Tag:Florida
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: October 1, 2010 3:49 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Saturday in the bathroom.

Breakfast

Main Course - Clemson vs. #16 Miami - Noon - ESPN2


Okay, so once again breakfast has a lot of weak sauce in it this week, but we promise you that lunch and dinner are going to be a lot better.  Just remember what your mom used to tell you: breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  So eat this up because you're going to need it to help prepare you for the rest of the day.

Just beware that while the Miami looks good using too much Jacory Harris in it can cause indigestion.

Side Orders: This morning we offer some sides that should fill you up, but will probably leave you hating yourself for eating it later.  There's Ohio State steamrolling Illinois, and our "Ninth Place in the SEC" special, Mississippi and Kentucky.   If you already hate yourself, try some of the Minnesota and Northwestern.

Lunch

Main Course - #8 Oklahoma vs. #21 Texas - 3:30pm - ABC


Now that you've choked down your breakfast we can reward you with the real food for the day.  We're offering our Red River Rivalry this afternoon which is chock full of red meat deliciousness.   Just remember that the Longhorn can be somewhat tough and inconsistent. 

Texas has a lot on their plate this week, as they are coming off a rather embarrassing loss at home to UCLA last week, and a similar performance against Oklahoma this weekend could destroy the rest of their season. 

Side Orders: If you're not sure you can handle all the beef in our main course we do offer plenty of other options this afternoon.  There's Michigan State hosting Wisconsin in a game that will give us a better idea of what either team is really about this season.  There's also North Carolina State and Virginia Tech, or if offenses that set the game of football back 80 years are more your style, there's always LSU and Tennessee.   My advice is to just watch Patrick Peterson in that game.

Dinner

Main Course - #1 Alabama vs. #7 Florida - 8pm - CBS


We didn't lead you astray with our Alabama and Arkansas last week, and we promise you that this week's Florabama won't disappoint either.  Alabama has already faced it's first real test of the season, but this week they are the test.  Florida is 4-0 but didn't wow any of the critics until last week's Trey Burton-centric dismantling of Kentucky.

If the Gators can manage to get past the Tide they'll officially be back in the national championship picture.

Side Orders: It's not a bad night when your second choice features another two top ten teams.  If fowl is more your taste, then try the Oregon and Stanford.   The Pac-10 doesn't have a championship game, yet, but this game basically is just that.  Two high-scoring offenses finally get to test two defenses that have proven sturdy thus far.  If you prefer something a bit more old-fashioned we're also offering Iowa and Penn State.

Late Night Snacks

Nevada and Colin Kaepernick are two things you'll probably be hearing about quite a bit in the coming weeks, as they're essentially the last thing standing between Boise State and an undefeated season.  So why not check them out when they travel to Vegas to take on UNLV?
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.


 
 
 
 
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