11/22: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

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

LONG LIST OF INJURY UPDATES

Though even more Florida players are currently dealing with injuries, Meyer updated the status of a number of guys. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle), redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown (hamstring) and redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones are all listed as probable for Saturday. Freshman defensive tackle Dominique Easley (ankle) is questionable and redshirt sophomore defensive end Earl Okine (concussion) is doubtful. Florida should receive preliminary word on junior CB Janoris Jenkins’ status on Monday after he suffered what was initially deemed a minor concussion over the weekend.

Meyer also noted that the Gators are indeed seeking a medical hardship waiver for kicker Caleb Sturgis, who has already missed seven games this year with a back injury. If it is granted, Sturgis will enter next season as a redshirt junior.

CHAMPIONS

Meyer announced Monday that 19 Gators had earned the designation of Champions after Saturday’s win over the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Offensively, Meyer named senior center Mike Pouncey as his player of the game along with redshirt senior tackle Marcus Gilbert, redshirt senior T Maurice Hurt, redshirt senior guard Carl Johnson, redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, sophomore running back Mike Gillislee, redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks, redshirt freshman G Jon Halapio, redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey, redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed, redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr., redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson and freshman QB Trey Burton as his champions. On the defensive side of the ball, senior LB Brandon Hicks won the POG award, while senior safety Ahmad Black, redshirt junior CB Moses Jenkins, senior DE Duke Lemmens, redshirt senior DT Terron Sanders and freshman DT Sharrif Floyd were champions.

NO MORE PUNISHMENT FOR MOORE

Redshirt senior WR Carl Moore was ejected from Saturday’s game after retaliating during a fight with an opposing player. Meyer said Monday that Florida would not impose another penalty on the player seeing as the standard punishment is missing half of a game and he has already done that. “I had a meeting with him yesterday. We don’t do that, and I’m going to reemphasize that with the team,” Meyer said. The NCAA also decided not to pursue the issue further.

HELPING BRANTLEY IMPROVE

Asked how Brantley needs to improve from this point forward as a quarterback, Meyer said his two biggest issues are getting rid of the ball quickly and knowing when to “burn it” when being blitzed or having no open men downfield. Meyer cited the fact that Brantley being sacked causing a 2nd and 17 puts the Gators in a deeper hole than a simple incompletion on 2nd and 10 would.

He also noted, like he has previously this year, that Brantley (as a dropback passer) needs a strong, big running back and solid tight end play to compliment him. “When you have a quarterback like that, he’s got to be able to hand the ball off. It’s nothing new – it’s been like that for 100 years,” Meyer said. “When you’re limited at tight end and you’re limited at fullback [and you don’t have a big running back], you’re in quicksand. Hand the ball off – play action pass – and then utilize the dropback passing game.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
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Week 12: Florida Gators vs. App. St. Mountaineers

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 76°F, clear skies
Time: 12:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: PPV [Information]
TV Replays: Sun Sports – Sun., Nov. 21 at 8:30 a.m.; Tues., Nov. 23 at 11:00 p.m.
Online Video: ESPN3.com (Outside of Florida only.)
Sirius/XM: 215/200
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS APP. STATE MOUNTAINEERS
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Jerry Moore
Record: 6-4 Record: 9-1
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southern (FCS)
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -23.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida and Appalachian State have never squared off before, but the Gators are 24-2 all-time against Southern Conference opponents.
» Since 2005, UF and ASU have combined for five national championships. The Gators have won two FBS titles (2006, 2008), while the Mountaineers have captured three-straight FCS championships (2005-07).
» Florida has faced three FCS schools since 2006, beating them a combined 194-22. However Appalachian State is easily the best of the bunch, having won six-straight conference titles (2005-10) under Moore’s leadership.
» UF is tied for the national lead with 17 interceptions on the season. Seven have been returned for more than 30 yards – three for touchdowns.
» Florida is back out of the BCS, Associated Press and USA Today top 25 after returning to the rankings two weeks ago. This season is the first time the Gators have been unranked in all three under Meyer. Florida had been listed in every poll since he took over in 2005 until they lost to Mississippi State three weeks ago.
» 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.
» Florida redshirt senior guard Carl Johnson and sophomore right tackle Xavier Nixon are both from North Carolina, while Appalachian State boasts five players from the state of Florida. ASU defensive coordinator Dale Jones was a former UF assistant (1991).

