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DaKCMan AP
01-05-2009, 06:34 AM
Brandon Spikes is pillar of Gators' defense
Spikes' leadership helps turn liability to core of success

By Ted Hutton | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
January 4, 2009

Fort Lauderdale - It was a long conversation that not only turned Florida middle linebacker Brandon Spikes into the defense's leader but transformed that unit into one of the best in the country.

The 90-minute talk with coach Urban Meyer came last spring, after Spikes' sophomore season, when Florida's defense was the main reason the Gators were a disappointing 9-4 coming off their national championship year.

"Coach made me feel like it was all on me," Spikes said Saturday during a media session at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort prior to the Gators' practice at Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton.

"It kind of shocked me. I didn't know he was expecting so much from me. He felt I was the core of the defense and the guys just feed off me," Spikes said.

"Brandon just played his own game and didn't worry about other people," Meyer said.

Meyer got through to Spikes, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound junior from North Carolina who had been reluctant to take on the role of leader because of the older starters.

Spikes needed to assert himself because this season Florida does not have a senior starter on defense, with three juniors, seven sophomores and a freshman.

Led by Spikes, the defense has gone from a liability in 2007 to a key reason the Gators are in Thursday's BCS National Championship Game for the second time in three seasons.

"He is playing at a high level, but more important than all that he is getting everyone else to play ," Meyer said.

The Gators are fifth in Division I-A in scoring defense (12.8 points per game) and ninth in total defense, giving up 279.3 yards per game.

Spikes shrugged when asked why he is such an effective leader.

"Guys just follow me. I don't know what it is. I just took over the defense," said Spikes, who will probably be playing his last game for Florida since he is expected to be a first-round draft pick and leave college a year early.

Teammates can identify many traits that make Spikes special.

"Just the way he plays, the passion he brings. The whole defense feeds off of him," fellow linebacker Ryan Stamper said. "He motivates us before a game and gets us through practice."

Like Meyer, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Charlie Strong puts it all on Spikes.

"Our defense is going to go the way Spikes goes," Strong said. "Whenever he plays big and he gets it going early, then our defense will get going early."

Spikes leads the Gators with 87 tackles and has four interceptions.

Spikes returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown early in the win over LSU, a play Strong said set the tone for the game.

"Boom, we play big," said Strong, who agrees with Meyer that Spikes has elevated the play of every other defensive player.

The Gators face an explosive offense in Oklahoma that leads the country with a scoring average of 54 points per game and is third in total offense, averaging 562.1 yards.

[b]But Spikes isn't concerned, since he has not been impressed by what he has seen of the Big 12 champions on film.

"They are a step slower. It will be different for them when they see the speed of our defense," Spikes said.

Ted Hutton can be reached at thutton@SunSentinel.com

:D

the Talking Can
01-05-2009, 06:38 AM
sweet...

Skip Towne
01-05-2009, 07:22 AM
One of OU's LB's said Tebow would be the 4th best QB if he played in the Big XII.

kepp
01-05-2009, 07:27 AM
One of OU's LB's said Tebow would be the 4th best QB if he played in the Big XII.

I have no problem believing he'd be third or fourth stats-wise.

Skip Towne
01-05-2009, 07:29 AM
I have no problem believing he'd be third or fourth stats-wise.

The guy said he would be behind Sam, Graham and Colt.

DaKCMan AP
01-05-2009, 08:40 AM
One of OU's LB's said Tebow would be the 4th best QB if he played in the Big XII.

I have no problem believing he'd be third or fourth stats-wise.

The guy said he would be behind Sam, Graham and Colt.

During the telecast of the SEC title game Dec. 6, CBS announcer Verne Lundquist spoke about a conversation he had with Tebow about the Heisman race. Tebow had a vote because he won in 2007.


Lundquist said Tebow had mentioned considering Bradford, McCoy and Harrell. Lundquist reportedly added that Tebow said, ``But I'd really like to throw against some of those defenses in the Big 12.''


http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/colleges/story/837843.html

Ebolapox
01-05-2009, 08:45 AM
During the telecast of the SEC title game Dec. 6, CBS announcer Verne Lundquist spoke about a conversation he had with Tebow about the Heisman race. Tebow had a vote because he won in 2007.


Lundquist said Tebow had mentioned considering Bradford, McCoy and Harrell. Lundquist reportedly added that Tebow said, ``But I'd really like to throw against some of those defenses in the Big 12.''


http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/colleges/story/837843.html

wait, tebow throws? who knew?

Chiefnj2
01-05-2009, 08:47 AM
I thought the Championship game was last Friday night when Utah beat the #4 team and finished undefeated.

El Jefe
01-05-2009, 08:47 AM
During the telecast of the SEC title game Dec. 6, CBS announcer Verne Lundquist spoke about a conversation he had with Tebow about the Heisman race. Tebow had a vote because he won in 2007.


Lundquist said Tebow had mentioned considering Bradford, McCoy and Harrell. Lundquist reportedly added that Tebow said, ``But I'd really like to throw against some of those defenses in the Big 12.''
http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/colleges/story/837843.html

I can't stand Tebow, but the Big 12 defenses are terrible.

El Jefe
01-05-2009, 08:53 AM
I thought the Championship game was last Friday night when Utah beat the #4 team and finished undefeated.

What a game, Utah suprised the hell outta me.

Lzen
01-05-2009, 10:41 AM
One of OU's LB's said Tebow would be the 4th best QB if he played in the Big XII.

It wasn't a LBer, it was a CB.

Oklahoma cornerback not impressed with Florida’s Tebow

Star News Services


These are the words Florida quarterback Tim Tebow probably wanted to hear. Some bulletin-board material, a little extra motivation heading into the Bowl Championship Series title game.

Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks on Sunday called Tebow the fourth-best quarterback in the country.
<script type="text/javascript">$(document).ready(function() { replaceRelated(178);});</script>
Franks said Tebow, who is already miffed he finished third in Heisman voting last month, ranks behind Sooners teammate and Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, Texas’ Colt McCoy and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell.
Franks added that preparing for McCoy and Harrell was tougher than getting ready to face Tebow.
“If you look at the three best quarterbacks in the country, (they) came from the Big 12,” Franks said. “The three best receivers in the country came from the Big 12. The three best tight ends came from the Big 12. So we’ve faced some great offenses, and a lot of people don’t understand that other conferences don’t have what we face.”
Franks then acknowledged that Tebow would be fourth on his QB list.
“Yup. I think our quarterbacks are better,” Franks said. “Just the way they conduct themselves and how they play on the field. I just think, playing against those guys, it’s a lot harder to prepare for those guys than it is for Tebow.”
Franks said devising a game plan for a quarterback who is going to throw the ball 40 or more times a game is more difficult than getting ready for someone like Tebow, who probably will throw the ball far less.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables defended his player, saying Franks was “going to bat for the guys he has a lot of respect for.”

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/colleges/story/964421.html

beach tribe
01-05-2009, 10:44 AM
OU is toast.

No. I am not, in any way shape or form, a Gators fan.

Frazod
01-05-2009, 10:51 AM
Go Florida. I hate Oklahoma with every fiber of my being.

Lzen
01-05-2009, 12:03 PM
I don't like OU by any means. I only wish for them to win so that they don't embarrass the Big 12 once again.

DaKCMan AP
01-05-2009, 12:05 PM
I don't like OU by any means. I only wish for them to win so that they don't embarrass the Big 12 once again.

Don't worry. Texas thumping ohio state will quiet some of OU's embarrassment.

Sure-Oz
01-05-2009, 12:05 PM
Anyway we can draft Spikes early in the 2nd?

Garcia Bronco
01-05-2009, 12:05 PM
I think Florida beats them and good.

DaKCMan AP
01-05-2009, 12:07 PM
Anyway we can draft Spikes early in the 2nd?

We'd have to trade back up into the 1st. :(

Sure-Oz
01-05-2009, 12:08 PM
We'd have to trade back up into the 1st. :(

Damn, i wonder if we can make it happen. Seen him play and the dude just blows shit up

morphius
01-05-2009, 12:24 PM
The Big 12's showing this year in the bowls has me doubting OU's chances. Of course it doesn't surprise me much that the teams running the spread have gotten a little out of sync with a month off either, so who knows what to make of it. Damn, I really do hate the way they run bowl games, "Hey, you guys are on a real hot streak, here's a month off. Good luck getting back after a long vacation."

Frazod
01-05-2009, 12:26 PM
The Big 12's showing this year in the bowls has me doubting OU's chances. Of course it doesn't surprise me much that the teams running the spread have gotten a little out of sync with a month off either, so who knows what to make of it. Damn, I really do hate the way they run bowl games, "Hey, you guys are on a real hot streak, here's a month off. Good luck getting back after a long vacation."

So far only the teams from the North have won. That's rather ironic.

BigCatDaddy
01-05-2009, 12:29 PM
So far only the teams from the North have won. That's rather ironic.

Bowl games, shmoll games. Half the teams never show up to play anyways, so I think they are rathr pointless besides the title game. Then given that you give 2 teams a month off, how good of a game can you really expect?

ohiobronco2
01-05-2009, 01:28 PM
Damn, i wonder if we can make it happen. Seen him play and the dude just blows shit up

Yeah, but I hope his picture is more masculine, no matter where he plays next year.

ohiobronco2
01-05-2009, 01:28 PM
Don't worry. Texas thumping ohio state will quiet some of OU's embarrassment.

What is your final score prediction?

Sure-Oz
01-05-2009, 01:30 PM
Yeah, but I hope his picture is more masculine, no matter where he plays next year.

ROFL

That's about how our LB's look when they play

DaKCMan AP
01-05-2009, 01:50 PM
What is your final score prediction?

Texas 38
ohio state 13

Bearcat
01-05-2009, 01:57 PM
So far only the teams from the North have won. That's rather ironic.

Sometimes there just aren't enough Big 10 and ACC creampuffs to go around...

Bearcat
01-05-2009, 02:04 PM
What is your final score prediction?

I'd like to think that it'll still be an interesting game by halftime, but I'm a dreamer....


:)

Lzen
01-05-2009, 02:19 PM
I think Florida beats them and good.

Weren't you the guy that predicted Virginia Tech to thump KU last year? ROFL

Garcia Bronco
01-05-2009, 02:50 PM
Weren't you the guy that predicted Virginia Tech to thump KU last year? ROFL

Yes. I am a Hokie Alumni, and here we are a year later. Virginia Tech is the ACC and Orange Bowl Champ and Kansas? Not so much.

El Jefe
01-05-2009, 02:54 PM
Damn, i wonder if we can make it happen. Seen him play and the dude just blows shit up

Did you watch the Bama game, he didn't do anything the entire game. It's pretty hard for a MLB to disappear, but he did.

El Jefe
01-05-2009, 02:56 PM
I'd like to think that it'll still be an interesting game by halftime, but I'm a dreamer....


:)

It's so hard to find the haters around here. GO BUCKS!!!!!!!! OSU38 vs UT 34

LiL stumppy
01-05-2009, 03:04 PM
going to be fun Thursday night.

POND_OF_RED
01-05-2009, 03:24 PM
I just hope Florida gets a lot of pressure on Bradford. It's hard to judge the guys talent when he has 10 seconds to throw. No one in the Big 12 could consistently pressure him all game. I think if Florida can do that then the game will be very close.

