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Gator Baseball Continues Fall Practice

By on October 21st, 2014

University of Florida Baseball has started fall practice for their 2015 campaign. The Gators went 40-23 last season on the way to earning their third Southeastern Conference title in five years, and a national seed for NCAA play for the fifth time in six years.

Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan is entering his eighth season leading the team and is joined by assistant coaches Craig Bell, Brad Weitzel, and Lars Davis.

“It’s about establishing roles and camaraderie in your club.” O’Sullivan says. “We’ve got a lot of returning guys and another good recruiting class, so we’re excited to get out there again.”

The incoming team for Florida has been ranked No. 3 by Collegiate Baseball. This is the sixth time the Gators have been in the top eight of this list.

Fans always want to know about the new faces on the team, and O’Sullivan says a couple of freshmen catchers could help the team right away in Mike Rivera and JJ Schwartz. Both players were drafted by, and made, the 18 Under National Team.

“They’re somewhat seasoned, and both those guys should end up being in the lineup every day for us,” O’Sullivan said.

The returning Gators are led by outfielder Harrison Bader who hit a team hith.337 a year ago with 13 stolen bases.   Shortstop Richie Martin also returns after hitting .265 a season ago.

The strong suit of the team could be in its pitching with a lot of familiar faces returning like Logan Shore, Danny Young, Kirby Snead and many others.

The fall schedule will include open practices followed by scrimmages. Practices will be held on Tuesdays at 3 p.m., Wednesdays at 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m., and Sunday at 12 p.m. The Gators will continue their fall practices until November 23.

The 2015 season will include 56 games, with 35 of those being held in McKethan Stadium at Perry Field. Florida will start its season on February 13, when they host Rhode Island.

Click below to listen to head coach O’Sullivan’s comments.

Sullivan 1, Sullivan 2

 

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Returners looking strong as practices begins for Billy Donovan and company

By on October 21st, 2014
Head coach Billy Donovan addresses the media at Media Day

Basketball season is almost upon us as the Florida Gator men’s basketball team will take the court in less than 20 days. The Gators opened practice on Friday and coach Billy Donovan discussed the team’s first few practice sessions.

Donovan believes scoring points will be no problem for a team that is very talented, but after losing four solid seniors in Scottie Wilbekin, Casey Prather, Will Yeguete and Patric Young, the defense is severely lacking. Although it’s early, Donovan says his team is nowhere near where he wants them to be.

“The defense is going to be a never ending process in us continuing to get better but our guys are working very hard right now, their attitudes are good, there’s things I’m seeing from them that’s positive but right now we’re just not very good.”

Donovan mentioned that his team could play a game right now if they had to if the opponent was playing man defense but the zone is still a work in progress.

Offensively, Donovan also noted that his team likes to spread the ball around.

“We’ve been really unselfish playing, I like that, the ball is moving, guys are making the extra pass and they are trying to play together.”

While freshman such as Chris Chiozza and Devin Robinson are still trying to get acclimated to the system, it’s the older guys such as redshirt junior Dorian Finney-Smith and sophomore Chris Walker that are showing significant signs of improvement.

“You know Dorian has gotten better, Kasey Hill has made a nice jump, I think Chris Walker is better than he was a year ago, I think all the veteran guys for the most part, I’ve seen some significant progress there, can they sustain that and keep moving in that direction will be important.”

One of those veteran guys that will see a significant increase in his role will be sophomore point guard Kasey Hill. Hill spoke about what’s different this year.

“Play with a lot more energy, be more consistent, have no up and downs. Last year I was up and down a little bit energy wise in practice and in the game, so that’s one thing he (Donovan) told me I need to work on,” Hill said.

Wilbekin was well known for his defense while at the University of Florida and was typically referred to as the team’s best defender. While Hill hasn’t reached that level quite yet, the sophomore does believe he has improved significantly.

