ESPN 850 WRUF – Gainesville, Florida

Roper: Driskel Needs To Get Off To Fast Start

By on October 10th, 2014

The Gator football team is gearing up to face one of its biggest SEC rivals, the LSU Tigers, in The Swamp on Saturday night. The Gators have won three of the last four meetings with the Tigers in Gainesville, most recently a 14-6 win in 2012. Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel was the starting quarterback for that game, and he will be for this one as well.

Driskel was benched in the Tennessee game late in the third quarter, and was replaced by true freshman Treon Harris. Harris led the Gators to a 10-point comeback victory but on Monday, he was suspended indefinitely after being accused of sexual assault.

However, the attorney for Harris, Huntley Johnson, issued a statement that says in part that “we believe the evidence will show the alleged victim was in fact in the sexual aggressor with not one, but two young men early last Sunday morning.”

Johnson added that “we have previously indicated that we do not believe that Mr. Harris will be arrested or prosecuted. That is because of our experience and the facts of this case. He is not guilty of a crime and he did not mistreat this young lady in any way that night.”

With Harris suspended for the LSU game, that means Jeff Driskel will undoubtedly will be the starter. Driskel has struggled this season posting a 55 percent completion rate, five touchdowns and six interceptions. Gator offensive coordinator Kurt Roper talked about what he thinks will be the key to getting the red shirt junior out of his funk.

“What you try to help him do is get off to a good start. I think you saw that in the last game with some different things with him running the football and some balls on the perimeter like protected screens. I think that’s really the focus, how do you help him get out on a fast start, and the other guys around him have to do the same thing.”

Despite Driskel’s rough season up to this point, the coaches still have faith in him to get it corrected.

“Jeff understands that his number one responsibility is to go help us win a football game,” Roper said. “Our responsibility as coaches is to help him push through that and help him understand that we do have confidence in him.”

The one bright spot for the Gators on offense has been their run game thanks to junior running back Matt Jones. Jones has 372 yards in four games to go along with three touchdowns.

“Right now, what we do well is run the ball pretty well,” Roper added. “We’re a pretty physical football team. Those guys up front are playing good football. I think that’s really our identity right now.”

Another bright spot for the Gators has been the defense. After getting trashed for 672 yards in the Alabama game, the defense clamped down against Tennessee, only allowing three field goals. Florida is ranked fourth in run defense and 13th in pass defense in the SEC. Gator defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin stressed just how important it is to bring the same intensity every game on defense.

“Playing in this conference every week, you better bring your best game and be ready. That’s the message every week regardless of what happened the previous week. Obviously, our older players know that and understand that and we count on them too for their leadership to make sure guys prepare and practice the right way.”

Amid the Treon Harris distractions this week, Durkin says the team hasn’t shown any effects from it in practice.

“I haven’t noticed anything different with our guys in practice. Our guys are used to that, whether that’s good or bad or not. When we come over to practice and get in our meetings and go out on the field, our guys do a great job of focusing on what’s going on.”

The Gators will need to put all of their focus on LSU this weekend in order to secure their third SEC victory of the season.

Kickoff is set for 7:30, but you can catch live coverage starting with the pregame festivities at 3:30 on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For audio of the above quotes, click below:

Roper on how to help Driskel

Roper on the coaches having trust in Driskel

Roper on the run game being their identity

Durkin on bringing your A-game every week

Durkin says the team doesn’t let distractions affect them

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Friday Sports Update (10/10)

By on October 10th, 2014

A star college running back is suspended, Gator sports, NFL news, baseball playoffs and more in our Friday Sports Update…

** University of Georgia star running back Todd Gurley will not play against Missouri Saturday after being suspended indefinitely by the school.   Georgia is investigating alleged violations of NCAA rules.

** UCF picks up a 31-24 overtime win over BYU last night.   The Golden Knights are now 3-2 on the year.

** In the NFL, Indianapolis wins its fourth in a row, holding on to beat the Houston Texans 33-28.

** In high school football Friday, Gainesville High faces Buchholz in Gainesville in a city rivalry game.   Other area games of note are Dixie County-Hamilton County, Trenton-Chiefland, PK Yonge-Interlachen and Crystal River-Santa Fe.

** The Gator volleyball and soccer teams are at home this weekend.   Gator soccer hosts Mississippi State Friday while soccer hosts Georgia Friday and Texas A&M Sunday.

