« Meyer: Patchan could get a starting nod | Main | PREGAME PODCAST: UF limping into opener »

ONLINE PREVIEW: Gators ready to impress on Saturday in season opener with Hawaii

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Check back on Saturday for pregame bloggery. Gator Clause will snap some tailgating pictures, report any recruit sightings and comment on any other observations that we find mildly interesting or smashingly brilliant. Then we'll blog live during the game.

Hawaii at Florida, 12:30 p.m.
UF two-deep depth chart: CLICK ME!
UF vs. Hawaii official game notes: CLICK ME!
Live TV: Raycom (Dave Neal, play-by-play; Dave Archer, color analyst; Dave Baker, sideline reporter)
XM Radio: Channel 200
WEB audio: GatorZone.com
LIVE BLOGGERY: Gator Clause, duh.

-Florida 52, Hawaii 17 (LEAVE US YOUR PREDICTIONS!) 
-Tebow: six total touchdowns (four passing, two rushing)
-Wondy Pierre-Louis (at least one interception)
-Jeff Demps returns at least one kickoff
-Percy Harvin lines up for four or five plays

GAINESVILLE -- First-year starting defensive end Carlos Dunlap is a smart kid. He understands what's at stake on Saturday, perception.

DunlapNo. 5 Florida opens the season against unranked Hawaii and everyone is expecting a blowout. Dunlap [PICTURED, NO.8], who has the wingspan of a Cessna or perhaps a small bridge, is ready to oblige. He said on Wednesday that his new look defensive line "is going to show out."

"[The first game] is going to show everybody what we’ve got, so everybody knows what we have," Dunlap said. "We aren't going to hide anything. Right now we’re just hiding it. The first game, you’re going to see for yourself. Y'all can judge us.”

Carlos, we love your excitement but the official judging won't begin until next week, when the Gators host rival Miami. This Saturday is all about witnessing carnage the good ole fashioned way. And by old fashioned we mean Roman Coliseum style. Hawaii at Florida will be the north-central Florida version of Charleston Southern at Miami.

Dunlap is one of several Gators making their first career starts on Saturday. The list includes: DT Lawrence Marsh, DT Terron Sanders, SS Ahmad Black, MLB Ryan Stamper (technically, he started against Georgia but was a reserve nonetheless), WR Deonte Thompson and K Jon Phillips.

So, as an informed Gators fan, what should you be looking for amid Hawaii's cries for help? Gator Clause is here to help you slosh through the bloodbath. Here are 15 things to look out for. (If you're keeping an eye on something we didn't mention, then leave a comment so everyone can appreciate your insight.)

1. Florida should score at least 45 points. Anything less will be for lack of trying.
2. If the Gators hold Hawaii to under 14 points, then that will be a clear sign that the defense has improved. Hawaii led the nation in scoring last year (43.4 ppg). Troy scored 31 points against the Gators last season in the unofficial season opener. (Western Kentucky doesn't count.)
Moody 3. Pay special attention to how many carries redshirt sophomore RB Emmanuel Moody [PICTURED] accumulates. If Moody, the USC transfer, finishes the game with more carries than RB Kestahn Moore, that might be an indication for bigger things to come.
4. If RB Kestahn Moore fumbles, that's bad news for Kestahn Moore.
5. This might seem inconsequential to some, but it fascinates Gator Clause: Watch for RB Chris Rainey's shoe to fly off at any point during the game. Rainey didn't play much last season, but when he did it seemed like his shoes were always flying off.
6. Keep count of how many series Will Hill plays at safety.
7. Who's Meyer's designated kick blocker? This is an important job. My pregame guesses are William Green, Chris Rainey or Frankie Hammond Jr.
8. Does OG Jim Tartt play most of the game? His shoulders have been hurting, he didn't practice much during the preseason but he's apparently getting the start.
9. Redshirt freshman receiver Deonte Thompson (Belle Glade) is starting over junior Riley Cooper. Keep track of Thompson's receptions, drops and downfield blocking.
Jajenkins 10. Watch for cornerback Joe Haden to move inside as the Gators' nickel cornerback. You might be surprised who takes Haden's place on the edge. My guess is true freshman Janoris Jenkins [PICTURED].
11. If Matt Patchan records two sacks against Hawaii, then I'm predicting a start against Miami, the team his father and uncle played for.
12. Keep an eye on No.1. It might just be me, but I wouldn't be surprised to see WR Percy Harvin run a few routes.
13. Middle linebacker Ryan Stamper is a redshirt junior but he's making just the second start of his career.
14. If CB Wondy Pierre-Louis gets an interception, look up to the press box. I'll be the guy screaming, "I told you so!"
15. If Tebow rushes more than 12 times against Hawaii, then he's going to win the Heisman this year. Just sayin', mmhmmm.

