No. 14 Florida starts slow, rolls Kentucky 38-0

It may have taken a few possessions for the No. 14 Florida Gators to get rolling, but the end result was yet another dominating victory over the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Florida (4-0, 3-0 SEC) picked off Kentucky (1-3, 0-1 SEC) three times in the first half on the way to a 38-0 thrashing that extended the Gators’ winning streak over the Wildcats to 26 games dating back to 1987.

Florida enters the bye week with a 4-0 record for the fourth-straight season, earning their fourth victory by shutting down Kentucky offensively (303-219 in total offense) and being extremely efficient on third down (12-of-17). The Gators out-passed the Wildcats 203-60 on the afternoon, dominated time of possession 37:41-22:19 and shut out a Southeastern Conference opponent for the first time since Sept. 29, 2001.

Failing to move the ball on their first two offensive drives, Florida found the red zone on their third possession. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel took a bootleg 38 yards down to Kentucky’s 20 on the first play with the ball moved to the 10 after Driskel was taken down by his facemask. Senior running back Mike Gillislee ran to the three with a seven-yard carry, but UF concluded the drive with an incomplete pass, false start and bad snap, settling for a 27-yard field goal by redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis.

A missed 54-yard field goal by UK gave the ball back to the Gators, which put together a 10-play, 63-yard scoring drive to take a 10-0 lead with 12:04 left in the first half. Driskel hit redshirt senior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. for a 24-yard reception on third down to extend the drive, and Gillislee carried six times for 31 yards on the possession (including his one-yard touchdown run).

Read the rest of the Florida-Kentucky game story…after the break!
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9/19: Will Muschamp’s SEC teleconference

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp made an appearance Wednesday during the Southeastern Conference‘s weekly coaches teleconference and touched on a number of topics surrounding his team and its upcoming game against the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. live on SEC Network.


The injury situation up to this point has not been as devastating for the Gators as it has been in years past though some key players are still on the mend and attempting to rejoin the team this season.

Muschamp announced Wednesday that redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins received a new hand cast for his broken thumb recently and has a very good chance of being ready to play against LSU after the bye week. “In eight days they’re going to pull the pin out of there and take another look at it, but he’s going to start lifting and running [Wednesday] as far as getting back into the swing of things, getting his body back. We’ll go from there,” he said.

The news was not as positive for junior defensive end Dominique Easley and fifth-year redshirt junior tackle Matt Patchan.

Easley, who looked like he may have re-injured his knee (torn ACL against Florida State last season), did not do any major damage but still has swelling in the area and is “questionable” for Saturday’s game against Kentucky. Patchan (pectoral) continues to be out and Muschamp does not know when he will be back despite the fact that his injury was only expected to cost him a few weeks.


Starting the 2012 campaign with a 3-0 record including two big road victories against tough SEC opponents has been exactly what the doctor ordered for the Gators. Muschamp believes the team’s overall maturity, coupled with this confidence boost, is what has Florida rolling right now.

“Any time you win and have success it brings some confidence to you as a player. Confidence is such a key part of athletics,” he said. “When you feel good about something and you think positively about something. I always tell the players: A positive attitude doesn’t guarantee anything but a negative one does. Any time you’re negative or you think in a negative way, you’re not usually going to have much success. Our guys expect to play well. Our guys expect to win in every situation. That’s what you want in your program and that’s what happened around here for a long time. We got a lot of tradition in our program. Guys came here to Florida to play in games like they’ve played and they’ll play in again on Saturday at 12:21 p.m.”

Though the Wildcats are 1-2 with losses to Louisville and Western Kentucky and their sole win at home against Kent State, Muschamp said UF’s players have not begun looking ahead and are completely zoned in on this week’s game.

“My approach has always been every game counts as one regardless of the situation or circumstances of where you play or who you play,” he said. “That’s how we try to approach every game for that reason. I thought we had very good practice [Tuesday]. I thought we had really good tempo. Our guys went out and worked. We need to clean some things up, but I thought their focus was there. I thought they were tuned into what we were trying to do in the meetings and those sorts of things.”


» On if Florida has been trying to block punts through three games: “We’ve gone after one in every game and we plan to do so presented the situation. Had an opportunity against Bowling Green and Matt Elam barely missed it; I mean, got his hand right there – it was really close. I take that back. At [Texas] A&M I don’t believe we rushed one. We never were presented a situation. At Tennessee we did rush one and of course they changed and went to a rugby-style with the kicker. They didn’t even punt their punter against us because of the blocked punt from a year ago. They changed it up, which was a good play on their part. They were able to flip the field on us there. We went after open and weren’t successful on two situations.”

