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Gator Football Looks To Take Down South Carolina In SEC Finale

By on November 12th, 2014

The Florida Gator football team is in full swing prepping for its next SEC battle against the South Carolina Gamecocks this weekend. The Gators are coming off an impressive 34-10 road victory over Vanderbilt where Florida’s offense had a strong showing and the squad will look to continue its success on Saturday.  Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and a few players discussed the team’s big win and preparations for the upcoming SEC finale.

In his second career start for Florida, true freshman quarterback Treon Harris completed 13-of-21 passes for 215 yards and scored on two rushing touchdowns.  Roper says there seems to be a spark in Florida’s offense with Harris at the helm, and elaborated on how the young quarterback seems to be adjusting to his new job under center.

“There’s obviously some things we have to work out. He hasn’t arrived by any stretch of imagination, but he does have a calm demeanor, he does a good job with his vision and buying a little time; moving in the pocket and just making plays.”

“I think he enjoys playing so much that he doesn’t feel the outside pressures or things like that,” Roper added.  “I think he’s a guy that obviously understands the role. He just goes and plays and doesn’t let other things influence him. It’s interesting to see.”

Roper also emphasized on how the running game has helped Harris out, especially in Florida’s 38-20 win over Georgia where the Gators rushed for 418 yards as Harris attempted only six passes.

“Being able to run the football with a young quarterback really helps try to take some pressure off of him and try to build some confidence, so we aren’t putting him in a game that’s necessarily a difficult game at this point. We would like to be a run-first-physical mentality team. I think that’s our identity that you’re seeing, but the game can change based on the score so that can fluctuate.”

The Miami native from Booker T. Washington was named the starter during Florida’s bye week, replacing fourth-year junior Jeff Driskel. Driskel didn’t get a single snap in the team’s victory over the Bulldogs but did see some action in the Wildcat formation last week against Vandy, where he carried the ball four times for 10 yards and a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal situation. Although Driskel’s role is not what he envisioned, he says he will do whatever he can to help the Florida program succeed.

“At the end of the day it’s a team sport and everyone has to contribute and do their part,” Driskel emphasized. “If mine is the back-up and not getting any plays at all, I want to be ready in case Treon goes down. If it’s being in a wildcat type of role, I want to be ready to run the ball and understand the blocking schemes and the defense we’re going to get. I think it’s not just me that feels that type of responsibility; I think that’s something that you have to have in a team sport.”

“Being a competitor, you always want to be the guy and have the ball – but at the end of the day I was raised right,” he emphasized.  “I think my parents did a great job instilling a sense of, ‘a team is greater than an individual’.”

Meanwhile, Roper discussed the offense’s overall status heading into Saturday’s game, as well as the keys to success.

“I think we’re pretty good.  Again, our biggest thing, if we can score over 30 points and take care of the football, we’re in pretty good shape.  The Georgia game we had really good tempo, we were having really good first down production in the run game. Last game it wasn’t as easy, it was hard to run the football against what Vanderbilt was doing.  We ended up in more second-and-long, so that was making me have to think before I just threw a play out there.  If you watch, we like to hit a lot of tempo after explosive plays. That’s no secret.”

The Gamecocks enter this weekend’s contest on a quest to end a four-game SEC losing streak, its longest since 2007;  while Florida can remain alive in the SEC East race with a win against South Carolina.  But in order to do so, they must be prepared for a defense  whose had a few rough weeks - but still poses as a threat for the Gators.

“You know, it’s interesting, you see a team that was much more multiple from the Auburn game to the Tennessee game, giving you more problems and front recognition and those type of things.  You see an aggressive secondary, you know, you see a team that’s not afraid to press you, I think they’re nickel is a heck of a player, a fast twitch guy that does a lot of really good things in the run game, so you see a defense that has had a tough couple of weeks, but you see a defense that causes you some challenges.”

The Gamecocks  (4-5, 2-5 SEC) have won only once in 14 games at Florida (5-3, 4-3 SEC) – and the Gators are hoping to keep it that way on Saturday.

Kickoff is set for noon, with coverage of the game beginning at 8 a.m. on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For audio on the above quotes, please click below:

Roper on Harris improving

Roper on run game helping Treon out

Roper on offenses’s status

Roper on South Carolina’s Defense

Driskel on his role in the offense

Driskel on handling the back-up position

 

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Gator Soccer To Host Mercer in Opening Round of NCAA Tournament

By on November 11th, 2014

The Florida soccer team learned its NCAA Tournament fate on Monday afternoon and the Gators will host Mercer on Sunday afternoon in a first round match up.

