ESPN 850 WRUF – Gainesville, Florida

Florida Football Faces Must-Win Against Missouri In Homecoming Game

By on October 18th, 2014


The Florida (3-2, 2-2 SEC) football team is coming off its toughest loss of the season, losing to LSU 30-27 on a last second field goal. Now the Gators host Missouri (4-2, 1-1 SEC) for their Homecoming game and need a win to keep their SEC East hopes alive.

The Gators and Tigers are meeting for just the fourth time and today marks their second clash at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Last week, Mizzou was shutout at home by Georgia 34-0. In that game, Tiger quarterback Maty Mauk had five turnovers, but Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin says he’s a great player.

“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.”

Not only does Mauk have a strong arm, but he also is a threat to run. Durkin knows it will be imperative for the Gator defense to contain 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.”

Missouri ranks 11th in the SEC in rushing and passing offense, but Tigers radio play-by-play man, Howard Richards, thinks the running backs for Mizzou have the capability to burst for big runs at anytime.

“Russell Hansbrough, Marcus Murphy, those two guys know how to get it done. If that offensive line can get together and give them any creases or any daylight, either of those guys can exploit those little seams or holes, and go the distance.”

Over on the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers defense lost a few players who were drafted to the NFL, but Richards thinks the defensive ends on this year’s team have stepped up.

“I felt and still feel that Missouri’s starting defensive ends, Shane Ray and Markus Golden, are a better starting pair than last year’s starting pair of Michael Sam and Kony Ealy. They’re more active, I think the up-side is better for these guys. Ray and Golden can both play against the run and they’re very good pass-rushers. Very instinctive players. I think they’re going to get better even this year.”

The Gators have had terrible production from their receiving corps. The only player that has over 200 yards receiving is Demarcus Robinson, who has 476 yards. On the other hand, Missouri has three receivers that are over 200 yards receiving. Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper thinks the receivers are maybe trying too hard.

“They’re like anybody else they don’t want to let anybody else down. They don’t want to let the other guys down on the team. I don’t see it as a lack of concentration. I see it as trying not to make a mistake, and it maybe leads to that.”

Meanwhile, injury wise, Gator defensive tackle Leon Orr will be back on the field as well as sophomore All-American cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.  

Florida’s next four opponents are all in the SEC East, and center Max Garcia says head coach Will Muschamp stressed just how important this stretch is for the Gators.

“He told us we have four games to get us to the SEC Championship. Four very winnable games if we go out there and do what we’re supposed to and what we’re capable of doing. He put that in perspective for us. We have what we want right in front of us. So if we go out there and approach it the right way, one game at a time, we’ll be where we want to be.”

The Gators will get the chance to start their four game win streak later tonight. Kickoff for the Homecoming game against Missouri is set for 7 pm. Be sure to tune into ESPN 850 WRUF for pregame coverage starting at 3 pm.

For audio of the above quotes, click below:

Durkin on Mauk’s strong arm

Durkin on the need to contain Mauk in the pocket

Richards on Missouri’s running backs

Richards on Missouri’s starting defensive ends

Roper on the receivers’ not wanting to let anybody down

Garcia on winning the next four games


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UF Homecoming Parade Recap; Florida Gators Face Missouri Tigers Tonight

By on October 18th, 2014

Here are some of the sights and sounds from the University of Florida’s annual Homecoming Parade. The Gator football team is set to face SEC East rival Missouri in its Homecoming game tonight at 7 PM in the Swamp. You can catch all the pregame action  on ESPN 850 WRUF beginning at 3.


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Florida NFL Preview

By on October 18th, 2014

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the midst of their bye week as they prepare to take on the Minnesota Vikings October 26th. The Bucs are coming off a tough loss to the Ravens last week, 48-17. Fullback Jorvorskie Lane has been suspended for two games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.  According to Lane, he did it unknowingly.  Lonnie Pryor is likely to step and take over Lane’s position.

Looking to the north, the Jacksonville Jaguars are set to take on the Cleveland Browns this weekend. The Browns are coming off a victory against Pittsburgh, whereas the Jaguars have yet to get their first win. According to Jags quarterback Blake Bortles it has been little things that have hurt the team.

“A missed block here, a missed throw there… those are the things we need to improve on.” he said.  The game will take place in Jacksonville at 1 PM this Sunday.

The Miami Dolphins will face the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The Bears are coming off a win, while the Dolphins are looking to gain one this weekend. Dolphins coach Joe Philbin says Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs to improve before the upcoming game.

“I always talk about the quarterbacks, talk about decision making, talk about accuracy, talk about making plays. Those three things I’ve said since day one,” said Philbin.

See below for the full audio clips from Jags’ Blake Bortles and Dolphins’ Joe Philbin.




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Friday Sports Update (10/17)

By on October 17th, 2014

The World Series is set, Gator soccer takes a loss, NFL and college football results and more in our Friday Sports Update…

** The World Series is now set in Major League Baseball.  The San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals last night 6-3 to win the National League pennant and set up a World Series match up with the Kansas City Royals.

** The Texas Rangers have a new manager after hiring Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister to replace Ron Washington.

** The Gator soccer team loses for the first time in SEC play Friday at South Carolina 3-2.   The Gators will play again Sunday at Kentucky.

** The New England Patriots edge the New York Jets 27-25 on Thursday Night Football.  The Pats move to 5-2 while the Jets fall to 1-6.

** In college football, Utah edges Oregon State 29-23 and Pittsburgh tops Virginia Tech 21-16.

** In high school football, Buchholz loses at home to Orange Park Oakleaf 35-14 in a district match up.   Trenton beats Hawthorne, Ocala Trinity Catholics blanks PK Yonge and St. Francis loses to First Academy.

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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:








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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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