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4 posts from December 2012

December 27, 2012

Two Gators leaving program before Sugar Bowl

Sophomore safety De'Ante "Pop" Saunders and fifth-year junior offensive lineman Matt Patchan will transfer from Florida, coach Will Muschamp announced Thursday after his team landed in New Orleans to continue preparations for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2.

Saunders, a three-star recruit from DeLand who has made 17 starts in two seasons in Gainesville, was set to miss the bowl game with what Muschamp said was an injury sustained against Lousiana on Nov. 10, a game in which Saunders played until the final whistle.

"Matt Patchan and [De'Ante] Pop Saunders are both transferring. I really appreciate their time at Florida, and we wish them the best,” Muschamp said. "I think they just needed a fresh start — both guys and both situations. That’s all I’ve got to say about it."

Saunders likely would have played even more at Florida had it not been for disciplinary issues. In May of 2011, Saunders was cited on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana, but he was not suspended for the incident and started the season opener as a true freshman. Saunders later missed the Alabama and Auburn games in 2011 for seperate issues. He also missed the first two games of the 2012 season with what Muschamp called a "hamstring injury."

A productive player when he could find his way onto the field, Saunders recorded 44 tackles and three interceptions playing mostly free safety in nickel formations for the Gators. With senior Josh Evans and junior Matt Elam both likely gone following the 2012 season, it appeared the door was wide open for Saunders to claim a starting role at safety in 2013. Instead, he will be playing elsewhere.

"He’s one of our brothers, so obviously we don’t want him leaving the program," linebacker Jon Bostic said. "But that may be what’s best for him."

According to the Gainesville Sun, Saunders is leaning toward Louisville, which is Florida's opponent on Jan. 2 in New Orleans. He would have to sit out the 2014 season and could play as a redshirt junior in 2015.

Patchan's departure seems to be more about playing time or lack thereof. After missing two whole seasons (2010, 2012) with injuries, Patchan still has one year of eligibility remaining and will not have to sit out because he has already graduated. According to the Sun, Patchan is considering joining former Florida head coach Urban Meyer at Ohio State or former Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio at Boston College.

December 06, 2012

Former Gators DL Mann arrested two days before transferring from Florida

Two days before coach Will Muschamp announced Jafar Mann would transfer from Florida, the freshman defensive tackle was issued a written arrest/notice to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge for possession of fewer than 20 grams of marijuana, according to Gainesville Police and Alachua County Court records.

According to the notice, Gainesville Police officer Jordan Craven in the early morning hours of Saturday Nov. 3 reported smelling “a strong odor of burnt marijuana emanating from the inside” of a dorm room at Springs Complex later identified as Mann’s. In the report, Craven wrote that he received consent from Mann to search the dorm and noticed marijuana in “plain view” under Mann’s bed and that Mann admitted the marijuana belonged to him.

Florida played Missouri at noon on Nov. 3, but Mann did not see the field for the ninth straight game. On Nov. 5, in the opening statement of his weekly Monday morning press conference, Muschamp announced Mann was done at Florida.

“As far as some other roster management, Jafar Mann and I met last night (Nov. 4), and he decided to transfer,” Muschamp said. “He and I agreed that it’s time for him to move on.”

A team spokesman declined comment on the arrest.

Ranked a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, Mann (6-4, 305) came to Gainesville as a defensive tackle, but coaches moved him to offensive line midway through the season.

Mann agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement on Nov. 29 that states the charge will be dismissed if he pays a total of $250 in fines/donations and is not arrested again within the next six months.

Mann became the 11th player to be in trouble with the law and 14th total arrest or incident since Muschamp took over for Urban Meyer. Six of the 11 players are still with the team, four decided to transfer and one was officially dismissed.

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (marijuana) was dismissed after a second arrest in Muschamp's first few months on the job, and defensive end Chris Martin (marijuana), tight end Dee Finley (driving with a suspended license, resisting arrest), tight end A.C. Leonard (simple battery) and Mann all transferred.

Safety Matt Elam (underage possession of alcohol twice), safety De’Ante Saunders (marijuana), cornerback Marcus Roberson (underage possession of alcohol), defensive lineman Leon Orr (marijuana, suspended license), defensive lineman Kedric Johnson (marijuana) and offensive lineman Trip Thurman (alcohol, possession of fake ID) remain on Florida’s roster.

Elam, Saunders, Roberson and Orr played prominent roles for the Gators this season. Johnson has been out all season with an injury. Thurman, a redshirt freshman, appeared in three games. 

Muschamp, Gators racking up postseason awards

After posting an 11-1 record and earning a No. 3 final ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings, Florida's players and coaches alike have been recognized for their accomplishments this season.

