September 09, 2013

ICYMI: Lots to play for

First things first, later today I'll have a full breakdown (rewind) of Florida's loss to Miami after reviewing the TV tape. 

The blog will be a tad lighter on content this week as the UAA invoked a media lockout as there is no scheduled availability during UF's bye week. But there will still be daily updates and a couple fun pieces. 

ICYMI: My piece on Florida moving forward. Check it out. Here's a teaser. 

GAINESVILLE – Then No. 12 Florida’s harrowing 21-16 defeat to then unranked in-state rival Miami on Saturday was a much-needed statement win for the Hurricanes, but it also didn’t ruin UF’s season.

The Gators’ championship aspirations weren’t sunk with a single turnover-riddled stinker.

“We still have a lot of games to play this year,” quarterback Jeff Driskel said. We’re not out of anything yet.”

No they’re not.

The loss to Miami – which jumped to No. 15 in the Associated Press poll -- despite all its glaring warts, means nothing in the Southeastern Conference standings.

The path to Atlanta is still in front of the Gators, who dropped six spots to No. 18 in the poll.

Saturday’s defeat was Florida’s first in the month of September since a 2008 loss to Ole Miss -- the day of Tim Tebow’s famous ‘Promise’ speech -- and while there weren’t any pronounced declarations deep in the bowls of Sun Life Stadium, several Florida players exuded faith that things (see: offensive ball security) will improve over time. ...

NEWS & NOTES

Florida announced quarterback Jeff Driskel suffered a slight knee sprain in the second quarter of Saturday's game. The junior is on crutches this week as a precaution, but "will be ready for the Tennessee game next week."

Which leads me to... The Southeastern Conference officially announced the Florida-UT (Sept. 21) kickoff time Monday morning. 

The Gators and the Vols will square off at 3:30 p.m. (CBS) in The Swamp with Uncle Verne rockin' the mic. 

VIEWING (DIS)PLEASURE

Some of you may have seen or heard about this, but look where Miami hilariously placed Florida's band in Saturday's game:

Photo-20

That's Coors Light cold. 

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September 08, 2013

Poll Position: Jumping backwards

The Gators -- following Saturday's 21-16 foot-shooting upset loss to Miami -- plummeted in the polls Sunday. 

Florida dropped six spots to No. 18 in the latest AP Top 25 poll, while UF tumbled to No. 20 -- from No. 9 -- in the USA Today Coaches poll.  

Meanwhile, Miami is ranked for the first time in the Al Golden era, coming in a No. 15 in the AP poll. The 'Canes slide rank No. 20 in the coaches poll.  

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Gators Grades: Oops

MIAMI GARDENS -- Before I re-watch the tape (probably tomorrow or Monday) of No. 12 Florida’s upset loss to Miami, here are some rapid reaction grades.

ICYMI: As a bonus, here’s my piece on UF’s House of Horrors -- most call it the red zone. Also, my notebook discussing the Gators’ defensive performance, Matt Jones’ return, Solomon Patton and more.

OFFENSE D+

The Gators dominated the stat sheet, but it didn’t matter. Florida self destructed in the red zone -- scoring just twice in seven chances inside Miami’s 28-yard line. The Gators’ ballyhooed ground-n-pound attack was invisible, as the Canes dominated the line of scrimmage. Florida averaged just 2.9 yards per carry 44 attempts. Jeff Driskel made plenty of plays Saturday -- for both teams.

DEFENSE A-

Will Muschamp was quite critical of his defense’s performance in Miami’s first two drives, but Florida allowed just 59 yards after the first quarter. UF’s defensive line --UM quarterback Stephen Morris called it the best he’s ever played -- single handily kept the Gators in the game despite the offense coughing up the ball with regularity. Duke Johnson was quiet (2.8 y/c) following UM’s first drive, while Morris never found a rhythm after his long touchdown pass to Phillip Dorsett. Miami was just 1-of-11 on third down.    

SPECIAL TEAMS B+

Punt blocker extraordinaire Loucheiz Purifoy gift-wrapped the Gators an easy touchdown in the first quarter. Austin Hardin was perfect on his only attempt (33-yarder) -- the same distance Florida passed up on the failed fourth-and-one in the first half. Marcus Roberson was just OK returning punts, but Solomon Patton did chip in a 41-yard kick return. The failed two-point conversion was poorly blocked, but the bigger question is why it was called in the first place.  

