Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 82,000]
Weather: 73°F (feels like 73°F), mostly cloudy, winds NW at 9 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT

TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 4-2 (3-2 SEC) Record: 4-2 (3-2 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +3.5 | O/U: 47

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!

Notebook: Will Muschamp previews Georgia, updates injuries, talks new starters | Notebook: Brent Pease talks changes to the offensive line and overall scheme | Notebook: LT D.J. Humphries out 2-4 weeks, Florida-Georgia updates | Notebook: Overcoming embarrassment, can Gators’ defense return to form? | Friday Final: Major changes for Florida heading into the game

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Georgia holds a 48-40-2 all-time advantage over Florida in the series between the two teams. The Bulldogs also lead 42-37-1 for games played in Jacksonville. The Gators, however, are 18-5 against their rivals since 1990 and have the best stretch in the series, going 15-2 from 1990-2006.
» UF and UGA are both coming off bye weeks after suffering SEC road losses.
» Neither Florida nor Georgia are ranked entering the game for just the second time since 1980.
» All three of the Gators’ losses are to ranked opponents, while the Bulldogs dropped a game two weeks ago 31-27 to unranked Vanderbilt.
» Muschamp is winless in the Florida-Georgia series as a player (0-4) and head coach (0-2). (He has beaten UGA as an assistant at other schools.)
» Muschamp is 5-6 against UF’s traditional rivals of Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami and Tennessee. Three of those victories have come against UT.
» Two weeks ago, the Gators fell to a top 25-ranked opponent for the fifth time in their last six opportunities dating back to Oct. 27, 2012.
» The Bulldogs have already defeated two top 25-ranked opponents this season.
» Florida is 15-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards (7-11 when rushing for fewer than 150 yards). The Gators are also 18-4 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 13-3 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 14-4 when scoring first (8-7 when an opponent scores first) and 18-1 when leading at the half (4-10 when tied or trailing at the break).
» UF has registered a nation-leading 104 interceptions since 2008. Florida is also first in interceptions returned for touchdowns (17) and interception return yards (1,830).
» The Gators have forced the most turnovers among SEC teams this century (362).
» Florida has at least one turnover in 18-straight games.
» Despite giving up 36 points and 500 yards two weeks ago, the Gators still lead the SEC in total defense (273.1 yards), yards allowed per play (4.64), passing defense (172.4 yards), passing efficiency defense (91.6) and third down conversion defense (.274). UF is also second in the league in scoring defense (16.3 points), rushing defense (100.7 yards) and first downs allowed per game (15.4).
» Florida averaged 393.4 yards of offense in each of its first five games but have racked up just 195.5 yards on average in its last two games.

Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs

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2013 SEC Media Day Quotables: Coaches and players speak on Florida and other hot topics

The Florida Gators received their fair share of headlines at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Media Days on Tuesday but plenty of other coaches and players made waves as well for their comments and opinions.

Check out what Florida’s contingent had to say in the multiple links below.

Florida Gators at 2013 SEC Media Days: Main Post – News & Notes: Muschamp’s shot at Meyer, injuries, players, coaches | 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

COACHES

» South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier on paying players $3,600-$3,900 per season in addition to their scholarships: “I’m going to keep fighting for our guys. I don’t know what will come. If President [Barack] Obama would say, ‘Spurrier, you and those coaches need to quit fighting for your players,’ that they get enough, they get enough full scholarship, then I’ll shut up about it. But I just believe that these athletes, because of the enormous amount [of money they earn for the schools], just a little bit to help out with their parents watching games and so forth. Okay, that was our little talk about expenses. This is not ‘pay for play.’ Please don’t say, ‘Spurrier says pay for play.’ This is just expense money. I saw the other day this year, the NFL rookies, the minimum is $405,000, NFL rookie. And a third year kid, $630,000. That’s pay for play. Don’t disguise or say $300 for expenses for a game, that’s not pay for play. Just some expense money for our guys to live a little bit better, and their parents, guardians, whatever. Us coaches, if it was a financial burden for our universities, our coaches all offered to pay for it, all 14. It came up to $270,000, $280,000 a year for the coaches. We’d pay it all. We want our players to get a little bit more than they get.”

