Friday Final: Morrison stepping up for Gators

In this week’s edition of Florida Football Friday Final, OnlyGators.com takes a look at the Florida Gators (4-3, 3-3 SEC) as they prepare to ride their wave of momentum against the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-6, 0-5 SEC) on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and air live on the SEC Network.

THIS WEEK ON ONLYGATORS.COM

Story: Max Garcia gets emotional over Mike McNeely
Notebook: Two Florida starters out at Vanderbilt; updates from Will Muschamp
Notebook: Kurt Roper talks passing game, Jeff Driskel’s new role
The Silver Lining: Gators ready to overcome 2013 embarrassment by ‘Dores
Notebook: Florida looking for replacement for injured S Keanu Neal

HE IS ANTONIO

One year ago, coming off an embarrassing offseason in which he was arrested twice – first for an allegedly punching a bouncer, then for barking at a police dog – then-sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison struggled. The spotlight was looming and the expectations were high with Morrison expected to be Jon Bostic’s heir apparent, but as strong as Florida’s defense was early in the season, Morrison was not always trustworthy in the middle.

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Florida hopes to find replacement for S Keanu Neal, D.J. Durkin talks Gators defensive players

Florida Gators defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin met with the media on Wednesday, a few days before his team travels to Nashville, Tennessee, to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores. Durkin evaluated a number of players and discussed how the Gators can improve defensively before their next game.

WANTED: STARTING SAFETY

With sophomore Keanu Neal sidelined for an unknown length of time due to a high-ankle sprain, Florida is searching for his replacement. Twice this week, coaches failed to name one player as Neal’s stand-in, instead choosing to discuss four different players that could line up to senior Jabari Gorman on Saturday.

“Keanu is a great football player; he has played really well for us. He’s productive, flies around and makes a lot of plays. Any time a guy goes down, it’s part of the game and the next guy has to step up and there can’t be a drop off in production. I think we’ll be fine,” said Durkin.

“Marcus Maye has played a bunch for us; Jabari Gorman played his best game since he has been here last week. Those guys combined with Marcell [Harris], Nick Washington and Duke Dawson, there’s a whole group of guys getting reps now and we’ll keep working them through the week to see where we’re at.”

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The Silver Lining for November 5: Vanderbilt embarrassment, NFL Draft, caption contest

Bitter about Vanderbilt

Do the Florida Gators remember seeing their 22-game winning streak against the Vanderbilt Commodores coming to an end last season with the Dores topping the Gators 34-17…on homecoming…in Gainesville, Florida?

You bet.

“They completely embarrassed us last year,” said redshirt senior center Max Garcia. “We’re going to go to their house and we want them to experience the same disappointment that they gave to us last year. We definitely have to redeem ourselves in that way. We’re going out there to play football. We’re going out there – it doesn’t matter who we’re playing against – but it is an added token just knowing that they embarrassed us last year at The Swamp.”

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Florida-Georgia post-game report: Gators celebrate dominant win over Bulldogs

A 38-20 win over the then-No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 4-2 SEC), which was more dominant than the score indicates, has given the Florida Gators (4-3, 3-3 SEC) and head coach Will Muschamp new life.

Muschamp met with the media after the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on Saturday to discuss Florida breaking its three-game losing streak at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Gators hoping to turn a page this season.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Despite the Gators’ victory, the Bulldogs still hold a 49-41-2 all-time advantage over their border rivals in the Florida-Georgia game. UGA also leads 43-38-1 for games played in Jacksonville. UF, however, is 19-6 against its rival since 1990.
» By locking up a victory, the Gators avoided four-straight losses to the Bulldogs, which would’ve occurred for the first time since dropping six in a row from 1978-83.
» It was the third time in the series that an unranked UF defeated a ranked UGA.
» Florida was an 11.5-point underdog entering the game despite Georgia not winning a game in the series by more than eight points since 1997.
» The victory ensured that UF’s senior class would not be the first since 1983 to go winless against UGA in their collegiate careers.
» Muschamp won his first-ever Florida-Georgia game after going 0-4 as a UGA player and starting 0-3 as a UF coach.
» The Gators had lost six-straight games against top 25 opponents before defeating the Bulldogs. UF is now 5-13 against ranked opponents under Muschamp.
» This was just Florida’s third game this season not decided by six points or fewer.
» The Gators (blue) and Bulldogs (red) each wore their respective team-color jersey. It is the first time this happened in the Florida-Georgia game since 1970.
» Treon Harris was the first true freshman quarterback to start a game for UF since 2011 (Jacoby Brissett) and the first to start a Florida-Georgia game since 2003 (Chris Leak).
» Running backs junior Matt Jones (192 yards) and sophomore Kelvin Taylor (197 yards) each set career-highs on Saturday. The rushers also had two touchdowns apiece.
» It was the first time in school history that UF had two backs each eclipse 120 yards in the same game.
» It was the first time since 2011 (Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey) that the Gators had two running backs eclipse 100 yards in the same game.
» The 418 rushing yards on Saturday were a season-high for the Gators (most since 1989) and most allowed by the Bulldogs since 1978 (second-most ever). Florida also had three runs (65 yards, 44 yards [twice]) that were the longest given up by Georgia this season. UF’s 418 rushing yards were also the most by a Muschamp team (second time over 400 in a single game).
» The Gators are 5-0 under Muschamp when rushing 50+ times and 9-0 when scoring three or more rushing touchdowns in a game.
» Florida only completed three passes in the game, its fewest in records dating back to 1996 (UF is 6-5 in 11 games with 10 or fewer completions).

