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14 posts from July 2013

July 30, 2013

Speed Read: It’s not about the money, money, money

Florida coach Will Muschamp received a nice $250,000 raise last Friday.

The response from some in the Gator Nation was unsurprisingly inane. 

Many bemoaned Muschamp’s place on the league’s compensation hierarchy, while others questioned why he justified a raise in the first place.

(***With an annual salary now around $3 million, Muschamp currently ranks as the seventh highest paid coach in the SEC***)

Here’s the skinny on why Muschamp got what he got, is where is and moving forward...

* The Gators are 18-8 in Muschamp’s first two seasons as a head coach. He’s tallied consecutive top-five recruiting classes, is a dedicated grinder and fresh off an 11-win campaign. Is he a great coach? That's a valid, debateable question. Asking if he's even a solid coach is downright silly. 

* The bump in pay was pennies compared to what would happen if the Gators won the SEC Championship and/or a BCS title. Also, the funds couldn’t have been used on academics. Totally different resources.

* Florida initially got its head coach on the relatively cheap (zero HC experience) and are simply rewarding a coach with a nod towards his market value.

* Georgia’s Mark Richt ($3.2 million), Arkansas’ Bret Bielema ($3.2 million) and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin ($3.1 million) justifiably make more money than Muschamp. Richt is the SEC’s longest-tenured coach with two career league championships, while the Aggies and Razorbacks both paid premiums to poach coaches from their former schools.  

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Driskel sidelined with appendectomy surgery

Florida will open training camp on Friday (Aug. 2) without its junior signal caller.

Starting quarterback Jeff Driskel underwent surgery on Tuesday at UF Health Stands Hospital, the team announced.



UF coach Will Muschamp released a statement saying, “[Driskel’s] surgery went well and how long he is out will be determined by how his body responds, which could be two weeks.”

According to Muschamp, “[Driskel] had acute appendicitis and fortunately the medical staff caught it very quickly.”

While the emergency operation is a setback for UF’s incumbent starter, the timing could’ve been much worse.

Florida’s backup quarterback situation is uninspiring, at best, but Tyler Murphy, a redshirt junior, will likely see the majority of first-team reps in Driskel’s absence.

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July 28, 2013

The mailman doesn't deliver on Sundays... Until today

Ladies and Gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I've just been handed an urgent and horrifying fascinating news story. I need all of you, to stop what you doing and listen!

We've officially hit the final turn of college football's offseason. 




Gator Club gatherings, in the rearview mirror. Southeastern Conference Media Days, done. Friday Night Lights, ova. 

Florida kicks off training camp in less than a week (Aug. 2), so let's knockout a pre-practice mailbag because why not. 

This will be a weekly feature here at the blog, so fire away, spread the word and bookmark this sucker. Let's turn this into a trademark segment on the blog. 

You can submit questions by posting below, emailing me (see side link) or tweeting me (@JesseReSimonton). 

In an nod to fellow Gators writer, Bryan Holt…


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July 26, 2013

BOOM: FNL, Muschamp nets raise, open practice dates announced


Here's Safid Deen's piece from FNL last night, centered around the South Florida trio who may unite as Gator teammates. 

UF also collected its first verbal commitment for the 2015 Class from Miami Central wide receiver Da'Vante Phillips during the event. Phillips is a four-star prospect according to ESPN and the high school teammate of running back Dalvin Cook, Florida's top-rated commitment in its 2014 Class. 


Tonight (like, right now) Florida hosts Friday Night Lights, its annual recruiting extravaganza (‘a camp’, officially) held in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Top prospects from the 2014 and 2015 classes will flood to Gainesville en masse as Will Muschamp & Co. look to build on some recent recruiting momentum after a blah couple of months on the trail.

Highly coveted five-star prospect Adoree’ Jackson, Rivals’ ninth-ranked player in the 2014 Class, is expected to be in attendance, as are multiple Florida verbal commitments. The rumored list of camp attendees is a who’s who of ballyhooed prospects, but the phrase ‘reportedly attending’ has to be attached with so many fickle 18-year-olds.

The Gators already received some good news earlier in the week with two verbal commitments for the 2014 class: OL/DL Donte Angus, a three-star prospect according to Rivals and Justus Reed, another three-star defensive lineman.

Today, Tre Jackson, a Florida legacy and 2016 prospect, committed to the Gators. Jackson is the son of former UF receiver Jack Jackson.

