September 26, 2009

Florida dominating Kentucky 31-0 after 1st Q

GAINESVILLE -- Anyone still worried about an upset?

Florida dominated the first quarter against Kentucky on Saturday and finished the quarter with a 31-0 lead. It was a best-case scenario for the Gators, who entered the game with health concerns after several starters fell ill this week with flu-like symptoms, including quarterback Tim Tebow.

For some reason, I don't think Tebow is feeling too bad. He rushed for 79 yards on nine carries for two touchdowns in the first quarter. Running back Jeff Demps has 49 yards on five carries. Chris Rainey blocked a punt and recovered in the end zone for a score. For good measure, UF ended the first quarter with a 44-yard pass from Tebow to tight end Aaron Hernandez.

If you're counting at home, UF had eight rushing plays of 10 or more yards in the first half. Tebow completed 3 of 4 passing attempts for 75 yards. Running back Emmanuel Moody has 29 yards of total offense on two plays.


September 12, 2008

Five questions with UF's Emmanuel Moody

First, the link to my story on Emmanuel Moody in today's sports section of The Miami Herald: Florida Gators football still waiting for Moody to produce

GAINESVILLE -- Now for the online supplement: Five questions with Coppell, Texas, native and Southern Cal transfer Emmanuel Moody. (Obviously, these questions and answers were asked during the preseason. Moody did not speak with the media this week.)

MoodyGATOR CLAUSE: What have you done to prepare for the season?
MOODY: "I've been spending time in the playbook. The more reps I get the more I get used to all the schemes. I'm taking rep after rep in practice."

GATOR CLAUSE: How does the talent at Florida stack up to the talent at USC?
MOODY: "There's talent at both schools. No matter what school you go to, if it's a school like Florida or USC, there's going to be competition there."

GATOR CLAUSE: Your main competition for playing time is Kestahn Moore. What have you learned from Moore since you've been at Florida?
MOODY: "I give him a lot of respect for working hard. He works hard every day, so I kind of just see what he does and just try to pick it up to his tempo."

GATOR CLAUSE: You don't sign autographs with your name, could you tell me a little bit about that?
MOODY: "I [write] a cross and I [write] Jesus and I [write] my number under Jesus. The cross represents the crucifixion that the Lord died for us. I put my number under His name because I count myself less and he's my savior. So my identity is in Christ and that's why I [write] Jesus, because I no longer live for myself. I live for Christ."

GATOR CLAUSE: When did you become so religious?
MOODY: "When I was 16 at a church retreat. Before then I was a totally different person but it changed my life for the better. I was getting into a lot of trouble and I was the complete opposite of what I am today, sinners of sinners. But I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit and became saved."


August 19, 2008

Oddsmakers think Harvin is healthy; Set betting line at 1,500 yards; UF favored to win SEC over UGA; Plus a bookie's insight

A different and off-beat angle on some UF storylines that you guys won't read anywhere else...

GAINESVILLE -- Working hard today for you guys. I was in Orlando early Wednesday morning to cover Sen. Barack Obama's speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. You can find that story on, if you like. I missed UF's Wednesday practice, obviously, but I still have some interesting notes to pass along.

In between listening to and analyzing Obama's speech, I conducted an interview of sorts with an online gambling house, The boys at, an offshore sports book, have set a collection of gambling lines and odds for various college football statistical measures, including the Heisman Trophy and BCS national championship. You can beat on pretty much everything, if that's your sort of thing.

One of the numbers that caught my eye was the website's over/under on UF receiver Percy Harvin's combined rushing and receiving yards. The line is set at 1,500 yards. Last season, Harvin combined for 1,622 yards receiving and rushing. I asked the betting house if they "knew something I didn't" regarding Percy's injury.

"[Harvin] was running full speed in earlier practices this week," said Jimmy Shapiro, a publicist for "I think they are just being more cautious than anything at this point. I'm OK with the number."

