Three legendary Florida Gators – Rick Casares, Larry Travis, Hans Tanzler – have passed away

A trio of well-known and highly-successful former Florida Gators football players has passed away in the last two months with fullback Rick Casares, on Friday, becoming the latest to meet his maker. He was 82.

From 1951-53, Casares played football and basketball at Florida but had his career cut short when he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was the first player in the history of the Gators football program to score a touchdown (and kick an extra point) in a bowl game – doing so in the 1953 Gator Bowl – and also served as a kicker for Florida. He went 13-for-13 on field goals in 1951.

A captain in both sports, Casares won multiple All-SEC honors and was even named an honorable mention All-American. On the hardwood, he led the Gators basketball team in scoring and rebounding in consecutive seasons, averaging 14.9 points and 11.3 rebounds in 1951-52 and 15.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in 1952-53.

“He was the best to ever play here in my opinion,” said program historian Norm Carlson in a conversation with UF’s website. “He was an incredible athlete. If they needed him to play quarterback, he would play quarterback. If they asked him to play linebacker, he would do that and knock somebody’s head off. He was a great fullback. He could do anything on the football field and look so good doing it.”

When he was eligible after his military service was complete, Casares was drafted with the 18th overall pick in the second round of the 1954 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He played for three teams over 12 years (1955-66), racking up career numbers of 5,797 rushing yards, 1,588 receiving yards and 60 touchdowns in 130 games.

Continue Reading » Three legendary Florida Gators – Rick Casares, Larry Travis, Hans Tanzler – have passed away

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9/16: Muschamp on injuries, turnovers, Tennessee

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss what his team accomplished during the open week while Saturday’s home game against the Tennessee Volunteers. The contest will kick off at 3:30 p.m. from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, and air live on CBS.

INJURY UPDATES

Despite listing nine different players as injured following the Miami game, Muschamp said Florida is in relative good health heading into the Tennessee game. Most importantly, juniors quarterback Jeff Driskel (knee) and cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee) are both good to go.

In Monday’s updated depth chart, redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio, who missed all of fall camp and the first two games of the season with a torn pectoral muscle, was listed as the starter once again. He is not the only offensive lineman with injury concerns, however.

Sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries hurt his knee against Toledo on Aug. 31 but still started against UM on Sept. 7. He was removed from the game at halftime when the injury flared up, but Muschamp does not believe it will be an issue going forward.

“I don’t think so. I think the week off helped him. He had some soreness and some tightness in the knee. Certainly, it’s a long season. I felt like we wanted to pull him at the time. It is what it is,” he said.

Muschamp also addressed what would happen if Humphries needs to be replaced against UT. “If that’s the situation that occurs, Max Garcia goes to left tackle and Ian [Silberman] goes to left guard and we’ll move forward. We’re prepared for that to happen, but I don’t think that’s going to be an issue moving forward.”

The one player that remains questionable for Saturday is redshirt sophomore right tackle Tyler Moore, who hurt his ankle late in the fourth quarter in the last game. “Tyler Moore was the only injured player that probably would have missed this weekend had we had a game, with the ankle. Feel pretty good about him. He probably will not practice today. Hoping to get him back Tuesday or Wednesday,” Muschamp said.

Continue Reading » 9/16: Muschamp on injuries, turnovers, Tennessee

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Ratliff, Stanley, Cruz, Yohe headline UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2014 inductees

Seven former letterwinners – including Gator Greats Keiwan Ratliff (football), Mike Stanley (baseball) and Aury Cruz (volleyball) – and one Distinguished Letterwinner will be inducted as the UF Athletic Hall of Fame’s 2014 class.

The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced Wednesday that the honors will be bestowed upon these former players at the Hall of Fame Banquet on March 7 at 6 p.m. in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Inductees are divided into three distinct categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners.

The remainder of the 2014 class includes Gator Greats Jenny Gladding (softball), Justin O’Neal (men’s tennis), Colleen Rosensteel (women’s track & field) and Sarah Yohe (soccer) as well as Distinguished Letterwinner Harrison Wilder (swimming).

Read more about each inductee and their career accomplishments…
Continue Reading » Ratliff, Stanley, Cruz, Yohe headline UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2014 inductees

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Muschamp blasts Florida media for inaccurately reporting opening game suspensions

Shortly after providing an opening statement following the No. 10 Florida Gators‘ 24-6 defeat of the Toledo Rockets at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, head coach Will Muschamp admonished some members of the team’s media corps for inaccurately reporting one particular player as being suspended for the season opener.

