Tag:Florida Gators
Posted on: March 12, 2010 8:33 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2010 8:34 pm

Tebow circus even bigger; fans welcome at Pro Day

Those wanting to dissect Tim Tebow's new throwing motion won't have to hope for television coverage of Florida's Pro Day March 17.

That's because the University of Florida is opening up the event for fans to attend.

Obviously expecting large numbers, the doors will open to spectators at 8:30 am (local time) at Ben Hill Griffen Stadium in Gainesville. The on-field workout, itself, however, won't begin until 10 am.

Tebow, is, of course, the main attraction, but cornerback Joe Haden may have just as much on the line. He'll be hoping to turn in a much faster time in the 40-yard dash after running a disappointingly slow 4.58 at the Combine.

The pressure will also be on inside linebacker Brandon Spikes, who surprised some scouts with his decision to only do some portions of the workout in Indianapolis. Plagued by questions about his pure speed, Spikes' time in the 40-yard dash and fluidity in coverage drills could determine whether he makes the second round or falls to the mid third or lower. 

Tight end Aaron Hernandez didn't participate in any of the drills at the Combine, so he, too, has a lot riding on his performance March 17.

Other highly touted Gator players, including defensive end Carlos Dunlap, center Maurkice Pouncey, wide receiver Riley Cooper and safety Major Wright will likely participate in some drills, but did many of the timed drills in Indianapolis. 

Florida's decision to open the event up to fans will make the Pro Day a circus-like atmosphere for scouts.

That said, while many college teams elect to make their Pro Days a private affair for just scouts, players and select media, the move is hardly unprecedented.

Spectators were allowed to watch from the stands at the USC Pro Days I've attended each of the past two years.

Posted on: December 26, 2009 7:49 pm

Meyer's decision will lead to underclass exodus

If the preliminary reports are true and Urban Meyer is indeed stepping down as head coach of the University of Florida due to a heart condition, you can expect a mass exodus of underclassmen from the program to look into their own hearts and elect to leave school early.

It has been generally assumed among league insiders that defensive end Carlos Dunlap and cornerback Joe Haden would leave early. Both rank among the truly elite at their positions in the country and will likely earn a top 20 selection in the 2010 draft.

The Pouncey twins, Maurkice and Mike, have earned increasing attention from scouts. Maurkice, the recipient of the Rimington Trophy this year as the nation's top center, has been earning the higher praise from scouts than his brother, the Gators' starting right guard. Both are generating Top 100 talk, with Maurkice earning some hype among scouts as a potential first round pick as the top pure center prospect in the country.

Tight end Aaron Hernandez, at 6-2, 250 pounds, lacks the size teams prefer, but his athleticism and reliable hands make him a matchup nightmare down the seam. Some scouts feel Hernandez could leap up draft boards with a strong workout ala former Purdue receiving specialist Dustin Keller, who, of course, was drafted in the first round by the New York Jets.

The Gators could see even more turnover among their skill position should redshirt sophomore running back Chris Rainey and redshirt junior Emmanuel Moody, a USC transfer, elect to leave early, as well. Both could elect to take advantage of a relatively weak senior class of running backs.

Several other juniors have already turned in requests to the NFL Advisory Committee for grades. Among them are safeties Major Wright and Ahmad Black, offensive linemen Carl Johnson and Marcus Gilbert and defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh.

Posted on: October 25, 2009 2:47 pm

Tebow Lost the Heisman Last Night

For those waking up Sunday morning and reviewing the night's headlines, Florida's 29-19 victory over Mississippi State looks rather ho-hum -- especially considering the last second miracles that kept Alabama and Iowa undefeated.

The story for the Gators this week, however, wasn't the final score, but how the Bulldogs kept the game close -- by pressuring Tim Tebow into the worst day of his career.

Tebow completed only 12 of 22 passes for 127 yards and zero touchdowns. He threw two interceptions -- each poor decisions -- that were returned for touchdowns.

Assuming a fair percentage of Heisman voters were watching (and I have minimal confidence they were), Tebow should have lost the Heisman Trophy tonight.

He wasn't helped by a substantial inactive list for the Gators or by uncharacteristically questionable play-calls by Urban Meyer and the Gators' coaching staff. However, in a season in which Tebow hasn't yet been able to answer scouts' questions about his ability to acclimate to a more pro-style offense, Tebow wasn't successful in the offense taylored to his unique skill-set.

In the race for the Heisman, my vote remains with the best player I've seen all year long: Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh.  
Posted on: October 10, 2009 11:06 pm

Bad call, worse throw by Tebow gives LSU a chance

With five minutes to go in the game, up 13-3 and in position to either force LSU to use their timeouts or run potentially even run out the clock with the way they've been running the ball, the Florida Gators stunning elected to throw downfield.