BigChiefFan
01-05-2009, 04:08 PM
This is going to be a good game. Go Sooners.

Bearcat
01-05-2009, 04:34 PM
It's so hard to find the haters around here. GO BUCKS!!!!!!!! OSU38 vs UT 34

Haters?

Okay, I'm a hater, but you don't have to hate the Big 10 to know that it sucks. The Buckeyes and their fans shouldn't be concentrating on winning the game, they should be concentrating on not getting embarrassed for the 3rd consecutive year on national TV. Baby steps.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=weinreb/081211&sportCat=ncf -- so much for that. :shrug:

El Jefe
01-05-2009, 04:56 PM
Haters?

Okay, I'm a hater, but you don't have to hate the Big 10 to know that it sucks. The Buckeyes and their fans shouldn't be concentrating on winning the game, they should be concentrating on not getting embarrassed for the 3rd consecutive year on national TV. Baby steps.
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=weinreb/081211&sportCat=ncf -- so much for that. :shrug:

Thanks for the great advice from a school who has had one good year of football in the last half century. If you going to talk crap at least have a school who can back it up, that advice is free and just for you.

El Jefe
01-05-2009, 04:58 PM
Haters?

Okay, I'm a hater, but you don't have to hate the Big 10 to know that it sucks. The Buckeyes and their fans shouldn't be concentrating on winning the game, they should be concentrating on not getting embarrassed for the 3rd consecutive year on national TV. Baby steps.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=weinreb/081211&sportCat=ncf -- so much for that. :shrug:

Did I stutter? You are on of the biggest annoyance's on here, it seems anytime anything about OSU comes on here you come trotting in like some jackass.

Dayze
01-05-2009, 05:10 PM
I'm an SEC fan; (primiarily Bama and LSU); the wife an I enjoy watching Florida games; but I simply do not like Tebow as a QB. I thought the offense was much more enjoyable to watch when Leak was tossing the ball around.

I'll be glad when Tebow is gone.

DaKCMan AP
01-05-2009, 05:14 PM
I'm an SEC fan; (primiarily Bama and LSU); the wife an I enjoy watching Florida games; but I simply do not like Tebow as a QB. I thought the offense was much more enjoyable to watch when Leak was tossing the ball around.

I'll be glad when Tebow is gone.

ROFL

Bearcat
01-05-2009, 05:42 PM
Thanks for the great advice from a school who has had one good year of football in the last half century. If you going to talk crap at least have a school who can back it up, that advice is free and just for you.

I'm sorry, I didn't realize this game was going to be played 40 years ago. I guess after they lose by 3+ touchdowns on the field, OSU can see if their tradition can beat up Texas' tradition? :shrug:

Did I stutter? You are on of the biggest annoyance's on here, it seems anytime anything about OSU comes on here you come trotting in like some jackass.

See:
Okay, I'm a hater...

And don't think it's all about you... I trot in for all Big 10 teams and Notre Dame. :harumph:

Sure-Oz
01-05-2009, 05:45 PM
I'm an SEC fan; (primiarily Bama and LSU); the wife an I enjoy watching Florida games; but I simply do not like Tebow as a QB. I thought the offense was much more enjoyable to watch when Leak was tossing the ball around.

I'll be glad when Tebow is gone.

Lol, you're bitching about the QB that got your team in the national title game.:doh!:

Chiefs Pantalones
01-05-2009, 05:52 PM
This game will be sweet. Although it's still a joke until there's a fucking playoff.

DaKCMan AP
01-05-2009, 05:56 PM
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DaKCMan AP
01-05-2009, 06:01 PM
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ohiobronco2
01-05-2009, 06:03 PM
Texas 38
ohio state 13

I expect it to be a close game and from what I've seen during these Bowl games, OSU has a chance. Texas is pissed because they believe that they were cheated out of a national championship opportunity. OSU has a lot of seniors and they will play hard for them. If you are a fan of statistics, Texas has not faced a top 50 defense until now. Oklahoma is the best they have faced and they are 63rd nationally. Texas Tech is 78th nationally on D, giving up 382 yards a game. While Ole Miss is a decent O (29th nationally, Texas is 9th) they racked up 515 yards on them, which is 141 more yards than Texas. I used to believe that the Big 12 had great offenses and decent D's. Now I believe that the offenses are only good and the D's are terrible. OSU has to get pressure on McCoy if they expect to win and Texas will have to stop Wells. Should be a good game.

DaneMcCloud
01-05-2009, 06:04 PM
It's so hard to find the haters around here. GO BUCKS!!!!!!!! OSU38 vs UT 34

I have no vested interest in this game, so I hope that OSU pulls out a victory for you.

ohiobronco2
01-05-2009, 06:04 PM
Did you watch the Bama game, he didn't do anything the entire game. It's pretty hard for a MLB to disappear, but he did.

I've told several people about this on the Mane and they told me I was a fool. Glad to know I'm not the only one to see this. I watched specifically for him, to see what all of the hype was about. He didn't even look good statistically, 7 tackles.

ohiobronco2
01-05-2009, 06:06 PM
This game will be sweet. Although it's still a joke until there's a ****ing playoff.

Yep.

Ebolapox
01-05-2009, 06:09 PM
Did I stutter? You are on of the biggest annoyance's on here, it seems anytime anything about OSU comes on here you come trotting in like some jackass.

coming from a fan of a team who hates kansas, bearcat is one of the nicest and easiest guys to get along with on this site. ohio state does suck though :p

ohiobronco2
01-05-2009, 10:02 PM
Texas 38
ohio state 13

Hey, atleast you were close. What are tomorrows lottery numbers?

Bearcat
01-05-2009, 10:12 PM
Hey, atleast you were close. What are tomorrows lottery numbers?

At least it was realistic... the OSU prediction had them scoring 38 with 72 total points, and there's zero chance that the Buckeyes would have won that type of game.

