Gators QB Jeff Driskel transfers to Louisiana Tech, ends bowl game on field for Florida

Updated on Monday at 10:50 a.m.

Florida Gators redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel knew at the end of the regular season, with a new coaching staff taking over, that it would be his best bet to play the final year of his collegiate career elsewhere.

But he did not announce that decision immediately, choosing instead to remain with the teammates he has played beside for the last four years as they took on East Carolina in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl.

However, minutes before the game began, new head coach Jim McElwain officially let the cat out of the bag, telling gathered media members that Driskel had asked for his release, a request the coach did not think twice about granting.

“We all have choices,” he told multiple reporters in attendance at the bowl game, “and I’m not going to hold him hostage.”

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Florida Gators hold on to top East Carolina 28-20 in 2015 Birmingham Bowl

As it often has for the program over the last four seasons, it took a defensive play to send the Florida Gators to victory in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl on Saturday afternoon at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama.

Florida (7-5) triumphed 28-20 over the East Carolina Pirates (8-5) despite being outscored in the second half and outgained 536-339 on the afternoon.

Gators sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III intercepted Pirates signal caller Shane Carden in the end zone with 1:20 remaining, ending ECU’s bid at a comeback victory while sending UF to its first bowl win since the 2011 season.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators hold on to top East Carolina 28-20 in 2015 Birmingham Bowl

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Report: Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel considering transfer to Duke

It is hardly a secret that Florida Gators redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel is planning on playing football at another school in 2015 after losing his starting job this past season, especially considering a brand new coaching staff is about to be put into place.

When Driskel will officially make that decision, and determine to which school he plans to transfer, are greater unknowns.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, Driskel has “sent a release” to the Duke Blue Devils allowing the program to contact him about football playing opportunities.

An early enrollee who completed his fourth year of study at Florida in the fall, Driskel would transfer as a graduate student and be eligible to play immediately at whatever institution he chooses.

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Durkin: Cox out for bowl, McGee hopes to stay at Florida, Gators prepare for Birmingham

Florida Gators interim head coach and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin met with the media on Thursday to discuss the early portion pf practice ahead of the 2015 Birmingham Bowl, injuries, roster developments and the team’s preparation for the East Carolina Pirates. Florida and ECU will square off on Saturday, Jan. 3 at 12 p.m. at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama.

UP-AND-COMER SIDELINED FOR BOWL

Redshirt sophomore defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. began to show some flashes as the 2014 season came to a close, but he will be unable to take advantage of the 20 bowl practices to take his game to the next level ahead of spring practice.

Cox, who announced on social media that he underwent surgery, has officially been ruled out for the bowl game after having a procedure on his hip.

“Bryan Cox had surgery and he will be out for the bowl game,” Durkin said. “It was a hip injury, something that was deteriorating over time that he needed to have done.”

In his second year of on-field action, Cox finished with 29 tackles (six for lost yardage) and four sacks. He will likely step into a starting role with the Gators in 2015.

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11/24: Muschamp on preparing for FSU, what he’s told Gators assistants, quarterback position

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (6-4) held his last regularly-scheduled Monday press conference in order to discuss his team’s upcoming game against the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (11-0) on Saturday afternoon at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida.

OPENING STATEMENT ON FLORIDA STATE

“One of the great rivalries in all of college football. Got a really good football team. We got tremendous respect for [head coach] Jimbo [Fisher] and the job he’s done, and his staff deserves a lot of credit for the games they’ve won. They won a bunch of games in a row. Last time they lost was when the Gators were up there. They’ve done an outstanding job. They’ve got a very good team in all three phases.

“Offensively, really with their team starts with Jameis Winston. He’s a great player, a Heisman Trophy winner. Arm talent, he can throw it any way you want it. He’s just got a great, strong arm. He’s able to throw the touch throws, take the ball to the right spots. He’s got a great pocket presence. He’s a very hard guy to tackle in the pocket. You’ve got to tackle him high. Great toughness for the position, you see the guy take some shots. He’s got a bad ankle, he keeps battling, he keeps playing and keeps playing. At the end of the game, he’s won a bunch of games for them, especially this year putting the game on his shoulders and winning the football game. Tremendous respect for him. …

“Looking forward to going to Tallahassee. Our guys will prepare well. Our guys look forward to this game every year and it ought to be a great atmosphere and environment.”

