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FSU looks to re-gain number one spot with matchup against Notre Dame

By on October 17th, 2014

The number five Notre Dame Fighting Irish are looking to upset the number two Florida State Seminoles this weekend when they travel to Tallahassee in a nationally televised college football game.

FSU is looking to regain the number one ranking with a win against the Irish, but Notre Dame is hoping to keep its undefeated season alive. The Seminoles have won their last two top-five matchups this season and are looking for a big win at home this weekend.

Senior offensive tackle Cameron Erving hopes his team can put together one complete game on Saturday.

“When we came out this season we were prepared sometimes and struggled sometimes. We have not been as consistent with the chemistry but we play well but now were just trying to put it all together. One whole game,” Erving said.

This weekend’s match up is one of the biggest of the season for the Noles. Junior linebacker Terrance Smith respects the Notre Dame offense and its quarterback, Everett Golson.

“When you have a dual-threat at quarterback like that it always makes the game harder because even if everyone is locked down in the back end he can still take the ball down and run with it. We just have to make sure that our defensive line keeps their rush contained and keeps them bottled in.”

Most people would believe that the drama surrounding quarterback Jameis Winston could be a distraction for the Seminoles in this game. However, wide receiver Rashad Green says his quarterback does not let outside distractions affect his performance.

“That guy is a competitive human. He works his tail off every day. I don’t think it has anything to do with what’s going on outside of that practice field and our facilities. He is just a hard working guy. That’s my brother and I love him, I see what he does everyday. I can honestly say it’s the work that you put in everyday that makes the results look like they do on Saturdays.”

Kickoff is set for 8:00 Saturday on ABC.

For audio from FSU players, click on the links below:

Erving

Smith

Greene

 

 

 

 

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Buchholz falls to Oakleaf 35-14 in Thursday High School Football, More Local Games Tonight

By on October 17th, 2014

The Buchholz Bobcats could not stop the run against Orange Park Oakleaf, losing 35-14 at Citizen’s Field on Thursday night.

The Bobcats drop to a 3-4 record on the year (1-1 in district play). Oakleaf on the other hand is enjoying a historic season, improving to 8-0 this season.

Buchholz was down 21-14 towards the end of the third quarter when quarterback Jackson White hit wide receiver Wesley Brandenberg in the red zone just short of the goal line. Brandenberg made the reception but fumbled the ball out of the end zone – resulting in a turnover. Oakleaf would go on to score on the ensuing drive, ultimately scoring the game’s final 28 points.

“Whenever you lose, obviously you have to take away something,” said Buchholz head coach Mark Whittemore. “What we chose to take away from it is the fact that we were on the cusp on being tied up at the end of the third quarter.”

The Bobcats had trouble stopping the run all night long. Four of Oakleaf’s five touchdowns came on rushing carries. The Knights racked up over 200 rushing yards in the second half alone.

From here, Buchholz will face another district opponent next week when they take on the Fletcher Senators.

“We got to be very aware of the fact physicality up front is something we got to get done next Friday,” Whittemore added. “We can’t allow Fletcher to push us around.”

Elsewhere in high school football on Thursday, Ocala Trinity Catholic whips PK Yonge 49-0, Trenton beats Hawthorne 51-6 and Leesburg First Academy crushes St. Francis 56-10.  In games tonight…

** The Union County Fightin’ Tigers (4-2, 0-1) will look to get their first district win against the Newberry Panthers (4-3, 2-0).

“If we come out and we play and we don’t beat ourselves, I like our chances,” said Union County head coach Ronny Pruitt. “At the same time, if we come out, have a slow start and let them get up on us it could be a bad night for us.”

Kickoff from Newberry is set for 7:30 p.m.

** The Gainesville Hurricanes (3-3, 2-0) have a district matchup against the Vanguard Knights (2-3, 0-1). Kickoff from Citizen’s Field is set for 7:30 p.m.

** The Eastside Rams (1-5, 1-2) will travel to take on the Crystal River Pirates (1-5, 0-3). Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

** The Santa Fe Raiders (4-2, 1-2) hope to continue their successes against the Belleview Rattlers (1-5, 0-3). Kickoff from Santa Fe is set for 7:30 p.m.

