Posted on: July 27, 2009 12:54 am

2009 Florida Gators Football Previews: WRs & TEs

Written by Chris Canada, Gatorsfirst.com 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 Gatorsfirst.com team will give you the positional breakdowns you deserve to be fully ready for the 2009 season.

With the loss of starting receivers Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy to the NFL, the receiving corps will have some questions entering the 2009 season. Harvin is someone who can’t truly be replaced, due to his impact on the entire offense (receiving, rushing, and blocking). And Louis Murphy was an incredibly underrated player.

But Coach Meyer has been working all offseason to find what combination of players can to the best job to fill those roles. Here is our receivers preview for the upcoming season…

Wide Receivers

David Nelson (RSr., No. 83, WR, 6'5'', 212lbs)

David Nelson came on really strong toward the end of the season, finally living up to his large expectations. He caught big touchdowns in the SEC and BCS championship games. He creates a big size mismatch, as he’s 6’5”. Now, he’s not the fastest receiver we’ve got, but he runs good routes and should be relied on heavily this season.

Deonte Thompson (RSo., No. 6, WR, 6'0'', 201lbs)

Mr. Thompson showed some flashes of brilliance last season, including a 46 yard touchdown against South Carolina. I’ve really looking forward to seeing this kid get on the field for an extended period of time. He can straight up fly, and he should be a good down-the-field option of Tim Tebow. I also expect him to be a target for many screens.

Riley Cooper (Sr., No. 11, WR, 6'3'', 215lbs)

It’ll be interesting to see if Cooper sticks around for his senior season, or if he takes the opportunity to play professional baseball. Signs are pointing to him taking the pro route. I’ve never been a big fan of his play on the field. He’s not a great route runner, and he drops a lot of balls.

He’s does, however, block well down field, and he’s always giving tremendous effort, so you can’t fault him for that. He’s improved each of his three seasons, and his leadership will be welcomed back if he chooses to stay.

Carl Moore (Sr., No. 9, WR, 6'3'', 225lbs)

Moore’s 2008 season was a bit of a disappointment, as I was expecting big things out of a 5-star JUCO transfer. He consistently dropped balls and wasn’t the big star I expected. Coming into this year, he’ll be relied on heavily for crossing routes, and to be our big possession receiver.

Andre Debose (Fr., No. 4, WR, 5'11'', 175lbs)

This is the kid everyone’s been raving about. Coach Meyer has said on many occasions that he is similar to Percy Harvin and will be a star. I’ve only been able to watch one game of his, but he did not disappoint, scoring a highlight reel touchdown in the Under-Armour High School All-American game.

He’ll probably be used in a similar capacity to Harvin, running lots of screens, as well as coming into the backfield quite a bit. He needs to bulk up a bit, as hes not nearly as strong as Harvin was, but that comes with time with the Gators strength coaches.

Other WRs

I expect to see some usage of redshirt freshmen Frankie Hammond Jr. and Omarius Hines , as they are ready to show the Gator Nation what they can do. T.J. Lawrence is another redshirt freshman ready to play, but I don’t think he’ll see the light of day with all of the other talent at WR.

Redshirt sophomore Paul Wilson will see some playing time as well, after losing most of last season with a foot injury.

Tight Ends

Aaron Hernandez (Jr., No. 81, WR, 6'2'', 250lbs)

The most tattooed man in the history of Connecticut will be our most important receiver this season. He followed up a great freshman season with a spectacular sophomore campaign, scoring five TDs. I expect him to continue to make highlight reel catches and be that safety valve that Tebow needs. If he has another great season, I fully expect him to leave for the NFL.

Desmond Parks (Fr., No. 80, WR, 6'4'', 233lbs)

Parks will surely be involved in the offense as a true freshman, as the coaching staff has hinted at using more two-TE sets. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future at TE will look like after Hernandez leaves.

I've already discussed QBs and RBs . Look for the offensive line preview tomorrow.

You can find the original article here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl

Posted on: July 22, 2009 2:42 pm

The Most Tatted Man in the History of Connecticut

Written by James Brown, Gatorsfirst.com Co-Founder

A couple of years ago, I had no idea why we were recruiting a guy from Connecticut.

I mean, Urban Meyer emphasizes speed and that's all in the South, right?

And forgive me if I see you as the top prospect in a state like Connecticut, and think that means you face competition roughly equivalent to Palatka High School's JV team.

Then I saw Florida Gators football TE Aaron Hernandez get into a game.

The first thing I noticed was the ink. All over his body. Again, forgive me for not expecting this out of this football prospect from Connecticut. This kid was a freshman, and was coming into college with all the ink. I mean, it took LeBron several years to get that many tatoos, and those were NBA years.

The man certainly has talent. He got publicity toward the end of the year for catching shovel passes that were a little unwarranted, as the 'new play' the announcers harped on was a play I saw Urban Meyer run at Utah, and at Florida in 2005! Despite that, I think I speak for all Florida fans when I say I'm excited for his ability.

Now, with the departure of Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy to the NFL, he is our top returning receiver. I have stated that we need an outside threat to develop, so that other teams can't just double him over the middle.

