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Posted on: July 30, 2009 9:31 am
Edited on: July 30, 2009 9:31 am

2009 Florida Gators Football Previews: DBs

Written by Chris Canada, Co-Founder

The long and dull offseason is finally coming to a close. Anticipation has never been higher in Gainesville, as last year's BCS champions are looking to do what no team in the BCS era has been able to accomplish: win a second consecutive championship.

With all of the players from last year's team coming back to defend their title, introductions are probably not needed. However, the team will give you the positional breakdowns you deserve to be fully ready for the 2009 season. We wrap up the defensive preview with our defensive backs.

Remember the 2007 season when we basically only had Tony Joiner at safety flanked by a bunch of freshmen and sophomores? Opposing quarterbacks salivated at the thought of playing against the young and inexperienced secondary. Fortunately, that young nucleus grew up real quick. They put it all together last season and became a dominant force, making game-changing interceptions and helmet-rattling hits. Here is the DB preview...



Returning Starters

Joe Haden (Jr., No.5, CB, 5'11'', 190lbs) was the first true freshman to ever start opening day at the cornerback position in Florida Gator history. It was a rough start as he continually got beaten by speedy receivers and bit on simple routes. But by the end of the season, he was a tackling machine.

In 2008, Haden came into his own, recording 87 tackles, .5 sacks, three interceptions, 12 passes defended, and a forced fumble. He became a shut down corner and never seemed to miss a tackle. His NFL stock is rising fast, so another good season will probably mark the end of his days in Gainesville.

Janoris Jenkins (So., No.1, CB, 5'11'', 188lbs) followed in Haden’s footsteps last year by starting as a true freshman on opening day. He made the most of his time by also turning into a shut down corner, often times taking the responsibility of the opponent’s best receiver. Jenkins recorded 39 tackles, one sack, three interceptions, 11 passes defended, and one forced fumble. Aside from the tackle numbers, he had incredibly similar numbers to Haden. He switched to No. 1 this offseason, just in case you're looking for him. He'll join former star No. 1s Jack Jackson, Tony George, Keiwan Ratliff, Reggie Nelson, and Percy Harvin. Make the number proud JJ!



Haden and Jenkins were lucky to have a good set of backups. When he’s not training by chasing goats Wondy Pierre-Louis (Sr., No.4, CB, 6'1'', 185lbs) will be backing up Jenkins. Wondy has been a critical role-player for his entire stay at Florida. He lost his starting role to Jenkins last season, but he will still be an integral part to the secondary. He’ll be used a lot in nickel and dime packages, when the opposing team is looking to air it out. Last season, he had 19 tackles, one interception, and two passes defended.

Markihe Anderson (Sr., No.14, CB, 5'9'', 182lbs) is entering his senior season and will be Joe Haden’s primary backup. Last season, Anderson made 21 tackles and had three passes defended. The pressing concern with him is his durability. He’s been injured in both of the last two seasons, so we’ll have to watch to see if he can stay healthy.


Other CBs

Redshirt freshman Jeremy Brown has been making waves this offseason. Coming into last season, he was neck and neck with Jenkins for that starting spot, but back problems ended his season before it started. He’ll see a good deal of playing time, which is good because there will be a mass departure following this season.

Moses Jenkins will see some playing time, but not much. Hopefully we’ll get to see what we have in redshirt freshman Adrian Bushell, as he's in our future plans. Corey HendersonSteven BennettReginald HopkinsEan McQuay, and Miguel Carodine will probably not see any action, except as scout team members.



Returning Starters

Major Wright (Jr., No.21, S, 6'0'', 204lbs) had another stellar season last year at free safety collecting 66 tackles, six passes defended, and four interceptions, taking one of those to the house. The thing that Wright is known for is his vicious hits. Here is a little taste. I think we all remember his hit in the national championship game last year. Those hits set the tone of the game, and get the receivers reassessing their routes. He’s been doing this since his freshman year.

The diminutive Ahmed Black (Jr., No.35, S, 5'9'', 185lbs) is an inspiration to vertically challenged people like myself. He continues to make big plays time and again. Last season at strong safety, he recorded 59 tackles and five passes defended. But the most important part of his game was his seven interceptions, which ranked 2nd in the SEC, and 7th nationally. Two of those interceptions he took back for touchdowns. He makes big hits and is always in the right place.



