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34 posts from August 2007

August 29, 2007

Three days until kickoff: Rainey practices with defense

From the I-told-you-so department...

GAINESVILLE -- Following up on Monday's disputed blog entry about freshman Chris Rainey helping the defense...Rainey practiced briefly at nickel back today. To read what senior captain Tony Joiner thinks about Rainey in the secondary, check out the Gators' practice report in tomorrow's paper. Herald whiz-kid correspondent Mike "Mike" McCall interviewed Joiner and got a pretty interesting response.

-jo-

In my opinion: Give injured Trautwein eligibility options

Bad news for the Gators...

Trautwein GAINESVILLE -- Florida senior captain Phil Trautwein will miss Saturday's game with what appears to be a broken foot. CLICK HERE FOR THE STORY The extent of the injury has not been released to the media yet but it looks pretty bad. Expect the worst. Florida's offensive line just went from veteran to vulnerable.

If Trautwein has indeed broken his foot, then I think coaches should give him the option of a taking a medical redshirt. There's no sense in rushing Trautwein back from the injury. Florida will be favored to win a national title in 2008 and Trautwein will have the chance to earn his second ring.

-jo-

August 28, 2007

Former Gator wins world title

Clement GAINESVILLE -- Big news on Tuesday from the other side of the world. Former Gators track star Kerron Clement (pictured) won a world championship in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan.

Clement's gold is the second individual world title for a Gator in a men's event. John Capel won a world championship in the 200-meter dash in 2003. Clement's 400-meter hurdles time of 47.61 is the world's fastest outdoor time of the year.

Novlene Williams, another former Gator, will be racing for gold today in the women's 400-meters world championship final.

No news yet on who would win in a 40-yard dash between Clement and Percy Harvin.

-jo-

August 27, 2007

Chris Rainey moving to defensive back?

GAINESVILLE -- Might Chris Rainey be making a switch to cornerback? Don't laugh. The coaches are at least thinking about the possibility.

Rainey Rainey told The Miami Herald this weekend that he was meeting with coaches to talk about helping the defense. On Monday, Florida cornerbacks coach Chuck Heater indicated that the staff has at least given thought to the idea.

"It hasn't been determined that way yet," said Heater when asked if Rainey might switch to defensive back.

Moving Rainey to defensive back sounds like a great idea. The Gators are weak at that position and Rainey is one of the quickest and fastest players on the team. His football instincts are excellent, so a move this early in his career to defensive back shouldn't set him back too much.

When you think about it, Rainey would likely have more long-term success (shot at the NFL) as a cover man/return specialist. After all, he only weighs about 160 pounds. As for the short term (college), Rainey might have to wait two or three more years to be a starter at running back. Kestahn Moore is a junior and Emmanuel Moody, the USC transfer, will be around for at least the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Even with Moore and Moody out of the picture, I don't see Rainey ever developing into the type of pass blocker needed to make UF's offense fully successful.

Rainey's abilities are too great to be wasted on a career of kick returns, field goal and punt blocks and niche offensive plays. A move to defensive back would benefit both Rainey and Florida. And, besides, Rainey's out-going personality already fits the mold of an all-American cornerback.

-jo-

Cornerback Anderson hurt; Pierre-Louis likely to start

GAME WEEK!!!

GAINESVILLE -- Florida coach Urban Meyer told reporters today that sophomore cornerback Markihe Anderson sprained his knee on Saturday and will likely miss the Gators' season opener against Western Kentucky. If Anderson is unable to go on Saturday, then sophomore reserve Wondy Pierre-Louis will make the first start of his career. Congrats to Wondy, who shined as a special teams contributor as a freshman and now gets his big chance to impress coaches in the secondary.

WondyDon't expect Pierre-Louis (pictured, nice hair!) to remain a starter for long, though. Anderson is the Gators' most experienced cover man and, if he's not available against Western Kentucky, should be ready to go against Troy, a team with a talented senior quarterback.

Before being elevated as a starter, Pierre-Louis was expected to be a significant contributor on special teams against Western Kentucky. Meyer said on Monday that Pierre-Louis will be relieved of his duties as a gunner on kickoffs in an effort to keep his legs fresh.

-jo-

August 25, 2007

In my opinion: Former USC running back will be a Gator

GAINESVILLE -- Just a "reporter's hunch," but expect former University of Southern California running back Emmanuel Moody to be enrolled at Florida come Monday. Moody, who started four games and appeared in nine his freshman season at USC, visited Gainesville on Thursday and attended the Gators' practice.

"USC is all about the rotation, getting everybody sharing time," said Moody, who was also considering North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Texas and Oklahoma State. "I want to be the featured back."