** The baseball playoffs continue this weekend as both the American League and National League Championship Series get underway.

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Florida Football Update: Despite Distractions Gators Look To Take Down LSU

By on October 9th, 2014

The Florida football team is gearing up to host SEC opponent LSU this weekend. The Gators are coming off their 10th straight victory over SEC East rival Tennessee and are focused on preparing to earn a win over the Tigers this weekend. According to Florida head coach Will Muschamp, the Gators will do so without University of Florida quarterback Treon Harris in the lineup.

Harris remains suspended indefinitely from the football team after being accused of sexual assault. Authorities are in the midst of investigating the allegation and Muschamp says there have been no updates regarding the matter.

“The statement that the University released Monday I think was pretty explanatory. It’s a very serious charge and there has been no change in his status. That’s where we are and I don’t have any other comments on the situation.”

He added that there was a possibility Harris may have been named the starter for Saturday’s game, but now redshirt junior Jeff Driskel will unquestionably be back under center for Florida. Meanwhile, true freshman Will Grier will compete with third-year sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg for the backup role.

“Jeff is going to start the game. We had not made a decision on who was going to start the game. Jeff was going to play in the game. Right now Skylar and Will are swapping reps with the second group and we will make that decision game time.”

Another lingering question to be determined is whether or not the coaching staff will redshirt Grier.

“We hadn’t really made a decision considering the length we still had to go in the season. So you know, we hadn’t had that discussion as far as redshirt at that time. Given the situation of having two guys that had played to that point in the season, that’s probably where we were headed. Certainly given the situation right now, obviously not.”

Like Florida, the Tigers are also in a quarterback controversy. LSU head coach Les Miles has yet to decide whether sophomore Anthony Jennings or true freshman Brandon Harris will start on Saturday after an embarrassing 41 to 7 loss to Auburn. Last week, Harris struggled, completing 3 of 14 passes for 58 yards while Jennings had issues the week prior against New Mexico State.

Meanwhile, injury wise, Florida’s trio of freshmen – running back Brandon Powell (hamstring), wideout C.J. Worton (broken hand) and Grier (back spasms) are expected to return to the field this week. Senior linebacker Michael Taylor will also be back in action. Defensive tackle Leon Orr is still questionable for Saturday’s game and slot receiver Valdez Showers will miss this week due to a high ankle sprain.

“As far as injury right now, Leon is questionable for the game. He has worked out with us the last two days but we’ll see how he continues to progress throughout the week. Mike Taylor, his knee is fine. He’s got the flu. He’s missed the last 48 hours with us but he’ll be at practice today and will practice and play in the game. He’s ready to go.”

“Brandon Powell looks great. He’s moved extremely well. Will Grier is good. He’ll be ready to go. Matt Jones has a little swelling on the knee but should be fine, game time. Valdez Showers is out with a high ankle but we will get him back next week. I feel very confident in that. And C.J. Worton is back and he will play in the game Saturday. So it’s good to get him back.”

Despite all the distractions earlier in the week, the team is focused on progressing and moving forward.  Muschamp says the squad is looking to rally around adversity and renew the team’s confidence.

Which begins with his starting quarterback.

“Jeff’s a tough man. He’s resilient. There are some situations he needs to play better. He takes full responsibility. The way he has handled the situation has really been outstanding. I think we’ve taken out a lot of the positive things he’s done within his career here at the University of Florida which there’s definitely a lot. He’s played in some big games,  one of those game was just two years ago.”

“That game was against LSU – and we won.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s SEC showdown is slated for 7:30 PM and you can catch all the action on ESPN 850 WRUF beginning at 3:30.

For audio on the above quotes, click below: 

Muschamp on Driskel and Harris

Muschamp on Will Grier

Muschamp on LSU

Muschamp on backup QB position

Muschamp on LSU’s QB’s

Muschamp on Driskel

 

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Thursday Sports Update (9/9)

By on October 9th, 2014

College football, NFL news, baseball playoffs, the start of the NHL season and more in our Thursday Sports Update…

** Central Florida and BYU play in college football tonight.   On Friday, Stanford and Washington State hook up in a Pac 12 match up.