SENIOR DAY

The Gators’ 2010 senior class is one of the winningest classes in SEC history with a 41-10 record in their time in the Orange and Blue. However, that is not the only accomplishment the class has made in the last four years. The senior class also has:

Two National Championships – Three BCS bowl game wins (2010 Sugar Bowl) – Two SEC Championships (three appearances) – Three SEC Eastern Division titles – 29-5 record at The Swamp – 15-1 record vs. rivals (Tennessee, Georgia, FSU and Miami)

* Brandon Antwine – #47 – DT – Garland, Tex.
* Ahmad Black – #35 – SS – Lakeland, Fla.
* Lorenzo Edwards – #26 – LB – Orlando, Fla.
* John Fairbanks – #59 – LS – Celebration, Fla.
* Marcus Gilbert – #76 – LT – Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
* Chas Henry – #17 – P/K – Dallas, Ga.
* Brandon Hicks – #40 – LB – Jacksonville, Fla.
* Maurice Hurt – #74 – T/G – Milledgeville, Ga.
* Carl Johnson – #57 – G – Durham, N.C.
* A.J. Jones – #16 – LB – Tampa, Fla.
* Duke Lemmens – #44 – DE/LB – Westlake Village, Calif.
* Lawrence Marsh – #90 – DT – Augusta, Ga.
* Emmanuel Moody – #21 – RB – Coppell, Tex.
* Carl Moore – #9 – WR – Rancho Cordova, Calif.
* Mike Pouncey – #55 – C – Lakeland, Fla.
* Terron Sanders – #92 – DT – Bradenton, Fla.
* Justin Trattou – #94 – DE – Ramsey, N.J.
* Justin Williams – #7 – WR – Folkston, Ga.
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* Gary Beemer – #61 – DT – Valrico, Fla.
* Miguel Carodine – #41 – S – Gainesville, Fla.
* Eugene Minchin – #33 – LB – Gainesville, Fla.
* Shawn Schmieder – #70 – DT – Jacksonville, Fla.
* Solomon Schoonover – #29 – WR – Aventura, Fla.

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 8-7 TD/INT ratio this season after throwing an interception last week. He has completed 172-of-282 passes (61.0 percent) for 1,746 yards and has a passer rating of 117.4.
» 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 (56 carries for 279 yards). Reed got his first meaningful snaps behind center two weeks, 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 five 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 28 carries for 140 yards (along with 16 receptions for 150 yards) and three touchdowns this year.
» Redshirt freshman WR/kick returner Andre Debose…who set a school single-season record with his second kickoff return touchdown last week. With an 88-yard return against LSU and a 99-yard return against South Carolina, he is the only freshman nationally with two in 2010 and one of only two players nationally with two in 2010. He is one of the reasons why the Gators rank No. 5 nationally and No. 1 in the SEC in kickoff returns with a 26.1 average.
» 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 three weeks ago.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted 13 balls this season. 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 seven times this season: vs. South Carolina (career-high 16), LSU (13), Georgia (12), Miami (10), Mississippi State (10), USF (8) and Vanderbilt (4). He is tops on the team overall with 93 tackles, including nine for loss.

APPALACHIAN STATE
» QB DeAndre Presley…who has passed for 2,066 yards and 17 touchdowns with only four interceptions this season while simultaneously leading his team on the ground with 727 rushing yards.
» WR Brian Quick…who has a team-high 36 catches for 685 yards and seven TDs.
» Linebacker D.J. Smith, defensive tackle Jabari Fletcher and CB Mark LeGree…who lead the team with 108 tackles, seven sacks and five interceptions, respectively.

INJURIES

Active/Probable: Junior RB Jeff Demps (foot), sophomore RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring), redshirt sophomore DT Jaye Howard (ankle), sophomore LB Jon Bostic (bruised sternum)
Inactives: Redshirt senior LB A.J. Jones, 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)

Catch the Gators’ 11th game of the season live on television on pay-per-view, via the radio or through OGGOA‘s live updates on Twitter.
 

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11/8: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

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

SUNDAY FUNDAY = BLUE-OUT SATURDAY

During his weekly Florida Football with Urban Meyer post-game program on Sunday, Meyer looked back at the team’s victory against the Vanderbilt Commodores with great pride – especially for the fans. “Gator Nation covered that stadium. We came rolling in there at 9:00 in the morning – orange and blue everywhere,” he said. “I even heard one of our players say, ‘You know you took over a stadium when they’re doing the wave’ – the orange and blue people. It was great, and I want to thank them.