“I feel a lot more comfortable on defense, I know where to be at, I’m not guessing like I was last year. I mean I still have troubles but I’m a lot more comfortable than I was last year.”

Hill averaged 5.5 points a year ago to go along with three rebounds and two boards. With an expanded role this year fans should expect even more from the Umatilla native.

Another guy that should significantly help in the backcourt this season is redshirt junior Eli Carter. Since joining the Gators back in the summer of 2013 Carter has been hampered by a leg injury that kept him out for most of the 2013-14 season. Carter played in seven games averaging just under eight minutes per game but never made a significant contribution. Now that he’s back and feeling much better, Carter says he is ready to help out this season.

“I’m just staying steady, just trying to get better, just go through the process. I’m just ready to practice honestly, get out there with the guys and have fun,” Carter said.

In two seasons at Rutgers Carter averaged just over 14 points per game and the Gators would love to see that Eli on the court this season. The rest of the team was able to see Carter at full strength over the summer and Hill talked about what he’s seen and what Carter can bring to this team.

“Definitely another leader on this team, a guy who’s been through it a little bit, has experience. Seems like he’s always calm on the court, never gets rushed and he can help us a little bit with experience.”

Although just a few practices are in the books, it seems the returners are way ahead. However with still a little less than a month until their first regular season game, the freshman and transfers have time to get acclimated. This team still has a long way to go but each week we should learn more about what this team will bring to the table.

The Gators will open their season November 6th as they welcome the Buccaneers from Barry University.

To hear audio of the quotes above, click on the links below:

Donovan talks about the returners

Donovan talks about Kasey Hill

Donovan talks about the defense

Donovan talks about the team and their unselfishness

Hill talks about his defense

Hill talks about where he’s at one year later

Hill talks about Eli Carter

Carter talks about what he’s working on as he returns

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Tuesday Sports Update (10/21)

By on October 21st, 2014

The World Series gets underway, Monday Night Football, a verbal commitment for Gator men’s basketball and more in our Tuesday Sports Update…

** The World Series starts tonight in Kansas City where the Royals will host the San Francisco Giants.   James Shields pitches tonight for KC against Madison Bumgarner.

** On Monday Night Football, Pittsburgh beats Houston 30-23; the Steelers are now 4-3 while the Texans fall to 3-4.

** Several media reports say the Gator men’s basketball team has received a verbal commitment in the 2015 class from 6’7″ forward Keith Stone from Deerfield Beach.   He is the fourth verbal in the class of 2015 for Gator coach Billy Donovan.

** Archie Manning has to take a leave of absence from the College Football Playoff Committee to have surgery.   The committee releases its first poll next week.

** With five teams in the top ten of the college football polls, the SEC gets back into football action this weekend.   Number one Mississippi State plays Kentucky, while Auburn takes on South Carolina, Ole Miss plays LSU and Alabama faces Tennessee.

 

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Dolphins surpass Bears, win 27-14

By on October 21st, 2014

The Miami Dolphins defeated the Chicago Bears on Sunday at home 27-14.

The Dolphins elected to receive after they won the opening coin toss, which they haven’t done all season. However, the Dolphins weren’t able to do anything on the opening drive after a sack on first down.

But the Dolphins did score twice in the first half, heading to the locker room with a score of 14-0.

“I thought we got off to a better start this week than we have in the past,” said Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin.

Chicago and quarterback Jay Cutler answered in the second half with a 10-yard pass to Matt Forte bringing the score to 14-7. However, the Dolphins responded with a drive of 83 yards and scored on a two yard run by running back Lamar Miller.

“We have playmakers all over the field,” said Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

After a blocked field goal attempt by Caleb Sturgis, Chicago would score on its next possession. The Dolphins got a Sturgis field goal to bring the score to the final 27-14.

Tannehill ended the game 25 of 32 with 277 yards and two touchdowns. Miami improves to 3-3 for the season and Chicago drops to 3-4.

