Florida Gators: Frankie Hammond

Signing day primer: Florida 

January, 23, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- There are just a couple of short weeks remaining until national signing day, and the Florida Gators have met a majority of their recruiting needs. With graduation, transfers and players leaving for the NFL draft, there are a few areas Florida head coach Will Muschamp would still like to shore up.

Key holes to fill

The Gators lost key personnel along the offensive line, wide receiver, linebacker, running back and secondary and are hoping to replenish their talent with junior college transfers and incoming freshmen.
Frankie Hammond Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
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 WR Frankie Hammond.

WR Frankie Hammond
Redshirt senior
20 catches, 273 yards, 3 TDs

Role in 2012: UF coach Will Muschamp said Hammond was the Gators’ most consistent receiver in the spring and fall practice. He was supposed to be the No. 1 target but instead ended up the second option behind Quinton Dunbar.

The good: Hammond delivered two big plays that proved to be critical to a pair of victories. He caught a short pass, broke a tackle, and went 50 yards for a touchdown and 10-point lead against Bowling Green. He also had a 75-yard catch and run for a TD against Tennessee. Hammond may not have been very productive on the field but he was a good example for freshmen Latroy Pittman and Raphael Andrades in terms of work ethic, practice habits, and mental preparation.

The bad: Hammond had trouble with dropped passes. He also was caught in the size-speed trap: He wasn’t quite fast enough to be a downfield threat, but he’s not quite big enough (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) to be an over-the-middle target, either. Like most of UF’s receivers, he struggled to get separation at times, too. Hammond’s career totals (61 catches, 787 yards, 6 TDs) are less than what some of UF’s former receivers compiled in a season.

Crystal ball: Hammond has one last chance to leave his mark on the program, but it comes against a Louisville defense that is giving up 194 yards per game passing. He won’t get drafted but could end up in an NFL training camp. Hammond has a better future in track and field, where he competes in the high jump. He placed second in the SEC indoor championships and ninth in the NCAA indoor championships this past February and March.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Joker Phillips is expected to start his new job as Florida’s receivers coach/recruiting coordinator later this week.

He’ll find out pretty quickly that he’s got plenty of work ahead of him in trying to fix a position that has been a disappointment over the past three seasons.

[+] EnlargeJoker Phillips
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesJoker Phillips, ousted from Kentucky, is now up for the challenge of replenishing Florida's WR corps.
UF’s receivers -- not including tight ends -- have largely been M.I.A. since Riley Cooper and David Nelson graduated after the 2009 season. Gators receivers combined to catch 116 passes that season, led by Cooper’s 51 receptions for 961 yards and nine touchdowns, but production has steadily declined since then.

Gators receivers combined to catch 118 passes in 2010, but Deonte Thompson led the group with only 38 catches for 570 yards and one touchdown. They combined for 69 catches last season and Thompson again led the group -- but this time had just 21 catches for 264 yards and one touchdown. UF’s receiver have combined for 58 catches this season, led by Quinton Dunbar’s 31 catches for 306 yards and four TDs.

The biggest element missing from the position, aside from the ability to consistently separate and get open, is the lack of a downfield threat. Frankie Hammond had TD catches of 55 and 75 yards, but those came after he caught a short pass and broke a tackle. No other receiver has a reception of longer than 23 yards.

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Film study: Gators vs. Florida State 

November, 26, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Here’s an analysis of three key plays in Florida’s 37-26 victory over Florida State on Saturday.

Manuel to O’Leary

FSU cuts into UF's lead

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Jeff Driskel, Garrison SmithAP Photo/John RaouxJeff Driskel will start for Florida on Saturday at Florida State, but his ankle is a question mark.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 4 Florida plays at No. 10 Florida State on Saturday, with a BCS bowl (and possibly a shot at the national championship) on the line. If the Gators beat the Seminoles they’re likely headed to the Sugar Bowl. If they beat the Seminoles and No. 1 Notre Dame loses to Southern California, the Gators could end up in the national title game.

