« August 26, 2013 | Main | August 28, 2013 »

4 posts from August 27, 2013

August 27, 2013

Notebook: The Purifoy Package

Versatile cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy’s potential offensive role has diminished thanks to the emergence of freshmen receivers Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood, but offensive coordinator Brent Pease was adamant Florida would still install a weekly package for the dynamic junior.

According to Pease, Purifoy should receive around four offensive touches a game.

“There’s a lot of places you can put him to run the ball,” Pease said. “He’s got the potential that defenses got to be accountable to him.”

During the spring, Purifoy admitted he’s a cornerback at heart, but Pease said the junior is a natural at receiver.

“He’s just a kid that loves football,” Pease said. “To be playing defense and then all of a sudden switch over to do a play on offense and all of a sudden hit a post route. I mean, he makes it look so natural sometimes. He’s good at it.”


Florida was a dominant fourth quarter team in 2012, topping the SEC with a 128-33 margin (+95).

But what about all the slow starts?

Coach Will Muschamp said, “Well we'd like to play well in all four [quarters], if we can. Again, I think that we've started talking to our guys more about starting fast, especially on the offensive side of the ball, creating some positive opportunities for our football team. … It's a team thing, and certainly we've emphasized it maybe moreso than we have in the past. And I know it's a huge point of emphasis offensively.”


Starting fullback Hunter Joyer returned to practice Monday after missing the final two weeks of training camp with a strained hamstring.

Backup defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (patella) tweeted he was back at practice, but the redshirt senior’s official status has yet to be updated. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Mr. Two Bits 2.0

For 59 years, George Edmondson, aka Mr. Two Bits, was Florida’s “unofficial” cheerleader.

Edmondson, who started the Two Bits tradition in 1949, retired in 2008, but coach Will Muschamp is now resurrecting the tradition with a new flavor.

(George Edmondson | Courtesy tampabay.com)

Florida will honor Edmondson’s legacy at every home game this season with a different “Gators celebrity” leading the cheer.

Errict Rhett, an All-American tailback under former UF coach Steve Spurrier (1990-93), will act as Mr. Two Bits on Saturday in the opener against Toledo.

“[Rhett] is certainly a passionate guy with a lot of energy,” Muschamp said. “You talk to him on the phone, he's almost going to come through the phone on you there. He's excited about it.

“It won't always be a football player, but it'll be obviously a Gator celebrity that means a lot to the University of Florida.”

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Jones inching towards return, Brown ready

After weeks of injuries piling up on No. 10 Florida, coach Will Muschamp finally delivered some positive news, announcing sophomore tailback Matt Jones “should certainly” return for the Gators’ in-state showdown with Miami on Sep. 7.

Jones, sidelined recovering from a serious viral infection, will miss Saturday’s opener against Toledo, but Muschamp said UF's starting tailback is running, cutting and lifting weights again.

Jones is still not cleared to practice in pads, but offensive coordinator Brent Pease quipped that’s non-issue. When asked how many practices Jones might need to be ready for the Hurricanes, Pease said, “Zero.”

Mack Brown will make his first career start in Jones’ absence this weekend, but the redshirt junior is not expected to see feature-back like carries.

(Mack Brown)

Mark Herndon, the former walk-on, and Valdez Showers, the recently converted safety, will also see reps in a tailback-by-committee approach. Pease said freshmen Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane may factor into the game plan, but maybe not.  

Brown (5-11, 215 pounds), a physical, downhill tailback, was a heralded recruit out of King High (Lithonia, Ga.) in 2010, but his career has been derailed by injuries and inconsistencies.

While not exactly disgruntled, Brown admitted frustrations over his playing time before quickly saying he’s ready to move forward.

“The past three years have been kind of hard. Probably getting two carries every four games. It hurts, but I’m not looking at the past no more.”

