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  • Vernon Hargreaves, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida

    Vernon Hargreaves will likely cover Amari Cooper on Saturday in an All-American matchup. / Gator Country Photo by David Bowie

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Hargreaves excited to cover Cooper

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Written by Nick de la Torre, September 15, 2014, 2 Comments,
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After a week where Demarcus Robinson was targeted 21 times and hauled in 15 receptions it’s no wonder that he is the third-most targeted receiver in the entire country — averaging 10.5 receptions a game.

Robinson’s emergence may have been unexpected to some fans but his closest friend on the team is far from shocked at the sophomore’s staggering start to the season.

“Doesn’t surprise me at all, I mean I had to cover him, I had to deal with him all camp, all last year,” Vernon Hargreaves said of Robinson. “You know, I mean it’s just a matter of time, that’s why I was so confident about him, talking about him at media day. He’s a great player.”

Through two games Robinson is third in receptions-per-game.One of the players ahead of him just so happens to be on the schedule this week when the Florida Gators travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide.

A Miami native, Amari Cooper burst on to the scene as just a freshman, catching 58 passes for 999 yards and 11 scores. Those numbers took a slight dip in his sophomore season but Cooper has become the focal point of the Tide’s offense with new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, catching 33 passes and being targeted nearly 50 times through the Tide’s first three games.

Last week against Southern Mississippi, Cooper was the only Alabama receiver with a catch after one quarter of play. Similarly, Demarcus Robinson was the only Gator with a reception after one quarter of play in Gainesville a week ago.

After more than a year of covering his best friend on the team in Robinson, Hargreaves sees this matchup against Alabama and Cooper as a measuring stick game for him.
“I guess you could say that. But you know Coop he’s a great player, we talked a little bit, we both knew this was coming,” he said. “He’s excited, I’m excited, we both know the magnitude of the game, and it’s going to be a great matchup on Saturday.”

Last week, Hargreaves played almost exclusively on the boundary. He says it was all part of the gameplan that Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson put together for Kentucky. However, the Wildcats didn’t have a receiver like Cooper and when Hargreaves left the first half of the game early due to cramps, the Wildcats picked on freshman cornerback Jalen Tabor. It was a good learning experience for Tabor but Florida will want to limit the “learning experiences” a young secondary will go through in Alabama.

“I mean that’s good for him. He needed that. He needed to get beat a couple times, he needed to get balls thrown at him, to kind of get used to SEC football,” Hargreaves said of Tabor. “I’m kind of glad they went after him. He’s learned from it and he’ll come back better.”

Hargreaves and the defense hadn’t installed a gameplan for Alabama when they met with the media on Monday but with inexperienced players all around him and an All-American like Cooper on the docket this week, Hargreaves will likely draw an assignment following Cooper around the field this Saturday. Hargreaves hasn’t started to notice the number nine — Cooper’s jersey number — popping up around campus, “Not yet at least,” he said with a chuckle.
Still, it’s a heavyweight matchup of skill position players; one of the best receivers in the nation going toe-to-toe with one of the best cornerbacks in the country. It’s a matchup both Cooper and Hargreaves are looking forward to it and fans should be as well.
“I’m excited about the matchup. Obviously everybody knows what’s coming,” Hargreaves said. “Obviously I’m going to be covering him but you know I’m excited for it.”

Nick de la Torre

About Nick de la Torre

A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC

  1. snowprintSeptember 15, 2014, 7:56 pm

    I’m excited too. It will be a game within the game. There’s no doubt that both players are among the best in the nation at their positions. But it might not be where the game is decided. I remember that everyone was focused on LSU’s receivers last year, and neglected LSU’s power running game. I won’t say I’m prescient, but I did call in to the radio show before the game and told Durkin that I was more concerned with LSU’s big back than LSU’s wide receivers. It turned out that the receivers weren’t much of a factor. The reason LSU won the game is that they dominated Florida’s defensive line. Alabama has some pretty fair running backs and the focus on Cooper might be misplaced. One difference is that I don’t think Alabama’s offensive line is as good as LSU’s. But the defensive line better be ready to play on Saturday, I’m sure saban would love nothing better than to just eschew the pass and run it down Florida’s throat.

    • Nick de la Torre
      Nick de la TorreSeptember 16, 2014, 12:24 am

      I think Alabama will focus on the run, slowing down the game. They have the horses in the backfield to run the ball all game if they want to. I think Florida will do the exact opposite and try to move as quickly and efficiently as possible to test the young Bama defense.

      The key for Florida this game is stopping the run.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/florida-gators-2014-florida-football-kentucky-wildcats-the-swamp-quick-009-150x150.jpg Nick de la Torre FeatureFootball
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After a week where Demarcus Robinson was targeted 21 times and hauled in 15 receptions it’s no wonder that he is the third-most targeted receiver in the entire country — averaging 10.5 receptions a game.

Robinson’s emergence may have been unexpected to some fans but his closest friend on the team is far from shocked at the sophomore’s staggering start to the season.

“Doesn’t surprise me at all, I mean I had to cover him, I had to deal with him all camp, all last year,” Vernon Hargreaves said of Robinson. “You know, I mean it’s just a matter of time, that’s why I was so confident about him, talking about him at media day. He’s a great player.”

Through two games Robinson is third in receptions-per-game.One of the players ahead of him just so happens to be on the schedule this week when the Florida Gators travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide.

A Miami native, Amari Cooper burst on to the scene as just a freshman, catching 58 passes for 999 yards and 11 scores. Those numbers took a slight dip in his sophomore season but Cooper has become the focal point of the Tide’s offense with new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, catching 33 passes and being targeted nearly 50 times through the Tide’s first three games.

Last week against Southern Mississippi, Cooper was the only Alabama receiver with a catch after one quarter of play. Similarly, Demarcus Robinson was the only Gator with a reception after one quarter of play in Gainesville a week ago.

After more than a year of covering his best friend on the team in Robinson, Hargreaves sees this matchup against Alabama and Cooper as a measuring stick game for him.
“I guess you could say that. But you know Coop he’s a great player, we talked a little bit, we both knew this was coming,” he said. “He’s excited, I’m excited, we both know the magnitude of the game, and it’s going to be a great matchup on Saturday.”

Last week, Hargreaves played almost exclusively on the boundary. He says it was all part of the gameplan that Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson put together for Kentucky. However, the Wildcats didn’t have a receiver like Cooper and when Hargreaves left the first half of the game early due to cramps, the Wildcats picked on freshman cornerback Jalen Tabor. It was a good learning experience for Tabor but Florida will want to limit the “learning experiences” a young secondary will go through in Alabama.

“I mean that’s good for him. He needed that. He needed to get beat a couple times, he needed to get balls thrown at him, to kind of get used to SEC football,” Hargreaves said of Tabor. “I’m kind of glad they went after him. He’s learned from it and he’ll come back better.”

Hargreaves and the defense hadn’t installed a gameplan for Alabama when they met with the media on Monday but with inexperienced players all around him and an All-American like Cooper on the docket this week, Hargreaves will likely draw an assignment following Cooper around the field this Saturday. Hargreaves hasn’t started to notice the number nine — Cooper’s jersey number — popping up around campus, “Not yet at least,” he said with a chuckle.
Still, it’s a heavyweight matchup of skill position players; one of the best receivers in the nation going toe-to-toe with one of the best cornerbacks in the country. It’s a matchup both Cooper and Hargreaves are looking forward to it and fans should be as well.
“I’m excited about the matchup. Obviously everybody knows what’s coming,” Hargreaves said. “Obviously I’m going to be covering him but you know I’m excited for it.”

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