SIX BITS: Walker, softball, Nelson, gym, lax

1 » Florida Gators point guard Erving Walker was honored on Senior Day before Sunday’s game. Because the game aired on CBS and the broadcast began following the ceremony, most fans did not get to see Walker enter the court with his mother to a loud ovation from his fans. The entire clip, including the video highlight package of some of Walker’s best plays in orange and blue, can be viewed below courtesy of GatorVision.tv:

2 » No. 3 Florida softball improved to 19-1 on the season and extended their winning streak to nine games after winning six contests from Thursday-Sunday by a combined score of 53-1. UF defeated Eastern Michigan 2-1 in extra innings on Thursday before beginning the Lipton Invitational, which the team hosted in Gainesville, FL. The Gators again beat EMU on Friday (16-0) and followed that up with a thrashing of Gardner-Webb (9-0) in the evening. Florida beat GWU a second time on Saturday (14-0), adding a win against Tennessee State (8-0) later that afternoon and a victory over Campbell (4-0) on Sunday. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Hannah Rogers (10-0) earned two wins striking out 19 batters and giving up one earned run in 17.0 innings (she also made one relief appearance). Freshmen RHPs Alyssa Bache (3-0) and Lauren Haeger (6-1) each added two victories with neither giving up a single run and the latter mowing down 15 batters in 10.0 innings. The Gators’ offense was impressive all weekend long, but two players in particular stood out for their powerful performances. Senior center fielder Michelle Moultrie went 12/20 with four home runs, 10 RBIs, 11 runs and three stolen bases over the six games, and junior catcher Kelsey Horton matched her with four dingers of her own alog with 14 RBIs, six runs and three walks. UF will play five road games this week including two against Mississippi State and three at Tennessee.

3 » It is looking more and more like Cincinnati Bengals safety Reggie Nelson will be wearing different colors in 2012. With no reports of negotiations for an extension occurring between Nelson and Cincinnati brass, the local media expects that he will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent next week. Should that occur, it is believed that the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans will make a run at him. The Dolphins in particular look like a promising landing spot for Nelson considering former Bengals defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle, who helped resurrect Nelson’s career in Cincinnati, was hired as Miami’s new defensive coordinator after the season.

4 » No. 1 Florida gymnastics (10-1) earned a nail-biting victory on the road Sunday against the No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-2). The Gators defeated the Cornhuskers 196.95-196.825, earning two individual event victories while only winning one of the four overall events. junior Ashanée Dickerson and sophomore Alaina Johnson each won the vault with a score of 9.90, while junior Marissa King took home the balance beam victory with a 9.925 mark. Florida’s sizable win in the beam (49.325-48.950) was enough to push them past Nebraska in the overall score. UF will take on No. 7 Utah in their regular season finale on Senior Night on Friday, March 16 at 7 p.m.

5 » No. 4 Gators lacrosse (4-2) dropped their second game to a top-10 ranked opponent this season, falling 12-11 in double overtime to the No. 9 Syracuse Orange (2-2) at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville. Behind 6-4 at the half, Florida rallied over the final three minutes of the second period, scoring three-straight goals to knot the contest at 10 as the whistle sounded. SU got on the board first in overtime, but UF matched their visitors again to force a sudden death second overtime period. The Orange did not take long to make their move, scoring at 5:05 to end the game. Junior midfielder Brittany Dashiell led the Gators with three goals (including the tying score in the first overtime), an assist, six draw controls and five ground balls (a season high for the team), while junior attacker Kitty Cullen had an off game with only one goal in 10 shots. Despite scoring fewer goals than their opponent, Florida had more shots than Syracuse (39-26) and committed fewer turnovers (9-20). UF is scheduled to face Georgetown on the road Wednesday before returning home to host Temple on Saturday.