Here's five storylines for the game:

1. How effective will Jeff Driskel be? Driskel will start against Florida State and UF coach Will Muschamp said the sophomore looked fine during practices, but that could be a little gamesmanship. Driskel’s sprained right ankle might not be 100 percent and that would have a huge impact on how effective he can be against the Seminoles. His mobility is a key part of the offense, and not just because of the designed quarterback runs or the read option. The pass protection has been inconsistent and Driskel has been able to keep plays alive by scrambling, either to run or to pass. If he’s got limited mobility, that pretty much paints a target on his back for FSU’s pass rushers -- and makes it almost impossible for the Gators to win the game.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 6 Florida plays host to FCS opponent Jacksonville State on Saturday. It’s the final home game of the season and the last chance for a tuneup before playing Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., on Nov. 24.

Here's five storylines for the game:

1. It’s the Jacoby Brissett show: Starting QB Jeff Driskel is out with a sprained right ankle, so Brissett will make his second start of the season (he also started the opener). He’s not the runner that Driskel is, so expect the offense to change a bit. More wildcat with Trey Burton, for instance, to run the read-option plays that Driskel has had so much success with. Brissett has thrown just 13 passes this season, but he started two games in 2011 in place of the injured John Brantley. He has likes to throw the ball deep more than Driskel, so expect a few of those early.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 6 Florida plays host to Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday. It’s the first of three non-conference games for the Gators, who finish the regular season against rival Florida State in Tallahassee. Florida has won the four previous meetings with the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Here are five storylines for the game:

1. Gators won’t be grounded: Florida has got to find ways to make some plays down the field in the pass game before the Nov. 24 FSU game. The Gators are going to work on that against the Ragin’ Cajuns. That means better pass protection from the offensive line and the backs and tight ends who have to pick up rushers, as well as better work from the receivers. It might be time to get Raphael Andrades and Latroy Pittman more involved as pass catchers, because Quinton Dunbar and Frankie Hammond have not been consistent enough, although they have come through with several big plays.

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Nine games into Florida’s season and it’s pretty clear there’s a great wide receivers famine in Gainesville. And the Gators have two weeks to feed their passing game.

Florida might sport an impressive 8-1 record (7-1 SEC), but what it doesn’t sport is much of a threat to pass. There’s an abundance of speed and athleticism at receiver, but no complete packages.

When the Gators take on No. 10 Florida State on Nov. 24 in Tallahassee, something has to be different or they won’t stand much of a chance -- not with FSU owning the nation’s No. 1 defense and the fourth-best pass defense.

That leaves two weeks of cupcake ball against Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State for the Gators to fine-tune that passing game and find some weapons not named Jordan Reed.

[+] EnlargeFrankie Hammond
Kim Klement/US PresswireFrankie Hammond got off to an explosive start, but he and his fellow Florida WRs have been mostly quiet in 2012.
Outside of the junior tight end and his 33 catches, the Gators really don’t have any true receiving threats. Reed, who has been quarterback Jeff Driskel’s saving grace this season, leads Florida with 371 receiving yards and has three touchdowns. He’s the only receiving target with more than 20 receptions and more than 230 yards. He's Florida's only player with more than three catches in multiple games this season.

You can’t have your tight end be your best receiver and expect the offense to be balanced or threatening against good defenses, but that’s what the Gators are stuck with.

Since the Tennessee game on Sept. 15, Driskel has averaged just 122 passing yards with six touchdowns (four in the South Carolina game). He’s taken a good amount of criticism for his decision making, and some of it has certainly been appropriate, but if fans are going to groan about him holding onto the ball for too long, they should also groan about the lack of separation taking place down the field.

“We’re going to have to be more explosive,” Driskel said.

Yes, and more reliable.

“It is what it is,” coach Will Muschamp said about his passing game.

“It’s easy to go pick at that and that’s what everybody’s decided to do at this point.”

Very easy.

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3 Up, 3 Down: Florida 14, Missouri 7 

November, 4, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida finished its SEC schedule with a 7-1 record, a significant improvement over last season’s 3-5 mark, by beating Missouri on Saturday at Florida Field. The Gators weren’t pretty on offense but made two big plays to score both touchdowns.

Here are the good and bad from the 14-7 victory:


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Film study: What loss shows about UF 

October, 29, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Here’s an analysis of three key plays in Florida’s 17-9 loss to Georgia on Saturday.

Costly interception

Rob Foldy/US Presswire

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Here’s an analysis of three key plays in Florida’s 44-11 victory over South Carolina on Saturday.

Driskel to Reed for a TD

[+] EnlargeJeff Driskel
AP Photo/John RaouxFlorida tight end Jordan Reed (11) celebrates after scoring a touchdown on a 1-yard pass against South Carolina.
The score: Scoreless less than a minute into the game.

