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Gators Final Open Practice Of Preseason Camp; Practice Update From Muschamp

By on August 17th, 2014

The Florida football team is wrapping up Week Two of training camp and with the season opener just 14 days away, the Gators are in full force preparing to kick off the 2014 season. Gator head coach Will Muschamp discussed the team’s progress as well as some critical decisions that need to be made before the season opener against Idaho.

There is still a lot of competition and position battles going on right now and the most important decision is finding a back-up to starting quarterback Jeff Driskel. Freshmen Treon Harris and Will Grier who have been sharing reps with the second team offense are in the mix and vying for the spot. The coaching staff would ideally like either Grier or Harris to redshirt this season. Muschamp said no decision has been made, but it will be determined in the near future.

“I think all the backup guys have had some very good moments,” Muschamp added. “They’ve been put into some adverse situations when you talk about a true freshman walking in. We had four or five one-minute situations where those guys have got to make great decisions, as far as getting rid of the ball, knowing when to scramble, knowing when to get out of bounds and knowing when to get rid of the ball.

“We haven’t made any decisions on any of that yet,” he added.”We would like to go in and have a guy play and redshirt another guy and move forward. But we’ll see how that plays out.”

According to Muschamp the coaches and staff are going to evaluate the players and finalize the squad’s depth chart soon in preparation for the season.

“Well, we need to watch the film today, we’ll watch it with the players tonight,” he said. “I told them we’ll sort through the depth chart of guys we can count on moving forward and guys that need to get more reps and guys whose reps will dwindle. I mean, that’s just part of it. Your tape is your resume. The guys that are producing and playing well and doing it the way we want to do it, those are the guys that’ll play.”

Some great news is Gator standout running back Matt Jones and offensive lineman Trip Thurman will return to practice on Saturday after missing a few days this week due to injuries. Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. also played in Friday’s scrimmage at full force after sitting out of most of Thursday’s practice wearing an orange non-contact jersey due to a very minor shoulder injury. Fowler confirmed there’s no reason to be alarmed.

“It was nothing big,” he said. “Hitting D.J. Humphries Trent Brown, Chaz Green all those guys, for 14 days straight, y’all would be hurting, too.”

Meanwhile, freshman offensive tackle David Sharpe sustained a high ankle sprain during Friday’s scrimmage and is day-to day, but expected to return to practice soon.

“It happened this morning,” Muschamp said following Florida’s 15th practice. “But he’s fine. We’ll see him Saturday morning. Those high ankles can be two days, they can be a week. We need to get him back. He’s a really good football player, he’s very athletic, 6-6, 330 pounds, moves his feet extremely well. A guy that’s going to help us this year.”

Overall, Muschamp seems pleased with the team’s progress in developing and implementing the new up-tempo shot gun spread offense under offensive coordinator Kurt Roper. According to Muschamp, the offense looked extremely impressive and produced quite a few explosive plays during Friday’s scrimmage in the swamp.

“We’re more talented on offense than we were a year ago at this time. That’s the number one thing,” Muschamp added. “Regardless of what we’re doing schematically, which I really like what we’re doing, we’re better. We’re better at receiver, we’re better at running back, Jeff is a year better, we’re better on the offensive line, we’re better at tight end. We’re better at every position.”

“That’s what gets you excited as much as anything,” he added. We’ve got great competition. Those guys know they have to come out every day and compete. There’s nobody that’s got a job, you’ve got to go compete.”

Florida’s last open practice of fall camp will be held this Saturday morning at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at 11 a.m. where the squad will practice in helmets only – prior to Florida’s annual Fan Day which will be at the Stephen C. O’ Connell Center from 3-6 p.m.

Muschamp on redshirting Grier or Harris

Muschamp on sorting through depth chart

Muschamp on back-up QB position

Muschamp on Gators 15th practice

Muschamp on Florida’s new and improved offense

Fowler on his minor shoulder injury

 

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Gators Continue To Make Progress During Fall Camp; Practice Update From Durkin

By on August 15th, 2014

The Florida football team is in full swing preparing for the 2014 season. Gator defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin met with the media following another productive practice on Thursday to discuss the team’s status and overall improvement.

