Nov 5, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Florida Gators wide receiver Josh Hammond (10) catches a pass in the fourth quarter as Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Here' Tolliver (5) defends at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas defeated Florida 31-10. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Dixon Talks Wide Receivers; Spurrier on Honoring 1990 team

After the loss (and injuries) suffered against Arkansas, the Gator football may be looking to younger guys come Saturday, especially in the wide receiver slot. Gators’ wide receivers coach Kerry Dixon  spoke on individual performances so far this season, and who will step up for the team this Saturday.

Antonio Callaway

Sophomore Antonio Callaway didn’t take the loss to the Razorbacks lightly, mentioning in a press conference this week his disappointment in not only himself but also the team’s performance. The big plays Gator fans became accustomed to seeing from Callaway have been far and few between this year, and he has had fewer yards per touch. Dixon said that one of the issues the offense has been having is being one guy away on each play, which breaks up any continuity they might be able to get going. As for Callaway, Dixon said he’s done a good job of developing but has some things he needs to focus on improving.

This summer, Callaway was under investigation for three university code of conduct charges related to a sexual assault. He was cleared of all charges, but the investigation kept him out of contact with the team and unable to play. Dixon said it was rough not being able to be there for someone that you care about, but said Callaway handled it well and overcame the situation.

Who’s Out and Who’s Filling In

Freshman Tyrie Cleveland could be out for the remainder of season due to an ankle injury,

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Oct 29, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Florida Gators wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (89), Gators defensive back Chris Williamson (14) and teammates run out of the tunnel before the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

although he was seen running around at practice this week. Dixon said Cleveland has done a good job on developing the mental aspect of his game and now he just has details he needs to work out. But after last Saturday, it’s uncertain if he will be stepping back out onto the field. This would leave the Gators to rely more on freshmen Josh Hammond and Freddie Swain. Dixon said he feels comfortable putting them in any game at any position, and is pleased with their development.

Dixon attributes a lot of the Gators’ struggles to the many moving parts of the offense and getting everyone on the same page.

Honoring the 1990 Gators

Before Wednesday’s press conference with Dixon ended, the “Head Ball Coach” previewed Saturday’s honoring of something very dear to him: the 1990 and ’91 football teams. Both teams will be honored this Saturday after the first quarter.

The 1990 football team won the Southeastern Conference championship first. Spurrier explained that the 1990 team won the conference championship first but were ineligible to be deemed the champions because of an alleged violation four years prior that the university plead guilty to.  The violation caused them to be ineligible for a bowl game and thus could not be crowned the kings of the SEC that season.

Spurrier said the team received news of this in the middle of the season. The team was a dominant group that beat their six SEC opponents by an average of 24 points. Spurrier said the team didn’t let the news deflate their season but instead, it fueled their fire to win.

So technically, the 1990 Gator football did do it first. Spurrier said he promised his guys back then that he would forever call them the first Gator football team to win the SEC championship. Now is perhaps his best chance, 26 years later, to tell everyone they did it first.

The 1991 team will join them on the field. They were the only team to win the SEC Championship in the Swamp. Spurrier said that group felt the responsibility to carry on what the previous team did before them.

This will be the first time either team has ever been brought back to the Swamp. Kickoff is at noon Saturday when the Gators take on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.

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