Florida Gators Video Of The Day: Tim Tebow And Eric Berry Collision

The Gators Video of the Day (GVOD) features, you guessed it, videos relating to the Florida Gators. They could be Gators athletes or homemade videos made by fans like ourselves. If you have any suggestions for GVOD, email me at evandagator@gmail.com or TBG at onegameback@gmail.com. We will try our best to live up to the “of the day” part of the title.

Superman against Superman. The Offensive Player of the Year vs. the Defensive Player of the Year. Florida vs. Tennessee. That’s what many thought when they saw the Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and Eric Berry collision.

Many Gators fans say this play was their favorite of Tebow’s career. To you, what was so great about Tebow’s and Berry’s collision? Was it the caliber of the two players who would become Heisman candidates? Or was it just the sheer force and momentum that both players had at the moment of collision?

The Long Snapper (4/22/10)

Think the SEC is in a good position to remain THE power conference in college football for the foreseeable future?  Think again.  With rumors continuing to circulate regarding a possible Big Ten expansion, the SEC is on guard.  Why?  Because the Big Ten may not be taking one team to give them the magical number of 12.  They may be looking at three.  Or, yes, even five.  The Big Ten is thinking super conference and the SEC isn’t going to wait for that to happen.  Now that doesn’t mean the SEC is definitely in line for an expansion, but if the others get serious, the SEC will be ready.  Ready for Clemson maybe?  Or what about Georgia Tech?  You can’t tell me either would turn down an invite.  If the Big Ten gains power (and raids the Big East in doing so) and the Pac-10 increases their membership, the ACC could take a step back just by standing still.  And that would be the first place the SEC would look.  The good thing is the SEC isn’t going anywhere any time soon.  While an expansion of the Big Ten could possibly crush the Big East, it doesn’t have the same effect on the SEC.  It may shift power, but the SEC would survive.  But SEC commissioner Mike Slive doesn’t just want to survive, he wants to remain at the top.
The Jacksonville Jaguars appear to have no interest in drafting Tim TebowAt least according to Bob Tebow.  The Jags have not worked out the former Florida star and aren’t showing that they may want to take him in this year’s draft.  But is it all just a smoke screen?  We can’t deny that Tebow in the NFL is a giant question mark.  So are half the players that will be selected in the first round.  Maybe not as much as it may seem with Tebow, but take a look over the last few drafts.  How many first rounders ended up being worthy of where they went in the draft?  Exactly.  With the first round of the draft you have can’t miss guys, guys labeled as can’t miss guys who end up missing for a variety of reasons (stupidity, injury, and bad evaluations of talent being the top three), guys who have the potential to solidly contribute, and those that have talent, but no one is really sure if they will succeed or fall flat.  Tebow falls into that last category, but is he worth the chance?  For the Jags, he probably is.  And that’s why I think Jacksonville showing no interest is merely them not revealing their hand.  Why let everyone know just how much they want Tebow?  Why not just sit where you are with the tenth pick and wait and see how the first nine unfold.  The Buffalo Bills have shown interest, but many don’t think they’ll reach for Tebow at nine.  If that’s the case, the Jags are in the perfect position.  At ten, they may get a solid player who can contribute to a franchise that seems to have more problems than we can count at the moment.  Or at ten, they could take a chance on a guy that may become the best thing they ever did.  He may not, but there’s that chance.  The Jags need to think long and hard about taking it.
Tebow won’t be at the draft, but he will be one of the players ESPN will have on a live feed during the night.  One of the 26 actually.  Tebow will be joined among the live feeders by Maurkice Pouncey (and I’m assuming twin brother Mike) and USF defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.  So even though you won’t see Tebow in New York in a nice, new three-piece suit, he will be among those we’ll get to spend an always somewhat awkward moment with when the time finally arrives and he is selected.  We should take bets on Tebow being the live feed ESPN shows the most.  Then again, that has to be a no brainer.
Rest in peace Dylan Meier.  Meier – who played quarterback at Kansas State from 2002 to 2006 – died after being injured during a hiking trip.  Meier comes from a football family.  Older brother Shad was a tight end with the Wildcats from 1997 to 2000 and younger brother Kerry was a quarterback and wide receiver at Kansas the past few years.  Thoughts go out to the entire Meier family.
The List: Might as well run down those guys who really are can’t miss NFL prospects this year.
1. Eric Berry.  Yup.  That’s it.  I’m going out on a limb and picking one horse and riding that horse until his career is over.  You could immediately point to a handful of other guys and say “there’s no way he doesn’t become a star,” but for me Berry is all I’m willing to get behind for that top category.  It’s not very ballsy of me.  In fact, it’s actually pretty weak.  I’ll admit that.  But that’s part of my point when it comes to Tebow.  How can any team guarantee any other guy will be better for them?  They can’t.  That’s not saying my draft order would go 1) Berry, 2) Tebow because it wouldn’t.  It’s just saying if I’m the Jags and I have the tenth pick and Berry is gone (which he will be) than I’m looking directly at Tebow’s name on my draft board.
The Sixth Man: The debate continues via channels not including this site (which is unfortunate because I would like to think there are a few others out there that have some strong opinions either way).  I’ll just say this, even if it doesn’t make a lot of sense to you not involved in the discussion.  I love the Gators.  I want nothing more than to see them continue to realistically compete for a basketball championship year after year after year.  Now that that’s out of the way…Florida is not Duke.  Florida is not UNC.  Florida is not KentuckyBilly Donovan has put the Gators in a great position to compete with the big boys.  Florida will have its up years and its down years, but in the end, they are not among the pinnacle programs when it comes to college basketball.  Deny it all you want.  Argue it until you lose your voice.  It’s the harsh reality.

