No. 2 Florida chomps No. 7 South Carolina 44-11

A hard-fought Southeastern Conference battled turned into a one-sided blowout on Saturday when the No. 2 Florida Gators, led by a career-high four touchdown pass performance by sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel, trampled the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks 44-11 in Gainesville, FL.

On a day in which ESPN’s College GameDay emanated live from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida (7-0, 6-0 SEC) proved that it is a new team in year two under head coach Will Muschamp, preventing head coach Steve Spurrier and South Carolina (6-2, 4-2 SEC) from winning a third-straight game in the annual series.

The Gators turned three fumble recoveries into 21 first-half points and went five-for-five in the red zone, scoring a touchdown on every trip as they put the SEC East crown within their grasp pending the outcome of next week’s game against Georgia.

Florida started the game on fire as sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy forced a fumble that was recovered on the South Carolina two-yard line by redshirt senior Buck linebacker Lerentee McCray on the first play from scrimmage. Faced with a third down, Driskel hit redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed for a short touchdown to give UF a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the game.

Read the rest of the game story and watch video highlights…after the break!
Continue Reading » No. 2 Florida chomps No. 7 South Carolina 44-11

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ESPN video previews of Florida – South Carolina

Updated on Saturday at 2:45 p.m.

With ESPN College GameDay now in Gainesville, FL for the showdown on Saturday between the No. 2 Florida Gators and No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks, ESPN has been promoting the contest heavily both on the network and online. Below are nine videos previewing Saturday’s big-time Southeastern Conference game.

College GameDay Saturday Showdown picks segment:

Will Muschamp, Steve Spurrier speak about the game:

Watch SEVEN more ESPN videos…after the break!
Continue Reading » ESPN video previews of Florida – South Carolina

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SIX BITS: ESPN, Lattimore, Steelers, Henry, Noah

1 » Earlier this week, ESPN‘s Kirk Herbstreit broke down Saturday’s game between the No. 2 Florida Gators and No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks on the network.

2 » After releasing a star-filled injury report earlier in the week, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said Thursday that it looks like almost all of his big-name players will be in action on Saturday against Florida. The one exception, of course, is defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, who has an injured shoulder but will also be suspended for punching a player during last week’s game against LSU. Running back Marcus Lattimore (hip) is still not slated to start but is expected to play after going through a full practice on Thursday. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (foot) is also good to go, as are a number of players who were hit with a flu bug over the course of the week, Spurrier said.

Check out four more BITS in this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: ESPN, Lattimore, Steelers, Henry, Noah

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10/17: Muschamp, Spurrier on SEC teleconference

No. 2 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier made appearances Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference‘s weekly coaches teleconference and touched on a number of topics surrounding their respective teams and the game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

INJURY UPDATES

The Gators wound up playing without three starting offensive lineman on Saturday, but the good news is that all three look to be in the mix to take on the Gamecocks. Muschamp said that redshirt senior left guard James Wilson (eye) practiced on Tuesday and that both redshirt junior center Jonotthan Harrison (elbow) and senior left tackle Xavier Nixon (concussion) were returning to the field Wednesday.

He also noted that junior defensive end Dominique Easley (knee) and redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (hamstring) returned to action on Tuesday though freshman wide receiver Latroy Pittman (ankle) remains questionable.

Spurrier said that a number of South Carolina’s players have been bit by a flu bug over the last 2-3 days and that some of his defensive linemen have been dealing with ankle sprains. One player in particular, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, has a bad shoulder injury and is doubtful. He may not play even if healthy as Spurrier noted that the player will probably face team discipline for throwing a punch in last week’s game against LSU.

In his post-practice press conference on Wednesday, Spurrier added that star running back Marcus Lattimore did not practice with a bruised hip. “I don’t know how to list him. We’re not sure he is going to be able to play,” he said. Spurrier mentioned that Lattimore will not start the game (that job will go to Kenny Miles) but could be used as a reserve depending how he is feeling.

He then went on to list big-time defensive end Jadeveon Clowney as limited with a foot injury, another major surprise. Spurrier maintained that both of his defensive tackles have sprained ankles, which makes them questionable, and then rattled off the names of a handful of players who have missed significant practice time with the flu.

MUSCHAMP PRAISES SPURRIER

Muschamp was asked about Spurrier’s impact on the Southeastern Conference and college football in general. He delivered some hefty praise to the first coach ever to win a national title at Florida.

“Honestly, if you really – being an SEC guy and growing up in this part of the country and being a huge fan of Southeastern Conference – there’s really two coaches that come to the forefront of your mind as far as what they’ve done for this league. That would be Bear Bryant and Steve Spurrier. For winning, bringing championships to the University of Florida and understanding what that’s about. Those would be the two guys that jump out in my mind. That’s just personally my opinion. You look at what he did. When he came to our league, it was more of three yards and a cloud of dust league. He came in and spread the ball out a little bit. He was credited with throwing a bunch but heck, they were 50-50. They ran the ball extremely well when he was here. It became a little bit more of a throwing league and things changed defensively. It helped advance this league from an offensive mindset, in my opinion. Again, that’s my opinion. Those would be the two guys that would jump out to me as coaches in this league that for a long period of time had tremendous success.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Spurrier on if him coaching against Florida is still a story: “I don’t think it’s much of a story now that it’s eight years that we’ve gone and played each other, the fourth time I’ve been down there coaching. I guess it is a little unusual to be on the other team when you come into the ballpark and your name is on the wall up there. I think everybody handles it pretty well.”