“This team – we’re not a great team – but we’re getting better, getting better in all areas. I admire guys that fight, show toughness, come together as a team and give everything for their university. I’ve never really done this, but I want to make this the most intense stadium in the history of Florida football this Saturday. This is for the SEC [East] Championship. Get there early. I want everybody to wear blue – head-to-toe – including our players. Let’s make this one of those ones, when you get those great books about Florida Gator history, let’s put this down in there as one of the great weekends in Florida football history.

“November in Gainesville playing for a championship, this is why we’re all here. Once again, I’m going to go on record – I want this to be the most intense week in Florida football history. Let’s wear blue, let’s make this place nuts, let’s have a lot of fun with this, and let’s show up and make this one of the ones you put this right in the history books as one of the great days in Florida football history.”

STATUS / INJURY UPDATES

Discussing Saturday that freshman defensive tackle Dominique Easley was basically in the coaching staff’s doghouse and did not travel with the team to Vanderbilt, Meyer said Monday that he is still with the team but “has got to do things we ask him to do” in order to get back involved. He is confident that everything will be worked out in the end.

» Junior running back Jeff Demps – will play Saturday, how much is not yet known
» Redshirt sophomore DT Jaye Howard – “promising” that he will be able to play
» Redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan – seeing a specialist on his wrist due to an ongoing problem, likely out for the season
» Junior kicker Caleb Sturgis – out

CHAMPIONS

Meyer announced Monday that 18 Gators had earned the designation of Champions after Saturday’s win over the the Commodores. Offensively, Meyer named redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed as his most valuable player along with redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey, freshman quarterback Trey Burton, redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr., senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson, redshirt senior tackle Marcus Gilbert, redshirt senior guard Maurice Hurt, redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks, sophomore RB Mike Gillislee, freshman TE Gerald Christian and redshirt freshman G Jonotthan Harrison as his champions. On the defensive side of the ball, freshman DT Sharrif Floyd won the MVP award, while redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins, redshirt senior DT Terron Sanders, redshirt sophomore defensive end Lerentree McCray, redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones and senior LB Brandon Hicks were champions.

Rainey also earned the Southeastern Conference‘s Special Teams Player of the Week award for his two blocked punts against Vanderbilt.

LEAK > SPURRIER?

When discussing redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley on Monday, Meyer said as an aside that former starter Chris Leak was one of the top three signal callers in school history. Asked to evaluate that statement later, Meyer said, “I go champion – champion – champion,” when judging quarterbacks, rather than worrying about who has won the Heisman Trophy. That puts Leak over current South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier…at least in Meyer’s book.

QUOTES (After the break…)
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10/25: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

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

FOUR AREAS OF CONCERN BEING ADDRESSED

Like last week, Meyer made mention of four particular areas in which Florida is struggling and needs drastic improvement in order to turn around their season. Specifically, he said the Gators must hold onto the ball (high turnover rate), return to making big plays (only four from the running game this season), complete more passes and be more efficient in the red zone. These are all glaring issues he has seen while watching tape.

“In the last three games we’ve had five interceptions and three fumbles. The way I have always evaluated turnovers is I put it with carelessness and toughness.” Meyer said. “Fundamentals fall underneath carelessness. We’ve had more turnovers this year than we had all of ’08 already.” He continues, “Our running backs have accounted for four [big plays] for the year. Just to give in relative terms, we had five in one game last year against FSU. So that tells you a lack of production. None in the last five games from the running back position.”

HEALED INJURIES PROVIDE HOPE

Though Meyer said that redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose is questionable for the Georgia game with an ankle injury, he is relatively confident that juniors running back Jeff Demps (foot) and kicker Caleb Sturgis (back) will be able to play. Demps, Meyer said, “ran on the treadmill, he’s going to practice 20-25 snaps today.” Sturgis missed three weeks with a severely injured back he had been struggling with early in the season. Senior punter Chas Henry has been filling in for him; he made two field goals against Alabama but has missed every other attempt since. “Good news on Sturgis,” Meyer said. “We’re going to try him this week, see what happens.”

RAINEY READY TO RETURN?

Redshirt junior WR Chris Rainey, who had been suspended from the team for a month, was reinstated last week by Meyer on a provisional basis. During the Southeastern Conference teleconference last Wednesday, Meyer said Rainey would be eligible for the Georgia game but would not play unless he met specific requirements laid out by the coaching staff and administration. He reiterated that fact Monday, noting that a decision on Rainey’s availability will be made on Thursday. He has been practicing with the team for two weeks and was on the sidelines in normal clothes for the Mississippi State game.

