Durkin: Cox out for bowl, McGee hopes to stay at Florida, Gators prepare for Birmingham

Florida Gators interim head coach and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin met with the media on Thursday to discuss the early portion pf practice ahead of the 2015 Birmingham Bowl, injuries, roster developments and the team’s preparation for the East Carolina Pirates. Florida and ECU will square off on Saturday, Jan. 3 at 12 p.m. at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama.

UP-AND-COMER SIDELINED FOR BOWL

Redshirt sophomore defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. began to show some flashes as the 2014 season came to a close, but he will be unable to take advantage of the 20 bowl practices to take his game to the next level ahead of spring practice.

Cox, who announced on social media that he underwent surgery, has officially been ruled out for the bowl game after having a procedure on his hip.

“Bryan Cox had surgery and he will be out for the bowl game,” Durkin said. “It was a hip injury, something that was deteriorating over time that he needed to have done.”

In his second year of on-field action, Cox finished with 29 tackles (six for lost yardage) and four sacks. He will likely step into a starting role with the Gators in 2015.

Continue Reading » Durkin: Cox out for bowl, McGee hopes to stay at Florida, Gators prepare for Birmingham

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Will Muschamp exits Florida Gators job: ‘I hold my head up walking out of here’

Saturday’s loss to Florida State was a microcosm of the Florida Gators over the last four years under head coach Will Muschamp.

Florida committed undisciplined penalties, was unable to take advantage of opponent miscues and could not find the end zone even with a short field, which it had often. The Gators were also plagued by uneven coaching and questionable decision-making, especially deep in the red zone and on their last offensive series when the passing game was for some reason suddenly preferred over the running game.

Similarly, Muschamp’s post-game press conference incorporated all of his maxims. In fact, many of them were thrown into a single five-sentence reply after he was asked about Florida once again having a chance to win a game but failing to take advantage of its opportunities.

“We’ve had our opportunities. You look at two other games where we had the game in hand and had our opportunities to get it done. We didn’t get it done,” he said. “It falls on my shoulders. And that’s why they’re going to be looking for a coach.”

Continue Reading » Will Muschamp exits Florida Gators job: ‘I hold my head up walking out of here’

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11/29: Florida-FSU post-game report – it’s over; bowl game up next for Gators

The Florida Gators (6-5) failed to get it done on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida, falling 24-19 to the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (12-0) despite being given plenty of opportunities to win throughout the contest.

Florida’s loss also marked the last game of head coach Will Muschamp‘s tenure with the program. The Gators will now wait at least a month until they play in a yet-to-be determined bowl game, the team’s first since 2012.

OPENING STATEMENT

“We had our opportunities, certainly early in the game, especially. The start of the game, [we played] extremely well defensively. [We] had a hard time generating much run game, especially early in the game. In those situations when you get the turnovers early in the game, you got to capitalize on them. You can’t kick field goals. We had to kick field goals in those situations. [We] had a hard time getting the ball down the field in some situations. But extremely proud of how we played defensively. …

“You give up 17 points to an offense like that – give Jimbo [Fisher] and those guys credit, they do a great job – you deserve to be in a situation to win the game. I was proud of how we played on third down. The turnovers were outstanding. Offensively, we hit some explosives. We hit [Demarcus Robinson] down the sideline, we hit Brandon Powell early in the game on the stutter in the slot. Silly penalty there with Latroy [Pittman], knocked us out of field goal range. …

“Our guys, that was a good football team, fought hard, we had our opportunities, and we didn’t get it done. You credit that other football team. They did the things they needed to do to win the game and that’s why they’re sitting where they are.”

Continue Reading » 11/29: Florida-FSU post-game report – it’s over; bowl game up next for Gators

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Miscues doom Florida as No. 3 FSU prevails 24-19

Miscues, penalties and questionable coaching decisions doomed the Florida Gators, which failed to take advantage of a career-high four interceptions and career-low 125 yards thrown by No. 3 Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston and ultimately fell 24-19 on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida.

Florida State (12-0) won its 28th consecutive game, going undefeated in back-to-back regular seasons for the first time in school history; the Seminoles will next play in the ACC Championship Game and then possibly the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Florida (6-5), which is bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012, will play in its postseason game without head coach Will Muschamp, who was dismissed two weeks ago and coached his last game with the Gators on Saturday.

Continue Reading » Miscues doom Florida as No. 3 FSU prevails 24-19

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Gameday: Florida Gators at No. 3 Florida State Seminoles – UF juiced for Will Muschamp’s finale

Location: Doak Campbell Stadium – Tallahassee, Florida [Capacity: 82,300]
Weather: 65°F (feels like 65°F), sunny, winds SW at 2 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)

Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 84 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS No. 3 FSU SEMINOLES
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher
Record: 6-4 Record: 11-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Coast

Odds: Florida +7 | O/U 53

KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS

Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you forgot to check out via the links below!

