SIX BITS: Muschamp, Tebow, Parsons, Horford

1 » Yahoo! Sports took a closer look at the Florida Gators football program that has been remade this season under head coach Will Muschamp. As part of the feature, a couple of players described how fractured the team had become under Urban Meyer. “Toward the end of Coach Meyer’s time here, a lot of guys were out for themselves – not buying into the team concept,” redshirt senior defensive tackle Omar Hunter explained. “He was out for himself, so they thought the same thing. … Guys were showing up late for practice and workouts. Guys were supposed to be back on Sunday and didn’t get back until Monday. There was no discipline.” Muschamp also discussed his recruiting philosophy in the piece. “I’ll turn my back on a five-star guy if he isn’t a good guy,” he said. “I have zero reservations about that. Zero reservations. … I’m the recruiting coordinator here. You’re not a good guy, you go somewhere else. We’ll play you. We’ll beat you.”

2 » The New York Jets will face Arizona on Sunday, three weeks after quarterback Tim Tebow fractured his ribs in a game. Though Tebow has been dressed for each of the last two game and even played two weeks ago, he missed last week’s contest. Head coach Rex Ryan on Wednesday said Tebow will again be cleared to play on Sunday. Whether or not he actually steps on the field remains to be seen.

3 » Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, off to a great start in his sophomore NBA season, missed Wednesday’s game against Oklahoma City and is undergoing an MRI on his right shoulder on Thursday. The MRI is believed to be precautionary, and he is expected to return on Saturday if he is cleared by team doctors as expected.

Be sure to check out three more BITS after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Muschamp, Tebow, Parsons, Horford

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11/26: Jenkins out, players praised, bowl notes

No. 4 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to review the team’s important 37-26 victory over the then-No. 10 Florida State Seminoles and preview the next few weeks of inaction.

INJURY UPDATES

Exciting the game early, redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins learned that he broke a small bone in his foot and will be out 4-6 weeks. Muschamp said he was having surgery on the foot Monday and will probably miss the bowl game.

Florida is relatively healthy otherwise. Redshirt sophomore LB Neiron Ball (ankle) will be back in time for the bowl game. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel (ankle) is sore but fine coming out of the Florida State victory. Redshirt junior center Jonotthan Harrison (ankle) got dinged up and is in a boot but will be OK as well. Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Leon Orr (kidney infection) should be able to return to physical activity this week.

As far as sophomore safety De’Ante Saunders, Muschamp said he remains out for the bowl game with what was mentioned a few weeks ago to be the hamstring injury.

Reporter: “Saunders, you said a couple weeks ago wouldn’t…”
Muschamp: “Yeah, he won’t be in the bowl game.”
Reporter: “Is that injury or discipline?”
Muschamp: “Yep. he won’t be in the bowl game.”
Reporter: “Because of?”
Muschamp: “Injury.”

Read the rest of what Muschamp had to say…after the break!
Continue Reading » 11/26: Jenkins out, players praised, bowl notes

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The Florida Gators are sexy, and they know it

It started out as a joke, something Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp uttered on Nov. 19 during his weekly Monday press conference.

After Florida beat Jacksonville State 23-0, a marginal score for a game against a FCS opponent, Muschamp quipped that a win is a win whether or not fans believe it is done in an impressive, or sexy, manner.

“My wife told me I was sexy after the game. She said, ‘We don’t win sexy, but you’re sexy.’ That’s a positive. There’s something good in that, I guess. She was kidding,” he said.

After the Gators trounced the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday in Tallahassee, FL, scoring 24-straight points in the fourth quarter to get back a lost lead, Muschamp had every reason in the world to boast. He did so by calling back his statement from just under one week earlier.

“I think it was a really sexy win. I was going to come in with my shirt off, but my wife…I don’t know if that would have worked. The players did not want me to do that,” he said with a wide smile.

Muschamp’s feelings of sexiness aside, what Florida has accomplished this season is undoubtedly attractive.

After taking down FSU on Saturday, UF is now 4-1 against teams currenty ranked in the BCS top 12 with its sole loss coming to the No. 3 team in the nation in Georgia. The Gators won two of those games on the road and beat the other two by a combined score of 58-17 in Gainesville, FL.

“Guys, our resume speaks for itself,” Muschamp said to the media in attendance at his post-game press conference. “I mean, come on, you know, you guys have covered the southeast. You’ve covered the SEC. You’ve seen where we’ve played, who we’ve played and the quality of football teams we’ve beaten. We’ll play anyone, anywhere…whatever that slogan is.”

