Ohhhh - I thought when I saw the title of the thread, I thought that the Tar Heels and the Gators had merged! National Championship & and Florida aren't 3 words I would have put together!!!
But then I guess anything is possible as long as Tebow isn't too distracted by off-field stuff...
...but then he's only gonna be a part-time QB anyway this year:
Backup QB to play big role this year By ROBBIE ANDREU Sun sports writer 9:24 pm, March 22, 2008
Florida's two-headed quarterback in 2006 featured two players with distinctly different styles.
There was Chris Leak, the senior starter and accomplished passer.
There was Tim Tebow, the true freshman and runner who specialized in bulling his way to first downs and touchdowns.
The quarterbacks were so different that they basically ran different offenses, with the coaches coming up with a special package of plays for Tebow to run each week.
With Urban Meyer vowing to go back to a two-quarterback system in 2008, this new two-headed quarterback probably will not look like the old one. The No. 2 guy (whoever it turns out to be) will be running the same offense that Tebow runs, so there will not just be a designated runner (or passer) coming off the bench like two years ago.
"Playing two quarterbacks doesn't mean you need two systems," offensive coordinator Dan Mullen said. "Each quarterback has their own thing that they do really well. You can highlight different parts.
"But they're all big, they all throw the ball very well and they're all very athletic. It's a pretty good combination."
It's a combination that should allow the Gators to run their spread offense regardless of who comes off the bench — sophomore Cameron Newton or redshirt freshman John Brantley.
Like Tebow, Newton and Brantley are capable runners and passers, Mullen said, and capable of running the offense.
"Whoever the backup is, he's going to come in and run the offense," Mullen said. "One of the big benefits is if you have to make an adjustment during a series, I can get a quarterback off the field and make the adjustment with him without taking a time-out or waiting until the next series.
"Another guy goes in and keeps running the show. And you can communicate real well if you want specific things done with the quarterbacks."
Mullen and Meyer know how they want to use their quarterbacks in the fall. Now, they have to find out who the No. 2 guy is going to be.
Only a few days into spring practice, that decision probably will not be coming anytime soon, Mullen said.
"Our thought on that is I'm planning on getting three quarterbacks ready to play," Mullen said. "That's where we are right now."
Newton saw limited playing time last season and was used mostly as a runner. He's been running with the second-team offense this spring, partly because Brantley has been limited by an injury to his non-throwing left shoulder.
Brantley is expected to be close to a full go this week, and the competition will commence.
Newton, who is 6-6, 240 pounds, is considered a stronger runner than passer, while Brantley is considered the best pure passer among the quarterbacks. Brantley, however, is up to 213 pounds and also is capable of doing everything in the offense, Mullen said.
"Brantley is progressing along," Mullen said.
Newton also is advancing, Mullen said, especially with his confidence throwing the ball.
Newton's mechanics and throwing motion appear much-improved from a year ago, and he's showing better touch and accuracy, especially on the deep throws.
"He's had some time this offseason to really learn to throw the ball and get that down," Mullen said. "Couple that with the fact he's more comfortable in the offense, and you're seeing a different result.
"He's a much more consistent passer. He has a really strong arm. What he's done is clean it up a little bit."
Newton said he is much more relaxed now that he has a better grasp of the offense.
"I was kind of tense last year. Now, I'm getting in control of what I'm doing," he said. "I got the jitterbugs out and I'm ready to roll now.
"Last year, I was tensed up and didn't know what to expect from practice to practice. I was like a deer in the headlights. Now, I'm getting kind of comfortable and composed in the system."
Newton said he has been striving for consistency in his passing motion.
"Coach Mullen pointed out that I had a different motion for different throws last year," Newton said. "Now when I go back to pass, I'm thinking about the same motion every time. It's helped me become a more consistent passer."
Newton said he feels he's getting close to being ready to run the offense — the same one Tebow runs.
"I want to be able to come into the game and not lose a beat," Newton said. "We want to keep that tempo going."
That's the plan for UF's new version of the two-headed quarterback.