Florida (14-4-1) was given a No. 2 regional seed. They will welcome the Mercer Bears (14-5-2) at the Dizney Lacrosse Stadium on Sunday at 2 p.m.

“We’re really excited to be home because we’ve traveled so much this year,” said Florida head coach Becky Burleigh. “I think that’s been the biggest relief, just to be able to stay in our own beds and to get into a routine. We’ve had a little bit of a layoff and I think that’s been a very positive thing for us.”

Florida played Mercer in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament with the Gators pulling out the 3-0 win.

This is the program’s 18th appearance in the NCAA Tournament through its 20 year history. The Gators hope to bounce back from an early SEC Tournament exit after falling to Tennessee in penalty kicks.

“Well I think what was (most) important was our mentality after the loss,” Burleigh said. “We really came together as a group and really supported one another. Especially when you have penalty kicks – that’s such an individual thing at that point, it doesn’t feel like a team situation. But the fact that our players really rallied around each other after (the loss) I think showed a lot of maturity on our team and a lot of growth on our team.”

The Gators are led by sophomore forward Savannah Jordan, who has 15 goals and six assists this year.

To listen to audio from the story, click below:

Florida head coach Becky Burleigh is thrilled to be hosting their first round game

Burleigh is proud of the way her team responded after their loss in the SEC tournament to Tennessee

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Brotherhood of Baseball

By on November 11th, 2014

Former UF pitcher Hudson Randall comes from a baseball family where his dad and older brother inspired him to start playing ball.

“My dad and older brother were already in the sport, so by the time I came of age I sort of just joined in on the fun,” Randall says.

Randall’s brother played with him all throughout his youth and in high school, “playing with me and catching me all the way through high school.”  However his brother’s career ended after high school was over.

Randall found a new brotherhood coming into college; his recruiting class he was one of the main reasons he wanted to come to UF.

“I thought this was the place to be especially after seeing my incoming class and all the great guys coming in. I wanted to be a part of it.”

The righty  had great success at the University of Florida by being top three in wins, ERA, starts and walks issued per nine innings in his career.  He also is the Gator NCAA Tournament all-time leader in strikeouts, wins, and innings pitched.  Randall credits most of his success to the people that surrounded him more then his own ability.

“I think it comes down to the group of guys that were here especially my class, 2009, we just had really great chemistry. All the guys wanted to come through in the clutch and it became a really good environment to grow good competition and brought the best out of me here,” Randall said.

After his junior season, Randall was drafted in the seventh round of the MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers.  He decided to leave UF and go pro but the decision was not easy. One of the biggest factors on why he left was because most of his teammates were leaving.

“Again the group of guys I came with. I felt like I was going to be alone here so I wanted to give the pros a shot.”

Randall was released by the Tigers and now helps out the pitching coaches at UF. He is also finishing his degree and is looking to get into real estate but playing ball again is still an option if it’s the right place.

No matter what his future, Hudson Randall still remains statistically as one of the best pitchers in UF history.

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The drought continues, Bucs lose to Falcons

By on November 11th, 2014

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Atlanta Falcons for the second time this season on Sunday, this time losing 27-17.  This is also the fifth game that the Bucs have lost after a fourth quarter lead.

Starting off the game, the Bucs only scoring chance was a 51 yard field goal by kicker Patrick Murray.

In the second quarter, the Bucs tied the game 10-10 after a 22 yard pass to wide receiver Mike Evans but the Falcons responded with a 43 yard field goal, giving them a three point lead at the half.

The Bucs then went scoreless in the third quarter while the Falcons were able to kick another field goal in their first possession of the second half.

In the fourth quarter, quarterback Josh McCown’s one yard pass to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins shot the Bucs ahead bringing the score to 17-16. However, the Falcons then responded with a touchdown and a two point conversion on their first possession of the quarter and then another field goal on their second possession, bringing the score to the final 27-17.

Quarterback Josh McCown was visibly upset after the game.

“It just hurts,” said McCown about another loss.

“We realize what our record is…we’ve got to find a way to get a win,” said Bucs coach Lovie Smith.

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Dolphins Lose in Closing Seconds to Lions, 20-16

By on November 11th, 2014

With 29 seconds left, quarterback Matthew Stafford delivered a dime to Theo Riddick to give the Detroit Lions a 20-16 win over the Miami Dolphins.

Lion quarterback Matthew Stafford finished the game with 280 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill went for 207 yards, one TD and one pick.