Thoughts? Comments?

Have at it.

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September 07, 2013

Saturday Selections: Florida-Miami thread

Live from Sun Life Stadium...

The Gators and Canes kickoff in about two hours. Noon time start be damned. The parking lot is rocking. The atmosphere is crazy. Drinks are steadily flowing, and UM students are slowly trickling in. It feels like a primetime game, but will it actually be one?

Here's a quick video of UM's "Cane Walk" entering the stadium:

 

ESPN analyst Todd McShay picked the Gators, as most others have too, but the Mothership's Senior Simpletons (Lou Holtz & Mark May) picked the Canes. 

PICKS

Last week was good start: 5-1 -- the lone miss a close UGA loss.

This week's six-pack:

* Michigan (-3.5) vs. Notre Dame

* Texas A&M (-38.5) vs. Sam Houston State 

* LSU (-34) vs. UAB 

* Oklahoma (-20.5) vs. West Virgina 

* Georgia (-3) vs. South Carolina 

And finally, Florida (-3) at Miami. I think the Gators will win... going away late. This game means more for Miami. Don't believe me, check out how many recruits are here.

Recruits

But Florida simply has too many talented players on defense. This game -- both the week's buildup and today's atmosphere -- feels awfully similar to the Florida-Tennessee game last season. UT had an explosive offense too, but the Vols weren't ready for primetime. 

Deja vu? 

Enjoy the game, everybody.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton 

September 06, 2013

ICYMI: Dunbar's Homecoming

A teaser to a piece on Florida wideout Quinton Dunbar, a native of Miami's roughest neighborhood, Overtown. 

GAINESVILLE -- Quinton Dunbar, a star receiver at Booker T. Washington, grew up gleefully rooting for Miami. He idolized the late Sean Taylor -- a UM legend.

He was once verbally committed to play for the Hurricanes.

But ultimately, Dunbar fled ‘Magic City.’

“[I had] to get out of Miami,” he said. “Start a new life somewhere else.”

For most -- including Florida’s redshirt junior receiver – Overtown is a tough Miami neighborhood area rich in history, but, now, little else.

Overtown is among the roughest neighborhoods in the nation. The town’s theoretical urban renewal in the 1960’s actually further decayed an-already unraveling community.

The situation has only worsened.

“The success rate is low,” Dunbar said, shaking his head. “Coming from a city like that where there’s a lot of drugs and a lot of guns, it’s very hard to get out of it. But if you put your mind to it, you can get out of that situation.”

Click the link for the full feature. 

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Riggs disappointed UF-UM series likely ending

GAINESVILLE -- Gators safety Cody Riggs -- a Fort Lauderdale native and former St. Thomas Aquinas standout -- has waited a long time to play Miami, but at least he’ll have the opportunity.

Florida’s redshirt junior was unaware Saturday’s showdown is the final scheduled meeting in the foreseeable future for the storied series.  

“That’s kind of sad,” Riggs said. “Two big-time programs in the state that don’t play each other. I would hope to play them every year. Hopefully times can go back to old times, but that’s kind of disappointing this might be the last time.”

Rigg
(Cody Riggs)

Despite growing up in South Florida, Riggs was never a Hurricanes fan, saying, “I was a Gator fan and a Seminole fan, but when I got to high school it was strictly Gators.” 

TEAM PLAYER

Freshman wideout Demarcus Robinson was trumpeted as a potential savior for Florida’s anemic passing attack, and despite not catching a pass in UF’s opener offensive coordinator Brent Pease was pleased with Robinson’s debut.

“I went up to him in the locker room and told him, ‘You know what: Just be patient. I’m going to do a better job of getting some things designed (for you).’ He goes, ‘Coach, I had fun and we won.’ That’s the kind of kid he is.”

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September 05, 2013

Fun With Stats (& more UF-UM tidbits)

Of note...

* The last time Florida won in Miami was Sept. 7, 1985 (35-23). Saturday’s game is on Sept. 7.

