9/15: Muschamp reviews UK, previews Bama

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (2-0, 1-0 SEC) met with the media on Monday to open up game week ahead of his team’s first road contest of the 2014 season. Florida will travel Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0, 0-0 SEC) on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 3:30 p.m.

OPENING STATEMENT

“It was a great team win as far as picking each other up. Parts of the game, defensively, [we] played really well early in the game, did some nice things offensively, moved the ball, did not score in the red zone, had a couple issues on third down – two drops, two protection issues – that hurt us in the first half.

“Field position killed us in the first half; average staring on the 15-yard line, but we moved the ball, that was the encouraging thing. I felt totally in control of the game until the 60-yard touchdown pass that gave them some energy. But our guys fought back and overcame those situations. Right now on the season, we’re +7 on the year in turnover margin, +13 in explosive plays. That’s a good combination to have.

“Going back offensively, field position really hurt us. We need to score touchdowns in the red zone; we had a couple issues down there, third down, but we stayed balanced in what we did. I thought the offensive staff did a nice job with adjustments in the second half of getting in some 12 personnel and running the ball. We were able to create some holes in there. I thought our offensive line did a really good job of movement upfront and handling all that stuff. …

“Overall, as a team, handled some adversity well. That was the first time we had to deal with it this season, so it was good to condition ourselves moving on the road.”

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Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Kentucky Wildcats

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather: 82°F (feels like 88°F), scattered t-storms (chance of rain: 40 percent)
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT

TV: SEC Network (Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer, Maria Taylor)

Streaming Video: SEC Network | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 119/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Stoops
Record: 1-0 (0-0 SEC) Record: 2-0 (0-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Florida -18.5 | O/U 53.5

KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS

Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you forgot to check out via the links below!

Notebook: Muschamp sees room for improvement after Gators’ 65-0 win
Notebook: Jeff Driskel avoiding miscues; Dante Fowler Jr. leading defense
Notebook: Mark Stoops preparing for big test at Florida
Notebook: Kurt Roper wants Gators offense to stay humble, speed up
The Silver Lining: Florida loses J.C. Jackson for the season
Friday Final: “Trash talk,” coaching connections, Tim Tebow returns

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Snell’s Slant: Good to see the Gators fight again

By Shannon Snell – OnlyGators.com Featured Columnist

How many people, fans of the Florida Gators or not, would have correctly predicted that this team would score over 60 points in one game, any game, this season? For those of you with your hands up, please put them down and quit lying to yourselves.

As an offensive player, I could not help but get excited when seeing the offensive explosion that happened on Saturday. Hell, it has felt like a decade since we have seen this Florida team completely dominate an opponent offensively. Yes, that opponent was Eastern Michigan, which also happened to be outmatched in every other phase of the game, but it was still evident the Gators were firing on nearly all their cylinders.

Over the last few days, plenty of friends and family have asked me why Florida would schedule such an inept team, what one can truly take away from a game like that and how it could help the Gators move forward this season.

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The Silver Lining for Wednesday, September 10: Gators lose J.C. Jackson for season

Gators lose two for season

It may be two weeks into the season, but Florida has already lost two starters – one for the season – as well as a potential future starter after just one game.

Head coach Will Muschamp announced Tuesday that freshman cornerback J.C. Jackson will miss the remainder of the 2014 campaign after re-aggravating a shoulder injury he brought with him to UF from high school.

“J.C. Jackson will have surgery on his shoulder next week, a labrum issue that had in high school that was repaired and continues to slip out,” Muschamp explained.

“He possibly could continue to push through the season, but we felt like at his young age, [it makes sense to] just try to get it fixed and move forward. A guy who was certainly was going to help on special teams and at corner [and] is going to be outstanding player. Disappointed for him, but we’ve got to move forward.”

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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.”

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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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9/6: Florida-Eastern Michigan post-game report

The Florida Gators (1-0) exorcised some demons on Saturday, erasing a seven-game losing skid and continuing a 25-game season-opener winning streak by running through the Eastern Michigan Eagles (1-1) on Saturday afternoon at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

The Gators upended the Eagles 65-0, scoring eight touchdowns and forcing five turnovers in an afternoon where everything seemed to go Florida’s way.

Head coach Will Muschamp spoke with the media after the season-opening victory, addressing what he saw as the highs and lows of the win.

OPENING STATEMENT

“Very pleased with what we were able to do today. Hit some big plays offensively, missed a couple. We got to hit those down the field. I thought Jeff [Driskel threw the ball extremely well. You saw what I referenced as far as his command and comfort with where we are. …

“I thought we protected pretty well. The turnovers were huge to be able to get those in the game and get the ball off some people. Eighty-six plays – that was good to have that many skill kids and take that many shots. …

“Defensively, I thought we did OK. I thought there were some things they missed. We didn’t cover down on a couple things in the secondary especially that would have hit against someone else probably, in my opinion. We got to get that cleaned up.”

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Florida TE Jake McGee (leg) out for the season

The Florida Gators believed the injury bug that ravaged their roster – with 10 starters and 15 total players suffering season-ending injuries in 2013 – had left Gainesville, Florida for good. Instead, it appears as if it was just hibernating in the offseason.

Florida redshirt senior tight end Jake McGee, a graduate transfer from Virginia in his first year with the program, broke his tibia and fibula during Saturday’s season opener and will miss the remainder of the 2014 season.

McGee, UVA’s leading pass-catcher in 2013 who was expected to play a big role in UF’s new offense under the leadership of coordinator Kurt Roper, did not even have the opportunity to catch a pass before going down with the injury during the first quarter Saturday’s season opener.

“We lost Jake McGee for the year – broken tibia and [fibula]. I’m so disappointed for him, a guy that came in here, and it’s very difficult to come into a situation for one year. He’s done it as well as you can imagine,” head coach Will Muschamp said after the game.

“This guy is a total team guy, tough guy, and I think we’re going to do the surgery [Saturday] night. I’ll know much more Monday where we are.”

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