quarter point until giving up 10 last week.
» Florida had a stretch of not allowing a touchdown in nine-straight quarters and is sixth in scoring defense nationally (12.3 points per game).
» The Gators are +7 in turnover margin through six games after being -12 in 2011. UF has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (329) since 2000.
» Florida has grabbed seven interceptions so far in 2012 (three games with two each) and is already closing in on its 2011 total of eight picks. UF has registered at least one pick in five games.
» The Gators are sixth nationally in pass efficiency defense.
» Florida has at least two kickoff returns for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons after never having more than one in a single season before 2010. UF has not yet registered one in 2012.
» South Carolina is facing its third top-10 opponent in as many weeks.
» Before losing last week, the Gamecocks had a school-record 10-game win streak.
» Spurrier is four wins away from holding sole possession of the school’s all-time wins record for a head football coach.
» South Carolina is the least penalized team in the SEC, losing an average of 34.3 yards per game via penalty.
» The Gamecocks are 12th nationally in total defense (296.3 yards per game).

Read the rest of the Florida-South Carolina preview including injuries and absences and which players to look out for from both sidelines.
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 2 Florida Gators vs. South Carolina

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SIX BITS: ESPN, Lattimore, Steelers, Henry, Noah

1 » Earlier this week, ESPN‘s Kirk Herbstreit broke down Saturday’s game between the No. 2 Florida Gators and No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks on the network.

2 » After releasing a star-filled injury report earlier in the week, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said Thursday that it looks like almost all of his big-name players will be in action on Saturday against Florida. The one exception, of course, is defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, who has an injured shoulder but will also be suspended for punching a player during last week’s game against LSU. Running back Marcus Lattimore (hip) is still not slated to start but is expected to play after going through a full practice on Thursday. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (foot) is also good to go, as are a number of players who were hit with a flu bug over the course of the week, Spurrier said.

Check out four more BITS in this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: ESPN, Lattimore, Steelers, Henry, Noah

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10/16-17: Florida players discuss team, USC game

Five Florida Gators players – redshirt senior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr., senior safety Josh Evans, sophomore fullback Hunter Joyer, redshirt junior right guard Jon Halapio and redshirt sophomore right tackle Chaz Green – met with the media this week to discuss No. 2 Florida’s upcoming game against the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks. Below are a few choice quotes from the players.

» Hammond on if he wishes the Gators threw the ball more on offense: “I’m a receiver. I’d rather them throw it to me the whole game because I’m the receiver. I want the ball. But you got to understand, that’s not the motive of the game. You got to run, you got to throw, you got to be balanced. If running is working, I have no problem blocking down field for [Mike] Gillislee, Matt Jones or any of those guys in the backfield. We’re just doing what it takes to win ballgames.”

» Evans on Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore: “He’s a good back, physical guy. I think he lost a step a little bit from what we’ve seen before, but he’s still showing statistics. Nothing to take away from him. […I think that’s due to the [ACL] injury.”

» Evans on head coach Will Muschamp ensuring that Florida plays better at home this year: “That’s something he talks to us about every day, about holding down The Swamp and make sure we keep everybody happy. [Losing] is one thing you don’t like to do. It’s a bad day when you lose in The Swamp. Everybody’s down and it takes a lot to get back after that. Winning in The Swamp means a lot to the defense and this team.”

» Evans on how the fans help each week: “Fans being behind us 100 percent gives us the energy and strength to move forward.”

» Joyer on not carrying the ball much and having a quiet role: “I really don’t care. That doesn’t bother me at all. I’m not looking for TV time or my name to be talked about a lot. I just want the team to do well and success for all of us.”

» Halapio on Gillislee: “Somehow he just finds little creases, little holes here and there. I feel like, when he gets to the second level, there is no stopping him.”

» Green on strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman: “Coach Dillman, he’s got a great plan and offseason for strength and containing. We like him a lot. We put a lot of our success towards him and the stuff he does. It benefits us on the field. We feel like we’re in the best shape we’ve been in, so we credit him a lot.”

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Q&A with College GameDay’s Desmond Howard

ESPN College GameDay will emanate from Gainesville, FL for the first time since 2009 on Saturday as the No. 2 Florida Gators (6-0, 5-0 SEC) host the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1 SEC) at 3:30 p.m. in a game that will air live on CBS.

It was announced Wednesday that Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte will be on hand to be the guest picker for the show, which will be set up and aired from the grass outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium’s façade that faces University Drive.

To get fans ready for the program and game, OGGOA had the opportunity to sit down for a question-and-answer session with ESPN‘s Desmond Howard, one of the three analysts who are part of the College GameDay crew.

