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4 posts from September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013

Notebook: Easley chooses NFL

GAINESVILLE -- Star defensive tackle Dominique Easley is officially headed to the NFL in 2014, bypassing the chance to take a medical redshirt and play another season at Florida.

Easley, a dominating interior lineman, tore his right anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in a non-contact drill during practice last Tuesday. Before the season-ending injury, Easley was rated the nation’s ninth-best draft eligible prospect according to ESPN Scouts Inc.

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Coach Will Muschamp confirmed Easley’s plans, and said he supports the senior’s decision 100 percent.

“He's a guy that's had two ACLs,” Muschamp said. “That's the best move for him right now and going to prepare himself for April and get ready for that.”

GAME TIMES ANNOUNCED

No. 18 Florida (3-1, 2-0 SEC) and Arkansas (3-2, 0-1 SEC) will kickoff under the lights Saturday (7:00 p.m., ESPN2), UF’s first night game in The Swamp since its 2011 regular-season finale against Florida State. 

Meanwhile, Florida’s highly-anticipated showdown with No. 10 LSU (4-1, 1-1 SC) in Death Valley (Oct. 12) has been tabbed the SEC’s Game of the Week. The Gators and Tigers will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.

INJURY UPDATE

Aside from a pair of dinged up tight ends, the Gators are no longer the walking wounded.

Backups Colin Thompson (foot) and Kent Taylor (ankle) are out against the Razorbacks, but Muschamp said, “other than that, we should be good to go.”

Hybrid tailback Valdez Showers (ankle) and starting cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee) are expected to play after both missed Florida’s previous two games.

Roberson participated in pregame warmups against Kentucky and told Muschamp he wasn’t 100 percent but could play. Muschamp opted to rest the junior an additional week for precautionary reasons.

“Marcus is a team guy. He’ll do anything for the team, but I just didn’t feel comfortable putting him in that situation,” Muschamp explained. “He and I talked after he came off the field. I said, ‘Let’s ice you down and get ready for next week.’”     

HARGREAVES EARNS HONOR

Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was named the SEC’s freshman of the week for his performance in Florida’s 24-7 over Kentucky.

Hargreaves picked off his third pass of the season and is now tied for the league lead. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Murphy's walkabout

Tyler Murphy displayed total composure in his first career start against Kentucky.

All he needed was a quick nature walk and some classic tunes to purge his pregame butterflies.

Murphy, a redshirt junior, said offensive coordinator Brent Pease took Florida's quarterbacks "on a little nature walk" during the downtime before UF's 7:00 p.m. kickoff versus the Wildcats. 

Pease texted the quarterbacks Saturday morning: “Nature walk, 1:30 p.m. Don’t be late.”

“We didn’t sing any songs, but it was fun," Murphy said. "Coach Pease growing up, being from the Montana area, where he went to school, he knows a lot about nature. It’s kind of cool just to learn about different trees and bushes and stuff like that. It was fun.”

Tailback Matt Jones heard the stroll was "a pretty boring trip," but Murphy -- at least publicly -- disagreed.

"It was interesting," Murphy said -- although the quarterback couldn't recall any specifics learned on the walk.

“What did I learn? Uh, that’s awful. I mean I learned a bunch of different stuff, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. You know, I learned a few things about oak trees, saw grass, and just stuff like that.”

Oak trees and saw grass. Gameday, baby. 

Murphy said the trip did calm his jitters, as did listening to Jay-Z, Wale, jazz and a little gospel.

“I just put it on shuffle and just let it go,” he said.

Murphy -- through his coolness, confidence and production -- has quickly endeared himself to Florida fans. He finished the Kentucky game 15-of-18 for 156 yards and two scores (one rushing) and one interception.   

Murphy also talked about his first career start, dreams of being Steven A. Smith, pressing in practice last week, his perfect 13-of-13 start and a touchdown-saving tackle.

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

HOOPS: Carter eligible

For once, the NCAA got it right. 

Rutgers transfer guard Eli Carter officially received a waiver from the NCAA to play immediately at Florida. 

"We are happy to have Eli available to play this season," head coach Billy Donovan said in a school release.

Last season, Carter -- a 6-foot-3 junior -- averaged 14.9 points as a sophomore for the Scarlet Knights before gruesomely suffering a season-ending injury (a fractured fibula) against DePaul in mid-February.

Carter transferred to UF this offseason following the ugly scandal involving former Rutgers head coach Mike Rice.

In 2011 as a freshman, Carter actually torched UF for 31 points in a double-overtime upset victory for Rutgers. 

Although the junior guard is technically eligible to play this season, that doesn't mean he will. 

Carter's health is still a major unknown, as he has still not been medically cleared by Florida's doctors.  

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton 

Oh Shoot!

After a dominating performance (3 TFL, 2 FF) against Tennessee earned Dante Fowler Jr. the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week, Florida's BUCK linebacker again showcased his pass rushing prowess in the win over Kentucky. 

The sophomore recorded two sacks -- both in the fourth quarter -- in No. 18 Florida's 24-7 victory in Lexington and placed Fowler near the top of the SEC's leaderboard in quarterback takedowns.

On Monday, UF's "oversized baby" dished on the team's third down defense, Dominique Easley's Chucky doll and Fowler's reaction during his second sack.

  

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton


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