» Spurrier on if he would turn Florida in for a recruiting violation in like Urban Meyer did: “Like that? Probably not that [smiling]. If they were obviously doing something [on purpose], we were obviously doing something [on purpose], I would hope they’d turn us in. Usually go through the league office is the way. Yeah, we don’t turn a lot of people in anyway. You can’t ever condone breaking the rules on purpose, though. We don’t condone that with anybody.”

» Spurrier on staying on longer with the Gamecocks than he did with the Gators: “I didn’t think about that. I did think I could go eight, nine, ten years. I was at a booster club. … I said my plan and goal is to be the winningest coach here. It was only 65 wins. If we could average about eight a year, maybe win nine one year, I could get to 65. It worked out that we got 66. Last two years we’ve added up well. … I have an excellent coaching staff. I got guys that can recruit, coach, do everything. It’s not a stressful job for me as maybe some coaches have. Summertime we get away from it a bit, get refreshed, ready to go during the season. Burnout is not something I’m going to get, not unless we go real bad. It can go real bad if you think it can’t. I know it can go real bad if we don’t watch ourselves. Hopefully it won’t.”

Continue Reading » 2013 SEC Media Day Quotables: Coaches and players speak on Florida and other hot topics

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Gameday: No. 2 Florida Gators vs. No. 10 Georgia

Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 84,000]
Weather Forecast: 75°F, few showers (30% precipitation), winds NNW at 20 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT

Tickets: Starting at $98 on TiqIQ

TV: CBS/CBSHD (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper

No. 2 FLORIDA GATORS No. 10 GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 7-0 (6-0 SEC) Record: 6-1 (4-1 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -6.5, O/U 45

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on what has been going on with the Gators over the last week? No problem. OGGOA has been here the whole time posting a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam on Saturday.

Muschamp has managed expectations, set team intensity level | Florida running Boise State’s offense, SEC-style | No special approach for UF-UGA game says Muschamp | Dan Quinn talks defense

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Georgia leads Florida 47-40-2 in the all-time series and boasts a 42-38-2 advantage in neutral sites. The two teams have played annually since 1944 with the Gators holding a 36-31-1 advantage in those 68 games. UF is also 18-4 in the last 22 meetings with UGA and has not dropped consecutive games to the Bulldogs since 1987-89.
» Muschamp, who played college football for Georgia, will be facing his alma mater for the ninth time in his coaching career; he is 3-5 in the prior eight contests. He is also 0-5 all-time in the UF-UGA series as a player and head coach, going 0-4 as a player and losing his sole game as a head coach in 2011.
» Richt is 3-8 against Florida since taking over as head coach.
» The Gators can clinch the SEC East for the first time since 2009 with a victory on Saturday. The Bulldogs cannot clinch the division but can put themselves in a prime position to win it with a victory.
» The Okefenokee Oar is up for grabs on Saturday and has been a trophy awarded to the game’s victor since 2009. It was fashioned from a 1,000-year-old cypress tree and represents the Okefenokee Swamp, which separates the states and was once part of a border dispute. The Oar is awarded to the student body president of the winning university and is not presented on the field.
» Florida is one of two teams nationally (Notre Dame) with three victories over ranked opponents this season. UF is the only team in the country with a pair of top-10 wins and earned them in consecutive home victories for the first time in school history.
» The Gators are 11-1 against unranked opponents and 3-5 against ranked teams under Muschamp since he took over in 2011. Florida earned all three victories over ranked opponents this season, defeating Tennessee, LSU and South Carolina.
» UF has started the season 7-0 for the first time since 2009 and sixth time in history.
» Florida was 0-5 when trailing at the half in 2011 but have started the 2012 season 3-0 in that category with all three victories vs. SEC opponents (two ranked).
» The Gators are 9-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 1-4 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards. UF is also 11-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 9-3 when scoring first and 11-1 when leading at the half.
» Florida has scored on 25-of-27 red zone trips (92.6 percent) but have only converted 17 of those possessions (63 percent) into touchdowns.
» UF has converted 39-of-99 of its third-down attempts (39.3 percent) this season.
» The Gators have held their opponents to 29-of-106 on third down conversions (27.4 percent), which is good for fifth-best in the nation. UF was second nationally in third-down defense (27.3 percent) last season.
» Florida is averaging 34:07 in time of possession through seven games, a margin that ranks third nationally and just 25 seconds behind the country’s leader.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 121-28 in the second half and 61-13 in the fourth quarter. UF was the only team in the nation that had not allowed a fourth-quarter point until two weeks ago.
» Florida had a stretch of not allowing a touchdown in nine-straight quarters and is fourth in scoring defense nationally (12.14 points per game).
» The Gators are +11 in turnover margin through seven games after being -12 in 2011. UF has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (333) since 2000.
» Florida has grabbed eight interceptions so far in 2012 (three games with two each) and has already tied its 2011 total of eight picks. UF has registered at least one pick in six-of-seven games and has also forced seven fumbles.
» The Gators are third nationally in pass efficiency defense (90.60), seventh in total defense (282.0 yards per game) and 10th in rushing defense (97.29 yards per game).
» Florida has at least two kickoff returns for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons after never having more than one in a single season before 2010. UF has not yet registered a kick return (or punt return) in 2012.
» The Gators are first nationally in net punt average (44.24 yards per punt).
» Georgia has an even turnover margin this season (10 gained, 10 lost).
» The Bulldogs have scored on 23-of-27 red zone trips (85.2 percent) and have converted 21 of those possessions (77.8 percent) into touchdowns.
» Georgia leads the nation in plays of 20+ yards this season with 45.
» Richt is the fourth-winningest active head coach (minimum 100 games) having been victorious in 74.1 percent of his games with the Bulldogs. He is 8-of-21 (29.6 percent) against top 10 opponents.
» Georgia is ranked anywhere from 47th to 75th nationally in every major defensive category except pass defense, in which UGA is 28th in the country.
» The Bulldogs have allowed 40-of-110 third-down attempts to be converted this season (36.36 percent), which is 49th nationally, 44 spots behind the Gators.
» Georgia is 109th nationally in net punt average (33.82 yards per punt), 108 spots behind Florida in the same category.

