Former Florida Gators participate in 2014 Pro Day

Thirteen former Florida Gators football players participated in Pro Day in Gainesville, FL on Monday though the event was not able to be held in front of the public at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as originally scheduled.

Due to heavy rain, Florida was forced to cancel the on-field workout and move things indoors. Players ran 40-yard dashes and participated in other drills on a rubber track inside the Stephen C. O’Connell Center – many took their shoes off and ran barefoot – before returning to the practice field for some positional drills.

“That was a first,” said UF head coach Will Muschamp of seeing the players run barefoot. “Proud of those guys working hard, a great day for them. The culmination of a lot of work. Have a great opportunity to play in the National Football League. …

“You play football in the rain. Our guys, it’s amazing how many scouts [came out]. Last year, we had a cold day. This, year we had some rain. The scouts walk up and the coaches walk up, Mike Zimmer walks up and says, ‘Hey, I appreciate you guys working.’ That means a lot. Believe me, these guys are professionals; they understand the conditions and the things the guys go through. None of our guys bellyache; they go work, and I’m proud of them for their effort.”

Representatives from all 32 NFL teams were in attendance with 59 scouts reportedly in Gainesville on Monday. Unlike last season, when general managers and coaches did not attend because the Gators held Pro Day on the same day as the start of 2013 NFL free agency, a number found their way to The Swamp with Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer and New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan standing out as notable faces.

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Eight Florida Gators invited to 2014 NFL Combine

Updated on Friday at 9:00 p.m.

The official list of invitees was released by National Football Scouting on Friday, and eight former Florida Gators have officially been invited to participate in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 19-25, consists of more than 300 players being put through a series of drills, tests and interviews while more than 600 NFL personnel in attendance (including coaching staffs, executives, player personnel and medical staffs) look on and evaluate each of them. It amounts to a major job interview for these athletes to participate in ahead of the start of the 2014 NFL Draft on May 8.

The eight former Gators student-athletes invited to the NFL Combine include:

Tight end Lawrence (Trey) Burton – Group: 3 | Camp: TE03
Offensive lineman Jonathan (Jon) Halapio – Group: 1 | Camp: OL12
Offensive lineman Jonotthan Harrison – Group: 1 | Camp: OL13
Defensive tackle Dominique Easley** – Group: 7 | Camp: DL09
Linebacker Ronald Powell* – Group: 9 | Camp: LB23
Defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy* – Group: 11 | Camp: DB44
Defensive back Marcus Roberson* – Group: 11 | Camp: DB48
Defensive back Jaylen Watkins – Group: 11 | Camp: DB58

* Junior
** Easley (torn ACL) will not participate in the NFL Combine.

Notable names apparently left off the invite list include: wide receiver Solomon Patton, DT Damien Jacobs, LB Darrin Kitchens and OL Kyle Koehne.

Read about each player’s day-to-day schedule in Indianapolis after the jump!
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TWO BITS: Gators team awards, game-winners

1 » The Florida Gators football team participated in its annual banquet on Saturday in which members of the team are presented with a number of awards for everything from on-field performance to working hard in practice and how courageous a particular player may be throughout the season. Below are the 2013 award winners along with some award explanations and additional details.

Coaches’ Choice Awards
President’s Academic Award: Mike McNeely
* Second-straight year that McNeely won the award.
Gene Elleson Community Service Award: Jaylen Watkins, Mark Herndon and Darrin Kitchens
Iron Gator Strength and Conditioning Award: Solomon Patton
Chris Patrick Courage Award: Solomon Patton, Damien Jacobs, Jon Halapio, Neiron Ball and Ronald Powell
* Second-straight year that Halapio and Powell each won the award.
Most Valuable Offensive Scout Team Award: Antonio Riles, Tim Clark, Caleb Brantley | Defensive: Case Harrison, Adam Lane, Cameron Dillard | Special Teams: Chris Thompson, Ryan Parrish

Players’ Choice Awards
Rex Farrior Most Team Spirited Offense: Jonotthan Harrison | Defense: Michael Taylor
Greg See Tenacity Award Offense: Jon Halapio, Jonotthan Harrison | Defense: Dominique Easley
* Second-straight year that Halapio and Harrison won the award for offense.
Most Valuable Player Offense: Solomon Patton | Defense: Dante Fowler, Jr. Special Teams: Jarrad Davis
James W. Kynes Award (Best Mental/Physical Toughness): Jon Halapio and Dominique Easley
* Presented to the “player who best exemplifies the mental and physical toughness and ‘iron-man’ determination.’ The award is traditionally won by offensive linemen.
Ray Graves Award (Team MVP): Solomon Patton
* Third-straight year that a senior offensive player won the award.
Fergie Ferguson Leadership Award: Jeremy Brown, Kyle Koehne and Darrin Kitchens
* Presented to the “player who displays outstanding leadership, character and courage.”
Captains: Jon Halapio, Jonotthan Harrison, Solomon Patton, Trey Burton and Dominique Easley
* Second-straight year that Halapio was named a team captain.

