GAINESVILLE FL - SEPTEMBER 04: Jonathan Bostic #52 of the Florida Gators attempts an interception against the Miami University RedHawks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 4 2010 in Gainesville Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
One of the best blogs on the network belongs to mlmintampa, who runs our SBNation sister site Alligator Army. He was nice enough to spend some time answering some questions on Mike Pouncey's snapping, John Brantley's first start, and where to get a bite to eat around Gainesville.
1. One major concern that you had from the Miami game was Mike Pouncey's inability to snap the ball to John Brantley. Has Coach Meyer said anything about making a change for Saturday's game?
Meyer said Pouncey was not locking his wrist and his hands were slick. Then Pouncey said he changed where he was gripping the ball, moving his hand more to the top (the point facing the defense).
Frankly, all of that sounds like no one knows why Pouncey struggled against Miami-Ohio. If Pouncey struggles, expect to see Sam Robey, who is coming off a knee injury but nearly made the lineup last season.
S Will Hill and OL Carl Johnson will be back. WR Frankie Hammond is also back after a DUI suspension. OL Xavier Nixon is also expected to be back after a knee issue. Johnson and Nixon are the most important to add depth to an offensive line that looked awful against the Redhawks.
3. What did you think of Brantley's first game as a starter?
Considering he spent half the time chasing snaps, I thought he did ok. He was more likely to throw short than long, and he forced a few balls, but it was his first game. Florida fans are spoiled and had unrealistic expectations, even considering the lowly opponent.
4. Who are a couple of new players that we should keep an eye on?
S Matt Elam and TE Omarius Hines were the most impressive to me last Saturday. Elam was highly recruited and got a lot of time as a nickel back due to Hill’s suspension. He was occasionally a step behind, but was physical and aggressive. Hines needs to work on his blocking, but has massive hands and Eric Heiden’s legs. He had three catches, one for a TD, and tipped Chris Rainey’s TD into his hands after it looked like Brantley threw it out of the end zone.
I worry about Saturday because I was at USF’s win over FSU and I remember their win at Auburn. As a Tampa resident, I know a lot of the kids at USF are only there because UF, FSU or a Southern powerhouse didn’t have room for them. For some reason, USF gets better talent than the other Florida schools not in Gainesville, Coral Gables or Tallahassee. The Gators realize that, but I don’t think the fans do as much.
I think UF will win, but it will be a game for three quarters. I don’t see UF covering the 15.5 point spread.
The problem with Gainesville is the same problem every Florida town has; too many chain restaurants. The "Gainesville" place to eat is Swamp on University Avenue, across from campus. For drunk pizza, it’s Italian Gator on University. For good pizza, I like Leonardo’s on University, just east of 13th Street. Their companion restaurants, Leo’s 706 and Bistro 1245 are very good for a sit down meal. If you got the money and reservations, Mark’s U.S. Prime is a very good steakhouse in downtown and is a favorite of the ESPN crews. Also downtown is Paramount Grill (American), Dragonfly (Japanese) and Emiliano’s (Latin), which are highly respected.
For drinking establishments, Grog House and Gator City are the most popular on University/Midtown. Below Grog is Balls, Salty Dog and Cantina, which are somehow favorites of the Greek system. Downtown is Stubbies, Durty Nelly’s, Lillian’s (more of an older crowd), Common Grounds (they have a Friday show) if you just want to drink. The Bank, Rue Bar and Eight Seconds (country) are if you want to wear nice shoes and/or dance. Also, all bars in Gainesville are 21-and-up after 9pm.
By the way, you’ll hear people call the University area across from campus "Midtown." No one called it that until Joakim Noah did it after the 2006 basketball championship. But now, it’s Midtown.
Thanks again to mlm for answering these questions, and be sure to check out Alligator Army for news on our opponent this weekend.