Read the rest of the Florida-Georgia preview including injuries and absences and which players to look out for from both sidelines.
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 2 Florida Gators vs. No. 10 Georgia

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10/24: Muschamp, Richt on SEC teleconference

No. 2 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt made appearances Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference‘s weekly coaches teleconference and touched on a number of topics surrounding their respective teams and the game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

INJURY UPDATES

Though he was expected to be questionable for this weekend, freshman wide receiver Latroy Pittman (ankle) practiced on Tuesday and is expected to be able to play on Saturday, Muschamp said. He also added that junior defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (hamstring), who was supposed to return to practice Monday, will instead try and return Wednesday but is questionable to play.

Richt noted during his portion of the teleconference that starting defensive end Abry Jones (ankle) will be out of action. Though he is a starter, Jones does not make many impact plays for Georgia.

NO SPECIAL APPROACH FOR FLORIDA-GEORGIA

Muschamp has explained all season long that his approach to the team this year is to remain even-keel heading into every game and that no one opponent is more important than another. He expanded on that general thought on Wednesday.

“We approach all games the same. I know no one wants to hear that but that’s the way we do it here,” he said. “I think that when you consistently approach things the same way, you promote consistent performance in your players and you don’t get a lot of peaks and valleys with how they play and how they approach it.”

So while the coaching staff may not be riling up the team in any special way, Muschamp said that the Gators know they are playing the Bulldogs and are well aware of what is on the line – a trip to the SEC Championship.

“We understand what’s at stake. When you got on the practice field on Monday, our guys were excited. You don’t need much pep talks to get them going. You don’t need to find different ways to try and motivate them this week. They will be excited to play,” he said.

Muschamp also addressed Florida’s turnaround this season and noted that, while he did make a few adjustments to his coaching style, his belief system in how to properly run a team and be a successful coach has remained the same.

“The things that we didn’t change is philosophically our core values in the program and what we believe and what we want to be as a football program. That’s what you can’t do,” he said. “It’s one thing to tweak something, but you can’t start changing every time it doesn’t work for sake of change. We never wavered. I never wavered on the path of the program and where we were headed.”