Gator standout defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. wore an orange non- contact jersey during practice on Thursday after sustaining a minor arm injury during Wednesday’s practice, but according to Durkin there is no reason to be alarmed because it was just precautionary.

“He’s fine,” Durkin said. He’s ready to go. He did some of practice, and some we held him out. That was just precautionary.”

Durkin also praised the St. Petersburg native on his phenomenal performance throughout fall training camp and how Fowler has really distanced himself from other players.

“I’ve been proud of Dante about the way he’s practiced,” he added. “He’s been very consistent with his effort and how hard he’s going, and it’s showing. He’s getting better and improving.”

Meanwhile, tailback Kelvin Taylor returned to practice after missing three days with a very minor hamstring injury. He worked with the first team offense. Wide receiver Andre Debose is also back in action. Matt Jones is still not practicing because of some swelling in his left knee sustained during Saturday’s scrimmage but is expected to return sometime this week.

All-American sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III may still be in an orange non-contact jersey, but according to Durkin VH3 is back at full speed after sustaining a bone bruise.

“He just missed a handful of days which unfortunately a lot of guys do during training camp, Durkin said. “But Vernon will be fine, he’s a competitor and he prepares really well. He’s hopping in as much as he can and he’s back at full speed right now -  so he has plenty of time to get himself ready.”

Hargreaves may be the unquestioned leader of the secondary, but more importantly – he’s distinguished himself as a renowned leader of the Florida football program.

He’s done a great job,” Durkin said. “He has the ear of the team. Guys obviously respect him. These young guys back there, when someone is leading them the right way, that’s a great thing.”

Durkin also mentioned that the Gator coaching staff is eager to get freshman defensive back Duke Dawson back from the minor shoulder injury that he sustained in order to find out where he’ll be the best fit in the secondary. Durkin said he’s impressed with how versatile Dawson is and elaborated on how the former Dixie County standout is a great asset to the squad.

“One of the good things about him is he’s very versatile,” Durkin said following Thursday’s practice. “He can do a lot of things. He can cover inside, he can cover outside. He can almost kick in and play safety, too. That’s a valuable guy for us to have. We’ll see how it kind of shakes out once he gets back.”

“That’s still sorting itself out,” he added. “We still have a scrimmage coming up. Duke is definitely in the mix. We’re counting on him to play and contribute this year.”

Another topic Durkin covered was the coaching staff’s decision to move sophomore defensive back Marcus Maye from safety to nickel.

That was something we just tried out here going into camp and he’s looked really good doing it,” he said. “Obviously, he has great coverage ability. That nickel spot is a unique thing. That guy’s got to be able to blitz, cover, man cover, zone cover, do all of those things. Marcus kind of has a feel for it.”

Durkin added that the competition for starting positions is well underway and many decisions may not be made until the final rep of the final practice. The squad is encouraged to continuously bring that inner drive and energy everyday day to every practice.

“We’ve had great competition,” Durkin said. “Competition makes everyone better. They’re battling really good. They’ve all had days where you could say this guy is better than the other. The good news is they’re all competing and playing well. They’re going to help us.”

The Gators will hold another open practice Saturday at 9 a.m. at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, but first Gator head coach Will Muschamp is expected to meet with media at 11:30 a.m. today and we will continue to bring you updates on ESPN 850 WRUF radio.

Durkin on Dante Fowler jr

Durkin on Dante Fowler being a consistent player

Durkin on Marcus Maye

Durkin on competition with positions

Durkin on Vernon Hargreaves III

 

 

 

 

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Friday Sports Update

By on August 15th, 2014

The last open Gator football practice, some former Gators in the news, NFL, big league baseball with a new commissioner and more in our Friday Sports Update…

** The last open Gator football practice will be held this Saturday morning at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium from 9-11 am.   Florida’s first game is now a little more than two weeks away.