In the course of three weeks, UF safety Justin Williams [PICTURED] has gone from fourth-string receiver to back-up free safety. Watch for Williams to get some reps against Hawaii. Remember, folks, UF's Juwilliamssecondary is one injury to Major Wright away from panic mode. (Wright broke his hand last season.) Williams needs some game-time experience before he gets tossed on the field as a starter.

"You're going to have to develop two deep, no question about this," Florida safeties coach Chuck Heater said. "The season is incredibly long."

Williams (6-1, 205 pounds) says he approached coaches about moving to safety. He had two interceptions in the Gators' first scrimmage of the spring and since that time Williams has proven to be a viable option. He played safety in high school and told Gator Clause earlier this week that he had 10 interceptions as a prep star in Georgia.

June Jones is no longer the coach at Hawaii and Colt Brennan is no longer the quarterback.
HawaiiYou're asking yourself, why is Florida such a heavy favorite against Hawaii if the Warriors played in the Sugar Bowl last year? Well, it's simple. Hawaii was overrated last year. No, just kidding. Hawaii has a new coach, (Greg McMackin) new quarterback (either Brent Rausch or Greg Alexander) and is playing at 12:30 ET, which is 6:30 a.m. Hawaii time. Of course, Hawaii did arrive on the east coast on Tuesday to get acclimated.

Why does ESPN and others insist on spelling Hawaii like this, Hawai'i? That accent mark between the 'ii' (or whatever it is) is silly and borderline self-righteous, if you ask me.

120pxheismantrophylogo-Tebow needs five rushing touchdowns to tie Florida great Emmitt Smith for the school record. Smith finished his career with 36.
-Tebow has rushed for at least one touchdown and passed for at least one touchdown in 14-straight games. The streak is the longest in NCAA history.

Read how UF's future opponents faired on Thursday night, the opening night of the 2008 college football season:
LINK: Miami Hurricanes open new era with flair
LINK: Gamecocks shut out Wolfpack in opener
LINK: Nixon gets Vandy off to strong start

Helmet_ten This will be the first game for UT and UCLA since 1997 when Payton Manning and the No.3 Vols defeated UCLA 30-24 at Pasadena...UT safety Eric Berry was the Sporting News' national defensive freshman of the year. Berry had five interceptions...UT's leading rusher (Arian Foster) and receiver (Lucas Taylor) return.

Helmet_ukyKentucky broke the Cardinals' four-game win streak last year. Senior receiver Dicky Lyons had 56 receptions for 655 yards last season. The Cats return three experienced running backs, senior Tony Dixon, junior Alfonso Smith and sophomore Derrick Locke.

MEMPHIS AT OLE MISS, Saturday 7 p.m., Pay Per View
Helmet_oleOle Miss coach Houston Nutt coaches his first game with the Rebels. Highly touted Texas transfer Jevan Snead will make his Ole Miss debut at quarterback. Ole Miss' defensive line returns three veterans including Clinton McDonald, who had four sacks last year.

