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Machen, Foley, Muschamp All Talk Gator Football Today

By on November 17th, 2014

Despite being let go on Sunday as Gator football coach, Will Muschamp today went about his business, talking about Florida’s next football game against Eastern Kentucky while also talking about his dismissal.

Muschamp said some of the same things he said yesterday in a statement about why he was dismissed.

“You’ve got to win games.   We didn’t get that done.  Very disappointed and frustrated that didn’t happen.”

Muschamp added however that despite not winning enough games, some things did get better.

“But this locker room is better than it was four years ago, there is no question about that and where we’ve come.  I appreciate our players and how they have handled a very difficult season.”

UF athletic director Jeremy Foley spoke to the process of selecting a new coach.

“We would obviously like an individual that’s been successful on the offensive side of the ball.  I think obviously that’s what the Gator Nation wants and we see that and that’s what we’re certainly going to try to provide for them,” Foley said.

Foley added the search would begin immediately but that there is no specific timetable to find a replacement for Muschamp.

 

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Gator Women’s Hoops Plays Longwood in second game of season today

By on November 17th, 2014

Florida women’s basketball coach Amanda Butler and her team looks to keep its season going in the right direction when they take on Longwood today at 4:15 pm. The team is coming off of an 84-73 win against Jacksonville University where the team’s bench played a large role.

Florida’s bench combined for 38-points in the season opener with 16 coming from junior guard Antoinette Bannister. Along with the performance of non-starters, Butler was also very proud of the way that her team established its presence in the post.

Two weak areas in the team were defense and outside shooting. Florida gave up 73 points and allowed the Dolphins to shoot 46% from behind the arc while the Gators were 1-7 from three in the first half and only 40% from the field.

“Defensively, I think that we rushed a little bit. We didn’t shoot the ball too well from the three [point line] and that’s not something we are really concerned with. We are getting high percentage shots and we have to make those matter,” said Butler.

The team will play in its first ever meeting against Longwood; you can listen to the game right here on ESPN 850 WRUF at 4 pm.

To listen to audio from the story click below:

Butler talks about team’s defense

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Monday Sports Update (11/17)

By on November 17th, 2014

Will Muschamp press conference, Gator sports, NFL, college football and more in a busy Monday Sports Update…

** Today on ESPN 850 WRUF we will broadcast live the press conference featuring Gator football coach Will Muschamp, UF president Bernie Machen and UF athletic director Jeremy Foley…the conference is scheduled to start at noon.

** In other Gator sports, soccer advances in the NCAA Tournament with a 3-0 win over Mercer; volleyball clinches a share of the SEC title with a win over Kentucky.

** Both Gator basketball teams play today; the Gator women host Longwood and the Gator men host Miami.

** The Gator men lose Dillon Graham, who has decided to transfer.   The sophomore did play in Florida’s season opening win on Friday but he has played sparingly during his UF career and has battled injuries too.

** In college football, the new non-committee polls are out and FSU is back at number one.    Alabama is two, Oregon is three and Mississippi State falls to four.

** Georgia has now lost star running back Todd Gurley for the season after he tears an ACL in the Bulldog’s big win over Auburn Saturday.   Gurley had just returned from suspension after admitting he took money for autographs.

** In the NFL, the week ends with Monday Night Football tonight as Pittsburgh plays Tennessee.

** Kevin Harvick wins his first Chase for the Cup championship in NASCAR by winning the final race in Homestead, Florida yesterday.

**

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Florida Basketball Faces Challenge Against Miami Tonight

By on November 17th, 2014

When the Florida men’s basketball team (1-0) host the Miami Hurricanes (1-0) tonight at the O’Dome, Florida will only have nine scholarship players available to take the court.

It was announced that junior Dillon Graham left the team on Sunday. With Chris Walker serving his last game of a suspension and the ineligibility of transfer big men Alex Murphy and John Egbunu, the Gators now currently lack even further depth off the bench. Additionally, Devon Walker and freshmen Brandone Francis will not be available for the entire season (for injury and academic suspension, respectively).

It gets worse for the Gators as junior Dorian Finney-Smith suffered two hairline fractures in his non-shooting hand during the season-opening win against William & Mary. “Doe-Doe” will be sporting a splint and has been cleared to play but will likely be limited in minutes against the Hurricanes.