Morning Reading: Updates from the Latest Urban Meyer/Tim Tebow Press Conference

I can’t watch press conferences. Something about a guy just sitting there answering questions. It’s like the most boring courtroom drama ever. But I do like to find out what the coaches and players had to say. It’s just much easier to read about the press conference after the fact then sit through the pain while it’s live.

During the latest press conference, Florida head coach Urban Meyer commented on Ryan Stamper and how vital he is to the team. Over the past couple of years Stamper has gone from a backup who saw the field on occasion to one of the most reliable defensive players on the squad. You won’t hear his name mentioned among the stars, but he is an unsung hero. Meyer also said how much he respects what Rich Brooks has done with the Kentucky program. It may have been a while since the Wildcats beat the Gators, but look back over the past few years and you can see UK has definitely improved. And not every comment about Tennessee was a negative one. Meyer commended the defensive personnel the Vols have had over the past few years and how well they’ve played Florida.

Quarterback Tim Tebow commented on his collision with Tennessee safety Eric Berry, saying it was a good hit that both players felt. He also commended Kentucky’s improvement and shook off the winning streak against the Wildcats. Tebow said this is a different Kentucky team and a different Florida team. Each year is a new game and none of the past matters. Tebow believes the Gators will enjoy the rest of the season and play as hard as they ever have. He wants to do his best to remember every moment because he doesn’t have many games left. And finally, good ol’ #15 loves going on the road.

Morning Reading: The Florida/Tennessee Rivalry is Back

My feelings toward Tennessee are no secret. I’m in the group that views them as the most hated rival. I’ve stated why, but here’s a quick recap: I was at Florida during the time of complete dominance over Georgia, so they never reached that level to me, and as high as FSU is on the list, they aren’t a conference rival. So it was always Tennessee. I don’t hate everything about the school or all the players or all the coaches. It’s merely a collegiate rivalry sort of thing. I’m sure there are plenty of great Tennessee fans out there. I’ve cheered on plenty a former Vol in the NFL (and even liked to see some of them succeed while at school…Eric Berry is swell!). And we all know the role Monte Kiffin played for my hometown pro team over the years. But I still get a little more up for that third game of the season than any other one on the schedule. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s part of what makes sports great. And now, the rivalry is definitely back…

Part of what made the Florida/Tennessee rivalry so great during my younger days were the jabs Phillip Fulmer and Steve Spurrier threw back and forth at each other. It intensified the rivalry and made fans everywhere never want to just beat the other team, but absolutely annihilate them. It’s part of the reason I’m happy with Saturday’s 10-point win, but could be much happier. It’s also part of the reason a number of Tennessee fans aren’t quite as upset as they thought they’d be.