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Bulldogs trap Gators, win 24-20 in Jacksonville

The previously named World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party was only a celebration for one team on Saturday as the No. 22 Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 5-1 SEC) fought back from a 14-point deficit to defeat the Florida Gators (4-4, 2-4 SEC) 24-20 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL during the teams’ annual rivalry game.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt defeated Florida for just the third time in his 11 years with the Bulldogs, rallying his team from behind after the Gators had the momentum in their favor much of the first half.

UF lost their fourth game in the month of October and has dropped four consecutive contests for the first time since the 1988 season.

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley returned for Florida after missing 10 quarters of action and was proficient early on before his high-ankle sprain began to wear on him. He finished the game just 12/33 for 245 yards and a touchdown. Brantley was sacked six times and barely moved the ball in the latter part of the contest.

UGA signal caller Aaron Murray, who also struggled throwing the ball at times, was 15/34 for 169 yards with two touchdowns and an early interception, recovering nicely after an early miscue and leading his team in the game’s deciding drive.

Florida started with a mix of good and bad plays on their first possession. Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey opened the game with a return to UF’s 47, but it was negated by a holding penalty. On the next play, senior RB Jeff Demps took a screen pass 72 yards; however, Florida was unable to capitalize as sophomore kicker Brad Phillips shanked a 38-yard field goal wide right.

Getting the ball back a few minutes later, Brantley led the Gators down the field with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that consisted of mostly throws and ended in a 31-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed on 4th and 19.

Following the ensuing kickoff, Georgia turned the ball back over to Florida when a pass from Murray hit running back Isaiah Crowell in the helmet and was intercepted by Gators freshman cornerback Marcus Roberson. Florida took over in the red zone but was unable to capitalize after Brantley was sacked twice and redshirt senior transfer guard Dan Wenger committed a false start penalty on 4th and 30.

Looking to reduce their deficit, the Bulldogs opened the second quarter with a 32-yard field goal from Blair Walsh after gaining 67 yards on 12 plays.

Kicking the ball back to the Gators, Georgia saw their deficit increase as quickly as it decreased after Demps returned the kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, putting Florida back ahead double digits, 14-3.

UF failed to take full advantage of a good opportunity the next time they touched the ball. UGA punter Drew Butler’s attempt only went 26 yards, and the Gators gained just 35 yards on the ensuing possession, ending it with a 43-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs answered by moving the ball well once again, but Walsh missed a 33-yard field goal after the offense gained 61 yards. Florida took over but was pushed back following a bad snap and false start that resulted in a third-and-22. Rainey took a handoff for 13 yards but fumbled the ball and turned it over on UF’s 25.

Only gaining five yards on their first three plays, Georgia called a successful jump ball on fourth-and-five that resulted in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Murray to wide receiver Michael Bennett.

Another miscue by the Gators cost them their seven-point lead midway through the third quarter. Backed up at their own nine, Florida turned the ball back over to UGA when redshirt junior WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. fumbled a reception at UF’s own 18-yard-line.

Forced into a fourth down situation, the Bulldogs decided to go for it again and tied the game after Murray threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to WR Tavarres King.

The Gators used special teams to quickly flip the field as redshirt sophomore WR Andre Debose returned the ensuing kickoff 66 yards. Florida was unable to gain a first down, however, and settled for a 40-yard field goal from Phillips to jump ahead 20-17.

Georgia drove the ball over 60 yards again on their next possession, but Walsh missed a 37-yard field goal attempt and handed the rock back to UF. The Gators had two delay of game penalties between three incomplete passes, forcing them to punt again.

The Bulldogs refused to waste another scoring opportunity, using RB Richard Samuel to drive the ball down the field before he plowed into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown to give Georgia its first lead of the game, 24-20 with 13:18 left in the contest.

UF and UGA traded possessions from that point with neither team finding much success moving the ball. Faced with a fourth-and-10 on the Bulldogs’ 46, Brantley was sacked and the Gators turned the ball over with 5:32 left to play.

Georgia ran out the clock from there, driving all the way to Florida’s one-yard-line before the clock ran out and they took their first victory over their biggest rival since 2007.

The Gators were the first team this season to score first against the Bulldogs and also became the only team to score a touchdown in the first quarter against UGA.

Roberson’s first half interception was the first of his career and the first turnover recorded by Florida since they played Kentucky at the end of September.