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Florida Gators run wild in dominant 38-20 victory over No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville

With their backs against the wall, the Florida Gators (4-3, 3-3 SEC) came through for their fans, their embattled head coach and each other, ending a three-game losing streak to their long-time rivals, the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 4-2 SEC), by racking up 418 rushing yards on the way to a dominant 38-20 victory on Saturday afternoon at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

Running backs junior Matt Jones and sophomore Kelvin Taylor each registered career-highs on the afternoon. Jones carried the ball 25 times for 192 yards and two touchdowns, and Taylor toted the rock 25 times for 197 yards and two scores of his own.

The duo combined for 50 carries, 389 yards and four touchdown on the afternoon, each setting career-highs for yards in a game while becoming the first pair of Gators to each rush for 120 yards or more in a single contest. Florida as a team gained 418 yards on the ground, the fifth-highest total in program history.

The victory was head coach Will Muschamp‘s first in the UF-UGA rivalry game. He entered the contest 0-7, 0-4 as a Bulldogs player and 0-3 as UF’s coach.

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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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10/13: Muschamp says Gators will play two quarterbacks – Driskel and Harris – on Saturday

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (3-2, 2-2 SEC) met with the media on Monday as his team continues to recover from its latest loss while preparing for the Missouri Tigers (4-2, 1-1 SEC) on Saturday evening. Florida will host Mizzou at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida; kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., and the agme will air live nationally on ESPN2.

INTRODUCING THE TWO-QUARTERBACK SYSTEM

In what was likely to be the original plan last week against LSU, Muschamp confirmed Monday that Florida will employ a two-quarterback system this week against Missouri with redshirt junior Jeff Driskel likely to take the first snaps in the contest.

“They both will play this week. We’ll work through the week and see how things go. We’ll see how it goes there,” he said. “Right now, Jeff would probably start, but they’re both going to play.”

Driskel, who learned of his demotion to part-time player when Muschamp made the announcement, said he has no qualms with the decision because he knows he needs to pick up his play going forward. Freshman Treon Harris, of course, will be the other signal caller taking reps with Driskel.

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Snell’s Slant: Life not easy for the these Gators

By Shannon Snell – OnlyGators.com Featured Columnist

I have to admit, as I sat in front of my television on Saturday, I was sweating bullets. For the first time in a decade, I honestly thought Tennessee was going to defeat Florida. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind.

The product that the Gators’ offense put on the field in the first half was, for a lack of a better word, atrocious. Actually, that’s the right word: atrocious.

For some reason Jeff Driskel, a redshirt junior in his third year as Florida’s starter, is regressing. He has made plenty of mistakes in his career, but Driskel has also helped the Gators win plenty of football games. Now the team is simply rudderless with him in the game. Despite all that, he is not playing as poorly as everyone insists. Yes, Driskel is playing with very little confidence; considering that Gator Nation goes on endlessly about his performance and demands his benching, you can probably understand why he is having some mental struggles.

It also needs to be made quite clear that the skill players around Driskel are not making life any easier. The simplest thing to do is blame the quarterback for the offense’s problems, but he cannot control receivers dropping the ball or running the wrong routes, or the offensive line blocking in the wrong protection scheme. These issues all affect his – and the offense’s – performance just as much as Driskel’s mental lapses.

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