Be sure to tune in to ESPN on Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon!

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: This is the third time already this season that Florida will be featured on College GameDay. How have you seen the Gators progress and improve from when the program was on-site for the Texas A&M game until now?
DESMOND HOWARD: “That’s simple. The offense has gotten better. Jeff Driskel has gotten more confident. I think the players around him are more confident in him, and the running game with [Mike] Gillislee has become more solidified. They’re playing a very physical brand of football on the offensive side and defensive side, so those are the biggest differences so far?”

AS: The first BCS standings were released on Sunday and obviously Florida being ranked No. 2 was a major point of argument for some. How do you feel about the Gators deserving that spot in the initial standings and do you really think the BCS is worth arguing about so early in the season?
DH: “I don’t have a problem with it at all. It’s like people need something to argue about and debate about so they talk about the BCS rankings. We’re in the middle of October. If anyone knows anything about football, you understand that this is going to shake itself out. Especially with Florida at No. 2 and Oregon at No. 3. You have Alabama at No. 1 so those teams, if they keep going the way they’re going, one of them is going to cancel the other one out. If this was Nov. 22 or something like that, then we’ll be having a conversation. But like I said, they’re still going to play each other in the SEC Championship if they stay on the same course they are on right now, so what is there to argue about? So no, I don’t have a problem with the BCS rankings whatsoever.”

Read the rest of this Q&A with Desmond Howard…after the break!
Continue Reading » Q&A with College GameDay’s Desmond Howard

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Week 11: Gators post-game news & notes

Losing the Southeastern Conference Eastern division title in pathetic fashion after winning two straight, the Florida Gators (6-4, 4-4 SEC) are searching for answers after dropping their third consecutive home game, this one to the South Carolina Gamecocks (7-3, 5-3 SEC) 36-14. With so much to discuss, OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes following the contest.

MEYER LEFT WITHOUT ANSWERS

After Saturday’s game, head coach Urban Meyer was – to put it succinctly – speechless. Most of the questions he was asked in his post-game press conference were met with responses that provided little or no insight into what he believes needs to be done with this team from this point forward.

On why the offense was so poor: “If I had an answer for that, then we wouldn’t have struggled. Probably the same thing it looked like to you guys – very non-functional deal.”
On how he evaluated redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley’s performance: “About like our offense – just struggled. Our whole offense struggled. I’m not into individual stuff yet, I have to evaluate it.”
On who is the team’s best option at QB: “I can’t answer that right now. John Brantley’s our option at quarterback.”
On what disappointed him the most: “Um…the most disappointing thing? It’s hard for me to start or to let you know that, I probably have to take some in-depth thought right now and I’m not prepared to do that.”
On why the offense can’t deal with the opposition dropping eight and/or blitzing this year unlike previous years: “That’s a good question. I’m not prepared to answer that at this moment. I will be.”

ALL THAT’s LEFT IS WINNING FOR THE SENIORS

Both Meyer and Brantley made it a point after the game to explain that the team needed to keep its head held high and continue competing with maximum effort for the remainder of the season in honor of its dedicated senior class. “A group of seniors – I get emotional over seniors because I love those guys,” Meyer said. “They’ve made Florida football; the last several years have been pretty powerful stuff. I just look at Ahmad Black, [Justin] Trattou, [Duke] Lemmens and [Mike] Pouncey and all those cats right there and just want to make sure we give them the best we can – do the best we can for them.”

Brantley shared a similar sentiment: “These last two games we’re just going to play for these seniors. These seniors have been through a lot here,” he said. “They’ve dedicated their lives to this program. They deserve the best. We got to win these last two games, I think that’s the best we can do for them right now. We’re just going to play our hearts out for them.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Week 11: Gators post-game news & notes

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Blew out: Gamecocks put Gators to sleep 36-14

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer did not plan it like this. He did not expect his team to get trounced at home on Saturday, less than one week after calling for The Swamp to be covered in blue as extra motivation for Florida to win what would have been its 12th Southeastern Conference East division title. Instead what Meyer and the No. 22 Gators (6-4, 4-4 SEC) received was a manhandling by the No. 23 South Carolina Gamecocks (7-3, 5-3 SEC) and head coach Steve Spurrier, who led his team to a 36-14 victory for their first SEC East championship.

Winless in their previous 12 games in Gainesville, FL, South Carolina finally got their first victory in a dominant performance that saw them rush for 239 yards compared to Florida’s 35. Running back Marcus Lattimore accounted for 212 of them on 40 carries while also notching three touchdowns.