** Tennessee has named its starting quarterback and it is Justin Worley, a player who got some time against the Gators last year in Gainesville.

** A couple of former Gators are in the news today.  The Tampa Bay Rays have sent infielder Cole Figueroa back to the minor leagues after an extended stay with the big club.   And former Gator golfer Camilo Villegas has the first round lead at the PGA’s Wyndham Championship after shooting an opening round 63.

** In the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars lose to the Chicago Bears 20-19 in their second exhibition game.   This weekend Miami will play at Tampa Bay.

** The SEC Network has officially kicked off after it went on the air at 6pm yesterday.   Former Gator Tim Tebow was in town to report on Florida.

** Major League Baseball has a new commissioner after Rob Manfred was elected to succeed the retiring Bud Selig; he will start after Selig’s term ends at the end of this year.

** In baseball results, Tampa Bay beats Texas 6-3 to take three of four in the series; the Rays will now face the New York Yankees this weekend.   Miami downs Arizona 5-4 and Atlanta loses 6-4 to the LA Dodgers; the Braves will face Oakland this weekend.

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Thursday Sports Update…

By on August 14th, 2014

A verbal commitment for Gator football, more open practice, baseball, and bad news for Tiger Woods in our Thursday Sports Update…

** The Gator football program gets a 2015 verbal commitment from 6’4″ 325 pound offensive lineman Brandon Sandifer from Georgia.   The last three verbal commitments for Florida are all from Georgia.

** Open practice today for the Gator football team starting at 8:50 am at the Dizney Lacrosse Complex.

** The Gator soccer team will play two exhibition matches this weekend; tonight against FIU and Saturday against Baylor at Pressly Stadium.

** The Jacksonville Jaguars play their second exhibition game of the season tonight against the Chicago Bears.

** Bad news for Tiger Woods; his back injury forces him to withdraw his name from consideration for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

** In baseball, Tampa Bay beats Texas 10-1 while Atlanta edges the LA Dodgers 3-2 and Miami loses 5-2 to St.Louis.   Today, Tampa Bay is at Texas, the Braves host the Dodgers and the Marlins start a series with Arizona.

** The NBA schedule for the 2014-15 season has been released and it features some interesting matchups.   LeBron James and Cleveland will visit his old team Miami on Christmas and defending champ San Antonio opens its season with in state rival Dallas.

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Vernon Hargreaves Is Back In Action; Kurt Roper Meets With Media For The First Time Since Spring

By on August 13th, 2014

 

The second week of the Florida Football team’s fall camp is underway, and the Gators are in full swing preparing for the 2014 season.

The big news is sophomore All-American cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III returned to practice in an orange non-contact jersey. Hargreaves did individual drills after suffering a minor bone bruise last week. Defensive end Jonathan Bullard who had a sprained ankle also returned to practice.

Meanwhile, first-year offensive coordinator Kurt Roper met with the media for the first time since spring camp. Roper talked about his new up-tempo shot-gun spread offense and how receptive the squad has been to the new changes.

“It’s been really good, Roper said. “I think these guys are excited about playing football. It wouldn’t matter who you rolled in here, when this time of season comes around everyone is excited. I hope they’re enjoying the offense, I hope they’re enjoying competing on the practice field, and I really think they’re excited to start competing on Saturday’s.”

“We’ve got some really good football players,” he added.  “So I think we have a good group that is working. I think they’ve got a really good understanding of what we’re asking them to do.”

Roper added that Jeff Driskel has unquestionably established himself as Florida’s starting quarterback but the competition for the backup position is still in the mix. Sophomore Skylar Mornhinweg, and true freshmen Will Grier and Treon Harris are all vying for the spot. Grier and Harris where put in blue contact jerseys by coaches and were live in practice on Tuesday. After practice, Roper discussed how both players are progressing throughout fall camp.

