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55 posts from October 2007

October 30, 2007

Major Wright really was wearing a boxing glove; P. Harvin has a "strained" shoulder

GAINESVILLE -- I wrote two days ago that it looked like Florida safety Major Wright was wearing a boxing glove wrapped in gauze bandaging during the Georgia game. Turns out he really was.

I spoke with Wright today after practice and he said he likely will wear the boxing glove again on Saturday against Vanderbilt. Wright (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas) broke his thumb while making a tackle against Kentucky. He played only on special teams against Georgia.

--The team seems to have adopted some kind of "us against the world" mentality and the disdainful attitude, apparently, is supposed to include reporters.

--Florida coach Urban Meyer indicated on Tuesday that the Gators' injury-depleted defensive line might switch to a three-man front at times against Vanderbilt. Also, freshman offensive lineman Mike Pouncey practiced at defensive line some today.

--Shelley Meyer, Urban's wife, will introduce her hubbie at Gator Growl. Should be entertaining.

--Florida receiver Percy Harvin practiced with a shoulder support today. He said he has a "strained" right shoulder. Meyer plans to use Harvin in the backfield more than usual against Vanderbilt to take some pressure off of quarterback Tim Tebow, who suffers from a sore shoulder.

-jo-

Is the SEC overrated?

GAINESVILLE — Florida coach Urban Meyer said on Monday that he has “never seen anything like what is going on in the SEC East.”

          Interpret that three ways: 1. Parity is allowing the conference to eat itself to death. 2. The SEC is just grossly overrated. 3. All of the above.

*

THEORY ONE: Parity

          If you’re a diehard supporter of the Southeastern Conference, as most God-fearing Southerners are, this is your theory. You believe, unflinchingly, that the SEC is the best college football conference in the country. You believe this so passionately that your blood pressure spiked so quickly after reading these next words that your eyeballs started to burn and pulsate and your neck broke out in a rash: The best of the Pac-10 is better than the best of the SEC. This is hogwash, of course, and isn’t worth two squirts of your tobacco spit and you’ve just decided that the writer of this blog MUST be some kind of stardust-wearing, fish eater from Oregon. (Actually, I’m from Birmingham, Ala., home of the SEC.)

*

Factual evidence proving THEORY ONE: Parity

Sec 1. A remarkable number of SEC teams (11), still have a fighting chance to win the SEC. The number will shrink dramatically after Saturday, but, for now, all teams not coached by Houston Nutt (Arkansas), who started the season with the BEST player (RB Darren McFadden), allegedly, in the BEST conference (SEC), allegedly, can still earn a BCS bowl berth.

2. Most teams are good enough to beat a good team. Proof: 10 of 12 SEC teams have wins against at least one Top 25 opponent.

3. The SEC is 32-5 (86 percent success rate) against non-conference opponents.

4. Seven SEC teams (most by any conference) are ranked in the Top 25 AP and coaches polls. By comparison, the Pac-10 has but three teams ranked.

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THEORY TWO: Overrated

          A Southerner’s take: This is your theory if you’re illogical and haven’t watched any football this season and just hate the SEC because the only thing you can really compare it to is the NFL.

          The take of anyone else not lucky enough to be a Southerner: If Mississippi State beat Auburn and Mississippi State lost to West Virginia and West Virginia lost to South Florida and South Florida beat Auburn but lost to Connecticut, then how could the SEC be considered the best conference in the country? And if Tennessee beat South Carolina and South Carolina beat Georgia and Georgia beat Florida and Florida beat Tennessee and Tennessee was demolished by California, how could the SEC be better than the Pac-10?

*

Factual evidence proving THEORY TWO: Overrated

Pac10logo 1. The SEC is 5-5 against BCS conference opponents.

---ACC (2-1, last season 7-1): LSU 48, Virginia Tech 7; Florida State 21, Alabama 14; South Carolina 21, North Carolina 15; Florida State at Florida; Georgia at Georgia Tech; Clemson at South Carolina; Wake Forest at Vanderbilt.