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Senior Day – Gameday: Florida Gators vs. No. 2 Florida State Seminoles

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather: 66°F (feels like 66°F), partly cloudy, winds NE at 14 mph
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch, Brian Griese, Tom Luginbill)
SiriusXM: 85 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com [Blackout Map] | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS No. 2 FSU SEMINOLES
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher
Record: 4-7 Record: 11-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Coast
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +29 | O/U 52.5
and you can also bet on Super Bowl game in Feb 2014.

KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS

Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you missed via the links below!

Story: Changes ahead for offensive staff | Notebook: Will Muschamp talks coaching changes, fixing the Gators and more injuries | Q&A: Brent Pease asked 17 questions about job status, future at Florida | Notebook: Muschamp provides updates on injuries, thoughts about Pease | Friday Final: Bittersweet finale for Florida seniors

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida leads the all-time series against Florida State 35-21-2 and holds a 20-9-1 record in Gainesville.
» The Gators will finish below .500 on the season for the first time since 1979 and below .500 in SEC play for the second time since that year (2010).
» UF lost to three unranked opponents this season and is now 18-4 against such teams under Muschamp. Last week, it dropped its first game to a Division I-AA/FCS team in school history.
» The Gators lost their second-straight game under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and are now 15-2 in such circumstances. Florida also lost for the second consecutive time under Muschamp (third overall) when leading at the half and are now 18-3 in that situation. UF is 18-5 when holding opponents to 21 points or less, 13-3 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards and 14-5 when scoring first in a game.

Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!
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Gators OT Tyler Moore falls off scooter, breaks elbow; sixth Florida starter out for the season

The Florida Gators have lost their sixth starter – fifth on the offensive side of the ball – due to injury as redshirt sophomore tackle Tyler Moore is out for the remainder of the season after falling off a scooter and breaking his right elbow Tuesday night.

Moore was returning home from dinner at the dining hall following practice.

“Unfortunately, last night Tyler Moore was riding home on his scooter, came around a curve there, back tire came out from underneath him and he got a compound fracture of his elbow. He’s having surgery as we speak, so he’ll be out for the season. We’ll know more about his prognosis and how low [he'll be out] after the surgery, obviously,” head coach Will Muschamp confirmed Wednesday during his weekly appearance on the Southeastern Conference football coaches’ teleconference.

“He’s a good young man and has really done everything we’ve asked on and off the field. He’s an outstanding member of our football team, and it’s just very unfortunate.

“I just hurt for him.”

It has been a rough season for Moore, a transfer from Nebraska who did not play in 2012. He was expected to be a depth addition to Florida’s roster but was forced to replacing redshirt junior Chaz Green (torn labrum – season) as the starting right tackle. Moore struggled in the first seven games of the season and was especially bad against Missouri when he committed multiple penalties and gave up a number of sacks.

“I just tried to get over it as quick as I could, still felt a little bad after the game and into the bye week. But slowly throughout the bye week, tried to work as hard as I could to show them that I was ready to play for the next game and slowly feeling like myself again,” said Moore on Tuesday about his performance at Mizzou.

The Gators began working with junior Trenton Brown (6-foot-8, 360-pounds) at right tackle, but Moore was suddenly thrust back into the starting lineup when sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries (sprained MCL) went down in practice last Monday.

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10/29: Pease on offensive line changes, Taylors

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media on Tuesday ahead of the seventh game of the season against the Georgia Bulldogs on Nov. 2.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD TACKLE(S)

The Gators’ much-maligned offensive line is set for a bit of a shake-up on Saturday as it appears all but certain that junior transfer Trenton Brown, a 6-foot-8, 361-pound behemoth, will start at right tackle for Florida. Pease refused to give him that designation on Tuesday but did admit that Brown spent a lot of time working with the first team offensive line during the off week and last few days.

“Yeah, he’s in line to play quite a bit. I don’t know. He’s got to continue through practice and see where he’s at. I don’t think you can just say, ‘Hey, you’re starting’ all of a sudden to a kid. He still has to accountable to his performance in practice,” Pease explained. “He was taking first-team reps last week, he’s taking first-team reps this week, and we’ll go from there. He’s still got to step up to your performance. He’s gotten better, he deserves an opportunity, and he’s going to get that.”

Pease credits Brown having to work against talented sophomore edge rushers Dante Fowler, Jr. and Jonathan Bullard for his improvement but noted that much remains to be seen in how he will handle defenders that will attempt to outmaneuver him because it will be impossible for them to knock him down.

“That’s something you’ve got to find out. Knowing what we’ve seen in one-ons and going against our guys, the kid provides a lot more mass. At 360, you’re probably not going to get pushed back quite a bit and bull rushed,” he said. “That kind of limits maybe what other guys can do. So they’re going to use more speed factor to get around you. In doing that, you’ve got to be able to compensate for what they’re going to do. Sometimes it takes out some of their moves.”