» Muschamp on the atmosphere in The Swamp: “Our fans are outstanding, the best in the country. I’ve been in a lot of arenas and none like this one as far as I’ve been in pro and college. It’s an electric atmosphere. You can feel it on campus already.”

» Muschamp on not throwing the ball vertically: “We’ve identified who we are and Brent [Pease] has done a fantastic job. You know, Brent is not a stat guy. Most of these offensive guys are all stat guys, that’s all they care about. He cares about winning football games and doing what we need to do to win the game. That’s a credit to him.”

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Q&A with College GameDay’s Desmond Howard

ESPN College GameDay will emanate from Gainesville, FL for the first time since 2009 on Saturday as the No. 2 Florida Gators (6-0, 5-0 SEC) host the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1 SEC) at 3:30 p.m. in a game that will air live on CBS.

It was announced Wednesday that Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte will be on hand to be the guest picker for the show, which will be set up and aired from the grass outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium’s façade that faces University Drive.

To get fans ready for the program and game, OGGOA had the opportunity to sit down for a question-and-answer session with ESPN‘s Desmond Howard, one of the three analysts who are part of the College GameDay crew.

Be sure to tune in to ESPN on Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon!

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: This is the third time already this season that Florida will be featured on College GameDay. How have you seen the Gators progress and improve from when the program was on-site for the Texas A&M game until now?
DESMOND HOWARD: “That’s simple. The offense has gotten better. Jeff Driskel has gotten more confident. I think the players around him are more confident in him, and the running game with [Mike] Gillislee has become more solidified. They’re playing a very physical brand of football on the offensive side and defensive side, so those are the biggest differences so far?”

AS: The first BCS standings were released on Sunday and obviously Florida being ranked No. 2 was a major point of argument for some. How do you feel about the Gators deserving that spot in the initial standings and do you really think the BCS is worth arguing about so early in the season?
DH: “I don’t have a problem with it at all. It’s like people need something to argue about and debate about so they talk about the BCS rankings. We’re in the middle of October. If anyone knows anything about football, you understand that this is going to shake itself out. Especially with Florida at No. 2 and Oregon at No. 3. You have Alabama at No. 1 so those teams, if they keep going the way they’re going, one of them is going to cancel the other one out. If this was Nov. 22 or something like that, then we’ll be having a conversation. But like I said, they’re still going to play each other in the SEC Championship if they stay on the same course they are on right now, so what is there to argue about? So no, I don’t have a problem with the BCS rankings whatsoever.”

Read the rest of this Q&A with Desmond Howard…after the break!
Continue Reading » Q&A with College GameDay’s Desmond Howard

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Steve Spurrier comments on Florida Gators

In his weekly press conference, South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier was asked a number of questions about his former team, the Florida Gators. A starting quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner and national championship-winning coach for the Gators, Spurrier still has love for Florida that he has never hidden since rejoining the college ranks. Below is what Spurrier said on Tuesday.

» On how special it will be to go back and play at Florida again: “Florida is always going to be my school. I love Florida and my wife and my daughters and even Steve Jr. got a graduate degree from there. Did you know that? [...] So, we’re Gators, but we’re Gamecocks now. We’re Gamecocks now. And when my coaching days are over, I’ll be more of a Gator then. But I’m a Gamecock now, and this is our team. I certainly hope the Gators finish second in the [SEC] East this year. That would be a good finish for them and hopefully we finish first, certainly. But they’re having a very good year. I like Will Muschamp and obviously Jeremy Foley and the guys down there. We’re still good friends. It’s, I think, healthy competition.”

» On the Gators winning without throwing the ball much: “There’s all kind of ways to win the game and the best one is to play outstanding defense, special teams and run the ball. There’s been a lot of champions that ran the ball.”

» On his love for all of the teams he coached, when he was specifically asked to qualify his statement of being “more of a Gator” when he retires: “Well, that’s because I went to school there. [...] When I get through coaching, I’m going to be Duke, Florida and South Carolina. I’ll have feelings for all three schools and I still have feelings for Duke, a lot of feelings. I wouldn’t be coaching today if it wasn’t for Duke University. They hired me twice when I didn’t have a job and I certainly wasn’t in demand, I guess, for a job. So I owe basically my entire coaching career to Duke University and the people up there. So I always pull for those guys. But I hope when my coaching days are over to keep a condo here that I have at Carolina Walk over here. So I hope to do that in four or five years, something like that. Keep some connections up here. Certainly hope to.

