Versatility key for Gators WR Burton, OL Koehne

Two of the smartest members of the Florida Gators – senior wide receiver Trey Burton and redshirt senior offensive lineman Kyle Koehne – are also two of the most important members of the offense…even if neither gets the credit he deserves.

Burton, who has played quarterback, running back and fullback (plus special teams) but has transitioned to wideout while still retaining a role as a wildcat quarterback, was praised this week by his teammates for how integral he is to Florida’s success.

“He can play anywhere,” junior quarterback Jeff Driskel said. “He can play outside. He can play inside. He comes out of the backfield. He knows every position on every pass play so he can really help out everyone else, too.

“He knows where to get in the zones – or when it’s man – whether to pull out of routes, stuff like that. He has sure hands. He’s done that ever since I’ve been here. He’s been a reliable guy ever since he’s been here, so he’s definitely a guy that’s going to get a lot of touches this year.”

Redshirt junior left guard Max Garcia sees Burton as a leader on the offense, a right-hand man of sorts to Driskel who can help sort out things for his teammates.

“He’s all over the field. He has to make sure everybody else that doesn’t know what they’re doing, he gets them lined up and stuff like that. He’s definitely a leader out there, vocal, and we need him out there to direct other people,” Garcia explained.

Burton, who even spent two practices at safety in 2010 before then-offensive coordinator Charlie Weis insisted he be moved back to offense – said he believes all upperclassmen should be able to coach but explained that the way he was taught in high school has led to him looking at the offense from a different perspective.

Continue Reading » Versatility key for Gators WR Burton, OL Koehne

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Florida hopes to win the state, players talk Miami game, Dunbar on getting out of the south

A number of Florida Gators players spoke to the media throughout the week ahead of the second game of the season against the Miami Hurricanes on Sept. 7.

WINNING THE STATE

For the Gators, a rare opportunity to win the state presents itself as Florida will take on both Miami (on the road) and Florida State (at home) in the same season. Numerous players mentioned that head coach Will Muschamp always stresses the importance of UF proving itself against in-state competition, more so than ever this season.

“It’s definitely a big game. It’s definitely an in-state game. Muschamp harps on winning the state so every time you have an in-state team we always want to win that game,” said redshirt freshman safety Marcus Maye. “It’s a game on the schedule so we always want that ‘W’ next to that team on the schedule. It’s definitely a big game. Definitely it’s going to be a great atmosphere and stuff like that. We’re looking forward to it.”

A good portion of the Gators’ roster is from South Florida, which makes Saturday’s contest even more special than a normal in-state game. Redshirt junior S Cody Riggs said the game truly feels like a rivalry because he has been waiting so long to play the Canes, and redshirt junior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar added that he is extremely excited to play on his home turf.

Dunbar will have approximately 20 tickets for the game so family and friends can come out to Sun Life Stadium watch him play. The Booker T. Washington High School graduate was once committed to Miami but flipped to Florida for a number of reasons, including putting himself into a better situation.

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Florida RT Chaz Green (labrum) out for the season, RB Matt Jones should return next week

Game Week – Monday: Opening Week Depth Chart | LB Antonio Morrison’s Suspension Reduced | New Mr. Two Bits, Muschamp on Tight Ends, Opener

Head coach Will Muschamp on Monday announced that the Florida Gators have lost a second starter for the year as redshirt junior right tackle Chaz Green tore his labrum in practice last Tuesday and will undergo season-ending surgery on Wednesday.

“Really disappointing news with Chaz Green. He’s going to have to have surgery this week to repair a labrum,” Muschamp said. “It happened in last Tuesday’s practice, felt it was OK, got the MRI back Friday afternoon. Chaz was playing his best football, playing extremely well, had certainly solidified himself at the right tackle spot.”

Muschamp also announced that sophomore starting running back Matt Jones, who is still recovering from a serious viral infection, is expected to be cleared to play the second week of the season at Miami on Sept. 7.

“Matt Jones continues to progress and do well. I certainly think he will be available next week,” he said. “He’s getting some more blood work done today as we work through it. Unless we have some sort of setback, I certainly think that’s going to happen.”