“Will’s got a pretty good command of the offense, managing the line of scrimmage and getting everybody on the same page and has great communication,” Roper said. “I think Treon is being pretty decisive right now. Where they are different is in size, and there is a difference in top-end speed. But both of them are quick and both of them can throw the football.”

While Driskel’s backup is still unknown, Roper hopes to have a decision sometime soon.

“We’ll have to make decisions here pretty soon and start trying to get more reps that way,” Roper said. “I still think we’re in a competitive situation.”

Roper added that he is ecstatic to be Florida’s new offensive coordinator and excited to unveil his new offensive scheme this fall. He’s pleased with the offense’s overall progress and more importantly, he’s happy to develop great relationships with the team.

“What I’ve learned is that is what a great part of this is, Roper said. “That’s been the part that I’ve enjoyed the most. You develop relationships through a lot of shared experiences, and now that I’ve been here for eight months, there’s a lot of shared experiences with these guys.”

“I see a lot talent – I see guys that are working hard that want to be good,” Roper added.

And it’s witnessing that inner drive and motivation, all the intangible things – that make him love his job that much more.

Florida’s next open practice will be held Wednesday at 8:45 a.m. at Dizney Lacrosse Stadium.

Vernon Hargreaves III returns to practice.

Kurt Roper on team’s talent

Kurt Roper on Grier and Harris

Kurt Roper on team’s progress

Kurt Roper on forming bonds with players

 

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Wednesday Sports Update

By on August 13th, 2014

More Gator football, possible legal issues for Tony Stewart, a former Gator back in the NFL and baseball results in our Wednesday Sports Update…

** Gator football has another open practice today starting at 8:50 am.   It will be at the Dizney Lacrosse Complex.

** The Gator volleyball team, ranked in the top ten nationally, is picked to win the SEC title in a vote of league coaches.   Kentucky is picked to finish second with Missouri third.

** Former Gator quarterback Rex Grossman is back in the NFL after being signed as a free agent by the Cleveland Browns.   He is a 13 year league veteran.

** There is possible legal trouble for NASCAR driver Tony Stewart following that accident over the weekend in which Stewart’s car ran over a driver in a sprint car race.   So far, no charges have been filed in the case.

** The sale of the LA Clippers is now official as Donald Sterling finally is out and in is new owner Steve Ballmer.

** In baseball, Tampa Bay loses 3-2 to the Texas Rangers while the Atlanta Braves lose 4-2 to the LA Dodgers.   Miami blanks St.Louis 3-0.

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Second Week Of Fall Camp Underway; Practice Update From Muschamp

By on August 13th, 2014

 

The Florida football team opened up its second week of fall camp on Monday, following their first scrimmage of the preseason. Gators head coach Will Muschamp updated the status of the team following Monday’s practice.

The good news is that sophomore All-SEC cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III has been rehabilitating his bone bruise injury and is expected to return to practice either today or Wednesday according to Muschamp.

“Vernon ran on the non-gravity treadmill today, so he looks fine,” Muschamp said. “We’re thinking Tuesday or Wednesday he’ll be back.”

Meanwhile, numerous players sat out of Monday’s practice to nurse minor naggering injuries from Sunday’s scrimmage and the first week of fall camp. Running back Kelvin Taylor sustained a hamstring strain and is shooting to be back on the field by the end of the week. Matt Jones and wide receiver Andre Debose did not practice on Monday; both have some knee swelling but will most likely return on Tuesday or Wednesday. Defensive end Jonathan Bullard has an ankle injury and missed Monday’s practice, but should return soon.

Defensive lineman Taven Bryan has strep throat and is day-to- day and freshman defensive tackle Thomas Holley will undergo surgery to relieve discomfort caused by scar tissue from a sports hernia he had in high school. Muschamp said that he is out indefinitely.