Helmet_alaESPN GameDay is in Atlanta for this season opener. Can Alabama coach Nick Saban get his first signature win with the Crimson Tide? Saban hasn't had a winning regular season as a coach in over three years. Clemson is stacked with offensive talent. Running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller (who almost transferred to UF before 2007) return.

Helmet_lsu This is the upset everyone is waiting for. Appy State shocked Michigan last year in Ann Arbor. Can QB Armanti Edwards do the same in Death Valley. LSU defensive linemen Tyson Jackson and Ricky Jean-Francois will look to knockout Edwards early.



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference ONLINE PREVIEW: Gators ready to impress on Saturday in season opener with Hawaii:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

UF 63, Hawaii 6.

Wouldn't be ironic if a real Hurricane (Hanna) saves the fake Hurricanes (Shannon's team) from being destroyed next weekend and starting the downward spiral ala last year. You remember the spiral? Shannon over his head, players quiting, and being punked right out of the Orange Bowl during the last game ever played in that dump.
Hanna is the only thing that can save the Canes season. You better hope that storm comes!

Wow. Guess CokeCanes is already looking forward to next week.



I realize that our domination of you guys since the 80's and into the new millenium where we are 4-0 against you has gotten to you... chill out it's only football!

2004 Peach Bowl trashing should be recent enough for you since I already know that you will say that we Canes fans live in the 80's, yada, yada, yada... We have 6 straight wins against you guys in the only 6 matchups against you all in the last decade...

This could be the biggest one yet!


Comparing a team that was in last year's Sugar Bowl to Charleston Southern is not very accurate.


Geez. Why do I even waste my time doing these gigantic posts with all this great content? Is that all you got? Dude! Come on. Forest for the trees, my friend. And I wasn't comparing Hawaii and Charleston Southern. I was comparing Florida-Hawaii and Miami-Charleston Southern.


In response to your "Random Annoyance", the mark in Hawai`i is called an `okina (glottal stop). All diacritical marks are very important in the Hawaiian language; therefore, that is the proper spelling. The correct pronunciation is "Havai i"...the "w" is pronounced as a "v". I suggest you do some research before calling this silly and borderline self-righteous. Mahalo!

Lighten up, people.

Just answering the question. So now you know...you're welcome.


Thanks. It was meant to be a joke but apparently I can't shake the image of being the biggest jerk on the planet. I hate baby animals, old people and wish for the homogenization of America.



No harm done. Here's hoping our Warriors put up a good fight tomorrow against the mighty Gators. Have a nice day.

Aloha! i mua

Jo-- Grow up and take a chill pill and try to get laid-- it's not that hard in Gainesville.

Geez! You guys are tense before game day.


Just FYI, the ‘okina (glottal stop, considered a consonant in the Hawaiian language) and the kahakö (macron, which doesn't appear correctly here) are very important. Without them, words can have totally different meanings. The classic example is ‘ai (food) vs. ai (sex), or na (by/for) vs. nä (modifier indicating plurality). The proper usage of these marks is actually a pretty big issue here in Hawai‘i, as the Native Hawaiian people and those sympathetic to their causes have, in the past 30+ years, taken steps to perpetuate the once-ignored Hawaiian language and culture as much as possible.

But I'm not too annoyed by that, even if it was a lame excuse for a joke. Now, using the old UH rainbow logo, that turns me off. We haven't used that thing in a long time. The tapa H is what we go with now, thank you very much. :-)

Enjoy the game tomorrow/today (7.5 hours to go). I mua Warriors! (Go forward! Persevere!) Aloha!

I cannot wait for this game. Gators have good players, but do you have a good team? Too bad you do not have a viable backup to Tebow. He will be requesting a medical redshirt year after this game with Hawaii. You have just disrespected Hawaii and you will pay! Have a fun time rehabbing Tebow. The boys are now in town.

Gainesville or bust! Barbecue with Gator meat -- and some Hurricane helper on the side! See you there!

The comments to this entry are closed.