What made the play call worse was a terrible decision by Tim Tebow, throwing an impromptu deep out to receiver Cooper Riley, who, in reading single man to man coverage, went deep. The result was an easy interception by Jai Eugene that gives LSU life.

Correctly characterized by the ABC announcerns as a bad call and a worse decision by Tebow, the play doesn't appear likely to be enough, as the Tigers have been unable to contain Florida's pass rush all evening long.

Should Florida win this game as it appears they will, this play will soon be forgotten by the majority of the fans who viewed it. However, this is precisely the type of moment in which scouts look for in judging quarterbacks. Considering his recovery from the concussion two weeks ago, it wouldn't be entirely fair to judge Tebow on this play. NFL scouts, however, aren't always fair and Tebow's stock will undoubtedly suffer on some boards because of this play.

Posted on: October 10, 2009 9:09 pm

Florida-LSU living up to the hype thus far

The physical battle in the trenches and the spectacular speed of Florida's skill position players against LSU's second level defenders have overtaken Tim Tebow as the primary areas to watch in this game.

Tebow, of course, is going to get all of the attention, but LSU's secondary is doing a great job so far of limiting his throwing options downfield and Florida is understandably hesitant to begin pounding the ball inside with their typically successful quarterback draws.

Two early mismatches thus far could prove key to deciding the winner of this game.

Junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap has the speed to beat left tackle Ciron Black off the edge and certainly has the burst to beat the Tigers' interior linemen, as he's been shuffled inside on mutliple occasions. This position versatility from the 6-6, 280 pound Dunlap not only will provide the Gators with a decided edge up front in the passing game, it could potentially boost his stock with NFL scouts. The risk, however, in moving Dunlap inside, is negating his burst and allowing LSU's shorter interior linemen opportunities to get into his chest and drive Dunlap off the ball.

Not surprisingly considering how evenly matched these teams are, the other mismatch is in LSU's favor. Wide receiver Brandon LaFell, NFLDraftScout.com's top rated prospect at the position, has been able to shake off tight coverage to already have 3 catches for 37 yards in this contest. Blessed with a similar combination of size, strength and run-after-catch ability as former Tiger Dwayne Bowe, LaFell has already made some big plays in this game, including a spectacular catch on 3rd down. A better throw by Jordan Jefferson would have given the Tigers a first down. LaFell, however, snatched the back half of the ball and if not for tight coverage by the Gators, easily would picked up the yardage.

Posted on: September 17, 2009 7:31 pm

Don't Read Too Much into Weaver's Tebow Talk

In some circles the comments from Jacksonville Jaguar owner Wayne Weaver about the possibility of drafting Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is being taken as an indication that the club has already established the former Heisman winner and current National Champion as a first round pick.

In reality, there remains considerable debate as to Tebow's upside as a pro-style quarterback. I've spoken to scouts who feel he'll never make it as a quarterback and have Tebow rated as a middle round prospect at tight end or fullback. Others, of course, feel he'll acclimate to a pro offense once given time to practice it on a daily basis.

Weaver's most telling quote in the AP story was:

"The game is such an important part of this community, and Tebow is such an iconic figure that people would legitimately think, 'Wouldn't it be great if he was a Jaguar..." I'd be silly to sit here and think that's not going to be a huge thing. Clearly there's going to be a groundswell for Tebow, and we'll have to make that evaluation if we have a draft pick that's going to be anywhere near him." Weaver is no dummy. He owns a franchise that is struggling to sell out games. They have lost a reported 17,000 season ticket holders from last season and may struggle to sell out any game this year. Pumping up local hero Tebow is a way to indicate to his fans that he's disappointed, as well, and eagerly looking forward to bringing in new, exciting talent. 

However, in the words of one Jacksonville scout about pegging Tebow as the future of the franchise "Man, we're a long, long way from that..."

Posted on: April 24, 2009 9:53 pm

Stunning Rebound by Harvin

Two weeks ago I was told that Florida receiver Percy Harvin had "very little chance" of making the first round by a high-ranking member of an NFL team. Other sources, while not quite so strong in their opinion, thought it also likely the former Gator would slip out of the opening round. Some even speculated that he'd slip out of the first day entirely.

Over the past 24 hours, however, Harvin seems to be making a terrific comeback. Based on conversations I've had over that time I moved him from a mid 2nd round pick in my last mock draft to going to the Tennessee Titans with the 30th pick of the first round and there is significant buzz circulating that he could be going much higher. Minnesota head coach Brad Childress recently met with Harvin and some think he could be the Vikings' choice at #22.
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