** The NFL Thursday game tonight has Indianapolis playing the Houston Texans.

** The NHL regular season started last night with the defending Stanley Cup champion LA Kings raising their banner at home, but the game didn’t turn out well as they were blanked 4-0 by San Jose.

** The American League and National League Championship Series are about to start.   In the AL, Kansas City faces Baltimore and in the NL San Francisco challenges St. Louis.

** Both the Gator soccer and volleyball teams will be at home this weekend.   Gator soccer has one game Friday while volleyball will play in the O’Connell Center on Friday and Sunday.

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Nick Alexiou’s Move from Virginia to UF

By on October 9th, 2014

Junior year isn’t really anything special for most college students, however 2013 All American freestyle swimmer Nick Alexiou is an exception. Alexiou transferred from the University of Virginia this past spring to swim for the University of Florida.

Alexiou started swimming at the age of 12 after realizing he wasn’t too good at soccer. He had always enjoyed swimming as a kid so he decided to try out for a summer league team.

“It’s hot in Florida so being in a pool kinda makes sense over summer,” said Alexiou.

After high school in Clearwater, Alexiou went to swim for the University of Virginia. After the head coach retired at the end of his freshman year, Alexiou decided to stay for one more semester to see if he liked the new coaching staff.

“It wasn’t exactly the perfect fit for me under the new head coach,” said Alexiou.

Deciding he wanted to transfer, Alexiou went on recruiting trips to Tennessee and Florida. “Florida was definitely the best fit,” Alexiou said after his recruiting trip in December 2013.  He then transferred a short while later to swim under head coach Gregg Troy.

“I’ve received a lot of support from Gregg Troy… actually the whole staff together really,” said Alexiou about his new coaching staff.

With a new team and a new season come new goals as well. Alexiou wants a chance to swim on the 800 freestyle relay as well as place in the 200 and 500 freestyle. “I think this team right now has a chance of winning that relay… I would like to be an NCAA champion on the relay,” said Alexiou.

While Alexiou isn’t swimming, he tries to attend his political science classes as much as he can and likes to hang out with his teammates. “I try to do well in school…that’s really important…it’s why we’re all here,” said Alexiou.

Alexiou credits his Dad with being influential in who he is today. “He’s been there since day one… if I want to do something he’s going to listen to it and tell me why I should do it and why I shouldn’t do it. He always tries to give me the full picture on almost everything I do,” said Alexiou.

Alexiou strives to “take it one day at a time and just try to get better everyday.” The Gators next meet is against LSU at home in the O’Connell Center on Friday, October 10.

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Wednesday Sports Update (10/8)

By on October 8th, 2014

NFL owners meet, an honor for a former Gator quarterback and the National League Championship Series is set in baseball and more in our Wednesday Sports Update…

** NFL owners are meeting today to discuss the league’s personal conduct policy among other things.   Also to be discussed is the sale of the Buffalo Bills and other items.

** Former Gator quarterback Danny Wuerffel is now officially a member of the College Football Hall of Fame after formal induction last night in Atlanta.   He had been voted in last December.

** In baseball, the National League Championship series will feature the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants after both teams clinched their NLDS with wins yesterday.   The Giants eliminate Washington and the Cardinals eliminate the LA Dodgers.

** UCF and BYU will start this week’s college football schedule on Thursday while Indianapolis and Houston will start the NFL schedule for this week on Thursday as well.

** Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will plead not guilty to child abuse charges according to a spokesperson for his attorney.   Peterson is on paid leave from the Vikings and his return to the team this year is questionable.

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Tuesday Sports Update (10/7)

By on October 7th, 2014

Bad news for Gator football, the MLB playoffs continue and a tough night for a former Gator in the NFL in our Tuesday Sports Update…

** Nothing new so far today to report on the indefinite suspension of Florida quarterback Treon Harris, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a female on the University of Florida campus last weekend.

** With LSU a night game this week for Gator football it will be followed by another night game the next week as Florida hosts Missouri for a 7 pm kickoff on ESPN or ESPN2.

** In the NFL, Seattle beats Washington 27-17 but it could have been worse; former Gator Percy Harvin had three touchdowns called back because of penalties but the Seahawks won anyway.

** The NFL will begin HGH testing on its players this season, with a total of over 900 tests to be given for human growth hormone during the course of the regular season and the post season.

