8/24: Muschamp maddened by lack of execution

With the Florida Gators now having completed training camp and headed into fall practice, head coach Will Muschamp met with the media after Wednesday’s scrimmage and went off how the team is failing to progress on both sides of the ball heading into the 2011 season, which begins on Sept. 3 at home against Florida Atlantic.


Entering his media availability 30 minutes early, Muschamp sat down and went on a rant that lasted just over three-and-a-half minutes and was interrupted with only a few questions interjected between his statements. Here it is uncut:

Asked how scrimmage went Wednesday evening: “Not very well. We tried to do it just like a game with preparation as far as pre-game procedure – I thought that was fine. As far as the scrimmage was concerned, we did not execute very well. The mental toughness was not there. A very immature football team at this point. [We’re] not consistently performing at the level we need to perform at. I was just disappointed overall with the mental effort tonight. There were some procedure issues we should not be having at this point, defense, some mental mistakes we should not be having at this point. Just overall pretty displeased. […] Not what we were looking for tonight, that’s for sure.”

Asked if the team took a step backward: “Well it dang sure wasn’t a step forward. We just got to get on the film. We’re going to go out and have a good practice Thursday and Friday, get back Sunday night and get after it again. That’s all we can do – coach better and play better. It’s not a lack of effort, in my opinion, in those situations. It’s just a lack of focus on what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to do it. We have no sense of urgency about what we do and how we do it and how we approach it. [It’s] very frustrating. And it’s not everybody. We’ve got a bunch of guys who do it the right way but not enough and not collectively enough guys doing it that way right at this point. We just got to find the guys who do it. I told the coaches, ‘We’re staying here tonight and we’re going to figure it out. We’re going to stay here as long as it’s going to take to figure out the guys who are going to play hard for the Gators, and the ones who don’t we’ll weed them out and go to the next guy.”

Asked if players will lose their current positions: “There ain’t no doubt. We’re going to figure it out. Tonight we’re going to look at the tape and get the guys that want to compete and play hard and the ones that don’t, we’ll go to the next guy.”

Asked if it is concerning to have these issues so close to the first game: “You just try to put people in situations, and it was frustrating that we didn’t execute the situations we needed to execute. Whether it was coming off the goal line, red zone, third down, 45 seconds to win the game – whatever it was we just didn’t do what we needed to do on either side of the ball. It was just disappointing. Coaches can’t play; the players got to play. We just need better effort, need to do a better job I guess from our standpoint as coaches evaluating what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with.”


Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley was “not totally” healthy when participating in Wednesday’s scrimmage as he is still nursing a sore back and the coaching staff “went out there with the idea that we were going to [pull him early],” according to Muschamp. “He’s still a little sore,” he said. “Had a good day Tuesday. He repped a little bit early and then we had some of the other guys rep in there. He’s still sore in the back, but we feel like he’ll be fine. […] Based on the information I have, based on his Tuesday practice, a little soreness here and there. I just don’t have a whole lot to be concerned about at this point.”

Freshman tight end A.C. Leonard (torn meniscus): Out for the opener, a 6-8 week injury

Redshirt junior TE/wide receiver Omarius Hines (hamstring): Questionable for opener

Redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (sprained knee): Held out recently but should be available for opener. “I’m hoping to get him back tomorrow or Friday or if not that definitely Sunday night.”


Muschamp said Wednesday’s effort at scrimmage “needs to be” a wake up call for some of the players on the team. Though he cautioned on multiple occasions that many of the players did show flashes and perform admirably, those who faltered or failed to impress him were also plentiful. “To me, any time you step on the field and you’re a competitor you compete. I hate to paint the brush that there was a lot of guys – there was a select few – because we had a bunch of guys compete and play hard. Proud of those guys; proud of their efforts,” he said. “You see things a as coach you don’t want to see. We didn’t finish very well, play very well at the point of attack, played too high on both lines of scrimmage. You just see things that displease you. And that’s what I saw coming from what I saw, and I told them that’s what I thought after.”

