Florida Gators: Brad Wing

DBs from SEC blanket combine

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
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Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites took a look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins today in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Click here to read the entire predraft series. Today: Defensive backs and special teams.

Florida Gators


The Gators might have another first-round pick in today’s group and two other players who might not get drafted. S Matt Elam has been projected to go late in the first round -- most often to New England with the 29th pick -- after a junior season in which he was named an All-American. S Josh Evans and K Caleb Sturgis might very well not get drafted in April. Sturgis is one of the nation’s top kickers, but some teams are reluctant to draft kickers even in the later rounds if they have other needs. Then again, there are the Jacksonville Jaguars, who drafted a punter in the third round.

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Well, Nick Saban and his gang of future NFL ballers proved to us once again that it is indeed Alabama's world, after claiming their second consecutive national title and third in four years Monday night. That ringing in your ears is just the sound of "Roll Tide" being repeated over and over in your head. I've learned there's nothing we can do about it.

But will 2013 bring college football a team that can really stop the Tide? I mean, REALLY stop Alabama from winning a third straight national championship? Well, ESPN's Mark Schlabach seems to believe that the road to Pasadena is paved in crimson and white, as he has Alabama No. 1 in his Way-Too-Early-Top 25 for 2013.

It's hard to blame him at this point. Sure, Alabama's offensive line won't be nearly as good with Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack leaving. And it will take even more of a hit if/when D.J. Fluker decides to turn pro. But with quarterback AJ McCarron, running back T.J. Yeldon (we're assuming Eddie Lacy and his sweet spin move are headed to the NFL), wide receiver Amari Cooper and a host of studs on the defense returning, Alabama will again be the team to beat.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
John David Mercer-USA Today SportsJohnny Manziel and Texas A&M, ranked fifth by Mark Schlabach, host way-too-early No. 1 Alabama on Sept. 14 in the SEC opener for both teams.
Oh, and a not-so-tretcherous schedule won't hurt the Tide's chances either.

But there are some quality teams in the SEC that will fight to dethrone Alabama, and Schlabach has four in his top 10. Texas A&M, which returns the Heisman-winning Johnny Football, ranks fifth, Georgia is sixth, South Carolina is seventh and Florida is 10th. The thing about all those teams is that they all return their starting quarterbacks, with Georgia's Aaron Murray being one of the best in the country alongside Johnny Manziel.

South Carolina will be one of the more balanced teams in the SEC next fall, and if Florida can actually find a passing game in 2013, watch out because that defense will still be fierce, even with a few junior defections.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- To get the most in-depth information on No. 4 LSU, which plays at No. 10 Florida on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., GatorNation turned to GeauxTigerNation's Gary Laney. We asked him five questions about the Tigers:

Q: Wasn't Zach Mettenberger supposed to be a significant upgrade from Jarrett Lee/Jordan Jefferson? Why has he not been better?

[+] EnlargeZach Mettenberger
AP Photo/Bill HaberLSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger is 78-of-119 passing (65.5 percent) for 1,016 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. He's also taken 11 sacks in five starts.
Laney: There's plenty of blame to go around and Mettenberger gets his share.

He's lost three fumbles in LSU's last two games and has five turnovers, all either killing drives or setting up the opponent for points. He's taken more sacks than he should by holding the ball too long or scrambling when he shouldn't.

He hasn't gotten help from an injury-riddled offensive line (11 sacks, the same number LSU's vaunted pass rush has produced) and the receivers have been prone to drops, bad patterns or blown assignments. It's added up to mediocre numbers, at best.

Q: Why has the offensive line struggled so much in pass protection?

Laney: The loss of Chris Faulk at left tackle has been huge. I'm not convinced that switching starting right tackle Alex Hurst to left tackle is the right answer for a position that requires the lateral movement Hurst does not seem to possess. LSU is hesitant to try sophomore left guard La'el Collins, formerly rated as one of the nation's top two prep tackles coming out high school, there because he has his hands full already trying to learn left guard. And Josh Dworaczyk, the former starter at left guard before he missed 2011 with a knee injury, might simply not be the dominant guy you need to block the other team's best pass rusher.

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Sunday Night QB: Scouting during the bye 

September, 30, 2012
9/30/12
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida not playing on Saturday presented the chance to get a look at some of the Gators’ upcoming opponents.

Here’s a breakdown of what Florida fans should like about what they saw and what should be a concern when they play.

LSU

ESPN.com All-America team is SEC-laden

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
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Our ESPN.com preseason All-America team is out today, and 10 of the 25 players on the team play in the SEC.

Alabama and LSU each had three players selected.

Center Barrett Jones, offensive guard Chance Warmack and noseguard Jesse Williams are the Crimson Tide players on the team.

The LSU players who made it are defensive end Sam Montgomery, safety Eric Reid and punter Brad Wing.

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks and LSU punter Brad Wing round out the SEC representatives.
The SEC has six players on the 2012 preseason watch list for the Lou Groza Award, which is presented annually to the nation's most outstanding kicker.

Here are the six SEC players who made the Groza watch list:
For the full Lou Groza watch list, go here.

Gators game preview: LSU

June, 22, 2012
6/22/12
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ESPN’s GatorNation brings you the 30 things you need to know about Florida’s upcoming 2012 season. For 30 weekdays we’ll preview games, talk about trends, spotlight players and positions, and give you pretty much everything you need to know to be ready for the season before the Sept. 1 opener against Bowling Green.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- GatorNation is previewing each of Florida’s 2012 opponents. Today is LSU (Oct. 6 in Gainesville).

[+] EnlargeLSU's Brad Wing
AP Photo/Steve FranzLSU punter Brad Wing was just one source of embarrassment for the Gators last season.
LSU

2011 record: 13-1 (8-0 SEC), lost to Alabama 21-0 in AllState BCS National Championship Game.

Coach: Les Miles, eighth season (75-18); 12th season overall (103-39).

Series record: Florida leads 30-25-3.

Top returners: RB Spencer Ware (707 yards, 8 TDs); WR Odell Beckham (41 catches, 475 yards, 2 TDs); DE Sam Montgomery (49 tackles, 9 sacks); CB Tyrann Mathieu (76 tackles, 2 INTs).

Did you know? The Tigers have three players -- Montgomery, DT Bennie Logan and DE Barkevious Mingo -- who are projected to be among the top 15 picks in the 2013 NFL draft should all three decide to come out early.

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The kicking game was the difference when LSU defeated Alabama 9-6 in overtime back on Nov. 5.

Even though we're all guilty at times of taking special teams for granted, they often times are the difference in big games.

So as we enter Saturday's SEC championship game and the bowl games after, we want your input on who's the best special teams player in the league.

Vote in our SportsNation poll, and we'll take a look at the results in the next few days.

We could have easily thrown 10 possible choices out there, but we're limited to five.

Florida's Caleb Sturgis is a finalist for the Lou Groza Award as the top place kicker in the country.

Auburn's Steven Clark is a finalist for the Ray Guy Award as the top punter in the country, while LSU punter Brad Wing has also been exceptional this season at pinning teams deep. His best game came in the win over Alabama.

Alabama's Marquis Maze leads the SEC in kickoff return average, and he's third in punt return average. His 83-yard punt return for a touchdown broke open the Arkansas game.

Arkansas' Joe Adams has returned three punts for touchdowns this season and leads the SEC with a 16.2-yard average.

Now, it's your job to select which of these five players has stood above all the rest this season in what's commonly referred to as the third phase of the game.

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