10/14: Muschamp recaps Florida’s loss, updates Powell, Taylor, changes at kicker and punter

No. 22/22 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss Saturday’s 17-6 defeat at the hands of the No. 6/8 LSU Tigers and his team’s upcoming road contest against the No. 14/14 Missouri Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 19. The contest will kick off at 12:21 p.m. and air live on SEC Network affiliates.

OPENING STATEMENT

“We got beat on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Any time that happens, it makes it difficult to win football games. Didn’t run it consistently enough. … Against a defense like that, you got to be balanced. You can’t get in situations that are obvious passing situations. … We got to improve in the run game. Obviously protection was not as good as we’ve been. We gave up four sacks and that falls on the offensive line, the running backs, tight ends, the quarterback. As far as the protection is concerned, too many negative plays offensively. We got to create more explosives on the road in that situation to create more positive momentum for our football team. We had them against Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, had 11 against Miami and didn’t take care of the football. But we’ve got to create more explosive plays offensively both running and throwing the ball.

“Defensively, we lost it on the line of scrimmage. When you get behind the down and distance against a team like that, especially on first and 10, it becomes difficult to call the game from the standpoint of they’re able to create balance eon you running and throwing it. … Overall, I thought our effort was good. Physicality was just not what it needs to be.”

(OTHER) INJURY UPDATES

In addition to the season-ending torn meniscus suffered by sophomore running back Matt Jones, Muschamp announced Monday that redshirt junior linebacker Ronald Powell injured his ankle during the game. Though he did provide specifics on the injury, it appears that Powell sprained his ankle.

Muschamp said the Gators will know more about his status for Saturday at in the “next 72 hours” depending on how much the swelling goes down. “I hope to get him back on Wednesday,” he added.

Continue Reading » 10/14: Muschamp recaps Florida’s loss, updates Powell, Taylor, changes at kicker and punter

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Gators RB Matt Jones out for the season

Florida Gators sophomore running back Matt Jones was officially ruled out for the remainder of the 2013 season on Monday after tearing his meniscus early in the first half of his team’s 17-6 loss to the LSU Tigers on Saturday afternoon.

“Very disappointed that Matt Jones will be out for the season. He’s having surgery as we speak,” head coach Will Muschamp announced during his weekly press conference on Monday. “We thought it was a sprain in the knee. Turns out it was a torn meniscus. He definitely will be out.”

Muschamp said after Saturday’s game that trainers did not think the injury to Jones’s left knee was serious but would evaluate it further after returning to Gainesville, FL.

“Very unfortunate. I hate it for Matt,” he added. “He’s a great young man. And to go through what he’s been through this fall, missing most of fall camp, working his way back in shape, starting to feel good about himself as far as how he felt physically, mentally. And then to have this setback is just disheartening for all of us.”

Jones sat out nearly all of fall camp while recovering from a serious viral infection and missed the first game of the season against Toledo as a precaution.

He returned at Miami but struggled in his first action back, fumbling the ball and picking up just 47 yards on 18 carries.

Jones finally broke out three weeks later at Kentucky, taking a career-high 28 touches for a career-high 176 yards while scoring a touchdown for the second-straight week.

He totaled 339 yards and two touchdowns in just over four full games.

Redshirt junior Mack Brown will step in for Jones as Florida’s primary running back. As the starter against Toledo, Brown had a career game by rushing for 112 yards and two touchdowns on 25 touches.

He is averaging 3.7 yards per carry in 2013.

Freshman Kelvin Taylor will also see his workload increase. He is averaging 6.1 yards per carry this season and was second on the Gators with 52 yards on Saturday at LSU.

Jones is the fifth starter Florida has lost for the season joining junior quarterback Jeff Driskel, senior defensive tackle Dominique Easley, redshirt junior right tackle Chaz Green and redshirt senior kick returner Andre Debose on the mend.

A surgically-repaired torn meniscus usually requires at least two months of recovery before rehabilitation. The Gators did not provide a specific timetable for Jones but should have one after the surgery is completed.