Coach Will Muschamp was named Wednesday the Southeastern Conference's Co-Coach of the Year, becoming the first Florida coach since Steve Spurrier in 1996 to win the award. Muschamp shared the honor with first-year Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. Muschamp is also a finalist for the national Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award.

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn finished in the top three for Broyles Award, which is given to the nation's top assistant coach. And special teams coordinator D.J. Durkin was named Wednesday the FootballScoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year in a vote of his peers.

A number of Gators players have also been recognized. Below is a breakdown of every honor announced thus far.

ASSOCIATED PRESS ALL-SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE TEAM

FIRST TEAM
- Mike Gillislee, 5-11, 209, senior running back -- 1,104 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns.
- Jordan Reed, 6-3, 244, redshirt junior tight end -- 44 receptions, 552 yards, 3 touchdowns.
- Sharrif Floyd, 6-3, 303, junior defensive tackle -- 41 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 6 quarterback hurries, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 blocked kick.
- Matt Elam, 5-10, 202, junior safety -- 65 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 4 interceptions, 5 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble.
- Caleb Sturgis, 5-11, 184, senior place kicker -- 23 of 27 on field goals with a long of 51 and 3 of 3 from 50 yards or longer, 32 of 33 on extra points.
- Kyle Christy, 6-2, 199, sophomore punter -- 46.1 gross average, 43.6 net average per punt, 25 punts of 50 yards or longer and 26 punts downed inside the opponent's 20.
SECOND TEAM

- Marcus Roberson, 6-0, 178, sophomore cornerback -- 20 tackles, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 12 pass breakups.

SEC COACHES ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM

- D.J. Humphries, 6-6, 275, offensive tackle -- started three games at left tackle in place of injured starter Xavier Nixon and appeared in 11 of Florida's games as a true freshman.
- Jonathan Bullard
, 6-3, 271, defensive end -- 26 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, led team with 7 quarterback hurries.

- Dante Fowler, 6-3, 277, defensive end -- 27 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks.
- Antonio Morrison, 6-1, 218, linebacker -- 31 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble.

CBSSports.com ALL-AMERICA TEAM

FIRST TEAM
- Matt Elam, safety.
SECOND TEAM

- Caleb Sturgis, kicker.
THIRD TEAM

- Kyle Christy, punter.

COACHES' ALL-SEC TEAM

FIRST TEAM
- Mike Gillislee, running back.

- Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle.
- Matt Elam, safety.
- Caleb Sturgis, kicker.
- Kyle Christy, punter.
SECOND TEAM
- Jon Bostic, senior linebacker -- 62 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery.
- Jordan Reed, tight end.

SPORTING NEWS ALL-AMERICA TEAM

FIRST TEAM
-
Matt Elam, safety.

- Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle.
- Caleb Sturgis, kicker.

December 03, 2012

UF hires former UK head coach Joker Phillips to coach receivers

Fired as Kentucky's head coach in November, Joker Phillips did not have to wait long to find work. Florida coach Will Muschamp hired Phillips on Monday to be the Gators' new wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.

Graduate assistant Bush Hamdan held the position on an interim basis this season after Aubrey Hill resigned in August. Phillips will start with UF on Friday.

"We are excited to have Joker join our staff," Muschamp said in a school release. "His background as a head coach and the number of years he has coached wide receivers will be a tremendous asset to our coaching staff and players."

Phillips began his career as a graduate assistant at Kentucky in 1989 and previously has coached wide receivers at Cincinnati (1997), Minnesota (1999-2000), Notre Dame (2001) and South Carolina (2002). He returned to Kentucky in 2003 as the wide receives coach and recruiting coordinator and remained there until he was fired. 

"Joker is obviously very familiar with the Southeastern Conference and has always done a great job in recruiting," Muschamp said. "Obviously I had a number of experiences with Joker both on and off the field, as our paths have crossed often, but I’ve been really impressed with Joker Phillips as a man during this hiring process."

Phillips held a 13-24 record in three seasons as Kentucky's head coach, but he was able to draw some talented prospects to Lexington during his time there. Current Buffalo Bills receiver Steve Johnson and Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb both played under Phillips at Kentucky. He also recruited receiver and top-10 overall pick Troy Williamson while at South Carolina.

"I’m thrilled to become part of the Gator family," Phillips told the school's website. "I’m looking forward to the opportunity to compete and win at the highest level. I believe in coach Muschamp’s philosophy and what he has done in his short time here at Florida is phenomenal. I’m looking forward to contributing to the long-term vision that he has for this program. In addition, it will be very rewarding to be involved in the hands-on development of the players I will coach."


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