Three of the four offensive touchdowns scored on Saturday were converted on fourth down with both of Georgia’s coming off of fumbles by UF in their own territory.

Miscues doomed the Gators all evening. Florida committed 14 penalties for 101 yards in addition to turning the ball over twice. Brantley lost 43 yards on sacks as well as a bad snap that he was forced to fall on, and UF’s running backs ran the ball a combined 15 times for just 34 yards.

Georgia outgained Florida 37:40-22:20 in time of possession and accounted for 128 more total yards (354-226) in the contest.

The Gators hope to regroup in their homecoming game next Saturday against Vanderbilt. The contest will air live on the SEC Network at 12:21 p.m. Check your local listings.

Photo Credit: Stephen Morton/Associated Press

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Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Georgia Gameday

Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 84,000]
Weather Forecast: 71°F, sunny, winds NNW at 13 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
SiriusXM: 91
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS (22) GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 4-3 (2-3) Record: 5-2 (4-1)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +3; O/U 48.5

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before week four action? No problem. OGGOA has been here all week compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

Story: Gators QB John Brantley remains on schedule
Notes: Florida discusses Georgia rivalry week

Muschamp’s presser | Weis comments on offense | Quinn comments on defense

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Georgia leads the all-time series against Florida 46-40-2 and holds a 40-37-1 advantage in games played in Jacksonville, FL. However, the Gators are on a three-game winning streak against the Bulldogs and also hold records of 8-2 in the last 10 match-ups and 18-3 dating back to 1990.
» Florida’s victory over Georgia in 2010 (34-31) marked the first time in the history of the series that a game went into overtime. Neither UF nor UGA was ranked in that contest for the first time since 1979.
» For the first time in series history, both the Gators and Bulldogs enter Saturday’s game coming off of a bye week. Florida took a three-game losing streak into the off week, while Georgia had won five consecutive games before getting a week of rest.
» The Bulldogs are 12-4 under Richt following a bye week.
» Richt is 2-8 against UF since taking over as head coach of UGA.
» Muschamp, who played college football for Georgia, will be facing his alma mater for the eighth time in his coaching career; he is 3-4 in the prior seven contests. As a player with the Bulldogs from 1991-94, Muschamp’s teams were 0-4 against the Gators.
» Florida is undefeated this season when out-rushing their opponent or leading at the half; however, UF is winless when tied/trailing at the half or being out-rushed.
» In their four victories, the Gators are outscoring opponents 54-3 in the first quarter, while in their losses they have been outscored 31-10. UF has also scored on their opening drive in four of seven games.
» The Bulldogs are outscoring their opponents 61-10 in the first quarter; Georgia’s defense has only allowed three first-quarter points to be scored this season.
» Florida has half as many upperclassmen (19 seniors, 14 juniors) as they do underclassmen (35 sophomores, 33 freshmen) on the roster the season.
» The Gators had a 100-yard rusher in four-straight games to start the season, the team’s second-longest streak ever, before failing to accomplish that feat in each of the last three games (all losses).
» Fourteen different Florida players made their first career start this season including five freshmen; 15 total freshmen have seen game action this year.
» The Gators offense has struggled as of late, and Florida has had major problems putting the ball in the end zone. UF has scored points in 19 of 28 quarter this season and touchdowns in only 15 of those quarters.
» Turnover margin has also been a consistent issue for the Gators. Florida is -7 on the season and has given up the ball exactly that many times in their three losses.
» The Gators not forced a turnover in three weeks after acquiring four in their previous game and seven total over the first four weeks of the season.
» UF’s offensive line has only allowed 11 sacks through seven games, making them second in the SEC in that category.
» Florida is No. 11 nationally and fifth in the SEC in total defense (289.1 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 16 nationally and third in the SEC in scoring defense (18.9 points per game).
» UF’s pass defense is allowing just 168.4 yards per game, good for third in the SEC and sixth nationally.
» The Gators’ defense is fifth in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 27.5 percent of those attempted to be successful.
» Florida’s defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (311) since 2000. UF also has the most interceptions in the nation (72) since 2008.
» Georgia is the only team in the SEC to score first in every game this season.
» The Gators and Bulldogs each lead in two of the four major statistical categories. Florida tops Georgia in national averages of rushing yards 175.7-162.4 (41st-54th) and points against 18.9-20.4 (16th-27th), while UGA leads UF in passing yards 248.7-178.0 (47th-100th) and points scored 32.3-26.9 (36th-71st). The teams each defeated one common opponent – Tennessee – this season, with the Gators winning 33-23 in week three and the Bulldogs claiming victory 20-12 in week six.