The situation: Third-and-goal from the South Carolina 3-yard line.

Why it worked: TE Clay Burton gets a pick on LB Reginald Bowens to clear a spot for Reed.

The breakdown: The Gators are in 12 personnel -- meaning one running back (Trey Burton) and two tight ends (Burton and Jordan Reed). QB Jeff Driskel is in the shotgun, with Trey Burton to his left. WR Quinton Dunbar is lined up wide right and WR Frankie Hammond is lined up wide left but off the line scrimmage.

Reed is lined up in the slot on the left side. Clay Burton is lined up to Reed’s left, but on the line of scrimmage. Hammond goes in motion to the right and settles just to the left of Clay Burton.

At the snap, Trey Burton heads into the left flat, where he’s covered by FS D.J. Swearinger, while Dunbar heads into the end zone. Clay Burton crosses in front of Reed and heads into the middle of the field. Hammond heads straight into the end zone. Reed settles right behind Hammond at the goal line.

Burton runs into Bowens in the middle of the field at the goal line while Reed stops 2 yards into the end zone and faces Driskel. Hammond continues behind Reed to the back of the end zone.

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The game couldn’t have started any worse for South Carolina. On the first play from scrimmage, Florida sacked Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw, forcing a fumble. The Gators recovered and scored three plays later to take an early 7-0 lead. The play set the tone for the rest of the game, which ended as a 44-11 Florida victory.

In all, the Gamecocks turned the ball over four times, and Florida turned the miscues into 17 points. On the other hand, UF’s offense wasn’t overwhelming, but it was efficient. Quarterback Jeff Driskel finished 11-of-16 for 93 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Still, the key to the victory was the Gators’ defense. In addition to forcing four turnovers, Florida held South Carolina to just 36 yards on the ground, and both Shaw and backup quarterback Dylan Thompson threw for under 100 yards and each had less than 50 percent completion percentage.

It was over when: With the way Florida played in the second half, the game was essentially over at halftime, but the final nail in the coffin came when Driskel hit Frankie Hammond on a 6-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter to put the Gators up 37-8. It was Driskel’s fourth touchdown toss of the game.

Game ball goes to: Florida dominated in all facets of the game, but the game ball has to go to the Gators’ special teams. They recovered a fumble on a South Carolina kick return in the second quarter that resulted in a touchdown. They blocked a field goal. UF’s Caleb Sturgis drilled a 42-yarder on his only attempt, and Kyle Christy averaged 54.3 yards on seven punts.

Stat of the game: At the conclusion of the game, South Carolina had more total yards than Florida, yet lost 44-11. The Gators finished with just 183 total yards in the game, but turnovers and special teams made it easy for the Florida offense.

Unsung hero: Florida is a team built around its defense, but UF offensive coordinator Brent Pease deserves credit for his work on Saturday. The Gators finished with less than 200 total yards, but they scored touchdowns when they got in the red zone, and they put together an impressive drive to start the second half, scripted by Pease himself.

What it means for Florida: Ranked No. 2 in the debut of the BCS rankings, Florida continues to prove it’s an elite team, and depending on what happens in the Alabama-Tennessee game, it has a chance to pass the Crimson Tide for the top spot next week with Saturday’s victory. The question now is can the Gators stay up for the Georgia game next week? A win there means they are headed back to Atlanta for the SEC championship.

What it means for South Carolina: When the Gamecocks blew out Georgia two weeks ago in Columbia, S.C., everybody thought they were on track to win the SEC East and compete for a BCS title appearance. After a close loss at LSU last weekend, the wheels fell off on Saturday. South Carolina has to bounce back with games against Tennessee and Arkansas coming up, but fortunately, it gets both the Volunteers and the Razorbacks at home.
No. 7 South Carolina (6-1, 4-1 SEC) at No. 2 Florida (6-0, 5-0 SEC)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Florida Field, Gainesville, Fla.

Three storylines

1. Division race: This game won’t officially decide the Eastern Division championship, but it will give the winner the inside track. If the Gators win, all they would have to do is beat Georgia on Oct. 27 to win the title. If South Carolina wins, the Gamecocks would have the tiebreaker over Florida and Georgia. They still have games against Arkansas and Tennessee remaining, and the Gators would need to win out and have South Carolina and Georgia lose another game to win the title.

