There are Strong issues in college football

Originally written Jan. 30, 2009; edited Oct. 12, 2009

Racism, bigotry, oppression, hate and lack of acceptance are great for the football program at the University of Florida.

Calm down and hold your horses before you pass judgment – let me explain. The Florida Gators do not advocate or support these absurd ideologies – you can now take a breath – but its opponents certainly do.

Otherwise, how can you explain the fact that a man like Charlie Strong has yet to be offered a head coaching job in NCAA Division-IA football? (Sorry, I do not recognize this new B.S. “FBS” designation.)

How can you explain that a man who has been defensive coordinator at one of the best and most talented football programs in the country for eight straight years, finding success under three different head coaches, has not advanced from said position?

Because he buttons the top button of his polo shirts? Please.

How can you explain that one of the best defensive minds in college football – a man who held the “best offense in NCAA history” in the 2008 Oklahoma Sooners to 14 points, did the same in 2006 to the Ohio State Buckeyes, whose defense only gave up more than 21 points in one game in all of 2008 and is now averaging only 6.4 points per game in 2009 – has not been recognized as such?

Because he graduated from the University of Central Arkansas? No way.

How can you explain that one of the best college recruiters (Rivals top 25) to come around the state of Florida (arguably the most talent-rich state in the union) cannot land a head coaching job at a university looking to dive into the aforementioned talent pool?

Because he lost his only game as head coach, the 2004 Peach Bowl (six years ago), by 17 points? Come on…

How can you explain that a man: with 27 years of collegiate coaching experience at major universities (Florida, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Southern Illinois, Texas A&M); who has coached in 19 bowl games (including 12 in January); who has coached under Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer; whose defenses at UF have (a) scored points off turnovers in 41 of 64 games , (b) intercepted 85 passes in five years, (c) ranked first in the SEC and second in the nation in rushing defense the past three seasons [all numbers prior to 2009 season]; and who will soon be the longest tenured defensive coordinator in school history, still has not been given a chance to do for another school what he has done so well at Florida?

Because he is an African-American man.

Because he has a Caucasian wife.

And because he refuses to apologize for either.

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TWO BITS: Meyer sought advice; East-West Shrine

1 » Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer sought the advice of his mentors and fellow coaches in making a decision regarding quarterback Tim Tebow. He spoke with current ESPN analyst Lou Holtz, former Ohio State Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce and two current coaches whose names he kept private. “I learned a lot these past two weeks,” Meyer said.

2 » Tebow, middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, wide receiver Riley Cooper, defensive end Jermaine Cunningham and kick returner Brandon James have been invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL.

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URBAN MEYER to GameDay: “Do these rings count as part of my wardrobe?”

ESPN College GameDay Commercial with Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer:

Meyer plays bocce ball with the GameDay crew, and Kirk Herbstreit offers some unnecessary wardrobe advice.

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Grading the No. 1 Florida Gators game at LSU

Each week following the conclusion of a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive will grade the team position-by-position on how it performed in that match-up. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the LSU Tigers in Death Valley.

QUARTERBACK: A
Tim Tebow was asked to tone it down and be a game manager, something that is not necessarily in his nature. Nevertheless, knowing the significance of the injury he came back from and the wishes of the coaching and medical staff, he did exactly that. An inexplicable interception late was Tebow’s only flaw on the night, and the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback made good throws when they were called.

RUNNING BACKS: A
No huge game-breaking runs from the Gators attack Saturday, but that is not something you can expect against the Tigers. Running back Jeff Demps was a madman, gaining 86 tough yards on 16 carries while Emmanuel Moody took some of the power rushing load off Tebow with six carries for 42 yards of his own. Moody showed up when he was needed the most, and that is what counts.