» On if he has more confidence now than he did last year in the wide receivers: “Certainly do, got a lot more confidence in playmaking ability and run after the catch and things that they’re doing. There’s a lot of things that goes into that. The number one thing that goes into that is we’re blocking well up front. I think it all goes back to our offensive line. We’re able to run the ball, which creates opportunities down the field. When you’re able to run the ball – you’re able to run the ball inside, you’re able to run the ball on the perimeter – it creates one-on-one matchups outside because people want to be able to load the box to stop the run. When you’re able to do that and those people can’t do those overload pressures and the different things they’re able to do because of the legs Jeff [Driskel] has and because of how we’re blocking up front, we simplify people also with our motions and shifts. We simplified some people defensively. I’m very pleased with the production obviously of Frankie [Hammond, Jr.]. Quinton Dunbar I thought made some big plays and blocks for us in the ballgame. Latroy [Pittman] and Raphael [Andrades] both played as true freshman. But when I talk in terms of wideouts, I always throw Omarius Hines and Trey Burton into that category as well. And then you talk about Jordan Reed and his production. And Andre [Debose] continues to come on for us. We just need to continue to give that group, collectively, moving forward [opportunities]. Solomon Patton has been huge for us as we’ve moved through the season here as far as some of the running things that Brent [Pease] has asked him to do. I think a lot of that is credit to Brent from the standpoint of finding out what the guys can do and let’s do what they do well. He’s put those guys in situations, to this point, to be very successful.”

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9/11: Pease on Gillislee’s play, offense’s strength

With the team preparing for its third game of the season, a 6 p.m. road contest on Saturday against the Tennessee Volunteers, Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media Tuesday to discuss choosing his running back’s health and the offensive line being the strength of the unit.


There are few known quantities with Florida’s offense, but Pease had a good idea of what he would be able to get out of senior running back Mike Gillislee when he watched him this offseason. Gillislee, whose 115.50 yards per game average through two weeks ranks him 22nd nationally and first in the Southeastern Conference, proved during spring practice that he had what it took to be a quality rusher for the Gators.

“He’s very talented. He provides such a downhill running attack but yet you can see when he starts to bounce plays that he is allusive enough and he is great in the open field. He can make people miss, and he does a good job of reading blocks downfield,” he said.

“You can use him. He’s not just a downfield runner. He can be if he has to [be]. You saw it on the goal line. He’s got good hands. You just got to continue to get him the ball.”

That may be more difficult this week as Gillislee, who strained his groin against Texas A&M, is supposed to be able to play but may not be able to carry a full load. Pease said the coaches will limit his reps in practice, something they do anyway for starters.

“Whether he’s a little sore or not, he understands his reps as far as practice goes. He doesn’t need as many so that’s where you try to get the other kids and build up their repetition base because he’s taking so many and he gets so many lives situations in the game. He does not need to continue to take those and take those,” he said.

Pease also expressed his confidence in redshirt sophomore Mack Brown and freshman Matt Jones. He thinks Brown shares similar qualities with Gillislee but noted that Jones actually has the best hands out of the entire position group.


Fans may disagree with this assessment, but Pease was adamant on Tuesday that Florida’s offensive line remains the strength of the offense. “We’ve said the strength of our team is our O-line. I think they’ve been consistent from spring on. There are some good kids up there,” he said.

Pease refused to blame the majority of the Gators’ sacks on the offensive line. He attributed four/five to the quarterback, one/two to good defense/bad routes and the other two to protection problems from the line, which he believes is a standard amount.

“For as many as we had, I think four or five of those were more [the quarterback] moving out of the pocket and trying to get yards. He’s got to learn – you’re in a situation and you can throw the ball away,” he said. “There was maybe one, possibly two where, scheme-wise, they had us from what we were doing.”

Pease was then asked to explain how the offensive line could be the team’s strength when what is seen by most who watch the game are issues in short-yardage situations, sacks and the coaching staff deciding to go with a more mobile quarterback (potentially in an effort to move the pocket).

“The sacks, out of eight sacks, two of them we needed to have better protection. You can’t put that on the O-line. Short yardage, let’s take out two plays and let’s understand that up until that point there was 40 carries for 249 yards at five-point-whatever [yards] a carry. Maybe I’m off on my math there, but you can figure that out,” he said. “And then a running quarterback, that just adds to the flexibility of what a defense has to [prepare for]. That has no effect on the offensive line either not being effective or being effective. It adds to where you can spread the ball around in the running game.”


» On his evaluation of sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel’s performance: “Jeff did a good job. Going into the game he probably had a little nerves, but I think he settled down. The thing I saw from him was, as the game went along, he got better, he got more comfortable, he started seeing things on the defense better. There’s definitely still things he has to work on – I think anybody would have to – getting rid of the ball. Sometimes he was trying to make too much happen throwing the ball where he just needed to use his feet. Once he started doing that, he broke the defense down a little bit and made some plays for us, kept the drives alive.”

» On Driskel’s reps in practice: “How we’ve always done things…Jacoby [Brissett]’s still taking reps. It’s probably not 50/50, but it’s 65/35 sometimes 60/40. Jacoby’s still going to get good reps. You don’t want to burn the other guy out. You always monitor them and [make sure] you are giving them enough to hit all of the plays that we’re going to run.”