6 » Both involved in close matches, No. 15 Gators women’s tennis and No. 10 Florida men’s tennis wound up with different outcomes when taking on the No. 5/6 Georgia Bulldogs’ women’s and men’s squads over the weekend. Florida’s women improved to 8-1 by taking down Georgia 4-3 on the road. The Gators won two of three matches to earn the doubles point with victories from the No. 13 pairing of junior Allie Will and sophomore Sofie Oyen and the No. 31 duo of junior Lauren Embree and senior Joanna Mather. No. 1 Will fell in singles action to No. 11 Chelsey Gillickson, but No. 18 Mather, No. 23 Embree and No. 39 Oyen were all victorious to earn the overall win.

Florida’s men rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to tie things up with Georgia 3-3 but simply could not complete the comeback victory. The Bulldogs won the doubles point by taking down two of the three ranked duos for the Gators. The No. 8 pairing of junior Billy Federhofer and senior Nassim Slilam won their match, but the No. 18 duo of junior Tripper Carleton and sophomore Spencer Newman and the No. 43 team of sophomore Andrew Butz and junior Bob van Overbeek both fell 8-4. Singles wins by Carleton, Slilam and sophomore Michael Alford tied the match, but No. 51 van Overbeek fell to No. 3 Wil Spencer 6-7(4), 6-0, 7-5 in a final that lasted 2:28.

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Florida women win SEC Indoor track & field title

No. 6 Florida Gators women’s track and field captured their seventh conference indoor title and second since 2010 on Sunday, winning the 2012 Southeastern Conference Indoor Championship in Lexington, KY with 132 total team points.

Florida took down the No. 2 LSU Tigers (109) and No. 4 Arkansas Razorbacks (99) in the women’s competition for the school’s first league title of the 2011-12 season. The No. 1 Razorbacks (151) got a measure of revenge on the men’s side by topping the No. 2 Gators (137) and No. 24 Georgia Bulldogs for the other SEC Indoor title.

Despite Florida winning the women’s championship, only one Gators student-athlete won an individual title on that side of the competition. Sophomore distance runner Florence Ngetich captured the 5,000-meter title in 16:12.64.

The men, on the other hand, lost the overall championship but won three individual titles. Sophomore hurdler Eddie Lovett defended his 60-meter hurdles title with a time of 7.78 seconds, junior jumper Omar Craddock won Florida’s fourth-straight SEC Indoor triple jump championship with a distance of 16.44m/53-11.25, and senior thrower Kemal Mesic won the shot put title (19.89m/65-3.25) for the third SEC Indoor meet in a row.

One significant disappointment on the men’s side came as junior sprinter Jeff Demps failed to win the 60-meter dash for the third consecutive season, finishing his attempt in 6.64 seconds, 0.01 seconds behind the victor.

Florida has two more meets next month before competing in the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships from March 9-10.

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Georgia embarrasses Florida 76-62 in Athens

The No. 11/12 Florida Gators entered Saturday’s game against the Georgia Bulldogs hoping to prove that they could continue to be a dominant force in the Southeastern Conference even with their best defender out for the season with a broken foot. Instead of showcasing that confidence, Florida (22-7, 10-4 SEC) was upset and embarrassed by Georgia (13-15, 4-10 SEC) 76-62 at the Stegman Coliseum in Athens, GA.

UF started slow on both ends of the court, beginning the game by going 0-for-7 from three and trailing 21-11 with 7:48 left in the first half following a 9-3 run by UGA.

The Gators used a 12-5 scoring stretch to get within three of the Bulldogs with 2:49 left in the first half, but Georgia outscored Florida 10-4 over the final few minutes to take a nine-point lead at the break.

The Bulldogs extended their lead to 16 with 10 minutes left but the Gators answered with a 7-0 run to get within nine with 8:10 left in the game. A three-pointer by UF junior guard Kenny Boynton cut UGA’s lead to five points with 1:51 as part of a 9-2 Florida run, but Georgia outclassed their oppoennt down the stretch to earn a 14-point victory.

The Gators shot a paltry 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from downtown and hit just 22-of-60 shots from the field on Saturday. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, shot 52.9 percent from the floor and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc, earning 16 assists on 27 baskets compared to just eight on 22 for their opponents.

Florida outrebounded Georgia 33-28 (13-5 offensively) but turned the ball over 12 times compared to just 10 for their hosts.