** The Chiefland Indians (3-4, 0-1) will host the Williston Red Devils (1-5, 0-2). Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

** The Suwannee Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0) hope to remain undefeated when they travel to take on the Dunnellon Tigers (5-2, 3-1). Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

For audio from the above quotes, click below:

Buchholz head coach Mark Whittemore says their third quarter fumble killed their momentum

Whittemore says the team needs to be more physical at the line of scrimmage

Union County head coach Ronny Pruitt says his team has to come off focused against Newberry

 

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No. 5 Florida Soccer at South Carolina Thursday

By on October 16th, 2014

Gator soccer is back on the road as they take on the South Carolina Gamecocks tonight in Columbia. The Gators hope to come back strong after losing last year’s match up 2-1 in overtime, making it the Gator’s first home league overtime loss since 2004.

Florida is most recently coming off a 5-1 win over Mississippi State. The team battled back after Mississippi State got it’s first and only goal off a corner kick in the first minute of the game.

” I think the best news about that was it gave us a chance to show some resilience and come back and score a goal 10 minutes later, and then kind of break it open in the second half to score four more for a feel good win on alumni weekend,” said Florida head coach Becky Burleigh.

Florida players have found themselves recognized as Players of the Week four separate times this season. Those who have been honored include Jillian Graff, Pamel Begic, Tessa Andujar, and Savannah Jordan. Key players have helped the team keep an undefeated record in the SEC and so far go 11-2 overall.

Another player head coach Becky Burleigh feels has had stand out performances is Meggie Dougherty Howard.

“Meggie Dougherty Howard who I think is a terrifically talented player who doesn’t have many gaps in her game… she doesn’t get many recognitions but she does everything for us,” said Burleigh.

The Gators hope to keep their perfect conference record against the Gamecocks who are 2-3-1 in conference play.  Despite their record, South Carolina has only surrendered six goals this season and is sixth in the nation with a .414 goals-against-average.

“They’re a really really stingy defense. They don’t give up many goals. They are leading the SEC in that category now and they have traditionally been very good at that. Their goal keeper is the defending SEC Player of the Year,” said Burleigh.

South Carolina is coming off a 1-0 loss against the Kentucky Wildcats, who the Gators will play this Sunday.

Click here for audio of Florida head coach Becky Burleigh:

Burleigh on giving up a goal in the first minute.

Burleigh on Meggie Dougherty Howard.

Burleigh on South Carolina.

 

 

 

 

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Gator Men’s Basketball Holds Annual Media Day, Announces Two Players Out

By on October 16th, 2014

As the Gator football team heads into the second half of its schedule, another Florida sport is just starting up. The Florida men’s basketball team held its annual Media Day on Wednesday, unofficially kicking off the basketball season.

It wasn’t all good news from Florida head coach Billy Donovan though. Sophomore Chris Walker is suspended for three games (including the pre-season exhibition against Barry) for a violation of team rules, and freshman Brandone Francis is out for the year due to an academic problem. All of this on a team that only has one returning starter from last year, and three transfer players on scholarship in Alex Murphy, Jon Horford, and John Egbunu.

Egbunu transferred from USF this off-season after the firing of head coach Stan Heath. Donovan said that Florida would ask the NCAA to grant Egbunu immediate eligibility for this season (there have been some cases where this happened for players who had their coach/recruiter fired), but regardless of the NCAA’s decision, Donovan said he’s very happy to have Egbunu in the program.

“John is gonna be a very, very good player. That’s a guy that whether or not he plays this year, he’s 6 foot 10, 250 pounds. He’s a big strong physical presence at the basket, he’s a great kid and I think he will help us in practice even if he doesn’t play.”

Egbunu is just one of seven new faces on the Gator roster, with four new freshmen (including the ineligible Francis and the walk-on Zach Hodskins) and the three transfers. This new mix of talent can do some different things offensively than past Gator teams.

“The one thing that’s better with this year’s team than a year ago is that we may have more shooting than we had the previous year, and we might be better passing the basketball than we were a year ago. But we don’t have that defensive nastiness that we had a year ago, and we’re gonna have to work hard to develop it,” said Donovan.

Last year’s Gator team made it to the Final Four, but also sported four seniors in the starting lineup. The only returning starter is guard Michael Frazier II, who will now be a focus for opposing teams.

[Frazier] has been a guy that’s been in the background a lot, and was able to do the things he does well, and that’s shoot the basketball.  But this year’s gonna be different for him. I think he has worked hard in understanding that, he understands what he’s up against this year. It’s different when you take the floor and you’re the fourth or fifth guy on the scouting report, and then possibly moving to the number one guy on the scouting report,” Donovan said.