It was a good game... probably one of the better 6-3 halftime games I've seen, because it was fun to watch OSU dominating with the 'thunder/lightning' sort of rushing attack, and shocking to see OSU flying around so much on defense.

At halftime I figured Texas would take their shots and eventually get in sync a little, and wondered if OSU would go into a Herm-shell and try to let the D win... but OSU took their shots, too, and I'm actually a little surprised they didn't do more conventional option plays in the second half.

ohiobronco2
01-05-2009, 10:50 PM
At least it was realistic... the OSU prediction had them scoring 38 with 72 total points, and there's zero chance that the Buckeyes would have won that type of game.

It was a good game... probably one of the better 6-3 halftime games I've seen, because it was fun to watch OSU dominating with the 'thunder/lightning' sort of rushing attack, and shocking to see OSU flying around so much on defense.

At halftime I figured Texas would take their shots and eventually get in sync a little, and wondered if OSU would go into a Herm-shell and try to let the D win... but OSU took their shots, too, and I'm actually a little surprised they didn't do more conventional option plays in the second half.

Every time Boeckman stepped in under center and they put Pryor at WR, I gasped. If Beanie wasn't injured, I think it would have been a more conventional offensive attack.

DaKCMan AP
01-06-2009, 06:41 AM
Hey, atleast you were close. What are tomorrows lottery numbers?

0-3-6-7-8

As in the bucks are 0-3 in BCS games in the '06, '07 and '08 seasons.

:D

ohiobronco2
01-06-2009, 08:51 AM
0-3-6-7-8
As in the bucks are 0-3 in BCS games in the '06, '07 and '08 seasons.

:D

ROFL

El Jefe
01-06-2009, 09:13 AM
0-3-6-7-8

As in the bucks are 0-3 in BCS games in the '06, '07 and '08 seasons.

:D

Classic.

DaKCMan AP
01-06-2009, 09:40 AM
Gators defense sees double in prep for up-tempo Sooners
By Gregg Doyel

MIAMI -- Look. Can I be honest? My story today, this story you're reading, was going to predict BCS doom for the Florida Gators. That was my working theory, and I'll tell you why: From the moment they arrived in South Florida to prepare for the national championship game, the Gators seemed a little too preoccupied with the no-huddle attack of the Oklahoma Sooners.

OK, preoccupied isn't the best way to describe it. Concerned is a better word. Scared. Freaked out? That's better. Florida seemed freaked out by the Oklahoma offense.

Shortly after his arrival, UF defensive coordinator Charlie Strong was asked for a general comment about Oklahoma's offense, and here is what he said:

"Well, our major concern ... is their tempo," he said of the Sooners' no-huddle attack in which two running backs gained 1,000 yards and quarterback Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy. "It's hard to really practice, just to simulate, just getting those plays in."

Said UF linebacker Ryan Stamper: "When they do the no-huddle, a lot of teams just weren't ready for it and not lined up correctly. It's going to be pretty difficult."

Said UF safety Major Wright: "We haven't played a team as fast-paced as them. They get on the ball and are ready to go fast."

Told you. Florida is freaked out. And with good reason. No team in college football was able to squeeze off as many plays this season as the Sooners' 1,036. And they made those snaps count. In a season in which new NCAA clock management rules shortened games and lowered scoring across the board, the Sooners became the first team in modern college football history to score 700 points. They enter the BCS title game on an NCAA-record streak of five consecutive games with at least 60 points.

So the Gators should be freaked out. And until Monday, they certainly sounded freaked out. So that was my story. Poor Gators. They're scared of the no-huddle.

Turns out, they were lying.

Like UF coach Urban Meyer wasn't going to be ready, right? In a profession of friggin' control freaks and anal geniuses, Meyer is the biggest control freak, the most anal, of them all. (All due respect.) And he and his staff came up with a plan to get ready for Oklahoma's no-huddle attack, a plan sniffed out by yours truly. And it's a hell of a plan.

The Florida defense hasn't been working in practice against an offense as fast as Oklahoma's.

Florida has worked against an offense that's even faster.

How is that possible? I'll tell you how, and it's devious. Meyer wasn't content to make his defense defend a UF scout team simulating the Sooners' offense. He had them defend two offenses:

One scout-team offense to run the play. A second scout-team offense waiting, as soon as the whistle blew, to sprint onto the field and run the next play. Then the first unit runs a play. Then the second. Back and forth the scout team offenses go, one play leading to the next to the next to the next, with no break for the defense.

That's how Meyer has gotten the Gators ready.

"We tried to over-exaggerate things," said Sean Cronin, the UF assistant coach in charge of the scout team. "We try to overdo it, make the defense see something they couldn't possibly see in the game."

That has worked for the Gators in other games this season. To prepare for explosive Vanderbilt quarterback Chris Nickson, Florida's scout team put a variety of running backs and receivers at quarterback, anyone who could match, or better yet top, Nickson's athletic ability. Turned out pretty well. Florida won 42-14.

Before playing South Carolina on Nov. 15, which features speedy All-SEC tight end Jared Cook, the UF scout team didn't bother simulating Cook with the fastest tight end they could scrounge up. The UF scout team picked fleet freshman receiver Omarius Hines to mimic Cook, thinking that if the Gators' linebackers could keep up with Hines, they could contain Cook.

Florida won 56-6.

"After the game," Cronin said, "Omarius came running over to me and was asking, 'How many catches did he have? How many catches did he have?'"

Answer: One catch. Six yards.

Dealing with the Oklahoma no-huddle is more convoluted than dealing with any one player, of course. The Sooners have turned the no-huddle into a 21st-century, high-tech version of their famed wishbone, which they used to bludgeon foes in the 1970s and '80s for the simple reason that opposing teams couldn't prepare for it. Nobody ran it with the precision, or the NFL-caliber athletes, of Oklahoma.

