The Silver Lining for Thursday, October 30, 2014: Gators confident, debunking Foley-Meyer myths

Yes, The Silver Lining is once again out on Thursday. It will return to its regular Wednesday afternoon slot…eventually.

Gators won’t stop believin’

This time last year, Florida was down in the dumps, sporting a 4-3 record after consecutive road losses to LSU (17-6) and Missouri (36-17). The Gators have one fewer win (due to the canceled Idaho game) but those same losses to the two groups of Tigers (30-27 and 42-13, respectively), despite the fact that UF was supposed to be improved in 2014 and played both of those contests at home.

Nevertheless, facing it’s last possible chance to salvage the season and somehow remain in the SEC East race, Florida is putting on a strong, confident face entering its rivalry game against the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs.

Numerous Gators expressed pure determination while meeting with the media this week. While they obviously chose not to guarantee a win against a program that has beat them three-straight years and proved to be the better team at the season’s halfway point, there were no heads down or shoulders slouched.

Here’s what a number of players had to say about the team’s current mindset…

Continue Reading » The Silver Lining for Thursday, October 30, 2014: Gators confident, debunking Foley-Meyer myths

10/29: Florida focused on stopping Georgia rush

Florida Gators defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin met with the media on Wednesday with just three days to go until his team links up with the No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

GURLEY OR NOT, HERE COME THE GATORS

Florida’s players have spoken all week about preparing for Georgia running back Todd Gurley and doing whatever they can to limit his effectiveness in the game.

As well as the Gators might have defended Gurley, they are still no match for the NCAA, which ruled on Wednesday that Gurley will have to sit out two more contests (including UF-UGA) as he serves a four-game suspension after receiving more than $3,000 for signing memorabilia. He will also have to pay restitution and do community service.

With Gurley – a Heisman Trophy candidate averaging 8.2 yards per carry – out of action, the Bulldogs will rely on Nick Chubb to tote the rock, which he has been doing to the tune of 5.7 yards per rush this season.

For Durkin and the players, not much will change in Florida’s defensive preparation for Georgia’s run-heavy offensive attack.

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10/28: Roper on fixing Florida’s offense, QB Harris starting for the Gators on Saturday

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Kurt Roper met with the media on Tuesday to provide some thoughts on Florida’s recent struggles and the Gators’ upcoming contest against the No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs, which is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

FIXING AN OFFENSIVE OFFENSE

When Roper was hired to take over after Brent Pease’s ouster, it was expected that he would inject some life into the Gators’ offense. Florida would supposedly spread the ball out, throw it down the field and take chances that it had not in the past.

However, after posting 101 points in its first two games, UF has combined for just 72 in its last four contests. For Roper, it all comes down to a pair of major issues – the downfield passing game and turnovers.

“Right now, turnovers. Sometimes it’s a different theme, week-to-week. We obviously haven’t been as good in the passing game all season long. But specifically, in the last game, it’s turning the football over,” he explained.

“If you look at it, it’s kind of the trend. We were good in the first game, second game we were pretty good in, I think we had one. It’s been a theme of three until we doubled the three. We’re an offense that has to take care of the football better right now. It’s the primary goal going into this next opportunity.”

Continue Reading » 10/28: Roper on fixing Florida’s offense, QB Harris starting for the Gators on Saturday

2014-15 NBA season begins with 12 former Florida Gators spread across 11 teams

The 2014-15 NBA season tips off on Tuesday night with 12 former Florida Gators on active rosters, tied with Arizona for sixth-most across the league.

Those players are spread out over 11 teams with only the Golden State Warriors employing more than one former Gators star on their roster.

Below is a primer on all 12 Florida players (five starters, seven reserves) ahead of the 2014-15 season.

STARTERS

C JOAKIM NOAH, Chicago Bulls
Drafted: 2007: 1st round, No. 9 overall pick
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 232 lbs.
Year: Eighth | All-Star: Twice (2013-14)

Already a popular player and stalwart in Chicago, Noah broke through during his seventh season to capture the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award and earn nominations to the All-NBA First Team and NBA All-Defensive First Team. He averaged career-highs of 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.2 steals, earning a trip to his second-straight All-Star game in the process. One year after becoming the seventh player in NBA history to record a triple-double with double-digit blocks, Noah became just the fourth center in NBA history to register four triple-doubles consisting of points, rebounds and assists in a single season. He was also the first Bulls player since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (1992-93) to record four in a single season. Noah enters the 2014-15 campaign coming off knee surgery and is expected to be limited at times during the season.

PF/C AL HORFORD, Atlanta Hawks
Drafted: 2007: 1st round, No. 3 overall pick
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 250 lbs.
Year: Eighth | All-Star: Twice (2010-11)

One of the most underrated players in the league, due in large part to his team (Atlanta) and in ability to stay on the court, Horford has become the Hawks’ unquestioned leader and go-to player. In just 29 games last season, the second in three that has been cut short early due to a torn pectoral, Horford averaged a career-high 18.6 points per game on a career-best .567 shooting. Though he has not been selected to an NBA All-Star team since 2001, Horford plans to make his way back this year with his eyes set on a 20-10 average.

