Florida Gators 2012 opening week depth chart

Though things could still change over the next five days, the Florida Gators on Monday morning released the team’s first official depth chart for the 2012 season. As was noted by head coach Will Muschamp last week, sophomore quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel will both play against the Bowling Green Falcons though who will take the first snap has not yet been determined.

Florida omitted players who are not participating in the season opener, therefore the below depth chart is not the “best case scenario” version. A list of those players can be found at the end along with some additional explanations.

QB: Jeff Driskel OR Jacoby Brissett
RB: Mike Gillislee, Mack Brown
FB: Hunter Joyer, Trey Burton
WR (X): Frankie Hammond, Jr., Latroy Pittman/Andre Debose
WR (Z): Quinton Dunbar, Solomon Patton
F: Trey Burton, Omarius Hines
TE: Jordan Reed, Clay Burton

LT: Xavier Nixon, Kyle Koehne
LG: James Wilson, Ian Silberman
C: Jonotthan Harrison, Sam Robey
RG: Jon Halapio, Jessamen Dunker
RT: Chaz Green, Trip Thurman

DE: Dominique Easley, Earl Okine
DT: Sharrif Floyd, Damien Jacobs
NT: Omar Hunter, Leon Orr
Buck DE: Lerentee McCray, Dante Fowler, Jr.
Sam LB: Darrin Kitchens, Neiron Ball
Mike LB: Jon Bostic, Michael Taylor
Will LB: Jelani Jenkins, Antonio Morrison

CB: Jaylen Watkins OR Louchiez Purifoy
CB: Marcus Roberson OR Cody Riggs
S: Matt Elam, Valdez Showers
S: Josh Evans, Jabari Gorman
Nickel CB: Matt Elam, Jaylen Watkins
Dime CB: Matt Elam, Brian Poole

K: Caleb Sturgis, Brad Phillips
P: Kyle Christy, Todd Fennell
H: John Crofoot, Tyler Murphy
LS: Drew Ferris, Kyle Crofoot
KR: Andre Debose, Solomon Patton
PR: Marcus Roberson, Andre Debose

OUT SATURDAY: Redshirt junior tackle Matt Patchan (pectoral), sophomore defensive back De’Ante Saunders (hamstring), junior Buck linebacker Ronald Powell (ACL), freshman tight end Colin Thompson (foot), senior defensive lineman Nick Alajajian (knee), redshirt junior DL Kedric Johnson (knee)

POSSIBLY OUT SATURDAY: Redshirt junior DB Jeremy Brown (wrist), freshman LT D.J. Humphries (MCL), freshman DB Marcus Maye (knee), redshirt freshman OL Tommy Jordan (shoulder)

NOTES
- Debose is not listed as a starting receiver.
- Koehne and Thurman are inserted as reserve tackles because Patchan is out.
- Silberman is listed as the second-string left guard because Koehne is filling in at tackle.
- Taylor is at Mike LB and Morrison at Will LB as reserves but both are interchangeable.
- All four cornerbacks are expected to see 75 percent of the snaps in a particular game.
- Phillips beat out freshman Austin Hardin for the No. 2 kicker job.
- Murphy is the back-up holder after working on that during the fall.

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8/18: Muschamp on injuries, playmakers, leaders

With the Florida Gators two weeks away from the beginning of the season and having just completed their second scrimmage of training camp on Friday, head coach Will Muschamp met with the media to discuss injuries and standout performers.

INJURY UPDATES

Freshman left tackle D.J. Humphries (MCL) – occurred on Friday, will be out 2-3 weeks maximum, should return soon and be able to contribute

Freshman defensive back Marcus Maye (meniscus) – returned to practice this week; however, it is swollen and sore so timetable is uncertain

Redshirt senior Buck/Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray (hamstring) – missed practice Saturday but should return Monday

Redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed (knee) – injured his knee Monday, was supposed to miss 3-4 days but should return Monday

Redshirt sophomore LB Michael Taylor (shoulder) – should return Monday

Junior defensive end Dominique Easley (ACL) – reps have been limited for precautionary reasons but everything is fine and he is practicing

Junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) – “dinged” his shoulder Friday and wore a non-contact jersey on Saturday

PLAYMAKERS BEGINNING TO STAND OUT

A team desperately in need of playmakers is starting to see some take the reins of the offense, Muschamp said on Saturday. And considering his mantra that the Southeastern Conference is a line of scrimmage league, he is probably happy that the running backs are really stepping up.