LAST TIME OUT

The Florida-Georgia game one year ago was one for the ages, ending in overtime after Gators punter Chas Henry kicked a 37-yard field goal to claim a hard-fought victory. Florida led 21-7 at the half after scoring on three rushing touchdowns in the second quarter. Georgia fought back to tie the game 24-24 in the middle of the fourth quarter, but a 51-yard touchdown run by Trey Burton (his second score of the game) gave UF the late advantage. Aaron Murray’s 15-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green tied the game once again, sending it into overtime for the first time in series history. On the Bulldogs’ first overtime possession, Will Hill intercepted Murray and nearly returned it to end the game, falling just short of the goal line. The Gators took over and Henry iced the game, making up for a missed field goal earlier in the contest.

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Aside from the first hour of GameDay being hosted by Florida alum and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, the Gators and Bulldogs rivalry game will be featured in a separate segment about the series and will also be one of the games argued about during the pickets segment on Saturday’s broadcast at approximately 11:45 a.m.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

Read the remainder of OGGOA’s Gameday Preview including an injury report, players to keep an eye on and multiple preview videos…after the break!

Continue Reading » Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Georgia Gameday

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2011 SEC Spring Meetings Recap – Day One

Head coaches, athletic directors and support staff gather in Destin, FL each year for the Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings, which provide an opportunity to discuss rule changes, new procedures and much more. Florida Gators head football coach Will Muschamp and head basketball coach Billy Donovan were both in attendance on Tuesday and made waves with their stances on some of the hot topics of the week.

WILL MUSCHAMP

» He once again took a hard line on oversigning (accepting national letters of intent for more players than open scholarships you have in a given year) and greyshirting (denying scholarships to oversigned players and forcing them to enroll in the following spring or fall), saying emphatically that Florida does not believe in either method of recruiting. “We don’t over-sign. That’s a policy we have at the university,” he said. “We’ve been successful, so it’s not an issue for us.”

» On the SEC’s live Internet show streaming short interviews with some of the league’s coaches, Muschamp stressed that what separates this league from the rest of the country is the strong defenses, specifically up front on the line. “I’ve seen teams in this league with average quarterbacks win national championships because they’re really good on defense,” he said.

» One quarterback who he thinks is well above average is redshirt senior John Brantley, who Muschamp said needs to have the players around him step up in order to be successful. He related a conversation he had with Brantley when he told him that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has a lot of confidence in him going forward and how “that should tell you a lot” about the type of talent he possesses.

» Muschamp said that dismissing senior cornerback Janoris Jenkins after his second marijuana arrest in less than 90 days was not about making an example out of him but rather making sure he did what was in the best interests of the rest of the team. “I don’t look at it as trying to send a message; I look at it from a standpoint of doing what’s right for the program,” he said, according to the Palm Beach Post. “Guys are going to be expected to act a certain way and have a certain behavior, and if they don’t do that then they’re not going to be a part of our football team.”

» Addressing his decision to allow freshman running back Mike Blakely to transfer within the SEC to Auburn, he said it is not something he will normally allow. “It’s not my policy to clear a kid to leave for another conference school,” Muschamp said per the Montgomery Advertiser. “I don’t want to face our players on the field. I know how good they are. They signed with Florida for a reason, so that’s a situation I’m going to avoid.” He did not provide an exact reason for making an exception in this case, simply saying that “this was the right thing to do.”

Auburn head coach Gene Chizik, the beneficiary of Blakely’s services, agrees. “That was an extremely classy move on Will’s part to give him that chance to come back to Auburn,” Chizik said. “It says something about the kind of person Will is.”

BILLY DONOVAN

» The league’s basketball coaches are going to take on two separate but related issues this week – potentially removing the conference’s divisions and ways to reseed the SEC Tournament so it is more fair to the teams that perform at a high level all year. A move to a 12-team format (rather than two six-team divisions) would benefit the East, which feels it often gets a raw deal when the tournament comes around and West teams get undeserved byes. Options include seeding the tournament 1-12 by conference record (with tiebreakers) or using a model similar to the baseball format with division winners getting byes and the rest of the teams being slotted 3-12.

