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2 posts from October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013

Notebook: Slim hopes alive

GAINESVILLE -- Late Saturday night, Gators safety Cody Riggs went wild with newfound optimism.

No. 10 Missouri’s shocking overtime loss to 14 South Carolina opened the door for the Gators to (technically) reenter the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division race as a longshot to reach Atlanta. 

“I went crazy. I was jumping around the house,” Riggs said. “I actually called [teammate] Jaylen Watkins and was like, ‘We’re back in it. We’re back. We still have a chance.’ So, thanks South Carolina, but we have to have to handle our business first. A couple of things have to go right, but we still have hope.”

Isportsweb.com
(Cody Riggs | courtsey isportsweb.com)

Florida must win out (vs. Georgia in Jacksonville, home against Vanderbilt and at South Carolina) and have Missouri lose two of its remaining conference games (vs. Tennessee, at Ole Miss and vs. Texas A&M).  

“We never really lost belief,” quarterback Tyler Murphy said. “[Missouri’s loss] Worked out in our favor, but at the same time we’re kind of just really focused on beating Georgia.  

“If we win out and things play out where we can win the East, you know, we’ll be very, very happy, but we’re just focused on beating Georgia.”

Coach Will Muschamp echoed Murphy’s centered approach moving forward.

“We just need to focus on Florida in this game and what our opponent does well and what we’re gonna try and take advantage of in this game. Not worry about all the other stuff at this point. We just need to concentrate on us right now.”

INJURY REPORT

Murphy (AC shoulder sprain) did not throw during Florida’s idle week, but fourth-year junior is expected to resume normal practice activities this week and start Saturday against Georgia.

Elsewhere, redshirt junior linebacker Ronald Powell (ankle) remains questionable, while senior linebacker Darrin Kitchens (shoulder) and redshirt freshman tight end Colin Thompson (foot) are doubtful for this weekend. 

QUOTABLE – 0-FER

"0-2 as a head coach. …None of it is fun, but certainly being here at the University of Florida and understanding the importance of this game to us and our people, we need to get a win."

-- Will Muschamp on which is worse: Being 0-4 as a player (with Georgia) or 0-2 as a head coach in the SEC East rivalry.

THIS & THAT
For just the third time in 33 years (1980, 2010), both Florida (4-3, 3-2 SEC) and Georgia (4-3, 3-2 SEC) are unranked entering Saturday’s showdown. … Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was named one of 15 semifinalists -- and the lone freshman -- for the Jim Thorpe Award. … UF’s homecoming game against Vanderbilt (Nov. 9) will kickoff at noon and will be televised on either ESPNU or Fox Sports. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Taylor gets the nod

GAINESVILLE -- For 11 seasons, ex-UF star running back Fred Taylor called EverBank Field home as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But Saturday afternoon’s annual Florida-Georgia battle along the St. Johns River will be a different sort of homecoming for Taylor’s son, Kelvin, UF's freshman tailback.  

The former five-star prospect is most-likely slated to make his first-career collegiate start in the very same stadium where his dad became a household name.  

According to coach Will Muschamp, the running back has earned and deserves an increased role in UF’s downtrodden offense.

“[Kelvin] has continued to improve throughout the season week to week He's always been a very instinctive, natural runner. It's very obvious. Again, with assignments and different things, I think he's done a nice job and deserves the opportunity,” Muschamp said.

For the season, Taylor has rushed for 172 yards on just 28 carries (6.14 y/c), but his breakout performance in the loss to Missouri (74 yards and a touchdown) coupled with Matt Jones’ season-ending knee injury prompted the staff to reevaluate Talyor’s potential as an offensive spark-plug.

“He’s shown that he can do a lot of good things with the ball in his hands. The coaches and myself have to find ways to get him the ball so he can create big plays for us,” Muschamp said. “We’re gonna need some explosive plays and he’s shown that he has the ability to do that. We’re gonna have to find ways to get him the ball and eventually he's going to break. He's very talented, very elusive player.”

Junior fullback Hunter Joyer praised Taylor's natural talents, but also said the freshman recognizes his new-found opportunity. 

"He looks more focused than he did early in the year," Joyer said. "He understands that we’re kinda relying on him now and he has to grow up and produce for us."

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

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