Full disclosure, I am no recruiting expert and will not be in attendance tonight. I will not pretend to be omnipotent and pass along all the rumors circulating around Gainesville this weekend. The Herald is sending someone in my place, and I’ll link his story on the blog. Later, I’ll post a recap of the event/weekend too.

If all goes well I expect Muschamp to look like…


Then again, we’re talking about kids here, so he could be like…





As first reported by The Sporting News, Muschamp has received a $250,000 yearly raise on a contract that runs through the 2017 season.

Florida’s coach will now earn an annual salary right around $3 million, making him the seventh-highest paid coach in the Southeastern Conference.

The league’s top compensated coaches are Alabama’s Nick Saban ($5.5 million), LSU’s Les Miles ($3.8 million), South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier ($3.3 million), Georgia’s Mark Richt ($3.2 million), Arkansas’ Bret Bielema ($3.2 million) and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin ($3.1 million).

In a statement (via Gainesville Sun), Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said, “[Florida president] Dr. [Bernie] Machen and I believe very strongly in Coach Muschamp and his leadership and we felt it was appropriate to adjust his salary to be more in line with the market value.”


Florida announced four practice dates open to the public this summer, including one session in The Swamp.

The Gators kickoff training camp on Aug. 2 with the following dates open to the public for free.

* Thursday, August 15 – Time TBA – Donald R. Dizney Stadium (lacrosse field)

* Saturday, August 17 – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
 (with Fan Day to follow)

* Monday, August 19 – Time TBA – Sanders Football Practice Facility

* Tuesday, August 20 – Time TBA – Sanders Football Practice Facility

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

July 25, 2013

History Buried... Hernandez brick removed

Aaron Hernandez was an Associated Press All-American tight end for the Gators in 2009. His brick, honoring said accomplishment, was removed by the University of Florida on Thursday morning. 

Just a day after New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick officially condemned Hernandez, Florida too is now erasing any memory of the troubled star.

Hernandez awaits trial in Massachusetts on first-degree murder charges for the execution-style shooting of Odin Lloyd.

UF journalism professor Ted Spiker first reported the brick removal, and later the University Athletic Association released an official statement (via Julie Quittner, GTN News).

AH brick

“We didn’t feel it was appropriate to celebrate Aaron Hernandez. We put together an immediate plan after the initial news broke to remove his likeness and name in various private and public areas in the facility, such as the South Endzone team area, locker room, football offices, Heavener Complex Kornblau Lobby and the brick display entrance to the football facility.

“We were able to implement some changes immediately and this (brick removal) was a more complex process to complete with our vendors.

“The plan was to have everything completed before the end of July.” (emphasis mine)

Was the UAA’s decision appropriate or premature? After all (as many have pointed out), OJ Simpson still has a bronze bust in Canton, OH.

To me, this isn’t a guilty or innocent dilemma, but rather a proactive move by an institution distancing itself (via advertising, showcasing, whatever you want to call it) from an alleged murder.

Don't worry Gator fans, the 2008 banners won't be coming down. 

What do ya’ll think?

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

July 24, 2013


The doldrums of a college footballess summer will soon be over. With the season quickly approaching, [insert team] hype videos are being viewed daily, on a loop, during every fan's lunch hour.  

Today, I did a couple quick YouTube searches and found six game-changing plays (listed chronologically) defining Florida's 2012 season. Now these are not necessarily the year's top plays (although some may qualify). 

Apologies to Matt Elam (couldn't find a solid video of his forced fumble vs. LSU), Mike Gillislee (while important, 8-yard runs aren't usually the most ballyhooed of plays) and Jon Bostic (Florida fans were passed out drunk during his Sugar Bowl knockout). 


1. 'Wild-Gator' 


2. A dagger sprint  


3. Starting off with a bang...


4. Game Over


5.[gasp] HOLY...


6. Decleated


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July 23, 2013

Woof. Woof. Charges Dismissed

Well that didn't take long. 

The misdemeanor charges filed against Gators linebacker Antonio Morrison have been dropped, according to William ‘Bill’ Cervone, state attorney for Florida’s Eighth Judicial Circuit.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken first confirmed reports after speaking with Morrison’s attorney, Huntley Johnson.

Cervone released a lengthy statement reviewing the arrest.

