Friday Final: Florida hopes for offensive rejuvenation but defense will lead Gators

In this 2015 season’s first edition of Florida Football Friday Final, takes a look at the Florida Gators as they prepare to open the campaign against the New Mexico State Aggies at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m.a nd air live on SEC Network.

This week on

Honoring the greats: Gators to wear Ray Graves helmet decal, have Bill Carr serve as first Mr. Two Bits of 2015

Missing in action: Safety Keanu Neal, offensive tackle Martez Ivey “doubtful” for Saturday, joining three suspended Florida players

Starting it off: Sophomore Treon Harris gets the call over redshirt freshman Will Grier for first snap at quarterback

Really?! Junior cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III may play offense, too

Continue Reading » Friday Final: Florida hopes for offensive rejuvenation but defense will lead Gators

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4 BITS: Florida Gators to honor Ray Graves with helmet decal, Bill Carr as Mr. Two Bits

1 » The Florida Gators announced Tuesday that Ray Graves, a former head football coach and athletic director at the school who passed away in April at the age of 96, will be honored with a decal on the team’s helmets this season. The decal reads “RG: The Bull Gator,” referring to Graves’s nickname while he was coach of the Gators from 1960-69; he led Florida to a 70-3-4 (38-19-3 SEC) record with a 4-1 mark in bowl games and four top-20 national finishes. UF was Graves’s only head coaching job. He led Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Steve Spurrier and a future NFL Defensive Player of the Year, defensive end Jack Youngblood, while with the Gators. Graves was also Florida’s coach during the invention of Gatorade, and he remained UF’s athletic director until 1979 after serving in the role for 19 years.

Continue Reading » 4 BITS: Florida Gators to honor Ray Graves with helmet decal, Bill Carr as Mr. Two Bits

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Former Florida Gators head coach, athletic director Ray Graves dead at age 96

Former Florida Gators head coach Ray Graves passed away Thursday evening at the age of 96, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Graves, Florida’s first prominent head football coach who earned the nickname “Bull Gator,” led the Gators from 1960-69, going 70-31-4 (38-19-3 SEC) with a 4-1 record in bowl games and four top-20 national finishes.

Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators head coach, athletic director Ray Graves dead at age 96

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Muschamp named 2012 SEC Coach of the Year, Sturgis SEC Special Teams Player of the Year

In just his second season leading the Florida Gators, head coach Will Muschamp has led the team to an astounding 11-1 regular season record and added the honor of being named 2012 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by his peers.

Muschamp, splitting the award with Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin (who also picked up the honor from the Associated Press), led Florida to a five-game improvement from a year ago when the Gators finished the regular season 6-6. According to the school, that is the biggest improvement for the team in 32 years.

Florida completed the 2012 campaign with a 4-1 record against the top 12 teams in the final BCS standings and a 7-1 mark in conference play with its defense leading the way. The Gators finished the season ranked first in pass efficiency defense, third in scoring defense, fifth in total defense and sixth in rushing defense.

Muschamp is just the third football coach in school history to be named SEC Coach of the Year and the first in 16 years. He joins Ray Graves (coaches – 1960) and Steve Spurrier (coaches – 1991, 1994-96; AP – 1995-96) in that exclusive club.

Capping off his redshirt senior season with a big-time honor, Florida kicker Caleb Sturgis was also named 2012 SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.

Like Muschamp, Sturgis shared the award and is being honored alongside South Carolina return specialist Ace Sanders.

He was 23-of-27 on field goals in 2012 with three of his four misses caused by blocks due to protection issues at the line of scrimmage.

Sturgis is the first Gators player to win the award since Brandon James (2008) and has a chance to add to the honor as he is a finalist for the 2012 Lou Groza Award, which will be announced on Thursday.

Photo Credits: The Gainesville Sun, St. Petersburg Times

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Alvarez voted to College Football Hall of Fame

Former Florida Gators wide receiver Carlos Alvarez has been voted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation announced on Tuesday.

One of 79 All-American players and nine coaches made eligible for selection by the voting committee, Alvarez will be one of 16 inductees (14 players, two coaches) who will be officially enshrined in July 2012 after being honored at a dinner in Dec. 2011.

He played on the Gators for three seasons (1969-71) and still holds three school records for career receiving yards (2,563), receptions in a single season (88) and receptions in a game (15). Alvarez also set the then-University of Florida and Southeastern Conference career receptions mark with 172 catches in 1971.

“I’m hardly ever speechless, but I am,’’ he told UF senior writer Scott Carter. “When you look at college football and the number of people who have played…I feel honored just to be mentioned.’’

Alvarez is the third Florida player elected to the Hall of Fame since 2006.

He will the ninth overall representative of the Gators to be enshrined in the hall, joining coaches Charlie Bachman (1978), Doug Dickey (2003) and Ray Graves (1990), and players linebacker Wilber Marshall (2008), running back Emmitt Smith (2006), quarterback Steve Spurrier (1986) and defensive ends Dale Van Sickel (1975) and Jack Youngblood (1992).

“Carlos is a great example of all that is good in college athletics. His tireless work and commitment to excellence translated into success both on and off the field,” athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a school release. “He has maintained his level of commitment and success in his professional career as well. I’ve had the opportunity to see Carlos a number of times when he visits Gainesville and he remains a tremendous ambassador for our program. The honor is well deserved.”

Photo Credit: University of Florida archives

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