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SIX BITS: Wrapping up Florida at LSU

1 » While Florida Gators doctors were stressed about the eventual results of quarterback Tim Tebow‘s tests on Saturday, Tebow was more scared Friday afternoon while he was flying into the game. Tebow, a notoriously bad flier, often gets sick on flights – especially when there is a lot of turbulence. “I didn’t get sick, which was a great test for the doctors,” Tebow said. “Honestly, I think God kept me healthy on that plane ride, because most of the time I would probably have gotten sick on that plane ride, and that would have looked bad as far as me playing.”

2 » Saturday night’s game was not all about Tebow, as the Gators have another leader out there on the field. Middle linebacker Brandon Spikes finished with a team-high 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Spikes lined up all over the field, playing both middle and outside linebacker positions as well as at defensive end. “Spikes felt like he got called out earlier in the day on ESPN by (Kirk) Herbstreit. He felt like he got called out, so I guess he stepped up tonight,” senior linebacker Ryan Stamper said.

3 » While Florida made a name for themselves on the ground in Death Valley, the biggest play of the game was through the air when Tebow hooked up with wide receiver Riley Cooper for the game’s only touchdown. “Coop’s a playmaker and we gotta keep going to him,” tight end Aaron Hernandez said. “When we need to take a shot, Coop’s the one to go to.”

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No. 1 Florida Gators take down No. 4 LSU Tigers 13-3 on the road in Death Valley

Senior quarterback Tim Tebow took the field for the No. 1 Florida Gators two weeks after suffering a concussion and wore down Southeastern Conference-rival No. 4 LSU Tigers 13-3 Saturday night in Baton Rouge, LA. While Tebow was able to start for the Gators, it was the Florida defense that stole the show in Death Valley, holding the Tigers to three points and only 162 total yards.

The largest crowd in Tiger Stadium history at 93,129 was no match for a passionate Florida team, which sacked LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson five times and compiled 327 total yards on offense. The Gators (5-0, 3-0) won their 15th straight game while snapping LSU’s (5-1, 3-1) 32-game winning streak at home during Saturday night games.

Florida ran the ball 48 times in the contest, with Tebow grabbing 38 yards on 17 carries and running back Jeff Demps leading the attack, touching the ball 16 times for 86 yards. RB Emmanuel Moody also contributed on the ground, earning 42 yards on six rushes. Through the air, Tebow completed 11 of 16 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown. He also through an inexplicable interception late in the game. Wide receiver Riley Cooper caught the sole touchdown of the game while tight end Aaron Hernandez led the receivers with six receptions for 70 yards.

On special teams, kicker Caleb Sturgis was shaky at best, missing a 25-yard field goal while also kicking a concerning extra point and 32-yarder that both ended up good. Kick returner Brandon James was held silent by punts directed out of bounds and one kickoff that went through the back of the end zone.

LSU’s offense never really got going with running back Charles Scott only touching the ball 13 times for 53 yards. Jefferson was pressured all night long as Florida collapsed the pocket and blitzed from all angles. Gators middle linebacker Brandon Spikes finished with 11 tackles and 2.5 sacks on the evening, and cornerback Joe Haden grabbed an interception at the end of the first half.

The Gators return to Gainesville, FL, next weekend for their homecoming game against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, Oct. 17 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Game time has not been set, though CBS plans to air it either at 3:30 p.m. or as its night game.

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BREAKING NEWS: Florida Gators QB Tim Tebow cleared to play Saturday by team medical staff

No. 1 Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow has been cleared to play by Florida’s medical staff for Saturday night’s game against No. 4 LSU Tigers, according to Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun. Now the decision of whether or not Tebow will play in the game is left up to head coach Urban Meyer, who informed the Sun of Tebow’s clearance. Early Saturday, Meyer told Tom Rinaldi of ESPN during an interview for College GameDay that, “If Tim is ready to play, cleared to play, we’re going to play him.”

Stay with OGGOA throughout the day for an official announcement from Meyer. LIVE updates during Saturday night’s game will be available via OGGOA on twitter.

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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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