Key quotes included…

* “The charge of interfering with a police animal requires malice, and none exists. It also requires that the animal be engaged in some official duty, and it cannot be said that sitting in the back of a police cruiser in case he is needed constitutes being engaged in such activity by a police dog. As to the charge of resisting an officer, I challenge anyone who looks at the video of the incident to find any resistance, physical or otherwise, beyond questioning the actions of law enforcement, which is not illegal. Certainly, I see nothing that would allow or persuade a jury to convict.”

*”I wish to commend Sheriff Sadie Darnell for her comments about this situation as reported in the media. Those comments are candid, responsible, and appropriate. I disagree only as to whether any crime occurred. In my view, no arrest should have been made in this case, whether technically sustainable or not. In my office, I teach and we attempt to practice restraint.”

*Morrison's deferral agreement in his previous case will remain in effect. Because his arrest and potential prosecution for this new incident are in my view legally inappropriate there are no grounds to revoke that agreement.”

*To anyone suggesting that he has received special treatment due to his status, I would say review the police video and associated reports. Doing so with an unbiased, legally rigorous analysis can only lead to the conclusions I've reached.”


Boom speaks...

"As of now nothing has changed with Anonio's discipline status," UF coach Will Muschamp said in a tweet. 

Morrison remains suspended for at least the first two games of the 2013 campaign. Could that change? Maybe. We'll see. 

As always, the floor is yours…

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

July 22, 2013

Morrison arrest video released: Cops overzealous?

The Gainesville Sun acquired video footage (via police dashboard camera) of Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison's arrest early Sunday morning for harassing a police dog and resisting arrest without violence. 

In the article published by the Sun, Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell said the arresting officer should've issued a warning rather than detaining Morrison.     

You be the judge...


Two (or more) Bits

Will Muschamp will participate in ESPN’s “Car Wash” on Tuesday, as Florida’s coach will appear on various ESPN platforms reciting his 2,500-word, greatest-hits dissertation from SEC Media Days discussing his team and the upcoming year. I’m sure “barking” will be brought up a time or two.

Muschamp will be one of several SEC coaches in attendance on the Bristol, Conn., campus, as Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, Tennessee coach Butch Jones and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier will also make the rounds Tuesday.

Below is Muschamp’s busy schedule (courtesy of Gatorzone.com)


GameDay Radio


First Take


Digital Media




CFB Insider w/ Travis Haney


SC Tonight w/ Freddie Coleman


Recruiting Nation




College Football Live


SVP & Russillo Radio Show


ESPN.com chat


College GameDay


St. Thomas Aquinas defensive tackle Anthony Moten decommitted from Florida on Saturday.

According to recruiting experts, Moten’s decommitment wasn’t all that surprising considering the four-star prospect had never visited Gainesville and was openly courting other schools. Miami, Florida State and South Carolina remain high on Moten’s list, but it remains to be seen if Florida will continue recruiting him.

Shortly after the news broke, Moten sent out the following tweet, publically announcing his reasoning for decommitting.

Florida now has just 10 commitments in the 2014 class, but the Gators are expected to make some positive noise this weekend during their annual Friday Night Lights camp (June 26).


The NFL announced this weekend New York Giants safety Will Hill has been suspended (again) for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and program.

Hill is forced to sit out four games next season, just a year removed from missing four games in 2012 for violating the league’s drug policy.

Hill is one of four players -- Brandon Spikes, Joe Haden and Jermaine Cunningham are the others -- from Florida’s 2008 BCS National Championship team to be suspended by the NFL for (allegedly) using performance-enhancing drugs. 

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July 21, 2013

Morrison arrested (again), suspended

Florida sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested late Saturday evening on charges of impersonating DMX harassing a police canine and resisting arrest without violence.

It’s Morrison’s second arrest in just over a month (35 days), and this time it officially earned him a suspension.

Gators coach Will Muschamp released a statement saying, “I’m extremely disappointed in Antonio Morrison’s decision-making. He has been suspended from the team and will miss at least two games (Toledo, Miami) to begin the season.”

UF’s prospective starting middle linebacker was booked into Alachua County Jail at 4:15 a.m. on Sunday and was released on his own recognizance sometime later.

According to the police report, Morrison walked up to a police car with a K9 unit in tow and began barking at a dog, named Bear, in an open window. Morrison then resisted arrest when officers tried to detain him with handcuffs. 

The police were actually responding to an unrelated incident at “an after-hours business,” before engaging Morrison for barking at the dog.  

Morrison allegedly made multiple “woof-woof” noises at the dog, after insisting Bear had barked at him first.

