Three freshmen – Ledbetter, Young, Williams – set to leave Florida Gators

Updated on Thursday at 12:45 p.m.

Redshirt freshman safety/fullback Rhaheim Ledbetter, redshirt freshman defensive/offensive lineman Quinteze Williams and freshman offensive lineman/tight end Trevon Young have all decided to leave the Florida Gators football program.

Separate reports came out about all three players on Wednesday night and Thursday morning before the school confirmed the departures Thursday afternoon.

The cousin of former Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes and a high school teammate of current Gators sophomore defensive end Jonathan Bullard, Ledbetter chose Florida over interest from Alabama, Clemson, Miami and South Carolina back in July 2011.

He redshirted as a true freshman and moved over to fullback in the spring of 2012. Though Ledbetter did well in his new role, he only saw limited action on special teams this season. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Young joined the Gators less than 24 hours after the conclusion of National Signing Day on Feb. 7. The hybrid offensive lineman/tight end received a late scholarship offer from head coach Will Muschamp and ultimately decided to try his hand at football rather than play basketball at Division II school Eckerd College.

At 6’6” and 260 pounds, Young did not begin playing football until his junior year of high school and often said that basketball was by far and away his preferred sport. He was considered to be a developmental prospect at tight end as his only football playing experience has been as an offensive tackle. Young will likely return to the hardwood.

A high school defensive tackle who could also play defensive end, Williams moved over to the offensive side of the ball during spring practice after taking a redshirt as a true freshman. He was suspended for the 2013 season opener due to a violation of team rules and barely saw the field otherwise. Williams initially chose Florida primarily over Georgia but also Auburn, Florida State and Tennessee.

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8/7: Pease on Debose’s knee, Driskel as a 300-yard passer, new players and Florida’s offense

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media after the team’s first full week of fall practice ahead of the 2013 season.

A RESURGENCE HAMPERED BY INJURY?

Universally praised by his coaches and teammates this offseason for being more focused and dedicated, redshirt senior wide receiver Andre Debose may have his sudden resurgence hampered after going down with a knee injury during practice on Tuesday. Though Pease would not go into details about Debose’s injury – head coach Will Muschamp does not allow his assistants to discuss team ailments – he did say that the knee will be evaluated by doctors on Wednesday.

“Yeah, he tweaked his knee a little bit, so they’re evaluating it at this time and we’ll go from there,” he said. He later added: “I saw him walk off [the field], but I don’t know the severity of it right now.”

Pease also said that Debose has “done a great job” in practice up to this point.

UPDATE: Debose out for the season with torn ACL

MORE DYNAMIC PASSING GAME IN YEAR TWO?

Muschamp, Pease and junior quarterback Jeff Driskel have all mentioned this offseason that Florida must become more explosive in the passing game, and Pease stood by that statement on Wednesday.

He noted that while the Gators did get big chunks of yardage at times in 2012, the vertical passing game was not sufficient for what he wants to do at Florida and he must call the corresponding plays to allow that goal to come to fruition.

“The thing that I saw that we didn’t have was throwing the ball vertically over the top. We had explosive plays, probably a lot more in the run game or catching short passes and making plays out of them. We determine explosive plays as 16 yards or more,” Pease explained.

“It’s more probably throwing the ball over the top, just stretching the field vertically, which we need to do. That’s route running, accuracy with the ball, protection at times. There’s a lot involved with it. That’s where hopefully, with the respect our running game has gained and the kids we have back there, when people start to pack the box we got to be able to do that.”

He continued: “Some of it is on me. I got to be willing to pull the trigger and let them perform. But I’m confident [that they will],” he said.

Continue Reading » 8/7: Pease on Debose’s knee, Driskel as a 300-yard passer, new players and Florida’s offense

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Florida Gators 2013 post-spring depth chart

Below is the 2013 post-spring practice version of the Florida Gators depth chart. Though some fans will be excited to see where the team stacks up below, head coach Will Muschamp cautions each year that feeling that way is not worth the energy.

Muschamp makes it quite clear that he does not put a lot of stock into depth charts, even those that are published after spring practice is over. In fact, back in 2011 and again on Wednesday, he stated it is “not worth the paper it is printed on.” In other words, the depth chart seen here is just a starting-off point for 2013 and plenty can change between now and the start of the season.

Nevertheless, below is the depth chart as it was presented on April 24. Notations marked with (») denote changes from the pre-spring depth chart released March 12. Players marked with (*) were out for all or most of spring practice.

OGGOA will update this post with more from Muschamp shortly.