Faced with a tough decision – whether to cut the scrimmage short due to his displeasure or force his players to grind through it – Muschamp chose the latter method because he wanted to see what the Gators were made of at this juncture. “There are a couple different ways to do it. You can [stop it] or you can hope that your leadership takes over and realizes it is not going as well as you would like,” he explained. “Tonight we were doing a lot of situational work, so you’re working different groups. It’s not like the whole offense is over there together or the whole defense is over there together – and a lot of special teams work. You’ve got to work through it and you’ve got to let the players play.”

When it all comes down to it though, Muschamp wants Florida’s student-athletes to know the buck stops with them – not the coaching staff.

“Players need to lead. It’s their football team, not mine,” he said, “[but] I wasn’t questioning leadership tonight. We should have enough guys mentally tough enough to battle through what we needed to do and play smart football.”

Then he made a foreboding statement:

“We’re going to be in full gear and we’re going to strap it up and we’re going to get after it. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I cannot wait for practice tomorrow.”


Muschamp refused to say specifically that any one player excelled or shined on Wednesday, but he did provide some comments on a few who “flashed” on a play here or there or have been impressing him recently. (He likes to go back and watch the tape before dishing out praise because while one play may stick out, that player could theoretically perform poorly the rest of the practice.)

“[Dominique] Easley plays hard inside. Sharrif Floyd plays hard. Those guys showed up to me,” he said specifically about Wednesday evening. “Andre Debose made a nice play across the middle today.”

On Easley, the sophomore defensive tackle: “Dominique’s a hard-playing guy, likes the game, plays hard, practices hard, takes a lot of pride in his performance. […] He’s got a very good first step, he certainly does. He’s got a very good anticipation. I tell Charlie [Weis], ‘Every snap, hard count him.’ We work on that an awful lot, and he’s doing a better job of holding in there on those sort of things. But he certainly has a great first step.”

Redshirt junior right tackle Matt Patchan: “Matt’s got some toughness to him. He likes playing the game. Certainly good to get him back and throw his hand in there. He’s a really good football player. He certainly brings some toughness to our team, so we got to continue to develop that with other guys around him and him to consistently do that all the time.”

Sophomore safety Matt Elam: “Matt’s just a really instinctive football player. He sees things on the back end. He’s able to get a good jump on the ball where other guys may not see it as quickly – it doesn’t naturally come to some guys as quickly. To me on the back end you’ve got to have some natural instincts. You’ve got to have natural instincts to play the ball, to understand about reception area – where the receiver is going to be, where the ball is being thrown, understand about angles. We can talk about coaching that all the time. Some guys get it, some guys don’t. That’s something that certainly comes very easy to him. […] I think he’s got great acceleration to the ball. When he sees it and he goes and gets it, he’s got that ‘umph’ He’s got that extra gear. He has some things that, from a coaching standpoint, you like to take credit for but are really just natural ability.”

Sophomore running back Trey Burton: “Trey’s lining up in a lot of different positions. He gives so much to our football team from a blocking standpoint in the run game and protections, catching the football and running the football. He’s been very effective in doing all of those things. We certainly use him as far as in the slot, mismatches outside, get him on a linebacker, slip him on the flat and wheel routes and the different stuff we do with him. We do an awful lot with him. He gets the game very well; it comes easy to him. I think he’s had a great camp.”

Redshirt junior linebacker Lerentee McCray: “At this point he’s played the best at the SAM, I’d say he’s been the most consistent guy. He also gives us some good pass rush. He does a nice job rushing the edge so he can give us some juice on the edge there.”


» On what he told Easley to “straighten him out” in the offseason: “I just told him it was going to be a certain way [and] if he didn’t like it, he could leave.”

» Muschamp said the Gators have been pumping crowd noise into camp since the fifth practice in order to help the team work on communication, signals, snap counts and general focus. He plans to do it for every single practice up until the first game.

» On if the team is ready to play a full game: “Well we need to be ready next Saturday night, so we’ll be ready.”

» On if he has already game planned for some teams: “We installed for the season during camp, so once we get through our base package, then we install for maybe some things that we don’t see our offense give us. Some of the different stuff maybe our offense doesn’t give us formation-wise, play-wise, route concept-wise for the team’s we’ve got to beat because we scout all of our opponents in the offseason. We’ve taken some time the last part of camp and into Tuesday and even into tonight to work on some opponent stuff.”