On Friday night, multiple reports surfaced that five additional Gators would be suspended for Saturday’s game for violations of team rules. Among those five names reported was freshman defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick, who actually dressed for the game and would have played had Florida needed him during the contest.

GatorCountry.com first reported that five players were suspended and was also the first to mention Bostwick’s name. Subsequently, The Gainesville Sun and Palm Beach Post both reported the five suspensions, citing their own sources close to the program.

The other four players – junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, senior DT Darious Cummings sophomore wide receiver Latroy Pittman and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Quinteze Williams – were all confirmed as suspended by the school Saturday morning. Pittman will miss two additional games.

Read the full text of Muschamp’s post-game rant…after the break!
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Gameday: No. 10 Florida Gators vs. Toledo

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 85°F, partly cloudy / scattered t-stomrs (20%), winds SW at 6 mph
Time: 12:21 p.m. EDT

Tickets: Best deals on Florida Gators tickets starting at $28 on TiqIQ

TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, Andre Ware, Cara Capuano) [Affiliates]
SiriusXM: 136/201 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com | Mobile Video: None
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

No. 10 FLORIDA GATORS TOLEDO ROCKETS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Matt Campbell
Record: 0-0 Record: 0-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Mid-American
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -22 | O/U: 55.5

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida and Toledo have never played on the gridiron*, but UF is 14-1 in the last two seasons against unranked opponents under Muschamp.
» The Rockets have never played a team from the SEC.
» The Gators are 79-27 all-time in season openers (64-6 in Gainesville) and have won 23-straight games to begin a season, the longest streak in the SEC and second-longest streak in the nation (Nebraska, 27).
» UF opens the 2013 campaign ranked in the polls for the 23rd-straight season but in the top 10 for the first time since 2010.
» Toledo finished 9-4 (6-2 MAC) in 2012 and are also coming a devastating bowl game loss, falling 41-15 to Utah in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
» Entering the season, Florida has what is widely considered as the toughest schedule in the country with four games scheduled against preseason top-15 opponents plus a road game at Miami in Week 2.
» In 2012, the Gators finished a 7-0 at home for just the third time in school history, a mark that matched the 2006 and 2009 UF teams.
» Florida is 12-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards (1-5 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards). The Gators are also 14-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 10-2 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 12-3 when scoring first (6-5 when an opponent scores first) and 14-1 when leading at the half (4-7 when tied or trailing at the break).
» UF’s .878 (129-18) home winning percentage is best in the nation since 1990.
» Florida still leads the nation in interceptions (96), interception return yards (1,688) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (16) since 2008.
» Wide receivers coach Joker Phillips and special teams coordinator Jeff Choate are new additions to the Gators’ coaching staff. Also helping the team this season are thee former Florida players – undergraduate assistant Mike Peterson and graduate assistants Chris Leak and Duke Lemmens.
» Safety Jordan Haden, the brother of Joe Haden who transferred to Toledo after enrolling at UF in the spring of 2010, injured his collarbone and will not play Saturday.
» One-time Gators wide receiver commit Rodney Adams, who was unable to qualify academically, accepted an offer from the Rockets and will play in The Swamp.
» Toledo bested Florida in every offensive category rank in 2012, coming in ahead of their hosts in rushing offense (35-39), passing offense (48-114), total offense (32-103) and scoring offense (44-76) last season. The Gators, however, were miles ahead in defensive ranks including rushing defense (4-78), passing defense (17-116), total defense (5-109) and scoring defense (5-67).

Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!

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QB Danny Wuerffel discusses hall of fame, disease, Florida football and New Orleans

Former Florida Gators quarterback and 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2013 on Dec. 10 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, NY.

Wuerffel, who was first up for induction in 2012 but not chosen on his first ballot, is the seventh Florida player and 10th representative of the Gators (three coaches) to earn induction into the prestigious group. He joins defensive end Dale Van Sickel (1975), QB Steve Spurrier (1986), DE Jack Youngblood (1992), running back Emmitt Smith (2006), linebacker Wilber Marshall (2008) and wide receiver Carlos Alvarez (2011) as players in the career-defining club. Coaches Charlie Bachman (1978), Ray Graves (1990) and Doug Dickey (2003) are also members.

The winner of seven awards in 1996, the Davey O’Brien Award in 1995, two SEC Player of the Year honors and two first-team All-American nods, Wuerffel threw for an astounding 10,875 yards and 114 touchdowns in his four-year career at Florida, both of which remain school records. He also led the Gators to the program’s first national championship and four-straight SEC titles.