OFFENSE

QB: 6 Jeff Driskel, 10 Tyler Murphy
» Murphy inches ahead of 17 Skyler Mornhinweg for the No. 2 job.
RB: 24 Matt Jones, 33 Mack Brown
» Brown understandably inches ahead of freshman 21 Kelvin Taylor.~
FB: 43 Hunter Joyer, 25 Gideon Ajagbe
» Ajagbe wins the second-string job over 29 Rhaheim Ledbetter.
WR (X): 1 Quinton Dunbar, 11 Demarcus Robinson
WR (Z): 13 Latroy Pittman, 4 Andre Debose, 83 Solomon Patton
» Debose switches from second X to second Z receiver though the players switch in those positions. Pittman takes over the top spot at Z from 15 Loucheiz Purifoy.
F Position: 8 Trey Burton, 13 Latroy Pittman
TE: 88 Clay Burton, 87 Tevin Westbrook OR 18 Kent Taylor OR 84 Colin Thompson

~ Muschamp on Brown edging past Taylor: “You’re not going to get through the SEC with one back. That’s not going to happen. Certainly Mack has distanced himself as a second-team back at this time, a guy that we’ve got a lot of confidence in, that we expect big things form in the fall to continue to progress. I think he’s done a nice job of running the football, and protections, catching the ball, finishing plays. Kelvin certainly has done some nice things and he needs to continue to progress – more than anything- mentally with the offense. Physically, he’s got some ability.”

LT: 70 D.J. Humphries, 74 Trenton Brown
LG: 76 Max Garcia, 77 Ian Silberman*
C: 72 Jonotthan Harrison, 64 Kyle Koehne
RG: 67 Jon Halapio, 63 Trip Thurman*
RT: 73 Tyler Moore OR 75 Chaz Green*
» Brown (an incoming JUCO transfer) replaces Thurman, who moves from back-up LT to back-up RG. Silberman replaces Koehne at back-up LG.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2013 post-spring depth chart

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2013 Florida Gators Orange & Blue Debut Preview

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Time: 1:00 p.m. (EDT)

TV: Sun Sports (Larry Vettel, Nat Moore, Brady Ackerman)
SiriusXM: None | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: FOXSportsFlorida.com (nationally) | Mobile Video: None
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Reference: Roster | Schedule

EVENT INFORMATION

Schedule:
9:00 a.m. – Gator Locker Room Yard Sale (outside Gate 9)
10:00 a.m. – Verizon Fan Fest in North End Zone Lawn
10:30 a.m. – Gator Walk
11:30 a.m. – Gates Open to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
11:30 a.m. – Warm-ups begin on the field
12:30 p.m. – Alumni Flag Football Game
1:00 p.m. – Orange & Blue Debut

Parking: Stephen C. O’Connell Center parking garage (first-come, first serve), Gale Lemerand Drive commuter lot (with shuttle)

Tickets: Free for alumni, students and the general public.

EVENT FORMAT

Instead of a full scrimmage, Saturday’s event will be an open practice that also includes limited scrimmage snaps. Florida will mix in approximately 40 scrimmage snaps with football drills. The format adjustment was made because the Gators currently only have six healthy offensive linemen and head coach Will Muschamp feels that it would be right to ask them to participate in 60-100 snaps over the course of a single afternoon. “It’s not fair to go into a spring game situation and ask these guys to take 60-70 snaps in a row,” he explained. “That’s not healthy. That’s not good, it’s not good for our team.”

Muschamp also detailed what will occur during the practice/scrimmage (in order): (1) Field goal/point after touchdown drills, (2) punting and individual drills, (3) one-on-one work with the secondary and receivers going head-to-head while the quarterbacks throw the ball, (4) one-on-one work with block reaction for the offensive line, (5) linebackers and running backs picking up blitz protection and coverage responsibilities, (6) two series of scrimmage with the ball on the 35-yard line, a total of 8-12 plays, (7) red zone one-on-one, (8) offensive and defensive line two-on-ones, (9) two series of scrimmage with the ball at the 35 yard line, a total of 8-12 plays, (10) two full cover punts and a punt/punt block drill, (11), two series of scrimmage from midfield, (12) two full cover kickoffs and a kickoff/kickoff return drill, (13) two series of scrimmage from midfield, (14) red zone 7-on-7s with the ball at the 18-yard line, (15) additional drills including pass rushing, (16) backed up punt drill, (17) one-minute scrimmage drill.

“It’s about getting good-on-good work. It’s about getting your best players going against your best players. … You get better when you’re going good-on-good,” Muschamp said. “This is good work. It’s good special teams work. This is a normal scrimmage-type situation for us as far as our football team is concerned. It’s good-on-good and that’s all I’m concerned with.”