EmmanuelmoodyMoody, who was USC's second-leading rusher last season, will get his shot next year with the Gators. Expect an announcement either Monday or Tuesday. In the meantime, check out this YouTube link of Moody as a high school running back. He's pretty sick. CLICK THIS LINK. (Sorry for the music. Those silly USC fans.)

The addition of Moody will spark an immediate (friendly) rivalry with Florida running back Kestahn Moore. Moody and Moore played in the same pee-wee football league in Dallas, Texas.

"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing," Moore said. "We've still got running backs here, so there's always going to be competition. It's nothing new to me. I'm always ready for competition."

In other news...

--Florida coach Urban Meyer said on Saturday that freshman Joe Haden will start at cornerback next Saturday against Western Kentucky. Meyer said Haden was one of the five fastest players on the team.

--Other freshmen defenders who will likely see the field against Western Kentucky include safety Major Wright and defensive linemen Carlos Dunlap, Justin Trattou, Duke Lemmens and Torrey Davis. 

--The eligibility of freshman defensive tackle John Brown is still pending. Meyer said Brown will not play against Western Kentucky even if cleared next week by the NCAA.   

-jo-

August 21, 2007

Practice No. 22: No starting cornerbacks yet. Problem?

10 days until kickoff ...

GAINESVILLE -- Now is the time to start worrying about the secondary. Florida coach Urban Meyer is less than a fortnight away from his season opener and he still doesn't know who his starting cornerbacks will be. (Meaning, he knows who his starters are but he's not very happy about it.)

Sophomore Markihe Anderson and freshman Joe Haden are the frontrunners followed by redshirt junior Markus Manson and sophomore Wondy Pierre-Louis. Is anyone comfortable with a freshman and sophomore starting on the corners? Get prepared for a lot of zone coverages.

-jo- 

August 20, 2007

Practice No. 20: Lou Holtz speaks with Gators; wears a Florida cap

True story: Only one player waves to reporters every day after practice ... His name is Tim Tebow. Stunned by the gesture, reporters offer no reply save the blank stare of a small animal startled by some unexplainable force, like a a bolt of lightning or gunfire. Deer/reporter: "I don't know Steve, I can't explain it. The tree makes a loud noise and there's Joseph dead on the ground and bleeding from the ears...Tongue all hanging out."

GAINESVILLE -- Lou Holtz visited the Gators' practice today. He wants to know the same thing every college football fan in the Southeastern Conference has been wondering: Can Tim Tebow throw a football?

Lou20holtz20originalTebow answered his question. Holtz walked away from practice impressed and wearing a Florida Gators cap. Holtz (pictured, scary hands) hired Florida coach Urban Meyer in 1996. (Holtz's last season at Notre Dame.) The mentor-apprentice relationship continues. Meyer calls Holtz the "greatest motivator I've ever been around."

I think some of Holtz's famous motivational coach-speak inspired Meyer today. In a post-practice press conference, Meyer said "drag ass" or some variant of the phrase four times during a 20-second refrain.

"If you have a team that doesn't like football then they drag-ass around. When your best players are dragging ass then you have a bad team. Like I said, there's a percentage of the players that get up and drag ass all day because they're drag assers. But if your best players on offense--your Drew Millers and Tim Tebows on offense and your Brandon Spikes, Tony Joiner and Derrick Harvey [on defense], then you've got an issue and you've got to deal with it."

-jo-

August 19, 2007

Emails I get: Georgia-Florida history lesson

This email comes to us from Mike Grysko ...
This battle has been going on for a while..
Back in the 70's (last century) there were a lot of people from Georgia moving to Florida for the more ample benefits available under Florida law. The Florida Legislature complained to the State of Georgia.
Some Congressman got up in the Georgia House and said " This is one of the few times in history when a single move increased the intelligence level of two states ."
--Mike Grysko

August 18, 2007

Picture, this: Gator tag in Georgia country

Uflgalicenceplate3GAINESVILLE -- Here's a picture to go with today's lead notebook item (CLICK THE LINK TO READ MY STORY.) This might not be the final design for the tag. The Georgia department of motor vehicles will likely have the final say on the design, according to the folks at the Atlanta Gator Club.

Of course, I've always been in favor of no license plate tags at all. It's not quite the same as the government tattooing a number to your backside, but it's the next best thing. (And cars don't wear pants.)

-jo-

August 17, 2007

Practice No. 17: More stripes removed; Exclusive séance report

14 days until kickoff ... TWO WEEKS, PEOPLE!!! Better leave South Florida now if you want to make it to Gainesville on time.