“Thomas, from the sports hernia he had in high school, he has some scar tissue built up,” he said. “They are going to go in and shave that down. I don’t know when the timeframe is for that. I want to say the surgery is Tuesday. We are trying to get him in today. That’s not a major procedure. It’s more like having a scope done. But he had some scar tissue that’s built up and it’s very discomforting when he ran. So he’ll be out for some time. I don’t know how much.”

Although the Gators came out of Sunday’s scrimmage with a few minor injuries, Muschamp said he was pleased with the squad’s first scrimmage, and is a happy with where his team is heading into the second week of fall camp.

“We had about 80 to 85 scrimmage snaps Sunday. I thought was pretty good,” he added. “We scrimmaged earlier than we ever have done before. I felt like we needed to get out and let the guys play a little bit – a new offense, let those guys make adjustments on the field, continue to work on being a good situational team. But I thought we got a lot of good things done in the scrimmage.

“I’m pretty pleased with where we are,” Muschamp added. “We still are a work in progress behind Jeff. Those guys were alive yesterday – went against live rush, so we need to get better at getting rid of the football and taking care of the the ball. The ball security at that position was not very good, but I’m very pleased with our wideouts as far as playmaking ability. We need to continue to work on assignments. Pleased with our running back situation.”

Muschamp also praised sophomore Keanu Neal and said he has distanced himself for a starting spot at safety.

“Keanu Neal right now’s our best safety,” Muschamp said.

While true freshmen Will Grier and Treon Harris, and sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg are vying for the back up quarterback position. Muschamp said he isn’t certain when the decision will be made but would like to see more production from the three contenders.

“Behind Jeff at quarterback, we need to make strides, which we haven’t,” Muschamp said. “Not that the guys aren’t working, not that we don’t think we can be productive, but we need more production.”

The Gators will hold another open practice Tuesday at 8:40 a.m. at Dizney Lacrosse Stadium. Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper is expected to meet with media at 11 a.m. and we will continue to bring you updates on ESPN 850 WRUF radio.

 

Muschamp on Hargreaves Injury

Muschamp on Sunday’s scrimmage

Injury update from Muschamp

Muschamp pleased with team’s progress

Muschamp on competition for backup QB spot

Muschamp says Keanu Neal is the best safety

Muschamp on Thomas Holley

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday Sports Update

By on August 12th, 2014

Gator football practice, baseball, good news for Gator soccer and more in our Tuesday Sports Update…

** The Gator football team is dealing with some minor injuries as practice resumes today.   Players like defensive backs Vernon Hargreaves III and Duke Dawson, running back Kelvin Taylor and others did not practice Monday because of injury.

** The Gator soccer team is picked to win the SEC championship in a poll of league coaches.   Texas A&M is predicted to finish second with South Carolina third.

** In baseball, the Kansas City Royals have taken over the lead in the AL Central after the Detroit Tigers lost and the Royals won their eighth straight game on Monday.

** The Miami Marlins use two homers by Giancarlo Stanton to beat St.Louis 6-5; Atlanta loses to the LA Dodgers 6-2 and Tampa Bay blanks Texas 7-0.

** The long awaited SEC Network debuts this Thursday and each team in the league will have programming dedicated to their school in the coming days to kick off the network.

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Gators Open Second Week Of Fall Camp Today; Muschamp Pleased With Team’s Progress

By on August 11th, 2014

The first week of fall training camp is in the books and the Gator football team opens up the second week of practice today.

The biggest news of Florida’s fall camp thus far was the minor injury to sophomore All-American cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. Florida released a statement from Gators coach Will Muschamp saying Hargreaves is day-to-day with a bone bruise on his left knee but he will be just fine and is receiving treatment.

Starting quarterback Jeff Driskel is looking comfortable and confident in offensive coordinator Kurt Roper’s new up-tempo shot-gun spread offense. He’s been very consistent with his accuracy and decision making and Roper’s scheme seems to be the perfect fit for him. The battle for the backup position is still up for grabs and the competition is still brewing. True freshmen Will Grier and Treon Harris have continued to split reps with the second team along with sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg.

