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Pressure is key to stopping USC quarterback combo

GAINESVILLE -- Florida safety Ahmad Black is getting greedy. And that's a good thing when you're a safety.

Black said on Wednesday that he wants a few more interceptions before the season is over. He might have a chance at one or two on Saturday against South Carolina, which will likely rotate quarterbacks Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia. Smelley has thrown 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions while Garcia has six touchdown passes and four interceptions.

Black says the Gators are preparing for both players as if they were the same quarterback.

"They really do about the same thing but Garcia runs it a little more," Black said. "He's not that accurate, so we've got to get pressure on both of them. When you get pressure on them it rattles them a little bit."

Black leads the Gators with five interceptions, which ranks him second in the SEC along with Alabama safety Rashad Johnson. Tennessee safety Eric Berry leads the SEC with six interceptions.

Florida has played with an emotional edge since losing to Ole Miss. UF lineman Mike Pouncey says the Gators' coaching staff has intensified practices recently to reduce the complacency that might creep into the locker room after five consecutive blowouts.

"Coach has been making us go harder and harder in practice so we don't lose that edge," Pouncey said.

It took awhile, but Florida running back Emmanuel Moody appears to be finally buying into the Gators' offense. Word is that Moody was on life support but was nursed back to health by the Tebow family and a nice intravenous injection of orange and blue Kool-Aid. Moody rushed for over 70 yards against Georgia in mop-up time but received meaningful carries against Vanderbilt. He rushed for 48 yards on seven carries against the Commodores.

"When you averaged 10 yards per carry in the last game, I'd say that's pretty good and they still had their starters in when he did that," UF running back coach Kenny Carter said. "He's a very, very good player and we're excited about him. He has adjusted now and he knows what his value is to us and what he brings to the table. And they've all established an unselfish attitude and understand that it's about the position and it's not about them as individuals."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Moody actually averaged 6.9 yards per carry against Vanderbilt. He averaged 10.1 yards per carry against Georgia.

Carter intimated on Wednesday that Moody might have expected a gift-wrapped starting position during the offseason. Moody, of course, transferred from Southern Cal in 2007 and sat out last season.

"When you transition from one organization to another, especially from Southern Cal to Florida, there's no drop off and there's a level of expectation that's different at every place and he had to adjust to what the level of expectation was for him when it came to performance, when it came to accountability and when he realized where he needed to be and what the standard was now he has taken the steps he needed to to be a better player," Carter said.

NOTE TO MOODY: Drink that Kool-Aid, Manny. We want to see you on the field more against South Carolina, Florida State and Alabama.   

After scorching the field against Arkansas, LSU and Kentucky, UF running back Jeffery Demps' production was limited considerably against Georgia and Vanderbilt. He rushed for 282 yards on 24 carries against the Hogs, Tigers and Wildcats. Against Georgia he managed just 19 yards on four carries. Vanderbilt held Demps to 19 yards on seven carries.

Chris Rainey's production was down against Georgia and Vanderbilt as well. Rainey had 27 yards on five carries against UGA and 11 yards on six carries against Vandy. Demps said on Wednesday that Georgia and Vandy focused on stopping the Gators' running backs, allowing other players to create more offense.

"I think they're keying on us a lot more than they did and that kind of opened up some of the other players," Demps said.

Against Georgia, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow led the Gators in carries (12 for 45 yards). Againt Vanderbilt, Tebow had 88 yards rushing on 11 carries, including a career-long 26-yard touchdown run. After Tebow's touchdown run, UF lineman Mike Pouncey said he knew Tebow was back.

"He has been running good for the last couple of weeks and he has just been playing like the Tim Tebow we're used to," Pouncey said.

NOTE TO DEMPS: Don't take it personally, Jeffery. Tebow wants another Heisman.

This email comes to us from Alexander of parts unknown. Alexander writes...

Hey Jo,

I was wondering if you know how I could get a pair of Nikes that the basketball team wears, they are similar to these pics that I sent you a link to. From what I've heard they will not be sold in retail stores. Any way I could contact the athletic department or something? Maybe the equipment manager? I don't know. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.


I spoke with a member of UF's basketball program today and he said that the Gators' basketball shoes "are usually available shortly into the season on Gatorzone.com or at our gift shop." Hope that helps.



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