“[Senior Mike Gillislee], to me, has still distanced himself from an all-around back standpoint – protections, carrying the ball, doing the little things, carrying the fakes out,” Muschamp said. “His experience helps, obviously. He’s very driven. He is a guy that can have top-end speed and finish some runs for us.”

He is equally impressed with redshirt senior Omarius Hines, who is listed as a tight end but is also taking reps in the backfield and out wide. Hines had a 61-yard touchdown run in scrimmage on Friday. “There’s no question that he’s an explosive guy and we need to give him some opportunities with the ball in his hands because he can do some things with it,” Muschamp said.

As far as the wide receivers are concerned, three in particular are standing out, each for different but important reasons.

“I think we’re better [at that position],” he said. “Again, Frankie [Hammond, Jr.] is very consistent. Quinton [Dunbar] has continued to be more mature than he was a year ago. He understands what it takes down-in and down-out, the consistency in this league that it is going to take to be successful. Andre [Debose] has continued to be explosive and do some things for us.”

Also making a name for himself is freshman TE Kent Taylor, who is currently too “thin” to play the position and block effectively but has proven that he can make a difference for the team in the passing game.

“Kent catches the ball extremely well. He’s very athletic. I mean, very athletic. That’s another guy that you have to decide what he can do at this point,” Muschamp said. “Obviously he’s a guy that needs to gain some girth and some strength as far as the blocking is concerned. Let’s don’t ask him to do something he can’t do. I know one thing – he can go get the football down the field. He can catch the ball. He can do some of those things. So let’s identify what he can do and what he can handle in those situations.”

Read the rest of what Muschamp had to say Saturday…after the break!
Continue Reading » 8/18: Muschamp on injuries, playmakers, leaders

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8/9: Gators speak about team, position battles

With the Florida Gators entrenched in their first week of fall practice, a handful of players spoke with the media on Thursday about how things are going as the team prepares for the 2012 season. Due to time constraints, the quotes below have not been formulated into individual segments as is tradition in these posts.

Michael Taylor – redshirt sophomore linebacker

» On if he is playing Mike or Will linebacker: “I’m trying to be versatile and interchangeable so whenever I’m on the field I can do whatever to help the team.”

» On freshman LB Antonio Morrison: “That boy love to hit. That’s my buddy right there. He’s picking up the calls. He picked them up a lot quicker than I did when it was my first year here.”

» On which of his position-mates have taken on a leadership role:Lerentee [McCray]’s probably the most outspoken one out of the three of them.”

» On if the linebackers are the strength of the defense: “I think the whole defense is the strength of the defense. I don’t feel like we’re weak at one spot.”

Darrin Kitchens – junior linebacker

» On redshirt sophomore LB Neiron Ball: “Neiron Ball look great. He looks great. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with this year.”

» Kitchens said he, Ball and redshirt sophomore Gideon Ajagbe are working at Sam linebacker while McCray is pretty much solely taking reps at Buck linebacker.

» On if he thinks he has matured now that he is married: “I really do because it puts things in perspective. I have to essentially make things more important than they really were. Although things were important for me before, I know I’m not doing it for myself but I have a family to look after now.”

Louchiez Purifoy – sophomore cornerback

» On if the offense is going to be a problem for teams this year: “Right now it might just be a problem. They’re coming on strong. They’re getting ready to have something special.”

» Purifoy said four players – sophomore Marcus Roberson, junior Cody Riggs, junior Jaylen Watkins and himself – are competing for the two starting cornerback jobs.

» On how he describes his play: “I’m physical. I can run. I’m big. I put my hands on people. That’s it.”

» On how he distinguishes sophomore quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel: “They both have some similar similarities.”

» Purifoy said that redshirt sophomore Quinton Dunbar has been the best wide receiver so far in camp: “He’s fast. He’s got good hands, and he can get open.”

» On freshman WR Latroy Pittman: “He’s strong, physical. You got to really get physical with him because he’s a possession receiver. He can catch; he’s got great hands. He can catch in traffic, catch without it. He’s a good player who can come in and help us.”

Hunter Joyer – sophomore fullback

» On who is standing out at quarterback: “I really can’t even tell most of the time who is in there. They both do just about the same amount of work and they’re just as good, so it’s going to be a tough competition.”

» On if he will get more touches this year (via InsidetheGators.com): “It’s a huge role and I’d love to do that, love to be that person. Everyone likes to be able to touch the ball and do certain things, but I mean I’m fine with whatever the coaches ask me to do.”

