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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2 BITS: Muschamp gets season, UF drug testing

1 » During a radio interview with Mike Bianchi on 740 The Game out of Orlando, Florida, this week, Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley said head coach Will Muschamp will keep his job through the end of the season, at which point Foley will make a decision on the future of the program. “You never judge or evaluate a program based on one game or one season,” Foley told Bianchi. “That’s just not how we do things here. We’re going to evaluate where we’re headed — where the players are, how is recruiting going, what type of staff we have, are we better? That’s going to be plain for all of us to see, but it’s also going to be played out over the course of 11 games, and we’ll see where we are when we get to the end of the season.” Florida’s defense, helmed by Muschamp, has allowed nearly 1,100 yards of offense in its last two games, coughing up a school-record 645 yards to Alabama last Saturday. The Gators (2-1, 1-1 SEC) next face the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday, Oct. 4; Florida will be looking to extend a nine-game winning streak in the series.

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The Silver Lining for Thursday, September 25

Due to the off week and Will Muschamp’s only media appearances being scheduled for Wednesday, this week’s The Silver Lining was pushed to Thursday. It will next be published on Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Jelani Jenkins, the NFL’s Leading Tackler

It’s easy to forget how much of an impact former Florida Gators linebacker Jelani Jenkins had during his time with the team and some of that has to do with how often he was dealing with injuries in college.

Even the Miami Dolphins, which selected him in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, did not appear to know what they had in Jenkins until they had no choice but to start him in Week 2 and 3 of this season.

Due to his performances the last two weeks, which have earned him back-to-back OnlyGators.com Player of the Week honors, Jenkins now leads the NFL with 25 total tackles and 35 combined tackles.

Not too shabby, huh?

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9/24: Muschamp hopeful off week will help Gators; changes in secondary but not at quarterback

Updated at 2:45 p.m.

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (2-1, 1-1 SEC) met with the media for the first time this week on Wednesday with his team currently in the middle of its first off week of the 2014 season. He discussed issues on both sides of the ball and updated Florida’s injury list 10 days ahead of the program’s next game on Oct. 4 at Tennessee.

INJURY UPDATES

The Gators could be without two starting defensive front seven players next week as redshirt seniors defensive tackle Leon Orr (meniscus) and linebacker Michael Taylor (knee swelling) were both listed as questionable by Muschamp on Wednesday. Orr had a knee scope on Monday and has a minor tear in his meniscus (along with a bone bruise), though Muschamp said he was walking around on Tuesday and looked to be recovering well. Taylor is dealing with a bothersome bone bruise as well.

Junior left tackle D.J. Humphries (ankle) remains on track to return to practice on Monday and play next week after missing two games, Muschamp said, though he is not the only banged-up offensive lineman the trainers are keeping track of during the off week. Redshirt senior Chaz Green and senior Trenton Brown, who both suffered ankle injuries against Alabama, are “going to be fine” and were listed as probable for next Saturday.

The Gators are also dealing with injuries to two of their running backs. Junior Mark Herndon tore his ACL during a kickoff on Saturday and will be out for the season. Freshman Brandon Powell tweaked his hamstring during an unspecified practice and will likely be sidelined for a couple more days.

Muschamp also clarified Wednesday what injury sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was dealing with on Saturday, noting that Hargreaves was dealing with a bruised Achilles that swelled up on him after it had been kicked previously.

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Snell’s Slant: Enough is enough, time for changes

By Shannon Snell – OnlyGators.com Featured Columnist

Why does this feel like we’ve been here before? Reflecting on Saturday’s game brings me back to the 2013 season finale against Florida State when Florida of course wanted to win but might have settled for a moral victory, a hard-fought close game.

Yes, the Gators did fight hard on Saturday. Yes, the game was close (21-21) early in the second half. But Florida lost by 21 and neither an actual win nor a moral victory was in the cards. Plus, when did the concept of the University of Florida playing for a moral victory ever even become acceptable? When did it become OK to play to keep the score close?

The empty feeling in the pit of my stomach is the unquestionable fact that the Gators have become irrelevant on the national stage. Maybe I was just drinking Will Muschamp’s Kool-Aid when he said this was the best and most talented team he’s had in his time at Florida. Perhaps I just wanted to believe Florida was on its way. The fact of the matter is, I was wrong, and the Crimson Tide had absolutely no problem proving that they remain in a completely different league than the once-mighty Gators.

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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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