Posted on: December 31, 2010 8:46 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Basics: Florida (7-5) vs. Penn State (7-5), Jan.1, 1pm ET
Why You Should Watch: Well, first of all, you should watch this game because it'll be starting around the same time you're finally waking up out of your New Year's Eve haze. Nothing like some football to help you shake the cobwebs out of your brain. Oh, and it's also the final time you will have a chance to see Urban Meyer nearly suffer a heart attack on a Florida sideline. Not to mention, depending on who you want to believe, it could also be the final time that Joe Paterno ever graces a sideline.
Keys to Victory for Florida: You could question how Florida will approach this game given everything that's gone on in Gainesville over the last month, but I don't think motivation is going to be a problem. There's no way these Gators want to send Urban Meyer out with a loss. To do this, well, the Gators will have do so something they haven't done all season.
Find some consistency on offense. Whether it's John Brantley through the air, or Trey Burton on the ground, whoever is at quarterback for Florida is going to have to make some plays against this Penn State defense. That means the Gators offensive line, which has been pretty disappointing this year, is going to need to step up the protection. When Brantley is back there he tends to make dumb decisions when facing pressure and has a hard time reading coverage.
The best way to help Brantley would be to get the ground game going with Mike Gillislee, Emmanuel Moody, Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey. Penn State has had some problems with the run this season, and the Gators should watch the game film of the Penn State game against Illinois and copy Illinois' game plan. Maybe Ron Zook can finally win a bowl game for Florida after all these years.
Keys to Victory for Penn State: Florida is faster and more athletic than Penn State. The best way for Penn State to counter this will be to attack, attack and attack some more on defense. Blitz John Brantley like there is no tomorrow and force him to make decisions he's not ready to make. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the Nittany Lions need to tighten things up against the run.
When Penn State has the ball it should look to exploit the Gators a bit in the secondary. Yes, Evan Royster should still get plenty of carries to soften up the Florida defense, but the Gators don't have Janoris Jenkins in this game and he's not an easy player to replace. Now, the problem here is that as good as Matt McGloin has been, he's not very effective on deep routes. Which means that Penn State should look to attack Florida on shorter routes like slants and hitches.
Finally, it will be important for Royster and the offensive line to have move the ball against the Florida run defense. Royster had a couple of lackluster games against tough run defenses like Alabama and Ohio State this season, and for Penn State to have a legit chance in this game, he's going to have to produce.
The Outback Bowl is like: one of those Rolling Stones farewell concerts. You know that even though they claim it's the last time you'll ever see them performing, they're going to come back eventually. Yes, Urban Meyer may be leaving Florida to spend time with the family and tend to his health, but do you really believe a man that immersed in football is never coming back? I don't.
Posted on: December 15, 2010 11:33 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
John Brantley's first season as a starter in Gainesville probably didn't work out as well as he thought it would when he committed to Florida a couple of years ago. The fact is that Brantley's strengths just don't match what the Gators and former offensive coordinator Steve Addazio tried to do on offense. It seems this was apparent to everybody but Addazio and Urban Meyer, who refused to adapt to their new quarterback and seemed content trying to force Brantley to adapt to them.
So you would think that while part of Brantley is sad to see Meyer and Addazio leaving Gainesville, he'd also be pretty excited to hear that Will Muschamp plans on running an offense more suited to his strengths. Which he says he is, it's just that Brantley isn't sure if he's going to be around to play in it at this point.
"We're worried about the bowl game right now," Brantley told The Gainesville Sun. "I'm going to give it all I got for that game and then we'll sit down and discuss everything."
"It's tough to say right now because we haven't discussed anything at all. I really haven't thought about it to be honest with you. I'm just trying to finish out this season right and win this bowl game for coach (Urban) Meyer and these seniors."
Honestly I don't see why Brantley would leave Florida, and if he did, I wouldn't understand his reasoning at all. He's not a bad quarterback, and is much better than the player people saw in 2010. It's just that Brantley mixed with Addazio's offense made as much sense as Ted Nugent doing ads for PETA. Brantley may be confused right now and just upset about Meyer leaving, but I think that once he sees what Muschamp is planning on doing, he'll know that Florida is the place for him.
Posted on: November 18, 2010 6:02 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The big news out of Gainesville this week doubles as the worst possible news for most football fans in Gainesville: Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will not only be retained as part of Urban Meyer 's Gator staff (not entirely surprising), he will remain in his current position as offensive coordinator and play-caller (that 's surprising).