Valdez Showers – redshirt freshman defensive back

» On how good the defense can be this year: “This defense could be very good, especially with the people we have in it. As long as everybody is on the same page, it could be a great defense.”

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Gators WR Ja’Juan Story set to transfer

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Ja’Juan Story, who joined the Florida Gators as part of head coach Will Muschamp’s first recruiting class in 2011, decided on Thursday to leave the program and transfer to another school.

Story committed to the Gators before Muschamp took the helm but stayed solid in his commitment to Florida and followed through with signing his National Letter of Intent that February. After being redshirted his freshman season and far back on the depth chart heading into 2012, Story decided it was time to look for an opportunity elsewhere.

“Ja’Juan Story came to me [Thursday] and just didn’t feel like he was fitting. He did an outstanding job as a student here,” Muschamp said following the announcement on Friday. “He felt like he just needed to transfer and sometimes that happens. You don’t fit; you don’t feel like you’re fitting with what we’re trying to do and as we move forward with this. So we wish him all the luck in the world.”

He will be the 14th player to transfer off the Gators football team since Muschamp was hired to take over the program in Dec. 2010 and second offensive player (tight end A.C. Leonard) to do so in the last three weeks. Muschamp said following the school’s announcement that there will be some restrictions on where Story can transfer.

Despite not having great production at the position, Florida does have talent at receiver including redshirt senior Frankie Hammond, Jr., redshirt junior Andre Debose, redshirt sophomore Quinton Dunbar and freshman Latroy Pittman. Redshirt junior Stephen Alli and junior Solomon Patton could also play a bigger role this season.

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Muschamp: Time to “quit talking, start playing”

With the Florida Gators finally set to begin 2012 fall practice on Friday, head coach Will Muschamp and dozens of the players met with the media to discuss the upcoming season. Below are some highlights from Muschamp’s press conference, which lasted over 40 minutes. Though all practices will be closed to both fans and media, Florida has decided to hold fan day on Saturday, August 18, which will include a special open practice at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (9-11 a.m.) followed by fan activities in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center (3-6 p.m.).

INJURY UPDATES

» Sophomore cornerback Marcus Roberson (neck): fully cleared to practice
» Senior defensive lineman Nick Alajajian (back): “slowed” for the first 10 days
» Freshman tight end Colin Thompson (foot): “slowed” for the first 7-10 days, limited but practicing some after having foot surgery in the spring
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Stephen Alli (leg): cleared by middle of camp
» Freshman defensive back Marcus Maye (knee): cleared by middle of camp
» Junior buck linebacker Ronald Powell (torn ACL): “knee has…taken well to surgery”

”WE NEED TO QUIT TALKING AND WE NEED TO START PLAYING”

As he did when he took over the program last season, Muschamp is once again taking a no-nonsense attitude into this season. He said early in his press conference that he is just as dismayed at the Gators’ record over the last two seasons as fans are and that he wants the team focused on improving day in and day out.

“We just got done with a team meeting. I said, ‘At 15-11 at the University of Florida [over the last two years], we need to quit talking and we need to start playing, at the end of the day. Let’s get on the field and play,’” Muschamp said.

Part of getting ready to play is building toughness in training camp. Muschamp hoped Florida would be able to practice with great physicality a year ago but insists that will be the case no matter what in 2012.

“Obviously more contact drills and some different things that we can do,” he said on what can be done differently. “A little bit of our issues last year was because of numbers, at the end of the day. We had a hard time, at times, especially as you work into camp and you have some attrition because of injuries in your roster. It’s hard to simulate game day situations when you’re only working with one line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. That was the case last year. That’s not going to be the case this year.”

BRISSETT? DRISKEL? BRISSETT AND DRISKEL?

With quarterback being the most important position on the football field, it should be no surprise that the battle between sophomores Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel continues to be the hottest topic of conversation surrounding the team.

“Everybody wants to ask me about the quarterback position. I’ll be honest with you, I feel really good about that position because we got two really good players competing that are going to make each other better, our offense better and our team better,” Muschamp said.

He added that he cannot put a timeframe on when he will pick a starter but noted that decision-making, commanding the huddle and making big-time plays on the field will be the keys in determining who gets the job.

“We’ll know when the decision is right. I really feel that way. I’ve always felt that way about every position. You’ll know when it’s right,” he said.