---Big East (2-1, last season 0-2): South Florida 26, Auburn 23 (OT); Kentucky 40, Louisville 34; West Virginia 38, Mississippi State 13

---Big 12 (2-1, last season 2-2): Auburn 23, Kansas State 13; Georgia 35, Oklahoma State 14; Missouri 38, Ole Miss 25

---Pac-10 (0-1, last season 3-1): California 45, Tennessee 31

*

Opinions anyone?

*

-jo-

October 29, 2007

Bad news: Miami native Javier Estopinan out for the year

GAINESVILLE -- Florida redshirt junior Javier Estopinan, a Miami native, is done for the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. This is terrible news for the defensive tackle, who has now torn three ACLs in three years.

Estopinan (South Miami) injured his knee during the second quarter on Saturday against Georgia. He was in street clothes by the second half. Florida trainers initially hoped that Estopinan had only injured his meniscus but Florida coach Urban Meyer took one glance at the tough defensive lineman and knew by the look on Estopinan's face that the injury was more severe.

"He's a smart guy and he has been through it a couple of times," Meyer said. "There's no one better than Javier."

Meyer said on Monday during his weekly press conference that Estopinan has every intention of fully recovering from the injury and contributing to the team's 2008 season.

"He's coming back," Meyer said. "He's going to be one of our leaders next year. His family was here [Sunday]. I relate it to the day I sat in my office and (former defensive tackle) Ray McDonald got the phone call [confirming a torn ACL]. It is hard to see, especially for invested players."

The loss of Estopinan is a serious blow for Florida's interior defensive line. The Gators' other starting defensive tackle, redshirt senior Clint McMillan, is also nursing an injury. Florida will likely replace Estopinan with a combination of freshman Torrey Davis, redshirt freshman Lawrence Marsh and freshman Justin Trattou (a defensive end).

-jo-

October 28, 2007

Your chance to name UGA 42, UF 30 and other ramblings of a crazy SEC that took a long stinking time to compile

As newbie to all things Florida Gators, I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on the Georgia-Florida rivalry (I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on anything, for that matter. Give me another year, ha-ha!). So, let's open this lovely Sunday conversation to the real UGA-UF historians, you guys. Here's your chance to name Georgia 42, Florida 30.

My offerings...
1. Dance, Dawgs, Dance
2. Knowshon Fo'Show'Mon
3. Tebow: End of Innocence
4. Moreno Supremo
5. Meyer Loses Fire
6. Act'n a Fool in the End Zone
7. Fourth-and-Dumb II
8. Staffordshire, the new Dawg in Jville
9. Major Wright, The Marshmallow Fist Man
10. Tebow's Shoulder Bruise Game

GAINESVILLE -- No doubt UGA 42, UF 30 will be remembered forever for Georgia's end zone celebration in the first quarter. Sports Illustrated has apparently latched onto the bizarre happenings, evidenced by an SI writer asking Florida coach Urban Meyer his thoughts on the subject during today's weekly teleconference.
          Meyer: "The first thing is it's illegal ... You're being called out and you have to go as hard as you can. We had some silly penalties as well ... We have to keep them out of the end zone so they can't do that ... It's none of my business."

SEC TEAMS IN AP TOP 25
No.3 LSU (7-1)
          Can a one-loss LSU team leapfrog No.2 Boston College? Tigers won't have to; BC will lose at home to Miami on Nov.24. Ohio State will lose at Michigan on Nov.17.

No.10 Georgia (6-2)
          Do the Bulldogs got bite? Just ask Tebow, who was sacked six times on Saturday. Florida's quarterback entered the game having been sacked five times on the season.

No.17 Alabama (6-2)
          Bama jumps five spots and didn't even play a game? Only the Tide. Didn't this team lose to Florida State a couple weeks ago?

No.18 Florida (5-3)
          The highest ranked three-loss team in the Top 25.

No.19 Auburn (6-3)
          The Tigers ranked behind Florida? Further proof that most AP voters don't eat their vegetables. Auburn beat Florida in The Swamp, duh.

No.23 South Carolina (6-3)
          Hey Spurrier, feeling cocky?

No.24 Tennessee (6-3)
          Again, in the words of Pompano Beach Ely's world famous marching band: Hey AP voters, "Eat your vegetables...And your peas!" Tennessee beat South Carolina ON SATURDAY!