S1gremlinsstripe1 GAINESVILLE -- The removal of a thin strip of adhesive plastic from the helmets of freshmen Gators continued today. This right-of-passage occurs every fall in honor of Urban Meyer's favorite movie character (Stripe, pictured). Freshman receiver Deonte Thompson (Belle Glade) is the latest Gator to remove his sticker. (Actually, a teammate does it.)

FreshmanOther ritualized freshmen include Major Wright, Mike Pouncey, Brandon Hicks, Steve Wilks, Carlos Dunlap, Chris Rainey and Matthew Broderick (pictured).

--In related news of the occult, Billy Donovan spoke at the Gators' annual séance, Champions Night. This is when the football team gathers in the dark to summon the proper motivation needed to compete in the Southeastern Conference. This is the second year for Champions Night. It apparently worked quite well last year. Players watched a 20-minute highlight video of various champions last night. The compilation included video footage of Tiger Woods and Jerry Rice. Donovan explained the difference between believing in a teammate and trusting a teammate. Sounds like summer camp.

--A couple days ago I wrote in this blog that recruiting by way of cell phone text messaging ended on Aug. 15. I was wrong. It actually ended Aug. 1. I apologize for the mistake and will pay everyone who was deceived by the error $100. Just send me your social security number, driver's license information, mother's maiden name and checking account numbers.

-jo-

August 15, 2007

The guy who ate Jim Kelly: Wilber Marshall to be added to Ring of Honor

GAINESVILLE -- Wilber Marshall, considered the greatest defender in the history of Florida football, will be added to the Gators' Ring of Honor prior to Florida's home game against Auburn on Sept. 29.

The Ring of Honor, located above the north endzone inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, was started in 2006 to display the names of former Gator greats. The inaugural class included Emmitt Smith, Danny Wuerffel, Jack Youngblood and Steve Spurrier.

Marshall was a two-time All-American (1982-83) who many believe to be the greatest outside linebacker in the history of football. His most memorable game as a Gator came against Southern California in 1982. On the heels of a win against Miami (Marshall recorded 17 tackles and three sacks against the 'Canes and Jim Kelly), Marshall had 14 tackles and four sacks against the Trojans. (USC's quarterback at the time was Sean Salisbury.)

Marshall had 343 tackles as a Gator and 23 sacks and was drafted (1994) in the first round by the Chicago Bears. A three-time All-Pro selection, Marshall won two Super Bowls (Bears 1985, 'Skins 1991) and finished his career pro career with 45 sacks and 23 interceptions. Now a native of Titusville, Marshall is the only player in the history of the NFL to record 20 sacks and 20 interceptions.

-jo-

August 14, 2007

Practice No.13: The boys are getting tired; Sports Illustrated slaps Gators in the face

17 days until kickoff...and Tim Tebow makes it rain.

GAINESVILLE -- Training camp wears on the the Gators' freshmen class. The youngsters are pulling hamstrings, tweaking knees, suffering from the heat -- basically learning what it's like to play football.

-Freshmen John Jones and Jerimy Finch have worked their ways up the depth chart quickly. Jones and Finch could serve as back-up linebackers this season.

-Sports Illustrated's college football preview hits the stands tomorrow morning (Wednesday). SI ranks the Gators No.3 in the nation behind No.1 USC and No.2 LSU. There are five regional covers this year featuring USC, Michigan, West Virginia, Oklahoma and ARKANSAS. Take that as a slap in the face, Gator fans.

-jo-

August 13, 2007

Emails I get: Tebow not that strong

This email comes to us from Bartholomew Motes of Tallahassee...to submit your email for publication email Joseph Goodman at jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com along with your name and city of residence.

Am I the only one who was baffled at why TWO of your guys think that Tebow said that he puts up 400 pounds? I'm pretty sure that by "four" he means 4 plates aka 225.

--Bartholomew M. Motes
FSU Law Review
Founding President, Society for Chinese Law

Editor's Note: By writing "TWO of your guys," Mr. Motes is referring to me [Joseph Goodman] and Miami Herald sports columnist Israel Gutierrez.

Mr. Motes attached a link to this article, which I found to be pretty interesting. http://www.criticalbench.com/pro-athletes-bench-press.htm

Season opener kickoff time announced, no good for South Florida's Gator fans

GAINESVILLE -- Better leave your house early for the Gators' season opener. Florida opens the 2007 football season with a 12:30 p.m. kickoff on Sept.1 against Western Kentucky. Blah!!!

The ESPN networks passed on the Gators in favor of Oklahoma State at Georiga (5:45 p.m., ESPN 2) and Kansas State at Auburn (7:45 p.m., ESPN). Lincoln Financial will televise the Gators' home opener.