Then Spurrier moved on and we got stuck with Ron Zook. Zook was too busy creating division in the locker room and trying to stand up against campus fraternities to take the time to ruffle the feathers of any of Florida’s rivals. We got sort of a dead period. Not that the games weren’t great and the rivalry wasn’t alive, but it didn’t have what it did during the Spurrier years.

But now, Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer have made sure it’s returned. We all know the comments Kiffin made from the time he was hired to only a few weeks ago. And we all know the Meyer is more of the subtle trash talker, but still gets his punches in. The game came and passed with not much said leading up to it, but now that it’s over, the gloves are off again. Meyer has commented that a number of key players were sick and even went as far as saying he “didn’t feel like they were going for the win” when referring to Tennessee. And now Kiffin has shot back stating if the Vols aren’t exciting about their performance in the future, they will just tell everyone they were sick.

As a fan of either school, you may get enraged, but I love it. I said early on, if Kiffin brings anything to the SEC, it’ll be entertainment. And entertaining he has been. Hate him all you want Gator fans. And Vol fans, feel free to loathe Meyer. You are supposed to. This is a rivalry at its best and I’m sure we all can’t wait for next year.

Florida Gators 23 – Tennessee Volunteers 13

Let’s go ahead and get the few positives out of the way first. Florida did beat Tennessee. When all was said and done, the Gators got their first conference win of the seasons and remained undefeated. Sometimes you have to take a game for what it is in the end – a win or a loss. Basically I’m saying there was another outcome that would’ve been much, much worse. So the Gators beat the Vols and can move on to the next opponent and get the game behind them. Another in the win column. Good job.

The defense did its job for the most part. Florida picked off Jonathan Crompton twice and held Tennessee to only 210 yards of total offense. Anytime you can hold an SEC opponent to 13 points, you’re doing a good job. And when you’re doing it with Brandon Spikes in and out of the game, well, you can’t really complain. Ryan Stamper stepped up and led the team with 12 tackles and three for loss. Ahmad Black and Joe Haden both had interceptions. Overall, the defense kept this game from being much closer than it already was.

Okay, two paragraphs is enough. Before I rant too much I will say I’m not the type that expects Florida to be perfect. Many fans and experts expect nothing less from the Gators this year. They should score 50 in every game and beat every opponent by 30 or more. I’m not like that. Of course it would be nice. I said in my preview of this game that I’d love to see the Gators absolutely blowout the Vols, but in the end I don’t lose sleep when a victory is still the end result. That being said, here we go…

I was bored watching this game. Truly bored. If I wasn’t a Florida fan and was at home, I might’ve actually changed the channel. Florida played not to lose. Nothing more and nothing less. The Gators wanted to get out with a win and that was it. All the hype about sticking it to Lane Kiffin was nothing more than hype. All excitement was…well, there wasn’t any. And it started and ended with the play calling in my opinion.

On offense, the Gators didn’t take chances. So Deonte Thompson was out. So Jeffery Demps had a fever. So Aaron Hernandez was battling flu-like symptoms. But what about all the other weapons we’ve all seen perform with our own two eyes? Florida didn’t try to stretch the field. They didn’t take a chance deep. They used very few formations. And they didn’t adapt to the defensive schemes Tennessee showed them. I understand Eric Berry is a very good player. He may be the best defensive player in the nation. But it seemed as if Florida knew that and offensive coaches weren’t willing to take any chance to let Berry make a play. In the end, Berry had an interception on a badly thrown ball, but his presence alone seemed to make the Gators feel they had to hold back on offense.

On the other side of the ball, the defensive play calling wasn’t much better and again felt like Florida was simply playing not to lose. It’s no secret I’m not a Crompton fan. I can’t imagine many people are. But where was the pressure? When you blitz an erratic quarterback like Crompton, you force him to make mistakes. Crompton made a couple of his own – drastically underthrowing his receiver on Haden’s interception and throwing to a double-covered receiver on Black’s – but could have been forced into making a few more had he been blitzed. We’ve seen what heavy blitzing defenses do to a quarterback of Tim Tebow’s ability. Imagine what they would do to one of Crompton’s.