» Donovan, proposing a solution that could work whether or not divisions are retained, believes the tournament should seed teams by RPI. This would force coaches and ADs to schedule better non-conference opponents, which would also improve the SEC’s overall standing nationally. Commissioner Mike Slive said Donovan’s suggestion will not be one of the methods considered.

» The vote on the topic of reseeding was tied 6-6 last year but should have more steam on Wednesday due to Slive being publicly in favor of some type of change. Scrapping the divisions is a long-term topic that, even if approved of by a majority, would not occur next season. However, adjustments to tournament seeding procedures could be worked out this week.

OTHER NOTES

» Not everyone agrees that oversigning and greyshirting are bad things. Those who are happy with the way things are (28 maximum scholarships per signing class – a rule adjusted just one year ago) include Chizik, Houston Nutt (Ole Miss), Bobby Petrino (Arkansas) and Mark Richt (Georgia). “Everybody has a right to manage their own numbers,” Richt said.

» Petrino also took the opportunity to criticize the NCAA for allowing Ohio State to delay the suspensions of five players deemed to have taken illegal benefits before the 2011 Sugar Bowl. “They kind of changed the rules for that bowl game,” he said.

» Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley plans to submit a formal proposal requesting that the SEC increase the staff sizes for its football programs. Dooley believes the player-to-coach ratio (12-to-1) in football is significantly worse in football than other collegiate sports (or the NFL, which is 3-to-1) and thinks that hiring additional staff members will also help combat off-the-field issues.

» Alabama head coach Nick Saban admitted Tuesday that he made a “mistake” not hiring Muschamp as the defensive coordinator when he took the Miami Dolphins job after leaving LSU. “When I went to Miami as the Dolphins coach, I didn’t want to put guys that were college coaches in coordinator positions until they’d coached in the league and got some experience,” Saban said, according to The Gainesville Sun. “I had coached in the league for two years at Houston and became the (defensive) coordinator at Cleveland and it was really, really difficult, only being in the league two years and understanding the league, the personnel, match-ups and a lot of things.
“I should have made Will the coordinator. Dom [Capers] did a wonderful job, but Will probably deserved to get that job. It was me trying to protect him. I wanted to give him another year before he was out there. I was trying to protect people that were important to me. I don’t think we have any issues or problems.”

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Response from Georgia proves they don’t get it

Georgia Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had an opportunity on Tuesday, after deciding not to address the situation on Monday, to issue an apology regarding Grantham’s despicable gestures during overtime of Saturday’s loss to the Florida Gators.

No matter who the apology was to – the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, the Southeastern Conference or even just Gators senior punter/kicker Chas Henry – it would have been accepted and the relatively minor issue would have blown over. Instead, Richt and Grantham played the “move on” card.

“I’ll just say that emotions run high,” Richt said. “People do things they probably wish they didn’t do, so I think that [the choke sign] was what was being communicated. I don’t think he’s necessarily proud of it. We’re just going to learn from it and move on.”

Grantham spoke briefly Tuesday evening. “As a competitor, sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment,” he said. “I wish the situation hadn’t happened. It was a tough, hard-fought game. They won it, and I’m ready to move forward and finish out the year strong.” Asked whether or not he would apologize, Grantham said: “I’ve kind of basically said what I’m going to say.”

Here’s what members of the media had to say about it Tuesday:

Tony Barnhart – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

This is totally unacceptable on any level. And I don’t want to hear this “heat of competition” crap from anybody. I don’t care how intense a game is. A coach does not attempt to intimidate a student-athlete from another school. You don’t do it. Period.

If I’m Jeremy Foley, the athletics director at Florida, I’m on the phone to my friend, Greg McGarity, who worked for me for 19 years. And I’m raising some hell.

This not about competition or the intensity of the Georgia-Florida rivalry. This is about the adults in charge acting like adults. Georgia fans complain to me all the time that they think Mark Richt’s program doesn’t have enough discipline. If the adults can’t control themselves how in the hell do we expect the players to do it?

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