Florida Gators DE McCalister, DB Maye, WR Pittman suspended for 2015 opener

The Florida Gators announced Friday that redshirt junior defensive end Alex McCalister, redshirt junior defensive back Marcus Maye and senior wide receiver Latroy Pittman Jr. will “miss” the team’s season opener against New Mexico State on Saturday, Sept. 5.

All three players will be serving a suspension for violation of athletic department policy, per the school.

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Florida Gators practice update: Freshman DE CeCe Jefferson gets rave reviews; injury updates

Freshman defensive end CeCe Jefferson received plenty of hype as a consensus five-star prospect and one of the top recruits in the country, but his dragged-out signing process after committing to the Florida Gators on National Signing Day earned him national headlines. Now, five practices into his Florida career, Jefferson is the topic of conversation again – for all the right reasons.

“He’s one of the young guys doing a heck of a job. He shows up, and he’s not the only young guy that’s been stepping up. I’m sure that he’s here. He’s a guy that can make an impact,” said head coach Jim McElwain after Monday’s practice, the first for the Gators in pads this fall. “[Defensive line coach Chris] Rumph really enjoys working with him. He’s a guy that’s eager to learn, jumped right in at everything we’re doing. That just speaks volumes of the type of kid he is, too.”

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Florida Gators 2015 Orange & Blue Debut Preview: start time, TV schedule, live stream, who to watch

OnlyGators.com will offer a complete recap of the 2015 Orange & Blue Debut later Saturday evening following its tape-delayed replay on the SEC Network. More information below.

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather: Cloudy, 82 degrees, winds west/south-west at 7-8 mph
Time: 12:30 p.m. (EDT)

Live online/mobile (12:30 p.m.): SEC Network +
Live TV (12:30 p.m.): SEC Network alternate (“whip-around” coverage)
TV (9:00 p.m. tape delay): SEC Network
SiriusXM: None | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

EXPANDED VIEWING INFORMATION

Television:
Florida’s 2015 spring game will not air live in its entirety on television but rather on tape delay at 9 p.m. on SEC Network. Live “whip-around” coverage will be available on the SEC Network‘s alternate channel (where available) beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Online:
While the game is not being offered live on television, you can stream it live online (and via your mobile device) via SEC Network +. The game may be immediately available for replay via SEC Network + at the conclusion of the spring game.

EVENT FORMAT

» Florida will field an orange team and a blue team, which will square off over four 12-minute quarters and an un-timed overtime.

» Between each half, the Gators will hold a 12-minute halftime.

» There will also be a running clock for the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters, likely with some additional kicking and special teams work.

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Florida Gators 2015 spring practice: Alex McCalister, Jake McGee could key turnaround

Head coach Jim McElwain took the field with the Florida Gators for the 10th time on Wednesday as the 2015 spring practice session rolled along. After practice, he met with the media to discuss some goings on with the team.

Opening statement

“We bounced back and did have a heck of a practice today. I thought, especially in our situations, we worked two minute end of the game need field goal to push it into overtime. We worked overtime as well for the first time we were in true goal line in situations, so that was really good. And then we had a real spirited Gator drill today and so there was some good stuff leading into Friday. There will be a lot of really good film work.

“What I’m searching for [Thursday] is our guys really taking from the situational films. We’re going to start to stack some things and [Thursday’s] going to be huge for us in the meeting room as we’re moving forward. My message to them [Wednesday] was, let’s go ahead and win the meeting [Thursday]. That’s what we’ve got to kind of do one step at a time. Let’s just get a little bit better.”

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Assistant Chris Rumph on Gators defense: ‘They fool you … just like the girl I dated in high school’

With April Fool’s Day approaching, Florida Gators defensive line coach Chris Rumph indicated last week that he is no fan of tricks.

He has been burned before, which is why he is taking any signs of promise that Florida’s defense has showed him halfway through spring practice with a mountain of salt.

“They flash; they fool you,” said Rumph of his players. “[They]’re just like the girl I dated in high school. She told me she was gonna take me to the prom, and I’m getting my hair cut, trying to get my brother’s car, washing it up clean and all that stuff. I’m all excited about it … and then all of a sudden she calls and says, ‘I’m going to go with your best friend.’

“That’s how they are. They flash, they tell me they’re going to take me to the prom, but we haven’t gotten there yet.”

Yes, the Gators’ defense – which head coach Jim McElwain believes is well ahead of the offense to this point – is still a work in progress, according to Rumph. Florida will field arguably the nation’s best secondary in 2015, but he sees plenty of work ahead for the younger players in that unit as well as those in the defensive front seven.