MEYER INVOLVED IN PLAYCALLING

Brushing off whether or not playcalling is an issue for the Gators, Meyer said he evaluates every play that is called each week. “We don’t have a bad play. I don’t allow that. That’s kind of my job,” he said. “There’s no such thing as saying, ‘Boy, that’s a bad play.’ It might look awful because someone doesn’t block the right guy or someone doesn’t execute. So I go back to efficiency. I evaluate every play called. I do that every week. Is there times where I would have liked to run this as opposed to this? Yeah. Is it a bad play? There’s not a bad play that goes into a game. It’s poorly executed because we didn’t efficiently practice it.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
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Week 6: Gators post-game news and notes

Continuing a season of ups-and-downs, the No. 22/22 Florida Gators (4-2, 2-2 SEC) lost their second-straight game on Saturday, this time to the No. 9/9 LSU Tigers (6-0, 4-0 SEC) at home at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. With so much to discuss, OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes.

BRANTLEY MORE HURT THAN LET ON?

Though the coaching staff downplayed his injuries all week, redshirt junior starting quarterback John Brantley was dealing with a number of issues going into the game, reports ESPN’s Joe Shad. According to a “source close to the quarterback,” Brantley has “hairline fractures in four ribs and wore a reinforced protective vest in the game.” Apparently Brantley also has a small fracture in his thumb and was unable to throw on Thursday and Friday because of shoulder issues that resulted from him “overcompensating for the rib injury early in the week.”

Playing injured, Brantley still managed to complete two-thirds of his passes for 154 yards but did give up an interception on a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage. His offensive line did not provide him much help throughout the night, allowing him to be sacked three times and roughed up on a number of other plays.

Brantley continues to refute this report, stating that his ribs are neither cracked nor fractured and that his thumb is just sprained.

DEFENSE SHREDDED BY RUN, PASS

Going into the game LSU’s offense was labeled as questionable with a strong running game but a two-quarterback system that did not have a truly great passer. The Tigers were successful on both the ground and through the air on Saturday, rushing for 161 yards including 88 from starting running back Stevan Ridley and 50 from starting QB Jordan Jefferson; Jefferson and QB Jarrett Lee also matched Brantley’s completion percentage while tossing for a combined 224 yards and two touchdowns. Part of LSU’s success was due to the superior play of wide receiver Terrance Tolliver, who roasted Florida’s secondary to the tune of six receptions for 111 yards and two touchdowns including the game-winner. The Tigers had long scoring drives of 40, 77, 39, 38 and 62 yards on the evening.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOT-SO SPECIAL

In a game where Gators redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, one would think the special teams would be a standout unit. Unfortunately senior punter/kicker Chas Henry missed two makeable field goals on one drive (the first was negated due to a LSU holding penalty), Debose botched the handling of the game’s initial kickoff and junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins drew an unacceptable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by spiking by the ball after running a punt back out near midfield (the punt was already coming back due to a block in the back call, Jenkins’ penalty made it worse).

That is not to mention the field goal unit either being unprepared for or failing to contain Tigers kicker Jordan Jasper on his fake field goal in the waning moments of the game.

MOORE BREAKS OUT, FINALLY

Though he has been clutch all season with his third- and fourth-down conversions, Florida redshirt senior WR Carl Moore hand a standout performance Saturday. He caught four balls for 95 yards including a huge 51-yard third down conversion on the team’s final scoring drive that was the Gators’ longest completion of the season and a career-high catch for Moore.

INJURIES (AND A TURNOVER)

With junior RB Jeff Demps surprisingly being held out of the game with a sprained foot, Florida relied on redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody and sophomore Mike Gillislee to carry the load. Moody responded by giving up a fumble after a 17-yard gain as the Gators were trying to put some point on the board at the end of the first half. Gillislee ended up hurting himself and only carried the ball six times for 20 yards with a touchdown. In fact, freshman QB Trey Burton (who had 30 yards alone on one scoring drive) ended up leading the team with nine rushes for 35 yards and a score.

In another adjustment, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio shifted his starting line around sitting sophomore right tackle Xavier Nixon who has been dealing with a knee injury (and did not have a great week of practice). Redshirt freshman right guard Jon Halapio started instead with redshirt senior Maurice Hurt shifting over to fill Nixon’s tackle position. That would not last for long, however, as Halapio broke a finger in the second quarter and replaced on the line by Nixon with Hurt moving back to guard.

Redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson was also hurt early in the fourth quarter and did not return to the game. Freshman safety Matt Elam was also knocked around late into the contest. Both players are suspected to have suffered concussions.

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

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