It should be noted that Harvin must play in the first game of the season for the wager to have action. Read into that however you like.

Still, 1,500 yards seems like an interesting number, considering Harvin had over 1,600 combined receiving and rushing yards last season and missed two games.

Another interesting number that sticks out is's odds for UF to win an SEC championship. UF has better odds than Georgia. In the BCS odds, Georgia is slightly ahead of Florida. UGA has 5-1 odds to win the BCS title. Florida is 11/2 (5.5/1).

Keep in mind that these numbers only mean that this online sports book thinks people will jump at these odds. Nothing else.

In addition to the sports book's publicist, I also spoke with Richard Gardner, BoDog sports book manager, about the numbers and odds placed on UF quarterback Tim Tebow.

“The Florida Gators should score a lot of points this season, something they have been doing ever since Tim Tebow took over the reigns," Gardner said. "This season, Tebow should put up similar numbers through the air but his Ground numbers should be smaller due to the influx of talent In the Florida backfield. USC transfer Emmanuel Moody and freshmen Chris Rainey should take away some carries that would normally be reserved for Florida’s do-all quarterback.

"Tebow’s passing numbers should improve in terms of yardage, however, don’t expect a big increase in his touchdowns through the air. Expect the Gators to pound the ball in with their new and improved running game and Tebow’s touchdown numbers should decrease slightly from last season as a result."

Gardner, online sports bookie, on the early numbers for BCS champion betting trends. And also a few betting tips:

"This should be a very interesting year in the BCS. With heavyweights Ohio State and USC playing early in the season, the race for the No.1 spot in the BCS will be heated early in the season. We have seen a substantial amount of money come in on Ohio State in the past week and currently have them No.2 behind USC in terms of shortest odds.

"The No.1 ranked team, Georgia, comes in third, but injury concerns and suspensions have made the bettors shy away from them so far. The rest of the top six come in with Missouri, Florida and Oklahoma as all short-odd favorites to take home the BCS championship. A team to watch out for is Texas Tech. They have been bettors' favorites for most of this offseason, and at 30/1 may be the best value on the board.”


More UF-related wagers at In blue font, I added last year's numbers:

Odds to win the 2008 BCS National Championship      
Florida                          11/2

2008 Regular Season Wins - Florida
Over                              10 (-130)
Under                            10 (EVEN)

Odds to win the SEC Conference
Florida                           3/2
Georgia                          2/1
Auburn                           3/1
LSU                                4/1
Alabama                         7/1
Tennessee                      9/1
South Carolina                15/1
Mississippi                      35/1
Arkansas                        40/1
Mississippi State            45/1
Kentucky                        50/1
Vanderbilt                      50/1

Odds to win the SEC East Division
Florida                            4/5
Georgia                           5/4
Tennessee                       4/1
South Carolina                  8/1
Kentucky                         20/1
Vanderbilt                       30/1

How many Passing Yards will Tim Tebow (FLA) have in the 2008 Season?
Over/Under        3,550 3,286

How many Passing TD’s will Tim Tebow (FLA) have in the 2008 Season?
Over/Under        32  32

How many Rushing Yards will Tim Tebow (FLA) have in the 2008 Season?
Over/Under        725  895

How many Rushing TD’s will Tim Tebow (FLA) have in the 2008 Season?
Over/Under        18 .5   23

How many Combined Receiving and Rushing Yards will Percy Harvin (FLA) have in the 2008 Regular Season?
Over/Under 1,500   1,622

How many combined Receiving and Rushing TD’s will Percy Harvin (FLA) have in the 2008 Regular Season?
Over/Under        12    10

