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3 posts from September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Notebook: Driskel's surgery scheduled

GAINESVILLE -- Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel will have season-ending surgery Wednesday on his broken right fibula.

The junior sustained the gruesome injury in the first quarter of No. 20 Florida’s 31-17 win over Tennessee on Saturday.

“That’s part of the game, but it’s very difficult to deal with,” coach Will Muschamp said.

“It really hurt for him, his family and us as a football team.”

Muschamp said doctors would insert a metal plate in Driskel’s leg. The recovery process is roughly 4four to six months.

Redshirt junior Tyler Murphy filled in admirably (218 total yards, two touchdowns) and will make his first career start on the road at Kentucky (7:00 p.m., ESPNU).

Murhpy said it was difficult to see Driskel go down and said UF’s injured incumbent starter told him: “It’s your time, now.”


Muschamp updated the statuses of the rest of Florida’s hobbled starters. Cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee) and right tackle Tyler Moore (ankle) both missed Saturday’s victory but are expected to play against the Wildcats.

Tailback Valdez Showers (ankle) is doubtful.

Reserve tight end Colin Thompson will miss “one or two weeks” with a stress fracture in his foot. 


Sophomore linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. was named the SEC's Defensive Player of the Week after Saturday's standout performance against Tennessee. 

Fowler had three tackles -- all for a loss -- a sack and two forced fumbles. 



"I actually didn't know that [redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman] was starting until right before we ran out of the tunnel. I didn't know who he was. I don't remember seeing him on film. ... I didn't know he didn't make it to halftime. I thought he played the whole game. I couldn't really tell the difference [between Peterman & backup Justin Worley]. I really don't care. When the quarterback is in the game I just want to hit him."

--- Fowler Jr. on Tennessee's quarterback quagmire 


"Turnover are like points. Six turnovers in a game is a lot. I wouldn't be suprised if we get candy or something."

--- Fowler Jr. on Florida's defensive effort against the Vols 


Redshirt freshman Skyler Morhinweg is Florida's backup quarterback. Freshman Max Staver will slide into the No. 3 role. ... Cornerback Brian Poole will be suspended for the first half against Kentucky after being ejected for a targeting penalty in the fourth quarter versus Tennessee. ... CBS invoked its six-day window for Oct. 5 games --- including the Arkansas-Florida matchup. The Gators will host the Razorbacks at either 3:30 p.m. (on CBS) or 7 p.m. (on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU). 

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UFvsUT Retro Diary: Fantastically Flawless (with lots of follies)

What in God's name happened???

There will be no formal rewind this week because why? Saturday’s game first half was too rich for that. Since the two teams actually played something resembling football in the second half, I have little interest in recapping a 30-minute snore fest.

So buckle up, grab a handle (beer won’t suffice), a funnel and a NERF gun because The Swamp is about to get real rowdy, y’all.


Tennessee coach Butch Jones to CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson in pregame: “It’s like how we practice: controlled chaos.”

A great omen.


14:40 – Tricky Brent Pease. Gators cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy rushes for 15 yards on a toss. Diminutive wideout Solomon Patton sets the edge with a nice block.

It’s a play that worked. For positive yardage. So we’ll probably never see it again.  

13:00 – A whiff. Kyle Christy just dropped a punt. UT -- led by redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Peterman -- is setup with excellent field position.

Screen shot 2013-09-22 at 7.03.53 PM

No you're not...

12:15 – Peterman switches a run play into a Gators blitz. Brillant. Florida shifts late, allowing Dante Fowler Jr. to explode into the backfield UNBLOCKED. The sophomore destroyed Rajon Neal, forcing and recovering the fumble.

Verne Lundquist going to break: “Well, what a start.”

11:44 – Two carries for Gators tailback Matt Jones and zero yards. Jon Halapio -- torn pectoral and all -- hasn’t blocked a soul on either running play. This seems noteworthy because Florida has run behind him both times.

11:07 – Quarterback Jeff Driskel with an underthrown deep ball to Quinton Dunbar.

Third-and-long. I’ve seen this story before.

But hold on: A completion (well protected by the offensive line) to Patton for a first down. Gators receive a nice spot via Penny Wagers.   

9:48 – The setup: 3rd-and-3 and Florida is just inside Tennessee territory. The Gators run a stacked formation to the right side with Jones and Dunbar alone on the left.

Off the snap, the play is a mess. I’m not sure if Dunbar is supposed to pick Trey Burton’s man -- or visa versa -- but neither occurs. Burton actually ducks to avoid hitting a UT defensive back and......

Cue Gary Danielson: “Uh-ohhhhh.”

Driskel tosses a 62-yard pick-six and the rest is history.

Whatever can be said about Driskel -- a lot has and should -- the dude is one tough SOB to limp off the field with a freakin’ broken leg.


