Tag:Florida
Posted on: September 28, 2010 11:39 am
Edited on: September 28, 2010 11:40 am
 

Greg McElroy is still pretty sore

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you want to stop Alabama -- and nobody has since Utah in the 2009 Sugar Bowl -- you have to find a way to stuff their ground game.  Which, as their record indicates over their last 16 games, isn't easy to do.  If you leave the game in the hands of Greg McElroy, you have a chance.  Of course, if you take Greg McElroy out completely, that forces Alabama to become more one-dimensional, which might make stopping the run a little easier.

So it's probably not a good thing that McElroy is drawing Florida a map.

McElroy took a shot from Arkansas defensive end Tenarius Wright during the fourth quarter of Alabama's comeback on Saturday in Fayetteville, and it's left the quarterback a bit sore.

"I think his knee hit me straight in the leg -- just right in the right spot, just barely missing my thigh pad," McElroy said. "Just kind of an unfortunate thing. But contusions or whatever those things are called, are just part of the game. It's something you gotta work through.

"Yeah, this thing's pretty sore.  It actually felt better yesterday as opposed to today, I think, because I had a shot after the game, an anti-inflammatory shot. ...I'll be fine. It's gonna be a little ginger on it the first few days. It's gonna be pretty painful."

He may as well paint a "hit me here" on his right thigh Saturday, as there's no reason to believe he's not going to be able to play in the game, though odds are he's still going to be a bit sore.  Something Florida's defensive linemen will no doubt have in their minds should they get a chance to lay a hit on the Alabama quarterback.


Posted on: September 27, 2010 5:53 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 5:57 pm
 

Breaking down the SEC division races

Posted by Chip Patterson

For the last four years, the winner of the SEC Championship game has gone on to compete and win the National Championship.  With the conference play heating up and a rematch of Florida-Alabama ahead in Week 5, here is a breakdown of the division races in the SEC. 

SEC EAST -- CONTENDERS

Florida Gators (4-0, 2-0)
So far...: The Gators got a slow start with a lot of questions after uninspiring victories over Miami and South Florida, but the last two games have shown a relentless defense and an offense that is beginning to find an identity.  That identity is looking like it includes the multi-talented freshman quarterback Trey Burton, who scored six times (5 times rushing, once receiving) against Kentucky.
  
Toughest challenges ahead: October 2 - at Alabama; October 9 - vs. LSU; November 13 - vs. South Carolina
   
Outlook: The biggest game of the season for the Gators will be their visit to Tuscaloosa on Saturday.  The rematch of the last two SEC Championship games has huge implications for both division races.  If the Gators fall to the Tide, they will likely need to win the rest of their division games to ensure a trip back to Atlanta for the title game.  An upset win over Alabama puts the Gators in the drivers seat for the title game, and likely would bring the Gators back into the national title discussion. 

South Carolina Gamecocks (3-1, 1-1)
So far...: The Gamecocks burst on the scene with impressive victories and an improved offense that had Ol' Ball Coach running his mouth around the conference once again.  Freshman running back Marcus Lattimore has proven to be a game-changing back already, and until the 35-27 loss to Auburn, quarterback Stephen Garcia finally looked ready for a true breakout season.  Now the Gamecocks have a quarterback controversy on their hands, and their toughest challenges of the year left on the schedule.

Toughest challenges ahead: October 9 - vs. Alabama; November 6 - vs. Arkansas; November 13 - at Florida

Outlook: If they had been able to knock off Auburn on Saturday night, South Carolina would have been a frontrunner to knock Florida off its throne atop the SEC East.  Unfortunately, the loss has put them in a can't-lose scenario if they want to get reach their first SEC Championship Game in school history.  Looming dates against Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida in the Swamp will make it difficult to keep the loss column thin.  If they can get pull off an upset or two and get some help from, they could enter the Florida game with a chance to steal the division.

Pretenders: Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia 

SEC WEST -- CONTENDERS

Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0)
So far...:  Alabama left very little doubt on Saturday who is the best team in the nation.  Being pushed up against the ropes on the road by a very talented Arkansas team, the defending champs battled back into the game and escaped Fayetteville with a victory.  After being down 17-7 at halftime, the Alabama defense (which had not allowed a TD all season until that game) tormented Ryan Mallett and the Arkansas offense in the second half.  Mallet was picked off three times and the Tide defense only allowed three points after halftime while Mark Ingram led the charge for Alabama to reclaim the lead and a win.