MORE: Injury report, offensive and defensive notes, list of commitments and recruits in attendance…all available after the break!
Continue Reading » 2013 Florida Gators Orange & Blue Debut Preview

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Florida offense: Quick hitters on Garcia, Jones, Brown, Ajagbe, Andrades and the offensive line

Over the last week-and-a-half of Florida Gators spring football practice, a number of players met with the media to discuss their individual play and the team as a whole. Below are some of the stories, notes and quotes that have fallen through the cracks.

READY AND ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE

A lot has been made over the last two weeks about injuries to the unit, but a huge boon for Florida’s offensive line is newly-eligible redshirt junior Max Garcia, a transfer from Maryland who sat out the entire 2012 season and has accepted a position switch from tackle to guard. Garcia was listed as the starting left guard on the Gators’ initial spring practice depth chart and has received nothing but positive views thus far in camp.

Garcia, who missed a few days of practice with a sore back, explained last week that Florida’s depth concerns on the offensive line are legitimate but the players are doing whatever they can to make it work.

“This spring is tough with the numbers that we have. The coaches are telling us we’ve been doing a great job, but at the end of the day, it’s going out there and doing what we need to do. With the O-line, we’re the backbone of the team, so we just got to keep pushing forward and getting the job done,” he said.

Garcia also spoke about why he decided to transfer to the Gators, noting that he is sure he made the right decision. “I’ve had a lot of support with the coaches and the players. That’s the main reason why I came down here, just because of the players that were here, the players I interacted with on my official visit. We got a good O-line, great chemistry, so the transition has been going really well,” he said.

Though he is now fully in the mix, Garcia had to sit out the entire 2012 season, watching the team from afar as it completed an unexpected turnaround under head coach Will Muschamp. He discuss how that affected him as a competitor.

“Honestly, when we were winning, it wasn’t really hard. With a great season, you’re just happy to be part of the team, happy to contribute. It was good getting recognized at the end of the year as the Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year. The hard work didn’t go unnoticed. The coaches did a good job just telling me I’ve been doing well. I was really excited. It wasn’t really a burden on me. I was just happy to be a part of the team.”

“It was tough on the away games sitting in front of the TV, wishing I could be out there trying to help the team. But for the most part we had a really successful season, so it wasn’t really that tough.”

Continue Reading » Florida offense: Quick hitters on Garcia, Jones, Brown, Ajagbe, Andrades and the offensive line

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4/2: Muschamp on spring game, injuries, updates

Now in the third week of 2013 spring football practice, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Tuesday to discuss some of the latest developments surrounding the team and provide updates on specific players.

ORANGE & BLUE DEBUT SPRING GAME PRACTICE FORMAT

Instead of a full scrimmage like the Gators normally run for the Orange & Blue Debut, this year’s event will be more like an open practice that also includes limited scrimmage snaps. Florida will mix approximately 40 scrimmage snaps between individual and team position drills. The format change is being made because the Gators currently only have six healthy offensive linemen and Muschamp feels it would be unfair to ask them to participate in 60-100 snaps over the course of a single afternoon.

“It’s not fair to go into a spring game situation and ask these guys to take 60-70 snaps in a row,” he explained. “That’s not healthy. That’s not good, it’s not good for our team.”

Muschamp also detailed what the team will be doing during the practice/scrimmage (in order): (1) Field goal/point after touchdown drills, (2) punting and individual drills, (3) one-on-one work with the secondary and receivers going head-to-head while the quarterbacks throw the ball, (4) one-on-one work with block reaction for the offensive line, (5) linebackers and running backs picking up blitz protection and coverage responsibilities, (6) two series of scrimmage with the ball on the 35-yard line, a total of 8-12 plays, (7) red zone one-on-one, (8) offensive and defensive line two-on-ones, (9) two series of scrimmage with the ball at the 35 yard line, a total of 8-12 plays, (10) two full cover punts and a punt/punt block drill, (11), two series of scrimmage from midfield, (12) two full cover kickoffs and a kickoff/kickoff return drill, (13) two series of scrimmage from midfield, (14) red zone 7-on-7s with the ball at the 18-yard line, (15) additional drills including pass rushing, (16) backed up punt drill, (17) one-minute scrimmage drill.

“It’s about getting good-on-good work. It’s about getting your best players going against your best players. … You get better when you’re going good-on-good,” Muschamp said. “This is good work. It’s good special teams work. This is a normal scrimmage-type situation for us as far as our football team is concerned. It’s good-on-good and that’s all I’m concerned with.”

Additionally, Muschamp announced that the coaching staff will be wearing microphones so fans in attendance can get a better idea of what is going on throughout the event. Coaches will be explaining each session before it begins and Brady Ackerman will be on the field to ask the coaches questions.