However this season turns out, please refer to him as 'The Most Tattooed Man in the History of Connecticut', because whether this moniker is truthful or not, it's a fun nickname.

You can find the original article here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl




Category: NCAAF
Posted on: July 17, 2009 12:21 am

10 Questions for Florida Gators Football 2009

Written by James Brown, Gatorsfirst.com Co-Founder

There has never been, and probably will never be, a more anticipated season of Florida Gators Football than 2009.

I've been wading through all this information about the national college football scene for my college fantasy football season previews (beginning later this week), but what I really need to do is get to my favorite team- the team anticipated to be the best in the land.

I came up with ten questions for the Florida Gators coming into this season, and avoided the obvious 'Can they keep their focus?' question that every other preseason preview uncreatively addresses.

Before I get to the questions, let me call a big 'no jinxies'. I'm not saying in this piece we will win it all, merely pointing out some of the potential roadblocks, and storylines I'll be sure to address again during the season.

1. Will an outside receiving threat develop to complement TE Aaron Hernandez?

I fully expect Hernandez to be the leading receiver for this team. Several players could end up with more total yards, but he is easily the most proven threat, and he should only improve for his junior season. My problem: it is too easy to double a TE over the middle. We lost the top two receivers from last year. This isn't the same as 'who will replace Percy', as others will ask you, as I don't think any one person will. It will be more action for the Chris Rainey / Jeff Demps / Brandon James crew (with a dash of Andre Debose) for the RB-ish plays, and more balls for Riley Cooper and David Nelson. But the big deep threat will come from Deonte Thompson (CBS college fantasy's pick), Frankie Hammond, Jr. or Omarius Hines.

2. Can Urban Meyer win a game in the state of Louisiana?

He's 0 for 2 at LSU. Ron Zook won there in 2003. I think Urban and this team are certainly capable, but looking at it today it's easily the game of the year.

3. What will change with the offensive coaching changes?

Last year's coordinator Dan Mullen is in Starkville. No one really knows how things will go differently under Steve Addazio. It's noteworthy that Urban Meyer has replaced an OC at other times, including promoting Dan Mullen to the position when he came down from Utah. Ultimately, it's &his& system, but it's hard to expect everything to be exactly the same. Addazio definitely got the keys to a Ferrari, however. The other noteworthy change is the new blood- QB Coach Scot Loeffler.

4. Will Florida really be able to put up 50 points on the Vols?

Urban and his boys have the bulletin board material up. The Tennessee offense could be terrible, but the defense is led by all-world DB Eric Berry. I am one of the few Gator fans who think this score could be lower than you expect, although I wouldn't be surprised by a 30-point blowout. I am just not sure we'll have the opportunity to get the 70+ some of the crazier fans are calling for.

5. How will the re-shuffled offensive line perform?

We now have a Pouncey twin at each guard. Sam Robey moves to center, and OT Phil Trautwein and Jason Watkins are gone from last season. I don't think this will cause a major issue, but this is one of the few areas in which anything has changed from last year's juggernaut. I'll also make a quick note to point out Sam Robey as proof of how Urban Meyer and staff are actually good recruiters, getting one of the few three star recruits (out of the many star-studded classes) to become a starter as a (redshirt) freshman. Larry Coker and his recruiting-service oriented staff should take note.

6. Will Heisman voters tire of the hype surrounding Tim Tebow?

He is the greatest player in the game. The most outstanding. The most valuable. Every sort of superlative you could take your Heisman vote to mean. We missed out on the opportunity to be talking about a three-time winner, don't discount the voters getting bored of the same storylines and playing up Jahvid Best or some other candidate. The pick here is for the finalists to remain the same trio as last year, but stranger things have happened- and a season's worth of peculiar events and statistical anomalies await.

7. How many snaps will Johnny Brantley get?

This could also be 'how many second halves does Tebow play in' or 'how many competitive snaps does Brantley take?' I hope they get Tebow out of there, and jump to the early leads like they did down the stretch last season. I also am eager to see if they bring in Brantley while games are close, and with his own package of plays, as they did for Tebow in 2006. There have been reports of that being the plan.

8. Would you take the under or the over on 1.5 shutouts this year for the D?

When the entire two-deep is back, and we are bringing in some stud recruits and working in some extremely talented redshirts, to expect one shutout (Charleston Southern, anyone?) is not a stretch. But I am wondering how many more we'd actually get- will they work in a lot of the young studs with a 30 point lead? Or keep some of the starters around and try to preserve some shutouts? Will Jon Bostic and Co. hold some shutouts?

9. Can Urban Meyer work his magic in an odd-numbered year?

Utah 2004. Florida 2006. Florida 2008. I sense a pattern, and it involves modulo division. I don't think there's a lot to the even-numbered thing, but I'm probably the most superstitious fan I know. Let's see how 2009 plays out before discussing 2010.

10. Will USC finally get the SEC ass-beating they so richly deserve?

I certainly hope so. Though, living in Texas, I would be satisfied with another Big XII team going down to the Gators. Bottom line is, I'll be happy if we win the title, period. But putting some of the heathens in their place would also be nice.

Take your own stab at answering these questions, and let me know some of your own! We'll compare notes in January.

You can view the original article here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl

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