Brown has just 40 career attempts and zero touchdowns. He credited his parents and pastor for helping him remain motivated, saying they constantly preached, “Your time is coming. When your time do come, you got to show out.”           

Brown acknowledged he’ll be a tad nervous Saturday -- “I’m usually on the bench the whole game and probably get in the fourth quarter. Now you’re starting the game. You got a little bit of butterflies in your stomach.” – but is ready to run hard.

“I’ve been training hard for this opportunity,” he said. “It’s a blessing.”

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

O-line depth takes another hit

“Injuries are part of the game. One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity.”

 -- Will Muschamp. A sage. 

Gators starting right tackle Chaz Green will miss the 2013 season after tearing his labrum, Muschamp announced Monday.

The junior, who started 10 games in 2012, will undergo surgery later this week. Tyler Moore, a sophomore transfer from Nebraska, will take over in Green’s absence.

(Courtesy floridatoday.com)

“Chaz was playing his best football, was playing extremely well,” Muschamp said. “Certainly had solidified himself at the right tackle spot. Very disappointing news.”

Moore trained at right tackle all spring -- Green was recovering from a persisting ankle injury -- but the redshirt sophomore worked mainly at right guard during training camp replacing injured starter Jon Halapio (torn pectoral).

Last week, offensive coordinator Brent Pease reluctantly admitted he was a tad concerned UF’s projected starting o-line hadn’t practiced together (much, if any) during camp.

Now the situation has worsened.

Florida’s offensive line depth -- quality depth -- is dwindling.

During UF Media Day several weeks ago, Muschamp stated, “I've always sat down and asked the question to our staff, ‘Who can we count on?’ It's not about who is starting. I don't worry about that. ‘Who can we count on?’ This many guys at this position, this many guys at this position. ‘Tell me who six, seven, eight and nine are.’ That's what I want to know.”

Well the line is moving, so come on down, Trenton Brown (UF's behemoth JUCO-tackle) and Trip Thurman (a redshirt sophomore guard/center).

Florida has four offensive linemen who will absolutely probably contribute consistenly in 2013: D.J. Humphries (a budding star at left tackle), Jon Harrison (one of the league's top centers) and the two transfers, Max Garcia (12 career starts at Maryland) and Moore. 


The senior, a preseason all-conference pick at right guard, is slated to return for the Florida-Tennessee game (Sep. 21), but who knows -- despite his pectoral purportedly healing nicely -- if he can contribute at his 2012 level?

Suddenly, 7-8-9 are creeping dangerously close to legtimate playing time. 

Enter, Kyle Koehne, Florida’s latest starting right guard. The redshirt senior is a career backup -- an adequate one at that -- with only four starts. Koehne was solid in occasional snaps last season, but the reserve (at both guard spots and center) is no longer the team's [X player needs a breather] guy. 

The season hasn’t even kicked off yet and Florida is now just a single injury away from starting either Brown (definitely not ready) or Thurman (four career appearances).

That ain’t good.

Fact: Chaz Green was bad in 2012. Some might say really bad. But in 2011, Green was a Freshman All-American and was a lone bright spot on an abominable offensive line. Green battled multiple injuries last season, but once his health improved this summer the coaching staff noticed a significant change in Green’s effort, attitude and aptitude. 

Quoth Pease: “I've seen from Chaz at this point is a guy who's competing more. He's healthier. … He's a guy that's just practicing smarter. I think he understands the protections and how he has to fit into them, the blocking schemes. He's a great athlete, and he's good at what he does, but I think his health, he had a bad ankle last year, and I think he just had to deal with that and he let some of that cause inconsistencies in his game. He stayed healthy now, and I think how he’s playing up front has been a lot better for him. He’s competing harder and he has more repetitions built up in him to be a more consistent player.”

Green's loss hurts, no matter how it's parsed. Muschamp & Co. believe the offensive line is a strength of this year's team.

Maybe it still will be. Then again...

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton 

Team Stats

» View more stats



Powered by TypePad