Grading the Florida Gators vs. South Florida game

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive grades the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the South Florida Bulls in the second game of the 2010-11 season, which took place at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

QUARTERBACKS: B-
Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley played better Saturday than he did last week against Miami (OH), so why only a half-grade improvement? Following up a performance in which he completed 68 percent of his passes, Brantley’s accuracy fell 10 percent even though he gained almost 60 more yards through the air and once again passed for two scores. Brantley did do a better job finding open pass catchers and spread the ball around a bit more, but he has plenty to improve on in the coming weeks.

RUNNING BACKS: A
As a team, the Gators rushed for 267 yards on Saturday, and three running backs with multiple attempts averaged over 7.3 yards per carry. Junior Jeff Demps was the star of the game, rushing 11 times for 139 yards and a touchdown with a long of 62 and average of 12.6. Take away his breakaway run, and Demps still averaged 7.7 YPC. Redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody put on a respectable performance (especially in the second half) with 14 carries for 54 yards (3.9 average), sophomore Mike Gillislee had four powerful carries for 29 yards (7.3 average) and a score, and freshman Mack Brown even saw some action with three rushes for 23 yards (7.7 average).

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the USF game after the jump…
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Week 2: Gators post-game news and notes

Bouncing back from a lackluster showing during the first game of the 2010-11 season, the No. 6/8 Florida Gators ran down the South Florida Bulls 38-14 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. With so much to discuss following the contest, OGGOA presents some of the most important notes and quotes coming out of The Swamp.

RAINEY OUT WITH CONCUSSION

Named by head coach Urban Meyer before the season as one of the Gators’ primary offensive weapons, redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey was knocked out of the game Saturday with a concussion. Rainey had only touched the ball three times prior to heading off the field, and his status for next week’s game at Tennessee is unknown, though Meyer seemed optimistic.

SNAPPING OUT OF “DISASTER MISTAKES”

After a week in which Florida struggled with one of the simplest aspects of the game – snapping the ball – senior center Mike Pouncey and redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley were back in sync and playing well together. Pouncey did have some errant snaps during the Gators’ first two series, one of which Brantley mishandled and fumbled, but overall the problems were corrected and UF’s offense was able to proceed free of easy miscues.

YOUNGSTERS SEE THE FIELD

Offensively, Florida made it a point to get redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose and freshman WR Robert Clark in the game – something the coaching staff failed in doing the previous week. On the defensive side of the ball, youth was all over the Gators’ secondary with freshman cornerback Cody Riggs getting extra time in place of redshirt sophomore starting CB Jeremy Brown, who went down with full body cramps in the second half. Fellow freshman CBs Jaylen Watkins and Josh Shaw also saw action, and freshman safety Matt Elam played as much as he did last week.

MEYER NOT HAPPY WITH HILL, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER

After the game, Meyer explained that junior safety Will Hill was benched for a second straight week because he was “not ready to play.” Earlier in the week, it appeared as if Hill was going to see the field in his normal staring role, but it is being made to look as if there was a change of heart as the game approached. As OGGOA reported last Saturday, Hill was out not because of his preparedness but rather as a team punishment; we are of the belief that he sat for the same reason this week.

Also held out were redshirt sophomore linebacker Dee Finely and freshman defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who Meyer also gave the “not ready to play” tag to. Finley, like Hill, was dressed; Easley was not. Like he said last week with his suspended starters, Meyer expects all three to play against Tennessee.

THOMPSON AND MOORE STEP THEIR GAMES UP

One week after redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson barely contributed and redshirt senior WR Carl Moore did not catch a single ball, both players played a major part of the Gators’ offense. The duo combined to catch 11 passes for 123 yards, though Thompson did drop another touchdown (which was well-defended) and bobbled a few of the passes he ended up bringing in. Each will have to remain consistent throughout the season, and Saturday was a good first step toward that end.

QUOTES (After the break…)
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9/6: 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.

PLAYERS SET TO RETURN SATURDAY

Meyer plans to have redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr., junior free safety Will Hill and redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson back with the team for next Saturday’s game against South Florida after all three served suspensions during Florida’s opening game against Miami (OH). Though it is known that Hammond’s punishment came as part of his DUI arrest earlier in the summer, Meyer did not disclose the particular reasons for sitting Hill and Johnson.

On the injury front, Meyer believes redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed (knee) and sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon (knee) will be able to play on Saturday. However, he is not as optimistic about redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (wrist), who is still recovering.