That was the wishbone of 1978, and it's the no-huddle of 2008. Nobody does it like Oklahoma, which this season became the first team in major college history to have a quarterback throw for 4,000 yards and two 1,000-yard running backs. That kind of skill, coming at the tempo Oklahoma operates, wears a defense down.

"Sometimes you can tell," said OU center Jon Cooper. "They're pointing fingers or their sideline is screaming. You can tell when they're breaking down."

The Sooners plan on it. They spend the summer going through hellacious conditioning drills in that heinous Oklahoma heat to get their bodies into shape for the physical, and mental, warfare of fall.

"Some time after halftime, the other team is getting tired and we still have a full tank," said Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles. "So many times we're able to run a play before they're even set."

Not this time. Not against this Florida defense. That's what the Gators say. That's how they've been preparing, anyway.

"At first, yeah, we were a little concerned about their no-huddle," said Florida cornerback Joe Haden. "But that's all we've been practicing against, and our (scout team) no-huddle is faster than Oklahoma's no-huddle. I guarantee that. We'll be ready."

http://www.sportsline.com/collegefootball/story/11226794

:)

Mr. Laz
01-06-2009, 10:35 AM
Go Sooners

ohiobronco2
01-06-2009, 11:08 AM
Go Sooners

Yes. No offense Florida, but I'm still upset about losing titles in football and basketball (I still hate that Dbag Noah). Go Sooners.

DaKCMan AP
01-07-2009, 06:58 AM
Edge Gators: Big 12 offenses are being exposed
> Posted by Dave Hyde at 8:27 AM

Here's the thing about the college bowl season: It holds a mirror to conferences. It answers questions and suspicions about their teams. Take the Big 10. Every year the suspicion is the conference doesn't have the speed to match up against the rest of the country, and every year it bears out.

After Texas came back against my Ohio State team (have I ever mentioned my book on the 1968 Ohio State national champions?), the Big 10 is 1-6 in bowl games. Over the past four years, it's 9-20 in bowls and lost six consecutive Bowl Championship Series games. Counseling is needed. Medication, too.

If the Big 10 is being exposed again, so are Big 12 offenses. This plays into the BCS national championship game between Florida and Oklahoma. All season, everyone watched the scoreboards spin in the southwest and wondered if this was the greatest collection of offensive talent -- or the worst defenses.

The verdict is in.

It's the defenses.

Texas is the latest to show that. Its 24-21 win against Ohio State was its lowest-scoring game of the year. Missouri needed overtime (beating another Big 10 team, Northwestern, 30-23) to produce its second-lowest score of the season. Texas Tech also had its second-lowest output in a 47-34 loss to Mississippi.

Do you detect a trend?

The Big 12 is 4-2 in bowl games -- though three of the wins against Big 10 schools (Kansas also beat Minnesota, 42-21).

OKlahoma was the highest-scoring team in Big 12, averaging 54 points a game. You wouldn't expect it to reach that anyway given the fact that average allows for weak opponents on the schedule. But if this bowl season shows anything, it will have a tough time reaching the season low of 35 points it did against Texas Christian.http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports/columnists/hyde/blog/2009/01/edge_gators_big_12_offenses_ar_1.html

DaKCMan AP
01-07-2009, 06:59 AM
Meyer gets slight edge over Stoops

BY EDWIN POPE
epope@MiamiHerald.com

What we have in this BCS High Noon at Night, folks, are the two best coaches in college football. They are Urban Meyer and Bob Stoops, and I give an ever-so-slight edge to the Florida man over the Oklahoma gent strictly on the basis of who's hottest at this precise moment.

That's a little like trying to compare the bottom of a working skillet to the middle of a coal fire. Both these guys are smoking. I beg your permission to devote today's little piece mostly to Meyer only on the basis that as much has already been written about Stoops as, say, Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer.

Please note this does not postulate Stoops as another Wilkinson or Switzer. Stoops is, as the famous author Dan Jenkins would say, his own self and need not suffer any comparisons with any predecessors, no matter how golden. It is possible, though hardly likely given the increasing pressure on coaches at every level, Stoops could surpass them both. However, Meyer gets my vote this minute because he is going for his second BCS trophy in three years. And he is doing that because he is the best recruiter going.

QUICK TRIGGER

Meyer comes into Dolphin Stadium with a flat dozen players who run 40 yards in fewer than 4.4 seconds. And speed has been the name of the game ever since Jimmy Johnson pretty much changed the whole thing at the University of Miami in the late 1980s.

As for X's and O's, Meyer and Stoops probably are dead even, notwithstanding the deadliness of Meyer's so-called Spread offense. For that matter, I confess here and now that trying to pick the best coach in the game is not only presumptuous but sort of stupid, because for all we know, the best may be some totally unknown gink at Northwesteastsouth Montana Normal School Branch -- who hasn't gotten a chance at the Paramount.

So, we come down to recruiting, where Meyer is not only persuasive but has a lot more scenery and temperature to sell than Stoops. Through sportscasters' constant abuse of the words ''incredible'' and ''unbelievable,'' I have come to hate both. Any receiver who catches a ball with one foot an inch off the ground has made an ''incredible'' play. Any runner who scores through a hole less than a dozen yards wide has just done something ''unbelievable.'' Those two words have been devalued more than the field goal in basketball. But one is forced to trot out both in addressing Meyer's recruiting touch.

He knows what he wants -- a player who can run the fastest and act the straightest on and off the field. When he looks a prospect's parents in the eye and promises he will take care of their son, they believe him. And he carries through.

