11/16: Hunter seeing time, Sturgis excelling

By Adam Silverstein
November 17, 2011

With the Florida Gators again struggling on the road and losing their fifth game of the season, a number of players were made available to the media early in the week to discuss preparations heading into Saturday’s game against the Furman Paladins.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES GETTING PLENTY OF WORK

Head coach Will Muschamp has noted that the ideal number of defensive linemen to be active and playable on the roster at each position is six. Considering Florida is operating well below capacity at defensive tackle this year, the rotation has been thinner and guys have been seeing more time on the field. That is a positive from a playing time perspective but not so much from an energy and freshness one.

“We’re a little short on guys, but I think the guys [we have] are in good shape and handling it pretty well,” redshirt junior DT Omar Hunter said Wednesday.

Hunter is not concerned about whether or not he will wind up starting a game this season because he said he has been seeing the field plenty regardless.

“I have no idea,” he said about starting. “I never worry about that. I’ve been playing 40-45 snaps a game, and I’m pretty happy about that. If I start the first series, it doesn’t matter to me.”

STURGIS HEALED AND EXCELLING

Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturgis is having a great season. Though he missed one game due to a leg injury, Sturgis has hit 19-of-21 attempted field goals and all 21 of his extra points. His 78 points scored is tops on the Gators and tied for 21st nationally, but Sturgis is also third in field goals made and may wind up with some All-SEC awards and potentially be named a Lou Groza Award finalist when the season is out.

“I’m glad that I’ve been helping the team and all,” he said. “Some of the games have been a little rough the way we’ve lost and all. Coming into the year I wanted to get back, help the team, and I feel like I’ve been doing that better this year than in years past.”

Sturgis said he is close to 100 percent and that, while the leg injury bothers him a little, the back injury that sidelined him for most of 2010 is fine. He plans to return to Florida for the 2012 season, which would be his fifth in the orange and blue.

NOTES AND QUOTES
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]» Hunter on what Florida misses without redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray: “He’s stepped up big time as far as a leadership role. He brings a lot of leadership to the team. He’s very vocal. If we have a problem he’ll speak up and address the team. Being on the edge, he can run down some of the faster guys we go against. He’s a big, physical presence on the outside as a linebacker. We lose a lot with Lerentee [injured].”

» Hunter on if Muschamp and the coaches text players about penalties: “That is true. I have been getting a few text messages, but I don’t think I’ve been getting as many as other guys.”

» Hunter on head coach Urban Meyer possibly taking another job: “Great football coach. He can’t stay away from the game, and I would love to see him coaching somewhere. With his love for the game, I figured he would come back sooner than later. Whenever he comes back, I’m happy to have him back because I know he’s healthy, it’s going to be great for I’m to come back. I’m looking forward to him coaching.”[/EXPAND]

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