Four Bulldogs scored in double figures on Saturday while only three Gators did the same. Freshman guard Bradley Beal led Florida with 19 points on 5-of-12 shooting but was 0-for-4 from downtown. UF junior G Kenny Boynton hit 3-of-7 attempts from three but, like senior point guard Erving Walker (14 points), was just 4-of-11 from the field.

Florida will look to end their season on a better note next week. UF travels to Vanderbilt on Tuesday before hosting No. 1 Kentucky on Sunday in Gainesville, FL.

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Bates, Wilkerson, WBK

1 » It is no secret that the Denver Broncos’ quarterback situation received plenty of coverage in 2011. With veteran Kyle Orton, former Florida Gators signal caller Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn all vying for the starting job, things were undoubtedly uncomfortable in Mile High. In the latest issue of GQ, Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports submitted “An Oral History of Tebow Time” as told by analysts, coaches and players. Quinn was one of a number of players asked to talk about Tebow; he complied and did not hold back when it came to his true opinions. He began by noting that he was the true “second-string guy” on the roster but said Tebow got the nod over him to replace Orton for one reason in particular. “I felt like the fans had a lot to do with that. Just ’cause they were chanting his name,” he said. “There was a big calling for him. No, I didn’t have any billboards. That would have been nice.”

Asked to explain how Tebow and Denver beat Kansas City with him only completing two passes, Quinn gave his explanation, seemingly blaming the opposing defense instead of crediting his team: “The entire game, the defensive line is chasing the quarterback around, and that wears down the pass rush. Meanwhile, the defensive backs are chasing receivers, but you only throw eight passes, so they start to feel lazy. It only takes that one play, that one big pass, for a touchdown.” Quinn later notes the obvious, that the Broncos “had a lot of, I guess, luck, to put it simply” when it came to beating Chicago in Week 14. Just moments later though, he opines about Tebow as a person and offers a not-so-glowing opinion. “If you look at it as a whole, there’s a lot of things that just don’t seem very humble to me,” he said. “When I get that opportunity, I’ll continue to lead not necessarily by trying to get in front of the camera and praying but by praying with my teammates, you know?”

Updated at 4:30 p.m.

Quinn has since released the following statement:

The comments attributed to me in a recent magazine article are in NO WAY reflective of my opinion of Tim and the Broncos. Tim deserves a lot of credit for our success and I’m happy for him and what he accomplished. Most importantly, he is a great teammate. That interview was conducted three months ago, and the resulting story was a completely inaccurate portrayal of my comments. I have addressed my disappointment with the writer and have reached out to Tim to clear this up. I apologize to anyone who feels I was trying to take anything away from our team’s or Tim’s success this season.

2 » Former Florida linebacker James Bates, a defensive captain with the Gators who has recently been working in college sports broadcasting, was recently the victim of a faulty piece of furniture. On hand to cover a college basketball game between Xavier and Dayton for CBS Sports Network, Bates’ stool collapsed live on the air. He was sent falling to the floor but kept a good disposition afterward, as you can see in the video below.

3 » The National College Baseball Hall of Fame announced on Friday that voting is underway for a new class to be selected out of a pool of “69 worthy candidates.” One of those candidates is none other than former Florida All-American hitter and pitcher Brad Wilkerson, a member of the 1996 and 1998 College World Series teams who was also a three-time All-SEC selection and the 1998 Collegiate Player of the Year, was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame on April 9, 2010. He played for four MLB teams and won a gold medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and still holds career records with the Gators for batting average, RBI, slugging percentage and walks.

4 » On Senior Day at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Florida women’s basketball (17-10, 7-7 SEC) earned their biggest victory of the season with a 61-57 win over the No. 16/18 Georgia Bulldogs (20-7, 9-5 SEC). Junior forward Jennifer George (15 points, six rebounds) and senior guard Lanita Bartley (11 points, four boards) led the way for the Gators, which rebounded nicely after nearly defeating No. 24 Vanderbilt just a few days earlier UF will play their regular-season finale on Thursday against Mississippi State.