* The winners of the last five regular season meetings between Florida-Miami have all finished in the top five of the final AP Poll

Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 4.05.38 PM

(Courtesy ESPN Stats & Information)

* Duke Johnson as averaged 9.0 yards per carry in his past four games, totaling 678 yards and six touchdowns.

* Only 12 FBS teams attempted fewer passes than the Gators (22) in college football’s opening weekend, but 11-of-12 won their opener -- New Mexico was the lone loser. 

* Also according to ESPN Stats & Information: UF has allowed just two rushes of 50+ yards in the last 10 years -- tops in nation. Meanwhile, Johnson has six 50+ yard gains in 13 career games.

* Against the nation’s top 25 rushing defenses in 2012 -- No. 3 Florida State, No. 11 Notre Dame, No. 21 Kansas State -- Johnson rushed for just 68 yards on 23 carries (2.95 y/c) 

* Miami quarterback Stephen Morris threw for a combined 1,415 yards in three games last year (Georgia Tech, NC State, South Florida). Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel threw for 1,646 yards total in 2012.

* Florida allowed 12 first downs to Toledo -- the nation’s No. 32 ranked offense in 2012. Miami surrendered 18 first downs to Florida Atlantic -- the No. 105 offense last season.

* FAU rushed for 133 yards in the opener vs. Miami. Florida allowed 133 rushing yards> just twice in 2012 -- Kentucky, 159; Texas A&M, 134.

* The Gators haven’t lost in September since Tim Tebow’s famous ‘Promise’ speech following an upset defeat to Ole Miss (31-30).

* Miami has allowed just one touchdown -- a Logan Thomas 73-yard run -- in its last three home games (Virginia Tech, South Florida, FAU).

* The Gators have never played the Hurricanes in Sun Life Stadium, but UF is 2-0 all-time at the stadium -- 2002 Orange Bowl (56-23 over Maryland) & 2008 BCS National Championship (24-14 over Oklahoma) 

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ICYMI: Lunchtime Links

An early afternoon buffet of Florida-Miami pieces (linked via UF's Miami Herald sister page) published the past two days. 

* Offensive coordinator Brent Pease scoffed at "vanilla" talk

* Defense coordinator D.J. Durkin had high praise for UM tailback Duke Johnson

* Jeff Driskel said he has to take better care of the ball 

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September 04, 2013

Meet the Hurricanes

I understand this isn't exactly novel information for many of y'all, but for the select few unfamiliar with Miami, here you go...  

2012 Record: 7-5 (5-3 ACC)

Returning Starters: 19: Offense: 10, Defense: 9

Key departures: RB Mike James (Tampa Bay Buccaneers sixth round selection, 9 total TDs in 2012), CB Brandon McGee (team-leading 2 INTs, St. Louis Rams fifth round pick), LB Eddie Johnson (dismissed, fourth on team in tackles as a freshman with 59), LB Gionni Paul (transfer) 

Player to watch offense: RB/return specialist Duke Johnson – The 'Canes’ dynamic tailback exploded onto the scene as a freshman in 2012. The former Miami Norland standout earned multiple freshman All-American honors -- as well as ACC Rookie of the Year -- after rushing for 947 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 6.81 yards per carry. Johnson, who broke UM star Clinton Portis’ school freshman rushing record, also tallied a pair of kickoff return touchdowns and will again run behind a massive offensive line returning all five starters and plenty of experience (3 seniors, 2 juniors). 

Player to watch defense: DE Shayon Green – Miami’s injury-maligned defensive end finished first on the team in tackles in 2012, but the senior failed to record a single sack while also collecting just three quarterback hurries. With Eddie Johnson kicked off the team, an already porous ‘Canes defense will need a new playmaker to emerge. Green has shown flashes of productivity throughout his career, but he’s struggled to stay on the field with multiple ACL injuries and a broken wrist.

2013 Outlook: Hopeful

Finally (maybe) eligible to compete for a conference title, the Hurricanes are the early favorites to win the newly expanded ACC Coastal Division. With a high-octane attack led by junior quarterback Stephen Morris (3,345 yards, 21 TDs), Johnson and a quintet of young and explosive pass catchers, UM’s offense is expected to carry the load early as sorts out its defensive question marks. Morris, who broke Bernie Kosar’s school record for total offense (3,415 yards) -- was an All-ACC performer in 2012 and is considered one of the top returning signal callers in the country.