» On why he game plans so early: “You try to expose it to them so when you get into week one or week four or week eight or week 10 or whatever and you’ve practiced some of the looks. I don’t like to introduce something totally new concept-wise and learn it in a week and execute it on game day.”

8/24: Koehne starting, a terrific trio, Easley stepping up, McCray and Green excited

With the Florida Gators in the middle of preseason practice preparing for their first game on Sept. 3 at home against Florida Atlantic, a number of prominent players were made available to the media on Wednesday to discuss how the team is progressing.


Standing well over six feet each and weighing a combined 921 pounds, the redshirt sophomore trio of center Jonotthan Harrison and guards Jon Halapio and Kyle Koehne hope to be a force to be reckoned with this year. Those three men, who are roommates and best friends, will take up the entire interior of Florida’s offensive line this season if each retains their job through the remainder of fall practice.

“We’re all great friends. Ever since we first came here we’ve been kind of like a trio, hanging out all the time,” Koehne said Wednesday. “All three of us are roommates as well, so we’re with each other 24/7, talking to each other 24/7, so we got some good chemistry between the three of us.” Halapio believes the fact that all three are on the starting unit together will help the team this season. “When we go back at home, we sit on the couch and watch film on the 60 inch,” he said. “The chemistry is a lot better. We communicate a lot better on the field, so it’s good that we’re good friends off the field.”

Koehne, who was named the front runner to start at left guard on Saturday after switching from tackle following the first scrimmage, said Halapio has been instrumental in his transition. “He gives me advice all the time with plays, footwork and everything,” he said. “Halapio’s kind of been a good mentor for me being kind of new to guard.”

Halapio noted that his roommate “graded out highest out of the offensive line” following the first scrimmage and has been doing well overall this offseason. “He has a few plays where he’s killing guys. He has a few plays of that. He just really knows what he’s doing on the field and you can clearly see that on film,” he said.


Sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley was praised throughout the spring for his quick first step, but his work this fall had not been discussed much until Wednesday when Halapio addressed Florida’s pass rush problems by noting that the youngster has been a standout in that regard.

“I think they all have gotten better in the pass rush, especially Dominique Easley,” he said. “He’s a real good pass rusher and a real good run stopper. They all have gotten better in the pass rush, but I think Easley is the best right now. […]

“He’s just relentless. Since he’s been here, I’ve never seen him tired on- and off-the-field. He just doesn’t show it. He plays relentless and runs to the ball. I’ve never seen him tired; he just has a great motor. He’s really explosive off the ball. I don’t know if he knows the snap count, but he’s just really quick off the ball. I can’t even get out of my stance and then by the time I get out of my stance he’s already in my path.”

Redshirt junior linebacker Lerentee McCray would not go so far as to call Easley the best of the bunch, but he did pay him equal praise. “Dominique Easley is a real close friend of mine. He’s come along real good,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for a better nose tackle to come in and play in front of me. […] I would have to say he’s one of the best; I wouldn’t single him out as the best, but he’s definitely a good pass rusher.”


Though he performed well in 2010, Halapio feels even more comfortable in the Gators’ new offense and thinks, obviously, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has a lot to do with that. “He’s a genius. He just thinks of different ways how to execute a play real good – the easiest way to execute a good play,” he explained. “He’s just a real good coach. He just thinks of different schemes, ways we can run the ball, different ways we can pass the ball, different ways we can disguise this, disguise that.”

Halapio deals with Weis plenty, but he is around offensive line coach Frank Verducci more. Luckily for him, he cannot tell much of a difference between the two, which is probably a good thing for the team as a whole. “They’re like twins,” Halapio said of Weis and Verducci. “[Weis] says one thing and we hear it again with Coach Verducci in the meeting room. When we meet as an offensive unit before we start individual meetings, they both get up there and they’re both saying the same thing. They’re like twins.”


McCray and senior defensive end William Green will see significantly more playing time in 2011 than they ever have before and both players are confident that head coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s concepts will serve them well in the long run.

“As a player it makes you real excited and gives you a lot more opportunities to make some plays,” Green said. McCray co-signed. “This defensive scheme has helped me out a lot – just moving back and forth and just showcasing my talent and some of the stuff I can do,” he said.

