ESPN 850 WRUF – Gainesville, Florida

Roper Looking Forward to the Challenge of Facing Alabama

By on September 17th, 2014

The last time Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper played Alabama was in 2010 when he was the offensive coordinator at Duke. Roper doesn’t have fond memories of that game.

“It was a long day,” Roper joked.

Alabama won 62-13.

Roper is hoping this time around the result will be different. Florida ran 81 plays on offense against Kentucky, but Roper knows it’s going to take more to beat an SEC powerhouse like Alabama.

“Obviously it’s something we want to try to go in and get accomplished. We want to try to play the game fast to maximize as many plays as we possibly can, while being efficient. That’s the biggest thing that you look at.”

Florida was 5 of 17 on third down against Kentucky and Roper says they have to be more efficient on first and second down to avoid third and long.

“Long down and distances with these guys[Alabama] are going to bring a lot of issues on third down. So you definitely want to stay on schedule, as everybody likes to say. But at the same time, you ‘ve got to try to be aggressive and make plays down the field, too. It’s a balance.”

With a lot of young Florida players on the team, it will be the first time for many to  experience what it’s like to play in a hostile environment. Florida left tackle Chaz Green remembered what his first trip to Tuscaloosa was like.

“It’s going to be a crazy environment. Last time I went there I was a freshman. I was a red-shirt, I didn’t play, but it was a crazy environment. Real hectic, very very loud. They got good fan support. So it’s just something we have to prepare for and make sure everybody knows what they’re doing because communication is going to be an issue again with the noise.”

At last look, the Gators are 15 point underdogs coming into this match up with the Crimson Tide. An upset victory for the Orange and Blue could be quite a statement and that’s exactly what defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. wants to happen.

“It’s a statement game. Second SEC game. Our job is to be the number one team in the SEC and win. So it’s just another W that we gotta get.”

Florida and Alabama will do battle this Saturday at 3:30 in the heart of Roll Tide Country. You catch pre-game coverage beginning at 12:30 on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For audio of the above quotes click below:

Roper on the offensive tempo

Roper on avoiding 3rd and long against Bama

Green on facing Alabama

Fowler on this being a statement game

 

 

 

 

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Gator Great Tim Tebow Returns To Gator Nation

By on September 17th, 2014

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Wednesday Sports Update (9/17)

By on September 17th, 2014

Two teams clinch titles in Major League Baseball, grand jury to hear Tony Stewart case, Minnesota Vikings won’t have running back Adrian Peterson again and more in our Wednesday Sports Update…

** Two teams clinched division titles in Major League Baseball last night.  Baltimore wins the AL East with a win over Toronto and Washington wins the NL East with a win over Atlanta.

** In other baseball action, Miami loses 9-1 to the New York Mets and Tampa Bay downs the New York Yankees 6-1.

** A grand jury in New York will now get the case of Tony Stewart and the accident he was involved in on a race track that killed a driver.

** The Minnesota Vikings will not have the services of running back Adrian Peterson; he has been placed on the team’s exempt list and will not be involved in any team activities until his legal proceedings have been completed.

** The Tampa Bay Bucs go for their first win of the year tomorrow night when they play the Atlanta Falcons.

** When the Gator football team plays Alabama Saturday, it will face the nation’s leading receiver in Amari Cooper who has 33 receptions for 454 yards, a figure that ranks third nationally as well.

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Gator Football Faces Tough Test This Week in Alabama

By on September 16th, 2014

 

The Florida Gator football team faces arguably its toughest game of the season this week as it travels to Tuscaloosa to play SEC powerhouse Alabama. The Gators are 2-0 after coming off a triple overtime victory over Kentucky 36-30 to kick off their SEC schedule. Alabama is 3-0 coming into this game and holds the advantage in the series with Florida 23-14.

This week’s match up features two of the nation’s leading receivers in Florida’s Demarcus Robinson and Alabama’s Amari Cooper. Gator head coach Will Muschamp said the defense has to contain Cooper.

“He’s a guy that can stretch the field vertically. They do a nice job in the run game of getting the ball to him in a lot of what I call quick situations of seeing a bad box and getting it out to him on the perimeter, creating some one on ones. We gotta make sure we identify and know where he is. He’s been targeted a bunch in their first three games, so there’s no question he’s a play-maker.”

The person responsible for locking down Amari Cooper is Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. Hargreaves is looking forward to the challenge.