Muschamp continued: “He’s running, he’s cutting, he’s lifting. We haven’t put pads on him yet and he hasn’t gone out in the heat yet [with pads]. He’s been out in the heat as far as running is concerned. They’re just worried about a relapse from the standpoint of coming back too early. That’s what we’re waiting on the blood work to get back for him today. I’ll know more [Monday] afternoon or [Tuesday]. I saw him [Sunday]; he looks great. But again, I’m not a doctor.”

Green joins redshirt senior kick return Andre Debose (torn ACL) as starters lost for the 2013 campaign. Debose was also expected to see significant time at wide receiver.

Redshirt sophomore transfer Tyler Moore will take Green’s place in the starting lineup, just as he did during spring practice when Green was sidelined with an ankle injury. Junior transfer Trenton Brown will serve as the back-up.

Continue Reading » Florida RT Chaz Green (labrum) out for the season, RB Matt Jones should return next week

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Florida Gators 2013 opening week depth chart

Game Week – Monday: LB Antonio Morrison’s Suspension Reduced | RT Chaz Green Out for Season, RB Matt Jones Set for Miami | New Mr. Two Bits, Muschamp on Tight Ends, Season Opener

Though things could still change over the next five days, the Florida Gators on Monday morning released the team’s first official depth chart for the 2013 season.

Florida omitted players that are not participating in the season opener due to injury or suspension; therefore, the depth chart below is an “active” version rather than a “best-case scenario” version. Notations marked with (») can be found below certain positions.

OnlyGators.com will update this post shortly with additional details and thoughts from head coach Will Muschamp‘s Monday press conference.

OFFENSE

QB: 6 Jeff Driskel, 3 Tyler Murphy
RB: 33 Mack Brown, 37 Mark Herndon, 10 Valdez Showers
» 24 Matt Jones is not playing on Saturday.
FB: 43 Hunter Joyer, 25 Gideon Ajagbe
WR (X): 1 Quinton Dunbar, 11 Demarcus Robinson
WR (Z): 83 Solomon Patton, 5 Ahmad Fulwood, 85 Chris Thompson
» 13 Latroy Pittman and 4 Andre Debose (out for season) knocked out of Z.
F Position: 8 Trey Burton, 13 Latroy Pittman, 30 Mike McNeely
TE: 88 Clay Burton, 87 Tevin Westbrook, 84 Colin Thompson
» 18 Kent Taylor not on the three-deep.

LT: 70 D.J. Humphries, 76 Max Garcia
» 74 Trenton Brown no longer the back-up to Humphries.
LG: 76 Max Garcia, 63 Trip Thurman
» 77 Ian Silberman no longer the back-up to Garcia.
C: 72 Jonotthan Harrison, 64 Kyle Koehne
RG: 64 Kyle Koehne, 77 Ian Silberman
» 67 Jon Halapio is not playing Saturday; Thurman moved to left guard.
RT: 73 Tyler Moore, 74 Trenton Brown
» 75 Chaz Green is out for the season; Brown moved to right tackle.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2013 opening week depth chart

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Gators RB Jones, RG Halapio set to miss games

Two Florida Gators offensive starters – sophomore running back Matt Jones and redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio – will not be cleared to play in the team’s season opener against Toledo on Aug. 31, and in Halapio’s case, may not return until the fourth week of the 2013 season, head coach Will Muschamp announced on Friday.

Jones, who has done nothing but cardiovascular exercise during fall practice after being stricken with a serious viral infection over the summer, has long been expected to miss game action as he continues to get back into football shape. Muschamp confirmed Friday that Jones would be held out of the Toledo game and indicated that he could miss additional time if deemed unfit to return to the field by team doctors.

“He will be out for Toledo. He’s questionable from there on out, but he’s doing very well,” Muschamp said. “He’s really progressing well. They’re putting more on him each day as far as physical activity, as far as running and lifting and all of the different things. I’ve been very pleased with how he’s progressed.”