McCray, who is slated as the starting SAM linebacker this year alongside junior Jon Bostic and redshirt sophomore Jelani Jenkins, is happy that his transition from end has gone smoothly. “I really feel comfortable pass rushing, but adapting back to the linebacker position has been coming along real good,” he said. “I’m real comfortable with our defense and all the schemes that the coach has. The blitz packages are working real good for me.”


» Koehne on when he knew things were clicking: “I was getting some compliments during film from Coach Verducci, so that was a good hint for it.”

» Koehne on his transition from tackle to guard: “It’s a big adjustment, especially going against the personnel that you face every day – going against Jaye Howard and Easley now instead of Ronald Powell. Those are two whole different types of players that I had to get used to and still am getting used to. There’s a lot of footwork change; every spot’s like a whole different world.”

» Koehne if he used to feel lost in the shuffle: “Every once in a while, but I just kept my eyes down the good path and I knew, if I kept working hard, I’d get a shot. I’ve capitalized on every opportunity I’ve been given.”

» Koehne on being named a starter^: “It was a great feeling. It made my family proud. It was a great thing to hear.”

» Halapio said redshirt freshman Chaz Green has been rotating at both tackle spots, giving junior left tackle Xavier Nixon and redshirt junior right tackle Matt Patchan breaks when needed.

» Halapio on Patchan’s intensity*: “Oh man, he’s…I think I told somebody this. When he runs off the ball, he’s just trying to poke somebody’s eyes out. He brings that nasty intensity offensive line character to our offensive line.”

» Halapio on if he is more comfortable being a leader: “I feel real comfortable. There are a lot of young guys on the team, a lot of players that are younger than me and they see me as a leader. It makes it easier because I’m older than them and they respect me.”

» Halapio on his advice to younger players: “I always tell them to get in the film room and watch the film a lot. I just came in knowing that I was going to start because of the depth and what we were going through last year. I knew that I was going to start and I didn’t take it as serious as I should have.”

» Halapio on the success of the Pounceys: “It feels real good to see all the former Gators doing their thing on the big time show, NFL and everything. I’m really happy for them boys; they deserve it. I still keep in contact with all of them. They wouldn’t’ big-time me like that.”

» Green on how sophomore Sharrif Floyd is playing at his new position: “He’s doing well at end. Things are a little different for him, but he’s made a good adjustment to it. End is different than tackle just because you’re in more space and you get different blocks at end. He had a learning curve there but he got used to it and is doing real well at it.”

» Green on his assessment of the defensive tackles: “They can be real dominant. All of those guys are real strong and real physical at the point of attack. We got a lot of experience with [Jaye] Howard and Hunter, so they can be pretty good this season.”

» Green on Bostic and Jenkins becoming more vocal: “Both of them have grown up a lot. They feel more comfortable taking charge, giving all the calls. I think they’ll both be a lot better this season.”

» McCray on who is working behind him at SAM linebacker:Darrin Kitchens and Gideon [Ajagbe] – they’re ready to take on the role when their name is called.”

» McCray on whether or not redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed is “tough to handle”: “Jordan Reed – I wouldn’t say he’s a load to handle – he’s got to handle me first. I play defense, so I like to take the aggression to the tight ends and let them know from the first play that they get on the grass that they’re going to have to deal with me all day. Coverage-wise, Jordan Reed is definitely a match-up that you got to take care of before you game plan. […] He’s definitely had some success. He’s a great player, so he’s always going to have success.”

» McCray said the offensive line has made a “drastic change since the spring” noting that it comes from a number of things including the “personnel, learning [of] the offense and their blocking schemes.” He also said the offense definitely “utilize[s] the personnel they have at each position. That’s one thing this offense does well.”

* Quote courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel. | ^ Quote courtesy of the Palm Beach Post.

Chiefs LB Brandon Siler out for the season

Signing a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent this offseason, former Florida Gators linebacker Brandon Siler hoped to prove that he was capable of being a productive starter in the league so he could earn a long-term contract.

Unfortunately Siler will not have that opportunity this year and will miss the entire 2011 season after tearing his Achilles tendon during practice on Tuesday and undergoing surgery the same day, a source close to the player told OGGOA. Kansas City is expected to place him on injured reserve soon.