Toughest challenges ahead: October 2 - vs. Florida; October 9 - at South Carolina; November 6 - at LSU; November 26 - vs. Auburn

Outlook:  The tests are far from done for Alabama, but thankfully the two most threatening opponents remaining on the schedule (Florida and Auburn) both have to travel to Tuscaloosa.  After watching their performance on Saturday, it is hard to imagine many situations that don't involve Alabama back in the SEC Championship game.  However, South Carolina and LSU are both talented teams playing in hostile territory and those games should not be taken lightly.  If Auburn and Alabama don't slip, they could enter the Iron Bowl with the division title on the line.   

Auburn Tigers (4-0, 2-0)
So far...:  The Tigers are quickly becoming one of the darlings of the SEC.  For the third week in a row, Auburn has been locked in a nationally televised nail-biter and emerged victorious.  The 17-14 win over Mississippi State was not impressive by any means, but the overtime victory against Clemson and Saturday's upset of South Carolina have bumped the Tigers to No. 10 in the nation and now a relevant part of the SEC Championship discussion. 

Toughest challenges ahead: October 16 - vs. Arkansas; October 23 - vs. LSU; November 26 - at Alabama

Outlook:  Cam Newton has officially arrived as one of the premiere quarterbacks in college football this season, and as long as the 6-6 250 pound signal-caller is scoring five total touchdowns like he did against South Carolina, Auburn will always have a chance.  The Tigers have the benefit of getting Arkansas and LSU at home, but this team cannot afford another performance like Mississippi State and expect to win.  If they play to their potential, Auburn could find themselves heading into the Iron Bowl with a shot to return to the SEC title game for the first time since 2004.

LSU Tigers (4-0, 2-0)
So far...:  LSU's defense has proven to be one of the best units in the nation.  Their offense, on the other hand, is about as productive as a late Friday afternoon.  With no good option at quarterback (Jarrett Lee is not a "good" option, just not as a bad) the Tigers have relied on their defense and return game to spring them out to an early No. 12 national ranking.

Toughest challenges ahead: October 9 - at Florida; October 23 - at Auburn; November 6 - vs. Alabama; November 27 - at Arkansas

Outlook:  If the Bayou Bengals are for real, they will get a chance to prove it in October in their road games against Florida and Auburn.  If LSU can take care of business away from Death Valley, they will make the November 6 show down with with Alabama a lot more interesting.  It is hard to support a team with no offense as a conference title contender, but they have at least earned the right to be in the discussion.

Arkansas Razorbacks (3-1, 1-1)
So far...:  Until halftime of Saturday's game against Alabama, Ryan Mallet looked like the best pro quarterback in college football, and the Razorbacks looked ready to have one of the most successful seasons in the programs history.  Unfortunately, the second half unraveling has temporarily overshadowed Arkansas' impressive start.
  
Toughest challenges ahead: October 16 - at Auburn; November 6 - at South Carolina; November 27 - vs. LSU

Outlook: Arkansas had not played a truly challenging team before Alabama, so there is a lot left for this team to prove.  The defense looked fired up and strong in the first half against the Tide, but it is unknown if they will be able to repeat the same performance on the road against a team like Auburn or South Carolina.  The Razorbacks made for a good story, but it is hard to believe that Alabama's comeback did not break their spirits a little.  Difficult to imagine that they will be able to reach that level of energy the rest of the season.

Pretenders: Mississippi State, Ole Miss

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Posted on: September 27, 2010 3:17 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 3:22 pm
 

Gators Demps in boot, could play at Alabama

Posted by Chip Patterson

When it comes to Florida's offense, there has been a fair share of doubting and criticism so far in the 2010 season.  But thanks to the play of speedy running back Jeff Demps and the recent emergence of freshman Trey Burton as a multi-talented scoring threat, the Gators look prepared to make a run at another SEC Championship.

They face their greatest challenge yet on Saturday, traveling to take on the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide under the lights in Bryant-Denny Stadium.  With the match up just five days away, all sights around Gainesville are on Demps, who is healing a bruised foot and walking in a protective boot.  Still, Gators head coach Urban Meyer believes he will be available on Saturday.

Coach Urban Meyer said Monday that Demps was still wearing a protective boot on his left foot. Demps bruised his foot Sept. 18 at Tennessee and re-injured it during Saturday's 48-14 win against Kentucky. Meyer said tests showed no ligament damage or broken bones.

"I'm hearing positive things about later in the week," Meyer said. "He actually had an X-ray and a scan on his foot. It's a sprained foot. It's not broken, there's not a stress fracture. I took a deep breath on the sideline when they said we're going to go take him to get a scan. But it came back negative. Now it's just we've got to get him healthy."