The Gators moved away from the three-quarterback offense that did them so well the last two weeks, relying on redshirt junior QB John Brantley the majority of the game. He had arguably his worst performance as a starter, going 16-of-31 for 130 yards and an interception. Brantley did not have much help, however, as Florida’s play calling was suspect and its playmakers were held silent.

In fact, after redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, UF did not score again until redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey took a pass from redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed for a touchdown with 7:12 in the fourth quarter.

Gamecocks QB Stephen Garcia handed his team’s offense well, going 15-of-22 for 156 yards, finding WR Alshon Jeffery six times for 53 yards and keeping 12 balls for 28 yards on the ground and one score.

Florida struggled converting third downs, only doing so twice in 14 tries on the evening, and also had difficulty getting South Carolina off the field letting them convert 50 percent of their attempts (8-of-16). USC outgained UF 395-226 yards and possessed the ball for 40:46 compared to only 19:14 on the other side.

Though the game was seemingly out of reach due to their anemic offense, the Gators also turned the ball over twice late in the game including a tipped Brantley pass that was intercepted and a mishandled handoff from Brantley to junior running back Jeff Demps that was recovered.

UF now hopes to salvage what is left of their season as they take on Appalachian State next week in what will be Florida’s Senior Day – their final home game of the year.

Photo Credit: John Raoux/Associated Press

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Week 11: No. 22 Florida vs. No. 23 South Carolina

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 61°F, clear skies
Time: 7:15 p.m. (EST)

TV: ESPN/ESPNHD
Sirius/XM: 219/199
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 22 FLORIDA GATORS No. 23 USC GAMECOCKS
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Record: 6-3 (4-3) Record: 6-3 (4-3)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -6.5; O/U 51.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series 23-4-3 against South Carolina, are an undefeated 12-0 in Gainesville and 4-1 since Meyer took over.
» In their last three games against the Gamecocks, the Gators have won by an average of 23.3 points including a 56-6 thumping two years ago in The Swamp.
» With a win Saturday, UF would sweep the SEC East for the third straight season and 11th time since divisions were created in 1992. The contest is a de facto SEC East title game with the winner representing the division in the 2010 SEC Championship.
» Florida is tied for the national lead with 17 interceptions on the season. Seven have been returned for more than 30 yards – three for touchdowns.
» UF is back in the BCS, Associated Press and USA Today top 25 after being unranked in all three for the first time under Meyer. The Gators had been listed in every poll since he took over in 2005 until they lost to Mississippi State two weeks ago.
» Florida and South Carolina outrank each other in two of the four major statistical averages. UF is 77th in passing yards (200.4), 51th in rushing yards (158.8), 38th in points scored (31.3) and 23rd in points against (19.6) compared to USC being 39th in passing yards (248.7), 73rd in rushing yards (146.7), 50th in points scored (29.4) and 41st in points against (21.9). Both teams defeated Georgia, Vanderbilt and Tennessee this season, though Florida defeated Kentucky (South Carolina lost 31-28) and the Gators lost to Alabama whom the Gamecocks beat (35-21).
» The Gators’ offense has seen 15 different players overall score a touchdown this year – including defense and special teams.
» Florida is the only school in the nation that has four players with at least three interceptions. Overall, eight Gators have at least one interception.
» UF under Meyer is 41-1 when holding an opponent under 16 points, 29-3 when shutting an opponent out in the fourth quarter, 38-3 when holding an opponent to 35 percent or less on third down, 38-2 when giving up two or less big plays (15-yard run/25-yard pass) and 33-3 when the Gators defense scores or creates three turnovers.
» South Carolina’s Spurrier is arguably the most accomplished coach in Florida history with a 122-27-1 record at the school (most wins in history) along with six SEC titles and a national title. As a player, he won the 1996 Heisman Trophy while playing quarterback.
» Steve Spurrier, Jr., G.A. Mangus and Jamie Speronis were all former Gators coaches; Mangus was also a QB at UF from 1988-91.
» John Brantley and Gamecocks players Antonio Allen and Dion LeCorn all player for Ocala Trinity High School; Brantley was also born in Columbia, S.C.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