MOST SEC TEAMS STILL ALIVE
          Amazingly, 11 of 12 SEC teams still have chances (some theoretical miracles) to reach Atlanta and the SEC championship game. Here's an SEC breakdown of the current standings, including some highlights from kids that got away from Florida, a few hometown heroes, my predictions, several snarky comments (pretty much all I'm good for)
and one request for LSU fans. And who said the SEC is a conference in constant flux? Looks like South Carolina, Kentucky and the Mississippi schools are at the bottom of the pile, as usual.

SEC WEST BREAKDOWN
Alabama (4-1)
          Helmet_ala_3 Last week: Bye. This week: LSU at Bryant-Denny (5 p.m.). Tuscaloosa might burn to the ground if the Tide beats LSU (Nick Saban vs. Les Miles) in Bryant-Denny on Saturday. And in a rare Saturday in The Beautiful state, the entire place will be cheering for Alabama to win. Auburn can't win the West without a little help from the pachyderms. Prediction: Alabama 17, LSU 10. What needs to happen for Alabama to reach Atlanta? Win out.

LSU (4-1)
          Helmet_lsu Last week: Bye. This week: LSU Les Miles' luck runs out this weekend. Side note: LSU fans, take some lessons on how to treat visiting football fans while y'all are in T-town. What needs to happen for LSU to reach Atlanta? Win out; convert 53 more fourth downs; continue consulting with New Orleans voodoo witchdoctors every week; meet at the crossroads one more time; etc...

Auburn (4-2)
          Helmet_aub Last week: Beat Ole Miss 17-3, out gaining the Rebs in yards by 420-193. RB Brad Lester rushed for a career high 93 yards. One That Got Away: Sophomore defensive back Patrick Lee (Miami Christopher Columbus) had nine tackles and an interception. This week: Tennessee Tech at Jordan-Hare (2:30 p.m.). Prediction: Auburn 45, Tennessee Tech 10. What needs to happen for Auburn to reach Atlanta? Win out; two LSU losses.

Miss. State (2-3)
          Helmet_msu Last week: Beat Kentucky 31-14. Congrats coach Sly Croom, you just earned another year as head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. One That Got Away: Freshman quarterback Wesley Carroll (St. Thomas Aquinas) threw for 152 yards and two touchdowns. This week: Bye. What needs to happen for State to reach Atlanta? Win out; three LSU losses; Alabama loss at Auburn.

Arkansas (1-3)
          Helmet_ark Last week: Beat FIU 58-10. Arkansas has scored 102 points in the last two weeks. Have the Hogs turned their season around in time to add more chaos to the SEC? One That Got Away: Sophomore tailback Michael Smith (Tallahassee Rickards) rushed for an 81-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. This week: South Carolina at Razorback Stadium (2 p.m.). Prediction: Arkansas 24, South Carolina 21. What needs to happen for Arkansas to reach Atlanta? A whole heck of a lot: Win out; three Alabama losses; LSU loss to Ole Miss. 

Ole Miss (0-6)
          Helmet_ole Last week: Lost to Auburn 17-3. It's bad in Oxford these days but Rebs coach Ed Orgeron gets a pass this season and probably the next. One That Got Away: Freshman defensive lineman Lawon Scott (St. Petersburg High) was credited with 2.5 tackles behind the line for a total of minus-five yards. Next week: Northwestern State at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (2 p.m.). Prediction: Ole Miss 20, Northwestern State 7. What needs to happen for Ole Miss to reach Atlanta? Get in your car; drive east; buy a ticket.

SEC EAST BREAKDOWN
Georgia (4-2)
          Helmet_uga Last week: Beat Florida 42-30. Knowshon Fo'Show'Mon. One That Got Away: Sophomore defensive tackle Geno Atkins (St. Thomas Aquinas) assisted on a sack. Next week: Troy at Sanford Stadium (1 p.m.). Prediction: Georgia 30, Troy 27. What needs to happen for Georgia to reach Atlanta? Win out; Tennessee loss.

