Tag:John
Posted on: July 23, 2009 10:31 am
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2009 Florida Gators Footballl Previews: QBs

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.

The first position we will dissect is none other than the leader of the offense: Quarterbacks. I could simply state the obvious. I mean, when I asked JB for his input he responded ''Here's my preview 'we're going to be f***ing spectacular at QB this season. That is all'''. However, I thought I'd give it the preview it deserves...

Tim Tebow (Sr., No. 15, QB, 6'3'', 245lbs) - All-world stud QB Tim Tebow is back for his final collegiate season. Mr. Tebow has accomplished pretty much everything you could imagine. During his freshman year, he was the bruising fullback mold that spelled Chris Leak on the way to the BCS championship.

During his first full year as a starter as a sophomore, he had what can be argued as the great single season ever by a quarterback, let alone a dual-threat quarterback, as he amassed 55 total TDs (32 by air, 23 by ground) while only throwing 6 INTs. The Heisman Trophy could not lock the doors on underclassmen any more as Timmy picked up the trophy, deservedly so. The Gators, however, struggled to a 9-4 record, including a Capitol One Bowl loss to Michigan.

Tebow refocused his efforts to lead the Gators to the BCS championship once again, totaling 42 TDs (30 by air, 12 by ground) while only throwing 4 INTs. His post-loss speech following the Ole Miss game will forever go down in Florida Gator lore, as well as college football history. In the championship celebration held at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Tim riled up Gator fans once again by proclaiming that he would indeed come back for his senior year.

Tim enters this year with passion and purpose, something all that follow him know he doesn't lack. He has repeated stated that he wants to leave a legacy here at Florida, not to place his name all over the record books (well, he's gonna have a hard time doing that...), but rather as a motivated leader to guide this special group to another title, and to put Florida at the apex of the sport.

Urban Meyer lost his offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dan Mullen to be the head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. He handed over the reins to Steve Addazio, the team's assistant head coach and offensive line coach. Addazio is very familiar with Coach Meyer's system, but hopes to add a few wrinkles to spice up an already potent attack.

To do so, former Michigan Wolverine quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler was brought in. Loeffler has plenty of experience building budding talent into superstar quality QBs. His proteges include Tom Brady, Brian Griese, Drew Henson, John Navarre, and Chad Henne. Loeffler looks to add a few I-Formation sets for this Gator offense.

I am really looking forward to seeing Tebow's progress with new QB coach Scot Loeffler. His expertise with the I-Formation should help Timmy in the long run, as he's sure to expect to play out of those sets in the pros. There have been many reports of minor tweaks and adjustments made to Tim's throwing motion to allow for a crisper pass down field. He's also been working on his footwork to guarantee a steady motion dropping back, something he rarely needed to do in the shotgun. For what it's worth, the I-Formation gives Tim just one more way to run the option, and that makes him even more deadly than before.

Although he did not win the Heisman last season, he still received the most first place votes. All three finalists from last year's Heisman race are back again for another go-round. Reigning Heisman winner Sam Bradford will certainly be at the top of the short list, as will fellow Big-12 compatriot Colt McCoy.

However, if Tim plays the way he's played over the past two seasons, and the Gators go undefeated during the regular season and win the SEC championship game, voters will be hard-pressed to deny Tim from his second Heisman, quite possibly the second man ever to do so. He also has a chance to win a third Maxwell Trophy, something no one has ever done before.

Combine all of that with another BCS championship, and when it's all done, you may be able to tell yourself that you witnessed the greatest and most accomplished college football player in the history of the game. I'll never bet against Tim Tebow. Time will only tell...

John Brantley (RSo., No. 12, QB, 6'3'', 217lbs) - Brantley, nephew to former Gator All-American LB Scot Brantley, will be entering his second full season as backup QB to Tim Tebow. His 2008 campaign was very impressive, as he posted 235 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, and a 163 passing efficiency during late game appearances. He has the pedigree and poise to lead this team in the future, and will be learning all he can from the leadership that Tebow shows.

Urban Meyer has hinted at using Brantley quite bit this year to relieve Tebow at times during the upcoming season. As a pure pocket passer, the introduction of Scot Loeffler's I-Formation sets will benefit Brantley greatly, as he'll definitely use those in his future with the Gators. NFL scouts are drooling over Brantley, and each time he gets playing time is another opportunity for Florida Gator fans to see the future after Tebow. Although it's impossible to truly replace a player like Tim Tebow, I think the Gators have found a really good kid in John Brantley. The future looks bright in Gainesville.

Other QBs - With the departure of mammoth Cam Newton to JUCO ball in Texas, the Gators are left without a third QB. Last year's rise of John Brantley left Cam Newton eager to leave the program. That, and him stealing a laptop, writing his name on it, and then throwing it out his dorm window upon questioning...

Former walk-on Andrew Blaylock played the role of signal caller from the sideline in the two games that he dressed for, but he was nothing more than a glorified spectator. The roster also had a fifth QB in freshman Zack O'Quinn, however, I haven't heard anything about him, and so he's as good as gone to me.

Freshman recruit Jordan Reed from Connecticut is someone to look forward to in the future, however even though I expect him to dress, I see him redshirting this year.

Look back tomorrow for our RB preview!

You can find the original article here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl
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t/2009-florida-gators-football-posi
tional-previews-qbs.html

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
orida-gators-sports-news/gatorsfirs
t/10-questions-for-florida-gators-f
ootball-2009.html


 
 
 
 
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