EXTRA BIT » Though Florida failed to prevail at the 2012 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships in Knoxville, TN over the weekend, the Gators did sweep one important category as sophomores Elizabeth Beisel and Marcin Cieslak were named the 2012 SEC Female and Male Swimmer of the Year, respectively. Florida won eight individual SEC titles at the event with Beisel and Marcin each taking home three. The women’s team finished second overall behind Auburn, while the men came in third behind Georgia and Tennessee.

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No. 19 Gators pound Bulldogs 70-48 at home

Looking to rebound from a double-digit upset loss to Tennesee on the road last Saturday, the No. 19 Florida Gators (13-4, 1-1 SEC) put their collective foot to the pedal at home against the Georgia Bulldogs (9-7, 0-2 SEC), routing their border rivals 70-48 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Tuesday.

Breaking out of a four-game funk, freshman guard Bradley Beal led the Gators with a double-double of 17 points on 4-of-7 shooting (4-of-6 from downtown) and 10 rebounds. Junior G Kenny Boynton matched him with 17 points of his own and was equally efficient, hitting 5-of-8 shots from the field and all five of his free throws.

If intensity and aggression were what Florida was missing over the weekend, the Gators found those characteristics early in the game, jumping out to a 7-0 lead capped by Beal’s first three-pointer of the game. Georgia started 1-for-10 from the floor, but the Bulldogs eventually found their touch, scoring six-straight to reduce UF’s advantage to two.

That is when Florida broke out. Redshirt junior G Mike Rosario scored seven-straight points for the Gators and Beal added a trio of treys as part of a 22-4 run that gave UF a 20-point lead. UGA, however, took an 8-2 scoring stretch into the break to reduce their deficit to 14 points heading into the locker rooms.

Though Beal was strong for Florida in the opening half – hitting 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc – the rest of the team took a while to get going, starting 0-for-6 from downtown.

The Gators extended their lead to 25 points early in the second half until an 8-0 run by the Bulldogs cut Florida’s advantage back down to 13 points with 7:02 left in the game.

Georgia kept the pressure on for a bit, but UF quickly got back to form, draining threes and playing quality defense. The Gators held the Bulldogs to just 48 points on the evening, a season-low for Florida’s defense.

UF has now defeated UGA in 10-straight games played in the O’Dome.

Boynton, who hit a pair of treys in the contest, moved into a tie for second on Florida’s all-time list of consecutive games with a three-pointer (Brett Nelson, 33). Gators sophomore center Patric Young got plenty of looks but scored just eight points to go along with a game-high 10 boards, which Beal also achieved.

Florida junior forward Erik Murphy was an uncharacteristic 0-for-4 from beyond the arc but notched two blocks in the contest and now has 13 over the last five games.

UF was once again outrebounded 34-33 by UGA, which had 14 takes via the offensive glass. The Gators only had eight assists on 24 baskets but turned the ball over just six times on the evening. Florida also shot 50 percent from the field (24-of-48) and 83.3 percent from the line (15-of-18).

Coming off a game in which their bench scored just one point, the Gators’ reserves posted 16 on Tuesday. Florida also maintained a lead the entire contest.

The Gators will look to keep their positive momentum going as they head back on the road to face South Carolina on Saturday at 7 p.m.. Florida is 0-4 in true road games this season and will look to earn their first victory live on Comcast Sports South.

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FOUR BITS: Hilliard, soccer, Wambach, drugs

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Ike Hilliard (1994-96) was announced Thursday by the Southeastern Conference as a member of its 2011 Football Legends Class. Hilliard and 11 other former players will be honored during the SEC “Weekend of Champions,” which culminates with the SEC Championship on Dec. 3.

Ike Hilliard finished his college career with 126 catches, which is seventh-best in UF history, for 2,214 yards, fourth-best in school history, and 29 TDs, third-best total in SEC history. He tallied a TD/catch ratio of 4.34 (29TDs/126 catches) which ranks second in Gator history. He was named a first-team All-SEC selection and an All-American as a senior in 1996. Hilliard was selected in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, Hilliard went on to play 12 NFL seasons, recording 546 career receptions for 6,397 yards and 35 TDs. The Patterson, La. Native, played his first eight seasons with the Giants and finished his NFL playing career playing four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a “Gator Great” in 2009.