With uncertainty surrounding the extent of Finney-Smith’s injury, it remains to be seen if Florida head coach Billy Donovan will place him in the starting frontcourt along side junior sharpshooter Michael Frazier II and Michigan transfer Jon Horford. Kasey Hill and Eli Carter are likely to start at the guard spots.

“It reminds me a little bit of the Wisconsin situation,” said Donovan, referring to playing the Badgers in the second game of the season without Scottie Wilbekin and Dorian Finney-Smith because of off the court issues. “I just think a game like this early in November gives you a really, really good gauge of where you’re at and where you need to get better.”

However, the Hurricanes have a new starting lineup of their own that includes two high profile transfers in Texas transfer Sheldon McClellan and Kansas State transfer Angel Rodriguez.

Both McClellan and Rodriguez had successful debuts in a Canes uniform. In their season-opening 84-49 victory against Howard, McClellan dropped 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Rodriguez added 16 points and four steals.

“They (Miami) are probably a lot like us,” said Florida head coach Billy Donovan. “We lose four starters and we’re kind of working and jelling and meshing and playing together. They add a whole new group of guys with McClellan sitting out (last year) and Rodriguez… so hopefully the game is a game for both teams (so) it’s going to both move us forward in becoming better.”

Miami is coached by fourth year Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga, who led the Canes to a 17-16 record last year. The Gators last played Miami in the 2009 NIT with Florida coming away with the win.

Larranaga also coached the 2006 George Mason “Cinderella” team that reached the Final Four as a No. 11 seed. Donovan and the Gators smashed their glass slipper with a 73-58 win and eventually won the first of two back-to-back national championships.

“I think offensively (Larranaga’s) teams have always been very creative,” Donovan added. “I think he’s always tried to try to, as best as he can as a coach, utilize the personnel that he has and give guys freedom to go play.

Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. from the O’Connell Center; you can hear the game live on Country 103-7 The Gator starting at 6:25 pm.

To hear the audio from the story, click below:

Donovan on the benefits of playing a tough team early in the year

Donovan on the similarities between his team and Miami’s team

Donovan on Miami’s offense

 

 

 

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Florida advances in NCAA Tournament, Beat Mercer in Opening Round

By on November 17th, 2014

The Florida Gator soccer team shut out the Mercer Bears 3-0 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday afternoon in Gainesville.

Senior midfielder Annie Speese drew first blood for the Gators with a goal in the 19th minute. Senior outside back Tessa Andujar sent a cross into the box and Speese finished with a powerful volley from 12 yards out. Florida went into the half with a 1-0 lead.

The Gators sealed the win with a pair of goals courtesy of sophomore forward Savannah Jordan. She scored in the 82nd minute and 91st minute, notching her 16th and 17th goals of the year.

“I definitely think we had control of the game,” said Florida head coach Becky Burleigh. “Particularly in the second half, it was really dominant defensively for us. I think our style of play wore them down a little bit. They (Mercer) were chasing the ball for a really, really long time and I think that’s why it opened up late for us.”

Florida had 10 days of rest after getting upset early in the SEC tournament. Because they were bounced early, the team had extra time to work on their game and rest their legs.

“We tried really hard to get the best of both worlds in terms of the rest and recovery that we needed and combine that with competition,” Burleigh said. ” I thought for our plan for that interval was really detailed and it kind of gave us the best of both worlds.

“I actually think that the situation we faced in Orange Beach was a really blessing for us,” added Burleigh.

Next, the Gators will host the California Golden Bears in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The game will be played on Friday, November 21st at the Dizney Lacrosse Stadium at 7 p.m.

For audio from the story, click below:

Florida head coach Becky Burleigh on the layoff leading off into NCAA Tournament

Burleigh on the victory

Burleigh on the team’s depth

 

 

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Gators Top Kentucky on Road, Clinch Share of 2014 SEC Crown

By on November 17th, 2014

The seventh ranked Florida volleyball squad topped 15th ranked Kentucky 3-1 at Memorial Coliseum Sunday afternoon in Lexington to clinch at least a share of the 2014 SEC title — its 21st league championship in school history.

The Orange and Blue used double-digit kills from three players, 10 blocks and a gritty performance all-around for its 16th straight win as the Gators improved to 21-3 overall and an undefeated 15-0 in SEC play this season.