“Coop, he’s a great player. Me and him talked a little bit [on Twitter]. We knew this was coming. He’s excited, I’m excited. We both know the magnitude of the game and it’s going to be a great match up on Saturday.”

Defensively, Alabama features the top run defense in the league, but Muschamp thinks his team will be able to make the proper adjustments.

“They certainly present some edge guys. As far as some rush guys, Jonathan Allen is a really good player. They will give us some different looks and we gotta be able to adjust to those situations, which I think we’ve done a very nice job in two games of adjusting to different looks in the game and what different teams present us.”

This is the first road game of the season for the Gators and it’s also the first time a lot of the young players will experience what it’s like to play in such a hostile environment.

“We haven’t been on the road yet and that’s a good way to start,” Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel said. “I bet some of the [young] guys will be a little wide-eyed at first, but at the end of the day it’s playing football and that’s what we’re going to have to do. If some young guys are called upon, they’re going to be expected to play well. At the end of the day it’s just football.”

Florida hasn’t beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa since 1998. So a win for the Gators in the heart of Roll Tide country would be quite a statement, according to Vernon Hargreaves III.

“I believe so. I would say this is a statement game. Then again, any game in the SEC is a statement game. Any game in the SEC is a big game. Any game could go down to the wire. Obviously, everybody wants to beat ‘Bama so I guess you could say this is a statement game.”

The Gators will have their chance to make a statement this Saturday when they take on the #3 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide at 3:30 PM. You can catch all the pre-game coverage on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 12:30 PM.

For audio of the above quotes, click below:

Muschamp on Cooper’s play-making ability

Hargreaves on matchup with Cooper

Muschamp on Alabama’s defense

Driskel on their first road game

Hargreaves on this being a statement game

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday Sports Update (9/16)

By on September 16th, 2014

A comeback on Monday Night Football, more child abuse allegations against an NFL running back, baseball has its first team clinch a playoff spot and more in our Tuesday Sports Update…

** The Philadelphia Eagles are 2-0 on the season after a come from behind 30-27 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football.   The Colts fall to 0-2 and will face Jacksonville next while Philadelphia will play Washington.

** Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been reinstated to the team after not playing last week while child abuse charges were filed against him.   Now reports from Texas allege text messages between Peterson and the mother of another child he has with her say that Peterson admitted he hit the child.   He has not been charged in that alleged incident.

** In baseball, the Los Angeles Angels become the first team to reach the playoffs this year after a win over Seattle last night.   LA is in the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

** In other baseball, Miami downs the New York Mets 6-5; Tampa Bay edges the New York Yankees 1-0 and Atlanta loses 4-2 to Washington.   Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom struck out the first eight hitters of the game, tying a record set in 1986 by pitcher Jim Deshaies.

** The Gator football team is now preparing for a big SEC game Saturday at Alabama.   Another key league game has Mississippi State at LSU.

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AROUND THE NFL IN FLORIDA

By on September 16th, 2014

*Story written by: Courtney Jonathas

It was a disastrous weekend for the NFL teams in Florida as they all lost to their respective opponents in heartbreaking fashion.

The Jacksonville Jaguars suffered an embarrassing 41-10 loss to the Washington Redskins and dropped their second straight game of the season after being dominated on both sides of the football. Quarterback Chad Henne turned in a mediocre performance, throwing for 193 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He was also sacked a record 10 times by the Redskins’ relentless defense throughout the game. Jaguars coach Gus Bradley thinks they should use this loss as a learning experience to continue to improve over the course of the season.

“I didn’t think we tackled very well, we gave up too many explosive plays on defense. Uh, offensively, obviously the number of sacks is a concern,” said Bradley. “Special teams, we didn’t change the field position as much as we’d like. So, this one hurts now. There’s some pain, but I think we got to turn these wounds into wisdom.”

The Jaguars will face the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday at 1pm as they try to earn their first win of the season.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will also look to redeem themselves next Thursday night when they face the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome after losing to the St. Louis Rams 19-17. The Buccaneers suffered their second consecutive loss after the St. Louis Rams orchestrated a last minute fourth quarter drive that ultimately led to a winning 38-yard field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein. Despite converting 50 percent of their third downs, the Bucs only managed to cash in on two of their five red zone opportunities. Bucs coach Lovie Smith believes these missed opportunities ultimately cost them the game.

