Florida Gators: Ben Malena

SEC lunchtime links

August, 8, 2013
"College Football Live" and its Summer Tour stops in Alabama today. Tom Rinaldi and Todd McShay will check in on Nick Saban, AJ McCarron and Co. Catch them throughout the day on "SportsCenter" and on CFB Live at 5 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

Here are some other things from around the SEC that you may find interesting.
  • Alabama's deep group of receivers may make this year's offense one of the best in school history, receiver Kenny Bell says.
  • Auburn fullback Jay Prosch draws strength from his faith and family as he tries to overcome his mother's death.
  • Georgia's offense didn't exactly light it up in the Bulldogs' first scrimmage.
  • LSU is trying to make sure its players act responsibly when using social media.
  • Kentucky forced just 13 turnovers last season and the Wildcats are making that a point of emphasis during the preseason.
  • Vanderbilt receiver Jonathan Krause is trying to rebound from a season in which he was the forgotten man on offense.
  • Florida having a successful season doesn't hinge on the quarterback, receivers or offensive line. It depends on how well the linebackers develop. The Gators did lose one of the country's top kick returners on Wednesday when the school announced that Andre Debose had suffered a torn ACL.
  • Texas A&M running back Ben Malena is a steadying force in the Aggies' backfield.
  • Five former college quarterbacks weigh in on how they believe Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel has handled his success.
  • Missouri still hasn't settled on a starting quarterback. James Franklin, is trying to hold off redshirt freshman Maty Mauk and sophomore Corbin Berkstresser.
  • Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze is frustrated with quarterback Bo Wallace's decision making.
  • TCU coach Gary Patterson took a shot at LSU coach Les Miles for reinstating running back Jeremy Hill after allowing teammates to vote to return to the team.

Tagging the Gators: S Josh Evans

December, 12, 2012
Josh EvansKevin Liles/US PresswireJosh Evans led the Gators in tackles and was one of the team's most improved players.
Editor’s note: Each day between now and Florida’s Allstate Sugar Bowl date with Louisville, GatorNation will review the season for a key Gators player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at S Josh Evans.

S Josh Evans
79 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 3 pass breakups

Role in 2012: Evans started every game in 2012 alongside Matt Elam and ended up leading the team in tackles. He was solid in run support and was better in coverage than he was last season.

The good: Evans was one of the Gators’ most improved players this season. He really blossomed in the second year of coordinator Dan Quinn’s defensive system, especially in terms of communication and understanding coverage responsibilities. Evans’ solid play allowed the Gators to move Elam around and take advantage of his play-making abilities. Had Evans not improved as much as he did, thanks partly to Will Muschamp working with the safeties, the Gators would have had to have been more conservative with Elam.

The bad: Evans’ tackling fundamentals need work. He’s one of those guys who ducks his head and goes low instead of keeping his head up and wrapping up. As a result, he sometimes misses tackles he should make. The best example is getting plowed over by Texas A&M RB Ben Malena. Evans also sometimes takes bad angles to the ball carrier and he doesn’t have the blazing speed needed to make up for that.

Crystal ball: Evans’ final game will come against a Louisville team that likes to throw the ball down the field with QB Teddy Bridgewater. The Cardinals average 298.6 yards per game passing so the UF secondary will be pretty busy. After the Allstate Sugar Bowl, however, is where Evans’ future gets murky. He isn’t going to be a high draft pick, but there is a good chance he will get drafted. That wasn’t something anyone would write after the 2011 season. But can he stick with an NFL team?

Gators cope with injuries after A&M

September, 10, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators are a wounded bunch heading into the Tennessee game -- but things aren’t as bad as they appeared Saturday night.

UF won’t have linebacker Jelani Jenkins (thumb) or cornerback/safety Cody Riggs (foot) for four weeks, and coach Will Muschamp said end/linebacker Ronald Powell suffered a setback during his rehab from a torn ACL and likely will miss the rest of the season.

But, good news for the No. 18-ranked Gators: Muschamp said running back Mike Gillislee (groin) and safety Josh Evans (shoulder) will practice on Monday and will be able to play against the No. 23 Volunteers. Plus, UF is getting safety De’Ante Saunders (hamstring) back after he missed the first two games.

And even better news: UF has more depth this season than in 2011 and is much better equipped to handle a rash of injuries like this.

“Our depth is still not where it needs to be, but certainly much better than it was a year ago,” Muschamp said. “We’re not having to switch guys from position to position in order to finish a game or prepare guys for a game.”

(Read full post)


McElwain discusses new Florida football
SEC Network's Greg McElory and Booger McFarland sit down to discuss the future of Florida football with head coach Jim McElwain.