Why this is such terrible news for Gator followers is obvious: they've been dreadful offensively nearly all season, ranking 82nd in total yardage, some 14 places behind even their fellow mega-flops at Texas . In the Gators' four losses, they've averaged just 278 yards and 14 points. They're a staggering 116th in red zone conversion rate. The big-play passing game promised by the ascension of big-armed John Brantley to the starting quarterback position has utterly failed to materialize; the Gators rank next-to-last in the SEC in pass plays of 30 yards or more with 7--three fewer than Vanderbilt and five fewer than Mississippi State . The Gators aren't any better from an aesthetic standpoint, looking frequently out-of-sync and rarely playing into the mobility-challenged Brantley's strengths.
To suffer offensive woes that intense in spite of the Gators' overflowing bounty of talent is a powerfully damning statement on the job of the offensive coaching staff. But to ask Meyer, the first (and biggest?) factor in creating the "void" that has swallowed up his team in 2010 is something that has very little to do with offensive coaching or execution :
There's no arguing that energy and intensity are key elements of a successful performance in college football, and that maintaining them over the course of a season is an important part of a successful season.
But those aren't the most important parts. Roughly speaking, execution, overall scheme, and smart game-planning have much more to do with victory since -- in any truly big game -- the emotional intensity is going to be just about equal. Take the South Carolina game; with so much on the line, how much of an advantage was "energy, passion and confidence" ever going to give the Gators?
Meanwhile, as expertly illustrated by SEC blog TeamSpeedKills , it was the Gamecocks who enjoyed a major advantage in terms of execution:
That's an already-predictable "get the ball to Chris Rainey " playcall topped by a bad snap and a disastrous misread in the blocking scheme, and unsurprisingly it went for nothing when Brantley threw the ball away.
A failure of a play like that has nothing to with energy or emotion; it's exclusively the product of poor preparation and execution, and plays like it have hamstrung Florida all season. Meyer's certainly under no obligation to dismiss Addazio or make any kind of changes to his staff or their roles, but one thing is for certain: keeping the offensive status quo and looking to improve simply through turning up the dial on "passion" isn't going to cut it. A team of hyped-to-the-gills Gators that aren't put in the proverbial "positions to win" aren't going to win no matter how much passion they play with.
Posted on: October 30, 2010 5:31 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2010 5:40 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
As Jerry Hinnen wrote about earlier this afternoon , the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party took on a bit of added significance following South Carolina 's win over Tennessee on Saturday morning. Essentially, whoever loses this game is eliminated from contention in the SEC East. Through the first 30 minutes it looks like Georgia is the leading candidate.
Florida heads into halftime with a 21-7 lead thanks to a ground game that seems to be finding its legs, and some Georgia mistakes. Chris Rainey, playing in his first game since being suspended for those text message shenanigans , has scored a touchdown along with Jeff Demps and Trey Burton. More importantly, John Brantley is playing better than he has in weeks. He has thrown an interception, but he's also completed 8-of-11 passes for 123 yards in the first half.
Also, to the delight of Channing Crowder, he's yet to be chased down by any white linebackers.
One quarterback who hasn't been having his best day is Georgia's Aaron Murray. The Bulldogs have turned the ball over three times, and all three came courtesy of Murray. He's thrown two interceptions and fumbled once, while only completing 5-of-14 passes, though one was a 63-yard touchdown pass to Tavarres King for the Bulldogs lone score.
Take away that pass from Murray, and he's 4-of-13 for 60 yards.
Posted on: October 28, 2010 7:12 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 7:13 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
If you can't tell by reading my name up there, I am a white male. I'm also a white male that played in various sports as a youth, and was never quite able to shake off the stereotypes that are typically attached to the white "athlete." Much like Wesley Snipes once told us in a movie, white men can't jump. I can jump, just not very high. I'm also not all that fast. In fact, my Little League baseball coaches took to calling me "Lightning" because they thought they were funny. I just thought they were douchebags.
As I grew older I became more comfortable with my lack of athleticism and caucasion limitations. I accepted them for what they were. When I see fast, white linebackers playing in the NFL or in college, I don't get jealous, I'm just happy somebody is out there helping the cause. Not all people feel this way, however. Take, for instance, Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder. The Florida alum knows what is wrong with his former team these days, and it hit him when he saw those white linebackers running down John Brantley.
“They don’t have an identity,” Crowder told reporters immediately after last week’s game at Green Bay, which followed Florida’s 10-7 loss to Mississippi State. “They don’t know what — John Brantley don’t know what he wants to do. He can’t outrun anybody. I saw him get run down by a white linebacker last week, which was a disgrace to all Florida football history.”
