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Former Gator now Eagles TE Trey Burton gives more insight on “Philly Special”

Florida Football Insiders



Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s likely going to be the one play that everyone remembers 10 years from now, and maybe forever, from Super Bowl LII. The Eagles use of the reverse-pass to QB Nick Foles known as “Philly Special,” scored them a touchdown on a fourth and goal at the end of the first half.

And, of course since it involves ex-Florida Gators receiver/tight end, Trey Burton, as the hero, we obviously pay attention even more. We wrote about Burton’s involvement in gadget play and how, the Eagles were waiting for just the right situation to spring it on the Patriots Sunday night.

Well, after participating in the Eagles raucous parade Thursday in Philly (above), that was attended by at least 700,000 people to celebrate the first football championship in 58 years, Burton appeared on the Fox Sports 1 cable show “First Things First” Friday morning to talk about the throw that has made him famous.

Burton did reveal something interesting in the clip, which is: the play is a “run first” option, but if Foles is wide open (which he was Sunday night) Burton can throw it, and he did.

Further, as host Chris Carter pointed out, Burton chose to leave his right glove on (playing with them even indoors) as to not give away the surprise element of “Philly Special” that he could be throwing the ball.

And the Pats are just the kind of franchise that would have picked up on something like that.

No, as Carter also chided Burton, a former Venice H.S. QB, his toss wasn’t a great spiral, yet it was effective. Consider, that WR Danny Amendola on a very similar trick play in the first half, put too much juice on his throw to Tom Brady and it fell incomplete.

Burton obviously did his job well-make sure Foles could catch it.

It has also been widely reported that the “Philly Special” play had been practiced and was in the game plan for the correct situation and defensive look from the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game.

However, the Eagles had gotten the play from watching the Bears use it against those same Vikings the year before. And, with the Eagles racing out to a large lead in the first half against Minnesota, they never chose to use it-saving it for two weeks later in Super Bowl LII.

It’s also interesting that NFL Films microphones on the sideline picked up Foles telling coach Doug Pederson during a timeout that they should run “Philly Special” before the critical fourth down play call. Pederson obviously agreed, and Burton and Foles made him look like a genius.

Just like Kirk Gibson’s walk off World Series homer for the Dodgers, or Michael Jordan’s jumper to beat the Utah Jazz for a sixth NBA title, or even Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa’s bomb TD in overtime to win the College Football Playoff  a month ago, there are certain plays in championship settings that will stick with you.

Burton’s “Philly Special” throw is in that category.


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Florida Gators

SEC media picks Gators third in East-two players make preseason first team

Florida Football Insiders



Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

With the SEC 2018 media days concluding on Thursday, the tradition of the media making their selections for the top teams and players came on Friday morning. And the Gators got recognition, just not at the top of the lists.

Not surprisingly, the scribes and broadcasters believe that it will be Alabama winning another SEC Championship, as they made the Tide the preseason pick. The Tide actually didn’t win the West much less the SEC last year, but did defeat Georgia in the College Football Playoff title game in January.

The media picked Georgia to repeat in the SEC East and head back to Atlanta for the second year in a row to defend their sec championship.

Meanwhile, the Gators were tabbed third in the East and actually, did receive four first place votes out of nearly 300 who cast a ballot.

Next, the media members put two Gators on the first team All-SEC preseason lists. Offensive lineman Martez Ivey and defensive lineman CeCe Jefferson, both seniors, were named to the top squads.

The only Gators skill player on offense to be selected was running back Jordan Scarlett, who was named for the preseason third All-SEC team. Scarlett, shown above in the 2017 Outback Bowl, comes off of a season of controversy, where he was part of a credit card fraud investigation and suspension. However, he is considered Florida’s best running back in during the fall.

This is a far cry different from the years of the Gators having players like Danny Wuerffel, Erict Rhett, Tim Tebow, and Percy Harvin, etc. year after year all over the preseason lists.

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Gators coach Dan Mullen talked tradition and positive outlook at SEC media days

Florida Football Insiders



Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday in Atlanta, it was time for Gators boss Dan Mullen to take his turn at the podium (and several other outlets) and be subjected to the SEC’s annual media circus/media days.