Miami heads to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars on Sunday. The Bears play the Patriots in New England on Sunday as well.

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Monday Sports Update (10/20)

By on October 20th, 2014

A new all time touchdown pass leader in the NFL, an NFL team gets a first win, NASCAR, Gator soccer and volleyball and more in our Monday Sports Update…

** Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning became the NFL’s all time touchdown passes leader after his team demolished the San Francisco 49ers 42-17 Sunday night.   Manning needed three TD passes to break the record of 508 set by Brett Favre; he got four in the win.

** The Jacksonville Jaguars get their first win of the season, beating the Cleveland Browns 24-6 Sunday.   Miami also wins, beating Chicago 27-13.

** Monday Night Football tonight has Houston at Pittsburgh.

** In college football, five SEC teams are not in the top ten of both major polls.   Mississippi State is number 0ne in both polls and Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia join them in the top ten.

** The Gator volleyball team is unbeaten in SEC play after sweeping Arkansas Sunday.   It was not a good week for Gator soccer as it lost at South Carolina and at Kentucky, losing 2-0 to the Wildcats Sunday.

** In NASCAR, Brad Keselowski had to win the race Sunday at Talladega to advance in the Chase For The Cup and he did just that but Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne did not advance.

 

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Jaguars Get Their First Win, Former Gators Support Muschamp

By on October 20th, 2014

There was a certain buzz around the stadium before the Jacksonville Jaguars kicked off their Week 7 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. It would not match the feeling in the air after the Jaguars got their win of the season just hours later by a score of 24-6.

A lot of credit can be given to the Jacksonville defense for their first win since beating Houston on December 15th, 2013.

As the offense struggled early on, the defense managed to force field goals deep within the red zone. Following Blake Bortles first quarter interception, the Jaguars held the Browns to four plays of minus five yards.  In the second quarter, the Browns would find themselves inside the 20 once again. The Jaguars stood tall and forced another field goal. In fact, the Browns only put up three points off of Blake Bortle’s three interceptions.

Jacksonville’s offense would finally get going with an Allen Robinson 31 yard touchdown catch to put the Jags up at half. They would never look back.

Denard Robinson would end up having a huge day on the ground as he ran for 127 yards on 22 carries. He also ran for an eight yard touchdown after a Browns muffed punt in the fourth to put Jacksonville up 17 to 6. Minutes later, Storm Johnson sealed the game with a three yard TD run.

The Jaguars now sit at 1-6 on the year.

Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch injured his groin in today’s game. He left the locker room with crutches. Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny will have an MRI on his right shoulder.

With the Cleveland Browns  visiting the Sunshine State, former Gator Joe Haden offered his thoughts on the current struggles going on in Gainesville.

“It’s going to turn around,” Haden said, “It’s going to get back to how it was when I was there with Tebow.”

Current Jaguars safety Josh Evans also offered his thoughts.

“It’s a little bit of embarrassing to see a team like that struggle like that cause I know they are better than that.”

When asked what they thought of Will Muschamp as a head coach, both players responded positively.

“He’s a passionate coach. He’s fiery on the sideline,” Haden stated, “The coach is cool. It’s just time to perform on the field.”

Josh Evans said, “I actually like Muschamp as a head coach.  When I got a chance to play with him, he got me better.”

Evans also stated, “I don’t think that he’s just the one to blame all the time.  It’s a team thing and it’s a team effort.”

To hear audio of the story above, click below:

Haden Believes The Gators Will Turn It Around

Josh Evans Says It Is Embarrassing For Florida Alumni

Haden Thinks Muschamp Is A Passionate Coach

Evans Supports Muschamp And Talks About Defensive Mindset

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Florida Volleyball Tops Arkansas in Straight Sets; Continue Rolling in SEC Play

By on October 20th, 2014

Florida freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan registered a career-best .846 hitting efficiency and junior outside hitter Gabby Mallette put down a season-tying 12 kills as the eighth ranked Gator volleyball squad blanked Arkansas 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-22) Sunday in front of the Florida faithful, solidifying the top spot in the SEC standings as the only team undefeated in conference play.

