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SEC Headlines – 3/29/11 Part One

1.  Florida kicker Caleb Sturgis is close to being 100% after a back injury.

2.  Jon Gruden believes Charlie Weis will bring UF the best play-action passing game the best perimeter screen game in college football.

3.  Writer: Shaka Smart is not part of Billy Donovan’s coaching tree.

4.  Former Dennis Felton assistant Mike Jones has gone from Georgia to VCU… and the Final Four.

5.  Kentucky and UConn — who meet in the Final Four Saturday — both benefited from late-season losses.

6.  The Wildcats are now the favorite to win the whole NCAA tourney.

7.  Big Blue fans are snapping up the Final Four memorabilia.  (Nice photo, too.)

8.  South Carolina will hold its Pro Day for NFL scouts tomorrow.

9.  AD Mike Hamilton says of Cuonzo Martin: “We just knew he was the guy.”

10.  Ohmygodohymygodohmygod!  Pat Summitt learned of Martin’s hiring from ESPN.  Heads must roll!  (How did UT’s track coach find out?  The swimming coach?  And why must the women’s basketball coach be alerted?)

11.  The Vols want to win… and do it the right way.

12.  The people closest to Martin continue to talk him up.

13.  There will be no quick decision in Vanderbilt’s quarterback race.

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Florida punter Chas Henry named Ray Guy Award semifinalist

Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

Florida's Chas Henry has posted the nation's best punting average while taking on kicking duties much of this season. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

In addition to Chas Henry’s added kicking duties this year, the Florida punter has continued to be one of the best in the country at his position.

Henry was named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award on Friday, the third time he’s been in the running for the country’s top award for punting. His 48.18-yard average per punt ranks first nationally. Twelve of his 33 punts have landed inside the 20-yard line and only 10 have been returned.

Henry has also been the team’s kicker since the beginning of October as Caleb Sturgis has been out with a hairline fracture in his vertebrae. He kicked the game-winning field goal in a 34-31 overtime win over Georgia on Oct. 30.

A national voting body of Football Bowl Subdivision coaches, sports information directors, national media and former Ray Guy Award winners will select the three award finalists, who will be named on Nov. 22. Voters will then cast a second round of ballots to decide the winner.

The award will be presented on The Home Depot College Football Awards live on  Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

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Florida supports P/K Chas Henry when critics don’t

Content provided by Swamp Things – Gators Blog.

Florida's Chas Henry made a 37-yard field goal to give the Gators a 34-31 overtime win over Georgia on Saturday. (Photo by Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel)

Florida punter-turned-kicker Chas Henry is in an unenviable position. A stress fracture in his back has kept kicker Caleb Sturgis out for a month, thrusting Henry into a position he hasn’t played since high school. And while Henry is one of the best punters in the country, the rust has shown in his kicking game.

Henry started well enough, making two field goals to account for all of Florida’s points in a 31-6 loss at Alabama in his first game at the position. He made another a week later against LSU.

But three misses in a row, including on in the final seconds against Mississippi State that would have tied the score, drew criticism coming into Saturday’s game against Georgia. Lee Corso even called for Henry to be replaced on ESPN’s College GameDay.

To be sure, the Gators are not in an ideal situation. As coach Urban Meyer said after the Georgia game, “He’s not majored in that.”

Without an adequate backup for Sturgis, who himself is 2-for-4 on field goals this season, Henry became the guy.

A missed field goal in the first quarter certainly didn’t prove critics wrong.

But Meyer stuck with him, and he ended his streak of four misses with a 34 yarder in the fourth quarter.

Henry said his coaches’ confidence, as well as that of his teammates, never wavered. Even still, Henry’s make was impressive for a guy who hasn’t played that position in three years and is now 4-for-8 on field goals.

“It was Chas Henry making a damn field goal,” Meyer said. “Think about that for a minute.”

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