FLORIDA
» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who had thrown 156 consecutive passes without an interception dating back to 2009, now has a 8-6 TD/INT ratio this season after throwing two touchdowns last week. He has completed 156-of-251 passes (62.2 percent) for 1,616 yards and has a passer rating of 122.0.
» Freshman QB Trey Burton and redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed…both of whom will spell Brantley at quarterback in Florida’s new three-QB system. Burton set a school record and SEC freshman record by scoring six touchdowns in a single game against Kentucky. He has 10 scores on the season, has played five positions and is second on the team in rushing (55 carries for 278 yards). Reed got his first meaningful snaps behind center last week, going 11-of-19 for 120 yards with a touchdown and a pick. He also ran 16 times for 84 yards with another score.
» Junior running back Jeff Demps…who is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and still leads the Gators in rushing (488 yards) after missing two full games and being limited in four others. He was Florida’s leading rusher in its first five games of the season.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey..who returned to action for the first time in over a month against Georgia and has 23 carries for 108 yards (along with 12 receptions for 118 yards) and two touchdowns this year.
» Sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr.…who is quickly becoming one of Florida’s most important pass catchers. He was the team’s leading receiver against Mississippi State and caught three passes for 46 yards against Georgia and another three passes for 49 yards and a touchdown against Vanderbilt the following week.
» Senior punter Chas Henry…who is the end-all be-all of Florida’s kicking game now that he has taken over for junior Caleb Sturgis (back) as the team’s field goal kicker. Henry had missed five-straight field goal attempts (one negated by penalty) before nailing back-to-back kicks in the fourth quarter and overtime two weeks ago.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted 13 balls this season including one last week against Vanderbilt. Starters senior safety Ahmad Black (three), junior CB Janrois Jenkins (three), redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (three), and junior S Will Hill (three) have accounted for all but one of the unit’s picks.
» Black…who has led Florida in tackles six times this season: vs. LSU (13), Georgia (12), Miami (10), Mississippi State (10), USF (8) and Vanderbilt (4). He is tops on the team overall with 77 tackles, including six for loss.

SOUTH CAROLINA
» WR Alshon Jeffrey…one of the best pass catchers in college who leads the SEC with 114.9 yards and seven touchdowns.
» RB Marcus Lattimore…who ranks second in the SEC in rushing average with 94.0 yards per game to go along with 11 touchdowns.
» QB Stephen Garcia…who has taken over the starting job and thrown for 2,065 yards on 151-of-223 passing with a 14-9 TD/INT ratio. Garcia also has 140 rushing yards on 69 attempts along with four touchdowns.

INJURIES

Active
Junior RB Jeff Demps (foot), redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jaye Howard, redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose (ankle)

Inactives
Redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (broken wrist), junior K Caleb Sturgis (back), sophomore LB Dee Finley (fractured collarbone), freshmen RB Mack Brown, WRs Quinton Dunbar and Chris Dunkley (hamstrings)

FLORIDA ON ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

The match-up between the Gators and Gamecocks will be heavily featured 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. An entire segment of Saturday’s main program will be dedicated specifically to the Florida-South Carolina match-up with video packages and analysis from the show’s three hosts – Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit. The trio – along with a guest – will also be picking the game in the show’s final segment.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. USC Gamecocks preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Week 11: No. 22 Florida vs. No. 23 South Carolina

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11/9: Addazio, players speak to the media

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, and defensive tackles redshirt senior Terron Sanders and redshirt sophomore Omar Hunter spoke to the media Tuesday as the team took a final look back on its win against the Vanderbilt Commodores and ahead to its game against the South Carolina Gamecocks.

THREE-HEADED MONSTER BEHIND CENTER

With redshirt junior starter John Brantley, redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed and freshman Trey Burton all sharing quarterbacking duties these days, Addazio was asked Tuesday if he has ever seen a team employ a similar strategy and why it happens to work for Florida. “No. Three quarterbacks? No, I have not,” he said. “For us it’s working right now, and it’s working because we have some really unselfishness guys who really want all for the team and winning. That’s very evident. It’s created a level of excitement and energy; it’s been a real positive thing for us.”

Though each player has his own specialized plays and duties, managing three signal callers with such unique skills is proving to be a work in progress for the entire coaching staff. “You’re moving a lot of checkers around and that takes a lot of time,” Addazio said. “You got to be exact in your practice time; you have to be exact in things. Systematically it’s a little different routine than what you’ve been accustomed to. Our whole deal has always been trying to get the right pieces in the right places.”

SATURDAY’s BIG GAME WEIGHING ON SENIORS IN GOOD WAY

In addition to playing for the Southeastern Conference Eastern division title on Saturday, the Gators’ senior class will be participating in their last home game of real significance seeing as Florida State is a road game this year. Sanders realizes how important the outcome of the game is not only to the team but also his classmates. “This is a make it or break it game for us,” he said. “As seniors, we don’t want to not make it to the SEC Championship game. It will hurt knowing that we had it right in the grasp of our fingertips and we let it go if we don’t come out and do what we need to do.”

Hunter, who has been wearing the orange and blue for some pretty big games already in his young career, doesn’t think Florida holds any advantage due to the game’s importance. “I think it’s irrelevant. It’s the SEC. Every week is a big game,” he said.

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/9: Addazio, players speak to the media

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