2 » No. 23 Florida soccer (15-6, 7-4 SEC) took its first step toward making up for a disappointing finale to their regular season with a 2-0 win over the Georgia Bulldogs (12-6, 6-3-2 SEC) in the opening round of the 2011 SEC Tournament on Wednesday. Senior midfielder/forward Tahnai Annis scored both of the Gators’ goals, one at 26’ and another at 45’. Florida advances to face Alabama on Friday for an opportunity to advance to the event’s finals.

3 » Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mahr is touting former Gators striker Abby Wambach as his pick for Sportsman of the Year, an honor that SI will announce on Dec. 6. In this piece, Mahr refers to her as a “soccer luminary” and one of the “most prolific scorers in U.S. history.” He even says her header in the quarterfinals against Brazil was “arguably more enthralling” than Landon Donovan’s last-second goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup and notes that her other big-time headers against France and Japan propelled the United States to the finals and gave them a chance to win the whole thing. Mahr makes a strong argument for Wambach to win the award but with so much competition she may have a rough time ranking above the other nominated athletes.

4 » Tackling the drug policies of most major college football programs, CBS Sports’ Brett McMurphy submitted public records requests to each school (or looked up an institution’s policy on its own website) and compiled this list. Florida falls in line with many programs nationally and hold separate policies for marijuana and other drugs.

Florida: For marijuana/synthetic marijuana: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games; (3) 20 percent of games; (4) dismissal. For all other drugs: (1) 50 percent of games; (2) dismissal.

Extra BIT » Former Gators basketball star Craig Brown will return this year as a permanent broadcaster for the Gator Basketball Radio Network. Brown, who is famous for being a part of Florida’s run to the Final Four in the 1994 NCAA Tournament and retiring as the team’s all-time leader in three-pointers, will provide color commentary alongside play-by-play man Mick Hubert this season, a role he held on occasion one year ago.

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10/29: Florida vs. Georgia post-game notes

The Florida Gators (4-4, 2-4 SEC) lost yet again on Saturday, dropping a close one to the No. 22 Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 5-1 SEC) at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL. Florida has now lost four-straight game for the first time since 1988, leaving head coach Will Muschamp with a lot of questions and decisions to answer going forward. OGGOA takes a look at some of the notable occurrences before, during and after Saturday’s game with notes and quotes from both Muschamp and the players.

MUSCHAMP’s GAME RECAP

Early in his post-game media availability, Muschamp provides his own quick recap of the game as he sees it from offense, defense and special teams.

“We had our opportunities in the game. You have two turnovers inside your 25-yard-line, you give up 14 points on two critical fourth-down plays, the lack of being able to run the football, too many penalties in critical situations. Obviously John [Brantley] went and [it was] a gutsy performance on his part. Very proud of him and his effort. He was a guy who really laid it on the line. We couldn’t get him under center to do some of the things we wanted to do; we knew that going into the game. We felt like we had some things in the throwing game and that’s why we stayed with what we wanted to do in that situations. We got to find some ways to run the football. We cannot be so one-dimensional. That’s something we’ve got to work on. We got a turnover inside the 10, we wind up with two sacks and are out of field goal range. Those are very frustrating to deal with, but we had our opportunities in the last two ball games. We got to close it out and win those games.”

INJURIES AND ABSENCES

Though redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley returned for the Gators, he was severely limited due to his ankle injury and was unable to take snaps from under center. Some other players were held out of the game, while even more were hurt during the contest, further hurting Florida’s already lacking depth going forward.

Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturgis did not play after straining his leg two weeks ago against Auburn, redshirt freshman tackle Chaz Green hurt his ankle Wednesday in practice, and junior running back Mike Gillislee (ankle) dressed but did not play after injuring his ankle two weeks ago.

In the game Saturday, redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray hurt his shoulder, returned to notch a sack but wound up visiting the locker room and did not return for the second half. Sophomore cornerback Cody Riggs injured his wrist during the game and was also forced to leave the field.