** In the National League Divisional Series, Washington beats San Francisco 2-1 but still trail 2-1 in the series with Game 4 tonight in San Francisco.   The St. Louis Cardinals beat the LA Dodgers 3-1 to go up 2-1 in that series with Game 4 tonight.

 

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Jumping to Victory

By on October 7th, 2014

Senior track athlete Marquis Dendy is entering the final season of his decorated career at the University of Florida. Before he became a two time national champion, he was state champion in Delaware where he still holds records for long jump and triple jump.

Coming out of high school he was the number one long/ triple jumper in the nation and he knew that he wanted to come south for track because of the weather.

“It’s really cold up north and I knew I didn’t want to be in any school up north or in the cold area,” says Dendy.

For him being in the south was important for training.

“I remember training in snow and when its freezing up there and putting on all those layers, just wasn’t good.”

Dendy’s inspiration for jumping and his success can be tied back to his family, specifically his aunt.

“My aunt was in the Olympics, she ran as the alternate for the 4×400 alongside some of the greats,” Marquis says. “Having track in my family gene pool made it something I wanted to pursue.”

Dendy is coming off a remarkable season where he was named SEC Men’s Field Athlete of the Year and won the NCAA championship for the long jump, while setting both school and NCAA records, not to mention setting a world leading mark for the year. However, he doesn’t feel as much pressure coming into this season.

“Not any different pressure than it was years before that, every year to me is pressure but I mean I’m really used to it and confident in my ability,” Dendy said.

Dendy credits outdoor champion and UF alumni Omar Craddock as his mentor over his time here, saying Craddock has “always been around me helping me here and there.”

Entering his final season Marquis Dendy will look to defend his national championship titles in both indoor and outdoor long jump with another tremendous season.

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Gator Football Suspends Treon Harris

By on October 6th, 2014

On Monday afternoon, the University of Florida released a statement regarding the situation involving freshman quarterback Treon Harris:

“University of Florida student athlete Treon Harris is accused of sexually assaulting a female student early Sunday morning in a residence hall on the UF campus.

The University of Florida Police Department is investigating the incident, and UFPD has brought in the Gainesville Police Department to assist with collection and analysis of forensic evidence.

The investigation is ongoing and we do not have an update regarding any charges at this time.

The University of Florida and the University Athletic Association are cooperating fully.

Due to legal and privacy requirements, there are limitations as to what the university can say publicly about a pending matter such as this. In these types of serious situations, Student Affairs initiates the Student Conduct Code process. Often, a student may be suspended on an interim basis, which means he or she is banned from campus and all campus activities, pending the outcome of the conduct process.

UAA has suspended Treon Harris from all team activities.

“We have no tolerance for sexual assault on our campus,” UF President Bernie Machen said. “The university is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for every member of the UF community. We must strive to protect all of our students from sexual harassment and assault, and do everything in our power to promote a safe learning environment.”

UF continues to provide a wide variety of support services and resources. The university continually enhance its campus efforts to address issues of sexual assault and harassment.

As this process unfolds and is resolved, UF is committed to addressing this serious matter with integrity, fairness and compassion.”

Ben Tobias from Gainesville Police Department also released a statement:

“The Gainesville Police Department’s Forensic Crime Unit has been asked by the University of Florida Police Department to assist in collecting possible items of forensic evidence on UF campus related to the recently-announced investigation of Treon Harris.”

At this time, Harris has not been charged.

Stay tuned for updates on the investigation.

 

 

 

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Tampa Bay Bucs Fall to Brees, Saints 37-31

By on October 6th, 2014

Even after holding an 11 point lead in the fourth quarter, the Tampa Bay Bucs were unable to hold on as they lost to NFC South rival, the New Orleans Saints in overtime, 37-31.

In his second start of the season, quarterback Mike Glennon finished the game with 249 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. On the defensive side of the ball, Tampa Bay gave up 511 yards, the most they’ve given up all season. Lavonte David led the team with 14 tackles, 10 of them solo.

After the game, Bucs starting quarterback Mike Glennon said the loss was a tough one.

“Our offense moved the ball really well and we were getting points, we did have them where we wanted them, but again, like I said, against Drew Brees and that offense, the game is never over.”

The Bucs fell to 1-4 on the season and 1-2 in the NFC South Division. Their next game is on Sunday at 1 PM against the Baltimore Ravens.

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