Florida coach Muschamp could face suspension over Phillips recruiting incident

Diving deeper into the supposed dismissal of wide receivers coach Joker Phillips by the Florida Gators, John Infante of the Bylaw Blog looked at how Phillips’s alleged NCAA recruiting violation may affect the program and head coach Will Muschamp.

After Florida announced Phillips’s resignation on Friday, a report from Yahoo! Sports cited three sources as saying Phillips was forced to leave the program after the Gators got word that the NCAA had proof he committed a recruiting violation.

The organization supposedly received “a photo of the coach sitting in a restaurant with a high school recruit during a mandated dead period in recruiting” from “an individual with ties to the Miami Hurricanes program.”

Yahoo! Sports writers Charles Robinson and Pat Forde noted that Phillips’s alleged improper contact “could be considered a major NCAA violation,” a notion that Infante examined more closely on Monday.

Using the NCAA’s new enforcement structure, Infante boiled the incident down to a Level II or Level III breach of conduct, the former being more severe or “significant.”

Continue Reading » Florida coach Muschamp could face suspension over Phillips recruiting incident

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TWO BITS: Florida-Miami, Gators on SEC Nation

1 » If everything works out, the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes will be scheduling a home-and-home series…in men’s basketball. According to The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, discussions have begun between the two schools for the in-state rivals to play each other in consecutive seasons. The Orlando Sentinel’s Edgar Thompson confirmed with UF associate athletic director Mike Hill that the teams are indeed “finalizing” a contract with the first game set to be played this November at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The second contest would be held at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables during the 2015-16 season. The timing will work out for UF, which may be forced from its home arena during the fall semester of the campaign as a planned renovation of the O’Dome is scheduled to be in its final stages. The Gators are 45-22 all-time against the Canes on the hardwood with the schools last playing a home-and-home series in 2004-05. UF and UM have squared off just four times in the last 23 seasons, all since 2002.

2 » The SEC Network on Saturday announced that it will hold its College GameDay-esque pre-game program, SEC Nation, in Gainesville on Sept. 13 ahead of Florida’s league opener against Kentucky. The following week, the Gators will be featured a program for the second time when it emanates from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Sept. 20 ahead of the UF-Alabama game. In addition to host Joe Tessitore and former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, the SEC Nation panel will include long-time radio host Paul Finebaum and former LSU defensive end Marcus Spears.


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2014 SEC Spring Meetings: O’Dome, Miami, clock

The 2014 Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings continued Wednesday in Destin, Florida, with Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley among those that met with the media and divulged information about the future of the school and league. Below are some highlights from the second day of the SEC Spring Meetings.

O’DOME RENOVATIONS WILL SEND GATORS ACROSS STATE

Plans to renovate the Stephen C. O’Connell Center have been in the works for two years, but Florida is just now “closing in” on the nearly $50 million needed to complete the project, Foley told the Orlando Sentinel’s Edgar Thompson. Once the funding goal is reached and the project is officially approved, plans will be set into place for construction to begin in March 2015 with the goal of completing the process by January 2016.

Though Foley did not mention how the construction would affect other Gators sports like volleyball, women’s basketball and indoor track & field, he did note that Florida men’s basketball would likely play its non-conference home games throughout the state in Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa. (The Gators could also come to South Florida for more than their one usual game, which is played as part of the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise.) The idea would be to schedule two games in three days (Thursday-Saturday, Friday-Sunday) in each location. Florida played seven pre-January non-conference home games last season.

Continue Reading » 2014 SEC Spring Meetings: O’Dome, Miami, clock

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TWO BITS: Florida-Miami series, women’s tennis

1 » Miami Hurricanes athletic director Blake James recently told The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson that he had a conversation with Florida Gators AD Jeremy Foley about renewing the football series between the two teams. James said Foley was “receptive” to the idea, a word used by Jackson, though the latter insisted that the Gators would only be amenable to playing the Canes in a neutral-site contest. “I would have to think about Orlando,” James told the paper. “That’s not real neutral but it’s an easy distance to our campus.” Foley wants Florida-Miami at a neutral site for a number of reasons. The Gators already lose a home game every other year with Florida-Georgia being played in Jacksonville. UM also neither provides UF with a fair allotment of tickets nor quality locations for those seats in the 76,000-seat Sun Life Stadium. Considering the Gators have the largest base of alumni in South Florida, that is not a winning combination for the school. A neutral-site game would allow the schools to split ticketing and revenues evenly while potentially creating a new, exciting tradition.

Continue Reading » TWO BITS: Florida-Miami series, women’s tennis

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Florida baseball drops two of three at Miami

By Mike Brandes – OnlyGators.com Contributor

No. 20 Florida Gators baseball (5-3) fell short on the road against the No. 17 Miami Hurricanes (4-3) over the weekend, dropping the annual three-game series between the in-state rivals but ultimately avoiding a sweep on Sunday at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables, FL.

The Gators opened things up Friday night with their second loss of the season, dropping the season opener 6-4 despite scoring three runs in the first inning.

Junior left-handed pitcher Bobby Poyner (4.0 IP, 5 H, BB, 3 K) took the loss for Florida, struggling after retiring the side in order and leaving the first inning with a three-run lead. Poyner (1-1) threw 71 pitches in the 6-4 loss and gave up home runs to Miami right fielder Willie Abreu in the third and center fielder Dale Carey in the fifth.

“We just have to get a better start out of our starting pitcher,” remarked head coach Kevin O’Sullivan after the loss.

