Women’s football clinic was one for the books

Long-time OGGOA reader Jennifer contacted us last week and offered to share with our readers her experience at the Florida Gators’ annual Women’s Football Clinic hosted this year for the first time by new head coach Will Muschamp. Below is her account from the exciting day (pictures included).

I heard about this event about a year ago and always thought it sounded interesting. After rounding up a couple of friends, we registered and were off to Gainesville. The day started in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. After checking in, where we were given a t-shirt and small goodie bag, we were free to roam around the ballroom and meet the coaches. Even though I am a huge sports and Gators fan, with all of the new coaching changes, the only coaches I could recognize at first were Coach Muschamp, [linebackers/special teams coach] D.J. Durkin and [defensive coordinator] Dan Quinn. As we walked around we got autographs, took pictures and briefly chatted with the assistant coaches and grad assistant coaches. All were very friendly and seemed pumped up about the day’s activities.

One coach stood out among our favorites for his personality and friendliness, which only got better throughout the day. That was tight ends coach Derek Lewis. He was funny, saying a few times to the ladies throughout the morning and during some of the presentations that “tight ends” really are a football position. Another of our favorites was [wide receivers coach] Aubrey Hill, who when we took pictures with him, told us to “bring it in tight” and pulled us close for a picture with a huge smile on his face.

After mingling with the coaches in attendance, we proceeded to buy some raffle tickets and then moved over to the longest line, which was the opportunity to get a professional picture take with Coach Muschamp. We weren’t allowed to get his autograph or take our own pictures here, but many had the opportunity to do so later in the day as he was walking around. Also in attendance were Muschamp’s two boys and his wife, though they weren’t introduced to the crowd.

Everyone took their seats and the crowd got to listen to Coach Muschamp. It was similar to what you reported from the local Gator Gatherings. Then the crowd was given the opportunity to ask questions. He said why a few of the coaches couldn’t make it that day including [offensive coordinator] Charlie Weis, who he said had knee replacement surgery on Wednesday, and Mickey Marotti, who had a family obligation and “family comes first.” Coach Muschamp said he finished moving to Gainesville on Thursday and jokingly added that he still had lots of extra boxes, if anyone had extra time.

Read the rest of Jennifer’s story from the clinic including a few interesting details related to the football team…after the break!
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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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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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11/1: Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference

Think Saturday’s win meant something to Meyer?

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.

CHAMPIONS AND AWARDS

After three consecutive losses and an overall lack of things to celebrate post-game, a tough win allowed Meyer to announce that 17 Gators had earned the designation of Champions after Saturday’s win over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Offensively, Meyer named redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey, freshman quarterback Trey Burton and redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. as his most valuable players along with senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt junior QB John Brantley, redshirt senior guard Carl Johnson, redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson, redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed, redshirt senior tackle Marcus Gilbert, redshirt freshman guard Jon Halapio and redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks as his champions. On the defensive side of the ball, junior safety Will Hill won the MVP award, while senior safety Ahmad Black, junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins, redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins, and senior defensive ends Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens were champions.

The Southeastern Conference honored senior punter/kicker Chas Henry with its Co-Special Teams Player of the Week award and Burton with its Tri-Freshman of the Week award on Monday. Henry was 2-of-3 on his field goal attempts including a 37-yard game winner, and Burton rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown.

IMPROVEMENT IN FOUR DEFICIENT AREAS

One week ago, Meyer mentioned four particular areas in which Florida was struggling on offense and needed to drastically improve on in order to turn around the season. Here is how the Gators fared in those four areas against the Bulldogs:

1. Turnovers – 4-to-1 ratio with Brantley’s interception coming when sophomore WR Omarius Hines quit running a route.
2. Big plays – Florida had five against Georgia after none in the previous five games combined – a big turnaround.
3. Pass efficiency – UF’s quarterbacks were 30 points more efficient (120) than average.
4. Red zone efficiency – The Gators converted 5-of-6 red zone opportunities with a miscue coming on a missed field goal by Henry on the first offensive drive of the game.

OFFENSE REBOUNDS, DEFENSE CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE

While the offense spent two weeks of practice being retooled and streamlined, the defense’s goal during the bye week was figuring out how to get off the field on third down. Mississippi State ran the ball down Florida’s throats in its upset victory two weeks ago, and Georgia accomplished a similar feat through the air. Meyer was blunt when speaking about what had to be improved on that side of the ball.

