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Gator Soccer Heads to Miami To Take On Canes

By on August 27th, 2015

The 14th ranked Florida Gator soccer team concludes a season-opening three game road stretch this Thursday at Miami. The Gators are 1-1 on the season after dropping their last match at Ohio State 1-0 in overtime.

The Hurricanes are coming off a 1-0 loss to Texas putting them at 0-1 this season; their season opener against College of Charleston was rained out. This is the ninth meeting between the Gators and the Hurricanes.

Florida head coach Becky Burleigh talks about how her team has experience against Miami.

“I think we’re familiar with some of those people so that does help, but at the same time when you’re on the losing end of a game you’re going to make changes. I think from that stand point we’re not quite sure what they’re going to do, but I’m just excited to get out there and play.”

Florida took the last match between these two teams 3-0 in Gainesville for the 2014 season opener.

Burleigh previews the upcoming match.

“I’m sure they’re going to be really up for our game and that’s usually the case when we play Miami. Last time we played down there we set their record crowd, so it’s going to be a great environment and I think it’s going to be exciting for our players.”

Match time is set for 7 p.m. at Cobb stadium. Tune into ESPN Gainesville /95-3 FM to hear Adam Schick’s live call of the match.

Click below to listen to sound from Head Coach Becky Burleigh:

Burleigh 1

Burleigh 2

Burleigh 3

Burleigh 4

 

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New, Subtle Rules Introduced in 2015 College Football Season

By on August 26th, 2015

College football season is just over one week away from opening kickoff. While fans get familiar with the new faces aligned with their favorite programs, coaches and players and Division I-FBS are taking the time to learn new rules in place for 2015.

This season’s changes are among the lightest in recent memory. Unlike previous years that have featured overhauls of the rulebook, the regulations this year won’t be nearly as visible to fans or even to the way the game is played.

Among the rule changes this season are:

• Introduction of a center judge, bringing the officiating crew from seven members to eight
• Overbuilt facemasks are illegal
• Players using illegal equipment must leave the game for one play and may not return until his equipment is made legal
• Pulling or pushing opponents off a pile is punishable by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty
• Blocking during onside kicks is now eligible for instant replay review
• New rules for resetting the play clock

National Coordinator of College Football Officiating Rogers Redding has partnered with the National Football Foundation to promote fluent understanding of these new rules amongst officials in all conferences. Although most of the regulations are self-explanatory, guidelines for resetting the clock require more than a cursory glance.

“The committee was concerned that the play clock was getting too deep into the count before the officials reset it,” Redding explained. “Instead of it being 25 seconds into the clock, it’s now 20 seconds and the officials just reset the clock.”

This rule comes into play whenever officials have difficulty getting a new ball from the sidelines. If a defensive player has his helmet dislodged, the game clock will still be stopped and the player must be removed for one play, but the play clock will now be set to 40 seconds instead of 25 seconds.

The ball-change contingency will be seldom used, but Redding believes the rule is necessary anyway.

“The rule is to cover the extreme cases where they really need to stop the game clock and deal with something on the sideline. We may go all year and never have to use this rule at all.”

Officials will have one more set of eyes on the field in 2015. The Big 12 experimented with an eight man team. The test demonstrated positive results, so the rule has been changed after 30y years at a seven man cap.

“It’s going to help control the middle. This is an idea whose time seems to have come very quickly. Everybody in FBS this year will be using eight officials,” Redding said.

“It’s a response to the way the game has changed—the up-speed and spread offenses. We were putting a lot more responsibility on the head linesman and line judge to have things to do at the line of scrimmage.”

The center judge will wear the letter “C” on the uniform and be positioned in the offensive backfield opposite the referee.

Just as play calling and gameplay are constantly evolving, so are the rules that govern the sport. Officials are pleased with the state of the sport right now, but there’s always room for improvement even if it’s hardly visible to the untrained eye.

To hear comments from Redding, click below.