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10/12: Florida at LSU post-game report

The No. 17/17 Florida Gators (4-2, 3-1 SEC) got manhandled by the more physical No. 10/11 LSU Tigers (6-1, 3-1 SEC), falling 17-6 on the road at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, FL. After the tough loss, Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media to provide some of his thoughts on his team and its defeat.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» LSU improved to 4-1 against Florida at Tiger Stadium since Les Miles took over the program and is now 15-16 at home all-time against UF
» The Gators are 1-4 in their last five games against ranked opponents, beating Florida State in 2012 but falling to Georgia, Louisville, Miami and LSU all since Oct. 27, 2012.
» Florida fell to 7-10 under Muschamp when rushing for fewer than 150 yards and 4-9 when tied or trailing at the half.
» The Tigers posted 327 yards of offense against the Gators’ top-ranked defense, the most UF has allowed in a single game yet in 2013. LSU was held to fewer than 400 yards and less than 30 points, both for the first time this season.
» Florida has held 13-straight SEC opponents under 20 points.
» The Gators have forced at least one turnover in 17-straight games.
» Florida failed to score a touchdown in an entire game for the first time since falling 17-9 to Georgia on Oct. 27, 2012.
» UF once again won the time of possession battle (34:11-25:49) and have done so in all six games this season.
» The Gators did not sack the opposing quarterback once, the first time that has happened in 2013.
» Florida committed at least eight penalties in a game for the fourth time this season. It’s also the fourth time the Gators lost 70+ yards in a game due to penalties. Two of those four contests ended as losses.
» UF was held to 2.8 yards per carry and under 150 team rushing yards for the second-straight game and third time overall this season (two losses).
» The Gators have not turned the ball over in back-to-back games.

» Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor registered career-highs of 10 carries and 52 rushing yards. He was a breath of fresh air in the Gators’ backfield but also missed a key block late in the game that resulted in a sack.
» Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy completed just 55.6 percent of his passes, registered 115 passing yards and a QB rating of 91.3, all career lows. He also rushed for -13 yards (due to sacks), another career low mark. Murphy succeeded on a pooch punt attempt, booting the ball 36 yards and pinning LSU at its own one-yard line.
» Redshirt junior walk-on kicker Frankie Valez handled field goals for Florida on Saturday. He went 2-for-2, making the first two attempts of his career. His long of 44 was also a season-long for UF.
» Junior punter Kyle Christy struggled mightily in his primary role but completed a 14-yard pass to redshirt junior linebacker Neiron Ball on a fake punt. It was the first pass of his career and Ball’s first reception.
» The Gators did not register a sack on the evening, but Florida’s offensive line and allowed Murphy to be taken down four times and hurried on five more occasions.
» Redshirt junior nose tackle Leon Orr recovered the first fumble of his career.

Continue Reading » 10/12: Florida at LSU post-game report

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Gameday: No. 17 Florida Gators at No. 10 LSU

Location: Tiger Stadium – Baton Rouge, LA [Capacity: 92,542]
Weather: 85°F (feels like 88°F), mostly cloudy, winds SSW at 5 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT

TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
SiriusXM: 94/200 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

No. 17/17 FLORIDA GATORS No. 11/10 LSU TIGERS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Les Miles
Record: 4-1 (3-0 SEC) Record: 5-1 (2-1 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +7.5 | O/U: 49

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: WR Solomon Patton: from “jet sweep guy” to game-breaking receiver | Notebook: Will Muschamp previews LSU | Notebook: Brent Pease talks RB Kelvin Taylor, quarterbacks and LSU | Notebook: Muschamp, Les Miles and Steve Spurrier talk Florida-LSU on the SEC teleconference | Story: DT Darious Cummings doing his part to replace the irreplaceable | Story: LB Ronald Powell has payback on his mind for LSU Notebook: Florida prepares for LSU

