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2 posts from November 15, 2013

November 15, 2013

Notebook: Mike Davis, Spurrier endorses Muschamp & more

GAINESVILLE -- Sophomore tailback Mike Davis -- a longtime Florida commit before flipping to South Carolina late in the 2011 recruiting cycle -- poses a major challenge for UF’s leaky run defense Saturday (7 p.m., ESPN2) in Columbia, SC.

Davis tops the SEC in rushing with 1,058 yards, averaging 6.37 yards per carry with 10 touchdowns.

“He's a really good player, a guy we thought a lot of coming out of Stephenson (Ga.) there in Atlanta,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “He is having an outstanding year, and certainly has been a huge different in their run game, especially losing [Marcus] Lattimore last year.”

Davis, a 5-foot-9, 215-pound hammer, is also South Carolina’s second-leading receiver with 29 catches for 326 yards.

“I’ve seen a lot of explosive runs from him. He is physical, runs hard,” senior defensive tackle Damien Jacobs said. “We’re going to have to really key in on him because he’s one of the top rushers in the SEC.”

Without star defensive tackle Dominique Easley (torn ACL), Florida’s run defense has slipped significantly in recent weeks. During the team’s four-game losing streak, the Gators have surrendered three -- LSU’s Jeremy Hill, Missouri’s Henry Josey and Georgia’s Todd Gurley -- 100-yard performances.


While much of the Florida faithful has soured on coach Will Muschamp, a former Gators legend continues to voice his support for UF’s maligned head coach.

“I admire the way he coach his team, runs the show down there,” said Steve Spurrier, in his ninth season as South Carolina’s head coach. “Obviously they’ve had a rash of injuries all over the team that’s really hurt them. But they’ve still got plenty of ball players and they’re still a very hard-nosed physical-type team. … I don’t know if I’ve ever seen quite as many [injuries on one team] as they’ve had.”


(Courtesy gatorzone.com)

Muschamp has never shied away from voicing his respect for Florida’s former coach from 1990-2001.

“I admire the job that he’s done as a head coach. Whether it’s at Duke or Florida or South Carolina,” Muschamp said. “Obviously him being a Gator, that’s important. Being the head coach at Florida, I think you ought to have that relationship with him. … He’s done it the right way, too. He does things the right way. He does things first class. He handles things the right way. I really have a lot of respect for the man.”


Quarterback Tyler Murphy (shoulder sprain) remains unable to practice. The redshirt junior appears doubtful for Saturday’s game. Redshirt freshman Skyler Morhinweg would make his first-career start if Murphy were unable to go.  … Left tackle D.J. Humphries (MCL sprain) is officially out against the Gamecocks, while cornerback Marcus Roberson (ankle) is still listed as day-to-day. … Linebackers Antonio Morrison (torn meniscus) and Jeremi Powell (torn ACL) both had knee surgery Wednesday morning. Morrison (torn meniscus) is expected to return to action at the start of spring practice next year after injuring his knee in the loss to Vanderbilt. …  Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said freshman outside linebacker Jarrad Davis would make his first-career start against the Gamecocks. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

They Said It: No Quit

GAINESVILLE -- Florida must win two of its final three games to avoid its first losing season in 34 years.

Despite losing four-consecutive conference games, players continue to preach hope and say all the right things -- even if their body language tells a different story.

Florida’s media access this week was particularly short (and that’s really staying something), but here’s a collection of comments from various players -- including several team leaders -- on the group’s ‘woe is me’ mentality, not becoming ‘that’ team, avoiding checking out and the emotional state of the team.

UF travels to South Carolina this weekend to square off in primetime against the Gamecocks on Saturday night (7 p.m., ESPN2).

On not becoming that team…

DT Damien Jacobs

“We don’t want to go down as the team that broke the streak for the bowl game. We already feel bad about the Vanderbilt thing. We don’t want to be those guys, just like coach said. That’s a bad feeling, knowing you’re the team that broke the streak. It would suck to be here and win four or five games, come up short.”

On not checking out mentally... 