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Gator FB Season Opener Now Just 10 Days Away

By on August 26th, 2015

Another Gator football practice is in the books as Florida looks to open its regular season in just 10 days.   Florida coach Jim McElwain said after Tuesday’s practice that he’s pleased with the progress the offensive line is making and that some young players like freshmen Fred Johnson and Martez Ivey are fighting for starting spots.

In other sports news…

** UF will host a basketball “madness” event on October 2 in the O’Connell Center that will showcase both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.   Admission will be free; it is the first time in some 10 years that Florida has hosted an event like this for basketball.

** Santa Fe College opens its second season of volleyball play tonight by playing Pasco-Hernando State College.  The team is coached by former Gator assistant Nick Cheronis.

** In baseball, Miami beats Pittsburgh 5-2; Colorado downs Atlanta 5-1 and Tampa Bay loses to Minnesota 11-7.   Those series continue today.

** In NFL news, the Pittsburgh Steelers sign Michael Vick to a one year contract.

 

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Gator Football Practices Continue

By on August 24th, 2015

The University of Florida football team continues practices this week for its season opener next weekend at home against New Mexico State.  There is still no separation, even after a weekend scrimmage, between quarterbacks Treon Harris and Will Grier.

In other sports news…

** The Gator soccer team is now 1-1 on the young season after an overtime 1-0 loss at Ohio State Sunday.

** The Tampa Bay Rays lose 8-2 to the Oakland A’s while Miami falls to Philadelphia 2-0 and Atlanta loses 9-3 to the Chicago Cubs.  Tampa Bay is off today while Atlanta hosts Colorado and Miami hosts Pittsburgh.

** Former Gator and current Houston Astro Preston Tucker has been optioned to AAA Fresno by the team.   Tucker has spent a good deal of time with the Astros after his call up to the big leagues earlier this year.

** Green Bay Packer wide receiver Jordy Nelson and former Gator and current Pittsburgh Steeler center Maurkice Pouncey were injured in exhibition games Sunday.   Both players could miss significant time because of the injuries.

** Davis Love III wins the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour as Tiger Woods falters in the final round.  Woods finished four shots off the lead.

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‘Friday Night Lights’ Kicks Off Tonight

By on August 21st, 2015

High school football begins tonight with several preseason games, better known as “Kick-Off Classics” around the area.

Gainesville High School welcomes Class 8A, Flagler Palm Coast to Citizens Field for the first time. GHS head coach Mark Latsko says there are two ways to look at the game plan for the season opener.

“I think there’s two trains of thought, you know, going in to it I think if you’re running a brand new system and kind of got things you don’t want everybody to see because it’s new to you guys, I think you’re real vanilla. And then there’s the other train of thought, that you show a little bit of everything to make sure all the other teams have to spend time game planning multiple formations and multiple personnel groupings.”

Gainesville finished last year’s season with a record of 7-6 but Latsko says they will not treat this game any differently than a regular season game.

“It really all is where and what your team is going to be that year, so we’re putting on the game jerseys and taking the bus to Citizens Field and it’s under the Friday Night Lights so we’re going to try and come away with the W.” he said.

Quarterback Caelan Christian returns for his senior year and after two years as the starter, Latsko is confident on the offensive side of the ball. Things have changed from last year to maximize the defensive plays this upcoming season.

“Defensively we changed our base three-four alignment to a three-three alignment so that’s a little bit new. That’s what we installed in the spring time and we were happy with the effort that the defense gave against West Orange. They caught a couple red zone touchdown passes and that’s going to happen against any defense. We’re excited and we’re trying to figure out how we can get the most play makers on the field at any one given time and making sure everybody’s a runner and hitter on the defensive side of the ball.”

Another game under the lights will be down in Ocala as the Buchholz Bobcats travel to face Trinity Catholic. Buchholz coach Mark Whittemore says his team has put a lot of work into the off-season and believes they are a very unified group.

“I really, really like them. I like this year from a standpoint of the chemistry we have developed. We’ve got a bunch of hard working kids this year and have not had any personalities that have tried to vault themselves above the team. Right now we are really in a good place to start the season.”

One player Whittemore has seen improvement from is senior quarterback Jackson White.