BLACK WEDNESDAY

In Urban's Way, Buddy Martin's splendid authorized biography and, paradoxically, objective book on Meyer, he tells of the coach's so-called Black Wednesday. It happened in 2001 when he went to Bowling Green from his assistantship at Notre Dame. Some Bowling Green players were treating school as though it was a branch of Club Med, and Meyer had them locked in a field house and run until they were forced to regurgitate -- endlessly -- into trash cans strategically placed. Moreover, they had to hit the cans directly. ''Don't vomit on my turf!'' Meyer bellowed time after time.

We all know coaches who go to their graves thinking that's one of the ways to instill discipline and desire. It's more like instilling a lasting hatred of whatever ''system'' happens to be using the player. It didn't take Meyer long to realize that.

''I was a 36-year-old coach out of control,'' he would say, and he never lapsed into that syndrome again. The Junction Boys experiment worked for Bear Bryant -- the famous little incident in which he took a full squad to a desert post named Junction, and came back with only about half of them, when he first assumed command at Texas A&M. Meyer wasn't going to trust it ever again because he believed it was intrinsically wrong.

PARENTAL GUIDANCE

That's a huge part of Meyer's approach. Once a player comes under his wing, Meyer assumes the role of parent. Every Gators assistant is charged with daily personal contact with his position players. Meyer has waited in classrooms to check if players are late or absent. If they are tardy, Meyer tells them, ''Don't ever do that again!'' If they cut class, they will hear about it for a long time.

Steve Spurrier, in his wonderful run at UF, let chalk do his talking. His offense was everything, and consequently, he found much less time for eye-to-eye contact with players off the field. Meyer remains a huge admirer of Spurrier, from the way his teams ran on the field to the way they lined up and ran all over it. Meyer simply takes a different approach. Right now it's the hottest approach going.

Know how they say every coach will get fired if he coaches long enough? I believe it 99.9 percent of the time. Meyer is the .1 percent.


http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/columnists/story/840704.html

DaKCMan AP
01-07-2009, 08:19 AM
MIAMI GARDENS – If there has been a media star for the Oklahoma Sooners since they arrived last Friday to begin their final preparations for Thursday night’s BCS National Championship Game against the Florida Gators, it has been Nic Harris.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior strong safety from Alexandria, La., is one of those rare college athletes who takes the time to consider the question and then to give you an answer that either has you shaking your head in amazement or laughter. Harris has backed up its words all season long with 64 tackles, three fumbles caused and six passes defended.

Harris isn’t the Sooner who said that Tim Tebow would only be the fourth best quarterback in the Big 12 Conference (that was sophomore cornerback Dominique Franks), but Harris isn’t shy about commenting on the Tebow-led Florida offense.

“Pretty much what I thought,” Harris said. “They looked one-dimensional.”

http://www.gatorcountry.com/football/article/can_harris_sooners_walk_their_talk/5386

DaKCMan AP
01-07-2009, 08:24 AM
Sooners have more distractions in South Beach
By Edward Aschoff
Correspondent
Published: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 10:01 p.m.

MIAMI – Adrian Taylor couldn’t hold back.

The time was right and he had to “attack.”

Moments after seeing actor/comedian Jamie Foxx – his second favorite R&B recording artist behind Grammy Award winner R. Kelly – standing in the lobby of the Oklahoma team hotel, the 6-foot-4, 295-pound nose guard rushed over for a chat/photo session.

Taylor was so star struck he didn’t realize until he was halfway through telling Foxx how much he admired him and how all four of his albums were not only in his CD collection but on his iPod that he had just interrupted a conversation with hip-hop singer, songwriter and producer Jermaine Dupri.

“It was OK,” Taylor said of barging in on the two, “they were cool with it.”

Taylor’s “once-in-a-lifetime experience” tells the story of the Sooners’ and Gators’ experiences thus far in south Florida as they prepare for the BCS National Championship Game Thursday.

While the Sooners are staying in the upscale part of South Beach at the luxurious Fontainebleau – which, according to Taylor, must be pronounced Fon-ton-blue to get the full effect – the Gators are being stowed away in Hollywood, Fla., at the equally impressive Westin Diplomat.

The Gators aren’t watching celebrities run the streets, and not as many beautiful women parade around in skimpy clothing.

There aren't as many distractions for UF players.

“Oklahoma’s got the good stuff on South Beach, but what we came here to do is win the football game,” junior cornerback Markihe Anderson said.

“After we win the game, then we’re going to head to South Beach and get out there and do all the things that we missed out on at South Beach.”

Frequent trips to the beach and mall have helped keep the Gators sane as they await their bout with No. 1 OU. Even the occasional card game here and there has helped, but players admit that it’s been hard suppressing the cravings of the glitz, glamour and the feeling of finally getting to touch that South Beach pavement.

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Terron Sanders, who is making his first trip to Miami, said he’s had fun keeping his life “low key” the past few days, but wouldn’t mind meeting his favorite artist, who, coincidently, is Foxx.

“Now that I’ve heard that they’ve seen him I hope to see him too,” Sanders said when asked about OU players seeing Foxx at their hotel.

Taylor admits he’s enjoying himself a lot more than he has on past bowl trips, but assures it’s not deterring his focus on Thursday.

“We gotta remember why we came out here: to win the game,” he said. “But we’re in Florida, we’re in Miami, so we have to enjoy ourselves at the same time.

“It’s just great experience. I hope everybody gets to do something like this at least once in their lifetime.”

For now, South Beach can wait for the Gators.

To Anderson, staying away from the temptations has been a good thing for him and his teammates and has the thought of partying on South Beach after a victory that much sweeter.

“Everybody would want to be like, ‘Go, go, go (if they stayed on South Beach),’ but with us staying in Hollywood, people just focus on the task at hand,” he said. “There’s more stuff to get into down there. No one’s howling and moaning about being on South Beach because everyone’s focused. They know that South Beach will be there because we have a couple of days off after the game.

