Rainey joins Cardinals, reflects on Colts exit

Florida Gators running back Chris Rainey hopes to take advantage of his third chance to stick with an NFL franchise after the Arizona Cardinals signed the much-maligned rusher and returner to their practice squad on Tuesday.

Rainey arrived in Arizona on Saturday, believing he had an opportunity to get signed to the roster after the Cardinals’ first game. Instead, the team was forced to replace their starting punter, who suffered a groin injury, and signed Drew Butler one day before its season-opener on Monday night.

After the game, Rainey learned that Arizona still wanted to bring him in to an open position on their practice squad. He was just happy for the opportunity.

“I really didn’t care. I didn’t care if they put me on the active roster or the practice squad. ‘As long as I’m here,’ that’s what I told them. I just wanted to be here,” he said in a phone conversation with OnlyGators.com on Tuesday night. “They wanted me, so I came back, and now I’m here.”

Continue Reading » Rainey joins Cardinals, reflects on Colts exit

9/9: Kurt Roper wants Florida Gators offense to stay humble, be careful, speed up

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and a couple of his players met with the media on Tuesday to provide some thoughts on Florida’s first game and the Gators’ upcoming contest against the Kentucky Wildcats, which is set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

KEEPING THEIR HEADS

Florida’s offense exploded on Saturday to the tune of 65 points and 655 yards of total offense, though Roper was not necessarily surprised by the performance.

“Yeah, that’s not easy to do,” he said. “I think as coaches what you look at [are] the things that you have to improve on. Obviously it’s nice to win and score that many points and all that but there’s so many things to correct that that’s what sticks on your brain as a coach. We’ve got to be better here or it’s going to create some issues.”

As a coach, Roper is used to keeping his head and not letting his players get too far into the clouds after stellar performances. On Tuesday, he explained exactly how he goes about doing that on a weekly basis.

Continue Reading » 9/9: Kurt Roper wants Florida Gators offense to stay humble, be careful, speed up

Kentucky’s Stoops preparing for test at Florida

The Kentucky Wildcats appear to be trending upward under second-year head coach Mark Stoops. Currently sitting at 2-0 with a 59-14 win over Tennessee-Martin in Week 1 and a 20-3 victory against Ohio in Week 2, Kentucky is not only 33rd nationally in scoring offense (39.5 points) but sixth in the country in scoring defense (8.5 points).

With the Florida Gators (1-0) on deck Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, Stoops spent a large portion of his Monday afternoon press conference discussing the Gators and the difficult task his team has ahead of it this weekend.

The below quotes are courtesy of a transcript from The Courier-Journal, which has more from Stoops on Florida and his Kentucky team entering its third game of the season:

On how the Gators have impressed him on tape: “Just the typical Florida team: physical, with a bunch of athletes out there. Very fast, very well-coached. They’re very aggressive defensively. They’re much improved offensively. Obviously, they racked up a whole boat load of yards.”

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TWO BITS: Bullard as Mr. Two Bits, Purifoy settled

1 » The Florida Gators on Tuesday announced that former defensive end Thaddeus Bullard, now competing in WWE as superstar Titus O’neil, will don the celebratory yellow shirt and orange-and-blue tie when he performs as Mr. Two-Bits for Saturday night’s game against the Kentucky Wildcats. “Going out there and trying to be as good as Errict Rhett and Danny Wuerffel, now that’ll be the challenge,” he told the school’s website. “I’m a competitive guy, so I want to make sure mine is just as memorable when I do it. I don’t know what it is I’m going to do, but by the time Saturday gets here I will definitely have figured it out.” Check out OnlyGators.com‘s interview with Bullard/O’Neil from last March.

Continue Reading » TWO BITS: Bullard as Mr. Two Bits, Purifoy settled

Driskel avoiding miscues, praising Harris; Fowler leading troops without fear

Florida Gators redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel and junior defensive end Dante Fowler, Jr. met with the media on Monday to wrap-up their 65-0 win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles and preview Florida’s next game against the Kentucky Wildcats.

Driskel discussed the Gators’ comfort level in their new offense while Fowler displayed many characteristics of an emerging leader for Florida’s defense. Both players also praised some of their freshmen teammates.

SUCCEEDING AND STAYING HUMBLE

Driskel earned plenty of praise from his teammates and coaches alike in the offseason, and it was even pointed out separately by both groups that he never once turned the ball over in 11-on-11 competition. He was error-free in that regard Saturday, too, though head coach Will Muschamp was not completely thrilled with that being pointed out on Monday.

“Are you trying to jinx us, or what? I mean, what the heck’s going on?” Muschamp jokingly asked the questioning reporter. “Jeff’s been really smart with the football and that’s a day-to-day process you’ve got to go through. But I think, again, people saw the command that we’ve seen in camp and the comfort level he has in what we’re trying to do.”

Continue Reading » Driskel avoiding miscues, praising Harris; Fowler leading troops without fear

9/8: Muschamp sees room for improvement

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (1-0) met with the media on Monday to open up game week ahead of his team’s Southeastern Conference opener against the Kentucky Wildcats (2-0) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

INJURY (AND REPLACEMENT) UPDATES

Muschamp confirmed Monday that redshirt senior tight end Jake McGee’s leg surgery, to repair a broken tibia and fibula, was successful with the player expected to leave the hospital later that afternoon. No decisions have been made by McGee about his future, Muschamp said, which is understandable considering the incident just occurred. CBSSports.com draft analyst Rob Rang had McGee rated as a fifth- or sixth-round selection prior to the injury.

Senior Clay Burton will take most of McGee’s snaps at tight end, while senior Tevin Westbrook and freshman DeAndre Goolsby battle for the second-string job. Goolsby was potentially headed for a redshirt but is unlikely to have that luxury anymore.

“We plan on activating him and getting him going,” Muschamp said. “That means you’ve got to get him going on special teams and get him going on offense. That’s our plan.”

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TWO BITS: Horschel wins; Murphy, Calathes out

1 » Former Florida Gators golfer Billy Horschel on Sunday earned his second PGA Tour victory, his first in one year and five months, after shooting -14 and winning the 2014 BMW Championship. Just last week, Horschel choked on the 18th hole during his final round at the 2014 Deutsche Bank Championship, finishing in a three-way tie for second behind Chris Kirk of Georgia. He did not make the same mistake on Sunday, shooting -1 over the final 12 holes to best two-time Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson, also a UGA alum. Horschel collected $1.44 million on Sunday to go along with the $579,000 he banked last week, bringing his season-long earnings to nearly $3.4 million.

Continue Reading » TWO BITS: Horschel wins; Murphy, Calathes out

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 1

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

Below are full game statistics for all 31 players (14 starters^) that saw action along with select status and injury updates on some Gators during the first week of the regular season.

^ Kickers and returners not counted as starters.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WR PERCY HARVIN, Seattle Seahawks: Started | seven receptions for 59 yards (long: 33) [team-highs]; four carries for 41 yards (long: 16), fumble (recovered); three kickoff returns for 60 yards (long: 31)

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

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