“You don’t just lose a football game on one play,” Smith added.  “We had so many opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on. So, we’re 0 and 2. Don’t have a whole lot of time to feel sorry for ourselves with Atlanta coming up quickly.”

The Miami Dolphins dropped their first game of the season against their division rival Buffalo Bills 29-10. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked four times as he threw for 241 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The Dolphin offense was stagnant and ineffective for most of the game, while their defense struggled to contain receiver Sammy Watkins.

The Dolphins will have a chance to bounce back against the winless Kansas City Chiefs when they play them at home next Sunday. The start time for that game is 4:25 pm.

Click here to listen to the audio mentioned above:

Bradley talks about the impact of Sunday’s game

Lovie Smith talks about the Rams’ Game-winning field goal

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Former Gator Horschel Gets Big PGA Win

By on September 15th, 2014

On Sunday, former Florida Gator golf standout Billy Horschel took home the FedEx Cup, earning his third career PGA Tour win, and his second in two weeks.  Horschel finished the day with a score of  11 under par, winning by three shots.

“It’s surreal, it really is, it hits me a little bit and it still doesn’t hit me. The playoffs, besides the majors, are the four biggest events we have on the PGA tour, and that’s when the light shines the brightest. I was able to rise to the occasion and get the job done. It just gives me so much confidence and so much thrill to accomplish something like this, especially with the guys I was going up against,” Horschel said.

Over the past two weeks, Horschel has pocketed $11.4 million in winnings. Going into the tournament, Horschel’s total career earnings were $7.89 million in a five year period.

While at the University of Florida, Horschel played under coach Buddy Alexander, earning All-American honors in all four years, and was the SEC Player of the Year during the 2007 and 2009 seasons. Horschel has also represented the U.S.A. at the Palmer Cup twice, in 2007 and 2008.

To hear sound bite from Horschel, click below.

Billy Horschel

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Monday Sports Update (9-15)

By on September 15th, 2014

NFL results, college football, a win for Gator soccer and a big win and payday for a former Gator golfer in our Monday Sports Update…

** It was not a good day for the Florida NFL teams as all of them lost on Sunday.   Jacksonville is hammered 41-10 by Washington; Tampa Bay falls to 0-2 after a 19-17 loss to St.Louis and Miami loses 29-10 to 2-0 Buffalo.

** The Monday Night Football game tonight has the Philadelphia Eagles at the Indianapolis Colts.

** The Florida football team starts preparing for a road game Saturday at nationally ranked Alabama.   The Tide won last week big against Southern Mississippi.

** A big win and payday for former Gator golfer Billy Horschel as he wins the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup and a $10 million bonus.   He is the hottest golfer on tour but will not be part of the Ryder Cup team for the United States.

** Brad Keselowski wins the first Chase for the Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway.   The next race is Sunday in New Hampshire.

** In baseball, Tampa Bay edges Toronto 6-5 while Miami downs Philadelphia 5-4 and Atlanta is hammered 10-3 by Texas.   Tampa Bay hosts the New York Yankees tonight while Miami is at the New York Mets and Atlanta hosts Washington.

** As the baseball regular season winds down, the wild card races heat up.   In the American League, Oakland and Kansas City lead the race, with Seattle just a game out of the second wild card.   In the National League, San Francisco and Pittsburgh lead the wild card race with Atlanta four games off the second spot.

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Photo Gallery from Florida vs. Kentucky

By on September 14th, 2014
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Florida Outlasts Kentucky 36-30 In Triple Overtime Thriller

By on September 14th, 2014

The Florida Gator football team escapes The Swamp on Saturday night with a 36-30 triple overtime victory over the Kentucky Wildcats.

It was Matt Jones’ one yard touchdown in the third overtime that sealed the win for the Gators. Although the streak was very close to being broken, Florida extended its win streak over Kentucky to 28 straight games dating back to 1986. It was also Florida’s first triple overtime game in school history.

To say the first half was ugly would be an understatement. Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel was an abysmal 7 of 20 for 161 yards in the first half, but recovered to finish 25-of-43 for 295 yards and three touchdowns. In addition, he threw his first interception of the season in the first quarter after pressure forced him to make an ill-advised throw. Driskel overthrew Quinton Dunbar on two occasions in the first half on long passes as both offenses struggled in a 3-3 game at halftime.