Via ESPN Stats and Info, the Lions have now won three straight games with game-winning scores that have come within two minutes left to play in the game.

Ryan Tannehill had his most rushed game of the season, as he was pressured on 39% of his dropbacks throughout the game as the Lions finished with three sacks.

After the game, Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin said it was a tough loss for his team.

“It’s easy to say it’s on the defense, because they got scored on with 30 seconds to go, but we had the ball on offense and an opportunity to run the clock out and get first downs, but we didn’t do it. It was a team loss, they deserve credit, they made the plays to win the game.”

This week the Dolphins (5-4) take on the Buffalo Bills (5-4) at home on Thursday night in an AFC East showdown, while the Lions (7-2) take on the Arizona Cardinals (8-1) in Arizona as the two top teams in the NFC duke it out.

Tannehill Talks About the Team Loss

Philbin Talks About Losing in All Facets of the Game

 

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Tuesday Sports Update (11/11)

By on November 11th, 2014

Gator soccer in the NCAA Tournament, Gator football, Monday Night Football, and more in our Veteran’s Day, Tuesday, Sports Update…

** The Gator soccer team will host Mercer this Sunday in its first NCAA Tournament game after the field was announced yesterday.   The game is set for 2 pm.

** Gator football coach Will Muschamp hopes to have some injured players back for the game against South Carolina this week although he lists safety Keanu Neal and offensive lineman Trenton Brown as doubtful at this time.

** FSU coach Jimbo Fisher addressed a report first made on TMZ that FSU quarterback Jameis Winston was being investigated by the NCAA for possible point shaving.   Fisher said he gets reports on things all the time and sends them to the proper channels.

** On Monday Night Football, Philadelphia crushes Carolina 45-21.

** Former Gator and current San Francisco 49er defensive lineman Ray McDonald will not have domestic violence charges brought against him after an investigation into the allegation after his arrest back in August.  Prosecutors cited insufficient evidence as to why it would not go forward with charges.

** The Rookie of the Year awards were announced in baseball; in the American League Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu wins the award; the National League winner is New York Mets pitcher Jacob De Grom.

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Gator Football Gearing Up For SEC Finale Against South Carolina

By on November 11th, 2014

The Florida Gator (5-3, 4-3 SEC) football team is riding a two-game SEC winning streak and looksto make it three in a row this weekend when they host South Carolina (4-5, 2-5 SEC). The Gamecocks are coming off a bye week, but before it, they blew a fourth quarter lead to Tennessee, who went on to win 45-42 in overtime. Despite South Carolina’s fourth quarter debacles this season, Florida head coach Will Muschamp can see why they’re ranked second in the SEC in passing offense.

“Offensively, they’ve been outstanding this year. They’re the best offense we’ve faced in my opinion to date this season. Dylan Thompson is playing very well. He has 22 touchdown passes. Really throwing the ball well. They’re a talented group outside. They’ve got Pharoh Cooper who does it all. He lines up and plays wildcat, quarterback, speed sweeps. They run it with him or they throw it to him. He is a talented football player.”

In the last two games, the Gator offense has produced over 420 total yards and Muschamp hopes to continue that trend this weekend.

“We’re getting there. Gotta continue to run it well to develop some other things in the passing game. Whenever you put it on tape, not just to throw it deep, but to complete it deep. As a defensive coach, you’re saying ‘ok these guys are willing to do what they need to do.’ There was no question Vanderbilt was bound and determined to make us throw the football. We saw that early in the game and knew we were going to have some opportunities to take some shots.”

Meanwhile, injury wise, Florida’s offensive linemen were banged up during the Vanderbilt game, but Muschamp expects to get most of them back.

“Keanu Neal, hoping to get him out there maybe Wednesday. Looks to be doubtful at this time. Trenton Brown, not ruling him out at all, hopefully Wednesday to get him back on the field. Tyler Moore had an ankle, he should be fine. Chaz Green had a sprained knee, he should be fine. Jeremi Powell sprained his knee that he had surgery on. He may be doubtful for this game as far as being a special teams contributor for us. And Gerald Willis, we will try to get out and move around today, but I expect him to play this Saturday.”

The last two games in The Swamp have not been pretty for the home team. The last one being a blowout win by Missouri 42-13. UF hasn’t won a home game since Sep. 13 when they beat Kentucky 36-30 in a triple overtime thriller.

“Our fans do deserve something to cheer for at The Swamp,” center Max Garcia said. “We gotta defend it. The Swamp is a place where other teams should fear coming into. Gators only get out alive. We gotta make that happen again.”