ANOTHER SETBACK FOR MOSES

After three years of mostly playing special teams, senior cornerback Moses Jenkins was finally able to see the field as a starter on Saturday. Unfortunately for Jenkins, he hyperextended his left elbow while in action and will be out for at least six weeks. Redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown, with whom Jenkins was competing with for the job during summer and fall practice, took over for him during the game even though he was nursing a sprained ankle. He is expected to be the starter this week.

Redshirt junior guard James Wilson was also injured during the game, but he will be fine to play on Saturday.

WEEK ONE CHAMPIONS

Meyer announced that eight Gators graded out as Champions after the Miami (OH) game. As indicated by the contest itself, seven were defensive players while only senior tackle Marcus Gilbert earned the honor on offense. The defenders who were awarded include Brown, junior CB Janoris Jenkins, senior safety Ahmad Black, redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard, senior defensive end Justin Trattou, sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic and redshirt senior LB A.J. Jones.

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE SNAPPING?

After reviewing game tape, Meyer said he and offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Steve Addazio discovered that senior center Mike Pouncey was not locking his wrist while snapping the ball, causing it to come out at any number of different angles. It was also mentioned that redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, in his first game as a starter, was not paying as much attention to the snap as he should have been, leading him to mishandle some bad snaps that nevertheless should have been corralled.

QUOTES (After the break…)
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Grading the Florida Gators vs. Miami (OH) game

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive grades the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Miami (OH) RedHawks in the first game of the 2010-11 season, which took place at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

QUARTERBACKS: C+
Starting off with perhaps the most difficult position to grade after Saturday, we have redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, who did some things right but also had a role in a number of miscues throughout the game in regard to the team’s snapping issues. If you look strictly at his numbers, going 17-of-25 for 113 yards and two touchdowns is a pretty solid day, but a few of his incompletions were bad misses and his second touchdown was basically a wounded duck he threw up on a fourth down that was luckily brought down by redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey in the end zone. Though it is tough to tell not being on the field, Brantley did not seem to show much leadership and even mishandled some bad snaps that he certainly could have corralled in. The offensive play calling did not help him either.

RUNNING BACKS: B-
Speaking of not getting a lot of help, the offensive line seemed unable to open up a single hole for the running backs at the start of the game. Aside from his 72-yard TD run, junior Jeff Demps carried the ball seven times 26 yards. The same goes for sophomore Mike Gillislee, who only notched 14 yards on five carries if you take away his 41-yard breakaway. But the truth is, both players did have those nice long runs and the rushers showed flashes as the game went on. We will also include freshman QB Trey Burton’s Wildcat snaps here, one of which went for a TD. Overall, the unit could have played better, but you have to give them some credit for putting the game out of reach.

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the season opener after the jump…
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Week 1: Gators post-game notes and quotes

Putting forth a lackluster showing in their first game of the 2010-11 season, the No. 3/4 Florida Gators edged the Miami (OH) RedHawks 34-12 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. With so much to discuss following the contest, OGGOA presents some of the most important notes and quotes coming out of The Swamp on Saturday.

POUNCEY STRUGGLES AT CENTER

Senior center Mike Pouncey stayed in school rather than declare for the 2010 NFL Draft for the sole purpose of improving his stock while taking over for his brother in a position more highly coveted by scouts. In his first action at his new position, Pouncey had more than a dozen miscues, snapping the ball too low – or too wobbly – or just plain poorly. One mistake early in the game led directly to a turnover, but a number of others killed offensive momentum or put Florida in a hole early in their series.

“I take full credit for messing up the whole offense,” Pouncey admitted after the game. “It was all on me. I’m the leader of the offense and I let the guys down. I’m going to work my ass off and it won’t happen again. The ball just kept slipping out of my hand. I don’t know how the hell, but it just kept slipping out. We’ll have it fixed by next week. We’ve got USF so we’ll be looking forward to it. […] When we did get stuff going, I f—ed up the snap. And then when we did get stuff going again, s–t, we just kept fumbling. It won’t happen again. [...] It was my fault. I’m going to get in here in the morning to fix it. The ball kept slipping out. [...] I’m glad it happened in this kind of game – a game that we could have just went out there and won – but if we do it next week we won’t win the game. We weren’t worrying about [Miami] beating us.”

STARTERS SIT FOR DISCIPLINARY REASONS

Prior to the game, it was known that at least four starters and two others players would be out of action Saturday. However, it came as a surprise to some to see neither junior safety Will Hill nor redshirt junior left guard Carl Johnson on the field to start the game. As first noted by OGGOA on Twitter, both players were held out of action for disciplinary reasons. “We expect certain things in the classroom. We expect their behavior off the field. You expect a lot of things and if you don’t fulfill that you don’t play,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “Those two guys didn’t fulfill expectations.”