“If we go out of this game with a bang, everybody can go on South Beach together.”

.

DaKCMan AP
01-07-2009, 08:31 AM
Criticized Oklahoma defense confident it can limit Tebow

By Steve Wieberg, USA TODAY

MIAMI — Nic Harris got his first good look at Florida's spread-option offense in early December, when the senior safety and his Oklahoma teammates — hours from playing for the Big 12 title that night — caught part of the Southeastern Conference championship game on television.

Tim Tebow filled their screen. The Gators star quarterback threw an early touchdown pass, then a second and a third. He led Florida in rushing and, ultimately, to its ninth consecutive double-digit victory, 31-20 against then-unbeaten Alabama.

Harris was unmoved. "Pretty much what I thought, is they looked one-dimensional," he says of the player and team that now stand between OU and the eighth national championship in its storied football history.

This much, we know: The Sooners defense still has its swagger.

The question, going into Thursday's showdown with Tebow and the No. 2 Gators: Does it have the chops to back it up?

The reality of winning it all in major-college football is as cold and stark as winter on the Oklahoma plains. Twenty-nine teams have claimed at least a share of a national title in the last quarter-century, and none — from Brigham Young to Florida State to LSU — had a defensive profile as dubious as the one the top-ranked Sooners (12-1) own.

Not one of those past champions gave up as much as the 359 yards and 24-plus points a game surrendered by OU this season. Every one ranked among the nation's top 25 in total defense, scoring defense or both.

These Sooners? They rank 63rd and tied for 58th, respectively.

Dinged by injury and exposed, on occasion, by youth, they couldn't hold an 11-point first-half lead against Texas and suffered their only loss 45-35. They surrendered 28 points in the first 22 minutes of their game at Kansas State. They were hit for 28 second-half points and a total of 452 yards at Oklahoma State and allowed the Cowboys to score on six consecutive possessions.

"At the end of the day," argues Harris, one of OU's two first-team all-Big 12 selections on defense, "it's all about who wins and loses. That's what counts."

'Growing pains'

True enough. But Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford led a prolific Oklahoma offense that piled up 60 or more points in each of its last five games and became the first in modern college history to top 700 points in a season. That afforded defensive wiggle room.

Bradford now must throw into the teeth of the best pass defense in the SEC. And Harris & Co. must deal with Tebow and a balanced Florida attack that has averaged better than 49 points during its nine-game winning streak. The Gators (12-1) can win their second national title in three years.

Where lies the greatest give?

"They stress you in a lot of different ways," OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables says of Florida, whose loss was 31-30 to Mississippi. "But we've played some really explosive, high-powered offenses in the latter half of the year … seven of the top 30 in the country. Florida's played one. It's about perspective."

He's not asking that you disregard OU's inflated defensive numbers. Only that you understand them.

The Big 12 was an offensive wonderland this season, a place where spreads and no-huddle schemes warped convention. Quarterbacks completed 66% of their passes, and the league's very best — Bradford, Texas' Colt McCoy and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell — finished first, second and fourth in the year-end Heisman balloting (with Tebow third). Teams averaged better than 35 points a game.

Oklahoma's no-huddle spread typically put opponents away early, and more than a fifth of the TDs its defense allowed — eight of 38 by run or pass — came in meaningless fourth quarters.

Venables' unit was further compromised by one of the nation's worst kickoff defenses, which allowed four returns for touchdowns and all too routinely gave away field position.

"Our first four games, we really dominated our opponents," Venables says. "Then we lost our middle linebacker (Ryan Reynolds to a season-ending knee injury) and had a bad fourth quarter against Texas. Against Kansas, we had one bad quarter. Gave up a couple of hundred yards, had a guy fall down on a post route and that scored some easy points. We had a bad quarter against Kansas State.

"Nebraska, they scored a touchdown with less than a minute to go. (Texas) A&M scored 14 points off kick returns."

Yes, he gets a little … uh, defensive.

This unit won't be confused with, say, the top-rated, Tony Casillas- and Brian Bosworth-led defense that helped OU to its 1985 national title. Or to the one that locked down Chris Weinke and Florida State 13-2 to nail down the Sooners' last championship in 2000.

Venables acknowledges "growing pains" after Reynolds' loss. A defense with 11 freshmen and sophomores and four seniors in its two-deep lineup (and now loses backup tackle DeMarcus Granger to back surgery) has had mental lapses and surrendered some big plays.

Look beyond the scores, however, and there are indications the Sooners aren't so soft. They're 17th in the nation vs. the run, allowing 3.2 yards a carry and 106 a game. Their 42 sacks rank third behind Texas and TCU. They've forced more turnovers (32) than all but three teams and allowed opponents to convert only 63 of 189 third downs.

"It would not be wise for anybody to look at the numbers and think they're an average defensive team," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel says. "Because they're not."

The Tigers managed 60 yards rushing and 21 points, less than half their season average, against OU in the Big 12 title game. That came two weeks after an even more impressive shutdown: a 65-21 rout of Texas Tech in which the Sooners forced three turnovers, sacked Harrell four times and held the normally high-flying Red Raiders to one touchdown in the first 39½ minutes.

"There've been some wild games in the Big 12. Up-tempo no-huddles, all kind of different things," says Steve Addazio, who coaches Florida's lines and will replace departing Dan Mullen as offensive coordinator after the game. "But you watch them, their people on defense and the way they play. Watch their scheme and the way they're structured. It's a good outfit.

"I know what I'm seeing. We've played some pretty good teams in our league, and it's a good defense."

Make Tebow throw

Of course, so was South Carolina's. And Florida State's. And Alabama's. Each ranks among the nation's top 16 in total defense. But over the last four weeks of the regular season, they yielded an average of 460 yards and 44 points to the Gators.