But while Frazier is the only returning starter, a variety of role players return for the Gators this year as well, now in the spotlight of the starting role. Point guard Kasey Hill and forward Chris Walker enter their sophomore seasons seeing their role change from support off the bench to key pieces of the puzzle for Donovan, trying to fill the shoes of seniors who led last year’s team to the Final Four. But Hill does not feel any pressure.

“I don’t feel any pressure at all. Scottie is a great player but he’s his own self and I’m my own self. I’m just worried about this year’s team.”

“We’re a close team. Last year doesn’t really matter, that’s in the past, we’re just focused on right now and getting closer and becoming a better team,” Hill added.

One other returning player is junior DeVon Walker, who will miss this season with a torn ACL. But Donovan noted that Walker may be able to return to practice in January.

Florida opens up its schedule with an exhibition against Barry University on November 6th.

For audio from the Gators’ media day, check out the links below.

Donovan on Egbunu

Donovan On This Year’s Changes

Donovan on Frazier

Hill on this Year’s Team

Hill on Team Chemistry

 

 

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Thursday Sports Update (10/16)

By on October 16th, 2014

Gator men’s basketball gets some not so good news, one team has qualified for the World Series, Gator volleyball gets another win, football news and more in our Thursday Sports Update…

** The Gator men’s basketball team will start practice Friday with some question marks coming off last year’s Final Four run.   Sophomore forward Chris Walker will miss the first three games of the year because of violation of team rules and freshman guard Brandone Francis will miss the entire year to shore up some academic issues.

** The Gator volleyball team is now 7-0 in SEC play after beating South Carolina 3-1 on Wednesday.   Up next a home match against Arkansas Sunday.

** The Kansas City Royals are going to the World Series for the first time since 1985 after beating Baltimore last night to sweep the ALCS.

** The San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 last night to go up 3-1 in the NLCS.   One more win puts San Francisco in the World Series as well.

** In the NFL tonight, New England faces the New York Jets.   And in college football, Oregon State plays Utah and Pittsburgh plays Virginia Tech in an ACC match up.

** In local high school football tonight, Buchholz hosts Orange Park Oakleaf in a key district game.   Elsewhere PK Yonge hosts Ocala Trinity Catholic in a district game.   St. Francis plays at home and Trenton visits Hawthorne as well.

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Gator Football Team Continues Race For SEC East This Weekend: Update From Durkin

By on October 16th, 2014

The Florida Gator football team is gearing up to welcome SEC East foe Missouri to the Swamp this Saturday. The Gators are coming off a 30-27 loss to LSU where Florida’s defense surrendered 305 total yards.  Gator defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin discussed areas he’d like the team to improve upon before facing Mizzou this weekend.

Last year, Tigers quarterback Maty Mauk threw for 295 yards in his first career start against the Gators.  Durkin says he’s a player Florida needs to watch out for.

“He’s extremely dangerous; he can create plays on his feet. He threw the ball rolling out to his left for 70 yards down the field against Georgia. When you have a guy that can do that, it definitely opens your eyes.”

Mauk’s ability as a scrambler also concerns Durkin. He emphasized how crucial it is for the Gators to keep him in the pocket.

“It’s very important, because once he gets out of the pocket; now your defense starts to break down and then he has a run pass option and you have to stay in coverage because he’s not just a scrambler. He can throw the ball too and he throws it on the run. When he scrambles, he’s still looking down the field to throw it. So, we need to contain him, keep him in the pocket; and we also have to stay in coverage down the field when he does scramble.”

In last weekend’s match up against Georgia, Mauk had four interceptions, a lost fumble, and four three-and-outs in a dismal 34-0 loss to the Bulldogs. But despite some mistakes, he still poses a threat for the Gators.  

Overall, the defense has had its fair share of mishaps this season, and it will need to step up in its return to SEC East play.  Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Alex McAllister has been a guy who has done just that.  

“He’s growing into things and I think he has a better understanding of what we’re doing defensively and has more confidence in what he’s doing; his opportunities have continued to grow because he’s done well, so we’re expanding his role every week.”  

However, McAllister isn’t the only player that’s emerged this season; junior linebacker Antonio Morrison has also made a tremendous impact on the squad.  