Sophomore S Josh Evans started in Hill’s place, and the Gators were forced to re-shuffle an already misaligned offensive line, putting redshirt junior right guard James Wilson in Johnson’s place at LG and starting redshirt freshman Jon Halapio at his RG spot. Sophomore linebacker Dee Finely (groin) was a late scratch as well.

PAGING ANDRE DEBOSE…COME IN ANDRE DEBOSE

Conspicuous by his absence was redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose. After missing his true freshman season recovering from a hamstring injury, Debose had been performing well in practice and was deemed ready to go for the season opener. But even with Florida’s offensive struggles, Debose was nowhere to be found. Meyer mentioned that there was no intent to keep Debose off of the field, but he would certainly speak with WR coach Zach Azzanni about the situation.

NEW INJURIES OCCUR WHILE OTHERS HEAL

Senior cornerback Moses Jenkins, who earned the starting nod Saturday, appeared to injure his left elbow and forearm after landing on it awkwardly, was put in a sling on the sidelines and iced the area while walking to the locker room during the game. Wilson seemed to injure himself during the fourth quarter, but walked off of the field mostly under his own power. Though no updates were available on those two, Meyer said after the game that sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon, senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders and redshirt freshman TE Jordan Reed (all of whom have knee injuries) should be active next Saturday against South Florida.

MOORE BLANKED WHILE HINES AND BURTON STEP UP

Meyer was not blowing smoke this fall when he said that sophomore WR Omarius Hines would be an important piece of the puzzle this season. With redshirt senior WR Carl Moore held catchless, Hines played his new hybrid tight end role and reeled in three catches for 49 yards and the team’s first offensive touchdown on the season on a 10-yard slant from redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley.

Also contributing the entire game was freshman QB Trey Burton, who played five offensive positions (QB, WR, TE, fullback, H-back) and got some work on special teams. He even notched a touchdown on a two-yard run from the wildcat formation. “I imagine he graded out a winner because he seems to do everything right,” Meyer commented. “Trey Burton is going to be a major impact [player] on this team.”

QUOTES (after the break…)
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Week 1: No. 3 Florida Gators vs. Miami RedHawks

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 91°F, 30% chance of precipitation
Time: 12:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: ESPN/ESPNHD
Sirius/XM: 220/199
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 3 FLORIDA GATORS MIAMI (OH) REDHAWKS
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Michael Haywood
2009 Record: 13-1 2009 Record: 1-11
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Mid-American
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -38; O/U 54

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida is returning 43 letterwiners and 11 starters from the 2009 season – six on offense (junior running back Jeff Demps, redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson, senior center Mike Pouncey, sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon, redshirt seniors guard Carl Johnson and right tackle Marcus Gilbert) and five on defense (senior safety Ahmad Black, junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins, redshirt seniors linebacker A.J. Jones and defensive tackle Terron Sanders, redshirt sophomore DT Omar Hunter).
» The Gators have a SEC-best opening day winning streak of 20 games and are 76-27 all-time to start the season (62-6 in Gainesville). Teams coached by Meyer at any point in his career are 18-5 to begin the season; he has 16-straight opening day victories.
» Florida is also sporting a 10-game home winning streak and has won 20 consecutive regular season games. The Orange and Blue has a .897 (113-13) winning percentage at Florida Field since 1990, good for best in the nation.
» Miami (OH) leads the all-time series against UF 1-0, defeating the Gators 16-7 in The Swamp in the 1973 Tangerine Bowl; Florida is 10-3 all-time against the MAC.
» The Gators are the only team in the nation to finish the season in the top three in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches’ polls in three of the past four years; Florida is also the only school in the country to be ranked in the top five of the preseason coaches’ poll in each of the last four years.
» The RedHawks’ passing offense and passing defense each ranked 23rd in the nation in 2009, respectively throwing for 273.2 and giving up 190.4 yards per game.
» UF committed a nation-low 81 turnovers since 2005 and has had 23 games in which they did not give up a single turnover (best in the nation).