It’s always a good thing when you have someone talented enough to possibly supplant a star, and this is the case with both safety backups. Will Hill (So., No.10, S, 6'1'', 202lbs) will be challenging Major Wright for playing time this season. He had an incredible freshman season last year, gathering 48 tackles, two interceptions, and a pass defended. As with Wright, he makes huge hits and has a knack for the ball.

Dorian Munroe (RSr., No.20, S, 5'11'', 205lbs) was slated to start at strong season before tearing his ACL last summer, allowing Black to assume the role. All reports claim that he has excelled during spring practices, so Black needs to watch his back.


Other Safeties

Cody Worton also tore his ACL during the 2008 season and missed the last 12 games. He’ll be used sparingly though (like fats & oils). True freshmen Dee Finley and Josh Evans will need to learn quickly, as they may have to assume the starting role next season. Finley was the 5th rated safety prospect, so I expect big things in the future.


I've already discussed the QBsRBsWRs/TEsOLsDLs, and LBs. Look for the Special Teams preview tomorrow!


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Posted on: July 24, 2009 1:19 pm

2009 Florida Gators Football Previews: RBs

Written by Chris Canada, Co-Founder

The long and dull offseason is finally coming to a close. Anticipation has never been higher in Gainesville, as last year's BCS champions are looking to do what no team in the BCS era has been able to accomplish: win a second consecutive championship.

With all of the players from last year's team coming back to defend their title, introductions are probably not needed. However, the team will give you the positional breakdowns you deserve to be fully ready for the 2009 season.

One of the big question marks heading into last season was their lack of experience at running back. However, after leading the SEC in rushing last season, there is high anticipation for this upcoming season. We now look at the tailbacks and fullbacks for the 2009 season...

Jeff Demps (So., No. 2, RB/ATH, 5'8'', 183lbs) – Demps was a complete and pleasant surprise last season. No one expected this little guy to be able to handle the rigors that SEC defenses place on running backs. Everyone except the Florida coaching staff believed he was too small. Urban saw his breakaway speed, and boy is “breakaway” an understatement! Jeff Demps may be the fastest player I’ve ever seen play at Florida, and that’s saying a whole lot. Demps ended up rushing for over 600 yards and seven TDs. Along with Rainey and Moody, he’ll be able to stay fresh and not have to take more than 10-15 carries per game.

Chris Rainey (RSo., No. 3, RB, 5'9'', 175lbs) – Rainey had a bounce-back year last season as he was coming back from injuries sustained during his freshman year (which he ended up taking a redshirt). Chris averaged 7.8 yd/carry and scored four TDs. He’s just about as fast as Demps, so it’ll be fun to see those two burn. He’ll also stay fresh by taking only 10-15 carries per game.

Emmanuel Moody (RJr., No. 21, RB, 6'0'', 210lbs) – If Demps and Rainey are lightening, Moody is most definitely thunder. This bruising tailback is coming of what some can perceive as a disappointing year after transferring from USC. However, when you look at it, it’s not really his fault that coaching staff was reluctant to put him in after Demps and Rainey started scorching everyone. He has a few bright spots, including great showings in the Tennessee and Georgia games, as well as topping 100 yards against the Citadel. He’s been the most impressive back this spring and I expect him to be a force in our backfield for the next two years.

Brandon James (Sr., No. 25, RB/ATH, 5'7'', 185lbs) – Although he’s made his name as a return specialist, Brandon James did get to see some action on the offensive side of the ball last season, both running and receiving. He’ll probably get a couple of those touches that Percy Harvin had last year, along with freshman receiver Andre Debose. Look for him to score at least one highlight film score from the tailback position this year

Other RBs – There has been a whole lot of buzz about walk-on Christopher Scott who looks like he can steal a few carries here and there. True freshman Mike Gillislee has impressed coaches, but I expect him to redshirt and be part of the Gators’s long term plans. Vincent Brown and Marquis Hannah are also on the roster, but they will most likely not see the field.

Fullbacks – The spread offense doesn’t have much use for a typical fullback. Combine that with the fact that Tim Tebow plays like both positions most of the time, and you can see why touches will be scarce. Ask Billy Latsko. However, when in the newly implemented I-Formation sets, expect to see Southern Illinois transferRick Burgess and redshirt freshman TJ Pridemore battling for playing time. Steven Wilks tore his ACL in the spring and will miss the season.

We discussed our QBs yesterday. Look for the Wide Receivers and Tight Ends preview on Monday!


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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or