The Chiefs were planning to start Siler this season and believed in his long-term potential. He totaled four tackles (three solo) in two preseason starts this year.

A seventh-round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers who amassed 123 tackles, three sacks, a safety and two interceptions in four seasons with the team, Siler registered 44 tackles (34 solo) in 12 games in 2010.

Though he played in 58 games over four years, Siler did not earn his first start for the Chargers until 2009. He held that role for 12 of 28 games over his final two years with the franchise before San Diego allowed him to walk as a free agent in the offseason.

Siler is one of the league’s biggest Gator Chompers and tied for first place in the 2010 OGGOA NFL Chomp-O-Meter standings with four on the season.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

The Countdown: Florida Gators roster (19-10)

With just 10 days to go until the Florida Gators‘ 2011-12 football season gets underway, the ninth part of OGGOA‘s new series, The Countdown, takes a look at those players expected to contribute on the field wearing jersey numbers ranging from 19-10.

19 – Caleb Sturgis (St. Augustine, FL)
Redshirt junior kicker
5’11” 183 lbs.

Quick Bio: An Under Armour High School All-American entering his fourth year at Florida, Sturgis majors in sport management and hopes to continue leading the Gators special teams unit as the starting kicker. A kickoff specialist during his freshman year, he became the primary place kicker in 2009 and hit 73.3 percent of his field goals (long: 56) and 44-of-47 extra points to score 110 points for Florida.

2010 Season: Sturgis did not get an opportunity to flourish like he wanted in his second season as the Gators’ starter. Suffering through back pain early in the season, he was forced to undergo surgery after just four games and was eventually awarded a medical redshirt by the NCAA. Sturgis hit just 2-of-4 field goal attempts and 19-of-21 extra points before being sidelined for the remainder of the year.

2011 Outlook: With an extra year of eligibility in his back pocket, Sturgis feels like his back is 100 percent healthy and enters the season as the team’s only scholarship kicker. Head coach Will Muschamp confirmed that he was doing well in camp two weeks ago. “He is strong; he had no issues in the summer as far as his workouts,” he said. “We changed his routine a little bit [he’s not doing squats anymore] as far as the things he did, but he’s been kicking the ball extremely well thus far in camp.”

17 – Jacoby Brissett (West Palm Beach, FL)
Freshman quarterback
6’3” 239 lbs.

Quick Bio: A four-star recruit coming out of high school who was considered one of the best players at his position nationally, Brissett participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and enrolled at Florida over the summer after deciding to play high school basketball in the spring. A graduate of Dwyer High School, he is good friends with sophomore safety Matt Elam and was also teammates with redshirt freshman tight end Gerald Christian and sophomore wide receiver Robert Clark in high school.

2011 Outlook: A bit behind the eight ball considering fellow freshman QB Jeff Driskel enrolled early and got a handle on the offense months before him, Brissett is currently competing with redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy to be the No. 3 quarterback. Praised for his mobility and quick grasp of the playbook, he will probably be competing with Driskel throughout his entire career with the Gators but is unlikely to pass him for the back-up quarterback job this season.

16 – Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL)
Freshman quarterback
6’4” 235 lbs.

Quick Bio: An early enrollee who joined Florida in January, Driskel is a former five-star recruit who was the Gatorade Florida Player of the Year and considered by most to be the No. 1 quarterback in the country in 2011.He threw for 1,819 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 1,333 yards and 20 touchdowns during his senior season and earned an Under Armour All-American nod for his efforts.

2011 Outlook: With redshirt senior QB John Brantley firmly implanted as the team’s starting signal caller, Driskel’s goal this offseason was to earn the back-up quarterback job. Though he started fall camp behind Murphy, he recently supplanted him as Brantley’s back-up and is beginning to pull away from the pack. “His growth process from spring, obviously he has worked extremely hard through the summer dedicating himself to the playbook and learning what to do and how to do it and why we’re doing it that way,” Muschamp said. “He’s had a very good camp at this point.”

15 – Loucheiz Purifoy (Pensacola, FL)
Freshman cornerback
6’1” 183 lbs.

Quick Bio: It’s a pretty gutsy move to don the No. 15 in the orange and blue, especially as a freshman, but the former four-star recruit hopes he can be just as impressive as his predecessor in that jersey. Purifoy was one of the best players at his position coming out of high school and chose to play for Florida over Alabama, Auburn and Miami (among others).