Continue Reading » 2014-15 NBA season begins with 12 former Florida Gators spread across 11 teams

Tebow on Harris: We’ll see what he’s made of

Tim Tebow never had to start as a freshman with the Florida Gators, but he still knows a thing or two about seeing action as a first-year player and competing in pressure situations as a rookie, including in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

Tebow, who finished his collegiate career with a 2-1 record as a starter against the Georgia Bulldogs, fully understands the pressure freshman quarterback Treon Harris will feel Saturday afternoon and had some advice for the young signal caller during a radio appearance Tuesday morning on 1010 XL (92.5 AM) out of Jacksonville, Florida.

“It’s his first start. He’s going to be nervous. He’s going to have butterflies. There’s going to be emotions going through him,” he said.

“Emotionally, you’re always going to be nervous. It’s a huge game. This is something that you grow up dreaming about. This is what you love. If I’m him, I’m loving it. I don’t want my first start to be against one of the schools that you get to open the season up against. You want it to be against a team like Georgia.

“If I’m him, I’m loving this opportunity and this situation to go out there and show that this is why I came to the University of Florida. I think we’ll see a lot of what he’s made of. From everything I’ve heard and seen, he’s been a winner in the past and we’ll see how he comes out and plays Saturday afternoon.”

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 8

The 2014 NFL regular season continued this week with 39 former Florida Gators spread out over 22 of the 32 teams in the league.

Eleven teams had multiple Florida players on their rosters including Miami (four); Indianapolis and Philadelphia (three each); and Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Kansas City, N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Tampa Bay (two each).

Below are full game statistics for all 28 players (18 starters^) that saw action along with select status and injury updates on some Gators during the eighth week of the regular season.

^ Kickers and returners not counted as starters.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Started | nine tackles (eight solo, one for loss) [team-highs], two pass defenses, fumble recovery
TE JORDAN REED, Washington: Seven receptions [team-high] for 40 yards (long: 16)
» Two of Reed’s receptions came on Washington’s first drive in overtime, which ended with a game-winning field goal.

PLAY OF THE WEEK

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!

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Muschamp, Gators adopting ‘bunker mentality’ as Florida players support embattled coach

Shielding themselves from falling bombs of criticism and ear-piercing chants for the ouster of a starting quarterback and head coach, Will Muschamp said Monday that he hand the Florida Gators have adopted a “bunker mentality” that he hopes will serve the team well through the remainder of the season.

With redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel benched for freshman Treon Harris after Driskel turned the ball over 12 times in his last four games, one part of the call from Florida fans has been answered.

However, Muschamp still remains coach of the Gators (3-3, 2-3 SEC) after their devastating 42-13 blowout loss to Missouri on homecoming, and fans continue to let it be known that they want athletic director Jeremy Foley to make a change and fast.

Muschamp accepts the fervor and heavy criticism because it comes with the position of head coach, explaining that he is singularly focused on Florida’s next opponent – the SEC East-leading, No. 9-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) – and not what fans think about his job status.

Continue Reading » Muschamp, Gators adopting ‘bunker mentality’ as Florida players support embattled coach

10/27: Muschamp previews Florida-Georgia, talks Harris starting, Gators offensive issues

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (3-3, 2-3 SEC) met with the media on Monday as his team continues to recover from consecutive losses while preparing for the No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) on Saturday afternoon. Florida-Georgia will play in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. with the game once again airing live on CBS.

MOVING ON

Set to be the first freshman to start at quarterback for the Gators in the Florida-Georgia game since Chris Leak in 2003, Treon Harris took nearly all the first-team reps with the offense during the bye week and will get the majority of them this week as UF prepares to take on UGA in Jacksonville.

Muschamp, to this point, has been impressed with what he’s seen from the signal caller.

“Treon will be getting his first start, excited for him and what he’s going to be able to do,” he said. “[Harris is] a guy that has a knack for making plays, certainly has got a calm, cool, collected [way] about himself and how he carries himself. I think we’ll play well. Identify some things he feels comfortable with as well as we continue to move forward offensively. As much as anything, we’ve struggled with an identity because of the turnovers. That’s been a major issue.”

He also believes Harris will be able to carry a full workload, without a limited playbook, considering all of the extra action he’s seen through the bye week.

“I think in the open week our offensive staff did a pretty good job of identifying some things that Treon does extremely well, so we won’t pare things down as much as you might think with a freshman quarterback,” he said. “He’s an extremely bright young man. He’s able to handle a lot of things on his plate. I think the [extra] repetition … will help him moving forward.”

Continue Reading » 10/27: Muschamp previews Florida-Georgia, talks Harris starting, Gators offensive issues

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