Notebook: Will Muschamp on Florida’s preparations for FSU, end of his tenure
Story: Upsets rare in recent Gators-Noles series history

Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators at No. 3 Florida State Seminoles – UF juiced for Will Muschamp’s finale

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11/24: Muschamp on preparing for FSU, what he’s told Gators assistants, quarterback position

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (6-4) held his last regularly-scheduled Monday press conference in order to discuss his team’s upcoming game against the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (11-0) on Saturday afternoon at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida.

OPENING STATEMENT ON FLORIDA STATE

“One of the great rivalries in all of college football. Got a really good football team. We got tremendous respect for [head coach] Jimbo [Fisher] and the job he’s done, and his staff deserves a lot of credit for the games they’ve won. They won a bunch of games in a row. Last time they lost was when the Gators were up there. They’ve done an outstanding job. They’ve got a very good team in all three phases.

“Offensively, really with their team starts with Jameis Winston. He’s a great player, a Heisman Trophy winner. Arm talent, he can throw it any way you want it. He’s just got a great, strong arm. He’s able to throw the touch throws, take the ball to the right spots. He’s got a great pocket presence. He’s a very hard guy to tackle in the pocket. You’ve got to tackle him high. Great toughness for the position, you see the guy take some shots. He’s got a bad ankle, he keeps battling, he keeps playing and keeps playing. At the end of the game, he’s won a bunch of games for them, especially this year putting the game on his shoulders and winning the football game. Tremendous respect for him. …

“Looking forward to going to Tallahassee. Our guys will prepare well. Our guys look forward to this game every year and it ought to be a great atmosphere and environment.”

Continue Reading » 11/24: Muschamp on preparing for FSU, what he’s told Gators assistants, quarterback position

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Florida-EKU post-game report: Durkin to coach bowl, Muschamp’s final lesson, Bullard’s decision

The Florida Gators (6-4) took care of business, routing the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (9-3) on Senior Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida’s 52-3 victory on Saturday got the Gators bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012 and also marked the second-largest win margin in any game under head coach Will Muschamp, who was able to leave The Swamp with his head held high.

BOWL GAME COACH CHOSEN

Moments after Florida’s win was finalized, the school announced that defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin would serve as interim head coach for the Gators’ bowl game this year. Durkin, the second-longest tenured member of the staff (five years) behind running backs coach Brian White (six years), will take the reigns of the program once Muschamp’s dismissal is finalized next Saturday, Nov. 29.

FINAL LESSON: A TOUGH WEEK, ROAD AHEAD

There should be no doubt that the entire Florida football team took Muschamp’s dismissal hard. Gators players spoke of him fondly on Monday after his press conference and were obviously playing with an extra gear on Saturday. Junior defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard even went so far as to write his coach’s last name on his eyeblack.

“I’ve just been through a lot and he’s been there for me,” Bullard said. “When I lost my grandmother, he was a big supporter; he let me go home as long as I needed. Just little things he did helping me through that whole situation, he’s just been a real good person to me. I respect him a lot, and actually, I love him. I just wanted to show some respect for him, everything he’s done for me, and show him that I appreciate it.”

Muschamp admitted Saturday that it took a while for Florida to get back in the swing of things this week. Monday’s practice was thwarted due to the weather; Tuesday the team looked “just OK” and did not show “great effort” on the field; and Wednesday was just “a little bit better.”

So Muschamp spent the Gators’ regularly-scheduled Thursday meeting speaking about much more than just the upcoming game but rather how Florida’s players need to deal with his dismissal and their futures going forward.

Continue Reading » Florida-EKU post-game report: Durkin to coach bowl, Muschamp’s final lesson, Bullard’s decision

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Florida airs it out, tops EKU 52-3 on Senior Day; Gators become bowl-eligible

The Florida Gators (6-4) rolled to a 52-3 win over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (9-3) on Senior Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, subsequently becoming bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012.

Florida quarterbacks freshman Treon Harris and redshirt junior Jeff Driskel combined for six total touchdowns, as wide receivers sophomore Demarcus Robinson and redshirt senior Quinton Dunbar each eclipsed 100 yards and hauled in two scores.

Harris completed just 4-of-12 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, while Driskel was 9-for-11 for 164 yards with three passing touchdowns as well as a rushing score.

For Dunbar, who was playing his last game in The Swamp, the performance was the best of his Gators career. He registered a career-high 107 yards, caught his first touchdown since Nov. 24, 2012, and scored twice for the first time in his career.

Continue Reading » Florida airs it out, tops EKU 52-3 on Senior Day; Gators become bowl-eligible

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