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.

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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.]

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Snell’s Slant: Mind the gaps, respect Death Valley

A three-year starter for the Florida Gators who played under Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, former guard Shannon Snell joined OnlyGators.com in 2012 as a football columnist to provide his unique perspective on the team. He has returned to continue sharing his musings through the 2013 season. Snell, who played in 46 games over four seasons and started 36 of those contests, was named a First Team All-American by Sporting News in 2003 and spent two seasons in the NFL.

With the team facing so much adversity over the last few weeks, it was pleasing to see the Gators put together such a convincing win over an above average Southeastern Conference opponent (at least as far as physicality is concerned). This was the first week that I thought Florida would truly be tested on both sides of the ball, and for the most part the Gators passed with flying colors. That is not to say everything was perfect; there is plenty of room for opportunity and growth.

Florida finally seems to be finding some chemistry in the passing game, especially between Tyler Murphy and Solomon Patton, but I cannot help but concentrate on the issues in the running game. There is a severe lack of explosive plays on the ground save for Matt Jones’s 67-yard gain at Kentucky, an outlier.

As head coach Will Muschamp indicated after Saturday’s game, the offensive linemen are not getting any movement on their blocks. It is not necessary for these guys to absolutely maul and knock their counterparts flat on their backs every single play (a pancake block) for the running game to be successful.

What Muschamp is referring to is the offensive line struggling to move defenders out of what are supposed to be gaps for the running backs to hit.

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10/8: Pease on Taylor, Murphy, Leak, LSU

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media on Tuesday ahead of the sixth game of the season against the LSU Tigers on Oct. 12.

WHERE’S KELVIN TAYLOR

For weeks now, Pease and head coach Will Muschamp have talked about getting freshman running back Kelvin Taylor more involved in the offense. Nevertheless, over the last two games, he has registered a grand total of zero carries.

Pease explained Tuesday that the team had planned to get Taylor some work but Florida’s defense ruined the potential opportunity.

“We had some situations we were going to try to get him in there in the last half of the fourth quarter, but they held onto the ball and drove it and stuff,” he said. “We’ll just continue to keep working at practice and things are going to show up.”

Taylor did technically see the field Saturday – when the Gators lined up in the victory formation at the end of the game – but never touched the ball.

He has a total of 46 yards on the season from six carries, five of which came in the season opener against Toledo when he averaged 8.6 yards per touch and broke off an impressive, crowd-pleasing 27-yard run.

Taylor is healthy and has a bright future ahead of him, according to the coaching staff, but neither Muschamp nor Pease has been able to provide a legitimate reason why he has not been worked into the offense during games.

“He practices hard. He’s a good kid. He’s got a good attitude. He is a good player. I just want to see him continually do the things and just have some patience,” Pease said.

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10/7: Muschamp recaps Arkansas, previews LSU

No. 17/17 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss Saturday’s 30-10 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks and his team’s upcoming road contest against the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 12. The contest will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and air live on CBS.

WEEKLY AWARDS

Offensive Players of the Game: Senior wide receiver Solomon Patton
“He’s playing at a high level, creating plays after the catch. … Really proud of Solomon and how he’s playing. He’s a great young man, works extremely hard, has really dedicated himself to developing himself as a receiver and certainly is getting great results.”

Scrap Iron: Redshirt junior left guard Max Garcia
“Max is a smart guy. … Max is pretty solid all over. He was a guy that did a lot of things well for us. He can play left tackle, he can play multiple positions. He’s been a really good fit for us.”

Big Plays (Offense): Patton, senior WR Trey Burton, redshirt junior WR Quinton Dunbar, sophomore running back Matt Jones, redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy

Defensive Players of the Week: Junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy
Purifoy was also named SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.

Ball Hawks: Purifoy, junior defensive tackle Darious Cummings, sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr., redshirt junior LB Michael Taylor

Hard Hat: Freshman LB Jarrad Davis

Special Teams Player of the Week: Senior safety Jaylen Watkins

COULD MUSCHAMP HANDLE THE DEFENSE ALLOWING 50 POINTS?

LSU’s suddenly impressive offense has registered some huge outputs in its first six games of 2013 (including three SEC contests).

The Tigers scored 35 and 59 points in respective victories over Auburn and Mississippi State and also posted 41 points in a loss to Georgia.

Asked Monday if he would be able to handle his defense coughing up that many points, Muschamp explained that it would have been a concern for him in the past but now all he cares about is leaving each game victorious.

“As long as we win, I don’t care what happens. I’ll be honest with you. I got real caught up with all of that stuff when I was a coordinator. But I’m a head coach. I want to win. If it takes 51-50, let’s go,” he said. Watch the film on Sunday and we’ll figure out what we need to do to get better.

“But I can tell you right now, I used to grab the stat sheets when I was a coordinator. Not anymore. There’s one stat that matters and that’s winning. Do what you got to do to win games. It’s hard enough on Saturday afternoon to worry about all that other stuff. Just do what you got to do to win.”