PENALTIES, TURNOVERS AND MISCUES

The Gators had two weeks to figure out how to concentrate on discipline and fundamentals, yet their performance on Saturday seemed to indicate that absolutely nothing had been fixed over the bye week. Florida committed 14 penalties for over 100 last yards on Saturday, which unbelievably is their second-worst total of the season. UF remains last in the nation in penalties.

“There’s two different parts as far as penalties are concerned. Some of them are undisciplined and those are the ones that are tough to deal with. I’ve got to do a better job with the others, so I’ll work on it,” Muschamp said.

Perhaps worst of all, many of the Gators’ miscues in this area came at inopportune times. A pass interference call on third down extended a Georgia drive that Florida needed to stop. A personal foul call on Buck linebacker Ronald Powell on special teams pushed the Gators back to the goal line, and multiple delay of game and false start penalties either took Florida out of scoring range or pushed them far enough back where they could not put together a solid drive.

And then there are the turnovers. The Bulldogs scored 14 points off of two UF fumbles near their own red zone. Georgia posted both touchdowns through the air via jump ball passes on fourth down, each of which was converted rather easily.

“We were in position – there were a couple well-thrown balls and well-caught balls,” Muschamp said. “Both touchdowns, they’re in position to make the play and we’re playing the ball and trying to get the ball off the guy and the guy makes a heck of a throw and a heck of a catch. There’s a couple situations. They’re on scholarship too. They made nice plays, but we got to find a way to get them out though.”

INABILITY TO RUN THE FOOTBALL

Florida struggled with their running game for the fourth-straight contest but unlike previous attempts, this time it was because of a lack of trying. Due to Brantley being limited with what he could do on his ankle, the Gators were unable to call plays from under center, which in turn reduced the team’s chances of putting together a consistent power running game.

“No question it affects the run game,” Muschamp said of Brantley’s limitations. “When you’re in the [shot]gun so much and you run the ball so much east and west, you need to be able to run the ball downhill. When you’re in the gun, it’s hard to run the ball consistently downhill. He was limited with his ankle, but we felt like he gave us the best opportunity to be successful in the game, so that’s what we went with. I would do it again. John played well. We just got to figure out how we can run the ball a little bit more effectively.”

One of the other reasons that Florida has struggled running the ball is that their personnel does not fit the type of offense the team wants to run. Muschamp explained that improvement in that area will come with time.

“I think we got to get better on the line of scrimmage. It’s very difficult to run a power running game with what we want to do right now with who we have,” he admitted. “I like the guys we got, but the bottom line is looking at the situations of where we are. It doesn’t take anybody real educated to figure it out right now.”

SACK ISSUES MOSTLY – BUT NOT ALL – ON OFFENSIVE LINE

With Brantley seemingly being sacked whenever the Gators were trying to put something together, the offensive line was immediately blamed for letting too many rushers through. While that may be true most of the time, Muschamp was quick to point out after the game that there are other things going on at the same time.

“When you look at a sack, everybody wants to look at the offensive line. Did the quarterback hold the ball too long? I think there were some situations like that. There are some situations where we didn’t get open down the field and had a busted route,” he explained. “There are a lot of situations when you have a sack; it’s not just the offensive line’s fault every time it happens. That’s the easiest thing to say, but that’s not always the offensive line’s fault. If we’re in a one-back protection or two-back protection, did the backs block right? There are a lot of things that happen as far as protection issues, and that’s not always the offensive line.”

That being said, tackles junior Xavier Nixon and redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan each had their share of struggles on the evening. Nixon kept bouncing off the line for false starts and both men struggled blocking the edge rushers. Muschamp said that Florida’s inability to run the ball ensured that the edge rushers did not have to respect that part of the game, making it even tougher on the tackles and blockers.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Muschamp on the team’s penalties: “I was disappointed with it.”