A change may also becoming at left tackle as redshirt junior Max Garcia, who has started every game for UF at left guard this season, may move over a spot. That would put both of the Gators’ starting tackles, sophomore D.J. Humphries (left) and redshirt sophomore Tyler Moore (right), on the bench at the opening of Saturday’s contest.

“I think he’s been one of our most consistent guys,” Pease said of Garcia. “It’s tough on all the guys. When you go out to tackle, usually you’re used to being in a smaller area, and now all of the sudden you got an extension from your alignment cleared out to possibly the sidelines to what we call a C-gap. In how you got to set your angle for a pass set, it’s tough on a kid because they don’t get reps at it every single play if they are playing inside at times. So to really change within the game is hard on them.”

If Garcia does start at left tackle, redshirt senior Kyle Koehne would take his place as the starting left guard.

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10/28: Taylor to start for Florida vs. Georgia, injury statuses, offensive line updates and more

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss progress made during the off week and the upcoming World’s Largest Cocktail Party showdown against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, Nov. 2. The contest will kick off at 3:30 p.m. from Jacksonville, FL, and air live on CBS.

IT’S (“PROBABLY”) TAYLOR TIME

Though Muschamp was quite clear that freshman running back Kelvin Taylor would be getting more work than usual on Saturday against Georgia, he stopped just short of declaring him the unquestioned starter. “Well, we’re working through the week and that’s probably what we’ll end up doing, he said.

Muschamp did, however, offer up a fair amount of praise for Taylor. “He’s continued to improve throughout the season, week-to-week. He’s always been a very instinctive natural runner. It’s very obviously. But again, with assignments and different things, I think he’s done a nice job and he deserves the opportunity,” he said.

Those are sentiments shared by redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy.

“He’s shown that he can do a lot of good things with the ball in his hands. I think the coaches, as well as myself, have to do a good job of finding ways to get him the ball so he can create big plays for us,” Murphy explained. “Like I said, we’re going to need some explosive plays and he has the ability to do that. We’re just going to have to find ways to continue to give him the ball and eventually he’s going to break. He’s very talented, very elusive player. Looking forward to seeing him this week and what role he’ll have.”

ALL HEALED UP

Muschamp did not list Murphy on Florida’s injury report two weeks ago, but he was nevertheless a game-time decision when UF took on Missouri. Murphy played with what was revealed Monday to be a sprained AC joint and put together his worst performance of the season as he was inaccurate with the ball throughout the contest.

“It didn’t bother me at all. I think maybe just not practicing or not throwing a little bit kind of hurt me a little bit. Other than that, I felt fine. It wasn’t bothering me or anything,” he said. “I had that overthrow to Trey [Burton] which hurt us in the beginning. I kind of couldn’t help but laugh because he was so wide open. You gotta hit him.”

Murphy did not throw during the off week – redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg took all the snaps – but should be back in action on Monday and completely cleared to take first-team snaps by Tuesday.

INJURY UPDATES

Redshirt junior linebacker Ronald Powell (ankle) missed Saturday’s game against Mizzou but “ran well” during the off week and even got in some change of direction work on Sunday. Muschamp said he expects Powell back in action on Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest “if he were to play in the game.” He admitted: “[It is] still kind of up in the air whether that will happen or not.”

Senior defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (head) is set to return to practice on Tuesday and is listed as probable, while senior LB Darrin Kitchens (shoulder) and redshirt freshman tight end Colin Thompson (foot) are both doubtful.

Continue Reading » 10/28: Taylor to start for Florida vs. Georgia, injury statuses, offensive line updates and more

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Time for change on Florida’s most offensive line

How poor has play been throughout the Florida Gators’ offensive line over the last two weeks? Consider the fact that opposing defensive linemen are racking up weekly awards from the Southeastern Conference each Monday by having career games against Florida’s atrocious front on Saturday.

Two weekends ago, LSU sophomore defensive end Danielle Hunter put together the “most complete game of his career,” according to his school, with seven tackles including one for loss (on third down) and two pass breakups in just his fourth career start. He was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week.

The Tigers’ defense dominated the Gators’ offensive line, holding Florida to 240 total yards while recording season-highs of four sacks, eight tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries.

It was more of the same last Saturday when Missouri redshirt senior DE Michael Sam tore up UF’s offensive front. Sam knocked Florida back 22 yards on three sacks and registered one more tackle and quarterback hurry on the afternoon. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week.

These Tigers held the Gators to just 61 yards of total offense in the first half.

Florida’s offense certainly has its share of problems, both on and off the field, but the most but the biggest is undoubtedly the incredibly offensive play of its line.

“We’re inept offensively. We have a hard time running it and certainly can’t protect very well,” Muschamp said after the loss to Mizzou. “We’re struggling right now to get the right combination, to get guys blocked, the run and the pass game. We’re doing everything we can do. We shuffle guys around. We just got to get better.”

The biggest issue for the Gators has been the play of its tackles.

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