LT Max Garcia

"I know that I can answer for myself. I have the same fight. I want to win, that's what I want to do. I'm a competitor. God have given me the ability to play this game and I want to use my ability and glorify him with it. I mean, I want to go out there and give it my best. I can only speak for the O-line and yes, I think we still want to fight and we still have the same goals. We're out there together and we're not going to give up."

RG Jon Halapio 

“We definitely need to look out for that. I feel like maybe younger players would have that mentality. I know the older players are trying to keep the team together. That’s something we’ve got to guard against with the younger players. We’re trying to keep everybody up and keep everybody together.”

QB Tyler Murphy

“We have to make sure that we stay on top of each other and make sure nobody gives up on the season because we still have three games. Things can get a lot worse if we do that stuff. We have to keep things going and try to find a way to pull two out of these next three so we can make a bowl game.”

C Jon Harrison 

“Obviously, it’s not an ideal season for how we wanted it to go. But we just have to keep fighting and keep battling adversity. Life is full of adversity. Life will throw curveballs at you. It’s how you deal with them that makes you a better person. … We just know that we have to keep fighting that the season isn’t done. Regardless of the circumstances or the outcome of the previous week, we still have to keep fighting and working.”

On the need for added leadership…

RG Jon Halapio

“Muschamp’s been saying that all year. I’ve been trying to do a good job about it. I’m more of a lead by example kind of guy. I’m not one of those go out there and hoorah the guys. I’m doing my part and I know Harrison’s doing his part and Solomon Patton’s doing his part.”

QB Tyler Murphy 

“Usually the quarterback is the leader of the group. I’m gonna make sure guys are focused and not giving up on the season. We have to do a great job, especially for the seniors. We want to send the seniors out the right way, send them to a bowl game, so they can make the best of their last year here.”

DT Damien Jacobs 

“It’s not really been that hard for me because I know we’ve got to just try to keep the intensity. So I just try to be a role model for the younger players because I know it’s probably hard for them just watching us go through this. So not for me, but I’m pretty sure for the other guys it might be. That’s why we try get it to them. …  I think especially this week we’re trying to pick it up a little bit. We’re just trying to stay positive around here, man. Attitudes are not going to help us.”

On the emotional state of the team and the ‘woe is me’ mentality…

FB Hunter Joter

"We're just trying to get these wins. You never want to have a losing record or not be able to make it to a bowl game, so we're just trying to win for our pride and for ourselves. You know most of our goals, as you know, are out so there's no SEC Championship to be playing for but we're still trying to win, trying to compete. … It’s very shocking, but it's life and we just got to deal with it and move on.” 

C Jon Harrison

“The more mature your team is, the better you are at being able to handle adversity because you've been through more adverse situations. But the fact that you have a young team that maybe hasn't been through as many ups and downs as the older players have, it's hard for them to stay focused through all the adversity. I agree with coach Muschamp, I really do. It's unfortunate, but it's just something that we are working on as a team, just being able to work through adversity and not letting adversity beat us down.”

On tuning out the criticism…

LT Max Garcia

"I was really into sports journalism and the media and things like that. That's why I went up to Maryland in the first place. I did want to be a sports journalist. So I understand what the media does and how it has its effects on players and teams. So I kind of just did away with the media from when they started bashing us. So I kind of just tuned that out as a whole, because I know what it's all about -- trying to get the best story, trying to get the most clicks on your site."

C Jon Harrison

“It comes with maturity it really does come with maturity. It took me about four years to be able to tune out all the distractions to be able to tune out the nonsense that’s going on off the field, to tune out fan’s comments and what people may have to say about you and really just until up about halfway through the season I haven’t been able to master that. But that’s something that comes from growth and maturity, being able to tune out all the distractions, all the adversity, being able to focus on the task at hand, it’s almost like having blinders up really. … We can feel the tension, obviously because we’re not having the season that the University of Florida is known to have, so that’s why the tension it there. We’re fully aware that we need to gel as a team and we need to pull together if we want to finish this season.”

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton 

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