Due to the new format, Florida and the sponsors of the Orange & Blue Debut have made it completely free to the public. Anyone who pre-purchased a ticket for the event will have it refunded in full (special passes are still needed for the premium areas).

Schedule of Events:
9:00 a.m. – Gator Locker Room Yard Sale (outside Gate 9)
10:00 a.m. – Verizon Fan Fest in North End Zone Lawn
10:30 a.m. – Gator Walk
11:30 a.m. – Gates Open to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
11:30 a.m. – Warm-ups begin on the field
12:30 p.m. – Alumni Flag Football Game
1:00 p.m. – Orange & Blue Debut

Continue Reading » 4/2: Muschamp on spring game, injuries, updates

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3/13: Muschamp on first day of spring practice, Easley, Purifoy, Powell, Robinson

Florida Gators football competed its first official day of 2013 spring practice on Tuesday, and head coach Will Muschamp met with the media after its conclusion to discuss some of the highlights from the day’s activities.

GETTING BACK INTO THE GROOVE

“First day in shorts. That’s not how you play football,” Muschamp said after coming in from the practice fields. As Florida looks to replace a number of starters and develop its roster, the coach was pleased with what he saw from the team on Wednesday, especially on the offensive side of the ball now that it is entering year two under offensive coordinator Brent Pease.

“Good to see offensively from a standpoint of guys teaching fundamentals and technique as opposed to scheme,” he said. “Anytime you’re new… Brent and them coming in last year and changing some things and teaching scheme as opposed to honing in on the fundamentals and technique of the positions and what we need to do. That makes us even better than obviously a year ago at this time, which we need to be. That’s refreshing.”

He was also pleased with the Gators’ attitude and top-notch work ethic, which continued from the offseason program. Muschamp added that he is proud of where Florida is at this time but does have a few specific areas of concern.

“Definitely we got to have some question marks inside answered, linebacker depth answered and safety. That’s where we’ve got some serious question marks defensively,” he said.

All-in-all though, the day was a net positive for the Gators. “You only get 15 [spring practices] and you either get better or worse, and I thought we improved,” he said.

ANSWERING THE DEFENSIVE QUESTION MARKS

Florida lost a lot up the middle in the offseason. Gone are both of the Gators’ starting defensive tackles, both of the starting inside linebackers and both of the starting safeties. Though Muschamp is comfortable with his defensive backs and believes that flexibility in the secondary will allow safety play to not be an area of concern, he is less enthused with the defensive front seven.

Continue Reading » 3/13: Muschamp on first day of spring practice, Easley, Purifoy, Powell, Robinson

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Muschamp, Pease discuss Florida Gators offense

With the Florida Gators set to begin 2013 spring practice on Wednesday, head coach Will Muschamp and new offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics concerning the team’s offense.

RELATED: Spring depth chart released | Muschamp, Durkin on defense, team

IMPROVING PRODUCTION AT QUARTERBACK

Junior Jeff Driskel returns as the entrenched starter at quarterback and has the full backing of both Muschamp and Pease going forward. Both coaches reiterated that they expect him to take a big step forward in 2013 now that he has a year of action under his belt and can spend the entire offseason continuing to educate himself with the offense and opposing defenses in order to become a better overall player.

» Muschamp on what Driskel has been doing in the offseason: “I think Jeff has really attacked the offseason from a mental standpoint as far as film is concerned, really studying what he can do to be a better quarterback. That’s part of the maturation process in becoming a better player is understandings what you go to do to be successful. […] I think the game continues to slow down for you. First year as a full-time starter, first year in a scheme in a system with new terminology and now you’re not splitting reps 50-50. He’s going to get all the turns and all the reps with the same people, which I think obviously will help us with some throwing game issues.

» Muschamp on what Driskel can specifically improve on: “As a player and as a competitor, knowing Jeff and talking to Jeff, he wants to go back and improve everything. But I think you take things in segments. ‘I need to improve here; I need to improve there.’ Within saying that, year two in the system, the game slows down a little bit. A better understanding of protection, a better understanding of where the ball needs to go, where you’re protected and where you’re not protected. I think those are the things that, as much as anything, that are going to help him to understand that. The passing game concepts versus middle field versus split safety, where to take the ball. I think all of those things, again, that’s easy to talk about but when it’s happening in front of 90,000 people against some of the people we play against, it’s a fast, fast game. Those are things, to me, as far as just the mental intensity of where we need to go with the football in situations. That will slow down for him in his second year. And he’s also not splitting reps. And he’ll be working with the first-team receivers all the time. I think you couple that with a lot of things and I think Brent does a really great job developing the quarterback position and recognizing things he needs to improve on.”

Continue Reading » Muschamp, Pease discuss Florida Gators offense

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