“Jackson is another year stronger, smarter, and just a better football player after a great off season. He had a great spring game against Lincoln. He’s throwing strikes and using his feet very well.”.

Palatka High school welcomes the Eastside Rams tonight and Rams coach Jeff Parker says the team has shown a lot of improvement during the summer but their biggest weakness is depth.

“We definitely have some young men that can fly around any make plays for us. We are a little thin this year numbers wise so we’ve just got to make sure we stay healthy and that’s going to be a key for us this season. Our young men need to be able to play every game and keep guys around and not have any injuries where we lose them for the season.”

Parker also breaks down the drastic changes in district play for this upcoming year.

“We are a three team district. We dropped down from seven teams to only three teams. It’s us, North Marion, and Belleview. With North Marion being on the schedule, they definitely have a powerhouse. They have a traditionally great program. I think they have high expectations for the year from what I’ve seen all over in the media. With Belleview down there with Phillip Yancey as the head coach and Coach Yancey is a legend around here and he’s done a great job with X’s and O’s. You always have to be prepared for those two teams, but we are excited it’s a three team district.”

Oak Hall’s new head coach, Matt DiBernardo, will have his debut tonight when he and the Eagles host the Ocala Christian Crusaders.

P.K. Yonge will be on the road face Newberry High School.

For audio on above quotes, click below:

mark latsko 1 mark latsko 3

mark whittemore 3 mark whittemore 4

Jeff Parker 1 Jeff Parker 2

 

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SEC Releases Men’s Hoops Schedule

By on August 20th, 2015

The SEC released its men’s basketball conference schedule for the upcoming season.   Florida will play Kentucky, Georgia, Vanderbilt, LSU, and Ole Miss twice while playing other league teams once this season.   UF will host Georgia on January 2 to open league play.

In other sports news…

** Former FSU wide receiver and current Carolina Panther Kelvin Benjamin will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL in practice.

** Former Gainesville resident Joel Embiid underwent another surgery on his foot and the Philadelphia 76er will miss all of the upcoming season.

** In baseball, San Diego nips Atlanta 3-2, Houston beats Tampa Bay by the same score and Milwaukee beats Miami 8-7.   The Rays finish a series with Houston tonight while Atlanta starts a series at the Cubs and Miami starts a series with Philadelphia.

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No Starter Named Yet At QB For UF

By on August 18th, 2015

The Gator football team continues practices toward their season opener against New Mexico State in September and UF head coach Jim McElwain says the Gators do not yet have a starter at quarterback.

That said, McElwain says he is pleased with the work of Treon Harris and Will Grier at the position.   He also said after yesterday’s practice that he wants to start getting the top eight or so offensive linemen they want to play ready to go and some will be cross trained at multiple positions.

In other sports news…

** Multiple media reports say former Gator basketball player Michael Frazier II has signed an NBA contract with the LA Lakers.

** The National Labor Relations Board overturns a regional NLRB director’s position and says Northwestern football players do not have the right to form a union.   There is no word yet on a possible appeal.

** Two SEC schools get some bad news in football; Arkansas loses a top running back for the year in Jonathan Williams who sustained a foot injury and Alabama quarterback Jake Coker has a foot injury that could keep him out of practice for a few days.

** Kentucky announces that veteran Patrick Towles will be its starting quarterback after a spirited challenge from redshirt freshman Drew Barker.

** In baseball, Tampa Bay rips Houston 9-2; Miami downs Milwaukee 6-2 and San Diego beats Atlanta 5-3; all those series continue tonight.

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Gator Football Continues Practices

By on August 17th, 2015

The Florida football team continues practices today after holding Fan Day over the weekend.   Opening game is now less than three weeks away.

In other sports news…

** Jason Day wins the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, the last major of the year.   Day beats Jordan Spieth by three shots to win it but Spieth becomes the world’s number one player after the second place finish.

** Tim Tebow makes his season debut with the Philadelphia Eagles and scores a rushing touchdown to help Philly beat Minnesota in a preseason game.   He finished 6 of 12 passing and was sacked twice.