Odds to win 2009 BCS National Championship
USC                             7/2
Ohio State                   4/1
Georgia                       5/1
Florida                       11/2
Oklahoma                    6/1
Missouri                     14/1
West Virginia             15/1
LSU                            20/1
Texas                         20/1
Clemson                     22/1
Virginia Tech              30/1
Tennessee                  30/1
Wisconsin                   30/1
Auburn                       35/1
Texas Tech                40/1
Florida State              50/1
Illinois                        50/1
Penn State                  50/1
Michigan                     50/1
Alabama                     55/1
Miami                         60/1
Notre Dame                65/1
South Florida              75/1

Odds to win the 2008 Heisman Trophy
Tim Tebow (FL)                        7/2
Chris Wells (Ohio St.)                6/1
Chase Daniel (Missouri)             6/1
Knowshon Moreno (UGA)           8/1
Michael Crabtree (TTech)         10/1
Pat White (WVU)                      10/1
Sam Bradford (Okl)                   14/1
DeMarco Murray (Okla)             15/1
Matthew Stafford (UGA)           15/1
Graham Harrell (TTech)           16/1
Percy Harvin (FL)                     20/1

August 03, 2008

CAMP COUNTDOWN: Seven strengths in seven days...No.1: Experience, of course

Less than 24 hours until fall camp. Hope everyone enjoyed our CAMP COUNTDOWN. Posted below are individual links to the series...

1: And the No.1 team strength entering fall camp is ... experience.

GAINESVILLE -- Last season was more about learning than it was about winning for the Florida Gators. The team that won a national championship in 2006 and the team that returned for 2007 were entirely different. From Tim Tebow to Urban Meyer, everyone had something to learn. Experience came in different forms.

061201_meyer_hmed_5phmediumFor Meyer, 2007 was the first time he had ever been a third-year head coach with a team. There were signs of inexperience. A number of Gators were arrested in the offseason following the national championship. The experience led to some in-house changes this offseason, including the hiring of full-time player mentor Terry Jackson. Distractions were limited this offseason. (Jamar Hornsby was dismissed from the team but that was addition by subtraction. Just my opinion.)

For Tebow, 2007 was about learning how to lead. He cried after losing to Georgia. The quarterback displayed a much different emotion after the Michigan defeat. He was just plain angry and admitted that his team lacked focus leading up to the bowl game.

Brandon Spikes wasn't in top form last August when the 2007 fall camp began. The experience helped him prepare his body correctly this offseason. Now, UF strength coach Mickey Marotti says Spikes is one of the Gators' most physically fit players.

Ncf_g_haden2_195One of the Gators' starting cornerbacks was a true freshman last season and the other was still learning how to play football. As a result, Florida's secondary was the worst in the Southeastern Conference. Joe Haden [PICTURED] and Wondy Pierre-Louis begin this season as preseason all-SEC defenders.

Those are just a few examples of how the Gators begin fall camp on Monday with the experience needed to vie for a conference and national championship. All told, the Gators return 17 starters. Depth and team speed are two of the Gators' greatest team strengths this season but experience might be the most important.

"With guys leaving early now -- and our championship year we had four guys on defense leave as juniors; last year we lost Derrick Harvey as a junior -- I think the shift of leadership has to go from the young players," Meyer said. "That's a big point of discussion with our group, and already has been, that just because you're a senior, that's not entitlement. We had some issues a year ago that weren't very good for our outfit. (Tony Joiner/Kyle Jackson?) If you're a sophomore, you walk the walk, talk the talk, do everything the right way, then you're a leader."

OK, with the countdown done and fall camp set to begin. Let's have some fun and predict the two-deep depth chart for offense and defense.