“I think Antonio is playing great,” Durkin said. “He’s playing his best football since he’s been here. He’s a guy that takes his job and what we do very seriously. He puts a lot of time into it. He spends a lot of time outside from when he has to be here for meetings and practice, and I think it shows in how he plays.”

Meanwhile, injury wise, defensive tackle Leon Orr is expected to return to the field after missing the last two games due to a knee injury.

“He’s supposed to practice today so, we’ll see how he does,” Durkin added. “The guys that have been playing up front have been playing really well. I’m really happy with our rotation up front and obviously bringing him back just adds one more healthy body to the rotation, which is always a good thing.”

Sophomore All-American cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III is also good to go after sustaining a minor head injury on Saturday against LSU.

The squad will continue  its race for the SEC East this Saturday. Kickoff for the Gators homecoming game is scheduled for 7 PM with pregame coverage beginning at 3 on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For audio on the above quotes, click below:

Durkin on Maty Mauk

Durkin on lack of communication

Durkin on Alex McAlister’s play

Durkin on Antonio Morrison

Durkin on Leon Orr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Florida Volleyball Adds to SEC Win Streak with Victory at South Carolina

By on October 16th, 2014

The eighth ranked Florida volleyball team racked up its eighth straight victory with a 3-1 decision at South Carolina Wednesday night.

The Gators (13-3, 7-0 SEC) used 19 kills from sophomore right side Alex Holston and season-best performances from junior outside hitter Živa Recek and senior defensive specialist Maddy Monserez to help down the Gamecocks (13-5, 3-3 SEC) at the Carolina Volleyball Center. Junior Mackenzie Dagostino added 48 assists of her own, and Rhamat Alhassan added five kills, five digs and two service aces.

After falling to the Gamecocks in the first game 25-19, the Gators rebounded with a 25-18 second set, then proceeded to hit .393 in the third game for a 25-13 wire-to-wire set win. The Orange and Blue won a battle in the fourth to close out the match 25-19 in a mid-week clash that featured 22 ties and five lead changes.

South Carolina came into the match as the SEC leader in digs and blocks, but Florida posted 10 blocks to South Carolina’s four, and out-dug the Gamecocks 61 to 51.

Recek notched a season-best 12 kills and hit .357 on the night, while Monserez scooped up a season-best 18 digs to lead the Florida back row, as UF had zero reception errors for the third time in SEC play. Holston boasted a .366 clip, 23 points and was just two digs shy of a double-double, with eight scoops, and two service aces.

The Gamecocks also became the 11th opponent this season that Florida has limited to a .197 hitting efficiency or lower, including all SEC foes so far.

Gator head coach Mary Wise credited her entire squad for the victory, fighting off an early start from South Carolina.

“The story of the season has been on any given night, any one of our players can step up and be difference makers,” Wise said.  “Tonight it was Živa Recek; she, along with Maddy Monserez and Alex Holston, led our team, but we got great production by a lot of people. That’s the only way we beat a team that played this well in this environment.”

The Orange and Blue return home Sunday for a match up against Arkansas in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Gators are 35-2 all-time against the Razorbacks, all under head coach Mary Wise. UF owns an undefeated 15-0 record at home against Arkansas and has won 12 straight in the history of the series.

You can catch Sunday’s matinee on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For postgame comments from coach Wise, click below:

Wise talks about the play of Holston, Monserez, and Alhassan

Wise discusses the play of Recek

Wise talks about answering South Carolina’s early hot start

Wise talks about the team turning the match around

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Gator Volleyball Makes Mid-Week Trek to South Carolina

By on October 15th, 2014

The eighth ranked Gator volleyball team will play its third match in a span of six days Wednesday when the Orange and Blue hit the road for a mid-week clash at South Carolina. The Gators (12-3, 6-0 SEC) and Gamecocks (13-4, 3-2 SEC) will square off at 6 p.m. at the Carolina Volleyball Center.

Florida leads the all-time series, 49-7, and are 43-2 under head coach Mary Wise. The Gators took the last meeting between these two squads in straight sets.

Gator sophomore right side Alex Holston is this week’s SEC Offensive Player of the Week, while freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan is the SEC Freshman of the Week, announced by the league Monday afternoon.

Alhassan and Holston paced Florida as the Gators added two conference sweeps in the O’Dome to maintain their clean slate in the SEC.

South Carolina is coming off a 3-1 loss at Alabama Sunday, and has SEC wins against Ole Miss (3-2), Mississippi State (3-0) and Auburn (3-2) so far in conference play.