Fowler concurred that winning is most important to Muschamp but was honestly concerned with the possibilities of what could potentially happen if the Gators gave up that many points in a single game.

“He’ll be happy that we won, but 50 points? Nah, he wouldn’t be happy with that,” he said. “Oh, no, not 50 points. Even if we win, I’ll have a nightmare. Scared. Jesus. No. … I don’t even know how he would physically handle that. I honestly don’t know what would happen. I wouldn’t want to know. That would be crazy.”

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Florida baseball ends skid, routs FAMU, FAU

By Andrew Olson – OGGOA Contributor

Despite riding a wave of momentum (and an 11-2 record over the previous 13 games) into their latest weekend series, Florida Gators baseball (27-23, 12-12 SEC) failed its toughest test yet as it was swept on the road while taking on the No. 3 LSU Tigers (43-6, 19-5 SEC). Yet while Florida struggled away from home, the Gators got back into the swing of things as it closed its non-conference schedule this week with a pair of dominant wins over in-state opponents.

LSU snapped Florida’s streak of three-straight SEC series wins, taking all three games over the weekend in Baton Rogue, LA.

In the series opener, the Gators battled but came out on the short end of a 3-2 decision. Tigers ace Aaron Nola silenced his opponent’s bats and tossed his fourth-consecutive complete game in a 5-0 victory that clinched the series for the home team on Friday. Florida tried seven different pitchers in the series finale but none of them could contain LSU in what would eventually become a 18-6 blowout and series sweep.

The ESPNU Thursday Night Game of the Week creates a dilemma for SEC managers. Do you start your ace in game one or let him go Friday night (game two) to keep him in his regular routine? Tigers coach Paul Mainieri saved his top starter, Nola, for Friday, but Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan opted to go with his ace, junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford, in Thursday’s series opener. Crawford (5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) did enough to keep Florida in the game but struggled with his command, only throwing 56 of his 98 pitches for strikes.

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Murphy’s career game helps Florida blow out LSU

It may have taken a few minutes for the one-seed to get going on Friday, but a lights-out performance by senior forward Erik Murphy helped the No. 11/13 Florida Gators make quick work of the nine-seed LSU Tigers in the quarterfinals of the 2013 SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN.

Murphy’s dominant performance – including career-highs in points (27), rebounds (12) and made three-pointers (five) – fueled Florida (25-6) to an 80-58 victory over LSU (19-12). The Gators advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament and will face either four-seed Alabama or five-seed Tennessee on Saturday at 1 p.m.

“Shots were falling today. I felt good,” he said. “Whether the ball goes in the basket or not is out of your control. Coach has actually been saying just give good reps this week. Every rep in a good rep, whether it’s in game or practice. I try to do that.”

After tweaking his right knee in practice during the week, Murphy started Friday’s game wearing a thin brace but showed few ill effects, dominating the first half for Florida. Murphy scored 10 points and registered seven rebounds in the first 10 minutes of the contest, but LSU countered by hitting four of its first six attempts from downtown and trailed UF by just a single point midway through the period.

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SEC Tournament Gameday: (1) Florida vs. (9) LSU

Location: Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN [Capacity: 18,160]
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPNU/ESPNUHD (Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes, Shannon Spake)
SiriusXM: 126/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3 / WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

(1) FLORIDA GATORS (9) LSU TIGERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Johnny Jones
Record: 24-6 (14-4 SEC) Record: 19-11 (9-9 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -16 | O/U 128.5

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is looking to win its fourth SEC Tournament, first since completing a three-peat in the event from 2005-07. The Gators are 36-44 all-time in the SEC Tournament (21-13 under Donovan) in 47 total appearances.
» UF enters the SEC Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed for the fourth time in school history. The team has never failed to reach the finals when listed as the top seed.
» The Gators are 5-4 all-time in SEC Tournament games held played in Nashville, TN.
» LSU holds a 60-41 advantage over Florida in the all-time series, but the Gators have won four consecutive games over the Tigers and hold a 12-8 record under Donovan.
» Florida is 49-6 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game (23-5 in 2012-13).
» Four Gators starters average in double figures while the Tigers boast five players that score in double digits on average.
» UF is 4-1 against top-25 opponents this season after going 3-5 against ranked adversaries last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams.
» Florida is 0-5 this season in single-digit decisions.
» The Gators are first nationally in scoring margin (+18.8), third in scoring defense (53.2), fourth in field goal defense (.373), ninth in field goal percentage (.485), 12th in three-point defense (.291), 18th in assist-turnover ratio (1.36) and 24th in turnover margin (3.1). Florida is also seventh nationally in fouling, committing 14.2 per game.
» The Tigers are 14th nationally in steals per game (9.2). Anthony Hickey is first nationally in steals per game (3.07).

Read the rest of the Florida-LSU gameday preview…after the break!
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