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Florida-EKU post-game report: Durkin to coach bowl, Muschamp’s final lesson, Bullard’s decision

The Florida Gators (6-4) took care of business, routing the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (9-3) on Senior Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida’s 52-3 victory on Saturday got the Gators bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012 and also marked the second-largest win margin in any game under head coach Will Muschamp, who was able to leave The Swamp with his head held high.

BOWL GAME COACH CHOSEN

Moments after Florida’s win was finalized, the school announced that defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin would serve as interim head coach for the Gators’ bowl game this year. Durkin, the second-longest tenured member of the staff (five years) behind running backs coach Brian White (six years), will take the reigns of the program once Muschamp’s dismissal is finalized next Saturday, Nov. 29.

FINAL LESSON: A TOUGH WEEK, ROAD AHEAD

There should be no doubt that the entire Florida football team took Muschamp’s dismissal hard. Gators players spoke of him fondly on Monday after his press conference and were obviously playing with an extra gear on Saturday. Junior defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard even went so far as to write his coach’s last name on his eyeblack.

“I’ve just been through a lot and he’s been there for me,” Bullard said. “When I lost my grandmother, he was a big supporter; he let me go home as long as I needed. Just little things he did helping me through that whole situation, he’s just been a real good person to me. I respect him a lot, and actually, I love him. I just wanted to show some respect for him, everything he’s done for me, and show him that I appreciate it.”

Muschamp admitted Saturday that it took a while for Florida to get back in the swing of things this week. Monday’s practice was thwarted due to the weather; Tuesday the team looked “just OK” and did not show “great effort” on the field; and Wednesday was just “a little bit better.”

So Muschamp spent the Gators’ regularly-scheduled Thursday meeting speaking about much more than just the upcoming game but rather how Florida’s players need to deal with his dismissal and their futures going forward.

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Florida works past Vanderbilt 34-10 in Nashville

The Florida Gators (5-3, 4-3 SEC) won consecutive games against Southeastern Conference opponents for the first time in more than a year, working their way to a 34-10 defeat of the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-7, 0-6 SEC) on Saturday night at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Though Florida’s rushing attack was nowhere near as proficient as it was when it compiled 418 yards on the ground against Georgia one week ago, the Gators did their damage on the ground, racking up 214 yards and four touchdowns on 50 total rushes. Three of those scores came on the legs of UF quarterbacks with freshman Treon Harris rumbling in for two touchdowns and redshirt junior Jeff Driskel adding a one-yard score of his own.

Harris finished 13-of-21 for 215 yards, adding 49 net rushing yards on 10 attempts. Driskel did not complete his only pass try, throwing the ball into the ground, but was effective in a rarely-used direct snap role.

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Friday Final: Florida preparing for Maty Mauk, Alex McCalister stepping up for Gators

In this week’s edition of Florida Football Friday Final, OnlyGators.com takes a look at the Florida Gators (3-2, 2-2 SEC) as they prepare to host the Missouri Tigers (4-2, 1-1 SEC) on Saturday evening at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. and air live on ESPN2.

THIS WEEK ON ONLYGATORS.COM

Notebook: Missouri prep begins with Florida playing two quarterbacks
Notebook: Kurt Roper talks Gators’ offense and rushing attack
Story: Jeff Driskel will start as Florida readies Treon Harris
Notebook: Will Muschamp updates team injuries, quarterback situation

GATORS LOOK TO AVOID BEING MAUK-ED UP

One year ago, while making his first career start against a reeling Florida team, Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk looked like a seasoned veteran, throwing for 295 yards and a touchdown and hitting the ground for another score. Sixty-one of those 295 yards came on two passes within the first 22 seconds of the game, as Mauk completed a 41-yard toss and then a 20-yard touchdown throw on consecutive plays. Suffice to say, the Gators have no plans to underestimate him this time around.

“I think he’s a very good player. He’s a guy that can make all the throws. He’s got extreme arm talent. He’s got good touch; he can zip it when he needs to. He’s got great legs,” said Florida head coach Will Muschamp. “He’s a guy that throws it extremely well. He has great command of their offense and what they do and how they’re doing it. I think he needs to get a little more help around him.”

Mauk threw four interceptions this week, though like many committed by the Gators this season, his Tigers playmakers have been partly responsible for some of his miscues by either running wrong routes or tipping decently-to-well-thrown passes. Prior to that game, he had a 14-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

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