You can catch the match on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For comments from coach Wise, click below:

Wise talks about having a strong defense

Wise talks about the perfect mindset for players and coach

Wise talks about the team not trying to outplay themselves

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Gators Gearing Up For Crucial Game vs Missouri This Weekend

By on October 15th, 2014

The Florida Gator football team is in midst of preparing for Saturday’s Homecoming game against SEC East rival Missouri. The Gators are coming off a heartbreaking 30-27 loss to LSU, but now, the squad is focused on moving forward and redeeming themselves. Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and a few of the players discussed preparations for Mizzou as well as the team’s status heading into this weekend’s SEC matchup.

The big news is, redshirt junior Jeff Driskel and true freshman Treon Harris will both see action at quarterback against the Tigers.  Though it is currently unknown to what extent or how they’ll be utilized, Driskel is expected to start the game, and both quarterbacks will share snaps.

“Jeff’s going to start, but this week obviously is an important week to see how each guy prepares and does all those things,” Roper said. “Hopefully we do get a hot hand and do well the whole game. I’d like to get a hot hand for sure.”

Harris, a dual-threat quarterback from Booker T. Washington has completed 4 of 6 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns so far this season. He replaced a struggling Driskel late in the third quarter at Tennessee two weeks ago and led the Gators to 10-9 victory over the Vols, which his offensive coordinator is very proud of.

Roper elaborated on Harris’s performance thus far this season, and says he’s looking forward to seeing his young but talented quarterback thrive and flourish in Florida’s offense.  

“Treon is a really good football player and has a lot in front of him. He doesn’t understand what we’re doing quite as well, obviously, because of the time that he’s been here. The best way that I can say it is that he finds a way to make plays. He’s a guy that I enjoy coaching because he goes out there to get better every day, and works hard with great effort. We’ve got to make up some ground, obviously, but I think we’ve got time to do that.”

“Right now with Treon, the thought process has to be to just let him go play. You’ve got to try to not create too many burdens right now as he’s progressing through, not that he can’t obviously, understand what we’re doing. He does a good job, but you always grow in an offense the longer you play.”

The first year offensive coordinator also emphasized the need for more production from Florida’s wide receivers. The Gators finished with 183 total passing yards  against LSU, 104 of them coming from wide receiver Demarcus Robinson.

Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent. So what you have to do is practice at the speed of the game. Make it a game rep and hopefully it transitions to being more successful. But really, it comes down to the guys having confidence in themselves. I think the goal is to score points, to win games. It’s simply, you know, decisions being made to find a way to put points on the board.”

The squad knows a lot is on the line and revealed  how critical this season is – every game is a must win.

“We have four games to get us to the SEC Championship,” offensive lineman Max Garcia added. “Four very winnable games if we go out there and do what we’re supposed to do and what we are capable of doing. We have what we want right in front of us. So, if we go out there and approach it one game at a time, we’ll be right where we want to be.”

The team can still fight through adversity and win the SEC East – it all comes down to how bad they want it.

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is slated for 7 PM and you can catch all the pregame action right here on ESPN 850 WRUF beginning at 3.

For audio on the above quotes, click below:

Roper on Harris adjusting to the offense

Harris playing QB as a true freshman

Driskel will start vs Missouri

Roper on receivers

Roper on Harris being a big playmaker

QB rotation is based on series

Driskel will start vs Missouri

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday Sports Update (10/15)

By on October 15th, 2014

The SEC Commissioner will step down, Gator volleyball, baseball playoffs, NFL news, college football and more in our Wednesday Sports Update…

** Mike Slive will retire on July 31, 2015 after serving 13 years as the SEC Commissioner.   He also announced he is being treated for a recurring case of prostate cancer.

** The Gator volleyball team tries to stay unbeaten in the SEC when it travels tonight to face South Carolina; we have live coverage at 5:50pm.

** The Kansas City Royals are one win away from their first World Series since 1985 after beating the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 Tuesday in Game 3 of the ALCS.   Game 4 today in KC.

** The San Francisco Giants go up 2-1 in the NLCS after a home 5-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday.   Game 4 tonight in San Francisco.

** The NFL will kick off its new week tomorrow with an AFC East match up between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots.

** The Miami Dolphins lose running back Knowshon Moreno for the season because of a knee injury.

** College football Thursday has Utah-Oregon State and Pittsburgh-Virginia Tech on the schedule.

**

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