If you live in Miami-Dade or Broward counties and you're planning on attending the season opener, I suggest you pack up the RV and leave today.

-jo-

Practice No.11: Frosh Finch fast, phenom

18 days until kickoff ...

GAINESVILLE -- I'm learning that little news comes out of fall training camp. The practices are closed and Urban Meyer addresses the media for about four minutes every morning.

-Meyer says that freshman Jerimy Finch of Indianapolis is practicing well and has already earned himself playing time this season. Meyer doesn't know where he'll play Finch just yet but the coach is leaning towards either safety or outside linebacker.

-Cameron Newton is practicing without pain, according to Meyer. Newton missed the first week of fall practice due to academic reasons (according to Meyer) but the freshman quarterback is also recovering from a back injury.

-jo-

August 11, 2007

Emails I get: Smack talk II, UF vs. The U

This bit of smack was sent to me by a Gators fan. Or maybe an FAU fan? ... Rebuttals anyone.

If a pin drops in an empty Orange Bowl, does it make a noise?

Things are testy these days in Coral Gables and their flimsy fan base, and quite frankly, i love it.

Blah Blah Blah the 1980s, blah blah blah private school, blah blah blah we make excuses for not attending games....somethings never change, but all you have to do is be a casual college football fan to see one thing that has is the pecking order in the state, and the only more laughable then you old timers living in the past is watching the seminoles flush down the toilet with you guys lol.

Can't wait till September!

-Howard Schnellenberger's Ghost... Hoot, Hoot

August 10, 2007

Ahhh, the ever-quotable Chris Rainey

Florida's media day highlight...

Freshman running back Chris Rainey told reporters, "I like white girls."

-jo-

Gator quickie: Fat people pushing other fat people

GAINESVILLE -- It's funny to watch fat people push each other around. This happened for about 10 minutes during Florida's practice on Thursday.

Circle of Cockfighting

The drill is called "Circle of Life." Here's what happens. Players square off against each other in a three-point stance. The two opposing helmets are separated by about 10 feet. A coach claps his hands or spits tobacco or drops a rose or blows a kiss or something and then said opposing helmets run full bangaroo at each other and collide.

Encasing the action is a circle of teammates cheering or placing bets or something. The point of this spectacle is to win a pushing contest. Things of this nature also happen in Mexico (and Alabama and allegedly Michael Vick's summer home).

51h52sbmmyl_aa240_Anyway, it wasn't much fun watching the defensive backs, linebackers and running backs push each other around. AND TIM TEBOW WASN'T ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE  OUT OF FEAR FOR EVERYONE ELSE. But the fat guys -- the people getting their tuition paid in full to push people around on Saturdays -- those fat guys were hilarious. So strong is Carlton Medder. He pushes people around like Neno Brown (pictured) pushes smack.

-jo-

   

August 09, 2007

Practice No.8: The kickers are terrible

23 days until kickoff ... and Tim Tebow spoke Aramaic today then cured a puppy sick with distemper.

GAINESVILLE -- Lightning ended Florida's practice ON TIME tonight. Normally, Urban Meyer extends practice 20 to 30 minutes after it's scheduled to end.

Images -Today was the first day for full pads. No mega hits like on Wednesday when Major Wright turned Chris Rainey (pictured) into a bowl of guacamole.

-Running backs Brandon James, Chris Rainey and Kestahn Moore all broke long gains during team drills. Meyer said that Rainey has a chance to contribute to the Gators' offense this season. (That should be interesting. Tebow: "Green 18! Green 18! Avocado!")

-Someone should test center Drew Miller's right wrist for steroids. His snaps keep soaring over the heads of Florida's quarterbacks. Miller is one of Florida's best linemen, so I'm sure he'll get his rhythm down. But six high snaps during one practice begs the question, "Son, what you been doing with that wrist?"

-Meyer is not happy with the team's place kickers (Joey Ijjas and Jonathan Phillips) and is eager to get a look at invited walk-on freshman Jordan Means, who prepped at Hoover (Ala.) High his senior year. Means has been away from the practice field recovering from mononucleosis and will join the team next week. Good thing kickers are already pretty much quaratined from the rest of the squad.

Meyer: "Hey, Phillip. Yeah, this is Urb. Look, don't worry about flying down from Knoxville this weekend. The boys are pretty sick.

Fulmer, but with an English accent (high class northern London, not cockney): "Good heavens, old boy! Most unfortunate. What in the devil could be wrong?"

Meyer: "They all got mono from the kicker."

Fulmer: "I do say. That IS a kicker. A little crazy in the karzy, eh."

-jo-


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