I’m sure there are a million excuses as to why Florida didn’t necessarily perform up to its ability. The injuries and sicknesses could have contributed. Not willing to take chances and allow an upset could’ve been another. But it’s a win. However, this is the least excited I’ve felt about a double-digit win over one of Florida’s top rivals in quite some time. Who knows though, maybe this was this season’s Ole Miss game. We’ll see against Kentucky in six days.

Countdown to Kickoff: #5 – The Heisman Trophy

Oh bronze statue of greatness. We bow down to you as the sports world’s more recognized honor.

As a collective group, diehard college football fans tend to look down their noses at the Heisman Trophy. They complain that it isn’t given to the correct individual. That it’s given for reasons other than its meaning. And that, in the end, it doesn’t really mean all that much. I even posted something telling Florida fans to move on, and do so quickly, when Tim Tebow didn’t win the trophy last season.

But in reality, we’re all intrigued by the race to the award each season. We are. Whether you admit it or not, you are a little bit excited when a player from your school has a chance at taking the trophy home. You have had debates with friends (be them real or virtual) over who should be invited to the ceremony. You’ve even pumped your fist once or twice when they guy you were hoping would win did. You may have even yelled “Boomer!” until your face turned blue.

The point is, like it or not, the Heisman Trophy is like no other sports award. We could care less whose in line for the NFL MVP and can probably name very few of the past winners. But bring up the Heisman to any fan and they are very aware of how many times their school has claimed the statue and exactly who and when. Ohio State fans get a little cocky when discussing their two-time winner. USC celebrates its recent success. And Florida fans brag about the first and ONLY true sophomore.

Get ready for the season and get ready for the Heisman hype because two things are true: 1) you know you are at least a little interested and 2) Eric Berry doesn’t stand a chance in hell of actually winning.

Tennessee without Starting Quarterback; Inquires about Todd Helton’s Eligibility

I don’t envy the team having to decide between Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens when it comes to who will run with the first-team offense come game time. Of course, I don’t envy Tennessee when it comes to anything at the moment. I’m the one that has the Vols planted firmly atop the list of Florida’s most hated rivals. But enough about my personal biases against a certain program from Knoxville.

Less than two weeks away from the season’s opening week, and Tennessee doesn’t have a starting quarterback (it might be a good time to pick someone, just saying). Crompton supposedly put in a strong performance in a recent scrimmage, but I have yet to see how forcing a throw that got picked off and tossing “several other potential interceptions that were dropped” can be deemed strong. I wouldn’t call me dumping the water bowl and spilling dog food on the garage floor while trying to feed my pooches this morning a strong performance.

Stephens, on the other hand – the other starter from 2008 – looked rather pedestrian while going 9-for-17 for 90 yards. If I were a Vol fan (NOOOOOO!!!!!), I wouldn’t be too excited about the prospect of either. If Stephens had enough attempts to qualify, he would’ve ended 96th in the nation in passer efficiency last season. Crompton would’ve been 105th. By comparison, Eric Ainge ranked in at 14th and 37th in his final two seasons at Tennessee. To say there was a drop-off would be quite the understatement.

Crompton came in with the hype – he was rated by Rivals.com as the second-best pro-style QB in the nation and 60th-best player overall coming out of high school – but has yet to even be average. Stephens wasn’t highly-rated, but took over the starting job during the 2008 season. Completing less than 50% of his passes, he wasn’t able to hold on to it.

The Vols have mentioned implementing more of the wildcat into their offense. And it may be needed if they can’t decide on a primary signal caller. But there are problems with that too. Past snap-receiver in the formation Gerald Jones suffered a high ankle sprain and the team is unsure when he will be back to 100%. Putting Eric Berry on offense may sound like fun, but may not be a good idea considering how important he is to the defense. A carry here and there could be okay, but you don’t want to overwork possibly the best defensive player in the nation (yes Vol fans, I recognize talent regardless of what uniform it wears). And whispers of inserting newcomer Nu’Keese Richardson into the spot could have been shot down after the freshman struggled to grasp his role.