"I think we are going to have Demps (against Alabama)," Meyer said.


Demps leads the team with 367 yards rushing, is an important target catching the ball out of the backfield, and returns kicks for the Gators.  His speed and agility makes him a home-run threat anytime the ball is in his hands.  Having him on the field will draw attention from the Alabama defense, easing up the pressure on quarterback John Brantley.

Brantley will also likely pass off more snaps Burton, who exploded against Kentucky for six touchdowns on Saturday.  Running out of the same Gator Heavy package that made Tebow a household name, Burton ran the ball five times for five touchdowns and added a touchdown reception to cap a breakout game for the freshman from Venice, FL.

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Posted on: September 27, 2010 12:47 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 1:27 pm
 

Chris Rainey reaches settlement in stalking case

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Florida wide receiver Chris Rainey is not going to face felony charges following his arrest for aggravated stalking after sending threatening text messages to a former girlfriend two weeks ago.  A settlement has been reached that will have the charges against Rainey reduced to a misdemeanor.

Gainesville state's attorney Bill Cervone said that the reason they decided to reduce the charges and not pursue the felony is that while he feels they have enough to warrant the felony charges, the fact that Rainey was never in a position to act on them, and has no history to suggest he would act on them, made the misdemeanor stalking charges more "appropriate."

As for what Rainey now faces, Cervone continued.

"I am not going to consider any request that the case be dropped in its entirety," said Cervone.  "Because I am concerned when young people act in this way and believe that we should intervene at least to the point of forcing a cooling off period and some professional counseling on anger management and related coping skills.

"As a result, the case is being re-cast as a misdemeanor stalking offense, which as a matter of law more closely reflects the facts involved. Since the Defendant has no prior criminal history other than an unrelated drivers license charge that was resolved with no conviction, he will be treated as any first offender would in similar circumstances and offered a deferral agreement. The terms of that agreement have been crafted to address the concerns of my office and, if complied with, will allow the Defendant and everyone else involved to move on."

As for what this means for Rainey's future with the Gators, nobody is quite sure.  Urban Meyer keeps saying that Rainey is "not a part of the team" but then keeps answering questions about whether or not he'll be available to play this week -- and Meyer says Rainey won't be playing against Alabama.   It'd be nice if Meyer and the school could just come out and say what Rainey's status is.

Has he been booted from the team, as the AP report suggests , or has he just been suspended?





Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:25 am
Edited on: September 24, 2010 11:39 am
 

Rainey could learn his fate on Monday

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There was a report earlier this week that Florida wide receiver Chris Rainey would learn on Friday whether or not he'd be facing felony charges after he was arrested for aggravated stalking a week and a half ago.  Now it sounds like Rainey and the Florida Gators won't know anything until Monday as prosecutor Bill Cervone said he doesn't expect there to be a resolution this week.

it's possible that the charges against Rainey could be reduced or even dropped, something his defense attorney Huntley Johnson said he felt was likely earlier this week.  You know, because this whole thing is just the result of a misfortunate typo.   Darn thumbs with a mind of their own!

In all likelihood, whatever is decided in court will have a large impact on how Urban Meyer and the Gators decide to punish Rainey.  As of now he's suspended indefinitely and hasn't been with the team since the charges were filed, though if the charges are reduced the odds are that Meyer will allow him back at some point.

Though Meyer says he hasn't even thought about it at this point and is just waiting for this whole thing to be resolved before making a final decision.

Posted on: September 22, 2010 11:44 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 11:46 am
 

Bryant Gumbel calls out the NCAA

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There are a lot of things the NCAA does that I don't agree with.  For one, I've always been a proponent of the players in football and basketball actually being given their rightful piece of the billion dollar pie they've baked for the NCAA.  Yes, I know, they get full scholarships and monthly stipends, but that's nothing compared to what those players have given the NCAA.

When it comes to punishments the NCAA hands out, I often feel as though they're on a witch hunt, kind of like what's going on with the agent probe spreading throughout college football today.  It's a sentiment that Bryant Gumbel seems to agree with, as he had some pointed comments for the NCAA at the end of the latest Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO.

"Finally tonight, a few words about crime and punishment. I'm no legal expert, not by a long shot, but I do believe that driving drunk, robbing a convenience store, and hitting your girlfriend are all worse offenses than dealing with an agent. Most people would agree with that I think except, it seems, the folks in charge of college football.