Florida’s sophomore linebacker was previously detained on June 16 on a simply battery charge for allegedly punching a bouncer at a Gainesville nightclub.

He received deferred prosecution, which included two ride-alongs with University of Florida police.

Morrison’s latest arrest doesn’t count as one of those rides.

I’ll have more later, specifically on how Morrison’s absence will impact an already inexperienced linebacker unit.


This via David Jones, writer for Florida Today

"State attorney Bill Cervone said Morrison "subject to revocation" to deferral first charge if finds "crime involved" to warrant.Cervone said he is "concerned about the legality of this arrest" after early look. The technicality that could help Morrison is that statute requires element of "malicious interference." Dog was sitting in car."

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

July 19, 2013

Emptying out the notebook...

SEC Media Days are ova, and it's a relatively slow day around Gator Country.

Here's some lite lunchtime reading anyways. 


CBS Sports updated its TV schedule Thursday morning, listing the Tennessee-Florida game (Sept. 21) in its Game of the Week Spot (3:30 p.m.) However, hours later, the game had been removed from the schedule. Here's betting the original time is confirmed sometime next week.


Former Gators safety Matt Elam agreed in principle to a four-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN insider Adam Shefter.

The former Dwyer High star was the Ravens’ first-round pick in April’s NFL Draft, and in an unusual case, never hired an agent and negotiated his own contract. Elam's older brother Abram, a seven-year NFL veteran, guided the ex-All-SEC performer through the process. 


NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for the Ravens, Browns and Eagles, ranked the top-50 college football players in the country, and two Gators made the list.

Florida’s all-purpose cornerback Louchiez Purifoy ranked 24th overall, while teammate Marcus Roberson was listed one spot ahead at No. 23

In all, 20 of the 50 players were from the SEC.  

With a nod to the late, great Lewis Grizzard today’s DAMN BROTHER. DON’T BELIEVE I’DA TOLD THAT…

An Alabama fan referred to Nick Saban as Hitler… Emphasizing it as a sincere compliment.

Meanwhile, a semi-overhyped signal-caller walked right into a field of land mines with his comment:

“It’s not like I’m Tim Tebow and have terrible mechanics.” – LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger  

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton


July 18, 2013

SEC Preseason Predictions: Florida picked to finish third in East (again)

For the second straight season, Florida is predicted (by a record-number of media) to finish third in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division behind Georgia and South Carolina. All three schools are expected to open the 2013 season somewhere inside the nation's top-10 ranked teams. 

Will Muschamp’s team received 19 first-place votes, with zero votes to outright win the league.   

Meanwhile, the SEC also released its preseason all-conference teams.

The Gators placed nine players across three teams, including first-team defense honorees (DT) Dominique Easley and (CB) Louchiez Purifoy.

UF punter Kyle Christy was also a first-team selection. 

A couple interesting nuggets stand out to me: Not a single Florida wideout was even listed on the ballot for selection. The Gators' last non-lineman to make a preseason All-SEC first-team was Tim Tebow in 2009. 

Linebacker Ronald Powell, despite missing the entire 2012 season with an ACL injury, was picked as a third-team honoree. While sophomore running back Matt Jones , who is just a first-year starter, also earned a third-team nod.

Below are all of UF’s selections:

First-team defense: DT Dominique Easley, CB Louchiez Purifoy

First-team specialists: P Kyle Christy

Second-team offense: OG Jon Halapio  

Second-team defense: CB Marcus Roberson

Third-team offense: RB Matt Jones, C Jon Harrison

Third-team defense: LB Ronald Powell

Third-team specialists: RS Andre Debose, AP Louchiez Purifoy    

Agree or disagree with the media’s picks? Any noticeable omissions (Antonio Morrison, Dante Fowler maybe)?

Have at it.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

July 17, 2013

Muschamp hits Meyer with an uppercut

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart loves to pump his fist and yell, “BOOM!!!” after delivering one of his patented slams.

Florida coach Will Muschamp prefers to deliver his shots with a sheepish grin and some aw-shucks candor.

During Tuesday’s Southeastern Conference Media Days in Hoover, Ala., Muschamp took several hearty jabs at Ohio State coach Urban Meyer over alleged UF recruiting violations over the past year.  

Muschamp told reporters at the Wynfrey Hotel, “It’s a dead issue for me. In both situations we were turned in by Ohio and we didn’t do anything wrong.”

