9/15: Muschamp reviews UK, previews Bama

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (2-0, 1-0 SEC) met with the media on Monday to open up game week ahead of his team’s first road contest of the 2014 season. Florida will travel Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0, 0-0 SEC) on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 3:30 p.m.

OPENING STATEMENT

“It was a great team win as far as picking each other up. Parts of the game, defensively, [we] played really well early in the game, did some nice things offensively, moved the ball, did not score in the red zone, had a couple issues on third down – two drops, two protection issues – that hurt us in the first half.

“Field position killed us in the first half; average staring on the 15-yard line, but we moved the ball, that was the encouraging thing. I felt totally in control of the game until the 60-yard touchdown pass that gave them some energy. But our guys fought back and overcame those situations. Right now on the season, we’re +7 on the year in turnover margin, +13 in explosive plays. That’s a good combination to have.

“Going back offensively, field position really hurt us. We need to score touchdowns in the red zone; we had a couple issues down there, third down, but we stayed balanced in what we did. I thought the offensive staff did a nice job with adjustments in the second half of getting in some 12 personnel and running the ball. We were able to create some holes in there. I thought our offensive line did a really good job of movement upfront and handling all that stuff. …

“Overall, as a team, handled some adversity well. That was the first time we had to deal with it this season, so it was good to condition ourselves moving on the road.”

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Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Kentucky Wildcats

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather: 82°F (feels like 88°F), scattered t-storms (chance of rain: 40 percent)
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT

TV: SEC Network (Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer, Maria Taylor)

Streaming Video: SEC Network | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 119/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Stoops
Record: 1-0 (0-0 SEC) Record: 2-0 (0-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Florida -18.5 | O/U 53.5

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: Muschamp sees room for improvement after Gators’ 65-0 win
Notebook: Jeff Driskel avoiding miscues; Dante Fowler Jr. leading defense
Notebook: Mark Stoops preparing for big test at Florida
Notebook: Kurt Roper wants Gators offense to stay humble, speed up
The Silver Lining: Florida loses J.C. Jackson for the season
Friday Final: “Trash talk,” coaching connections, Tim Tebow returns

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FOUR BITS: Muschamp and Foley, Noah, Horschel

1 » Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley took head coach Will Muschamp/s place during the weekly WCA Gator Hotline Show, which airs on Thursday evenings during football season. (In fact, Muschamp will only appear on the program five of the 12 times it airs in 2014.) Anyway, Foley answered a number of phone calls during the program, including one in particular from a voice that sounded oddly familiar. “Bill from Gainesville” jumped on the air to praise Foley for the job he was doing, suggesting that he should permanently sit in for Muschamp on the program. He then took a jab at Foley’s favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, before jumping off the air. With no attempt made to disguise his voice, “Bill from Gainesville” was quite obviously Muschamp himself having some fun with his boss. Check out the audio below.

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The Silver Lining for Wednesday, September 10: Gators lose J.C. Jackson for season

Gators lose two for season

It may be two weeks into the season, but Florida has already lost two starters – one for the season – as well as a potential future starter after just one game.

Head coach Will Muschamp announced Tuesday that freshman cornerback J.C. Jackson will miss the remainder of the 2014 campaign after re-aggravating a shoulder injury he brought with him to UF from high school.

“J.C. Jackson will have surgery on his shoulder next week, a labrum issue that had in high school that was repaired and continues to slip out,” Muschamp explained.

“He possibly could continue to push through the season, but we felt like at his young age, [it makes sense to] just try to get it fixed and move forward. A guy who was certainly was going to help on special teams and at corner [and] is going to be outstanding player. Disappointed for him, but we’ve got to move forward.”

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Kentucky’s Stoops preparing for test at Florida

The Kentucky Wildcats appear to be trending upward under second-year head coach Mark Stoops. Currently sitting at 2-0 with a 59-14 win over Tennessee-Martin in Week 1 and a 20-3 victory against Ohio in Week 2, Kentucky is not only 33rd nationally in scoring offense (39.5 points) but sixth in the country in scoring defense (8.5 points).

With the Florida Gators (1-0) on deck Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, Stoops spent a large portion of his Monday afternoon press conference discussing the Gators and the difficult task his team has ahead of it this weekend.

The below quotes are courtesy of a transcript from The Courier-Journal, which has more from Stoops on Florida and his Kentucky team entering its third game of the season:

On how the Gators have impressed him on tape: “Just the typical Florida team: physical, with a bunch of athletes out there. Very fast, very well-coached. They’re very aggressive defensively. They’re much improved offensively. Obviously, they racked up a whole boat load of yards.”

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Driskel avoiding miscues, praising Harris; Fowler leading troops without fear

Florida Gators redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel and junior defensive end Dante Fowler, Jr. met with the media on Monday to wrap-up their 65-0 win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles and preview Florida’s next game against the Kentucky Wildcats.

Driskel discussed the Gators’ comfort level in their new offense while Fowler displayed many characteristics of an emerging leader for Florida’s defense. Both players also praised some of their freshmen teammates.

SUCCEEDING AND STAYING HUMBLE

Driskel earned plenty of praise from his teammates and coaches alike in the offseason, and it was even pointed out separately by both groups that he never once turned the ball over in 11-on-11 competition. He was error-free in that regard Saturday, too, though head coach Will Muschamp was not completely thrilled with that being pointed out on Monday.

“Are you trying to jinx us, or what? I mean, what the heck’s going on?” Muschamp jokingly asked the questioning reporter. “Jeff’s been really smart with the football and that’s a day-to-day process you’ve got to go through. But I think, again, people saw the command that we’ve seen in camp and the comfort level he has in what we’re trying to do.”

Continue Reading » Driskel avoiding miscues, praising Harris; Fowler leading troops without fear

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9/8: Muschamp sees room for improvement

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (1-0) met with the media on Monday to open up game week ahead of his team’s Southeastern Conference opener against the Kentucky Wildcats (2-0) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

INJURY (AND REPLACEMENT) UPDATES

Muschamp confirmed Monday that redshirt senior tight end Jake McGee’s leg surgery, to repair a broken tibia and fibula, was successful with the player expected to leave the hospital later that afternoon. No decisions have been made by McGee about his future, Muschamp said, which is understandable considering the incident just occurred. CBSSports.com draft analyst Rob Rang had McGee rated as a fifth- or sixth-round selection prior to the injury.

Senior Clay Burton will take most of McGee’s snaps at tight end, while senior Tevin Westbrook and freshman DeAndre Goolsby battle for the second-string job. Goolsby was potentially headed for a redshirt but is unlikely to have that luxury anymore.

“We plan on activating him and getting him going,” Muschamp said. “That means you’ve got to get him going on special teams and get him going on offense. That’s our plan.”

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Andre Debose flashed talent, potential for Gators

It may have taken six years and 32 games, but on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, Florida Gators redshirt senior Andre Debose finally broke out.

Sure, Debose entered Saturday’s game tied for the Southeastern Conference record (while simultaneously holding the school record) in kickoffs returned for touchdowns with four. And yes, back on Nov. 19, 2011, Debose did have 151 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a one game against FCS opponent Furman.

However, to this point, Debose has achieved his modest success at Florida strictly through his speed. Saturday, he also displayed his burst, change-of-direction skills, elusiveness and field vision – and he did it on more than one occasion.

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