The Hurricanes haven’t won 10 or more games in a decade, and despite a navigable schedule, things won’t change if their defense continues to yield points at an alarming rate. Defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio managed to keep his job even though his unit surrendered 40+ points three times and 30 or more points seven times. The ‘Canes were awful against both the run and pass, finishing No. 115 nationally in sacks (13) and No. 114 in rushing defense (217.9 yards/gm). Miami isn’t devoid of defensive talent -- especially with the likes of linebacker Denzel Perryman, Green and defensive lineman Anthony Chickillo (team-leading 4.0 sacks) -- but it’s a unit without a lot of direction.

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South Florida Gators talk Miami

UF wideout Quinton Dunbar (Booker T. Washington) and cornerback Marcus Roberson (St. Thomas Aquinas) both grew up in the heartland of 'Canes country. Roberson was childhood friends with UM receiver Phillip Dorsett, while UM linebacker Denzel Perryman is Dunbar's cousin. 

Here's a snipet of what Roberson and Dunbar had to say about Saturday's game. 

 

 

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September 03, 2013

A Tale of Two Polls: UF moves up, UF drops down

The Gators dropped two spots to No. 12 in the latest AP Top 25 poll, released Tuesday. 

While UF convincingly beat a decent Toledo bunch, LSU (No. 9) and FSU (No. 10) shined in primetime and leapfrogged Florida in the rankings.

Florida did jump one spot in the USA TODAY Coaches poll and now sits at No. 9.

Meanwhile, the Florida-Miami game is officially a top 25 contest, as the Hurricanes entered the coaches' rankings tied (with TCU) for No. 24.   

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September 02, 2013

Notebook: Gators release depth chart vs. Hurricanes

GAINESVILLE -- Florida released its updated depth chart for Miami and sophomores Matt Jones (tailback) and Antonio Morrison (linebacker) highlight the few changes.

After missing nearly all of training camp battling a serious viral infection, Jones is listed as UF’s No. 1 tailback ahead of redshirt junior Mack Brown -- who set career highs in carries (25), yards (112) and touchdowns (2) in his first collegiate start last Saturday against Toledo.

Jones will make his 2013 debut Saturday, but how much he’ll play -- considering the South Florida heat, the noon kickoff and the sophomore’s conditioning level -- has yet to be determined.

“We feel pretty good about [Matt’s] progress,” coach Will Muschamp said. “I think you know, as we work through the week we’ll be able to know how much he will be able to contribute.”

Quarterback Jeff Driskel said it’s nice just to have Jones back for experience and depth purposes, but the junior hopes Florida’s starting tailback is totally healthy.

“I know he’s going to do everything he can to be at 100 percent,” Driskel said. “If he’s close to 100 percent, I’ll take it.”

Driskel
(Jeff Driskel)

Meanwhile, Morrison is officially reinstated following a one-game suspension for a pair of well-documented arrest. In a bit of a surprise though, Morrison is listed as the backup middle linebacker to junior Michael Taylor.

Other depth chart notables include: Suspended wideout Latroy Pittman no longer listed as a backup at the “F” position, while the right cornerback position remains written as  “Jaylen Watkins or Loucheiz Purifoy.”

QUOTABLE

“I think our schedule is what it is. You guys keep wanting to add the Packers and everybody else. I’m kind of happy where it is right now. It’s been so unsettled just because I know Jeremy [Foley] and the guys have been dealing with the SEC schedules moving forward what are we staying, what are we not. I don’t know that all those things have been defined as of yet.” 

-- Muschamp on the possibility of renewing the yearly rivalry with the ‘Canes

INJURY REPORT

Muschamp said starting left tackle D.J. Humphries (sprained MCL) will return to practice -- in a limited role -- Tuesday but is expected to be fine for Saturday’s game. Backup linebacker Darrin Kitchens strained an oblique muscle and will sit out the first two days of practice this week.

Defensive tackle Dominique will miss Monday’s practice with the flu.