» Muschamp on not taking advantage of momentum: “It’s disappointing. You felt good about getting the kickoff return, getting some points on the board, getting some momentum for your team. And then we lay it on the ground twice. We only get one turnover defensively, and we just had some critical mistakes at critical times. We got to make those plays. I told them the last two ball games the bottom line was Auburn and Georgia made those plays and we didn’t. We’re going to have our opportunities and when we get in those situations we need to make the plays.”

» Muschamp on offensive coordinator Charlie Weis calling plays from the booth: ”Just to see the game better. We didn’t feel like we were getting the information right and were searching for some answers for this time offensively to figure out what we can do well. That was something we felt like we could benefit from.”

» Muschamp on sophomore Brad Phillips filling in for Sturgis: “Brad was outstanding. Here’s a guy that steps in, missed the first one, came back and hit two more. Kicked off extremely well with a pretty good wind coming from the one side. He kicked one real deep in the end zone when he was with the wind. I was really proud of his efforts; he stepped up when another guy went down.”

» Muschamp on defensive struggles: “We didn’t get lined up a couple times and had some tempo issues there late. That’s something we worked on and prepared for. We got to make some stops in the red zone. You got to force field goals when they’re in those situations. That’s about where it is.”

» Muschamp on now just playing for pride: “That’s the way it is all the time with me. I don’t ever really talk about the SEC race. I talk about what we got to do to get better as a program every day and stay the course of what we’re trying to do. It’s not always just about the SEC race. We don’t always talk about that. We understand our goal at the beginning of the season. We understand our expectation – the University of Florida has to go to Atlanta. Our job as a competitor is to go out every day – whether you’re a coach or a player – is to work hard to get better, work hard to improve yourself. And that’s what we’re going to do. “

» Muschamp on losing four-straight games: “I don’t really think about losing a whole lot, but obviously it’s happened so we got to regroup and reevaluate where we are. We need to move forward. It’s disappointing, and you can believe there is no one more disappointed or impatient than I am. We’ve got to evaluate ourselves first of all starting with me and then we work from there.”

» Muschamp on how he felt during the game: “I felt good the whole game. I felt like we were in a situation to go win the football game. We had the ball late to win the game. That’s what you want to be in these situations. You got to make the plays in those situations to get it done.”

» Muschamp on how far away the team is right now: “This year? We’re not close. No, I don’t. I think we’re close. I think we got to build our numbers back. I think we got to get better on the line of scrimmage.”

» Senior RB Jeff Demps on the fourth-straight loss: “Things just didn’t go our way tonight like we wanted it to. We just got to stick together as a team. We have to unite from this and stay together.”

» Demps on his kick return touchdown: “All of the credit goes to those 10 guys that were blocking. They gave me a big hole to run through and made it easy.”

» Brantley said that he was still considered “probable” up until game time. He went out early to test the ankle during warm-ups but went back to the locker room to get a bit more treatment and stay off of it was much as possible until the game began.

» Brantley on the 4th and 10 design: “It was a little bit deeper midfield. I was stepping up and knew I had to get it out – the time clock in my head said I had to get it out.”

» Brantley on Weis calling plays from the booth: “He can see the field better up there. I had the headset on each time and we were communicating just fine. There wasn’t too much of a difference.”

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Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Georgia Gameday

Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 84,000]
Weather Forecast: 71°F, sunny, winds NNW at 13 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
SiriusXM: 91
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS (22) GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 4-3 (2-3) Record: 5-2 (4-1)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +3; O/U 48.5

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before week four action? No problem. OGGOA has been here all week compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

Story: Gators QB John Brantley remains on schedule
Notes: Florida discusses Georgia rivalry week