With a three-match lead now over UK in the SEC standings — and three more SEC contests remaining — one more conference win for the Gators would give Florida the 2014 crown outright.

Florida improved to 4-2 this season against top-25 opponents with the four-set win over the Wildcats (25-19, 14-25, 25-21, 25-16).

Freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan (15), sophomore right side Alex Holston (15) and junior middle Simone Antwi (10) all had double-digit kills for the Gators, while senior Taylor Unroe scooped up 10 digs for the Orange and Blue, her second-most in SEC play this season. Junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino dished out 47 assists, posted three blocks and scooped up eight digs to contribute all over the floor. Alhassan and Holston led UF with four blocks each, while Holston served up three of UF’s five service aces.

Gator head coach Mary Wise credited her entire squad for coming together to overcome issues on the court.

“There are so many pieces to this victory because so many different players contributed to this win,” Wise said. “To beat a top-25 team on the road, that’s what it takes.”

Florida will now head to Ole Miss and Arkansas next weekend before returning home for South Carolina. First serve between the Gators and Rebels is 7:30 p.m Friday, while Florida and Arkansas will match up at Arkansas at noon.

You can catch all these matches on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For post game comments from coach Wise, click below:

Wise recaps the match against Kentucky

Wise talks about the play of Alex Holston

Wise talks about the team coming together for the victory

Wise on winning a share of the SEC title

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Meeting Held With Players To Tell Them Of Muschamp Firing; Press Conference Tomorrow

By on November 16th, 2014

A meeting was held today at 1 pm to inform the players of the firing of Gator football coach Will Muschamp.

A person in the meeting told ESPN 850 sports the meeting lasted only about 10 minutes and described the meeting as “emotional.”   The meeting was attended by Muschamp and Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley.  Both spoke to the team.

ESPN 850 sports also spoke to a player who attended the meeting and he confirmed the meeting was an emotional one.   Asked if the firing was expected, the player said he thought Muschamp would have had the chance to finish the year before any decision was made.

The same player said that Muschamp would coach the team for its final two games of the season.

Other players exiting the meeting said they were “confused” and “didn’t know how to describe things” after attending the meeting.  One described the situation as a “tough thing” and another player said the team “loved” Muschamp.  Most of the players who left the meeting came out in small groups although there were a few players who left the meeting alone.

After the meeting, statements were released from Foley and Muschamp.   Foley said in part that he would “…be forever grateful to Will and his staff for their unwavering commitment to the University of Florida and the mission of the athletic program.”  Foley went on to say that Muschamp is “as fine a man as you will ever meet and I will always cherish our relationship with him and his family.”

Muschamp, in his statement, said he was grateful for the opportunity given him to coach at Florida but in part also said “…I simply didn’t win enough games, that’s the bottom line.  I’m disappointed that I didn’t get it done and it is my responsibility to get it done.”

A press conference will be held tomorrow at noon and expected to attend will be Foley, Muschamp and University of Florida president Bernie Machen.

 

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Sources: Will Muschamp To Be Fired At Florida

By on November 16th, 2014

Greenberry Taylor / WUFT News

Coach Will Muschamp reacts during the game Saturday against South Carolina.

According to several media reports and ESPN 850 WRUF sources, Florida football coach Will Muschamp has been fired.

Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples first reported the firing.

There has been no official announcement confirming this from anyone at the University Athletic Association as of yet.

ESPN is reporting that Muschamp will coach Florida until the end of the year and then step down but that also has not been confirmed officially.

After winning two straight games, Florida lost 23-20 in overtime to South Carolina on Saturday, eliminating them from the SEC East race.   Additionally, Florida is now 2-6 in its last eight games in The Swamp.

Update 1:10 p.m.: The University Athletic Association has released official statements from Athletic Director Jeremy Foley:

“Upon evaluation of our football program, we are not where the program needs to be and should be. I’ve always said that our goal at the University of Florida is to compete for championships on a regular basis,” Foley said. “Coach Muschamp was dedicated to developing young men both on and off the field. Our student-athletes showed tremendous growth socially and academically under his leadership. His players were involved in campus activities, engaged with the local community and represented the University of Florida with pride.