7-0 UT

9:23 – The Charlie Murphy era is officially underway.

So it’s here I’d like to point out that a Tennessee defense that was SHREDDED in Eugene last weekend is playing with tons of swagger, energy and poise against a bewildered UF offense. Murphy (with his slippery escapability) engineered a couple first downs, but Florida isn’t getting much push running the ball and two false starts (again, UF’s offense looks shell-shocked) killed the drive.

The Vols -- yes, the 2013 Volunteers -- have gotten three consecutive stops.

So what does Ole Butch Jones do? He puts the ball in the hands of his redshirt freshman quarterback making his first career start in The Swamp. Predictably, disaster ensued.

Seriously, I have no idea what Jones is thinking here.

Screen shot 2013-09-22 at 7.51.11 PM
The Vols are on their own 11-yard line, but decide: ‘What the hell. Go get ‘em, kid.’

[IN BETWEEN THE CHAOS: Uncle Verne “euphemistically” explains Antonio Morrison’s offseason legal issues. #NeverForget #WoofWoof].

Peterman rushes for one yard on a keeper, nearly throws an interception to UF ballhawk Vernon Hargreaves III and then BOOM.

Fowler Jr. strikes again, forcing a fumble when Peterman stepped up in the pocket. UT tackle Antonio Richardson -- a well-regarded NFL prospect -- straight up got his lunch money stolen.

3:24 – The Gators defense -- ranked No. 3 nationally entering the game -- gift-wraps the offense a freebie and UF promptly GOES BACKWARDS.

Murphy fumbles twice on the same play. He bobbles the snap exchange, drops the ball, gets hit, fumbles again, only to have left guard Max Garcia pounce on the bouncing pigskin.

Danielson: “This has been about as sloppy of a first quarter I’ve seen in a long time.”

[Just wait, Gary. Just wait.]

2:21 – The Gators run a pair of plays totaling six yards and face a 4th-and-goal at the five-yard line.

At this point, I wondered if Coach Will Muschamp would just go for it.

Honestly, did you think the Gators would get this close to the end zone again after the first 15 minutes?

But alas, Austin Hardin hits a chip shot and the Gators are on the board.

7-3 UT


14:24 – Tennessee manages a pair of first downs, so naturally Butch Jones believes MORE THROWING for his rookie quarterback.

Jones makes Tony Montana look passive.

Peterman, staring down one white shirt surrounded by lots of blue shirts, chucks a pass right through Florida linebacker Michael Taylor’s hands.

Taylor flares in his arms in exasperation only be to elated two seconds later when he realizes… Brian Poole snags the deflection for an interception. 

For those too wasted to keep up: UT has three turnovers on its first three possessions, 20 total yards and a 7-3 lead. Wowzers.

13:50 – CBS shows a sideline photo of a one-eyed, one-armed Jon Halapio. Long hair [really] don’t care, I guess. Florida’s all-conference guard returns to field. Another tough dude.

13:35 – Murphy takes a shotgun snap and whips a short toss right for a bubble screen and WHAT? REALLY? A TOUCHDOWN?

Patton eludes a couple of Willie Martinez dummies Volunteers down the sideline and rumbles for a 52-yard score.

An exasperated Danielson wonders aloud why Tennessee's defenders can’t tackle, run or cover a one-yard pass.


10-7 UF

13:23 – Peterman remains in the game. There’s no joke here. 

Amazingly, UT doesn’t turn the ball over and manages to punt.

12:07 – Gators freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor makes an unexpected cameo, runs for three measly yards and The Swamp ROARS IN ADULATION.

Now I might be drunk, but I’m pretty sure Jeezy’s “Standing Ovation” starts playing.   

11:42 – Murphy gets drilled in the face with the snap. Tennessee recovers “the fumble.”

(Courtesy SB Nation) 

More Danielson: “Jeez. This is as bad as I’ve seen.”

Somebody please get the man whatever Johnny Football is sipping.

11:31Danielson: “Peterman. Still back in the game.”

I’m as surprised as Gary. Tennessee -- with the ball on Florida’s 38-yard line and down just three points -- runs three consecutive downs for 12 yards.

Now in field goal range (UF’s 26-yard line), the Vols’ camp again places the ball in Peterman’s hands.

They lose 21 yards on the next three plays. No more kick.

Oh, and here’s a trick play the Volunteers ran. Pretty sure Jones calls it “The Orange Crush.”

(Courtesy the nosebleeds.com)

That’s some serious rookie hazing.

9:04 – The Gators -- following a Tennessee punt -- take over on their own six-yard line.

5:30 – Murderball engage. Six straight runs -- totaling 26 yards -- but Gators face a 3rd-and-long after a Halapio holding penalty.

