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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Florida Gators 2010 Fall Practice Preview

Thursday begins fall practice for the Florida Gators, and the team will be going into the 2010-11 season with more questions than answers for the first time in recent memory. From reserves taking over as starters to freshmen trying to make an impact right away, head coach Urban Meyer and his revamped coaching staff will be taking a close look at each and every player stepping on the field over the next few weeks

OGGOA is here to provide you with a preview of exactly what you should watch for and pay attention to, even though practice is closed to both the media and public.

Check out players who are stepping up, fighting for their jobs and trying to break out, as well as notable freshman who hope to make an impact…after the break!
Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2010 Fall Practice Preview

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Addazio “really jacked up about” Gators in 2010

Flying into West Palm Beach, FL, for a Gator Gathering with the Palm Beach County Gator Club on Monday evening, Florida Gators offensive coordinator Steve Addazio was anything but tired from a long day’s work. He gave a passionate and informative speech and answered questions for over 90 minutes before departing. Below is a recap of some of the more newsworthy, interesting and passionate things that Addazio had to say during the event:

Check out much of what Addazio had to say Monday…after the break!
Continue Reading » Addazio “really jacked up about” Gators in 2010

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TWO BITS: Patchan recovering, SEC replays in HD

1 » Florida Gators sophomore offensive tackle Matt Patchan has had a tough time getting on the field since his arrival in Gainesville, FL. Suffering a gunshot in his shoulder before donning the Orange and Blue, Patchan also dealt with a bout of mono, right shoulder surgery and a torn left pectoral muscle early in his career. Then, he injured his knee after falling off of a scooter and pulled a hamstring. It looked like he would finally be healthy for the 2009 season, and he was until tearing his ACL after the fourth game of the season. Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel reports that Patchan is doing well and should be able to return to action this year even though he will not be participating in spring practice beginning March 17. “He just needs to get better,” his father Matt Patchan, Sr. told Fowler. “After that, everything will take care of itself and he can act naturally on the field. But we’re very pleased with how the knee has responded.”

2 » In order to reduce the gray area in the “indisputable video evidence” clause in the NCAA rulebook, the Southeastern Conference has decided to add high definition televisions to its instant replay booths beginning with the 2010 college football season. The Big Ten and Big 12 have joined the SEC in adding HDTVs, while the ACC is still considering it. “I think it’s a good move,” said national coordinator of football officials David Perry. “Sometimes a guy at home with high definition was getting a better view of the replay than the guy in the stadium at the booth.”

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FOUR BITS: Heisman, Big Board, Keys, Redshirts

1 » Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow continues to gain ground in the Scripps Howard Heisman Trophy poll. Accounting for five touchdowns and 311 total yards on Saturday, Tebow now holds the No. 2 spot on the list, earning three first-place votes. Ahead of Tebow is Texas Longhorns QB Colt McCoy (5), while Stanford Cardinal RB Toby Gerhart (2), Houston Cougars QB Case Keenum (0) and Alabama Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram (0) round out the top five. Ingram led the poll the last three weeks. Voting tabulations are made on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis, with each voter ranking a top five.

2 » Skyrocketing up ESPN analyst Mel Kiper’s NFL Draft Big Board all season, junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap has fallen back to earth after his recent DUI arrest. Dunlap dropped 14 spots from No. 3 last week to No. 17 on Wednesday. Also on the list are junior cornerback Joe Haden – a “polished cover corner with tackling ability to match” – who is up to No. 7 after holding down the No. 9 spot last week, and junior tight end Aaron Hernandez brand new to the list at No. 19. Kiper says Hernandez has “great hands and excellent run-after-catch skills for a TE.” Noticeably absent from the board for a second-straight week is senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, who last appeared at No. 25 on Nov. 18.

3 » ESPN Insider and Football Outsiders are featuring the five keys to the Florida vs. Alabama game. While OGGOA cannot reprint the article, here is the gist of it. The five keys and teams with the potential advantage for each are as follows: Yards Per Play (Florida – 6.8 vs. 6.0), Sack Rates (Alabama – 3.9% vs. 10.5%), Second Quarter (Push), Turnover Battle (Push), Field Position Advantage (Florida – 14th vs. 25th).

4 » The Orlando Sentinel reports that redshirt senior safety Dorian Munroe will apply for a medical redshirt and expects it to be granted by the NCAA. Junior cornerback Moses Jenkins, sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan and senior transfer WR Carl Moore have all been granted medical redshirts so far in 2009.