“I will be forever grateful to Will and his staff for their unwavering commitment to the University of Florida and the mission of our athletic program. He will be missed by everyone in our athletic department – from the people that worked in his office to the people that painted the fields. Will knew everyone and they knew him and everyone in the building loved working with him. Will is as fine a man as you will ever meet, and I will always cherish our relationship with him and his family.”

Will Muschamp also provided a comment in the UAA’s release:

“I appreciate the opportunity that has been offered to me and my family by Dr. Machen, Jeremy Foley and the University of Florida. I was given every opportunity to get it done here and I simply didn’t win enough games – that is the bottom line. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get it done and it is my responsibility to get it done.

“I have no bitter feelings, but this is a business and I wish we would have produced better results on the field. We have a great group of players and a staff that is committed to this University and this football program. They have handled themselves with class and I expect them to continue to do so. As I’ve said many times, life is 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond.”

The football team was expected to meet at 1 p.m., according to sources within the program.

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Gator Football falls to South Carolina 23-20 in crushing overtime defeat

By on November 16th, 2014

The Florida (5-4, 4-4 SEC) Gator football team blew another fourth quarter lead in The Swamp, this time to South Carolina (5-5, 3-5 SEC) who won 23-20 in overtime. The win marked South Carolina’s second win in school history in Gainesville and in the process spoiled the Gators’ chance at an SEC East title.

Two big special teams plays won this game for South Carolina. The Gamecocks blocked a field goal late in the fourth quarter to prevent the Gators from securing a 10 point lead with three minutes to go. They also blocked Florida’s punt with under a minute to go to set up the game-tying score and send it into overtime.

“We put ourselves in a position to win that game bottom line,” Florida head coach Will Muschamp said. “If you don’t get the punt blocked, you win the game. That’s the bottom line. We knew what we had to do to win the game, we put ourselves in that position, we didn’t get it done.”

South Carolina scored right out of the gates on its opening series on an 85-yard drive that took only three minutes. The drive concluded with a 20-yard touchdown run by running back Brandon Wilds.

On the Gamecocks’ second drive of the game, they chose to go for it on fourth-and-one at their own 42-yard line, but the Gators stopped them, except for the fact that Dante Fowler Jr. was called for a face mask penalty. That tacked on 15 yards and a fresh set of downs for South Carolina. Nine plays later, Elliot Fry knocked in a 31-yard field goal to put SC up 10-zip with two minutes to go in the first quarter.

The Gators ended the first quarter with zero passing yards and only had 25 total yards of offense.

Florida finally got on the board in the second quarter thanks to a 34-yard field goal from Frankie Velez. The nine play, 46-yard drive for the Gators featured all run plays.

The Gators got a huge touchdown to end the first half as Treon Harris found wide receiver Demarcus Robinson in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown. The key play on the five-play, 50-yard drive was Robinson was able to initiate a pass interference call on South Carolina, which moved the ball from mid-field to the SC 24. Three plays later, Harris connected with Robinson in the end zone to knot things up at 10 apiece to end the first half.

In the third quarter, after neither team could do much on offense, the Gamecocks’ were able to work their way down to UF 29-yard line. However, Fry’s 47-yard field goal was wide left to keep the score tied at 10 and give the ball back to the Gators.

Florida capitalized after they took over, marching 71 yards in 10 plays, capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Matt Jones to give the Gators a 17-10 lead — their first lead of the game. Harris converted a pair of big third downs on the drive, one being a 32-yard completion to wide-receiver Latroy Pittman. The other one came on a 22-yard run by Harris, who got the ball to the one. That set up the Gators go-ahead TD.

The momentum clearly swung to the Gators because on the Gamecocks’ ensuing possession, wide receiver Shaq Roland caught a 21-yard pass, but not before UF safety Jabari Gorman stripped it to cause a fumble and then recovered it himself at the Carolina 42.

However, the Gators couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity — a constant theme through the day.

Instead, they gave the ball right back to start the fourth quarter, as South Carolina punched the ball out of Harris’ arm on a third-and-two run and recovered it at their own 31-yard line. The Gamecocks only mustered 17 yards as their series was stalled on a magnificent play by Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, who stopped running back Brandon Wilds in the flat on an option play on fourth-and-two.

Florida had the chance to make it a two-score game, but Velez’s 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked by South Carolina and the ball rolled all the way to the SC 41.