Muschamp added that the process may take a while and the decision may not be determined until the final rep of the final practice. He also mentioned that he’s seen a lot of great qualities in Harris and Grier that he admires.

“Those guys have shown some really good things as far as arm talent and poise,” he said. “The number one thing that strikes me with both young men is they have a positive way about themselves with the players. I think they call it the “it” factor – as far as how the players respond to them.”

Meanwhile, quite a few underclassmen are really stepping up and contributing to the squad. Defensive back J.C. Jackson made some great plays and is proving that he is a physical specimen. Quincy Wilson has also made his presence felt at the cornerback position. He really held his own in contact drills against the receivers and looked great in coverage.

Sophomore wide receiver Demarcus Robinson is another guy who’s loaded with talent. He’s without a doubt the most consistent Gators receiver with great hands and is turning heads at every practice. On Friday night, he had two touchdown receptions once leaping to catch a ball in the corner of the end zone, then grabbed a second during red zone drills.

Sophomore linebacker Jarrad Davis is also a player to keep an eye out for throughout camp. Davis worked his way into the starting lineup as a true freshman and showed signs of becoming a big time playmaker last year. With his high-motor and relentless attitude he’s poised to have a breakout season. Davis said despite arriving at Florida as only a three star prospect, he’s ready to make a big impact on his squad.

“Muschamp sat us down in that team meeting the first time we got here and said two star, three star whatever – we don’t care,” Davis said. “As long as you work hard and go out there and give it your all you can get on this field. So I took what Muschamp said and I went out there and gave it my all.”

“I was still shocked because I was a freshman and a young guy,” he added. “But hey, they needed somebody and I stepped up and like I said I’m always going to do it for my teammates and go as hard as I can to show what type of guy I am and hopefully motivate them as well.”

Florida’s center Max Garcia agreed with Davis and indicated that it’s the intangible things such as a player’s burning desire to succeed that truly makes a team.

“Picking each other up, building each other up, not bringing each other down,” he added. “Just really humbling ourselves and realizing that we went 4 and 8 together and that this season is about us staying together, being together because at the day we are all we have – and all we need.”

The Gators next open practice will be held on Monday at 8:40 a.m. at Dizney Lacrosse Stadium.

Here’s a gallery recapping first week of fall camp:

 

Muschamp on Harris and Grier

Jarrad Davis on being a leader

Jarrad Davis on joining starting lineup as a freshman

Max Garcia on team’s chemistry

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday Sports Update

By on August 11th, 2014

Gator football practice continues, a tragic accident in auto racing, a come from behind PGA win and more in our Monday Sports Update…

** Gator football practice continues today at 8:40 am at the Dizney Lacrosse Complex; the practice is open to the public.

** The auto racing world mourns the death of 20 year old Kevin Ward Jr. in a NASCAR race in New York over the weekend.   Ward did not like the way fellow driver Tony Stewart collided with him during the race and he got out of his car to confront Stewart when Stewart’s car hit him.   Stewart did not race in a scheduled event on Sunday.

** In the NASCAR race on Sunday, AJ Allmendinger wins his first ever NASCAR race, beating Marcos Ambrose.

** Rory McIlroy is certainly on a hot streak as he comes from behind to win the PGA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky.   He wins his fourth major by beating Phil Mickelson by one shot.

** In baseball, Tampa Bay loses 3-2 to the Chicago Cubs and will now start a series with the Texas Rangers.   The Miami Marlins lose 7-2 to Cincinnati and the Marlins will now host St.Louis.   Atlanta beats Washington 3-1 and the Braves will start a series with the LA Dodgers in Atlanta.

** The NCAA is going to appeal at least part of the recent ruling that allows athletes to receive money when their likenesses are used in video games.   A judge ruled players in football and basketball should receive at least $5,000 a year for rights to their names and likenesses.

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