2011 Outlook: Though he is not likely to contend for a starting role this season, Purifoy has been impressing Muschamp during practice and is making a case to get some legitimate playing time during his first season. “I’ve been very pleased with Marcus Roberson and Louchiez Purifoy and what they can do. They’re very good athletes; they’re learning our system,” he said. “They did a good job studying this summer.”

14 – Jaylen Watkins (Cape Coral, FL)
Sophomore safety
6’0” 187 lbs.

Quick Bio/2010 Season: A U.S. Army All-American and four-star recruit, Watkins is a social and behavioral sciences major who played in 10 games last year and had a career-high three tackles in the last contest of the season. Watkins worked primarily on special teams in 2010 but also saw some time in the secondary.

2011 Outlook: With Elam and junior Josh Evans pretty much set as the Gators’ starters at safety, Watkins will begin the 2011 season in a reserve role alongside redshirt freshman Joshua Shaw. He is enjoying Muschamp’s defense and hopes to continue following his instructions on how he can succeed in it. “[He tells me] just to be a football player. Everything is not going to be what it is on paper – just be an athlete out there,” Watkins said.

13 – Dee Finely (Auburn, AL)
Redshirt sophomore linebacker
6’2” 203 lbs.

Quick Bio: Originally a commitment in the 2008 recruiting class, Finley chose to attend prep school for a year in order to get his grades up so he could enroll. The Under Armour All-American and four-star recruit, who signed as a safety, joined the team in 2009 and notched seven tackles (five solo) in 10 games.

2010 Season: Moved from safety to linebacker, Finley saw the field the vast majority of the time on special teams. He was a primary fixture on the kickoff coverage and kickoff return units and accumulated seven tackles (five solo) over the course of four games. Finely missed the final seven contests of the season after fracturing his collarbone against LSU and was awarded a medical redshirt by the NCAA.

2011 Outlook: Called “solid” as a linebacker but “outstanding” as a special teamer by Muschamp, Finley will play a reserve role at the latter position in 2011 but should get plenty of playtime at a very shallow position. He missed a few days of training camp due to an undisclosed injury but has returned to action and is even drawing praise from his teammates. “He’s done very well,” junior LB Jon Bostic said. “He’s picked up a lot of things in these two-a-days.”

12 – John Brantley (Ocala, FL)
Redshirt senior quarterback
6’3” 219 lbs.

Quick Bio: A five-star quarterback, U.S. Army All-American and the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2006, Brantley was one of the most highly recruited players currently on Florida’s roster. The humanities and letters major redshirted as a true freshman but played quite well as a reserve during his second and third seasons. Combined, Brantley completed 54-of-76 pass attempts for 645 yards with 10 touchdowns and just one interception as Tim Tebow’s back-up.

2010 Season: Stepping into a starting role for the first time in his career, Brantley hoped the offense would be tailored to better suit his talents. Instead, the pro-style quarterback was asked to run a spread offense and struggled mightily. He completed only 60.8 percent of his passes (200-of-329) for 2,061 yards with nine TDs and 10 INTs over the course of the season. While Brantley remained the “starter” throughout the year, he ended up becoming part of a three-quarterback rotation halfway through the season and played mostly on third down, when the team was behind or in obvious passing situations.

2011 Outlook: After seriously considering transferring in the offseason, Brantley decided to stick with the Gators and (according to those who actually get to see him daily) has had a resurgence under new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Coaches and players have unanimously lauded his ability, consistency, improvement, leadership, arm strength and overall understanding of Weis’s offense. Muschamp has noted on numerous occasions that Brantley is not only his starter but significantly ahead (in terms of development) of the other passers. He has added that the offseason goal is to improve the protection in front of him and playmakers around him, insinuating that he is as solid a player as the offense has on its roster.

11 – Jordan Reed (New London, CT)
Redshirt sophomore tight end
6’3” 239 lbs.

Quick Bio/2010 Season: A four-star quarterback coming out of high school, Reed dressed for five games in 2009 but did not see any action. The social and behavioral sciences major officially transitioned over to tight end in 2010 but wound up only starting four games at that position as he instead played more of a hybrid role and saw plenty of time at quarterback. Reed caught six passes for 79 yards and a touchdown last year but also rushed 77 times for 328 yards and five scores and completed 26-of-46 passes for 252 yards with three TDs an interception.