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who will be starting the first game of his Florida career. In 2009, he went 36-of-48 for 410 yards and seven touchdowns. Brantley tossed 75 percent of his balls for completions and finished the year with a QB rating of 194.9. He has thrown 61 consecutive passes without an interception and has a 10-1 TD/INT ratio for his Gators career.
» Florida’s veteran offensive line…which has combined for 87 career starts and is led by Pouncey (32). That total is the highest among returning offensive linemen since Meyer’s first season as coach in 2005.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey…who is moving to the slot after playing running back for two seasons. Rainey will be explosive while playing a modified “Percy Position” and could very well be the team’s best offensive weapon this season.
» Linebackers sophomore Jon Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins…who are each trying to win the starting role in the middle but will likely split snaps Saturday. The same goes for cornerbacks redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown and senior Moses Jenkins, each of whom hope to win the job opposite junior Janoris Jenkins.
» Redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose…who missed the entire 2009 season with a hamstring injury but remains a five-star recruit expected to make an immediate impact.
» Junior kicker Caleb Sturgis…who set a UF record for field goal attempted in a season (30) in 2009 and had the second-highest total of field goals made in school history (22).
» Freshman QB Trey Burton…who has been receiving extra attention at tight end during practices and is one of Meyer’s favorite youngsters. With other TEs injured and developing, Burton may see action early and often.

INJURIES and INACTIVES
Injuries (All out)
Senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders (knee), redshirt freshman TE Jordan Reed (knee) left tackles redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan (wrist), sophomore Xavier Nixon (knee), sophomore LB Dee Finley

Inactives
Redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. (indefinite suspension), junior S Will Hill (team decision)

FLORIDA ON ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

The host of the first game to air Saturday on ESPN, Florida will be profiled in part during the network’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. The main feature on the Gators will be a report from Tom Rinaldi focusing on Meyer’s decision to unretire one day after resigning from his job before the 2010 Sugar Bowl. Additionally, ESPN will feature a sound bite from Meyer talking about Florida’s offense, which will then be discussed by analysts Desmond Howard and David Pollack.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. Miami RedHawks preview after the jump!
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SIX BITS: Austin, Hines, Moore, Okine, Jones

1 » New Florida Gators defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is confident, so much so that he has won over players like junior safety Will Hill. “He came in and was very direct and straightforward,” Hill said, according to The Miami Herald. “He has a lot of high expectations. We come out ready, he tells us what to do and we just do it. Nobody is bumping heads or anything.” Even though Austin lost a lot of playmakers from Charlie Strong’s unit last year, he knows Florida’s defensive prowess is not being ignored. “I don’t think anyone will overlook us,” Austin said. “They may because we did lose so many quality players, but we had quality players [behind them] in the program.” His philosophy? “Guys are going to be aggressive and take the fight to the other team. That’s the mentality. On defense, you never want to sit back. You want to dictate the offense, not have the offense dictate to you.”

2 » In case you didn’t know, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Omarius Hines is a beast. So much so, in fact, that the 224-pounder is taking snaps at a hybrid tight end role that he will be featured in this season. “I will play tight end and some slot receiver,” Hines said of his position. “It will create mismatches because I’m fast and strong and stuff, so the linebackers won’t really be able to catch me. He has plenty of fans on the team, too. “He’s one of the strongest guys on the team,” redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody admitted, per the Herald. “I don’t know if you’ve seen his physical physique, but they call him the Greek [god].”

3 » Redshirt senior WR Carl Moore, who has been up-and-down since transferring to Florida, feels he is ready to take on the challenges of being a primary pass-catcher this year. “I can say that when I first got here, I was a little more selfish. I didn’t understand the system and how it had to be. Now I understand everything and I’m all in.”

4 » As OGGOA noted briefly yesterday via Twitter, redshirt sophomore Earl Okine, who was previously a defensive end but was moved to TE during fall practice, is back working at DE now that the team feels more comfortable at the other position. Okine played some TE in high school but is better suited on the defensive front.

5 » Freshman running back Malcom Jones, a preferred walk-on who led his high school team to a 2009 District Championship on 1,449 yards and 14 touchdowns, chose to try his luck with the Gators rather than take a scholarship to Florida International, Jacksonville, Toledo or Tennessee-Martin, according to Clay Today.

6 » Interesting column published by The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley on Thursday, taking a look at how everything seemed to change for Florida football 20 years ago in 1990. As he notes, the Gators were “a bit of a joke” before then, producing top-level talent but never actually winning anything substantial. “No team in college football has won more games the last two decades than Florida. A program that could not get to 10 wins in a season [prior to 1990] has averaged 10 wins a season over the past two decades. Gator teams have won almost 80 percent of their games, 83 percent if you don’t count the Ron Zook years.” Read the rest…

Photo Credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

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ESPN’s Jesse Palmer on the 2010 Florida Gators

During an ESPN conference call yesterday, former Florida Gators quarterback now network analyst Jesse Palmer spoke at length about the upcoming college football season. OGGOA had an opportunity to participate in the discussion and got Palmer to talk a bit about the 2010 version of the team. Read it all…after the break:
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