9/30: Roper keeping Florida offense calm, focused

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Kurt Roper met with the media on Tuesday to provide some thoughts on Florida’s first loss (on the road at Alabama) and the Gators’ upcoming contest against the Tennessee Volulnteers, which is set for noon on Saturday at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.

FIX THE GLITCH(ES)

Florida struggled mightily against Alabama, especially in the second half, but Roper – and head coach Will Muschamp – have boiled down the Gators’ issues to one particular problem, the team’s inability to convert (offensively) or get off the field (defensively) on third down.

While UF certainly has to work on its passing game and sloppiness in the secondary, the team has struggled the most when trying to execute the most important down in the game of football.

“We played too many bad down and distances. I don’t think we ever kept ourselves in good situations that way, which created a bunch of [third down situations where we had to gain long yardage]. I don’t think we were very productive, really [on] any down and distance. But I think because of our poor production on our early downs, we really struggled on our third downs against a good defense,” Roper explained.

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9/29: Muschamp talks injuries, support, secondary

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (2-1, 1-1 SEC) met with the media on Monday as his team begins preparations for the Tennessee Volunteers (2-2, 0-1 SEC). Florida will look to extend its nine-game winning streak against Tennessee on Saturday at noon when the Vols will host the Gators at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.

INJURY UPDATES

While Florida’s injury issues are nowhere near as bad as they were in 2013, the team is certainly dealing with some injured Gators one-quarter of the way through the season.

Redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr (meniscus) will be sidelined for Saturday’s game as expected, though Muschamp hopes he will be able to return against LSU. Junior Jonathan Bullard will take many of his snaps on the interior.

Florida’s defense may also be without redshirt senior linebacker Michael Taylor (knee swelling), who is listed as “questionable-to-doubtful” this week. Freshman running back Brandon Powell (hamstring), who has not played since the opener against Eastern Michigan, received a similar designation from Muschamp on Monday.

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Bye Week Bulletin: What to watch while UF’s off


The Florida Gators have their first of two open dates this Saturday and will not step foot on the gridiron – but that does not mean there are no college football games to watch. In this season’s first edition of the Bye Week Bulletin, OnlyGators.com points out the best and most interesting games to keep a close eye on this Saturday.

BUT FIRST…

Here’s Carol Muschamp, the wife of Gators head coach Will Muschamp, kickboxing. Carol is one of a handful of wives of Southeastern Conference coaches who will be featured in a special segment on Saturday’s edition of ESPN‘s College GameDay.

MUST WATCH

Tennessee (2-1) at No. 12 Georgia (2-1) – 12 p.m. (ESPN)
Aside from the fact that the Gators play the Vols next Saturday, UT is a young, interesting team that posted 72 points in its first two games (against Utah State and Arkansas State) before getting routed 34-10 by Oklahoma. UGA is the fourth-highest-scoring team in the country and still searching for its first SEC win after falling 38-35 to South Carolina during the second week of the season.

Vanderbilt (1-3) at Kentucky (2-1) – 12 p.m. (SEC Network)
The only thing that could make UF fans feel worse than the Alabama rout last Saturday would be UK proving to not be nearly as improved as many beleive. The Wildcats should dominate the Commodores, which rank among the worst 25 teams in the country in nearly every important statistical category. Nevertheless, VU hung around with USC last week and only dropped that contest 48-34.

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Urban Meyer at Florida: “I thought I was dying.”

Updated on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Photo Credit: ESPN Images

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer appeared on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on Tuesday and discussed, among other topics, what ultimately led to him deciding to depart the Florida Gators – first after the 2009 season and then for good at the conclusion of the 2010 campaign.

“I thought I was dying,” Meyer said in the taped interview. “Absolutely [I was depressed]. Mentally, I was broke.”

Meyer tells a tale of stress and depression, explaining that he dropped a significant amount of weight (37 pounds) while self-medicating in order to simply go to sleep at night while the head coach at Florida.

“Now I’m taking two Ambiens. I would drink a beer on top of it, just to get some sleep. Not many people know that,” he said. “And I go from 217 pounds to 180 pounds. I lose 37 pounds…and we’re undefeated.”

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42 Florida-Alabama questions, answered

During Florida Gators football games – especially exciting wins or devastating losses – the mentions pile up on the OnlyGators.com Twitter account (@onlygators) and there is simply not enough time to read and respond to all of the questions and comments.

An exceptionally large number of questions came through on during the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide‘s 42-21 demolition of the Gators, so I felt it was best to use this space to answer as many of the serious, rhetorical and inflammatory questions as possible.

Here are 42 different questions that were asked during or shortly after Saturday’s loss. This is just a sampling of the material in the @onlygators mention feed that afternoon.

Answers are in 140 characters are less – some serious, other sarcastic.