The first year Florida coach is no stranger to the media days, as he had done it for the last nine seasons as Mississippi State’s head man.

However, the anticipation and expectation to restore Florida to an SEC power is building and Mullen embraced it, once again:

In particular, when he was asked about the winning culture at Florida, where he was part of on Urban Meyer’s two national championship staffs last decade, Mullen beamed again Tuesday about the job:

“Having been at the University of Florida before…and won multiple championships there, I know what a special place it can be. I think that was big help for me walking into a situation where I had familiarity with a lot of things,” Mullen told the media mass in his main press conference. “I think all the things: the tradition, the University, that Gator standard, all made it a very easy decision for me.”

Mullen was asked about incumbent Feleipe Franks and the quarterback competition, the rivalry with Georgia and so on, in that session, but we were particularly interested when the question turned to transfer receiver Van Jefferson from Ole Miss and his possible eligibility and impact.

First, Mullen answered about the status of the waiver to get Jefferson eligible immediately this season,

“I don’t want to say ‘frustrating,’ cause having done this (wait on NCAA decisions on player eligibility) within the NCAA and as this goes, you just understand that it is a process. As the process plays out, you get a ‘feel.’… Hopefully, we’ll be able to announce something in the near future one way or the other about what’s going on with the transfers.”

We wrote previously that the Jefferson has a chance to be immediately eligible this season, where he would not have in years past, because the SEC changed their rule in May on players leaving one program in the conference for another due to NCAA sanctions, etc., possibly being able to be cleared to play.

Jefferson wasn’t spectacular last year in Oxford, with just 42 catches for 456 yards and one score. However, he’s expected to immediately help infuse the Gators receiving corp with some life, if he can get on the field.

As for what Jefferson would bring, Mullen got somewhat specific Tuesday:

“I think he would have the opportunity to fill a need as a playmaker with experience in this league. And, I think that’s a huge benefit….when you get in big games, that’s been in and played in big games, that’s made big catches in big games, he has experience. And that’s a huge plus.”

So, it was a chance for Mullen to “sell” the Florida program, and oh, flash his new “Jordan Brand” Nike Shoe game, too:

Mullen, was selling the Gators, indeed.

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Gators to put former Heisman winner Tim Tebow in their “Ring of Honor”

Florida Football Insiders



Brett Davis- USA Today Sports

The legend of Tim Tebow in Gainesville, and around the SEC, is well known. And the University of Florida added to it on Wednesday, when they announced Tebow will join their “Ring of Honor” this fall.

The former 2008 Heisman winner, who quarterbacked the Gators to the National Title that year as well, will be honored at halftime of the October 6th home game with LSU.

From the school’s official release:

His name will be unveiled and displayed in the North Endzone of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
The display, which will be approximately 18-feet wide and five feet high, will now feature Tebow, along with Wilber Marshall, Emmitt Smith, Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Jack Youngblood. Marshall was the most recent inductee (Sept. 29, 2007), while the other four members were part of the original unveiling back on Sept. 30, 2006 as part of the 100-year Celebration of Gator Football.

The school also got reaction from Tebow to the announcement:

“I am so humbled and thankful to be able to receive this blessing, being inducted into the Ring of Honor,” Tebow said. “I know in my heart that I truly couldn’t have done it without amazing coaches and teammates who loved and sacrificed for each other so that we could accomplish our goals.

“Loving Florida wasn’t just something I did for four years, but it has been a lifelong passion. I want to thank the University of Florida and all the fans for making Gator Nation so special. I was born a Gator, I played as a Gator, and I’ll always be a Gator!

“God Bless and Go Gators!”

Tebow, who along with Spurrier and Werffel are the only three Gators to win the Heisman Trophy, left Gainesville holding 14 SEC and 28 Florida all time records. This included becoming the NCAA’s first ever quarterback to run and throw for 20 or more TDs in the same season.

We have written recently that Tebow’s latest passion is baseball, where he is currently playing and having some hitting success for the New York Mets Double-A franchise in Binghamton, NY. The now 30 year old Tebow was recently named to the Eastern League All-Star game, and there is belief that the Mets will call him up to the majors in September, when rosters expand.

The University will also honor Tebow and the 2008 National Championship team on it’s tenth anniversary this upcoming season, as well.

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