Tennessee (3-2)
          Helmet_ten Last week: Beat South Carolina 27-24 (OT). Tennessee just won't go away. Left for dead after a 59-20 loss to Florida, Tennessee can now controls its own fate in the SEC East. One That Got Away: Freshman kicker Daniel Lincoln (Ocala Forest) nailed a 48-yarder moments (after missing a 43-yarder) to force overtime. The second chance came by way of a Tennessee penalty. Lincoln then made the game winner (27 yards) in overtime. Next week: Louisiana-Lafayette at Neyland Stadium (4 p.m.). Prediction: Tennessee 25, Ragin' Cajuns 10. What needs to happen for Tennessee to reach Atlanta? Win out.

Florida (3-3)
          Helmet_fla Last week: Lost to Georgia 42-30. Tebow's Shoulder Bruise Game. Hometown Hero: Anyone see Major Wright's (St. Thomas Aquinas) marshallow fist, a white boxing glove of gauze bandaging to protect his broken thumb? He still managed to record a solo tackle on special teams. Dorian Munroe (Miami Coral Reef) subbed for Wright at free safety and had two tackles. Next week: Vanderbilt at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (12:30 p.m.) Prediction: Florida 33, Vandy 30. What needs to happen for Florida to reach Atlanta? Win out; two Georgia losses; Tennessee loss.

South Carolina (3-3)
          Helmet_usc Last week: Just when you thought Spurrier was going to help out his old Gators, South Carolina lost to Tennessee 27-24 (OT). One That Got Away: Sophomore strong safety Emanuel Cook (Palm Beach Gardens) had 10 tackles, including one for a loss. Next week: South Carolina at Razorback Stadium (2 p.m.). Prediction: Arkansas 24, South Carolina 21. What needs to happen for South Carolina to reach Atlanta? Win out; two Tennessee losses.

Kentucky (2-3)
          Helmet_uky Last week: Lost to Mississippi State 31-14. Get'n lucky in Kentucky no longer. Kentucky had six turnovers. One That Got Away: Sophomore defensive end Jamil Paris (Sebastian River) forced a fumble in the fourth quarter. Next week: Bye. What needs to happen for Kentucky to reach Atlanta? Win out; Florida loss; South Carolina loss.

-jo- 

October 27, 2007

UGA 42, UF 30: Gators lose to Georiga for third time in 18 years

JACKSONVILLE -- Just got back from the post-game press conferences. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was emotional, fighting back tears when asked about how if feels to lose to Georgia. The Gators lost 42-35 on Saturday at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. Tebow was sacked six times. He entered the game having been sacked only five times.

More analysis later. Gotta write my stories for the paper now.

-jo-

UGA 35, UF 24: Florida's defense getting exposed

JACKSONVILLE -- One play after being flagged for a senseless personal foul, Florida cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis found himself isolated in one-on-one coverage and allowed a 53-yard touchdown.

Georgia receiver Mikey Henderson made a nice play against Pierre-Louis, catching the ball over Pierre-Louis' back, before trotting into the end zone.

-jo-   

Florida losing the fight

JACKSONVILLE -- Raise your hand if you predicted this. Tim Tebow has rushed for minus-24 yards on 10 carries through three quarters.

Tebow just missed a long third-down conversion (19 yards) when he overthrew Cornelius Ingram and Knowshon Moreno is running through Florida's defense once again. Georgia is leading 28-24.

-Dorian Munroe (Miami Coral Reef) just replaced Kyle Jackson in the Florida secondary.

-jo-

UGA 28, UF 24: Tebow runs despite injury

GAINESVILLE -- Tim Tebow appears to be in pain after rushing for a two-yard score (7:22, third quarter) to cut Georgia's lead to 28-24. Sensing a Tim Tebow Heisman Trophy moment coming on.

-A 30-yard pass play to Jarred Fayson set up the touchdown.

-jo-

Harvin injured: Offensive options shrinking for the Gators

GAINESVILLE -- Tebow can't run the ball because of his sore shoulder and now Percy Harvin is walking off the field with an apparent shoulder injury (11:16, third quarter). Florida needs a big play to restore some momentum.

-jo-

UGA 28, UF 17: Gators can't stop Knowshon Moreno

JACKSONVILLE -- The second half is underway and Florida still can't stop Georgia freshman running back Knowshon Moreno.