@pisanjoe (Joe Pisani) Looked that way to me. Why does it not get reviewed…oh wait, we’re in Bama.
Context: Junior wide receiver Latroy Pittman catching the ball with a toe inbounds.

With all plays reviewable by the referees, I was very surprised the replay official did not stop action and look at it. He was in.

@pisanjoe (Joe Pisani) What is the #Gators current 3rd down defensive stop percentage? Seems like we couldn’t stop Kentucky at all last week.

Florida is now ranked 96th nationally in third down defense, allowing 21-of-46 attempts to be converted (.457).

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Florida-Tennessee set for noon on SEC Network

As part of the Southeastern Conference‘s television lineup release for Oct. 4, the upcoming Florida Gators (2-1, 1-1 SEC) at Tennessee Volunteers (2-1, 0-0 SEC) game has been set for 12 p.m. and is schedule to air on the SEC Network.

Florida and Tennessee have contested their game on CBS in 17 of the previous 18 seasons (eight of those contests kicking off at 3:30 p.m.) with the lone game not shown on the network in that span, the 2012 contest, broadcast on ESPN at 6 p.m.

The Gators are looking to extend their nine-game winning streak against the Volunteers, the longest in series history, which dates back to 2005. UF is 24-19 all-time against UT, 9-2 in the last 11 meetings and 22-6 against its SEC East rival since 1976.

Florida and Tennessee have been slated to open the SEC schedule against each other nearly every season since 1996.

The teams were each other’s second SEC opponent in 2012, and in 2001, the game was pushed back to the end of the season due to the events of Sept. 11.

This season, the Gators will be the Vols’ Vols will be each other’s third SEC opponent, the latest they’ve played in a season since 1991 (fourth SEC game).

So how does the rest of the Oct. 4 slate shake out (by time slot)?
No. 3 Alabama at No. 10 Ole Miss – 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
No. 17 LSU at No. 5 Auburn – 7 p.m. (ESPN)
No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 14 Mississippi State – noon (ESPN)
No. 13 South Carolina at Kentucky – 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Vanderbilt at No. 12 Georgia – 4 p.m. (SEC Network)
Florida at Tennessee – noon (SEC Network)

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TWO BITS: Florida grades, Gators recruiting

1 » The folks over at Pro Football Focus chose to evaluate the Florida Gators vs. No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide contest on Saturday as their College Game of the Week. As such, PFF described the Gators’ performance as “simply a putrid defensive effort that saw Florida miss 30 tackles.” Three different UF players – redshirt senior linebacker Michael Taylor, senior safety Jabari Gorman and redshirt sophomore defensive back Brian Poole missed four tackles each, while junior DB Marcus Maye was “the only Florida starter not charged with an official missed tackle.”

Gorman and junior LB Antonio Morrison – due to their pass coverage and run defense, respectively – graded out as the worst of the Gators’ defenders on Saturday, rated lower than any offensive player. Redshirt senior tackle Chaz Green and redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel were given the lowest grades on the offensive side of the ball for their pass blocking and passing, respectively. All-in-all, it was a terrible day for Florida football, and PFF‘s detailed statistics break it down quite nicely.

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9/20: Florida-Alabama post-game report

A turnover-filled yet nevertheless tied game in the third quarter turned into a 42-21 blowout victory for the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0 SEC), which dominated the third quarter and stomped on the visiting Florida Gators (2-1, 1-1 SEC) on Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Head coach Will Muschamp spoke with the media after the devastating defeat.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Alabama improved to 24-14 all-time against Florida and now holds an 8-5 edge in games played in Tuscaloosa. UA has won four-straight games against UF, outscoring it 143-50 in those contests.
» The Gators are now 4-13 against ranked opponents under Muschamp.
» Florida is now 4-14 under Muschamp when tied or trailing at the half and 5-12 when an opponent scores 21 points or more in a game.
» The Gators’ defense gave up a school-record 645 total yards on Saturday.
» Florida forced four turnovers on Saturday and is now +8 on the season after coughing up three of its own.
» The Gators allowed the Crimson Tide to convert seven-straight third-down attempts including all six they tried in the third quarter of the game. Alabama finished 12-for-16 on third downs, while Florida was a paltry 2-of-13.
» All 21 of UF’s points on Saturday came off turnovers.
» The Gators did not call a single timeout on Saturday.
» The Crimson Tide completely dominated the third quarter, outgaining the visitors 160-41, out-possessing them 12:02-2:58 and converting six third downs (two for touchdowns).
» Sophomore safety Keanu Neal’s fumble return touchdown was Florida’s first since 2011 and the sixth-longest in school history (49 yards).
» Redshirt senior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar has now caught a pass in 31-straight games. He is four games away from tying a school record for most consecutive contests with a reception.
» Redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel completed just 32.1 percent of his passes on Saturday, the lowest mark in his career for a game he started and did not leave due to injury. His 57.5 quarterback rating was the lowest of his career for a game he started.

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