Tag:Florida Alabama
Posted on: October 1, 2010 6:19 pm

Florida loses kicker Caleb Sturgis for 6-8 weeks

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Florida's chances at beating Alabama took a hit today, when kicker Caleb Sturgis aggravated a previous back injury. According to GatorSports.com, Sturgis suffered a stress fracture and herniated disc in his back earlier this month, and though Sturgis was able to kick through the injury this far into the season, the rehab is expected to take him 6-8 weeks this time around.

Obviously, this is bad news for Sturgis; place-kicking is so dependent on athletic precision that not having a healthy back can absolutely wreck Sturgis' technique. Further, the long the injury sidelines him, the longer he'll need to re-develop that muscle memory well enough to reliably hit field goals. Thus, while the report puts him back for the last week or so of the regular season, we'd be shocked if Sturgis returned before Florida's bowl game.

What's more, the precision in special teams isn't limited to the kicking itself; punter Chaz Henry will be kicking field goals now, and unless he's very flexible, that means he'll have to relinquish his role as placeholder. We're not sure who the new placeholder will be, but we're pretty sure that sheerly by dint of the lack of repetitions, they won't have the timing and rapport down nearly as well as Sturgis and Henry did before the injury.

All of which is to say that Florida's special teams are appreciably worse now than they were 24 hours ago, and Urban Meyer's undoubtedly acutely aware of that. If that changes his playcalling at all, that may not be quite a bad thing; if Meyer continues two drives where he'd normally kick a field goal, and only one ends in a touchdown, the Gators are still better off than if they'd made both field goals. Obviously, having a good field goal kicker is much more preferable to just going for it all the time, but a shift in offensive priorities may not automatically be a bad thing.

Posted on: September 21, 2010 1:54 pm

Florida-Alabama gets primetime kick off

Posted by Chip Patterson

As the top ranked team in the nation, Alabama enters each game with a huge target on their back.  Each team is going to give the Crimson Tide their best shot, and more than likely the entire nation will watch it happen.  The Tide will have their toughest challenge yet on Saturday, traveling to Fayetteville to take on No. 12 Arkansas in their first game in a brutal conference slate.  

The following week doesn't get any easier, as Alabama will rematch the 2009 SEC Championship Game against No. 9 Florida in Tuscaloosa.  The game already promises the standard hype and intensity of recent Alabama-Florida games, and now that attention will be heightened with a primetime kickoff.

CBS will air the Florida-Alabama game in primetime, as the back end of an SEC double-header that will begin with LSU and Tennessee in the standard 3:30 ET slot on Saturday.  Florida and Alabama will kick off just after 8:00 ET under the lights of Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.  It will be the first primetime SEC battle of the season on CBS.

Florida and Alabama have met in the SEC Championship game for two years running.  Both years, they entered the game undefeated and ranked as the top two teams in the nation.  Both teams are predicted to win their respective divisions and meet in Atlanta for a third year in a row, but this time they get an early season preview.  It will be difficult for either team to expect to play for the national championship after losing a regular season game, even with an SEC Title.

This special regular season meeting of the two powerhouses will now have all of the importance of an SEC title game, including the primetime kickoff.  Why not?  After all, it's FLORABAMA!

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