Though Jones “seems fine” and is recovered from his illness, Muschamp related that the trainers want to ensure the player’s immune system is back to 100 percent or else he could relapse if he physically exerts himself too much too early. Jones is set to undergo another round of comprehensive blood tests on Monday.

“They feel like he could have some sort of relapse if you tax him too much early, is basically what they’ve told me,” he said. I’m just doing whatever they tell me that he can do as far as our strength staff is concerned, as far as running and those things are concerned. They want to make sure his immune system is up and he can handle any of those things. Any time you have a serious viral infection, which is what he had, his immune system has battled down a little bit. So that’s what they’re handling right now.”

Continue Reading » Gators RB Jones, RG Halapio set to miss games

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RB Jones, RG Halapio join QB Driskel as banged-up Florida Gators set to miss practice time

Florida Gators’ 2013 Media Day: Story: Appendectomy just a bump in the road for confident Driskel | News, Notes & Quotes – Will Muschamp breaks down the 2013 Gators | Story: It’s now or never for Florida WR Andre Debose | Story: RB Brown, QB Murphy ready to step up for Gators

Following up a Tuesday announcement that Florida Gators junior starting quarterback Jeff Driskel would miss up to two weeks after undergoing an appendectomy, head coach Will Muschamp announced at his first fall press conference on Thursday that two more starters – sophomore running back Matt Jones and redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio – will also be absent from the start of camp with ailments of their own.

Jones, who looks to follow Mike Gillislee as a 1,000-yard back for Florida in 2013, fell ill with a serious viral infection this week and is currently being treated by team doctors. He will remain out of action indefinitely.

“He came down with this in the last four or five days,” Muschamp said. “Right now, we’re filling him full of antibiotics. How his body responds will tell me how quickly he can come back. I probably won’t know definitively until the end of next week on that. It’s just one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of [gastrointestinal] issues right now, and he’s dealing with those things. He’s a guy that should be fine. Again, I just don’t know when he will return.”

Halapio, a projected second-day draft selection next year, partially tore a pectoral muscle in mid-July. Though the injury will not require surgery, he will not be reevaluated until Aug. 9, one full week into fall practice.

“Jon Halapio had a partial tear of his pec about three days after media days,” Muschamp said. “There’s no surgery needed. He will be back. It’s just I don’t know exactly when. He meets with the doctor again next Friday to find out exactly when he’ll be back in action.”

Muschamp then praised the team’s physicians for quickly determining why Driskel was sick and ensuring that he had the necessary procedure as soon as possible.

Continue Reading » RB Jones, RG Halapio join QB Driskel as banged-up Florida Gators set to miss practice time

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2013 SEC Media Days – Gators ready to rock

Florida Gators at 2013 SEC Media Days: Game times vs. Toledo, Miami set | Muschamp: I’m “100% responsible” for players | Easley steals the show | VIDEOS: Florida players have fun interviewing each other

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp, junior quarterback Jeff Driskel, senior defensive lineman Dominique Easley and redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio represented the team on Tuesday by participating at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Media Days at the Winfrey Hotel in Hoover, AL. Below are highlights from Muschamp’s session along with some player comments.

MUSCHAMP FIRES A SHOT AT URBAN MEYER

Before he stepped up to the main podium, Muschamp spoke with reporters in a side session and was asked about Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer turning in Florida and running backs coach Brian White (Meyer’s former team and former assistant coach) for a minor secondary recruiting violation. Meyer and OSU also reported UF for what they perceived to be another recruiting violation last year.

“We appreciate our friends from Ohio making sure we are compliant with NCAA rules,” Muschamp said, according to Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples. “They certainly know something about NCAA rules.”

Muschamp continued: “It’s really a dead issue. In both situations we were turned in by Ohio, the University of Florida didn’t do anything wrong.”

PUNISHMENT STILL UP IN THE AIR

Muschamp also told reporters that he has not decided whether sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison will be suspended for any games due to his arrest on a charge of misdemeanor simple battery one month ago. He has already been disciplined by the Gators but additional punishment has yet to be determined.