How else to explain the fact that the USC Trojans are currently on NCAA probation while the Florida Gators are not, even though Florida's program has seen 27 different players arrested during the short tenure of Coach Urban Meyer. That's right, by NCAA standards, 27 arrests merit not so much as an official reprimand. But dealing with a prospective agent prematurely, as former Trojan Reggie Bush did, gets your program punished for four years.


It's not just about USC. NCAA investigations are ongoing at the Universities of Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina for the same kind of premature conversation with agents that Bush had. And it's not just about Florida. Players at Pittsburgh, Missouri, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Southern Mississippi, UCLA and elsewhere have also been arrested this year. But all of those programs are, by NCAA standards, in full compliance.


Look, no one's naïve enough to think football's ever going to be played by a bunch of choirboys. It's not. But you'd think that NCAA officials could, at the very least, give coaches and athletic directors a reason to be as diligent about illegality as they are about eligibility - and right now they don't. Until and unless they do, the NCAA's idea of institutional control is anything but."


It's a very good point.  Why is it that one is punishable and the other is not?  In the Bush case, an entire program is being punished for the action's of one student.  Yet, in Gainesville, 27 players have committed actual crimes and not even a slap on the wrist.  Sure, players have been suspended for games, which hurts the team, but until the NCAA steps in and actually hands out real punishment for the programs then coaches have no real motivation to curb the behavior.

Now I now it's impossible for a coach to keep his eyes on every single player he has on his team, and things are going to happen.  I'm not saying that if one player is dumb enough to pick up a DUI that scholarships should be taken away, but if there's a pattern of such behavior and arrests then there needs to be some kind of reprimand for the school and possibly the coach.

It might not be right, but at least it'd be fair.


Posted on: September 20, 2010 11:34 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 11:42 pm
 

Lawyer: Rainey 'misspoke' in text message

Posted by Tom Fornelli

I have an iPhone, and one of the most annoying things in the world with it is the way it autocorrects just about anything I'm trying to type when I send a text message.  Like when I try to type the word "hell" and it corrects to "he'll" everytime, no matter how many times I type it.  Then there's the eventual response from the recipient of "Go to he will?"

It's incredibly frustrating to not be able to tell people what I think of them!  Though, I suppose I don't have it all bad.  After all, none of my texts autocorrected to something that would get me arrested.  No, apparently that type of thing only happens to Florida receiver Chris Rainey.

Huntley Johnson, Jr., a Gainesville defense attorney who handles most cases involving UF players, said Rainey’s actions do not constitute a felony.

“It doesn’t fit the elements of the crime,” Johnson said. “This kid was never going to hurt her. She knew he wasn’t going to hurt her. The fact that he misspoke in the text is not something to crucify this kid for.”


Oh, lawyers.  What won't they say?

Okay, so let's pretend that Chris Rainey really was trying to say something besides "time to die" in the text, and was just "misquoted" by an evil cell phone hungry for blood. 

What was he trying to say?

Time to diet?  It's not nice to tell a woman she's put on a few pounds, but it's hardly a punishable offense.  You might get slapped, but you're not going to do any time for it.

I'd love to hear your theories on what Rainey was trying to say in the comments.  Let's all work together to keep this poor, cellularly framed kid out of trouble and on the football field.  This is our chance to stand united and make a difference!





Posted on: September 18, 2010 7:10 pm
 

Gators win in Knoxville, 31-17

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Well after what was a rather lackluster first half in Knoxville, the action picked up a bit in the second half.  After the two teams combined to score only ten points and put up 164 yards of offense, things opened up a bit in the second half.

The turning point came in the third quarter when, with the score tied at 10-10, Florida lined up for a punt at their own 39-yard line.  They did not punt, however.  Instead Omarius Hines took a direct snap and took off for 36 yards for a first down.  Six plays later John Brantley found Frankie Hammond Jr. for a 7-yard touchdown and the Gators never relinquished the lead again.

Matt Simms was intercepted on Tennessee 's next drive by Jeremy Brown, and the Gators turned that into another seven points.

Things would get interesting in the fourth quarter when Simms found a wide open -- and I mean WIDE OPEN -- Justin Hunter for a 35-yard score to cut the lead to 24-17, but the Vols defense just couldn't keep the Gators out of the end zone on their next drive as Trey Burton would end the day's scoring with a 2-yard touchdown to make it 31-17.

Which is where this one would finish.  So Florida's now 3-0, and I think it's safe to say that this was their best performance of the season.

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