WEEKLY HONORS

Brown was awarded Florida’s offensive player of the Toledo game, while the Scrap Iron accolade went to transfer offensive linemen Tyler Moore and Max Garcia. UF’s entire defensive line was awarded player(s) of the week for their superb effort creating consistent pressure against the Rockets.

THIS & THAT

Former Gators and Canes quarterback Brock Berlin -- the hero in UM’s wild 38-33 comeback win in 2003 -- will be Miami’s honorary captain Saturday. … Miami has tallied 500+ yards of total offense in three consecutive games, dating back to the 2012 season. Conversely, Florida didn’t allow more than 370 yards in a game all last season. … UM is 13-14 all-time at home vs. UF. 

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Florida-Miami: Darling memories

ICYMI: I wrote a feature yesterday on the stakes of Saturday’s (renewed) rivalry game. Be sure to check it out, especially with Ronald Powell’s kicker quote at the end of the piece...

“It’s a big game because we’re [Florida] in it.”

Saturday’s matchup could very well be the final regular-season meeting between the two powerhouse programs for a very long time.

Today, Florida coach Will Muschamp -- who grew up in Gainesville cheering for the Gators -- reminisced on old history.

“Well, it was the leadoff game every year in the '80s. I remember I was sitting in the North end zone when James Jones made the one-handed catch against Miami. I guess '86 or, no, '84 was Kerwin Bell's first game. I think we went through five quarterbacks in preseason, Jeremy [Foley] you probably remember. We went through a bunch of them there, and Kerwin had his first [chace] down in Tampa, I think is where we played that year. But that was a game that when it was in Miami, I remember watching or listening on the radio, and then obviously when it was here in Gainesville I was trying to get in the stadium somehow.”

So shoot y’all. What are your favorite memories in the series?

Go.

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August 30, 2013

Florida: A Game-by-Game Breakdown

*** Note *** This article ran in the Herald's 2013 College Football Preview

Gators
(media.miamiherald.com)

Aug. 31: Toledo, Noon (SEC Network)

Florida will cruise to its 24th straight season-opening victory. UF 30-9.

Sep. 7: @ Miami, Noon (ESPN)

In 2012, Florida ranked No. 78 nationally in scoring offense, while UM ranked No. 83 in scoring defense. Something’s got to give. UF 24-17.

Sep. 21: Tennessee, TBA (TBA)

The Gators have won six in a row over the Volunteers. The streak continues. UF 24-10.

Sep. 28: @ Kentucky, TBA (TBA)

New Wildcats coach Mark Stoops might have his team pointed in the right direction, but his promising recruiting class won’t be on campus yet. UF 35-0.

Oct. 5: Arkansas, TBA (TBA)

Even the Gators can score against a feeble Hogs defense. UF 33-13.

Oct. 12: @ LSU, TBA (TBA)

Florida isn’t holding LSU under 200 yards of total offense in Death Valley. LSU 23-16.

Oct. 19: @ Missouri, TBA (TBA)

Tigers quarterback James Franklin tossed four interceptions in a close loss (14-7) last season. Repeat performance? UF 20-7.

Nov. 2: Georgia (Jacksonville), 3:30 p.m. (CBS)

Will Muschamp has never won a game in the series -- sporting red and black or orange and blue. UGA 21-20.

Nov. 9: Vanderbilt, TBA (TBA)

This isn’t your daddy’s ‘Dores, but alas, the Gators still have better players. UF 26-17.

Nov. 16: @ South Carolina, TBA (TBA)

All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is still not impressed with Florida’s offense. USC 22-16.

Nov. 23: Georgia Southern, TBA (TBA)

A brief reprieve before another tough rivalry game. UF 38-0.

Nov. 30: Florida State, TBA (TBA)

The Seminoles won’t win in Gainesville twice in a row. UF 28-20. 

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August 15, 2013

Notebook: Purifoy, Robinson & WAIT? AN OPEN PRACTICE!!!

The Gators will kickoff the first of four straight open practices tonight at 7:30 in the Florida lacrosse stadium. Of course, Friday's scrimmage is closed. Big shocker.

Still, the next six days will be a supreme opportunity to gauge just how good the Gators will be in 2013. 