Tebow, as always, is the key. Oklahoma has seen a couple of effective tuck-and-run quarterbacks in McCoy and Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson, but the 2007 Heisman winner has a fullback's mentality and kick that's incorporated in the Florida running game. Defenses committing a defender to the extra runner risk exposure to the perimeter pass.

"We have to try and make him throw the ball, which he can do," OU free safety Lendy Holmes says. "But his comfort zone is running the ball."

Harris is blunt: "I don't think that they — he — can beat us with his arm." He isn't all bravado, though: "We're a little bit better than people give us credit for. But at the end of the day, we've got to come out and prove it."

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/big12/2009-01-06-sooners-defense_N.htm

DaKCMan AP
01-07-2009, 08:42 AM
http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o35/nkachele/P1000297.jpg

El Jefe
01-07-2009, 09:01 AM
Yes. No offense Florida, but I'm still upset about losing titles in football and basketball (I still hate that Dbag Noah). Go Sooners.

THIS.

Demonpenz
01-07-2009, 09:31 AM
I'm an SEC fan; (primiarily Bama and LSU); the wife an I enjoy watching Florida games; but I simply do not like Tebow as a QB. I thought the offense was much more enjoyable to watch when Leak was tossing the ball around.

I'll be glad when Tebow is gone.

the thing about tebow is he has always been a star. He runs out out bounds and slides like a pussy. Just the way the game has changed I supposed

Brock
01-07-2009, 10:04 AM
the thing about tebow is he has always been a star. He runs out out bounds and slides like a pussy. Just the way the game has changed I supposed

hes a duel threat

DaKCMan AP
01-07-2009, 10:16 AM
Meyer, Stoops Took Long Road To Fast Track

By JOEY JOHNSTON | The Tampa Tribune
Twenty years ago they were just starting out, soaking up knowledge, working insane hours, doing anything to get ahead, maybe even fetching coffee for other staff members.

Now they are college football's coaching emperors.

Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Florida's Urban Meyer, as a prelude to Thursday night's BCS Championship Game, were led into Dolphin Stadium on Monday morning, where they each held court for one hour at the event's media day.

"I'm not sure I ever imagined myself in a spot like this,'' said Stoops, surrounded by 100 or so reporters who hung on every word. "But life does change.''

Once, Stoops was an anonymous volunteer coach at his alma mater, Iowa.

Once, Meyer was a faceless graduate assistant at Ohio State.

Now they are arguably the most powerful men in their profession. They are examples of why many high-profile college coaches no longer must join the NFL to reach football's pinnacle. They are $3 million-a-year CEOs of unmistakable brands: Sooners, Gators and celebrities in their adopted home states.

Neither has celebrated their 50th birthday.

And neither is that far removed from much humbler times.

"When we were at Colorado State, when Urban was an assistant there, I remember counting up the hours Urban put in one week and it was 118,'' said Meyer's wife, Shelley. "Those were crazy day. I had to have a job, there was no choice, and we were living paycheck to paycheck.

"Have things changed? Oh, my gosh, our life is so different. But when I look at Urban, I see him coaching with the same passion, the same intensity as a young guy who was making $25,000. And I don't think those qualities will ever change with him.''

Nor with Stoops.

Jay Norvell, Oklahoma's assistant offensive coordinator, played in the same Iowa secondary with Stoops. When he sees the head coach's swagger, his unfailing confidence, he remembers a constant scene from the Hawkeyes' locker room.

"I used to like looking around, looking into everyone's eyes,'' Norvell said. "Bob was always straight ahead, never flinching. He had this conviction that just separated him from other people.

"This is a guy who played his whole senior season at Iowa with a fractured foot. He could hardly walk. But he played every Saturday. He was my leader even back then. I looked up to him and I still do.''

Stoops became Steve Spurrier's defensive coordinator at Florida in 1996, the season when the Gators won the program's first national title.

Almost immediately, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley knew Stoops was something special.

"There was something about Bobby Stoops, just like there was something about Urban Meyer,'' Foley said. "It's their directness, the way they look you in the face, the way they communicate their vision. It's no surprise that these guys are at the top of their profession. They share a lot of great qualities.''

One obvious similarity is their roots in Ohio, a long-time cradle of coaches.

"Football is important there, and I think Urban and I always had that passion for the game,'' Stoops said. "I think Florida and us, along with six or seven other schools, we've played to a high level each year. We feel fortunate to be in that group, but we're always striving for more.''

Meyer feels the same way.

"For a guy to leave Florida without a degree and without a championship, what a tragedy, what a mistake, what a bad deal,'' Meyer said. "I just don't think that should ever happen because of what we have here.

"What [recruits] are hearing now [from opposing schools] is 'You'll never play there because they have too many [great] players.' Look, when we recruited Percy Harvin, he didn't ask who our receivers were. When we recruited Tim Tebow, he didn't care about the quarterbacks we had. Those are the guys we want, the ones who have that much confidence in their ability.''

When Stoops left UF to take the Oklahoma job, the Sooners were coming off a five-year run of 23-33-1 (with no winning seasons and only one bowl appearance). In his eyes at OU's traditionally powerful program that was unthinkable.

"We didn't have a strong self-image,'' Stoops said. "I felt as a program we were shying away from those expectations. I told them, 'This is what we're supposed to be and this is how we're supposed to play. And we're going to work to do it.' ''

By Thursday night, either Stoops or Meyer will become the first coach to win two BCS championships. Seemingly, that would be time for reflection, maybe even celebration.

Not for long. Not with these guys.

"Urban and Bobby have fire in their bellies,'' Foley said. "That has always been there.''

When they were coaching grunts.

And even now, as college football's emperors.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/jan/05/meyer-stoops-took-long-road-fast-track/sports-colleges-gators/