In 1995, his efficiency rating of 178.4 set a single-season collegiate record. In his Heisman year of 1996, Wuerffel led the nation with an SEC-record 39 touchdowns while setting another SEC record with 3,625 yards and registering a 170.6 efficiency rating, making him the first quarterback to ever post a rating of 170+ in consecutive seasons.

At the conclusion of his collegiate career, Wuerffel held four national records, 12 conference records and 32 school records.

He was enshrined in the Gators’ Ring of Honor in 2006 and is also immortalized in a bronze statue outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

In a recent interview with OnlyGators.com, he revealed that he will return to The Swamp on Sept. 21 for the Tennessee game as he will be honored on the field for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Now the executive director of Desire Street Ministries, which works to revitalize impoverished neighborhoods through spiritual and community development, and on his way to a full recovery from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disease that he was first stricken with in 2011, Wuerffel discussed his illness, Florida football and more in a 30-minute exclusive conversation earlier this month.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: It has been a while since we last spoke. Let’s hear some good news about your recovery and how are you feeling these days.
DANNY WUERFFEL: “I’m happy to report that I’m feeling very blessed and fortunate. I think I’m probably in the 90-95 percent range from where I was before. Actually, Guillain-Barre is usually something that comes, attacks your body and then you get over it to whatever degree you recover. Rarely do you have ongoing symptoms or another bout with it. In the world of difficult health issues, this is often one of the kinder ones to struggle through because I know a lot of friends that have ongoing, chronic struggles that really have no end in sight. So I feel very fortunate.”

Continue Reading » QB Danny Wuerffel discusses hall of fame, disease, Florida football and New Orleans

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Florida Gators open four fall practices to fans

Updated on Aug. 5 at 1:45 p.m.

Florida Gators football fans anxious for the 2013 season to begin will be able to get a sneak peak at the program early in the fall as the team officially announced Friday that four practices will be open in the middle of August including one at The Swamp.

Thursday, August 15 – 2:45 p.m. – Donald R. Dizney Stadium (lacrosse field)
Saturday, August 17 – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Monday, August 19 – 7:45 a.m. – Sanders Football Practice Facility
Tuesday, August 20 – 9:35 a.m. – Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Concession stands will be open on Aug. 17 and fans can begin entering the stadium from Gates 1, 4, 6, 15 and 18 as early as 8:30 a.m.

The second practice will be open on Verizon Fan Day, which takes place afterward from 3-6 p.m. at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Members of the football and volleyball teams will be available to sign autographs for fans on posters passed out at the event.

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Previewing Florida’s 2013 Friday Night Lights

Mixing pomp and circumstance with football drills and relationship building, the Florida Gators use their annual Friday Night Lights camp at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as both a recruiting tool and means of evaluating some of the best high school football players in the country. The Gators often host top-tier prospects over the FNL weekend but also find diamonds in the rough while coaching up the recruits.

The Swamp will once again filled with some of the top young talent in the nation on July 26, so much so that covering every player that plans to step on the field is a near impossibility. Below are a list of 10 players (in no particular order) to keep an eye on either because of their talent or high level of interest in attending Florida.

DB Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, CA) –
A two-way player and consensus five-star prospect, Jackson is an incredible talent that can play wide receiver or cornerback on the collegiate level. A high school track star, he desires to play two sports in college and is a big fan of Florida track & field coach Mike Holloway; the interest is more than mutual. Jackson will be visiting the Gators for the first time on Friday but is expected to return in the fall for an official visit. He is ranked as the No. 9 overall prospect in the country by Rivals.

WR Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, FL) –
One of Florida’s top pass catching targets, Rudolph once listed the Gators as his leader but is now wide open with Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon (among others) all pushing hard for the Rivals250 prospect. Rudolph is ranked 153rd overall by Rivals and is said to have a great relationship with Florida WR coach Joker Phillips, his primary recruiter.

DB Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, FL) –
Ranked 150th in the nation by Rivals, Wilson wants to play college football in his home state, and it is widely believed that the Gators are in the lead for his services. He is close with Florida four-star RB pledge Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL) and four-star WR Ermon Lane (Homestead, FL), who is also believed to be a UF lean. Wilson and Lane both plan to make their commitments official in August, but the former could wind up popping for the Gators this weekend. Lane will not be in attendance at FNL.

Read up on seven more players attending Friday Night Lights…after the break!
Continue Reading » Previewing Florida’s 2013 Friday Night Lights

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