Later this afternoon, I’ll update the blog with players/positions I’ll monitor closely over the next week. 

Following the late practice, I’ll have a full update with observations, thoughts, etc.

In the meantime, here’s a notebook of goodies to hold you over.

GAINESVILLE -- Loucheiz Purifoy is primed to do his best 1998-Champ Bailey impersonation.

The former two-way star averaged close to 100 snaps per game as a junior, playing offense, defense and special teams for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Florida’s electric defensive back may not reach such a lofty number of plays, but it’s possible.

Purifoy’s fall workload will include snaps as a starting cornerback, receiver, gunner and kick returner.

“He can run and go all day,” defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. “Last year he played every defensive snap, and you see us punting the ball or kicking off and he’s the first one down the field. … I think obviously he can do it. We feel he can do it.”

Purifoy said he has no fears of getting tired and hopes to play as many snaps as the coaching staff will allow.

The staff remains coy on Purifoy’s exact number of plays but acknowledged the junior’s fatigue -- especially in the Florida heat -- will be closely monitored.

“It’s just one of those things you have to manage and control throughout the game,” Durkin said. “We’re gong keep a close track of that.”

ACE RECRUITER

Defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson is rapidly making national headlines.

Robinson, a Miami native, is UF’s primary recruiter for South Florida and was central in landing the verbal commitments from the talented local trio -- 2014 prospects Chris Lammons (Plantation), Ermon Lane (Homestead) and Quincy Wilson (University School).

“T-Rob’s the best. He’s the best I’ve been around,” defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. “He’s an unbelievable recruiter. The guy works relentlessly at it.” 

Robinson is in his third year at Florida and was on coach Will Muschamp’s defensive staff at Auburn (2007) as a graduate assistant.

The 31-year-old coach is also responsible for landing 2014 five-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami Central), as well as leading what many believe to be the nation’s top cornerback unit.

“I’ve been around a lot of good coaches, luckily, in my career and I don’t know one better than him at what he does,” Durkin said. “He will be a head coach one day. There’s no reason he won’t be.”

ENERGY BOOST

Durkin said suspended linebacker Antonio Morison provided a spark to the team when the sophomore returned to practice late last week.

“I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but we had a great practice the day he came back,” Durkin said.

The veracity of Morrison’s two-game suspension remains a reticent storyline around camp, but Durkin did say Morrison’s teammates were happy to have their starting middle linebacker return.

“[Morrison] has been a pro about it since he came back,” Durkin said. “Everyone was excited to see him. He’s their guy.”

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

August 13, 2013

The 411: The latest in UF recruiting

To recap... 

DaVonte Lambert -- a 6-foot-3, 280-pound defensive end -- committed to Tennessee via Twitter on Tuesday morning. 

Screen shot 2013-08-13 at 12.58.04 PM

The JUCO-prospect (Georgia Military College) chose UT over finalists Florida and Auburn, with UF believing it had a serious shot at landing the three-star prospect. 

While the Gators couldn’t complete a 24-hour grand slam (see: Monday’s South Florida trifecta), UF is obviously thrilled with recent events after a relatively slow summer.

After last night, Florida jumped from No. 23 to No. 10 in Rivals’ 2014 team recruiting rankings.  

UF’s current 2014 class (all rankings according to Rivals.com)

PLAYER

POS.

HT.

WT.

SCHOOL

STARS

Duke Dawson

DB

5’11”

195

Dixie County

****

J.C. Jackson

DB

5’10”

175

Immokalee

****

Chris Lammons

DB

5’9”

168

Plantation

****

Quincy Wilson

DB

6’2”

195

University Sch.

