Appendix out, wound healed, Driskel ready to work


Six days standing on the sidelines.

Six days watching someone else take his snaps.

Six days waiting to work with the teammates he corralled and led through player-run practices over the summer was more than enough for Florida Gators junior quarterback Jeff Driskel, who returned to practice on Thursday less than two weeks after being diagnosed with acute appendicitis and undergoing an appendectomy.

“It was good. Everything felt good in my stomach. I thought I threw the ball really well, and I thought we had a good day offensively,” Driskel said of his first practice back.

“I wasn’t limited at all. I was full-go, didn’t have any pain, no issues. Didn’t get all the reps I would like to because I’m still in the acclimation period, so I couldn’t be out there in pads, so there was a couple things I couldn’t do. But other than that, I wasn’t limited.”

According to NCAA rules, Driskel must return to practice by working in shorts for the first two days. He can then move on to two days of practice in shells before putting on the pads for the duration of fall camp.

Driskel spent the previous six days attending meetings, watching film and standing next to coaches during practice. He felt right at home when he put on his red non-contact jersey on Thursday, like nothing had changed during his short time not wearing cleats.

“I didn’t miss too much. I missed six days and feel like I didn’t miss a beat,” he said. “I definitely didn’t like standing there. Practice goes by a lot slower when you’re not involved, that’s for sure. …

“I think I’m up to speed. Second year in the offense, so there’s not really anything I haven’t done yet. I think I’ve done a good job staying alert in the meetings and getting the mental reps. I think I’m good to go.”

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Nine Gators placed on Preseason All-SEC Teams

Nine members of the Florida Gators football team were selected for 10 places on the 2013 Preseason All-SEC Teams on Thursday, as voted on by the media contingent in Hoover, AL, for the 2013 Southeastern Conference Media Days.

Florida had more than one player named to the First Team for the first time since 2010 as senior defensive lineman Dominique Easley, junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy and junior punter Kyle Christy each received top honors.

Joining them with Preseason All-SEC nods are Second Team members redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio and junior CB Marcus Roberson. Sophomore running back Matt Jones, redshirt senior center Jonotthan Harrison, linebacker Ronald Powell and kick returner Andre Debose received Third Team honors. Purifoy was also placed on the Third Team as an all-purpose player.

UF had seven players named to the year-end 2012 All-SEC Team. Christy is the only one who remained in school as the other six graduated or left for the 2012 NFL Draft.

Florida’s nine selections matched Georgia for the third-most overall. Alabama had a whopping 16 Preseason All-SEC picks, and LSU finished second with 11.

It is the third-straight year that the Gators did not have a Preseason-All-SEC First Team representative on offense and the fourth-straight year Florida does not have an offensive playmaker on that list.

The media also predicted Florida to finish third in the SEC East; the Gators received 19 first-place votes compared to 149 for UGA and 75 for USC. UF did not receive a single vote to win the SEC Championship, though the media has not predicted the league champion correctly since 2008.

The SEC told OnlyGators.com on Thursday that the Preseason All-SEC Teams as selected by the league’s coaches have been pushed back for a mid-August release.

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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.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2013 post-spring depth chart

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Florida gains pledge from four-star DT Moten

Four-star defensive tackle Anthony Moten (Fort Lauderdale, FL), a member of the Rivals250 for the 2014 recruiting cycle, pulled the trigger late Tuesday evening when he committed to join the Florida Gators next season.

“JUST COMMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA..#GOGATORS,” he tweeted.

The eighth member of the Gators’ currently top-five ranked class, Moten is the first defensive lineman to give head coach Will Muschamp a pledge for 2014.

He is the fifth prospect from the state of Florida to commit for 2014 and fourth in the last five years to do so out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Redshirt junior cornerback Cody Riggs (2010), junior CB Marcus Roberson (2011) and redshirt freshman Bryan Cox, Jr. (2012) are the other St. Thomas graduates still on UF’s roster.

At 6’4” and 265 lbs., Moten is ranked No. 170 overall on Rivals and chose Florida despite also holding offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Tennessee and USC, among others.

Other defensive players currently committed to the Gators include four-stars defensive back Duke Dawson (Cross City, FL) and linebacker Christian Miller (Columbia, SC).

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3/26: Muschamp talks injuries, evaluates players

Now two weeks into 2013 spring football practice, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss some of the latest developments surrounding the team and provide updates on specific players.

INJURY UPDATES

Freshman wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, one of eight Florida early enrollees and the one with arguably the best chance to make an immediate impact out of the bunch, went down with a high-ankle sprain during practice and will be out at least this week. “Probably next week, I hope, to be honest with you,” Muschamp said of when Robinson might return. “I’m not real sure when we’ll get him back. He’s in a walking boot right now trying to stabilize that.”

More seriously injured over the weekend was redshirt sophomore guard Trip Thurman (shoulder). “It does not look good right now,” Muschamp said. “We’ll know a bit more [Tuesday or Wednesday] where he is. That will certainly be disappointing [if he is out an extended period of time]. Trip has had an outstanding spring and really has made some progress but unfortunately those injuries sometimes happen.”