2011 Outlook: With Brantley (again) taking over at quarterback and two incoming freshman filling in the depth at that position, Reed has officially moved to tight end full-time and will start at that position for Florida in 2011. He recently missed a few days of practice with a sore hamstring but has been impressive on the field. With freshman A.C. Leonard missing 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery on a torn meniscus in early August, Reed will be counted on even more to be a receiving threat from the tight end position. “I’m excited about being the tight end,” Reed told The Gainesville Sun. “It’s been a lot easier on me than last year, knowing that I’ve just got to worry about one position.”

10 – Tyler Murphy (Wethersfield, CT)
Redshirt freshman quarterback
6’2” 209 lbs.

Quick Bio/2010 Season: A two-star recruit , Murphy spent last year as a member of the scout team that helped the Gators prepare for their opponents. One of four quarterbacks on scholarship in 2010, the social and behavioral sciences major was the only one who did not end up seeing some game action.

2011 Outlook: Murphy is once again one of four quarterbacks on scholarship this year; however, the other two he is competing with for the back-up job have changed. With Reed now at tight end and sophomore Trey Burton listed as a running back, Murphy is the second most experienced passer on the Florida roster. Unfortunately for him, Driskel was recently promoted to be Brantley’s back-up ahead of him and he is now competing with Brissett for the No. 3 job. “Tyler Murphy has done a really nice job of managing the offense,” Muschamp said on Aug. 10. “We did a move the field today where the coaches got off the field and let the players play. Tyler took us on a nice drive down the field.”

THE COUNTDOWN: 99-90 | 89-80 | 79-70 | 69-60 | 59-50 | 49-40 |
39-30 | 29-20 | 19-10 | 9-1

FOUR BITS: Taylor, Jeroloman, Sidner, Demps

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Travis Taylor recently returned to the University of Florida to finish his degree in sports management and has simultaneously decided to work for the football program as an undergraduate student assistant. According to UF senior writer Scott Carter, Taylor contacted former teammate and now Gators WR coach Aubrey Hill about the opportunity and is excited about how he can help the team going forward. “I had not talked to Aubrey in 10 years,” Taylor said. “He was like, ‘Man, whatever I can do for you just let me know. I’ll definitely run it by Coach [Will] Muschamp.’ Everything kind of fell into place. I came over to learn about the process and got it done. They embraced me to come in and I’m having a great time.”

2 » Former Florida catcher Brian Jeroloman, who has spent approximately five years toiling in minor leagues throughout the country, was called up by the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday potentially for the remainder of the season. He will officially be the seventh former Gators baseball player in the MLB this year.

3 » As noted by the Twitter account for Florida volleyball, anyone who has been watching CNN’s coverage of unrest in Libya has undoubtedly seen reports from network correspondent Sara Sidner. On-site in Tripoli as rebels attempt to usurp power from dictator Muammar Gadhafi, she was actually inside a compound still controlled Gadhafi on Tuesday. “We have had to run from Gadhafi Compound,” she tweeted at approximately 6 p.m. (ET). “Gun fire coming towards us from outside compound.” A former Gators volleyball player, Sidner is CNN’s New Delhi-based international correspondent covering India and South Asia and has been with the network since 2008. She graduated from UF in 1992 with a bachelor of science degree in telecommunications.

3 » Florida senior running back Jeff Demps learned Tuesday that his name was placed on the candidate list for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, given each year to numerous student-athletes who achieve greatness in four key areas: community, classroom, character and competition. Former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow is the only football player representing Florida to ever win the award (2009), which has only been presented since 2008.

All healed, former Gators safety Dorian Munroe plans to make most of opportunity in Toronto

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” — Thomas Edison

For every college football player who spends his career bellyaching about playing time or feels his coaching staff is not doing enough to help him move on to the next level is a guy who remains humble, keeps his head down and fights to earn his keep.

You usually see this type of gusto from walk-ons who are thrilled to have a place on the team and hope to earn a scholarship by proving they can work as hard and perform as well as the highly recruited players who intend to use their college careers as a springboard to the NFL.