Read much, much more from Muschamp at media day…after the break!
Continue Reading » Muschamp: Time to “quit talking, start playing”

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New Gators footballers pick uniform numbers

Athletes care about their uniform numbers and now that Florida Gators football team is days away from returning to the practice field in preparation for the 2012 season, it was time for the team’s newest members to choose theirs. Below is the full list of additions and changes, according to the University of Florida‘s latest roster:

TRANSFERS
» No. 4 – Damien Jacobs (Scooba, MS), JUCO transfer defensive tackle
» No. 76 – Max Garcia (Norcross, GA), redshirt* junior transfer offensive lineman

FRESHMEN
» No. 6 – Dante Fowler, Jr. (St. Petersburg, FL), five-star Buck linebacker
» No. 12 – Antonio Morrison (Bolingbrook, IL), four-star linebacker
» No. 13 – Latroy Pittman (Citra, FL), four-star wide receiver
» No. 16 – Austin Hardin (Atlanta, GA), three-star kicker
» No. 17 – Skyler Mornhinweg (Philadelphia, PA), three-star quarterback
» No. 18 – Kent Taylor (Land O’Lakes, FL), four-star tight end
» No. 20 – Marcus Maye (Melbourne, FL), four-star safety
» No. 24 – Brian Poole (Bradenton, FL), four-star defensive back
» No. 24 – Matt Jones (Seffner, FL), four-star running back
» No. 27 – Willie Bailey (Hallandale, FL), three-star defensive back
» No. 28 – Jeremi Powell (Largo, FL), four-star linebacker
» No. 29 – Rhaheim Ledbetter (Shelby, NC), three-star safety
» No. 70 – D.J. Humphries (Charlotte, NC), five-star offensive tackle
» No. 74 – Jessamen Dunker (Boynton Beach, FL), four-star offensive lineman
» No. 84 – Colin Thompson (Warminster, PA), four-star tight end
» No. 86 – Raphael Andrades (Tallahassee, FL), three-star wide receiver
» No. 90 – Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, NC), five-star defensive end
» No. 94 – Bryan Cox, Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, FL), three-star defensive lineman
» No. 95 – Alex McCalister (Clemmons, NC), three-star linebacker
» No. 96 – Jafar Mann (Stone Mountain, GA), three-star defensive lineman
» No. 98 – Quinteze Williams (Tyrone, GA), three-star defensive lineman

NUMBER CHANGES
» No. 1 – Jon Bostic, senior linebacker (formerly No. 52)
» No. 1 – Quinton Dunbar, redshirt sophomore wide receiver (formerly No. 84)
» No. 6 – Jeff Driskel, sophomore quarterback (formerly No. 16)
» No. 9 – Josh Evans, senior safety (formerly No. 24)
» No. 10 – Valdez Showers, redshirt freshman defensive back (formerly No. 20)
» No. 12 – Jacoby Brissett, sophomore quarterback (formerly No. 17)
» No. 20 – Omarius Hines, redshirt senior tight end (formerly No. 82)
» No. 32 – Chris Johnson, sophomore running back (formerly No. 33)
» No. 88 – Clay Burton, sophomore tight end (formerly No. 86)

» Sophomore Tevin Westbrook remains listed as No. 97 on the latest roster despite moving from defensive end to tight end.

* Garcia is ineligible for the 2012-13 season due to NCAA transfer rules; he can practice with Florida and will be allowed to play beginning in 2013-14.

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Blue tops Orange 21-20 in 2012 Florida Gators Orange & Blue Debut – Postgame Report

More than 38,000 fans filed into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday to watch the Florida Gators conclude spring practice with a live scrimmage in the 2012 Orange & Blue Debut. After combining to score just seven points in the first three quarters, Blue outscored Orange 21-13 in the final quarter to pull off a 21-20 victory.

“Really pleased with where we are at this point,” head coach Will Muschamp said after the scrimmage. “I feel much better standing here today than I did a year ago as far as where we are as a football team, our physicality as a team, our togetherness as a team as this moves forward. We got the right kind of guys. We just got to get better. There’s things we need to improve on.”

QUARTERBACKS STEP INTO THE SPOTLIGHT

Florida fans wanted to see a big-time competition from sophomores Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel and that is exactly what they got on Saturday. Brissett (9/16 for 233 yards and two touchdowns) and Driskel (12/14 for 147 yards) each had their good and bad moments on the field including long passes and over/under-thrown balls. Brissett hit freshman wide receiver Latroy Pittman with a great pass down the left sideline for 43 yards. He also connected on a bomb with junior Trey Burton that resulted in a touchdown and found redshirt sophomore WR Quinton Dunbar in the back of the end zone early in the game. Driskel completed a nice 44-yard pass to redshirt junior WR Andre Debose near the right sideline and also hit Burton on a deep pass that he brought inside the five. His accuracy and athleticism were both impressive as he was able to extend plays and make correct decisions.