Read the rest of this story…after the break!
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11/24: Florida at Florida State post-game report

No. 4 Florida Gators football (11-1) concluded the regular season with a huge 37-26 victory over the No. 10 Florida State Seminoles (10-2) at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL on Saturday. Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media and provided some of his thoughts after the game.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida won 11 regular season games for the fifth time in school history.
» The Gators are 4-1 vs. teams currently in the BCS top 12.
» Florida is 34-21-2 all-time against Florida State and leads the series 13-11-1 on the road in Tallahassee. This was UF’s first victory vs. FSU in three years.
» The Gators boast the No.1 ranked strength of schedule nationally.
» Florida is 4-6 against ranked teams under Muschamp with a 4-1 mark in 2012 with wins over Tennessee, LSU, South Carolina and Florida State (and a loss to Georgia).
» The Gators are 12-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards, 11-1 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 12-3 when scoring first and 14-1 when leading at the half.
» Florida has faced four top-25 total offenses, giving up an average of 20 points per game to those teams. FSU was the first opponent that UF let score more than 20 points this season.
» The Gators have faced five top-20 total defenses and five top-20 scoring defenses. Against the Seminoles, the Gators scored 37 points.
» Florida completed 8-of-15 third-down conversion attempts (53.3) percent despite heading into the game with a 34.3 percent conversion average.
» The Gators possessed the ball for 36:20, 3:31 longer than their season average, which ranked ninth nationally and first in the SEC.
» Florida is +17 in turnover margin after being -12 in 2011. UF forced five turnovers on Saturday and gave up the ball just once.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 115-29 in the fourth quarter in 2012.
» Florida has grabbed 19 interceptions so far in 2012, 11 more than it registered one year ago. UF has grabbed at least one pick in nine games and has also recovered 10 fumbles.
» UF’s defense has allowed just two passing touchdowns over its last six games.

PLAYER NOTES

» Redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis made three field goals for the second-straight week and fifth time this season. He has set the school record for made field goals in a career with 69, passing Jeff Chandler’s former record of 67. Sturgis also tied Bobby Raymond’s single-season record of 23 made field goals.
» Senior running back Mike Gillislee became the first Florida rusher to eclipse the 1,000-yard plateau since Ciatrick Fason in 2004. Saturday was his third 140+ yard game of the year his fourth two-touchdown game of the season. Gillislee alone rushed for more yards than Florida State has allowed to any team this season.
» Seven different Gators forced and/or recovered turnovers on Saturday: junior safety Matt Elam (INT), redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (INT), sophomore cornerback Marcus Roberson (INT), sophomore LB Darrin Kitchens (FF), sophomore CB Jabari Gorman (FR), freshman LB Antonio Morrison (FF), junior defensive end Dominique Easley (FR). The five total turnovers were a season-high.
» Sophomore CB Loucheiz Purifoy became the first player since Keiwan Ratliff (2002) to start on offense and defense in the same game.
» Sophomore RB Matt Jones registered a career-high 81 rushing yards and ran for more yards than the Seminoles had given up to six teams this season.

OPENING STATEMENT

“We seem to make it interesting and overcome [the penalties]. Very proud with how we played the game, the mental toughness that we played with. When I first came to Florida, it was a little bit of a question mark. Last time we were in this stadium it was a 31-7 game, and it wasn’t tonight. That football team showed you their resolve and their fight and their oneness and their togetherness, and I’m very proud to be a part of them. We have an outstanding staff that’s completely on board with what we’re trying to do and we have all the support to continue to move forward. Just very proud of the victory. The fifth team in UF history to win 11 games in the regular season. Heck of a season. Pulling for ‘Fight On.’ Some of them guys, I’ve always been a big Lane Kiffin fan.”

Read the rest of what Muschamp had to say on the run and the players…

Continue Reading » 11/24: Florida at Florida State post-game report

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No. 4 Florida Gators chomp No. 10 Florida State as Mike Gillislee rumbles for two touchdowns

A 24-point fourth quarter for the No. 4 Florida Gators (11-1) turned around what looked to be an epic collapse and clinched a 37-26 win over the No. 10 Florida State Seminoles (10-2) at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL.

Florida senior running back Mike Gillislee led the way for the Gators offense, rumbling for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. That unit got plenty of support from the defense and special teams, which combined to recover five turnovers on the afternoon. Redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis was also clutch for UF, making all three of his field goal attempts with a long of 45 yards.

Florida opened up the game throwing, completing two of its first three passes and tossing the ball eight times on a 14-play, 54-yard drive that lasted 5:47 and ended with a 39-yard field goal Sturgis. Florida State took the kickoff at the 35-yard line after Sturgis booted it out of bounds and got down to UF’s 27 in just two plays. However, a third-down interception thrown by FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel and caught by junior safety Matt Elam ended the possession without any points going on the board.

