Friday Final: Gators aim to take back The Swamp; game could be the last for Muschamp, Spurrier

In this week’s edition of Florida Football Friday Final, OnlyGators.com takes a look at the Florida Gators (5-3, 4-3 SEC) as they prepare to ride their momentum against the South Carolina Gamecocks (4-5, 2-5 SEC) on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. The game will kick off at noon and air live on the SEC Network.

THIS WEEK ON ONLYGATORS.COM

Story: Freshman QB Treon Harris leading turnaround effort
Notebook: Will Muschamp breaks down Florida entering South Carolina game
Notebook: Kurt Roper pleased with Harris, offense’s balance
Story: Max Garcia emerging as one of the game’s best thanks to great coaching
Story: DL Jonathan Bullard’s sacrifices, team-first mindset paying off for Gators
Story: QB Jeff Driskel says benching was “tough,” but he’s happy to contribute

ONLY GATORS GET OUT ALIVE

Head coach Will Muschamp kicked it off on Monday, noting that he has made it a theme this week for the Gators to “take back The Swamp,” which is “what we need to do this coming Saturday.” Muschamp and Florida’s players understand that the team has let down its home fans during his tenure with the program. UF is just 17-7 at The Swamp over the last four seasons with a 9-6 record against SEC opponents and Florida State.

A number of players addressed what a victory in front Gator Nation would mean on Saturday. Check out what each of them had to say about it.

Continue Reading » Friday Final: Gators aim to take back The Swamp; game could be the last for Muschamp, Spurrier

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Florida OL coach Mike Summers pushing Gators’ Max Garcia to be one of game’s best centers

Back in August, Florida Gators redshirt senior Max Garcia still had some trepidation about moving to center, a position he had never played before and did not find out he would be learning until after the conclusion of the 2013 season.

Though college has been all about change for Garcia, who played for two programs and lined up at nearly every position along the offensive line during his five years at Maryland and Florida, it was still an adjustment to take on such an important role for the Gators.

Luckily, he had someone special – and quite experienced – in his corner.

Continue Reading » Florida OL coach Mike Summers pushing Gators’ Max Garcia to be one of game’s best centers

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DT Leon Orr contrite about leaving Florida

Now-former Florida Gators redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr did not play in Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt after leaving the team on game day when Orr learned from head coach Will Muschamp that he would not be starting the game.

Florida announced before the game, and Muschamp explained after the Gators’ 34-10 win, that Orr would have seen the field for his normal allotment of plays, but he could not accept not starting the contest.

“Leon hasn’t started since the Alabama game. He hadn’t started all week in practice. Came to me [Saturday] and didn’t understand why he wasn’t starting, said he was going to go home. That was his decision. I said, ‘You go home, you’re done. You’re not a Florida Gator anymore,’” Muschamp said Saturday night.

As a result, Orr was kicked off the team for good, a fact Muschamp reiterated on Monday during his weekly press conference. “Nothing’s changed,” he said.

Continue Reading » DT Leon Orr contrite about leaving Florida

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The Silver Lining for November 5: Vanderbilt embarrassment, NFL Draft, caption contest

Bitter about Vanderbilt

Do the Florida Gators remember seeing their 22-game winning streak against the Vanderbilt Commodores coming to an end last season with the Dores topping the Gators 34-17…on homecoming…in Gainesville, Florida?

You bet.

“They completely embarrassed us last year,” said redshirt senior center Max Garcia. “We’re going to go to their house and we want them to experience the same disappointment that they gave to us last year. We definitely have to redeem ourselves in that way. We’re going out there to play football. We’re going out there – it doesn’t matter who we’re playing against – but it is an added token just knowing that they embarrassed us last year at The Swamp.”

Continue Reading » The Silver Lining for November 5: Vanderbilt embarrassment, NFL Draft, caption contest

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11/3: Two Florida starters out for Vanderbilt, Muschamp provides other updates on Gators

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (4-3, 3-3 SEC) met with the media on Monday as his team looks to rebound from a signature win while preparing for the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-6, 0-5 SEC) on Saturday evening in Nashville, Tennessee.

HOUSEKEEPING

» The Southeastern Conference announced Monday that the Florida-South Carolina game on Saturday, Nov. 15 will be played at noon and air live nationally on the SEC Network. The game is already the Gators’ sixth of 10 scheduled contests to be broadcast by the network this season, and UF will likely have a seventh before the year is out as it hosts Eastern Kentucky the next weekend.

» Redshirt seniors center Max Garcia and wide receiver Michael McNeely were both honored with league awards on Monday. Garcia was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, and McNeely earned SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his fake field goal touchdown against Georgia.

INJURY UPDATES

Florida will be without two starters this week at Vanderbilt as sophomore safety Keanu Neal (high-ankle sprain) and senior right guard Trenton Brown (knee) have already been ruled out for the game.

Neal and Brown, who was diagnosed with a bone bruise, will both be reevaluated next Monday after a full week of rest. The former will be replaced by a combination of players led by redshirt sophomore Marcus Maye, while the latter will see redshirt junior Tyler Moore take his place.