Inside the batter’s box, junior catcher Taylor Gushue (4/4, RBI, 2 R) extended his hitting streak to six games. The four-hit game by Gushue was a career-best.

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Gators flip Canes four-star RB Brandon Powell

The Florida Gators on Friday filled the hole created in their 2014 recruiting class by the decommitment of four-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL) by flipping their second prospect in as many days , four-star RB Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, FL).

A Miami Hurricanes commitment, Powell initially hoped to enroll early at UM. According to The Gainesville Sun‘s Zach Abolverdi, who first reported the flip, things changed Wednesday when Florida, Powell’s dream school which had not previously offered a scholarship, gave him an opportunity to join the program.

Powell (5-foot-9, 167 pounds) was originally committed to Tennessee but changed his mind and joined Miami’s class on Aug. 3, 2013. Ranked No. 189 overall by Rivals.com, he is considered the seventh-best all-purpose back prospect in the country.

The Gators are also planning to try and gain a pledge from four-star RB Jeff Jones (Minneapolis, MN), who is currently committed to Minnesota. Florida offered Jones (6-foot, 198 pounds), the 92nd-ranked player in the nation, late in the process but has already scheduled an official visit with the prospect for Jan. 24.

Thursday morning, UF gained a commitment from five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C.), who immediately became the Gators’ highest-rated player at No. 24 overall. He hopes to enroll in classes next week.

Florida now has 21 total commitments this recruiting cycle including 12 ranked four stars or higher and 12 from within its home state.

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Gators out of top 25 polls for first time since 2011

The eighth regular season editions of the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and Associated Press Top 25, along with the first edition of the BCS standings for the 2013 season, were released on Sunday with the Florida Gators nowhere to be found for the first time since the conclusion of the 2011 campaign.

Florida (4-3, 3-2 SEC) was knocked out of the rankings after being defeated for the second time in as many weeks and falling 36-17 to the Missouri Tigers, which moved up to No. 7 in the USA Today poll and No. 5 in the AP top 25 before being listed No. 5 in the BCS on Sunday night.

The Gators’ other two losses this season also came to ranked opponents. The Miami Hurricanes are listed at No. 7 in the BCS, No. 6 by USA today and No. 7 by the AP, and the LSU Tigers checked in at No. 13 in all three rankings.

The Alabama Crimson Tide remain the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation.

WeekResultBCSUSA TodayAssociated Press
Preseason--No. 10 (930)No. 10 (894)
2W 24-6 vs. Toledo-No. 9 (974)No. 12 (875)
3L 16-21 at Miami-No. 20 (410)No. 18 (405)
4Open-No. 18 (398)No. 19 (412)
5W 31-17 vs. Tennessee-No. 19 (449)No. 20 (414)
6W 24-7 at Kentucky-No. 19 (515)No. 18 (481)
7W 30-10 vs. Arkansas-No. 17 (574)No. 17 (536)
8L 6-17 at LSU-No. 22 (240)No. 22 (249)
9L 17-36 at Missouri-NR (4)NR (17)

UF’s 2013 opponents in italics.

BCS STANDINGS
This Week 1-5: Alabama, Florida State, Oregon, Ohio State, Missouri
6-10: Stanford, Miami, Baylor, Clemson, Texas Tech
11-15: Auburn, UCLA, LSU, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma
16-20: Texas A&M, Fresno State, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Louisville
21-25: South Carolina, Michigan, UCF, Nebraska, Oregon State

Check out the rest of the polls after the break!
Continue Reading » Gators out of top 25 polls for first time since 2011

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Florida QB Driskel injures knee, will play after bye

Florida Gators junior quarterback Jeff Driskel was seen Monday walking around campus on crutches. Just before noon, the school announced via Twitter that Driskel was injured during Saturday’s 21-16 loss to the Miami Hurricanes but will be healthy enough to play the team’s next game.

“Jeff Driskel suffered a slight sprain in his knee in the [second] quarter of the Miami game. He is taking some weight off of it this week and will be ready for the Tennessee game next week,” said a program spokesman in a series of tweets.

Based on the timetable established by UF, Driskel’s injury likely occurred at the 9:28 mark in the second quarter when, running a read-option play from the pistol formation, he was tackled and hit in his left knee. He hobbled when he stood up.

Driskel, who went 22-for-33 and passed for a career-high 291 yards on Saturday at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL, scored two touchdowns on the afternoon but also committed three turnovers including two costly red zone interceptions and a fumble inside the Gators’ five-yard line late in the fourth quarter.

“It started with me. I was careless with the ball,” he said after the game.

Driskel’s first interception came three plays into the second quarter. His second pick was thrown with 9:30 remaining in the contest.

“You just got to play smart football in some situations,” said head coach Will Muschamp during his post-game press conference. “You can’t throw the ball into traffic in the red zone. In those critical situations, you’re taking points off the board, you’re creating momentum for the other team. A lot of things go on when that happens. It’s not just the fact that you had a turnover. Those are situations we got to correct.”

Depending on the severity of the injury, Driskel could rest for up to two full weeks as the Gators are currently on their bye. Florida will next take the field on Sept. 21 when it hosts the Tennessee Volunteers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

It was announced Monday that the game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and air live on CBS.

The Florida-Tennessee game aired on CBS for 16-straight seasons from 1996-2011 and was played at 3:30 p.m. consecutively from 2007-11. Last season, CBS chose to air Alabama-Arkansas instead and UF-UT was picked up by ESPN for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

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