** Matt Kenseth wins the NASCAR race in Michigan over the weekend, his third win of the season.   He beats Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. to get the checkered flag.

** The Tampa Bay Rays are just two and a half games out of a wild card spot after losing to Texas 5-3 Sunday.   The Rays begin a series in Houston tonight.   Miami downs St. Louis 6-4 and starts a series today at Milwaukee while Atlanta is in San Diego tonight after nipping Arizona 2-1 Sunday.

 

 

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Football Camp Continues, Gators Complete First Scrimmage

By on August 14th, 2015

The Florida Gator football team had its first scrimmage of fall camp today, which meant the first time playing in the Swamp for a lot of the younger players.

The Gators were able to run 109 offensive and defensive plays, along with 26 on special teams, which gave coach McElwain a good first glance at the younger player in action. Overall McElwain seemed pleased with the performance on the field, but said there were still some fundamental mistakes that need to be corrected.

“There was a period in the scrimmage I thought our young guys made some mistakes, but correctable mistakes. It wasn’t from lack of effort or those types of things. It was good for them to be in that kind of environment for the first time.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Kelvin Taylor was a standout.

“I thought Kelvin Taylor played really good today. For the first time since we have been here he didn’t just try to run everything to the sideline. We’ve been working on this concept, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and I thought that he got that today. It was good to see because he struggled with that,” says McElwain.

Kelvin Taylor also caught the eye of junior linebacker Jarrad Davis.

“I really like the way Kelvin Taylor was running the ball today. He made sure everyone on defense could feel him. The offensive line really opened up things for him too,” says Davis.

Both Will Grier and Treon Harris got reps at quarterback with the first and second string offense. Even graduate transfer Josh Grady got a few opportunities. With the question of starting quarterback still up in the air, it is still too early for McElwain to make any decisions.

“I thought Treon probably moved the people with the twos a little better then Will did.  I thought Will really got off to a fast start,” says McElwain.

With just about three weeks until their first game, McElwain continues to emphasize playing strong.

“We’ve got to get over the hump from the psychological standpoint that it’s okay to care, it’s okay to compete, and it’s okay to get out there and just let it all happen. That is where we have to get offensively.”

Defensively, McElwain was impressed and saw more than he expected from the first scrimmage.

“I thought defense in the situational parts took control and did a heck of a job.”

Linebacker Jarrad Davis was also pleased with how the defense played.

“The defense made some good stops on third downs. We played some really good team defense today,” says Davis.

He also thinks that the linebackers will be a strong point for the Gators this year.

“I think we will be able to do great. We have a lot of numbers, a lot of people can play at that position, and every person feels confident in the other person in the room with them. We definitely feel like we have a lot we can do with our group.”

Among the players who were held from scrimmage due to previous injuries were Travaris Dorsey, C.J. Worton, Mark Herndon,  Anthony Harrell, and Duke Dawson. Matt Rolin and Raphael Andrades left the scrimmage early due to injury.

The Gators will be back at practice on Monday.

To hear audio from Coach McElwain and Jarrad Davis click below:

McElwain 1

McElwain 2

McElwain 3

McElwain 4

McElwain 5

McElwain 6

Jarrad Davis 1

Jarrad Davis 2

Jarrad Davis 3

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Gator Football Holds First Scrimmage

By on August 14th, 2015

The Florida football team will hold its first scrimmage of summer camp today.   The scrimmage is closed to the public and to the media.

In other sports news…

** The PGA Championship continues all weekend at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.   Three former Gator golfers are in the field.

** NFL preseason games take place all weekend.   Jacksonville hosts Pittsburgh tonight while Tampa Bay is at Minnesota tomorrow.

** The Tampa Bay Rays start a weekend series at Texas tonight.  Elsewhere Miami is at St.Louis and Atlanta hosts Arizona.

** The Gator volleyball team is preseason ranked number four in the coaches poll.   Penn State, Stanford and Texas are ranked ahead of the Gators.

** The NBA schedule for next season has been released.   Cleveland and Golden State will meet in a finals rematch on Christmas Day.

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