“We saw that both those guys throw the ball extremely well. They’re both really good athletes and guys that can create some off-tempo plays for us as a football team,” Muschamp said. “It was very evident [how close they are]. You see both guys take command of our football team. Both guys made vertical plays down the field, good decisions where they took the ball. There’s no question you saw what I’ve been seeing for 14 practices previous [to Saturday]. I’ve said this before: We can win with both guys.”

Up next for the duo is managing the offense in the offseason. Muschamp wants to see how they rally the players for 11-on-11 drills and PRPs (player-run practices) without any influence from the coaching staff. “Those guys need to take the next step as far as that’s concerned,” he said.

As far as the players go, though both are working hard to earn the starting job, neither is taking the actual competition with their friend too seriously. “I love it. Coming out every day, competing against the No. 1 quarterback in the country a couple of years ago. It don’t get no better,” Brissett said. “I guess I’m slower so that’s what I’m lacking. Jeff is a great quarterback. He can make every throw that I can make, so it’s going to be tough to see what the real difference is. [...] I don’t got nothing wrong against him. I mean, I look better, but that’s just something he’s got to deal with.”

Driskel joked that he doesn’t play basketball with Brissett because his teammate is better in that area and said that the two are making sure the rivalry does not ruin their friendship even if he was not necessarily comfortable with his commitment in the first place. “I wasn’t excited about it at first but I realized they’re going to bring somebody in the next year. There’s always going to be competition. So I embraced that, and I think it’s made me better through the spring,” he said.

Check out the rest of the Orange & Blue Debut postgame report…after the break!
Continue Reading » Blue tops Orange 21-20 in 2012 Florida Gators Orange & Blue Debut – Postgame Report

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2012 Orange & Blue Debut – Gameday Preview

Event: 2012 Orange & Blue Debut
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Time: 1:00 p.m. (EST)
Reference: Roster | Schedule

TV: Sun Sports (in Florida, some other national cable outlets) SiriusXM: 91
Online Video: FOXSportsFlorida.com (nationally outside of the state of Florida)
Live Updates: @OnlyGators
OGGOA Live Coverage: Live Chat from 12:45-3:30 p.m.

EVENT INFORMATION

» Gator Walk: North side of stadium, exterior, 10:30 a.m. start
» Parking: The following parking locations are available first-come, first-serve for fans wishing to attend the game – O’Connell Center garage, O’Connell Center lot (disabled), Commuter Lot (Lemerand Dr.) with shuttle
» Gates/Seating: Open gates – 7, 8, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18 (west concourse closed for renovations); Open seats – general admission in open areas with gates opening at 11:30
» Former Gators in attendance: S Ahmad Black, DE Alex Brown, S Teako Brown, RB Ran Carthon, K Jeff Chandler, LB Andra Davis, WR Chris Doering, DE Carlos Dunlap, RB Ciatrick Fason, WR Jacquez Green, WR Percy Harvin, TE Aaron Hernandez, RB Terry Jackson, FB Billy Latsko, QB Terry LeCount, WR Travis McGriff, C Maurkice Pouncey, C Mike Pouncey, RB Chris Rainey, RB Errict Rhett, CB Lito Sheppard, LB Brandon Spikes, RB Fred Taylor, WR Travis Taylor, DT Gerard Warren (and more).
» 2013 Commits in attendance: WR Rodney Adams, DT Caleb Brantley, LB James Hearns, OL Roderick Johnson, RB Adam Lane, LB Dillan Lawson, LB Daniel McMillian, DB Keanu Neal, LB Quinton Powell, RB Kelvin Taylor, DB Nick Washington
» 2013 Recruits in attendance (partial list courtesy of InsideTheGators.com): WR Ahmad Fullwood, WR Reggie Davis, WR Taj Williams, WR Alvin Bailey, RB Ryan Green, DB Mackerno Alexander, DB Tre Bell, DB Leon McQuay III, DB Marcell Harris, OL Josh Cardiello, DB Adrian Baker, WR Richard Benjamin, DB Reggie Wilkerson, DE Jonathan Allen, ATH Marcus Clark, LB Keith Kelsey, Jr., QB John O’Korn, OL Joshua Outlaw, WR Carlos Burse, OL Cameron Dillard, DE Joey Bosa, DE Demarcus Walker, DB Damonte Jones, DB Jamonte Jones (and more).

Additional information including the game format, injury report, team notes and who to keep an eye on all are available…after the break!
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