Bye Week Bulletin II: What to watch while UF’s off


The Florida Gators have their second of two open dates this Saturday and will not step foot on the gridiron – but that does not mean there are no college football games to watch. In this season’s second edition of the Bye Week Bulletin, OnlyGators.com points out the best and most interesting games to keep a close eye on this Saturday.

Feel free to use the comment section on this post to discuss all of Saturday’s games.

MUST WATCH

No. 1 Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 SEC) at Kentucky (5-2, 2-2 SEC) – 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
Florida fans that believe Dan Mullen should/will be the Gators’ next head coach will tune in anyway but for the rest of you – hopefully most of you – an additional reason is likely needed to give up your Saturday afternoon to check out this contest. Well, Kentucky has been more than respectable this season, and it’s hawking secondary could give Mississippi State some fits. The Wildcats taking down a Bulldogs team that has run through three at-the-time top 10-ranked opponents may be an unlikely scenario, but it is not an impossibility. Plus, unlike Mullen, there is a head coach worth paying attention to in this game – Mark Stoops.

No. 3 Ole Miss (7-0, 4-0 SEC) at No. 24 LSU (6-2, 2-2 SEC) – 7:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Now-ranked LSU’s rushing game found its stride against Florida and doubled down in a 41-3 blowout of Kentucky. The Tigers have outscored teams not named Auburn by 25.7 points per game with close wins over then-No. 14 Wisconsin (28-24) and Florida (30-27) as well as a devastating loss against then-unranked Mississippi State (34-29). LSU will be hosting Ole Miss in Death Valley at 7:15 p.m. A night game in Tiger Stadium with Les Miles coaching? Anything can happen.

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Billy Donovan offers support for Florida’s football coach, again: ‘I am a huge Will Muschamp fan’

For the second time in 10 days, Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan went out of his way to openly praise Will Muschamp, standing behind Florida’s embattled football coach as Muschamp faces a likely dismissal following his team’s poor start to the 2014 season.

Last Wednesday, Donovan said he had an “enormous amount of respect” for Muschamp, noting that he took over a challenging situation in 2011 and dealt with an insane number of injuries in 2013. Donovan even revealed that he had Muschamp speak with the basketball team this past summer in order to enlighten players on how quickly success can turn into struggle.

During an appearance on an ESPN.com college basketball podcast that was published on Friday, Donovan went even further in his support of Muschamp.

“I will tell you this: I am a huge Will Muschamp fan,” he said.

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Florida Gators lose Baker and Thomas, two top-rated 2015 linebacker commits

For the second time this week, a highly-rated 2015 linebacker commitment has decided to part ways with the Florida Gators.

On Thursday, two days after four-star Jerome Baker (Cleveland, OH) decommitted from the program, four-star Adonis Thomas (Lawrenceville, GA) followed suit.

Baker and Thomas are the highest-ranked players in the Gators’ 2015 recruiting class according to Rivals and ESPN, respectively.

Baker is ranked as the No. 36 overall player in the country by Rivals (No. 68 by ESPN), while Thomas is rated as the No. 68 overall player by ESPN (unranked by Rivals).

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Treon Harris sexual battery investigation incident report released by University of Florida police

The University of Florida on Wednesday released its full police report on the incident involving Florida Gators quarterback Treon Harris and an accusation of sexual battery by a female student.

The three-document report, which totals 166 pages, shows a comprehensive investigation that included an extensive interview process as well as the collection of evidence both in physical and digital form.

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Florida QB Treon Harris will start vs. Georgia

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp announced Wednesday that freshman quarterback Treon Harris will start for the team when it takes on the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, Florida, on Nov. 1.

“Treon, you saw what he did late in the game [against Missouri]. He has a knack for making plays and making some good things happen for our football team,” Muschamp said. “We’ve struggled with production at the quarterback position and that’s been an issue for us – along with some other [positions] – but that’s been a huge issue for us. He’s a guy that has a knack for making plays.”

Harris will have two weeks getting first-team repetitions ahead of the Gators’ showdown with the Bulldogs.

“He has a much better understanding [of the offense] as we continue to move forward,” Muschamp added. “We got an open week now where he’s getting a bunch of reps.”

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4 BITS: Driskel, Baker, Demps, Patton, Murphy

1 » Florida Gators redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel reportedly missed at least some portion of practice ahead of the Missouri game while dealing with a right ankle injury, which became more apparent last Saturday when his ankle was heavily taped before the contest. Driskel also hardly ran the ball in the game, just one week after carrying it 21 times. While it is currently unknown whether the still-imploding Driskel will get the start against Georgia on Nov. 1 – head coach Will Muschamp may address that very topic during his only media appearance of the week, the SEC teleconference on Wednesday – it looks like he is still missing some practice time.

OnlyGators.com reader Jeremy sent in the following photo, which he snapped Tuesday on his way to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center for an event. In the photo below, freshmen Treon Harris and Will Grier (dressed in full pads) are leading the pack of quarterbacks out to the practice field while Driskel is bringing up the rear, holding his helmet but neither wearing pads nor football pants.

I was taking my kids to see Sesame Street Live at the O’Dome tonight. When we parked, we noticed the football team going to the practice field. The players were upbeat and giving my kids high-fives. Then the quarterbacks walked by. Treon Harris and Will Grier led the way and looked focused. Driskel was at the back. No pads, no pants. He looked like a player who wasn’t practicing. Muschamp walked by, smiled and looked like a beaten soul.

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The Silver Lining for Tuesday, October 21, 2014: Will Muschamp, alma mater, Steve Spurrier

The Silver Lining will return to its regular Wednesday afternoon slot next week. With the only Florida Gators football media availability of the week set for Oct. 22, I felt it was best to bump this column up one day.

Will Muschamp’s Failure

I like Will Muschamp. I did not always feel that way, but I have for the last year-and-a-half. He is a disciplined and passionate man, especially when it comes to football. He wants nothing but the best for his players, fellow coaches and the kids he recruits.

His goal in returning to his hometown and taking the Florida job was to heal a fractured program and return it to glory, an admirable mission and one that, if we are being honest, he half-accomplished.

There is no discounting the change of culture in the Gators’ locker room. As much as Urban Meyer preached and delivered a family atmosphere, Muschamp had to instill a tough-love approach that has kept his players out of trouble and in good academic standing with the school as soon as he took over in 2011.

Three seasons later, after an injury-plagued 4-8 campaign that broke the team down the line of scrimmage, Muschamp had to find a way to bring the program together. The result? Florida’s players are adamant this season that they are closer than ever before, a testament to the effort made by Muschamp and the rest of his coaching staff.

Unfortunately for Muschamp, as uplifting as it is to know that the Gators’ are staying out of trouble, getting good grades and truly coming together as a single unit inside the locker room, what makes or breaks a football coach – especially at a program like Florida – are the results between the sidelines on the field.

And when you take into account the on-field results during the same aforementioned time period, the only determination that can be made is that Muschamp is simply not the right man to be head football coach at the University of Florida.

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 7

The 2014 NFL regular season continued this week with 38 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); Philadelphia and Tampa Bay (three each); and Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh and St. Louis (two each).

Below are full game statistics for all 26 players (17 starters^) that saw action along with select status and injury updates on some Gators during the seventh week of the regular season.

Six players were on their bye week.

^ Kickers and returners not counted as starters.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK / PLAY OF THE WEEK
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Started | five tackles (two solo, one for loss), sack, two QB hits, pass defense, fumble recovery

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

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