The first quarter of the 2016 Citrus Bowl featured two trick plays called by Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain. Simply put, the first one failed miserably while the second was arguably the most effective that has been run in college football this season.
No. 19 Florida Gators football returns to the Citrus Bowl for the first time since 2007 when it takes on the No. 14 Michigan Wolverines in the 2016 edition of the game on Friday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. ET.
Here’s a look ahead at the game: what to know and how to watch Florida-Michigan.
Event: 2016 Citrus Bowl
Location: Citrus Bowl – Orlando Florida [Capacity: 70,000]
Weather: 83 degrees, mostly cloudy, winds WSW at 10 mph
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
TV: ABC (Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham, Dr. Jerry Punch)
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain is rarely specific when he speaks with the media. While he may offer some praise here and there, criticisms are generally kept under wraps and those attempting to discern what he means are often forced to read between the lines of what he actually says.
So on Tuesday, when McElwain spoke ahead of the 2016 Citrus Bowl against the Michigan Wolverines, there was plenty to ask the coach but only so many answers that came back. However, if one looks closely enough, McElwain’s opinions are not that tough to discern.
Two college football programs that saw the biggest turnarounds of any in the nation in 2015, the No. 19 Florida Gators and No. 14 Michigan Wolverines, will square off on at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day in the 2016 Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida.
The Gators and Wolverines will go head-to-head for the first time since the 2008 Capital One Bowl, a 42-35 overtime victory for Michigan in what was head coach Lloyd Carr’s last game.
New opportunities await after five solid years
The departure of defensive coordinator and interim head coach D.J. Durkin from the Florida Gators is a certainty now that new head coach Jim McElwain has hired Geoff Collins to coordinate his defense.
But while Durkin’s departure will be viewed as a simple changing of the guard, it should be noted that he’s had a major impact on the program during his time with the Gators.
In his fifth year with the team, Durkin was the second-longest tenured member of Florida’s coaching staff, second only to running backs coach Brian White (six seasons). He originally joined the Gators as a special teams coordinator under Urban Meyer; his unit was so effective, and he received such high praise from Meyer and Florida’s administration, that Will Muschamp thought it wise to retain Durkin (along with White) when he took over in 2011.
Head coach Bob Stoops may leave the Oklahoma Sooners for the Florida Gators He also may not. Either way, Stoops explained to Tulsa World on Saturday that reports stating he is close to signing with Florida are false.
“Not true, whatsoever,” Stoops told the paper‘s Dave Sittler via text message. “I’m out recruiting [for Oklahoma] as we text.”
A seven-time Big 12 champion who also captured a national title after serving as the Gators’ defensive coordinator under head coach Steve Spurrier, Stoops has been the object of Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley‘s affection for years.
Foley has tried to hire Stoops on two other occasions but was rebuffed both times.
Though Stoops is widely believed to be the University of Florida‘s number one choice, word out of Gainesville, FL, is that Boise State Broncos head coach Chris Petersen not far behind in Foley’s pecking order.
Petersen, who has led Boise State since 2006, has never won fewer than 10 games in a season, is 2-0 in BCS bowl games (0-2 in non-BCS bowls), and has won four Western Athletic Conference titles in five seasons. He is also a two-time Paul “Bear” Bryant Award winner as Coach of the Year (2006, 2009).
Other current head coaches rumored to be up for the Florida job – in no particular order – include Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh, Connecticut’s Randy Edsall, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Louisville’s Charlie Strong, Southern Mississippi’s Larry Fedora and Houston’s Kevin Sumlin. Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, in line to succeed Mack Brown, is also believed to be an option.
Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino was thought to be a top candidate for UF, but he reportedly agreed to seven-year contract extension on Friday. Petrino was supposedly Foley’s number two choice when he hired current/former head coach Urban Meyer.
Arguing whether or not Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL has seemingly become a national pastime with fans, league executives, former players, current players and analysts all having an opinion on his future without even seeing the former Florida Gators star step into a professional huddle.
Supporters and doubters alike realize that Tebow has some work to do in order to be a polished NFL quarterback. Nevertheless, what some term as “flaws,” others believe are characteristics that make Tebow unique and will allow him to succeed at the next level – perhaps even beyond his most ardent fans’ expectations.
ESPN spoke with a few former NFL signal callers known for their mobility – most prominently Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton and Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh – and asked them to evaluate Tebow’s ability to succeed in the pros.
Tarkenton: “I know that Tim Tebow is not the prototypical quarterback. I wasn’t either. Neither was Roger Staubach, even Bob Griese wasn’t. I had my own style of play and did OK. The only thing that will hurt him is coaches. Most coaches don’t understand quarterbacks. Don’t try to coach him into what he’s going to be. That would be a disaster. […] Peyton Manning can’t do what Tim Tebow does, and vice versa. […] The quarterback position is about playmaking, it’s about leadership. It’s a complex position you can’t test for.”
Read what else was said about Tebow and his future…after the break!
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