Then in the third quarter, the back and forth scoring ensued between the Gators and the Wildcats. Both teams combined to score 31 points in the quarter. Florida kicker Frankie Velez started the scoring early in the quarter when he hit a 22-yard field goal to give the Gators a 6-3 lead. Then a few minutes later, Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles (24-of-45, 369 yards, 3 INT) connected with wide receiver Garrett Johnson on a 60 yard touchdown to give the Cats a 10-6 lead. The Gators answered on the next drive, thanks to a bit of good fortune. Driskel threw what looked like a sure interception to Kentucky’s Fred Tiller, but it ricocheted off his chest and landed in the hands of Demarcus Robinson, who ran for a 33-yard gain to the Kentucky 10. On the very next play, Driskel found tight end Tevin Westbrook for his first career touchdown reception to give the Gators a 13-10 advantage with 4:27 left in the third quarter.

Kentucky wouldn’t be down for long, thanks to a busted coverage by the Florida inexperienced secondary. On the Cats ensuing drive, Towles found Johnson again on a 33-yard TD pass, this time wide open as he ran in virtually untouched to regain the lead for Kentucky 17-13.

“We just have to tie some things up in the secondary,” Muschamp said. “They had six big plays for 173 yards. And when you play a team that’s going to be willing to throw the ball vertically that much, there’s going to be some 50-50 balls. We need to play the ball better.”

The Gators responded yet again. It was Demarcus Robinson who came up big with a couple of clutch receptions before hauling in a nine yard touchdown pass to put Florida back on top 20-17 with 25 seconds to go in the quarter. Robinson finished with 15 receptions for 216 yards and two touchdowns. He tied Carlos Alvarez’s school record for catches in a single game and became the first Florida player with consecutive 100-yard receiving games since Jabar Gaffney in 2001. Running back Matt Jones spoke about Robinson’s huge performance.

“He’s a great team player. He stepped up and made some big plays. He had a great week in practice, it was just great for him. I love the guy and I’m just glad he’s here and makes plays.”

In the fourth quarter, the Gators had a chance to extend their three point lead to six, but Frankie Velez missed a 39-yard field goal attempt that forced Florida to cling to their three point lead. Kentucky would tie it at 20 with 3:52 left in the fourth quarter on a 12-play drive that ended with a 51-yard field goal by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis.

Later in the quarter, Kentucky was pinned deep inside their own territory, but Patrick Towles led the Cats down the field, until Keanu Neal picked off Towles with 28 seconds left in the game that sent The Swamp into a frenzy. Driskel led the offense down to the UK 34 to set up Austin Hardin for a potential game-winning 52-yard field goal, but he missed it wide right to send the game into OT.

On the first play of the opening overtime, Kentucky’s Stanley Williams caught a pass in the flat on the right side of the field, but reversed field, and made several men miss as he scored to give UK the 27-20 lead.

But the Gators weren’t done as an arguable play of the game was still yet to come. Florida converted on a huge game-saving fourth down play.  No conversion, game over.  As the play clock appeared to be at zero, Driskel got the ball snapped and then lofted it to the back left corner of the end zone to find Demarcus Robinson for a touchdown to even up the score at 27 a piece.

In the second overtime, both Velez and MacGinnis traded field goals to make it 30-30, forcing a third overtime. To start the third OT, MacGinnis missed on a 41-yard attempt, which meant all the Gators had to do was score a field goal or touchdown to win the game. The Orange and Blue didn’t settle for the field goal to end it. Instead, they let running back Matt Jones pound his way into the end zone to seal the 36-30 win for the Gators. Jones finished with 29 carries for 156 yards, marking his second career game of over 100 yards rushing. Tight end Tevin Westbrook said Jones is a special player.

“He’s an incredible player. He comes out and works hard. Just to be able to block for him and know that he’s going to get as much as he can every time. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

The Gators faced an early season scare from Kentucky in their SEC opener, but left tackle Chaz Green thinks it was a good test for the team.

“That’s what I think was so great about the victory. It was good that we faced a game like this early in the season, it’s good for our team. And I think it shows that we’re willing and ready to respond to any situation.”

Now, the Gators will face an even bigger test as they head to Tuscaloosa to face the Alabama Crimson Tide in an SEC showdown next Saturday at 3:30.

For audio of above quotes, click below:

Muschamp on the secondary mistakes

Jones on Robinson’s performance

Tevin Westbrook on Matt Jones

Chaz Green on how this game was a good test

 

 

 

 

 

 

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