Also potentially out Saturday is freshman defensive lineman Gerald Willis, who suffered a high-ankle sprain in practice and did not make the trip to Jacksonville, Florida. Willis is currently questionable to play but will be reevaluated by the trainers on Wednesday.

Continue Reading » 11/3: Two Florida starters out for Vanderbilt, Muschamp provides other updates on Gators

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C Max Garcia gets emotional over Mike McNeely, shoots selfie with Florida Gators WR at Publix

During the Florida Gators‘s weekly Monday afternoon media availability, redshirt senior center Max Garcia got emotional and shed some tears while discussing redshirt senior wide receiver Michael McNeely, whose fake field goal touchdown swung the momentum in his team’s favor on Saturday against the rival Georgia Bulldogs.

McNeely, a walk-on who was expected to play at wideout in 2013 had it not been for an injury, received a scholarship from head coach Will Muschamp ahead of the 2014 season and has seen action mostly on special teams this year.

On Saturday, McNeely entered the game as a holder and turned a 39-yard field goal attempt into a 21-yard rushing touchdown, picking up the snap and running past some superior blocking into the end zone.

Garcia discussed the play – and more importantly, the player – on Monday.

Continue Reading » C Max Garcia gets emotional over Mike McNeely, shoots selfie with Florida Gators WR at Publix

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Muschamp disagrees with Tebow, says Florida Gators have leaders on offense

In his new role as a college football analyst for ESPN and the SEC Network, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow not only needs to be honest but also unbiased. Certainly Tebow will lean toward Florida on many issues – and be summoned when a strong opinion on the Gators is needed – but he has also gone out of his way to do his homework and be as credible a voice as possible in his first year on the job.

Over the last few weeks, during appearances on ESPN, the SEC Network and Jacksonville, Florida, radio station 1010 XL, Tebow has opined plenty about Florida and the situation the program found itself in entering the Georgia game.

He asked fans to stop booing the Gators, discussed how Florida got to the situation it was in two weeks ago following consecutive home losses to unranked Southeastern Conference opponents, and even offered some advice for freshman QB Treon Harris, who started against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday and ultimately helped lead the Gators to a 38-20 upset victory.

During some of these media hits, including on the SEC Network pre-game Saturday show SEC Nation, Tebow explained what he thought what was wrong with the Gators’ offense.

Continue Reading » Muschamp disagrees with Tebow, says Florida Gators have leaders on offense

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Florida-Georgia post-game report: Gators celebrate dominant win over Bulldogs

A 38-20 win over the then-No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 4-2 SEC), which was more dominant than the score indicates, has given the Florida Gators (4-3, 3-3 SEC) and head coach Will Muschamp new life.

Muschamp met with the media after the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on Saturday to discuss Florida breaking its three-game losing streak at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Gators hoping to turn a page this season.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Despite the Gators’ victory, the Bulldogs still hold a 49-41-2 all-time advantage over their border rivals in the Florida-Georgia game. UGA also leads 43-38-1 for games played in Jacksonville. UF, however, is 19-6 against its rival since 1990.
» By locking up a victory, the Gators avoided four-straight losses to the Bulldogs, which would’ve occurred for the first time since dropping six in a row from 1978-83.
» It was the third time in the series that an unranked UF defeated a ranked UGA.
» Florida was an 11.5-point underdog entering the game despite Georgia not winning a game in the series by more than eight points since 1997.
» The victory ensured that UF’s senior class would not be the first since 1983 to go winless against UGA in their collegiate careers.
» Muschamp won his first-ever Florida-Georgia game after going 0-4 as a UGA player and starting 0-3 as a UF coach.
» The Gators had lost six-straight games against top 25 opponents before defeating the Bulldogs. UF is now 5-13 against ranked opponents under Muschamp.
» This was just Florida’s third game this season not decided by six points or fewer.
» The Gators (blue) and Bulldogs (red) each wore their respective team-color jersey. It is the first time this happened in the Florida-Georgia game since 1970.
» Treon Harris was the first true freshman quarterback to start a game for UF since 2011 (Jacoby Brissett) and the first to start a Florida-Georgia game since 2003 (Chris Leak).
» Running backs junior Matt Jones (192 yards) and sophomore Kelvin Taylor (197 yards) each set career-highs on Saturday. The rushers also had two touchdowns apiece.
» It was the first time in school history that UF had two backs each eclipse 120 yards in the same game.
» It was the first time since 2011 (Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey) that the Gators had two running backs eclipse 100 yards in the same game.
» The 418 rushing yards on Saturday were a season-high for the Gators (most since 1989) and most allowed by the Bulldogs since 1978 (second-most ever). Florida also had three runs (65 yards, 44 yards [twice]) that were the longest given up by Georgia this season. UF’s 418 rushing yards were also the most by a Muschamp team (second time over 400 in a single game).
» The Gators are 5-0 under Muschamp when rushing 50+ times and 9-0 when scoring three or more rushing touchdowns in a game.
» Florida only completed three passes in the game, its fewest in records dating back to 1996 (UF is 6-5 in 11 games with 10 or fewer completions).

Continue Reading » Florida-Georgia post-game report: Gators celebrate dominant win over Bulldogs

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