LT: Phil Trautwein; Matt Patchan
LG: Jim Tartt; Carl Johnson
C: Maurkice Pouncey; Mike Pouncey
RG: Mike Pouncey; James Wilson
RT: Jason Watkins; Marcus Gilbert
TE: Cornelius Ingram; Aaron Hernandez
WR: Percy Harvin; Deonte Thompson
WR: Louis Murphy; Justin Williams
WR: Carl Moore; David Nelson
RB: Kestahn Moore; Emmanuel Moody
QB: Tim Tebow; Cameron Newton

DE: Jermaine Cunningham; Carlos Dunlap
DT: Javier Estopinan; Torrey Davis
DT: Terron Sanders; John Brown
DE: Justin Trattou; Duke Lemmens
SLB: A.J. Jones; Ryan Stamper
MLB: Brandon Spikes; Lorenzo Edwards
WLB: Dustin Doe; Brandon Hicks
SS: Ahmad Black; Will Hill
FS: Major Wright; Will Hill
CB: Joe Haden; Markihe Anderson
CB: Wondy Pierre-Louis; Jacques Rickerson

K: Caleb Sturgis; Jonathan Phillips
P: Chas Henry; Caleb Sturgis
PR: Brandon James; Chris Rainey
KR: Brandon James; Chris Rainey

FRIENDLY REMINDER: Free doughnuts!!!


June 29, 2008

Top Five Newcomers: No.1 Emmanuel Moody

If you're reading this blog for the first time today, then you've already missed our five-part blog series on the football team's top five newcomers. Don't worry. You can catch up. Just click on the names of the previous "Top Five Newcomers" right here:


GAINESVILLE -- No.1 on our list of top newcomers is USC transfer running back Emmanuel Moody. We here at Gator Clause don't necessarily think Moody is the best addition to the Gators' roster, but we do believe that Moody's potential impact is greater than any newcomer.

Ncf_moody_200Why, exactly? Well, the Gators start and stop with the success and health of Tim Tebow and Moody, if he's productive, might be the guy that keeps Tebow out of the trainer's room this season and on the field. That's right. The more Moody carries the ball the less likely the Gators' superstar quarterback gets injured.

Tebow didn't miss a game last season but that doesn't mean he didn't sustain injury. Tim received shots of a painkiller in his right (none throwing) shoulder for much of the season. He then broke his non-throwing hand against Florida State.

Even more than a better defense, a healthy Tebow is what the Gators need to win a national championship. Moody, the USC transfer who redshirted last season, might be the key. Moody showed glimpses of his potential his freshman season at USC. He had several solid games before being limited by injuries.

A digression here: I'm still scratching my head as to why, exactly, Moody transferred to Florida. He says he left USC to become a featured running back but a featured back is one thing Urban Meyer's and Dan Mullen's offense does not produce. Moody might be the first, who knows? But I doubt it.

0817moody_2Moody probably should have gone to North Carolina if he wanted 20+ carries a game. Why do we mention all of this? We're wondering if Moody will become a distraction if he doesn't get the amount of carries he needs to feel like a major contributor. Moody could have stayed at USC if he wanted a chance to win a national title. He wants to run the ball and the guy isn't afraid to speak his mind, something most UF players do not do.

We'll keep an eye on Moody's morale during preseason practice and two-a-days. If you believe Urban Meyer (which I don't in this case), then the starting running back position isn't even Moody's right now. According to Meyer, Kestahn Moore is still the starter. Meyer swears by Moore. This is strange because if Meyer went back and watched at few game films from last season, then he would be swearing at the fumbles Moore coughed up in close games. Our guess: Meyer is just playing head games with Moody. Meyer got on Moody's case after he fumbled in the end zone during the spring game. It seems like flawed logic that Meyer would berate Moody publicly Si_2007for one fumble in a spring game but still allow Moore to be on the team after the costly fumbles last season. (A side note to this Moody-Moore situation. The two Texans played against each other in little league football.)

OK, digression over. Back on topic...Moody, more than any newcomer, is the key to the Gators' success in 2008. When Moody first showed up last season, all Meyer would say to him when they ran into each other in the football facility was, "I sure hope you're good." There was a reason for that.

[Check out this SI cover from 2007. That's Moody on the left. Instead of splitting time at USC last year, he decided to transfer to UF and sit out a season. Wonder if Moody will make the 2008 SI college football preview cover as a Gator this time around?]


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