Florida will need a victory on Saturday to even have a slim shot at the SEC East title. Even if the Gators get the W, they still need Missouri to lose to Tennessee and Texas A&M or Arkansas. In addition, they need Auburn to beat Georgia this weekend as well.

Kickoff for the Gators SEC finale against the Gamecocks is set for noon on Saturday, with pregame coverage beginning at 8 a.m. on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For audio of the above quotes, click below:

Muschamp on South Carolina’s offense

Muschamp on improving in the passing game

Muschamp on injuries

Garcia on giving the fans something to cheer about

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Monday Sports Update (10/10)

By on November 10th, 2014

The new college football polls are out, NFL round up, NBA and more in our Monday Sports Update…

** New college football polls are out today (the Playoff Committee poll comes out tomorrow) and Mississippi State is number one followed by FSU, Oregon and Alabama in the top four.   Right behind is TCU fifth and Baylor sixth.

** All Florida NFL teams lose on Sunday.   Miami is now 5-4 after a loss at Detroit; Jacksonville is 1-9 after a loss to Dallas and Tampa Bay is 1-8 after losing to Atlanta.

** Monday Night Football tonight has Carolina facing Philadelphia.

** In the NBA, Brooklyn beats Orlando 104-96 and Miami downs Dallas 105-96.   Both Orlando and Miami are off today.

** In NASCAR, Kevin Harvick earns a spot in the Chase For The Cup Final Four with a win Sunday in Arizona.  Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano have also advanced.

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Florida NFL Week Ten Round Up

By on November 9th, 2014

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Dallas Cowboys

The 1-8 Jacksonville Jaguars are set to take on the 6-3 Dallas Cowboys in London.

The Cowboys are trying to battle back from two consecutive losses, most recently falling to the Arizona Cardinals 28-17. The question circling the game seems to be whether or not Dallas quarterback Tony Romo will play after suffering a back injury two weeks ago. Romo as well as teammates Ronald Leary and Doug Free are expected to return from their injuries to play in this London game.

The Jaguars are also coming of a loss… 33-23 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

According to Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley his team is finally starting to understand what it means to have a relentless offensive line as the offense improves every week.

“We talked earlier in the year about developing that type of a mind set with our offensive line and hopefully it spreads through the team, ” Bradley said.  “But we really started with them about being relentless and owning that part of it because that’s what it takes with our scheme; I think the last couple weeks and how we’ve run the ball, I think that it’s been more real for them now and they’ve taken ownership into that relentless part of it.”

The Jaguars have successfully reached the quarterback plenty of times this year with 27 sacks but the secondary struggled with blown coverages at the start of the season making it difficult for good defensive results. The unit has improved; where in the first four games it gave up 25 pass plays of 20 or more yards, it has only allowed 14 in the past five games.

“They’ve (Dallas) got a real good offensive line. They jell together well… they run the ball well and he’s (DeMarco Murray) just tough to bring down. So for us it’s going to be making sure we stay in our gaps and get hats on them. Get people to the ball and get them to the ground. So I think it’s going to be difficult, but for us… I think we should be able to handle it,” said defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Atlanta Falcons in their second meeting this year. During the first the Bucs fell to the Falcons 56-14.  The Falcons have a 2-6 record on the season, losing five consecutive games. After losing 22-21 last week, Falcons head coach Mike Smith has found himself under a lot of heat after the loss after some clock-management issues in last week’s London game.

As for the Bucs who are 1-7 in the season, they find themselves in last place in the NFC South. The Bucs announced earlier this week that quarterback Mike Glennon would not get the start this weekend… it will go to Josh McCown.

“They decided that it would be best for Josh to go ahead to get the start. For me things aren’t going to change for the way I prepare. I was in here all day watching film and I’ll be in here bright and early taking care of my business as usual and we’ll just keep preparing the same way and nothing is going to change with the way I work,” said Glennon.

Miami Dolphins vs. Detroit Lions

The Miami Dolphins will hit the road this weekend to take on the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Both teams are coming into the game with a three-game winning streak, but most recently the Lions are coming off a bye week after two one point wins.

The Dolphins find themselves at 5-3 after three straight seasons of being .500 or worse. Most recently, Miami crushed San Diego 37-0.

“When it comes down to it we are coming off three wins and that’s the bottom line. No matter if you win ugly or win pretty, you win, and that’s the bottom line in this league. We are here to win,” said quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Click here for audio from coaches and players:

Bradley on offensive line.

Marks on Jags defense.

Glennon on being benched for McCown.

Tannehill on winning.