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Xavier Nixon may start at LT for Gators on Sat.

Speaking to the press Tuesday, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer said five-star freshman offensive tackle Xavier Nixon could start (or at least see significant playing time) Saturday afternoon against the Georgia Bulldogs.

“He’s going to be a really good player,” Meyer said of Nixon. “After watching today’s practice, he went against [defensive end] Carlos Dunlap on a few plays, he had his best practice.”

The promotion of Nixon has a lot to do with the play of left guard James Wilson and current left tackle Carl Johnson, who is better suited to play inside. The coaching staff seems to believe moving Johnson back to his more natural position and ousting Wilson from the starting unit could solve some of Florida’s blocking woes that have sprouted up in recent weeks.

Sophomore Matt Patchan, who was expected to compete with Johnson for the left tackle spot and probably would have won it by now, is out for the season with a torn ACL. While playing Nixon could be a fix, does the coaching staff have that much confidence in the freshman to have the first major game of his career come against Georgia?

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Gators football Tuesday 10/20 injury update

Florida Gators seniors, middle linebacker Brandon Spikes (groin, Achilles tendonitis) and defensive end Jermaine Cunningham (groin), both sat out practice on Tuesday. On Monday, head coach Urban Meyer told reporters Spikes is probable for Saturday’s game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Meyer confirmed on Tuesday that both Spikes and Cunningham are probable, so one would assume they were just being given extra time to rest and rehab.

Also off to the side on Tuesday were redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jaye Howard (knee), junior DE Justin Trattou (biceps tendon) and redshirt junior DT Lawrence Marsh (ankle). Meyer said he is hopeful that Howard will be able to play Saturday, while Marsh and Trattou both remain doubtful.

As far as players who have already been ruled out for the 2009 season, freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (hamstring) is expected to be able to participate in spring practice while sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (torn ACL) has been ruled out but should be able to return for summer practice.

Additional note: Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, speaking to reporters about his running backs after Tuesday’s practice, noted that he was becoming more and more impressed with the play of redshirt junior Emmanuel Moody. It was noted that Moody saw limited action Saturday because the Arkansas Razorbacks were forcing runs to the edges while Florida prefers to run Moody up the middle. However, Addazio added as a caveat that he also had two other good tailbacks (alluding to sophomore Jeff Demps and redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey) on the team.

Special thanks to Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel and Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post for some of the information contained in this post.

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Week 6: No. 1 Florida Gators at No. 4 LSU Tigers

Location: Tiger Stadium – Baton Rouge, LA [Capacity: 92,400]
Time: 8:00 p.m. (EST)
Weather Forecast: 72-65°F – 40% chance of precipitation

TV: CBS-HD
Sirius XM: XM 215 (Gators), XM 214 (Tigers)

Florida Gators LSU Tigers
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Les Miles
Record: 4-0 (2-0) Record: 5-0 (3-0)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC West
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -9, O/U 45.5
Head-to-Head Stats: Gainesville Sun

KEEP AN EYE ON…
- 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.
- Wide receiver Deonte Thompson…who makes his return to the Gators after injuring his hamstring against the Troy Trojans in the second week of the season. With Thompson out and both WR Riley Cooper and tight end Aaron Hernandez ill a few weeks ago, Florida’s receiving core is finally healthy and looking to break out.
- LSU Tigers running back Charles Scott…who had season highs of 19 carries and 95 yards last week against Georgia. The Tigers want to get him more involved.
- The winner of the Florida/LSU game…who has gone on to win the National Championship each of the last three seasons.

STREAKS:
- The Gators are in the middle of their longest winning streak in school history with 14 consecutive victories. They also hold the longest active winning streak in the NCAA.
- Florida holds a 29-23-3 series lead over LSU in 55 all-time meetings.
- The Tigers have won 32 consecutive Saturday night games in Tiger Stadium, a streak that has been going on since 2002.
- LSU is listed as an underdog for only the fourth time in the last nine seasons when playing at home. The Tigers are winless in their last three meetings as home underdogs.
- Since joining the Gators, head coach Urban Meyer has a 6-1 record against opponents ranked in the top five and a 10-2 streak against top 10 teams.
- When ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, Florida is 18-4 all-time. LSU is 2-8-1 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll.

Read OGGOA’s complete Florida at LSU GameDay preview after the jump…

Continue Reading » Week 6: No. 1 Florida Gators at No. 4 LSU Tigers

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