Continue Reading » 11/24: Muschamp on preparing for FSU, what he’s told Gators assistants, quarterback position

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Florida-EKU post-game report: Durkin to coach bowl, Muschamp’s final lesson, Bullard’s decision

The Florida Gators (6-4) took care of business, routing the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (9-3) on Senior Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida’s 52-3 victory on Saturday got the Gators bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012 and also marked the second-largest win margin in any game under head coach Will Muschamp, who was able to leave The Swamp with his head held high.

BOWL GAME COACH CHOSEN

Moments after Florida’s win was finalized, the school announced that defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin would serve as interim head coach for the Gators’ bowl game this year. Durkin, the second-longest tenured member of the staff (five years) behind running backs coach Brian White (six years), will take the reigns of the program once Muschamp’s dismissal is finalized next Saturday, Nov. 29.

FINAL LESSON: A TOUGH WEEK, ROAD AHEAD

There should be no doubt that the entire Florida football team took Muschamp’s dismissal hard. Gators players spoke of him fondly on Monday after his press conference and were obviously playing with an extra gear on Saturday. Junior defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard even went so far as to write his coach’s last name on his eyeblack.

“I’ve just been through a lot and he’s been there for me,” Bullard said. “When I lost my grandmother, he was a big supporter; he let me go home as long as I needed. Just little things he did helping me through that whole situation, he’s just been a real good person to me. I respect him a lot, and actually, I love him. I just wanted to show some respect for him, everything he’s done for me, and show him that I appreciate it.”

Muschamp admitted Saturday that it took a while for Florida to get back in the swing of things this week. Monday’s practice was thwarted due to the weather; Tuesday the team looked “just OK” and did not show “great effort” on the field; and Wednesday was just “a little bit better.”

So Muschamp spent the Gators’ regularly-scheduled Thursday meeting speaking about much more than just the upcoming game but rather how Florida’s players need to deal with his dismissal and their futures going forward.

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Florida airs it out, tops EKU 52-3 on Senior Day; Gators become bowl-eligible

The Florida Gators (6-4) rolled to a 52-3 win over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (9-3) on Senior Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, subsequently becoming bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012.

Florida quarterbacks freshman Treon Harris and redshirt junior Jeff Driskel combined for six total touchdowns, as wide receivers sophomore Demarcus Robinson and redshirt senior Quinton Dunbar each eclipsed 100 yards and hauled in two scores.

Harris completed just 4-of-12 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, while Driskel was 9-for-11 for 164 yards with three passing touchdowns as well as a rushing score.

For Dunbar, who was playing his last game in The Swamp, the performance was the best of his Gators career. He registered a career-high 107 yards, caught his first touchdown since Nov. 24, 2012, and scored twice for the first time in his career.

Continue Reading » Florida airs it out, tops EKU 52-3 on Senior Day; Gators become bowl-eligible

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Friday Final: Gators aim to take back The Swamp; game could be the last for Muschamp, Spurrier

In this week’s edition of Florida Football Friday Final, OnlyGators.com takes a look at the Florida Gators (5-3, 4-3 SEC) as they prepare to ride their momentum against the South Carolina Gamecocks (4-5, 2-5 SEC) on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. The game will kick off at noon and air live on the SEC Network.

THIS WEEK ON ONLYGATORS.COM

Story: Freshman QB Treon Harris leading turnaround effort
Notebook: Will Muschamp breaks down Florida entering South Carolina game
Notebook: Kurt Roper pleased with Harris, offense’s balance
Story: Max Garcia emerging as one of the game’s best thanks to great coaching
Story: DL Jonathan Bullard’s sacrifices, team-first mindset paying off for Gators
Story: QB Jeff Driskel says benching was “tough,” but he’s happy to contribute

ONLY GATORS GET OUT ALIVE

Head coach Will Muschamp kicked it off on Monday, noting that he has made it a theme this week for the Gators to “take back The Swamp,” which is “what we need to do this coming Saturday.” Muschamp and Florida’s players understand that the team has let down its home fans during his tenure with the program. UF is just 17-7 at The Swamp over the last four seasons with a 9-6 record against SEC opponents and Florida State.

A number of players addressed what a victory in front Gator Nation would mean on Saturday. Check out what each of them had to say about it.

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