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida leads the all-time series against LSU 31-25-3 and holds a 24-16-2 mark since the teams began playing annually in 1971. The Gators even hold a 16-14 edge on the Tigers in Baton Rouge but are just 1-3 in Tiger Stadium since Miles took over the LSU program. The two teams have been evenly matched as of late with each program winning five of the last 10 games in the series.
» Florida is 15-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards (7-9 when rushing for fewer than 150 yards). The Gators are also 18-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 13-3 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 14-3 when scoring first (8-6 when an opponent scores first) and 18-1 when leading at the half (4-8 when tied or trailing at the break).
» UF’s top-ranked defense and LSU’s top-ranked offense will provide one of the best match-ups of the season. The Gators are fourth nationally in scoring defense (12.2 points per game) while the Tigers are ninth nationally in scoring offense (45.5 points per game). UF is ranked third in third down conversion defense (.230), while LSU is third in third down conversion offense (.583). Florida is second in the country in passing efficiency defense (81.17), but its hosts are fourth in passing efficiency (190.14). The Gators are also fifth nationally in fewest passing yards allowed (152.0 per game) while the Tigers are sixth in passing yards per completion (16.19).
» Florida also ranks first nationally in time of possession (37 minutes per game); second in total defense (217 yards per game), rushing defense (65.0 yards) and first downs defense (63); fourth in kickoff return defense (15.93 yards), and ninth in completion percentage (.704)
» LSU is ranked fifth in fewest interceptions thrown (2) and seventh in punt return defense 1.0 yards).
» UF has forced at least one turnover in 16-straight games.
» The Gators have forced the most interceptions among SEC teams this century (359).
» Florida has registered a nation-leading 104 interceptions since 2008. UF is also first in interceptions returned for touchdowns (17) and interception return yards (1,830).
» UF had scored a rushing and passing touchdown in each of its first four games in 2013 before failing to do so last week at Arkansas. The Gators did, however, register three passing touchdowns in the game.
» Florida has gained more than 400 yards of offense in three of five games; UF had the same number of 400+ yard games in 13 contests in 2012.
» On the other hand, the Gators have not allowed a single opponent to gain more than 275 yards of total offense in a game this season.
» LSU has topped 400 yards and 30 points in each of its first six games for the first time in program history.
» Florida has only yielded nine red zone trips through five games. In those appearances, opponents began two of those drives already in the red zone. Opponents have only found the end zone four times.
» Muschamp was a former defensive coordinator at LSU (2001-04) and member of the Tigers’ 2003 national title-winning team. LSU is honoring that team at halftime of Saturday’s game.

Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 17 Florida Gators at No. 10 LSU

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Friday Final: Florida prepares for LSU

No. 17/18 Florida Gators coaches and players spoke this week ahead of Saturday’s road game against the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers scheduled to kick off at 3:30 p.m. from Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA, and air live on CBS.

Below are some stories, notes and quotes that fell through the cracks and did not make it into one of the six posts already published here on OnlyGators.com (see links).

Monday: WR Solomon Patton: from “jet sweep guy” to game-breaking receiver | Will Muschamp recaps Arkansas, previews LSU
Tuesday: Brent Pease talks RB Kelvin Taylor, quarterbacks and LSU
Wednesday: Muschamp, Les Miles and Steve Spurrier talk Florida-LSU on the SEC teleconference
Thursday: DT Darious Cummings doing his part to replace the irreplaceable
Friday: LB Ronald Powell has payback on his mind for LSU

DANTE FOWLER, JR.: FEROCIOUS TEDDY BEAR

As menacing as sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. is on the field, he’s quite the opposite off the gridiron. That is according to basically every coach and player that was asked about him over the past week – which amounted to every single person who was made available to speak to the media.

“He’s a big kid. He’s tough on the field, but he’s like a little teddy bear off the field,” said senior safety Jaylen Watkins. “He’s funny, jokes around. I’ve never seen him get mad.”

Concurred junior defensive tackle Darious Cummings: “He’s a big kid. He’s very soft spoken. It’s night and day how he is on the field and off the field. That being said, it’s a pleasure to play with him every Saturday.”

Fowler is happy his teammates see him that way and even referred to himself this week as a “big, goofy teddy bear-guy.” But he also doesn’t understand why his laid back personality is such a big deal.

“Look at me, I’m smiling right now. I’m goofy. I like to play around and stuff,” he said. “I just turned 19, so I just try to live life. I’m still a kid. I’m not 21 yet. My mom still washes my clothes … when I go home. Now I have to. It sucks though, man.”

He also explained why he can turn off that personality at a dime as soon as he dons his pads and puts his helmet on.