According to multiple published reports in June, Meyer purportedly turned in his former school (something he denies) to the NCAA for supposed secondary recruiting violations involving an illegal “bump” (i.e. contact) between Gators running back coach Brian While and five-star tailback prospect Curtis Samuel.

The NCAA investigated the allegation but cleared Florida of any wrongdoing. Last summer, Ohio State also notified the NCAA about a situation involving current UF freshman defensive end Jordan Sherit. It too amounted to nothing.

“We appreciate our friends from Ohio making sure we were compliant with NCAA rules,” Mushamp said. “They certainly know a little bit about NCAA rules.”


A passive-aggressive one-liner and a sarcastic thank you?!?!  Brady Hoke is impressed.


Muschamp said Florida starting middle linebacker Antonio Morrison could be suspended for his June 16 arrest for simple battery, but UF’s coach hasn’t made a decision yet.

“It hasn’t even crossed my mind,” Muschamp said Tuesday.

Morrison allegedly punched a bouncer at a Gainesville bar over an admission fee, and the linebacker later accepted a deferred prosecution agreement on June 28.

Muschamp was quick to declare Morrison is currently being disciplined, and that Florida’s coaching staff is focusing on educating their players and preaching personal responsibility.

“When you sign a student-athlete to come to the University of Florida, I look at his parents, guardians, whoever is important to him in his life, tell them it’s my job to be an extension of what’s already happened at home. But you’re 100 percent responsible for the young man,” Muschamp said.


Full disclosure: I hate these things. They make zero sense (see: Dunbar’s inclusion as a 'top wideout'). They’re like a Pro Bowl roster where half the players in the NFL are named to a team. Don’t bother deciphering how UF cornerback Louchiez Purifoy is nominated for both the Bednarik and Nagurski Awards (top defensive player nationally) but not the Thorpe Award (top defensive back).

The lists are flexible though, and I’m sure Purifoy and maybe even Marcus Roberson are eventually added sometime during the season.

For now, here are the Florida players selected for the various released watch lists:

- Jeff Driskel (QB) – Maxwell Award (top player)

- Quinton Dunbar (WR) – Biletnikoff Award (top receiver)

- Jonotthan Harrison (C) – Rimington Trophy (top center)

- Dominique Easley (DT) – Bednarik Award (top defensive player), Lombardi Award (top lineman), Outland Trophy (top interior lineman)

- Louchiez Purifoy (CB) – Bednarik Award, Nagurski Award

- Kyle Christy (P) – Ray Guy Award (top punter)


Muschamp on quaterback Jeff Driskel signing a baseball contract with the Boston Red Sox:

"I said, 'Jeff, if you were my son, I'd tell you to sign the contract."

July 16, 2013


Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome (maybe back!) to the Gator Clause blog. I’m Jesse Simonton, and I’ll be the newest CEO of this establishment.

From the words of one of my favorite TV characters ever, “There’s a new sheriff in town, boys. Ya’ll best get used to it.”

I’ve covered Florida athletics since college (yes, I’m a UF alum), but I actually grew up in Dawg country. Cue, instant shrieking.

I’m excited to make this blog an insightful and engaging community where even the most ghastly trolls are welcome.  This blog will maintain a steady stream of content, so let’s have some fun.

Bring out the banter; only don’t make the comments section read like the lyrics of Jay-Z’s latest album. Florida and SEC fans are preferred (kidding… sort of) but if Miami or FSU brethren want to join the party, we’ll kick it like Will Smith and reminisce about the millennium.



Now that introductions are over, some actual news from the Southeastern Conference’s Media Days in Hoover, Ala.

Shocking, I know.

While the SEC’s annual circus begins today with 1,500 media members waiting for the next Johnny Manziel quote, the league did announce the kickoff times and TV broadcasts for the first three weeks of the 2013 season.

Florida will host Toledo on Aug. 31 at 12:21 p.m. on the SEC Network. The Gators travel to Miami the following Saturday (Sep. 7) for a noon tilt (ESPN) with their in-state rival Hurricanes. Florida better start hydrating now.

UF is already struggling to sellout the season opener and the confirmed start time surely won’t help matters. The University Athletic Association recently began offering a “Meal Deal” package to entice fans to purchase tickets for the Toledo game. For $35, fans can get a ticket, soda and hotdog. No word yet if hand-held fans are included.

Later, I’ll have more from SEC Media days, as UF coach Will Muschamp and players Jeff Driskel, Dominique Easley and Jon Halapio all address the media this afternoon.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton 



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