However, the Gators were able to get a crucial stop on third-and-10 thanks to a pass that was broken up by safety Marcus Maye. That forced the Gamecocks’ to go for it on fourth-down. Thompson fumbled the bad snap and chucked it long but it was incomplete to give the Gators the ball back to try and run out the clock with two minutes to go in the game.

But, UF couldn’t get the first down it needed to seal the game. And to make matters worse, the Gamecocks blocked the punt giving them the ball at the UF 34-yard line with 39 seconds to go. Four plays later and after a costly pass interference call on Florida, South Carolina scored on a bizarre option play to running back Mike Davis, who fumbled it, but recovered the ball in the end zone to tie the game at 17 and send it into overtime.

“Two blocked kicks with 3:30 to go playing in the game, cost us the football game,” Florida head coach Will Muschamp said. “Don’t know what else to say other than that. We got 40 seconds to go, just get the ball off. We have an operation time issue on the field goal and a low kick. It didn’t matter what the operation time was, it would’ve been blocked anyways.”

Florida got the ball first to start OT and only managed to get seven yards, but it was able to get a 35-yard field goal from Austin Hardin to take a 20-17 lead. South Carolina took over and ran the ball right down Florida’s throat. The Gamecocks used five run plays to finish the off the Gators as Dylan Thompson took it in himself from four yards out to clinch the 23-20 victory.

“We’re hurt; we’re still a team. We have to move onto next week,” cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III added. “Obviously, we wanted it, but we can’t do anything about it now. We need to just move on and continue our season.”

With the Gators now officially out of the SEC East race, offensive lineman Chaz Green says they still have a lot to play for.

“We’re playing for each other, playing as competitors, playing for the game of football, the man next to you. We playing for a lot things, fans, coach, lot of stuff. We just gotta dig deep and pull close.”

Florida safety Jabari Gorman isn’t worried about the team’s cohesiveness, despite the teams third deflating loss in a row at home.

“We always unified no matter what. There’s no finger pointing or anything like that because we work all off season and we always talked about staying together no matter what.”

The Gators will have their final home game of the season next weekend when they host Eastern Kentucky at noon. Pregame coverage begins at 8 am on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For audio of the above quotes, click below:

Muschamp says they would’ve won if the punt didn’t get blocked

Muschamp on the two blocked kicks costing them the game

Hargreaves on just moving on after the loss

Chaz Green on what they’re playing for now that they’re out of the SEC East race

Gorman on the team sticking together no matter what

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Road Ahead for Gator Women’s Track & Field

By on November 16th, 2014
The University of Florida’s women’s track and field team is in the throws of preparing for its 2015 season. After finishing last season at the 2014 SEC Indoor Championship, the Gators are hungry for January to come and for what this next season will bring them. This is especially true for sophomore hurdler Ryann McEnany, who started out last year injured and didn’t begin competing until six weeks into the season.
“I had really bad shin splints and they were almost stress fractures, and that put me six weeks behind my training group and six weeks behind in our hurdle practice so it was really a set back for me – along with just being a freshman and having to go through all those new changes,” McEnany said.
Despite the setbacks McEnany faced in the 2014 season, she is ready to attack the 2015 season with more vigor than ever.
“This year I’m healthy and I’m faster. My starts have gotten better and I’m quicker on top of the hurdle so I’m really excited for this season.”
And she’s not the only one looking forward to an exciting new season. Senior Loreal Curtis is quick to give credit to the coaching staff and says she is excited to watch the new talent contribute to the team’s success this year.
“Even though we lost great talent, we also gained a bunch – so we haven’t really lost anything. I’m actually really excited to see what this year brings for our team,” Curtis said.
Back during her first season with the Gators, Curtis’ 4×400 meter relay team finished fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and third at Indoor Nationals. Transitioning from the indoor season to the outdoor season can sometimes be a challenge, but Curtis says that the team is used to practicing outdoors while competing in their indoor season. The Gators are looking to defend their SEC Indoor title, as well as make a name for themselves in Outdoor.
“We have won SEC Indoor but we have lost other titles, and this only makes us hungrier to become a better team. We hope to win many more titles this year.”
The Gators first meet of the 2015 season will be January 23rd at the University of Kentucky. This will also mark the start of their indoor season, and another chance to earn that top spot.
Posted in Gator Track and Field, Southeastern Conference | Leave a comment