Other Gators who remain day-to-day with their injuries include sophomore defensive end Jonathan Bullard (hamstring), redshirt junior linebacker Neiron Ball (ankle) and redshirt junior cornerback Cody Riggs (hamstring).

PLAYER EVALUATIONS

» On junior CB/WR Loucheiz Purifoy: “He went [back to] defense and he took some snaps on offense in skeleton. We had a move-the-ball period and he probably took the first eight snaps on offense. Other than that he was exclusively on defense. I think he’s an explosive guy, catches the ball well has got good ball skills he’s got good vertical speed. He plays the game fast. I don’t know what his time is in the 40[-yard dash], but when you get on the field he plays fast. You notice him on the field.”

» On junior quarterback Jeff Driskel: “I think [Monday] he made some really nice throws – hit a sail route to Quinton [Dunbar] and an over route to Loucheiz. Very pleased with where we are in the throwing game. Still got to take care of the ball a little bit better in some situations, but I was really very pleased [Monday] walking off the practice field with the progress and what we did.”

» On redshirt junior running back Mack Brown: “Mack Brown has been really solid, has done some nice things. He’s been solid in protection and has caught the ball well.”

» On freshman RB Kelvin Taylor: “Kelvin Taylor has really nice, natural running instincts, has just go to learn what to do and where to go. That’s no different than the other mid-year guys. … Kelvin caught a nice screen, made a great cut in the middle for a score from about 40 [yards] out on Saturday. That was a really nice play on his part. But again, natural running instincts take over, we’re good. Assignments and some different things, protection from front to back and all that, we’re still at baby steps.”

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Gators open spring practice notes and opinions

While Florida Gators basketball was participating in the 2013 SEC Tournament, the football team held a pair of open spring practices on Friday and Saturday that OGGOA was unable to cover at that time.

Below is a smattering of notes and opinions from the InsidetheGators.com staff, which was in attendance at the practice sessions and delivered six premium reports (as well as two free roundtable discussions) following the proceedings. Each tidbit below has been re-written by OGGOA, but the parts in quotation marks are the specified writer’s own words. Corresponding articles have been linked accordingly.

FREE: Friday Practice Roundtable | Saturday Practice Roundtable

It is important to note that Friday’s gathering was a shirts-and-shorts practice while Saturday’s was the team’s first in full pads this spring.

FRIDAY, MARCH 15

OFFENSE

» Sophomore right tackle Tyler Moore had a rough day overall and was beat off the edge consistently by some of Florida’s most talented rushers like sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. and senior defensive end Dominique Easley. [Bryan Holt, InsidetheGators.com]

» In addition to senior wide receiver Solomon Patton, who took nearly all of the Gators’ jet sweeps when he was healthy in 2012, four other pass catchers got a chance to run the ball on that play including sophomore Raphael Andrades, junior Loucheiz Purifoy and freshman Demarcus Robinson. [Bryan Holt, InsidetheGators.com]

» Good news for redshirt senior WR Andre Debose who “showed flashes of the player Florida fans have wanted him to be for four years. Debose is as fast as ever and showed the kind of ball skills that have been missing on a jump-ball catch over Brian Poole.” [Bryan Holt, InsidetheGators.com]

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Florida Gators 2013 spring practice depth chart

Readers may be excited to take a first look at the Florida Gators 2013 spring practice depth chart (see below). Don’t be. As he explained in each of his first two springs with the program, head coach Will Muschamp repeated Wednesday that he does not put a lot of stock in the spring’s first depth chart. In fact, back in 2011, he said it is “not worth the paper it is printed on.” In other words, the depth chart below 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 March 12.

“Obviously we gave you a depth chart. I know it’s just the most critical thing that’s going to happen in the next 12 months of your year,” Muschamp said Tuesday.

RELATED: Muschamp, Pease on offense | Muschamp, Durkin on defense, team

Florida omitted players who are injured and not participating at all in spring practice. A list of those players can be found at the end of this post.

OFFENSE

QB: 6 Jeff Driskel, 10 Tyler Murphy, 17 Skyler Mornhinweg
RB: 24 Matt Jones, 33 Mack Brown, 21 Kelvin Taylor
FB: 43 Hunter Joyer, 29 Rhaheim Ledbetter* OR 25 Gideon Ajagbe*
WR (X): 1 Quinton Dunbar, 4 Andre Debose, 11 Demarcus Robinson
WR (Z): 15 Loucheiz Purifoy*, 88 Solomon Patton^, Raphael Andrades
F Position: 8 Trey Burton, 13 Latroy Pittman, 30 Michael McNeely
TE: 88 Clay Burton, 87 Tevin Westbrook, 18 Kent Taylor, 84 Colin Thompson

LT: 70 D.J. Humphries, 63 Trip Thurman
LG: 76 Max Garcia, 64 Kyle Koehne
C: 72 Jonotthan Harrison, 64 Kyle Koehne
RG: 67 Jon Halapio^, 64 Kyle Koehne
RT: 73 Tyler Moore, 98 Quinteze Williams*

Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2013 spring practice depth chart

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