 

 

 

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Harris Leads the Gators to a 34-10 Road Win Over Vanderbilt

By on November 9th, 2014

Florida freshman quarterback Treon Harris only threw six passes in his first career start against Georgia. But Harris showed he’s capable of much more in his next start as he led the Gators to a 34-10 road victory over Vanderbilt Saturday to improve Florida to 4-3 in the SEC. Harris was 13 of 21 for a career-high 215 yards and ran for 49 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

“Nothing he does shocks me, as far as, how he competes and plays,” said Gator coach Will Muschamp. “He’s a very coachable young man from the standpoint of, he gets better every single day he goes out there. He works at it, he likes working. He likes being the quarterback at the University of Florida. He likes the competitive-edge part of it. There’s nothing he does that shocks me to be honest.”

The Gator defense forced four turnovers, which translated to 13 points. Linebacker Antonio Morrison says the defense prides themselves on forcing turnovers.

“That’s our big emphasis. We always make a goal of how many turnovers we want to get before the game. We didn’t reach our goal, but we still got the ball out and that was a big change in the game.

Vanderbilt got the scoring started in the first quarter on a seven-play, 85-yard drive that ended with freshman quarterback Johnny McCrary firing a strike to tight end Steven Scheu for a 33-yard touchdown. However, that would be the only touchdown the Commodores would score for the rest of the game. McCrary finished 14 of 35 for 160 yards with two interceptions.

Florida quickly responded with a 10-play, 65-yard drive on its next possession. The drive concluded when running back Kelvin Taylor juked his way into the end zone on a 13-yard scamper to tie it up at 7. Just like they did against Georgia, the Gators went on to score 24 straight points.

The Gators looked they were about to take the lead in the second quarter. A 48-yard pass from Harris to wide receiver Ahmad Fullwood gave the Gators first-and-goal. But after UF had the ball at the Vandy one-yard line, the ‘Dores stuffed them on four consecutive runs to force a turnover on downs.

After the Commodores took over, running back Ralph Webb, a Gainesville native, fumbled at the nine-yard line and Florida recovered. The Gators had a chance to redeem themselves and once again got the ball down to the one. On fourth-and-goal, quarterback Jeff Driskel took a direct snap and leaped over the pile, just barely crossing the goal line to score a touchdown. That put the Orange and Blue up 14-7 with 8:38 to go in the first half.

On Vanderbilt’s next drive, Webb fumbled again inside Vandy territory after he was stripped by linebacker Antonio Morrison. Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III recovered it at the Vandy 43. Nine plays later, Frankie Velez kicked a 40-yard field goal to extend Florida’s lead to 17-7, which they would take into halftime.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, but the Gators ended the third quarter on a 60-yard bomb from Treon Harris to wide receiver Quiton Dunbar. That set up first-and-goal from the Vandy nine-yard line as the quarter came to a close. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Harris ran in untouched for a seven yard touchdown run to give UF a 24-7 lead.

“We need everybody to come together,” Dunbar said. “And continue to come together to finish out the season strong and try to win out. I believe we can.”

The Commodores would cut the lead to 24-10 on their next drive after a 48-yard field goal from Tommy Openshaw but Florida quickly its lead to 31-10 after Harris marched the Gators down the field for a six play, 66-yard drive that concluded with a great quarterback designed run by Harris, who took it to the house for a 33-yard TD.

On Vandy’s ensuing posession, Vernon Hargreaves III picked off Johnny McCrary at the ‘Dores 26 to set up a 25-yard field goal by Velez to make it 34-10 with a little over eight minutes to go in the game.

The Commodores appeared on the verge of trimming Florida’s lead after a lengthy 12-play drive. However, from the UF 27, McCrary lofted it to the end zone, and freshman corner Jalen Tabor made a one-handed snag to intercept it for a touchback and seal the Gators second straight SEC win.

Florida hasn’t lost to Vanderbilt in Nashville since 1988.

“We’re on a positive slope,” center Max Garcia said. “We’re peaking right now as a team. The team chemistry is out the roof. Guys love each other, guys are playing for each other, we want to sell out for each other. I think if we just continue to do this, there’s not a team that can stop us.”

Now the Gators bring their two-game SEC winning streak back home as they host South Carolina next weekend in their final SEC game of the season. Kickoff from The Swamp is set for noon, with pregame coverage beginning at 8 a.m. on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For audio of the above quotes, click below:

Muschamp on Harris

Morrison on how the defense emphasizes forcing turnovers

Dunbar on team needing to come together

Garcia on the team chemistry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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