But what happens when a four-star recruit listed as one of the top players at his position nationally works just as hard as any other player, earns the starting role he sought his whole career and is injured – not once but thrice – and told to kiss his career goodbye?

Those unfortunate circumstances are what former Florida Gators safety Dorian Munroe faced. Rather than fall by the wayside as another talented athlete who could not escape injury and wound up giving up on his dream, he has kept his head in the game, searched for the right opportunity and realized that any chance you are given to succeed is better than no chance at all.

Entering his redshirt junior year with Florida in 2008, Munroe was set to start and play extensively in the secondary. While doing voluntary workouts in Gainesville, FL on July 7, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and was forced to miss the entire season.

He rejoined the Gators in 2009 with his knee healed and his mind set on returning to form. After going through an extensive rehabilitation process, Munroe shined in the Orange & Blue Debut, grabbing an interception and proving that he was ready to play once again as part of a four-man rotation at safety.

His comeback would not be without another bump in the road, however, as he tore the meniscus in his right leg in August and missed the first seven games of the season. Munroe made his triumphant return to the field against Georgia on Oct. 31, starting on special teams and taking home the Special Teams Player of the Game award.

Little did he know that the first game he participated in after nearly 16 months on the mend would also be the last time he ever put the full Florida uniform.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s feature on Dorian Munroe…after the break!
Continue Reading » All healed, former Gators safety Dorian Munroe plans to make most of opportunity in Toronto

Florida to hire Greene as new strength coach

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan is set to hire the fourth new member of his basketball staff this offseason.

A source close to the team told OGGOA Tuesday morning that Donovan will hire Preston Greene as the the Gators’ basketball program’s new strength and conditioning coach.

Greene will replace veteran strength and conditioning coach Matt Herring, who left Florida to take the director of athletic performance job with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs last week.

A Clemson graduate, Greene has spent the last three seasons with his alma mater as its assistant strength and conditioning coach who led the efforts for the men’s basketball team. He has 10 years of experience running strength and conditioning programs with prior stops at both Stanford (2008-09) and Charlotte (2003-08).

Herring was the fourth member of Donovan’s staff that he has been forced to supplant in the last few months. All three of his assistants left after the 2010-11 season for other jobs and were replaced with former Gators assistant and Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey, former St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts, and former Florida director of basketball operations and Florida Atlantic assistant coach Matt McCall.

Did implicated players receive NCAA immunity?

When Yahoo! Sports released its extensive report on the illegal benefits scandal surrounding the Miami Hurricanes, seven players who were neither current nor former members of the team were also implicated. Among them were Florida Gators redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose and redshirt junior right tackle Matt Patchan.

On Thursday the University of Florida, after receiving approval from the NCAA, announced that both players were eligible for the 2011 season even though they were named in the report and may have received some form of improper benefits.

“We have been in communication with the NCAA and there are no eligibility issues with Andre Debose and Matt Patchan as it relates to recent reports. Andre, Matt nor the University of Florida will have any additional comments regarding this matter.”

According to CBSSports.com, the NCAA’s decision to approve the eligibility of Debose, Patchan and a number of other players named in the report may have been due to the organization using it’s “limited immunity” clause.

“Limited immunity” is a little-known procedure granted to NCAA investigators to get information from a player “when such an individual otherwise might be declared ineligible for intercollegiate competition,” according to the NCAA Manual.

The NCAA’s vice president of enforcement Roe Lach, without being overly specific, told CBSSports.com‘ Dennis Dodd that her organization did take a special step in order to move forward with its investigation.

“The enforcement staff has been given, by the membership, a pretty important investigative tool,” Lach said. She added that they are able to use said tool “when we think that’s really our only shot of getting that information.”

While no one at the NCAA will confirm that limited immunity has been used in this case, one source close to the investigation told CBSSports.com that “apparently they chose to give these guys limited immunity … which means they’re all eligible.”

It is unknown whether or not the NCAA specifically used this concept with Debose and Patchan or if the organization simply determined that neither was involved to an extent that was worth pursuing considering the extreme breadth and depth of its investigation.

 Page 474 of 770  « First  ... « 472  473  474  475  476 » ...  Last »