5:02 – adfkdhafsdkfhasdkhadfjdasgfjadsjfadfdfadkdfjadfjdlaffadsfdasfd

Danielson: “Safe play, supposedly. Call a play you can’t get a turnover on and you get a turnover.”

On a simple crossing route, Jones fumbles after inexplicably trying to switch hands holding the football.

Screen shot 2013-09-22 at 6.57.56 PM

4:04 – Peterman. Oy vey.

On a 3rd-and-9 (on UF’s 28-yard line), Tennessee’s quarterback whiffs on a throw and the ball ends up in the lap of Gators nose tackle Darius ‘Bear’ Cummings.

Cummings had an escort service to the end zone, only there was no reservations for six after teammate Dominique Easley accidently tackled him. 

Screen shot 2013-09-22 at 7.06.36 PM

2:35 – Murphy runs for 12-yards on an easy zone-read.

It’s here Pease probably realized/said, “Wait. That’s right. These guys played Oregon last week and couldn’t stop the zone-read then either. Maybe we should keep doing THAT.”

1:25 – More tricky Pease. Florida successfully runs a double-counter handoff (12-yards) in a Wild Gator formation.

0:47 – 2nd-and-goal at the three-yard line and Mack Brown rumbles into the end zone for the dagger touchdown. Garcia with an excellent pull block to clear the way for Brown.

17-7 UF 


Mercifully, Peterman is benched.

Screen shot 2013-09-22 at 5.07.48 PM
But hell it took so long I’m guessing the conversation between Jones and Peterman went something like…


Mr. Peterman, you want to leave?


I’ve already left, coach. I’m in Abaddon.




You most likely know it as The Swamp's visiting locker room lavatory, but it was always be Abaddon to me.


[Danielson and Verne pass out]

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

ICYMI: Murphy makes the most of unexpected opportunity

Murphy be like...


But really, here's the piece I wrote on Murphy's journey from backup, backup, backup, backup, backup to No. 20 Florida's unlikely starter.

GAINESVILLE -- Tyler Murphy never pictured himself standing at a podium and addressing the media after a collegiate game.

Will Muschamp never did either.

Just last spring, as Jeff Driskel -- No. 20’s Florida’s incumbent starter now sidelined for the season with a broken leg -- and Jacoby Brissett, a recent North Carolina State transfer, battled for Florida’s starting job, Muschamp was asked about Murphy’s potential prospects in the quarterback competition.

“Right now, none,” Muschamp said.

But circumstances can change dramatically in college football.

Brissett transferred this offseason, thrusting Murphy into Florida’s definitive backup role. Then, after Driskel went down early in the first quarter of Saturday’s win over Tennessee, suddenly, unexpectedly, it was Murphy’s turn. 

“It was in the back of my mind that I might never play,” he said. “People wanted me to change positions. I like playing quarterback. I had people telling me to transfer. It’s something I considered. But my dad encouraged me to stay.”

For at least one day, the Gator fasn were quite thankful.

Between all the laughable follies and snafus in the first half of Florida’s 31-17 victory, Murphy -- a redshirt junior -- emerged as an unlikely hero.

He threw for 134 yards and a touchdown, while adding another 84 yards and a score on the ground. He was confident, poised, slippery and displayed no signs of never taking a meaningful collegiate snap.

"I told our team what a great example he is," Muschamp said. "There's not many guys like that in this society. Everybody wants it now. He's a guy that's worked extremely hard and he cashed in his opportunity today. We look forward to seeing him play the rest of the year."

Murphy will make his first career start next weekend on the road at Kentucky.

“It wasn’t the way I wanted it, but an opportunity is an opportunity,” Murphy said.

According to Murphy, he never left Gainesville because he loves Florida -- the school, his friends and now, his team.

His route to UF was as improbable as Saturday’s performance. An unheralded two-star prospect, Murphy essentially recruited the Gators -- not the other way around. The former Temple commit sent film to ex-UF coaches Urban Meyer and Steve Addazio. Florida’s offensive gurus were impressed and Murphy was a late edition to the 2010 signing class.

Despite sitting behind as many as five quarterbacks -- Driskel, Brissett, John Brantley, Jordan Reed and Trey Burton -- Murphy’s attitude never wavered. Neither did his commitment to studying, practicing and always staying ready.

“He’s selfless and that’s his greatest attribute,” center Jonotthan Harrison said. “That’s what I love about him.”

There’s a chance Murphy’s performance was an anomaly. A red herring to the Gators faithful. Driskel had his career-day (in 2012) against Tennessee’s abominable defense too.

But this much is clear: Saturday -- the fans chanting his name, the locker room crowd surfing -- will always be Murphy’s day. His teammates love him and appear ready go to battle with him.

“We have all the faith, all the trust in Tyler Murphy,” Harrison said. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

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