The Gators looked to be stalled at their own 34-yard line on their next drive, but a 31-yard scramble by sophomore QB Jeff Driskel extended the possession, which wound up going 62 total yards. Faced with 3rd-and-1 at the Seminoles’ 26, Driskel threw incomplete on a play action and junior running back Trey Burton missed brother and sophomore tight end Clay Burton on a muddle huddle play attempted on fourth down.

A few possessions later, Florida put together another long drive but stalled short of the end zone. The Gators converted two third-down tries but settled for a 45-yard field goal to take a 6-0 lead after gaining 54 yards in 10 plays.

Florida got another big play from its special teams on the ensuing kickoff as junior linebacker Darrin Kitchens forced a fumble that was recovered by sophomore defensive back Jabari Gorman at Florida State’s 21-yard line. Three plays later, Gillislee rumbled nine yards down the left sideline for a touchdown, giving UF a 13-0 lead with 5:26 left in the first half.

The Seminoles were able to hold on to the ball on the next kickoff, but Manuel threw his second interception of the game on the opening play from scrimmage, tossing a bullet right into the hands of redshirt junior Will LB Jelani Jenkins. The Gators would waste the possession by getting called for two penalties and suffering a big loss on third down.

Florida State finally made some offensive gains on its last possession of the first half as Manuel completed three passes and scrambled for 23 yards to put his team in field goal range. The Seminoles reduced its deficit to 13-3 at the half as K Dustin Hopkins knocked in a 50-yard field goal.

UF won the time of possession battle 21:58-8:02 in the first half and nearly doubled up FSU on offense but had a bigger advantage before the home team’s final possession as it sported a 192-53 advantage through the first 27:50 of the opening half.

Read the rest of the Florida-Florida State game story…after the break!
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Gameday: No. 4 Florida Gators vs. Florida State

Location: Doak Campbell Stadium – Tallahassee, FL [Capacity: 82,300]
Weather Forecast: 64°F, sunny, winds NNW at 10 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT

Tickets: Best deals on Florida Gators tickets starting at $129 on TiqIQ

TV: ABC/ABCHD (Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe)
SiriusXM: 85 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: None | Mobile Video: None
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper

No. 4 FLORIDA GATORS No. 10 FLORIDA STATE
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher
Record: 10-1 Record: 10-1
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Coast
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +6.5 | O/U: 41.5

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 33-21-2 all-time against Florida State and leads the series 12-11-1 on the road in Tallahassee. UF and FSU have played every year since 1958 without a break and squared off twice in both 1995 and 1997.
» The Gators had won six-straight games in the series from 2004-2009 but have lost back-to-back games to the Seminoles. FSU is looking to win three-straight for the first time since 1998-2000 and has not lost to an in-state rival since Nov. 28, 2009.
» It is the first time in 12 years that both teams enter the game ranked in the top 10.
» Florida is 3-1 vs. teams currently in the BCS top 10.
» UF currently boasts the No. 1 ranked strength of schedule nationally.
» Florida finished 7-0 at home in a season for just the third time in school history. The 2006 and 2009 UF teams also accomplished that feat.
» The Gators are 3-6 against ranked teams under Muschamp but 3-1 in that category this season with wins over Tennessee, LSU and South Carolina and a loss to Georgia.
» Florida was 0-5 when trailing at the half in 2011 but has flipped that around and is 4-1 in 2012 in that category with all four victories vs. SEC opponents (two ranked).
» The Gators are 11-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 1-5 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards. UF is also 14-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 10-1 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 11-3 when scoring first and 13-1 when leading at the half.
» Florida has faced three top-25 total offenses, giving up an average of 18 points per game to those teams. The Gators, ranked No. 4 in total defense and No. 3 in scoring defense, have not allowed an opponent to score more than 20 points this season.
» Florida State is No. 1 in total defense and No. 5 in scoring defense but has only faced one top-25 total offense, allowing 37 points in that game.
» UF has faced four top-20 total defenses and four top-20 scoring defenses. FSU has taken on one top-20 total defense and the No. 47 scoring defense nationally.
» Florida has converted a paltry 54-of-153 third-down attempts (34.3 percent) this season, which is tied for 95th nationally in that category.
» The Gators have held their opponents to 42-of-160 on third down conversions (26.3 percent), which is good for second-best in the nation. UF was second nationally in third-down defense (27.3 percent) last season.
» Florida is averaging 32:49 in time of possession through 11 games, a margin that ranks ninth nationally and first in the SEC by 1:39 per game.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 168-55 in the second half (47-27 over the last four games) and 91-23 in the fourth quarter.
» Florida is +13 in turnover margin after being -12 in 2011. UF has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (342) since 2000.
» The Gators have grabbed 16 interceptions so far in 2012, doubling its 2011 total of eight. UF has grabbed at least one pick in eight games and has forced eight fumbles.
» Florida is first nationally in pass efficiency defense (90.4) and sixth in rushing defense (95.2 yards). UF has allowed one pass touchdown in its last five games.
» The Gators have at least two kickoff returns for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons after never having more than one in a single season before 2010. UF has not yet registered a kick return (or punt return) in 2012.
» Florida is third nationally in net punt average (41.6 yards per punt).