Fantasy Football: "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"
Harvin's injury more serious than thought - hopefully he's okay when the season starts:
Notebook: Harvin's heel injury affecting knee By EDWARD ASCHOFF Special to The Sun 12:29 am, April 1, 2008
Sophomore receiver Percy Harvin's heel injury could be more significant than first thought, UF coach Urban Meyer said after Monday's practice.
Harvin has been sidelined for much of the spring after he re-aggravated a heel injury that Meyer said has been bothering him since high school. While Meyer said the injury should not be an issue this fall, he is unsure of the treatment Harvin will need to go through until then.
“It's a heel injury and it's gone up into his knee,” Meyer said. “We had a specialist from North Carolina and two guys, a foot specialist from here, and also (head team physician) Dr. Pete (Indelicato). We're coming up with a plan and should have it in the next couple days.”
Harvin was bothered last season by what was thought to be tendonitis in his heel that spread to his knee. Meyer said the injury is not tendonitis, but is a bone issue that could be much more severe.
“It comes from overuse and obviously he's one of those quick-twitch guys and can plant his leg in the ground,” Meyer said. “When you show the MRI, you can see the white where there's trauma to the heel. Now he's got trouble just pushing off with his knee because of the pain. He's trying to compensate for his heel. Now he's having knee and hip issues, which he's had.”
Meyer didn't rule out the possibility of Harvin having to undergo surgery, but he did rule out Harvin losing touches in the backfield because of the injury. With Harvin being arguably the most dynamic player for UF and with the issues at running back, Meyer wants to continue giving him a healthy supply of carries this fall.
“Percy plays tailback,” he said. “They say, 'Well, we run receiver runs.' No, he's a tailback playing tailback. In the final game of the season he ran for I think 175 (yards). Against FSU he ran for 180. And then Vanderbilt he ran for 150, I think. Those are great running back stats and that's what he's playing at those times at running back.”
Harvin was second on the team with 764 rushing yards off of 83 carries and had six touchdowns last season. He also led the team with 59 catches for 858 yards and had four touchdowns.
Depth issues at linebacker Because a injuries to freshman John Jones (ankle) and redshirt freshman A.J. Jones, the number of linebackers to see the field this spring has been limited.
Meyer even moved freshman Jerimy Finch back to linebacker from safety this spring to help the depth, but Meyer admits his progress is not moving as fast as it should.
Freshman Brendan Beal (shoulder) missed practice Monday and has struggled at times to pick up the defense.
However, Meyer is happy with the improvement of freshmen Brandon Hicks and Lorenzo Edwards. He said the two are competing for solid playing time at the linebacker spots and have filled in nicely due to the injuries.
“We're getting a little bit of depth,” Meyer said. “We got three guys, four guys right now that I think can play and some of those other guys I hope step up.”
Jackson added to football staff Former Gators running back Terry Jackson was made part of UF's staff Monday, according to a press release from the University Athletic Association.
Jackson, who was a member of UF's 1996 National Championship team, was named Director of Player and Community Relations.
"Terry is a great addition to our football staff,” Meyer said in the release. “He is someone who is very committed and loyal to The Gator Nation and a great ambassador for our football program. He will be a tremendous mentor, leader and role model for our players. He has excelled at every endeavor - from serving as Student Body Vice- President and playing on the 1996 National Championship to his career in the NFL. He is deeply rooted in the local community and we are excited to have him join our staff.”
A native of Gainesville, Jackson finished his career at UF with 321 career carries for 1,794 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also recorded 59 receptions for 645 yards and four touchdowns.
Fantasy Football: "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"
...and even though it's only spring practice, Urban is already impressed with the way the defence is looking - compares more with 2 years ago than last year:
Notebook: UF football's defense growing up By EDWARD ASCHOFF Special to The Sun 12:16 am, March 30, 2008
Chalk up another victory for the defense.
Florida’s “D” looked solid against a struggling offense in Florida’s first full scrimmage of the spring.
UF coach Urban Meyer said one of the reasons for the defense’s turnaround this spring has been the maturity of his players and lack of what Meyer likes to call the “dope look,” or that confused look that young players are notorious for.