The first set saw the Gators post seven consecutive points against the Razorbacks and only one lead change. The second set was more back-and-forth, with 12 tie scores and four lead changes. The Gators would also post five consecutive points in the set.

The third and final set was nothing short of a hard-fought battle, as the Gators and Razorbacks would go back and forth, including nine tie scores and two lead changes. Florida would jump out to a 6-1 lead before squandering the advantage, falling to 11-12, before ultimately pulling out the set and match victory.

Sunday’s victory against the Razorbacks (11-9, 5-2 SEC) marked a conference-best nine straight wins for Florida (14-3, 8-0 SEC) and the Gators’ sixth sweep in league play this season. The Orange and Blue posted nine blocks, compared to Arkansas’s two, dug up 36 balls to the Razorback’s 28 and landed six service aces, while Arkansas had just two.

Alhassan and Mallette combined for 23 of Florida’s 44 kills, while sophomore right side Alex Holston added nine slams, three blocks, and seven digs in the sweep. Junior middle blocker Simone Antwi and Alhassan each posted four blocks to help aid the Gator defense. Junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino added 35 assists and two service aces

Gator head coach Mary Wise knew that the Razorbacks would be tough competition for her squad and credited a couple of players for stepping up.

“We played a team in Arkansas that was really on a roll and playing their best volleyball now that they’re healthy. We had enough really good performances, especially by Gabby (Mallette) and Rhamat (Alhassan), to counter a very talented Arkansas team that we’ll see later in the season.”

The Gators will be back in the O’Dome next weekend for a two-match home stand when Florida hosts Missouri Friday and Mississippi State Sunday. First serve between the Gators and Tigers is slated for 7 p.m., while Florida and MSU will tilt at 1:30 p.m. Sunday to wrap up the weekend. The Gators are 3-2 all-time against Mizzou, the defending SEC Champions, as Missouri took both meetings in 2013. UF swept the Bulldogs in Starkville October 5th and is now an undefeated 44-0 against MSU, 35-0 under head coach Mary Wise.

You can catch both matches on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For postgame comments from coach Wise, Mackenzie Dagostino, and Gabby Mallette, click below:

Wise recaps the Arkansas match

Wise talks about the team dropping points in the third set after jumping out to a 6-1 lead

Wise talks about the team learning from each match

Dagostino talks about what the team could learn from playing a tough team like Arkansas

Dagostino talks about staying strong despite leading a match 2-0

Dagostino talks about the team’s mindset being 9-0 in SEC play

Mallette talks about her transition from the bench to an offensive weapon

Mallette talks about the growth she’s seen in her offensive game

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Gator Football Gets Embarrassed By Missouri In Homecoming Game 42-13

By on October 19th, 2014

In a must-win game, the Florida Gator football team didn’t show up.

Instead, the Gators (3-3, 2-3 SEC) were blown out by Missouri (5-2, 2-1 SEC) 42-13 inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday night.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp summed up his frustration with the team’s lackluster performance.

“You don’t even give yourself a chance to win when you turn the ball over six times. You got two special teams touchdowns. Every single point they have leads to points. Six sacks, you don’t protect the quarterback. It changes the game and how you gotta play going into the second half. Offensively, just abysmal.”

Missouri only mustered up 119 total yards of offense, compared to 283 by Florida, but turnovers, special teams, and a brutal offensive performance is what sealed Florida’s fate in its second Homecoming loss in two years.

Missouri wasted no time scoring first as Marcus Murphy returned the opening kickoff 96 yards to give the Tigers a quick 7-0 lead. After Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel was ineffective in his first two series going 2-of-6 for 17 yards and a fumble, Muschamp decided to give back up quarterback Treon Harris a shot.

It didn’t start off the way anyone expected it to.