Muschamp’s presser | Weis comments on offense | Quinn comments on defense

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Georgia leads the all-time series against Florida 46-40-2 and holds a 40-37-1 advantage in games played in Jacksonville, FL. However, the Gators are on a three-game winning streak against the Bulldogs and also hold records of 8-2 in the last 10 match-ups and 18-3 dating back to 1990.
» Florida’s victory over Georgia in 2010 (34-31) marked the first time in the history of the series that a game went into overtime. Neither UF nor UGA was ranked in that contest for the first time since 1979.
» For the first time in series history, both the Gators and Bulldogs enter Saturday’s game coming off of a bye week. Florida took a three-game losing streak into the off week, while Georgia had won five consecutive games before getting a week of rest.
» The Bulldogs are 12-4 under Richt following a bye week.
» Richt is 2-8 against UF since taking over as head coach of UGA.
» Muschamp, who played college football for Georgia, will be facing his alma mater for the eighth time in his coaching career; he is 3-4 in the prior seven contests. As a player with the Bulldogs from 1991-94, Muschamp’s teams were 0-4 against the Gators.
» Florida is undefeated this season when out-rushing their opponent or leading at the half; however, UF is winless when tied/trailing at the half or being out-rushed.
» In their four victories, the Gators are outscoring opponents 54-3 in the first quarter, while in their losses they have been outscored 31-10. UF has also scored on their opening drive in four of seven games.
» The Bulldogs are outscoring their opponents 61-10 in the first quarter; Georgia’s defense has only allowed three first-quarter points to be scored this season.
» Florida has half as many upperclassmen (19 seniors, 14 juniors) as they do underclassmen (35 sophomores, 33 freshmen) on the roster the season.
» The Gators had a 100-yard rusher in four-straight games to start the season, the team’s second-longest streak ever, before failing to accomplish that feat in each of the last three games (all losses).
» Fourteen different Florida players made their first career start this season including five freshmen; 15 total freshmen have seen game action this year.
» The Gators offense has struggled as of late, and Florida has had major problems putting the ball in the end zone. UF has scored points in 19 of 28 quarter this season and touchdowns in only 15 of those quarters.
» Turnover margin has also been a consistent issue for the Gators. Florida is -7 on the season and has given up the ball exactly that many times in their three losses.
» The Gators not forced a turnover in three weeks after acquiring four in their previous game and seven total over the first four weeks of the season.
» UF’s offensive line has only allowed 11 sacks through seven games, making them second in the SEC in that category.
» Florida is No. 11 nationally and fifth in the SEC in total defense (289.1 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 16 nationally and third in the SEC in scoring defense (18.9 points per game).
» UF’s pass defense is allowing just 168.4 yards per game, good for third in the SEC and sixth nationally.
» The Gators’ defense is fifth in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 27.5 percent of those attempted to be successful.
» Florida’s defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (311) since 2000. UF also has the most interceptions in the nation (72) since 2008.
» Georgia is the only team in the SEC to score first in every game this season.
» The Gators and Bulldogs each lead in two of the four major statistical categories. Florida tops Georgia in national averages of rushing yards 175.7-162.4 (41st-54th) and points against 18.9-20.4 (16th-27th), while UGA leads UF in passing yards 248.7-178.0 (47th-100th) and points scored 32.3-26.9 (36th-71st). The teams each defeated one common opponent – Tennessee – this season, with the Gators winning 33-23 in week three and the Bulldogs claiming victory 20-12 in week six.

LAST TIME OUT

The Florida-Georgia game one year ago was one for the ages, ending in overtime after Gators punter Chas Henry kicked a 37-yard field goal to claim a hard-fought victory. Florida led 21-7 at the half after scoring on three rushing touchdowns in the second quarter. Georgia fought back to tie the game 24-24 in the middle of the fourth quarter, but a 51-yard touchdown run by Trey Burton (his second score of the game) gave UF the late advantage. Aaron Murray’s 15-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green tied the game once again, sending it into overtime for the first time in series history. On the Bulldogs’ first overtime possession, Will Hill intercepted Murray and nearly returned it to end the game, falling just short of the goal line. The Gators took over and Henry iced the game, making up for a missed field goal earlier in the contest.

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Aside from the first hour of GameDay being hosted by Florida alum and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, the Gators and Bulldogs rivalry game will be featured in a separate segment about the series and will also be one of the games argued about during the pickets segment on Saturday’s broadcast at approximately 11:45 a.m.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

Read the remainder of OGGOA’s Gameday Preview including an injury report, players to keep an eye on and multiple preview videos…after the break!

Continue Reading » Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Georgia Gameday

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