Not having a quarterback might not matter on September 5th against Western Kentucky (apologies Hilltoppers), but week two is when it starts to get interesting. A UCLA squad said to be improving comes to town before the Vols head to #1 Florida.

Morning Reading: Eric Berry versus Taylor Mays

I’m a big fan of safeties. Who isn’t? Being a Florida fan, it’s hard not to have visions of former Gator great Lawrence Wright leveling Joey Kent. Or Reggie Nelson scoring on an interception return against Alabama. Or, most recently, Major Wright knocking Manny Johnson into another zip code. Safeties are just fun to watch. It’s as simple as that.

Two of the best safeties in the history of college football (yes, I went there) are currently getting ready for their junior and senior seasons respectively. While a school like Florida may have a great all-around secondary, Tennessee and USC have the individual stars. Eric Berry and Taylor Mays have entire offenses making sure they know exactly where they are lined up.

Berry seems like the better coverage safety. He’s a definite ball hawk who is a threat to score anytime he gets an interception. Although the Vols are not expected to shock the world this season, Berry may be able to singlehandedly keep them in games for longer than most would think possible. You can probably write in between six and eight interceptions and six and eight game-changing hits right now.

If you’re going to give Berry that many big hits, you might as well give Mays triple that. Not that Berry isn’t a great hitter, but Mays isn’t asked to cover one-on-one as much and benefits in the hit department by playing more of center field. He won’t intercept nearly as many passes as Berry, but he’ll make receivers think twice before even attempting to catch the ball.

If you watch a single Vol or Trojan game this fall, watch it for these two. They won’t be around in 2010.

Urban Meyer Gets Raise; Let the Haters Continue Their Collective Loathing

Just another reason for fans of every other school to hate Urban Meyer: the head coach signed a new six-year deal which will pay him $4 million per season. It seems that everything Meyer does these days is viewed in a negative light by those not linked to Florida in some way. But I’ll file this under “you would love him if he coached/played for you.” Switching sports for a second, I hated J.J. Reddick. Didn’t everyone that wasn’t a Duke fan? But I would’ve cheered for him until I passed out if he were a Gator. Don’t kid yourselves non-Florida fans; you would be perfectly fine with Meyer roaming your sidelines. Just like I would be perfectly fine with Eric Berry as a part of the Gator secondary or having Charles Scott as Florida’s power back.

Florida Recruits Climb Up (and Fall Down) the Rankings

I’m a Rivals.com junkie. There’s no better way to put it. I think for the most part you’re either a Rivals fan or a Scout fan. And I’m a believer that it all spends on where you went first. There’s nothing wrong with Scout, I personally, just prefer Rivals. So it’s where I go to check out recruit rankings and of course, the Rivals100.

Rivals.com released a new set of rankings today and of course some future Florida stars moved up (and down) the list. No need to worry about the crown jewel of the class. Matt Elam did fall a couple of spots, but still remains in the top 10, keeping his title of highest ranked commit. A few others – Jonathan Dowling, Ian Silberman, and Jaylen Watkins – all remained in the Rivals100 and had minimal movement.

The biggest moves involved Gerald Christian, Victor Hampton, and Leon Orr. Christian and Hampton both fell out of the Rivals100 and there were reasons behind both moves. Christian has been labeled a tight end this time around (he was a defensive end). While he’s a good tight end, it can be assumed the rankings had previously focused on his defensive skills and he will be evaluated differently from this point forward.

Although Hampton’s drop was expected, it was for very different reasons. Hampton is moving from Independence (Charlotte, NC) to Darlington (Darlington, SC) for his senior year and there is some speculation as to the reason why. I won’t get into what at this point is only conjecture, but possible off-the-field issues could be the reason behind his fall in the rankings.

The big surprise came in the 300 pound package that is Orr. The defensive tackle has exploded up the rankings after his performance at a 7-on-7 tournament. Orr went from not even being considered one of the best 250 players in the nation to settling in comfortably in the Rivals100.

So there you have it. The Gators among the top 100 players in the nation. Remember though, for every Eric Berry (shameless plug to a previous TBG post), who was ranked third overall in 2007, there’s a Fred Rouse, sixth overall in 2005.