2. M.A.S.H units: Both teams have been ravaged by injuries and the flu. South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore has a bruised hip and coach Steve Spurrier said he may not start. Plus, DT Kelcy Quarles is doubtful because of a shoulder injury and DE Jadeveon Clowney is bothered by a foot injury. Several other Gamecocks are banged up, too. There’s also been a flu bug that has run through the team this week, and it caused WRs Ace Sanders and Bruce Ellington to miss practice. Florida has five starters recovering from injuries: G James Wilson (eye), C Jonotthan Harrison (arm), LT Xavier Nixon (upper body), DE Dominique Easley (knee) and LB Jelani Jenkins (hamstring). UF coach Will Muschamp said all should play against the Gamecocks, but he has been vague about injuries before. If UF’s players do return, that will give the Gators the advantage.

[+] EnlargeConnor Shaw
Daniel Shirey/US PresswireSouth Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw might not have the track speed of Florida counterpart Jeff Driskel, but he's got a better track record as a passer.
3. Make plays in the passing game: Going on the assumption that Sanders and Ellington have recovered from the flu, this is an area which clearly favors South Carolina. Sanders and Ellington both have 17 catches, but Ellington is the big-play receiver. Sanders averages 9.4 yards per catch while Ellington averages 15.6. Connor Shaw is a dual-threat quarterback -- as is UF’s Jeff Driskel -- but Shaw is a more accomplished passer and is completing 69.4 percent of his passes for 910 yards and 10 TDs with four interceptions. UF is last in the SEC in passing (145.0 yards per game). UF’s biggest weapon in the passing game is TE Jordan Reed (21 catches, 237 yards, one TD), but the WRs have struggled to get separation and to consistently make plays. Frankie Hammond (11 catches) has two catch-and-run TDs of 50 yards or longer, but he’s also got four drops. UF’s wide receivers have a combined 30 catches.

Gators to watch

RB Mike Gillislee: He didn’t put up great numbers against Vanderbilt (67 yards on 17 carries) but he did shred LSU’s defense for 146 yards. He’ll need to have similar success against the Gamecocks.

LB Jon Bostic: Bostic has benefitted from the new strength program as much as anyone. He’s more physical than he was last season and he’s able to shed blocks easier. His play will be key to the Gators’ effort to limit Lattimore.

RB Omarius Hines: It seems like every time Hines touches the ball, good things happen (except, of course, for his fumble against Bowling Green). The Gators are in need of playmakers in the passing game, and Hines should get a few chances on Saturday.

Gamecocks to watch

DE Devin Taylor: Clowney gets all the publicity, but Taylor is a dangerous pass rusher as well. Though he only has 1.5 sacks this season, he has 17.0 in his career. If the Gators pay too much attention to Clowney, Taylor could hurt them.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 2 Florida plays host to No. 7 South Carolina on Saturday with first place in the SEC's Eastern Division on the line. While this game won’t clinch the title, a victory for the Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1) would give them the tiebreaker over the Gators (6-0, 5-0) and Georgia (5-1, 3-1).

Here's five storylines for the game:

[+] EnlargeSouth Carolina's Marcus Lattimore
AP Photo/John AmisSouth Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore has 584 yards and 10 touchdowns in seven games this season.
1. Running game is key: Both teams are built on the running game and both have very good workhorse backs. South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore likely would already have more than 3,000 career yards had he not missed five games in 2011 with an ACL injury. But the 6-foot-2, 218-pound junior seems to have recovered well and has run for 584 yards and 10 TDs this season. He’s a physical runner who moves the pile and doesn’t get stopped behind the line of scrimmage. UF’s Mike Gillislee was a role player his first three seasons but has been fantastic as the Gators’ top tailback this season (615 yards, 7 TDs). The 5-11, 209-pound senior is also a physical, between-the-tackles runner, but he’s also got breakaway speed and a surprising amount of wiggle. Both of them will be fed the ball a lot on Saturday and limiting their impact on the game will be top task for each defense.

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Gators' penalty breakdown vs. Vandy 

October, 14, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Florida hit double digits in penalties for the second time this season, committing 10 penalties for 80 yards in its 31-17 victory at Vanderbilt on Saturday night.

Below is the breakdown. For the season breakdown, check out our message board.

Vanderbilt (10 penalties for 80 yards)

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Booger McFarland talks Florida football
Paul Finebaum and Booger McFarland look at Florida's upcoming football season.