Moreno carried the ball twice for 56 yards on the Bulldogs' first drive of the third quarter. The sliced through Florida's defense on his second carry -- an inside draw for 44 yards. Matthew Stafford finished off the drive with a one-yard play-action pass to Georgia fullback Brandon Southerland.

Moreno now has over 100 yards rushing for the second game in a row. He rushed for 157 yards against Vanderbilt two weeks ago.

-jo- 

UGA 21, UF 17: Georgia's Moreno one tough freshman

JACKSONVILLE -- Georgia is relying almost exclusively on its freshman running back Knowshon Moreno and the youngster is answering the challenge.

Moreno just scored his second rushing touchdown of the game to give Georgia a 21-17 lead. Moreno has 17 carries for about 65 yards and two touchdowns.

-jo-

UF 17, UGA 14: Tebow sacked for fourth time

GAINESVILLE -- Tim Tebow hasn't been pressured like this all season. Georgia just sacked Florida's quarterback for the fourth time, forcing the Gators to settle for a 43-yard Joey Ijjas field goal with 7:11 left in the second quarter.

Finally, a sound defensive series

JACKSONVILLE -- A developing situation here at the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. Someone finally decided to play defense. Florida stopped Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno (he touched on every play of the six-play drive) and Georiga missed a 56-yard field goal.

-Florida took over at its own 39-yard line and Tim Tebow tossed a 25-yard pass to Jarred Fayson. What? Jarred Fayson? Who? That's right, Jarred Fayson sighting.

-jo-

UF 14, UGA 14: Jump, Wondy, Jump!

JACKSONVILLE -- We now have our 4,409 personal foul of the game after Florida cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis flipped into the end zone to celebrate an interception and score. The 25-yard play is Pierre-Louis' first interception of the season and the second touchdown of his career.

-Matthew Stafford has now thrown two passes for two touchdowns (one to his team, one to Florida).

-jo-

Worst drive of the season for Florida

JACKSONVILLE -- Florida answered Georgia's 86-yard touchdown play with the Gators' worst offensive series of the season: K. Moore fumble, Tebow sack, Tebow sack.

Florida is now facing a fourth-and-37......and.......nice punt by Chas Henry to the one-yard line. Brandon James, Mr. Special Teams, downs the ball.

-jo-

UGA 14, UF 7: Bulldogs strike back; Nice angle, Tony Joiner

JACKSONVILLE -- Florida defensive breakdown alert: Florida strong safety Tony Joiner just got toasted by Georgia wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi for an 86-yard touchdown. This is turning into a wild one. That touchdown pass is a career long for quarterback Matthew Stafford and Massaquoi.

Georgia just got flagged for two more personal fouls. The Bulldogs now have six personal foul penalties in less than one quarter.

-jo-

UF 7, UGA 7: Gators answer quickly; Tebow beside himself

GAINESVILLE -- Tebow just spent about 15 seconds celebrating his 40-yard touchdown throw to Louis Murphy. Anyone else gets flagged for excessive celebration.

-Florida's scoring drive: three plays, 67 yards, one minute and 21 seconds. 

-Major Wright is on the field for Florida's kickoff with what looks like a marshmallow on his left hand. Wright broke his thumb against Kentucky.

-jo-

UGA 7, UF 0: Bizarre happenings on the Georgia sidelines!!!

JACKSONVILLE -- The press box is spinning right now (and I'm receiving about 52 text messages) after Georgia's entire team just rushed the field to celebrate the Bulldogs' one-yard touchdown.

Most bizarre. The press box actually erupted into laughter at this sight: Knowshon Moreno goes over the top and Georgia's entire team just rushed the field like Moreno hit a Little League home run or something.

-Georgia was flagged for 30 yards.

-jo-

Jackson hurt on first play; Munroe in; 'Dogs driving

Gainesville -- Florida senior defensive back Kyle Jackson is out of the game after the defense's first play after being trucked by Georgia freshman running back Knowshon Moreno. Munroe is in the game.

-K. Moreno with a 14-yard gain to the UF 3. The Bulldogs are punching Florida in the mouth right now.

-jo-


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