“We’re not playing great defense. It’s just the way it is. We’re not and we have to improve,” he said. “Does that mean we didn’t have some great efforts? We certainly created turnovers and short fields, which our defense has done a decent job of all year. Back to compartmentalize – it’s third downs and red zone. We were 3-of-3 [in red zone scores] we gave up and third downs are not good.”

Asked if he will reevaluate the defense the same as he did the offense, Meyer responded: “I just don’t have time. I’ve never done that. These are the issues, get them cleaned up immediately. We have very good coaches. We just got to clean up a few things because at times we play outstanding defense. It’s getting off the field that has been a situation for us.”

GAME BALL TO MR. ANDREU

To begin his press conference, Meyer handed a game ball to long-time Gainesville Sun writer Robbie Andreu, whose father passed away in October. Today, Nov. 1, also happens to have been his father’s birthday. Best wishes from OGGOA.

QUOTES (After the break…)
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10/7: Florida Gators week six practice notes

No. 12/14 Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s sixth game of the 2010-11 season on Saturday against the No. 9/12 LSU Tigers. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.

BRANTLEY WAS LIMITED BUT IS “FINE NOW”

Early in the week rumors surfaced that redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley was questionable for Saturday’s game against LSU after injuring his ribs against Alabama. Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio shot down those reports Tuesday, saying Brantley was “doing great” though he was “a little sore…just like every game.” Meyer expanded on Brantley’s limitations Thursday, noting that he was actually unable to throw the ball for a part of the week. “On the injury front, Brantley’s good,” he said. “He was limited mostly, well, throwing. So we would have another guy go in and throw the ball for him a little bit [because] his ribs were so sore, but he’s fine now.” Meyer insisted that Brantley will be ready to go Saturday without limitations.

TIME HAS COME FOR PLAYMAKERS, EXTRA PROTECTION

Asked whether or not it was time for the coaching staff to push guys like redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose and freshman running back Mack Brown onto the field for increased playing time and touches, Meyer smiled and appeared to provide a genuine response. “Uh-huh. It’s that time. It’s been that time for a while,” he said nodding emphatically. “[Debose is] getting better. He’s getting better.”

And while those playmakers may see the field a bit more, Meyer also received word that he would be getting back one of his favorite offensive players, redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks. Finally recovered from a back injury, Wilks has been cleared to play and will be in action on Saturday. “That’s good news for us that he came back and had a great week of practice,” Meyer boasted. “Great attitude. He’s a good player. He’s like Billy Latsko, he’s just one of those football position guys. Very smooth player. He’s not a home run hitter or anything like that but he’s a guy that gets in your way and blocks you and knows the offense real well.”

OTHER INJURY UPDATES

Though junior RB Jeff Demps “still is limited,” according to Meyer, he is expected to “be at the same tempo he was last week against Alabama” for Saturday’s contest. While the news seems positive for him and sophomore RB Mike Gillislee, the same cannot be said for some other Gators.

Redshirt senior defensive tackle Brandon Antwine will remain out of action, freshman WR Chris Dunkley’s hamstring is “acting up, so he’s not going to be ready either for a couple more weeks,” and freshman WR Quinton Dunbar recently tweaked his hamstring in practice as well. When speaking about the injuries, Meyer noted that Dunbar “was getting better” and called Dunkley “my man.”

Also remaining on the sidelines is junior kicker Caleb Sturgis, who has been replaced by senior punter Chas Henry. “Caleb’s getting better. He won’t kick Saturday,” Meyer said. “I kind of like what our man did, Chas. Caleb’s getting better and he’s feeling better. I’m not sure the timetable because it’s actually is a stress fracture.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
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9/20-21: Florida footballers speak to the media

A number of Florida Gators players spoke to the media on Monday and Tuesday as the team takes a look back on its 31-17 road victory over the Tennessee Volunteers and ahead to its match-up against the Kentucky Wildcats at home on Saturday.

Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, senior safety Ahmad Black, redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown, redshirt senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders, senior defensive end Duke Lemmens, senior linebacker Brandon Hicks, redshirt freshman LB Jelani Jenkins and freshman QB Trey Burton all had plenty to say…which you can read after the break!
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8/17: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators is in the midst of their second week of fall practice and, while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur Tuesday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

INJURIES PILING UP

Redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks will miss about a month after having surgery on his back last week. He is expected to make a full recovery. Sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon (ankle) is sitting out while his main competition, redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan (wrist), is back working out. Like Nixon, redshirt senior defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh (hamstring) is currently recovering and listed as day-to-day. Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey (accelerated heartbeat) is at full speed, and though junior running back Jeff Demps has missed a few practices with a concussion, he is back, too.