» On Tennessee’s defense: “Really their defensive front – they’ve got good size, they’ve got good speed. They’ve got some motors up there, guys that play with relentless effort. And their backers, they’re big and athletic. Secondary, from what they’re doing with their scheme, guys play a lot of man. They have guys with good feet, good football instincts.”

» On the penaltiesy Saturday: “There weren’t a few penalties. There was one penalty on the offense. It was early and we probably knew…we worked on it all week and we knew one of them was going to happen. He got caught; backed us up. Our kids pulled through; we still scored on the drive, so we overcame that.”

» On redshirt junior Andre Debose seeing more time at wideout: “He was in there at wide receiver. He had two great run blocks downfield that made some big plays. When he was in there he did a great job.”

» On the progression of redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed: “I think he’s developing tremendously. One, you see where he’s moved around at. He’s in a lot of different positions. He’s learning. He’s doing a great job in the run game. He’s definitely got good hands and had a big catch and a run after it. He’s coming along. He provides a big opportunity for us to be able to put him in a lot of spots.”

» On not having specific playmakers: “The thing that I’m encouraged about is everybody’s kind of finding where they’re fitting into this and you find out more and more about the guys. [...] No one’s asked about Quinton Dunbar but the kid had a couple big catches. He had a catch down by the red zone that we didn’t even throw it to him all week but the coverage dictated that and Jeff made a nice read on it. These guys just got to understand that you continue to work hard in practice and balls will come your way.”

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The Countdown: Florida Gators roster (9-1)

With the 2011-12 athletic season now in the books and the 2012-13 season about to begin, the focus has shifted to the return of Florida Gators football. For the second-straight year, OGGOA will take a look at every player of substance on the roster, counting down by jersey number, in this series: The Countdown.

9 – Josh Evans (Irvington, NJ)
Senior safety
6’2” 201 lbs.

Quick Bio: One of only five true seniors on the roster, Evans was a four-star recruit coming out of high school who appeared in 21 games over his first two seasons. He was forced into a reserve role because of the Gators’ extreme depth at safety but bided his time until his junior season.

Career Stats (34 games): 71 tackles (52 solo, 2.5 for loss), sack, fumble recovery, two interceptions, pass defense

2011 Season: Evans started eight games his junior year but played in all 13 contests, registering 51 total tackles including a career-high 11 against South Carolina. Arguably his best game of the season came in his last, the Gator Bowl, where he notched five tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.

2012 Outlook: Evans made additional strides this offseason, according to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who said his communication and confidence has improved. Now making more plays than ever in the defensive backfield, he is once again listed as a starting safety and should hold down that position all year. “I think Josh has improved tremendously, and it has nothing to do with athleticism, it has to do with communication and being on the same page and anticipation. The safety position, a lot of it is anticipation for the communication,” head coach Will Muschamp said recently. “That’s where I think Josh has taken the next step, and he certainly has done that. And he’s been very good in camp, and he was very good throughout spring as far as taking the next step.”

8 – Jeremy Brown (Orlando, FL)
Redshirt junior cornerback
5’10” 184 lbs.

Quick Bio: A four-star prospect, Brown was sidelined by back problems for two full seasons and earned a redshirt as a freshman. He made it a point to rehab his back as much as possible during and after the 2009 season and sought to earn a starting role when Joe Haden declared early for the NFL. Brown succeeded in that goal in 2010, winning the job across from Janoris Jenkins and starting 10 contests. He missed the final two regular season games with a hamstring injury but played in the Outback Bowl.

Career Stats (11 games): 15 tackles (11 solo, one for loss), three interceptions, five pass defenses, touchdown

2011 Season: Brown suffered a knee injury right before the season began and was expected to only miss a few weeks of action. Many accused Muschamp of misleading the public as to the severity of Brown’s injury, but the coach explained in the spring that was not the case. “Our medical evaluation was he was going to be out for a week,” Muschamp said. “That’s what I was told. [...] Jeremy was a situation where he rehabbed, it didn’t work, we rehabbed a different way, it didn’t work. We continued to progress, we tried to work him back in practice as the season was going, and he just never responded to rehab, so eventually we had surgery.”

2012 Outlook: Returning to practice this summer, Brown fractured his wrist and had surgery on July 18. He was reevaluated on Aug. 28 to see if he could return to practice though the result of that check-up is not yet known. Brown would have had an opportunity to start at cornerback for Florida this season, but his injuries allowed four other players to jump ahead of him in the pecking order. He should see the field eventually if he can get back healthy but may have to focus on 2013 (his sixth and final season) to regain his starting job.

Check out 11 more players in this edition of The Countdown…after the break!

Continue Reading » The Countdown: Florida Gators roster (9-1)

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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)

- 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.


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


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 “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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