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

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QB Jeff Driskel slated to start at Florida State

After missing a full week of practice and the Jacksonville State game with an injured left ankle, No. 4 Florida Gators sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel is slated to return to his starting role on Saturday against the No. 10 Florida State Seminoles.

Gators head coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday on the weekly SEC teleconference that Driskel looked like he was back to his normal self when he returned to practice on Tuesday and should start Saturday barring an unforeseen setback.

“Jeff Driskel looked very good in practice [Tuesday], and he’ll be ready to go,” he said. “He would [start] at this time. Obviously we still got a couple more days of practice, but he looked good enough to me that he’ll be fine. … We’ll go from there but right now Jeff looks good.”

Muschamp continued, “He looked fine. We did everything we normally do. There was nothing limited within the package of what we do with him when we normally prepare for any game. Again, looked very good yesterday. Unless something just unheard of happens in practice [Wednesday] or [Thursday], he’ll be ready to go Saturday.”

Driskel’s experience (nine starts, four against BCS top-10 teams) and mobility are big advantages he brings to being behind center for Florida. He is the Gators’ second leading rusher with 424 yards and four touchdowns and has also completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 1,324 yards and 10 touchdowns with just three interceptions.

Though Driskel’s injury may have been the most important to the team, he is not the only player expected to return this week.

Redshirt junior wide receiver Andre Debose (knee), sophomore fullback Hunter Joyer (thigh) and redshirt sophomore right tackle Chaz Green (ankle) all looked good in practice Tuesday, Muschamp said. He added that redshirt sophomore linebacker Neiron Ball (ankle) looked a bit slow as he tried to return but cautioned that he still has a few days to work that out.

Florida will look to win its fourth game against a BCS top-10 opponent on Saturday when it takes on Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL. Should the Gators win, a BCS bowl game would be assured and a trip to the national championship would be plausible with some help.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Muschamp said the punt and kick return positions, as of now, are not settled. Debose is in the mix to start again at both but is not assured of his role. Sophomore cornerback Marcus Roberson is also competing for the punt return job, while redshirt senior tight end Omarius Hines and sophomore CB Loucheiz Purifoy are also working at kick returner.

» On the tough SEC schedule: “Certainly playing in the SEC, it’s a playoff every week. We have an eight-game playoff to go to the [SEC] Championship Game. At the University of Florida, you’re going to play Florida State every year, and next year we play Miami. So you’re looking at 10 so-called “good” games, I guess as the media would say it. We have an eight-game playoff every year to go to Atlanta.”

» On if junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was injured in practice and/or will be able to play Saturday: “Yeah, he looked good yesterday.”

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

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11/20: Pease, Quinn talk UF’s preparations for FSU

With the team preparing for its final regular season game of the 2012 campaign, a road contest against the in-state rival No. 10 Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee, FL, No. 4 Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media Tuesday to discuss the upcoming game.

OFFENSE: WORK IN PROGRESS BY CIRCUMSTANCE, VANILLA ON PURPOSE

While Florida’s defense continues to improve with each passing week, the Gators’ offense seems to be regressing. Faced with a unit that is 104th in total offense and 79th in scoring offense (out of 120 FBS teams), Pease explained Tuesday that he understands the criticism but does not think that situation has been put in the proper perspective.

“I’ve got that side that I feel responsible at times. In the same sense, the bashing, so-called bashing…we are what we are right now. We tried to improve. Where we’re at, it’s still kind of a work in progress until we get everything totally in place,” he said.

“The kids have worked through it for a year. You hope you continually see some improvement. Experience has to go along with that. I don’t take the so-called critics part of it, because I think everybody has got to understand the circumstances around everything when things are new. I didn’t expect this thing to be a work of perfection or I would have come here for one year and left and that’s not my intention.”

Fans have especially become restless over the last few weeks as Florida has combined to score 50 points against Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State. In years past, the Gators would put up that total in each of those two games. Pease did not say outright that Florida has been purposely hiding things the last two weeks, though he did note that the team has been thoughtfully vanilla.

“When you go into the last few games, you hope you don’t have to use a whole lot because you feel the match-ups are probably in your favor. We didn’t show a lot the last game. We kept things pretty simple. I think that was our intention,” he said. “It worked out because of a new quarterback, because of what they were presenting to us defensively. We still had things in the game plan, but we didn’t get to a situation where we really had to use things that were quite exotic.”

Read the rest of this post…after the break!
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