MORE STRIPES COME OFF

Freshmen offensive tackle Ian Silberman and tight end Gerald Christian both had their black helmet stripes removed on Tuesday. That now makes 10 frosh who are stripe-less with 16 more to go.

POWELL TAKING A WHILE

With freshmen DTs Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley and safety Matt Elam impressing early, defensive end Ronald Powell is bringing up the rear in terms of development for arguably the team’s top four 2010 recruits. “Powell’s a little bit behind [Floyd and Easley], but he’s coming on,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “He gained a little weight, because he wants to be bigger. We’re trying to knock a few pounds off him.”

QUOTES

Meyer on sophomore S Will Hill’s improvement: “Night and day. There were a lot of issues. We’ve got 105 guys and he was a guy that drank the poison, or whatever you want to call it. Now he’s going as hard as we’ve ever had a safety go around here, and he’s doing really well. He and [co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach] Chuck Heater have a good little deal going on back there. His position coach is real strong. Everyone knows Heater. He handles things a certain way and expects great effort and great performance on- and off-the-field. We’re starting to see that now with him.”

Meyer on defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Teryl Austin’s effect on junior CB Janoris Jenkins: “The same thing you see from our safeties. We have a big saying around here: ‘power of the unity.’ That’s a unit that’s really going well and [Jenkins] is the leader. Night and day. You’re going to see a really good player this season. He’s no nonsense. He’s just 100 percent all the time. It’s a credit to his position coach. Change is good. The transition is good. Janoris is the man there and he knows it.”

Meyer on S Jordan Haden transferring: “Jordan’s a great young man. […] When you have that name on the back of your jersey, that’s darn near Tebow-ish. That’s Pouncey-ish. When you start talking about the name, there’s an expectation level that is sometimes not fair. […] I was worried about that when we first started recruiting him because those are tough shoes to fill right there. But he’ll be fine, and we’ll help him do all we can.”

Meyer on the WRs as a whole:Deonte [Thompson] is there, Carl Moore’s there. I’m hoping Omarius Hines gets there real soon. Quinton Dunbar is darn close – that kid’s good. Andre Debose is struggling – just dead legs right now, but he’s coming back.”

Meyer clarifying Hines’ role on the team: “He’s not a tight end, he’s a movement guy. […] We’re kind of created a position in the last few years, the ‘Percy [Harvin] position’ and the ‘Aaron Hernandez position,’ and if you have that, you can be dynamic. I think he’s got that kind of ability. He’s doing well.”

Special thanks to the Palm Beach Post and The Gainesville Sun for the above quotes.

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Gators spring practice news and notes – 04/09

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at the team’s practice from Fri., April 9.

Absences/Injuries:
» Redshirt sophomore defensive end Earl Okine came down with a fever and was allowed to miss practice; he also will not play in the 2010 Orange & Blue Debut.

» Redshirt sophomore cornerback Adrian Bushell, once again, was not at practice. Things are not looking good for his future on the team. By my count he has made two practices all spring. No way he plays Saturday.

Practice happenings:
» Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose had the most highlight-filled day, making plenty of catches, running crisp routes and drawing a gasp from the crowd on one particular play. Debose made an amazing catch in the back of the end zone on a pass from redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley. He leapt in the air over junior safety Will Hill, caught the ball, fell down horizontally while getting hit and held onto the ball. Unfortunately, he was out of bounds. Maybe he will play Saturday…

» Both redshirt senior WR Carl Moore and redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks came out to the practice field without helmets. Probably just for precautionary reasons.

» With the final scrimmage of spring on Saturday, Friday’s practice was mostly just a walk-through to get the players loose and ready.

Other notes:
» In attendance: Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress, WR Percy Harvin, QB Chris Leak, five-star defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, five-star defensive end Ronald Powell. Childress has meetings scheduled with a number of Gators players eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft.

» Over 200 high school coaches were in attendance as part of Florida’s annual coaches clinic. Childress will be the featured speaker at the ceremony Friday evening. The coaches were allowed to walk around the field during practice and speak with the Gators’ staff. Representatives from the NCAA were in attendance just to make sure nothing fishy went on (standard operating procedure).

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