****

Justus Reed

DE

6’5”

235

Central Catholic

***

Khairi Clark

DT

6’2”

325

Chamindade

****

Dontae Angus

OL

6’6”

330

M L King (PA)

***

Tavern Bryan

OL

6’5”

250

Natrona (WY)

***

Nolan Kelleher

OL

6’6”

285

Wando (SC)

***

Benjamin Knox

OL

6’6”

259

Deland

***

Travaris Dorsey

OL

6’3”

314

Raines

***

Tavern Bryan

OL

6’5”

250

Natrona (WY)

***

Joseph Paul

OL

6’4”

340

St. Augustine (LA)

***

Will Grier

QB

6’2”

177

Davidson Day (NC)

****

Dalvin Cook

RB

5’11”

192

Miami Central

****

C’yontai Lewis

TE

6’5”

212

Northridge (AL)

**

Ermon Lane

WR

6’2”

172

Homestead

****

 Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

September 08, 2008

Meyer and Tebow respond to Shannon's comments, here are the audio files

GAINESVILLE -- It was anything but boring on Monday here in hogtown. Miami coach Randy Shannon's comments on Sunday about Florida coach Urban Meyer fired up UF quarterback Tim Tebow. Gator Clause is the only place you're going to hear the audio file for free.

Just like Shannon chose not to call out Florida's coach by name, Florida's coach played along and did the same. Meyer and Tebow praised Miami's defensive coordinator, which has been Meyer's less-than-subtle way of giving Shannon no credit for Miami's impressive defense. Tebow followed suit.

This is all very silly, folks. Enough with the backhanded compliments. I wish these guys would just kiss and make up...And I sooooooo hope that Tebow sticks around for another season. If he does, I'm calling it right now. Florida vs. Miami in the 2010 national championship game. We'll dredge up these quotes if that happens.

(The quote from Tebow about jail is pretty funny.)

-jo-

1.Tebow defends Meyer, gets fired up about Shannon comments.

2.Tebow talks about Miami defensive coordinator.

3.Meyer credits Miami's talented players.

4.Meyer: "I learned a long time ago to just coach your team."

5.Meyer on the proper way to "communicate."

September 07, 2008

The Day After: Gators-Canes still on the brain

Florida coach Urban Meyer did not have a Sunday teleconference today. A spokesman for the Gators told me receiver Carl Moore's diagnoses on Sunday is still a "hip pointer."

GAINESVILLE -- Here are some random thoughts popping into focus as I watch the NFL today, reflect on last night's game and flip through the pages of my reporter's notebook...

--I used to like Brett Favre.

--Why was Florida tackle Phil Trautwein flagged for that personal-foul penalty? I couldn't figure it out from the press box. Whatever the reason, it ruined the Gators' momentum in the first quarter.

--Trautwein's personal-foul penalty wasn't as costly as the one charged to UM lineman Orlando Franklin at the end of the first half. It led to Jeffrey Demps' blocked punt.

--Florida receiver Louis Murphy apologized after the game for his smack talk earlier in the week. I don't know what to think about this. On one hand, it seems commendable. On the other hand, it's not like Murphy called out someone's mom. Whatever...

--Florida free safety Major Wright only had two tackles.

--Florida strong safety Ahmad Black appeared to hold his own against Miami's athletic skill players.

--Miami's only scoring drive featured a Wondy moment. Does anyone remember this? I had to chuckle a little bit in the press box.

--Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez said after the game that he was benched for the season opener because he didn't practice hard enough the week before Hawaii. Yeah, right...

--Linebackers: How many future first-round picks were on Florida Field last night? Two, I say. Florida middle linebacker Brandon Spikes and UM freshman reserve linebacker Sean Spence.

--The fourth quarter was Tebow time. That's a good sign for the Gators.

--Several reporters who cover Miami keep telling me that Florida will lose at least two games this season. Doesn't say much for Miami, I guess. I thought the Canes were pretty good.

--UM quarterbacks Robert Marve and Jacory Harris are both going to be excellent. Will one transfer?

--Tebow has 130 pass attempts without an interception, a new Florida record. Danny Wuerffel held the previous record at 121 pass attempts.

--Florida has not committed a turnover in each of its last four games.

--Florida had five penalties for 35 yards. Not bad for the Gators. One of those penalties was on redshirt sophomore guard Marcus Gilbert (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas), who filled in for Jim Tartt. Meyer said he wants to get Tartt back into the line-up as soon as possible.

--The Gators started the second half with two fruitless offensive drives. Tebow appeared to be pretty frustrated after the second drive. He was seen on the sidelines screaming at Meyer to leave the offense on the field for a fourth-and-two from the UF 48. Meyer punted.

-jo-



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