Friday Final: Florida Gators prepare for emotional Senior Day in The Swamp

In this week’s edition of Florida Football Friday Final, OnlyGators.com takes a look at the Florida Gators (5-4) as they prepare to play their second-to-last game under head coach Will Muschamp against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (9-2) on Senior Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday. The game will kick off at noon and air live on the SEC Network.

THIS WEEK ON ONLYGATORS.COM

Story: Will Muschamp earns praise, talks dismissal with class
Story: Dante Fowler Jr. declares for NFL Draft on Twitter
Story/Notebook: Gators lose two linebackers for season; two defensive backs return for Saturday’s game
Story: Florida coordinators talk Muschamp firing, EKU, future
The Silver Lining: Answering reader questions about the Gators’ future

SENIOR DAY IN THE SWAMP

Lost among the firing of a head coach and subsequent start of a search for a new one are two simple facts: the Gators are one victory away from bowl game eligibility, and Muschamp will not be the only one who spending his last Saturday on Florida Field.

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The Silver Lining for Thursday, November 20: Gators coaching search candidates, mailbag

Florida Gators coaching search

Ah, a coaching search. So much fun. Such little stress. Not taxing whatsoever on my time, energy or sleep patterns, which are already way too out-of-whack. The simple fact is that this will likely be a long and tedious search and no one will experience that as much first-hand as athletic director Jeremy Foley, who not only has to go through the entire process but is also tasked with making the all-important decision.

As this process unfolds, you are going to see such a wide variety of lists and reports posted by different media outlets that your head may spin. My hope with the candidate list that OnlyGators.com posted on Sunday was that you would understand it to be a pros-and-cons breakdown of some of the most talked-about names for the job that also provided you with a comprehensive list of names that could fit what the Gators are looking for in their next coach.

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Roper, Durkin focus on EKU, discuss Muschamp

One thing Will Muschamp made very clear at his press conference on Monday was that it would be business as usual for the Florida Gators this week as they prepare to host the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Saturday.

The message has obviously been delivered to his coordinators, as both Kurt Roper (offensive) and D.J. Durkin (defensive) explained this week that they are focused on the game and the game alone.

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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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QB Jeff Driskel says benching was ‘tough’ but he’s happy to contribute to Florida Gators

The snaps are drastically reduced and therefore his opportunities are more limited, but redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel still has a role on the Florida Gators, and he plans to do whatever it takes to help his team.

Take Saturday’s 34-10 win over Vanderbilt, when a finally-healthy Driskel (back) broke a 7-7 tie by leaping over a goal line pile on fourth down to score a go-ahead, one-yard touchdown.

Fans groaned when they saw Driskel enter the game on two separate goal line opportunities in consecutive series. The coaching staff and Driskel’s teammates felt otherwise, especially when they saw him extend his arms – and the ball – into the end zone.

“Jeff did a great job. I don’t care what anybody says,” said offensive coordinator Kurt Roper on Tuesday. “That’s a great play on his part getting that one in, in that situation. The player made a play.”

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11/11: Roper happy with Harris, offensive balance

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Kurt Roper met with the media on Tuesday to provide some thoughts on his team’s second-straight victory and upcoming return home against the South Carolina Gamecocks, which is set for noon on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

FINDING SUCCESS AT QUARTERBACK

Head coach Will Muschamp had plenty of praise for freshman quarterback Treon Harris after Saturday’s victory, but Roper was forced to hold his until Tuesday.

When he did get to speak about the young signal caller, Roper said that Harris has communicated his increased comfort level in the offense. Now that Harris is taking nearly all the first-team repetitions, his knowledge of the system is growing and he personally is maturing on a weekly basis.

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11/4: Roper on Florida’s passing game, Driskel’s new role, receivers’ blocking

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Kurt Roper met with the media on Tuesday to provide some thoughts on his team’s recent upset victory and upcoming road game against the Vanderbilt Commodores, which is set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

“WE’RE GONNA THROW IT MORE”

Head coach Will Muschamp told the media after Saturday’s win and again on Monday that there were additional passing plays scheduled to be run against Georgia, but Florida was so successful running the ball that the Gators did not want to take any chances and deviate from what was working.

Apparently, Muschamp told freshman quarterback Treon Harris the exact same thing immediately after the game. In the Vine below, via WCJB TV20‘s Zach Aldridge, Muschamp hugs Harris on the field and says, “We’re gonna throw it more.”

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Friday Final: Players ready for Florida-Georgia

In this week’s edition of Florida Football Friday Final, OnlyGators.com takes a look at the Florida Gators (3-3, 2-3 SEC) as they prepare to lay it all on the line against the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) on Saturday afternoon at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and air live on CBS.

THIS WEEK ON ONLYGATORS.COM

Notebook: Will Muschamp previews Florida-Georgia, talks starting Treon Harris, fixing Florida’s numerous offensive issues during bye
Story: Gators adopt “bunker mentality” as players support coach
Story: Tim Tebow on Treon Harris: We’ll see what he’s made of
Notebok: Kurt Roper talks Harris starting, Florida’s progress on offense
Notebook: Gators defense ready to stop Bulldogs rush, more from D.J. Durkin
The Silver Lining: Florida players exuding confidence entering Georgia game

WORLD’S LARGEST OUTDOOR COCKTAIL PARTY

Every player on the Florida roster always has and always will get geared up for Georgia game, no matter how either team is playing entering the contest.

Head coach Will Muschamp announced Thursday that four redshirt senior Peach State natives – linebacker Neiron Ball, running back Mack Brown, center Max Garcia and LB Michael Taylor – will be captains for the game. Two of them, along with a couple other players, spoke with the media this week about what the UF-UGA game means to them.

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