But if Mike Pouncey was playing quarterback, who would snap the ball over his head?
To be fair to Crowder, while I don't necessarily agree with the way he goes about saying it, I totally concur with his assessment of what the Gators are doing on offense. John Brantley is not a running quarterback, yet Steve Addazio and Urban Meyer insist on treating him as though he is. So I don't think it's fair to blame Brantley, nor compare him to Tim Tebow, because he isn't Tim Tebow.
Also, just for kicks, I'd like to see Crowder have a race with Brian Urlacher. If he can't win that one, then he obviously shouldn't be playing linebacker in the NFL.
Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:02 am
Edited on: October 26, 2010 11:04 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Cracks abounded yesterday when Twitter collectively heard that Urban Meyer had described the agony of watching former Gator Cam Newton go apenuts for Auburn by saying "It's really hard." (No, the CBS College Football Blog was not above joining in .) Which, all gym-class joking aside, it has to be at this stage; Meyer and his offensive staff have been totally unable to either adapt John Brantley to the existing Gator offense or adapt the offense to Brantley, a problem that Newton would have rendered utterly irrelevant if he'd remained in Gainesville.
But even so, was that actually what Meyer meant when he said it? Someone get us an ALCOA sponsorship, because here's the transcript , and now You Make the Call :
Reporter: Do you allow yourself to watch Cam Newton on Saturday? Did you watch him?On the one hand, Meyer's defense makes logical sense. If you're one of America's most richly-paid coaches and your team is riding the first three-game losing streak of your current tenure, with your biggest rivalry game of the season coming up against one of the SEC 's hottest teams, you probably don't have a whole lot of time to kick back with a cold one on Saturday afternoon and watch one team you won't play take on one you've already played.
Then again: the highlights of Newton's masterpiece performance against LSU were near-inescapable Saturday for even the most causal of football fans, and suffice it to say Meyer is not a casual football fan. Meyer is certainly aware of them, aware of what Newton is doing at Auburn, and aware that -- according to the Miami Herald 's Mike McCall -- he made a sizable mistake in evaluating Newton's potential:
The verdict here? When Meyer adds "I'll tell you that" to the difficulty of watching Newton, he's not talking about carving out the time for it. He's talking about watching a player he recruited, groomed, and eventually let walk away win a Heisman Trophy -- probably -- for someone else while the quarterback he promoted instead flails. Meyer is only human. You can bet it's hard.
HT: Team Speed Kills .
Posted on: October 16, 2010 8:38 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2010 8:40 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Florida may have been hoping to end its two-game losing streak this week, but so far that's the only thing the Gators have done: hope. It's halftime in Gainesville and Mississippi State has a 10-0 lead. Though it's really not as bad as it sounds, and, yes, being down ten to Mississippi State at home does sound really, really bad.
The truth is, though, that Florida has an edge in just about every meaningful stat. They've outgained the Bulldogs 138-to-126, and have had the ball three minutes longer. The problem has been putting points on the board and keeping John Brantley off of his back. Oh, and if Florida could start getting more than one yard a carry in the second half, that would probably help too.
The Gators had a nice chance to get some points in the second quarter, putting together a 15-play 59-yard drive, but Chas Henry missed a 33-yard field goal that would have cut the lead to 10-3.
Still, even though they haven't played well in the first half, the Gators still only trail by ten points and Mississippi State hasn't exactly been playing magnificent football either. Though if the Gators don't find a way to get a ground game going in the second half, the ten point deficit may be too much to overcome. And if the Gators lose this one, well, hello, Cotton Bowl.
Posted on: October 14, 2010 11:01 am
Edited on: October 14, 2010 11:05 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Florida's home loss to LSU on Saturday night left Gator fans with a lot of "what if's." Fans wondered how the game could have been different if quarterback John Brantley had been 100%, or if the outcome would have changed with the presence of speedy playmaker Jeff Demps. Head coach Urban Meyer was able to deliver good news on both players on Wednesday.
"Good news on Demps," Meyer said during the SEC teleconference on Wednesday. "He's feeling a lot better than he did last week. Obviously, we need his big-play shot. I put him as probable for Saturday (against Mississippi State). He's going to do some practice (Wednesday) and then, he's telling me, he's going to practice (Thursday)."
While the exact extent of Brantley's rib and thumb injuries have been a topic of much debate, Meyer continues to insist that his starting quarterback is ready to play. Though this time he has some more evidence to present, with Brantley going full speed in practice for the first time in almost two weeks. Brantley was limited leading up to the LSU game due to shoulder complications from his rib injury.