» On if he has seen his statue outside of The Swamp: “Yeah, it’s been there a couple of years. [...] I drove by it once, I think. Once or twice. I’ve been down there about one day a year. [...] I thought the guy did a super job who did the statues.”

» On why Florida has been successful this season: “They’ve won all their close games. [...] Florida has had a knack of winning close games, which you got to do to be [6-0] going into their [seventh] game. They’ve won some good close ones and won in the fourth quarter. [...] They’ve played extremely well at the end. That’s how you go [6-0].”

» On his evaluation of the Gators: They’re a physical team, play solid, fundamentally sound all the way around. Their offensive coordinator is different, so they’re not getting in the shotgun and trying to throw it all over the place. The quarterback can run, obviously. He ran for 177 last week and set a school record. They’re definitely a running team, pretty much like we are, but we didn’t do it very well last game. They’re playing real smart, and that’s how you win a lot of games, playing real smart.”

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10/15: OL, Joyer praised; Driskel not concerned

Three Florida Gators players – sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel, redshirt senior defensive lineman Omar Hunter and senior Mike linebacker Jon Bostic – met with the media on Monday to discuss No. 2 Florida’s victory against the Vanderbilt Commodores and the upcoming game against the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks.

A PATCHWORK OFFENSIVE LINE?

Florida was without the entire left side of its offensive line on Saturday as redshirt senior left guard James Wilson (eye) did not make the trip to Nashville, TN, senior left tackle Xavier Nixon (concussion) got knocked out of the game and even redshirt junior center Jonotthan Harrison (elbow) went down with an injury. Filling in for the trio, respectively, were redshirt sophomore Ian Silberman, freshman D.J. Humphries and redshirt senior Sam Robey. Those three still managed to open up holes and hold blocks to the tune of 326 rushing yards for the Gators.

“We had three guys go down. Whenever you have three starters go down, that’s huge, especially if they’re O-linemen. We had three guys that stepped up and that’s what we’ve been doing all year long. When a guy goes down, the next guy is going to have to go up. We have great depth and that really helped it out on Saturday,” Driskel said.

Though head coach Will Muschamp said Monday that all three should be healthy enough to play Saturday against South Carolina, there is a prevailing doubt that one or more will be unable to suit up by game time with Wilson being the most likely to fall into that category. Hunter, who has practiced against the reserves for months, believes Florida will not lose a step with reserves in the game.

“I don’t think there’s a drop-off. Those guys come out each and every day in practice and they go just as hard as our starters,” he said. “Robey is a very experienced guy, being a senior. Ian, he’s been around a long time too, and he works hard during practice. [Humphries is] young and aggressive. He doesn’t let too many things get to him. He never gets too high or too low or anything. It’s going to be a great match-up.”

Read the rest of this post…after the break!
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10/15: Muschamp on injuries, winning, Clowney

No. 2 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to review the team’s big 31-17 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores and preview Saturday’s home game against the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks.

INJURY UPDATES

Redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (thumb, hamstring) missed Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury after returning one week prior with a cast on his hand. Though a “modified” version of the cast will remain on Jenkins’s hand, he is now back to full speed and will be active against South Carolina.

Florida’s offensive line wound up playing without three starters on Saturday as redshirt senior guard James Wilson (eye) did not travel with the team and both senior left tackle Xavier Nixon (concussion) and redshirt junior center Jonotthan Harrison (elbow) went down with injuries during the game.

Muschamp said Monday that Harrison “should be ready to go” and both Wilson and Nixon “should be fine” for Saturday. We’re really hopeful to get all those guys back,” he said. “They are all definitely going to be fine – or at least ‘probable’ at the worst.” Included in that group is junior defensive end Dominique Easley, who traveled to Vanderbilt but experienced some swelling around his knee and did not play.

The news is not as positive for three other players. Freshman WR Latroy Pittman hurt his ankle on Saturday and is questionable for this week’s game. Additionally, junior CB Cody Riggs (foot) and redshirt junior T Matt Patchan (pectoral) will both miss the game. Muschamp said that Riggs may try to run this week but that both players have an outside chance of returning in two weeks.

PLAYER AWARDS

Offensive Player of the Game: sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel

Scrap Iron: redshirt junior guard Jon Halapio
* Halapio was also named SEC Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week.

Defensive Player of the Game: senior Mike linebacker Jon Bostic
“He played extremely well. Very productive, active in the middle, made a lot of plays, playing blocks extremely well. Jon’s really progressed this year as far as his physicality of playing in the core of the formation and playing blocks and disengaging, getting off people. Real proud of him.”

Ball Hawks: Bostic, redshirt sophomore Sam LB Neiron Ball, redshirt senior defensive lineman Earl Okine, sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy

Special Teams Player of the Game: sophomore running back Chris Johnson
“He had three tackles inside the 20 on kickoff. They were doubling him and he ran through every one of him. He’s a guy who I’m real proud of his efforts.”

Big Play: junior wide receiver Solomon Patton

Read the rest of this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » 10/15: Muschamp on injuries, winning, Clowney

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