Morrison accepted a deferred prosecution agreement from the State of Florida and will pay fines, perform community service and complete other tasks during a six-month probationary period in order to get the charge expunged from his record.

INJURY UPDATES

Muschamp announced Tuesday that only two players would be limited heading into fall training camp – redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Trip Thurman and freshman LB Alex Anzalone – both of whom are nursing shoulder injuries after going under the knife during the spring.

He expects both players to eventually return to practice in the fall but noted that each would likely miss 10-12 sessions before being cleared by team trainers. Otherwise, he believes the Gators are “pretty healthy” on the injury front.

Redshirt junior BUCK Ronald Powell, who missed the entire 2012 season with a pair of anterior cruciate ligament surgeries, will be cleared for the start of fall practice.

“Probably the guy I’m most excited to see is Ronald Powell,” Muschamp said. “Here is a guy who has been through a lot of adversity. He’s been cleared to go after it in fall camp. A guy I’m really excited to get back on the field to see is No. 7 running around in orange and blue, a guy that’s been through an awful lot. Two surgeries. Never complained. Never got down about anything. [He] is truly a great individual and excited that he’s a leader of our football team as well.”

POSITION-BY-POSITION ANALYSIS

As part of his 2,400-word filibuster opening statement, Muschamp went in-depth about each position on the Florida football team and often spoke at length about particular players. Below is a breakdown of what he had to say about those positions.

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Florida Gators 2013 post-spring depth chart

Below is the 2013 post-spring practice version of the Florida Gators depth chart. Though some fans will be excited to see where the team stacks up below, head coach Will Muschamp cautions each year that feeling that way is not worth the energy.

Muschamp makes it quite clear that he does not put a lot of stock into depth charts, even those that are published after spring practice is over. In fact, back in 2011 and again on Wednesday, he stated it is “not worth the paper it is printed on.” In other words, the depth chart seen here is just a starting-off point for 2013 and plenty can change between now and the start of the season.

Nevertheless, below is the depth chart as it was presented on April 24. Notations marked with (») denote changes from the pre-spring depth chart released March 12. Players marked with (*) were out for all or most of spring practice.

OGGOA will update this post with more from Muschamp shortly.

OFFENSE

QB: 6 Jeff Driskel, 10 Tyler Murphy
» Murphy inches ahead of 17 Skyler Mornhinweg for the No. 2 job.
RB: 24 Matt Jones, 33 Mack Brown
» Brown understandably inches ahead of freshman 21 Kelvin Taylor.~
FB: 43 Hunter Joyer, 25 Gideon Ajagbe
» Ajagbe wins the second-string job over 29 Rhaheim Ledbetter.
WR (X): 1 Quinton Dunbar, 11 Demarcus Robinson
WR (Z): 13 Latroy Pittman, 4 Andre Debose, 83 Solomon Patton
» Debose switches from second X to second Z receiver though the players switch in those positions. Pittman takes over the top spot at Z from 15 Loucheiz Purifoy.
F Position: 8 Trey Burton, 13 Latroy Pittman
TE: 88 Clay Burton, 87 Tevin Westbrook OR 18 Kent Taylor OR 84 Colin Thompson

~ Muschamp on Brown edging past Taylor: “You’re not going to get through the SEC with one back. That’s not going to happen. Certainly Mack has distanced himself as a second-team back at this time, a guy that we’ve got a lot of confidence in, that we expect big things form in the fall to continue to progress. I think he’s done a nice job of running the football, and protections, catching the ball, finishing plays. Kelvin certainly has done some nice things and he needs to continue to progress – more than anything- mentally with the offense. Physically, he’s got some ability.”

LT: 70 D.J. Humphries, 74 Trenton Brown
LG: 76 Max Garcia, 77 Ian Silberman*
C: 72 Jonotthan Harrison, 64 Kyle Koehne
RG: 67 Jon Halapio, 63 Trip Thurman*
RT: 73 Tyler Moore OR 75 Chaz Green*
» Brown (an incoming JUCO transfer) replaces Thurman, who moves from back-up LT to back-up RG. Silberman replaces Koehne at back-up LG.

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