On Harris’ first series, he was whacked from behind and fumbled deep in Florida’s territory. That led to a five yard touchdown run by Tigers running back Marcus Murphy that put Mizzou up 14-0.

Missouri extended its lead in the second quarter to 17-0 after they went on an 18 play, 55 yard drive that ended in a 25-yard field goal from Tigers kicker Andrew Baggett.

Driskel threw an interception late in the second quarter on a rainbow throw over the middle that ended up in the bread-basket of Tigers safety Braylon Webb, who returned to the UF five yard line. The Gator defense held Mizzou to a 34-yard field goal that made it 20-0.

The Tigers shut out the Gators in the first half 20-0. That’s the third time in Florida’s last seven games that they’ve been shut out at the half.

“It was 20 to zero in the first half and it honestly could’ve been a lot worse,” Florida center Max Garcia said. “But our defense stepped up and made plays. We just put them in tough positions. We didn’t get them on the field enough. We had a couple turnovers where they scored on the turnovers. So, that’s on us as an offense, just not taking care of the football for them.”

Things got worse for the Orange and Blue in the second half.

Missouri’s Marcus Murphy returned a punt for 82 yards to make it 26-0, his second touchdown return of the game. Then the Tigers made a two-point conversion to add insult to injury to widen their lead to 28-0.

The Mizzou defense would continue to make things worse for Florida as they sacked Driskel and forced a fumble, which was recovered by defensive end Markus Golden who took it 21 yards to the end zone. That put the Tigers up 35-0 midway through the third quarter.

A few minutes later, Driskel threw his second interception of the game, a 46 yard interception return by Darvin Ruise to put the Tigers up 42-0. That would signal the end of the night for Driskel, who now has 12 turnovers in the last four games. He finished 7-of-19 for 50 yards with two interceptions and two fumbles.

Florida would refuse to be shut out as Treon Harris led the Gators on a nine play, 63 yard drive that concluded with a five yard touchdown pass to tight end Tevin Westbrook, who somehow caught it with defenders draped all over him. The Gators would head into the fourth quarter down 42-7.

Early in the fourth quarter, Harris threw his first career interception on a deep ball down the sideline in an attempt to hit Demarcus Robinson. That turnover marked six turnovers by the Gators, their most since Georgia in 2012.

“You turn it over six times, you’re not going to win,” Muschamp said. ”It wasn’t from a lack of effort or trying, it was a lack of ball security. Protection at times. Those are things we gotta clean up.”

After the game, Muschamp told his guys they need to self evaluate themselves after a disastrous performance.

“I told them anytime you go have one like this you look in the mirror and figure out what we need to do to improve. That’s what some of our guys need to do is look in the mirror and they need to play better in some situations. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Now the Gators will have a bye week to get over the egg they just laid and get ready to take on Georgia, who leads the SEC East, on November 1 in Jacksonville.

For audio of the above quotes, click below:

Muschamp on the teams struggles

Garcia on how the offense didn’t help the defense with all the turnovers

Muschamp on the turnovers

Muschamp on what he told the team after the game

 

 

 

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Gators vs Missouri Photo Gallery

By on October 19th, 2014
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Gator Football Blown Out By Missouri In Homecoming Game

By on October 18th, 2014

Despite holding Missouri to a paltry 119 yards of total offense, the Florida football team commits six turnovers, allows a punt return and kickoff return for a touchdown and a pick six as well on its way to a 42-13 Homecoming loss on Saturday night.

Florida (3-2, 2-3 SEC) trailed 20-0 at halftime and for all intents and purposes was out of the game at that time.

The Gators scored two touchdowns after being behind 42-0 as freshman quarterback Treon Harris threw for a score and ran for another.

Missouri improves to 5-2 overall and to 2-1 in SEC play with the help of the Florida turnovers and six sacks in the game as well.

Florida has a bye week before playing its annual game with Georgia in Jacksonville.

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