Continue Reading » Friday Final: Florida prepares for LSU

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Track the Florida Gators en route to Baton Rouge

The No. 17/18 Florida Gators are on their way to Baton Rouge, LA, to take on the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m. As a long-time special OnlyGators.com feature, the following is the flight information for the Gators, which are flying over on an American Airlines Boeing 757-200 twin-jet.

You can also track the flight live while it is in the air!

ORIGIN: Gainesville Regional Airport (KGNV)
DESTINATION: Baton Rouge Metro Airport (KBTR)

DURATION: 1 hour and 21 minutes

DEPARTURE: 4:43 p.m. EDT [scheduled 4:30 p.m. EDT]
ARRIVAL: 5:04 p.m. CDT [scheduled 4:57 p.m. CDT]

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Payback on the mind of Gators LB Ronald Powell

Redshirt junior linebacker Ronald Powell did not get to celebrate the Florida Gators‘ dominant – though the score indicates a close game – 14-6 victory over the LSU Tigers in 2012. The last taste of Tiger this Gator has in his mouth is a sour one in the form of a 41-11 whooping handed to UF two seasons ago.

Powell was unable to finish that contest and explained Tuesday how he has been seething for an opportunity to run with Florida as it tries to earn a measure of revenge for that embarrassing 2011 defeat.

“I had been getting like really, really bad stingers going into that game, and I ended up getting one during that game. So I ended up not playing the rest of the game,” he explained. “Not being able to help my team and not being able to go out there and perform, it still bothers me today. Getting a chance to go back there and perform with the guys I’ve got now, it’s going to be special for me.”

Powell has performed well while still finding his way back into form during his first five games this season. He’s amassed four tackles for loss (third-most on the team) and two sacks (second-most) but blown by his fellow defenders with a team-high seven quarterback hurries, at least two of which directly resulted in interceptions.

He is one major reason why the Gators boast the best defense in the SEC and arguably the best in the nation, too.

Continue Reading » Payback on the mind of Gators LB Ronald Powell

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10/9: Muschamp and Miles talk Florida-LSU

No. 17/17 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp made his scheduled appearance Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference‘s weekly coaches teleconference and touched on a number of topics surrounding his team heading into Saturday’s road contest against the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers. Les Miles, LSU’s head coach, also spoke Monday and Wednesday about this week’s match-up.

INJURY UPDATES

Updating his team’s injuries, Muschamp said junior cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee) had his best practice since being injured a month ago and will be full speed for Saturday’s game. Additionally, freshman linebacker Jarrad Davis (facial laceration) will be fine to play.

Unfortunately, the news was not all positive for Florida as freshman LB Alex Anzalone sprained his ankle against Arkansas, was unable to practice all week and is already listed as out for this weekend’s game.

MAD HATTER ON THE GATORS

Miles discussed his team’s upcoming showdown with Florida on Monday at the start of his weekly press conference with local and national media.

“We’ll be challenged. A very, very talented team. They have good players. They’ll be coming to Tiger Stadium. Any time that we get these two teams matched up – I can think back into ’07 and think back into times that we’ve faced Florida in this stadium – they’ve always been very competitive, a great challenge certainly to both teams. So good, quality Florida team, ranked number 17, which in my opinion, they look a lot better than 17. They’re the No. 1 team defensively in the league. They’re allowing 12 points, 217 yards, 65 yards rushing and 152 yards passing. They lead in all major defensive categories. Again, a very sound scheme. They don’t give up big plays. Again, Will Muschamp does a great job with that defense.

“Offensively they’re averaging 25 points, just under 400 yards a game, 107 yards rushing and 200 yards passing. And they, again, good balance. The quarterback is a playmaker. Tyler Murphy, and they have two very, very quality running backs and this Trey Burton comes in. He’s a playmaker. He leads them in receiving, and he can play quarterback. … Seems like we’ve been playing that guy for a long time. We need check his eligibility. But a very, very quality team, and we’re looking forward to getting to work on him [Monday]. It’s a workday. We look forward to welcoming Florida to Tiger Stadium, and we expect that it will be a loud, very, very home team-friendly crowd.”

[Editor's Note: Burton has career statistics of 64 total yards and one rushing touchdown in three games against the Tigers.]

Continue Reading » 10/9: Muschamp and Miles talk Florida-LSU

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