“Confused looks lead to bad players, bad teams, bad defense, bad offense, and I’m starting to see that disappear a little bit on defense,” Meyer said.
Most of the scrimmage was dictated by the defense. The first series for the offense ended with a fumble and the scrimmage ended on an interception.
Meyer said the momentum really shifted to the defense after freshman defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap came away with back-to-back sacks. It’s plays like that Meyer said he needs his defense to make next season if the Gators want to win the big games.
“It’s all about making plays and trying to get off the field and we’re trying to put them in as many situations similar to last year,” he said. “The difference between winning those games and failing to win, two years ago your defense stood up and made a play and got a victory many times. I can think of four or five times off the top of my head when they went out and made a stop and it was over. Tennessee to Georgia two years ago and then last year we failed to do that. I’m pleased with a lot of performances right now on defense.”
The last few practices have been dominated by the defense and Meyer said Friday’s practice was the best his team has had in two years.
“Our Friday practice was the best, most intense, enthusiastic practice we had,” he said. “The execution wasn’t, but I don’t care about that yet. But (after) the last two days, those kids deserve a day off. We pounded real hard the last two days.”
Brantley sits out Redshirt freshman quarterback John Brantley (shoulder), who is in a battle with freshman Cameron Newton for the backup quarterback spot, dressed but did not see action Saturday.
Meyer said it was for precautionary reasons.
“We just don’t want to (aggravate the injury),” Meyer said. “Trainers said because he’s trying to push himself, if he re-injures it then it sets him back even further.”
Brantley has had limited participation during 7-on-7 drills in practice.
Two tight ends With the return of redshirt junior Cornelius Ingram and the emergence of freshman Aaron Hernandez as a legitimate playmaker, Meyer said he will use both in two tight end sets this upcoming season.
“We’ve never had two tight ends, so we’re getting real involved with that,” he said. “We actually have three. Tate’s (Casey) going to give us a third guy and we’ve never had that. You’re seeing a lot different formations with a closed tight end, which we’ve never really done. You’ve gotta take advantage of the talent you have.”
Moody still learning USC transfer Emmanuel Moody has yet to prove that he can take over running duties from senior Kestahn Moore. While Meyer said Moody has shown that he’s a talented running back, his progression in the offense has not moved as quickly as he would like, despite being with the team in the fall.
“He’s very talented," Meyer said. "It's too early to say exactly what his role will be. He's got a long way to go but his attitude is tremendous. He's a little bit behind. I didn't think he'd be that far behind because he was here all fall, but it seems like everything is new and it shouldn't be that way. But he's a talented guy."
Fantasy Football: "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"
Shoey played right before the game again and we both stayed for the Orange and Blue game.
Dee, it was on ESPN, you didn't watch?
Moody and Rainey both looked VERY good other than Moody's dumb fumble (trying to dive into the endzone holding the ball out after a long run). Rainey made one of the sickest moves I've ever seen on the long TD catch he had....Reggie Bush eat your heart out.
It's difficult to judge the defense with everyone split up and the O-line playing both ways (and being tired as hell).
Dunlap had 3 of his sacks right at the end when Troutwein came out. I guess we'd better pray Troutwein doesn't get hurt again this year.
Newton definitely left the door open for Brantley for the backup gig, though to be fair it's hard to judge a runner when all they have to do is touch him to make him down.
Tebow looked good, since he couldn't be tackled they focused a little more on some straight drop-backs, just dropping back and hitting a 15 yard in and such and he did well with those. He was playing with a 102 degree fever as well. If Brantley wasn't hurt I don't think Tebow would have played.
The WRs looked awful, but Percy, Murph, Ingram, and Moore all were not playing. Riley Cooper was as shakey as ever though he calmed down some in the second half. It was funny because early on I yelled out that the blue should just attack Jaques Rickerson, but then we noticed he was covering Coop and said they neutralized each other, because Rickerson would just get burned and Cooper would either run the wrong route or drop it. Sure enough, about two plays later Cooper burned Rickerson on a go route, Tebow laid it in there perfectly, and Coop dropped it.