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Gator Report

Antonya English

Brothers Landon Collins, Gerald Willis meet on the field in Alabama vs. Florida

Saturday afternoon's SEC showdown between No. 3 Alabama and Florida will feature a little sibling rivalry.

Alabama's Landon Collins and Florida's Gerald Willis are half-brothers who are eager to meet on the field.

Collins said he'd like an opportunity to hit his brother.

More on the story from TideSports.com senior writer Aaron Suttles

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After miserable 2013 season, Kyle Christy happy to be back on track

VIDEO BELOW:

One year after losing his starting job midway through the season as he struggled with his kicking duities, Florida punter Kyle Christy appears to be making a strong comeback.

Christy had a stellar performance in Saturday night's triple overtime win over Kentucky, and was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.

He had six punts for 292 yards with a net punting average of 45.5, including four inside the 20-yard line. One of those punts was a season-high 61-yarder in the fourth quarter, falling just six yards shy of matching his career best.

"Kyle Christy punted the ball extremely well," coach Will Muschamp said. "I think his net was right at 45. He really flipped the field and early in the game."

Five of Christy's nine punts this season have been for 50 yards or more. He ranks first in the SEC with a
48.6-yard season punting average through the third week of the season.

Two years ago, Christy, now a senior, was one of three finalists for the prestigious Ray Guy Award.

Listen to Christy talk about Saturday night's performance and why he believes he's regained his form.

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Alabama's Nick Saban impressed with Gators' Kurt Roper, improved offense

Alabama may be a double-digit favorite over Florida right now, but count Alabama coach Nick Saban among those who believe the Gators are a much improved team from last season.

Saban, a former boss and mentor to Florida coach Will Muschamp, said Monday he's impressed by what he's seen from new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper so far.

"The new offensive coordinator has definitely done a really good job with them in terms of what they're doing offensively," Saban said. "They have some significant impact players back that were injured a year ago. The quarterback has played really well. The two runnig backs have played very, very well. No. 11 (Demarcus) Robinson, the receiver, is one of the top guys in the country. This is a much, much, much improved, very good offensive football team. Their offensive line is big and playing much better because they've got some continuity back there as well."

No. 3 Alabama will host Florida Saturday, at 3:30 p.m. EST. The game will be televised on CBS.

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Gators Kyle Christy named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week

One year after losing his starting job midway through the season as he struggled with his kicking duities, Florida punter Kyle Christy appears to be making a strong comeback.

Christy has a stellar performance in Saturday night's triple overtime win over Kentucky, and has been named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.

He had six punts for 292 yards with a net punting average of 45.5, including four inside the 20-yard line. One of those punts was a season-high 61-yarder in the fourth quarter, falling just six yards shy of matching his career best.

"Kyle Christy punted the ball extremely well," coach Will Muschamp said. "I think his net was right at 45. He really flipped the field and early in the game."

Five of Christy's nine punts this season have been for 50 yards or more. He ranks first in the SEC with a
48.6-yard season punting average through the third week of the season.

Two years ago, Christy, now a senior, was one of three finalists for the prestigious Ray Guy Award.

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Alabama hoping to spread offense around vs. Gators

It's only Monday, but there has already been a ton of talk about Alabama WR Amari Cooper vs. the Gators.

And with good reason. And the Gators try to shore up their young secondary, Cooper is leading the SEC in receptions per game (11) and is second behind Florida's Demarcus Robinson in receiving yards per game (454). Cooper has 33 receptions so far this season.

But Alabama coach Nick Saban said Monday he wants to spread the offense around so teams can't just key on Cooper.

Here is more on what Saban hopes to accomplish against the Gators from AP writer John Zenor.

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Gators Will Muschamp "looking forward to the opportunity" to play Alabama

The Gators will play at Alabama on Saturday, marking their first trip to Tuscaloosa since 2010.

Alabama has won six the last eight meetings between the two schools and has outscored the Gators 101-29 in the past three games.

But Florida coach Will Muschamp said Monday the Gators will approach this like any other game.

“They’re all statement games,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said when asked if this Saturday is a statement game. “They’re all important. They all count for one. So we understand the importance of the game. It’s an SEC game, it’s the next game. We’re in a series of one-game seasons as far as I’m concerned right now, and that’s how we’re looking at it.”

More from Muschamp on his assessment of the 2014 Tide team:

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Cecil Hurt: Alabama should worry about Gators

Alabama may be a 17.5 point favorite over the Gators in Saturday's SEC showdown in Tuscaloosa, but at least one longtime columnist believes and improved Florida team might prove a challenge for the Tide.

Check out this column from Tuscaloosa News columnist and sports editor Cecil Hurt on why Alabama should at least be concerned about the Gators.

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SEC says proper guidelines used in Kentucky-Florida game delay of game issue

The SEC has released a statement regarding the controversial play in Saturday night's triple overtime game between Florida and Kentucky, saying officials "applied the proper mechanics and guidelines."

The Gators eventually won 36-30, extending their winning streak over the Wildcats to 28 games.

Kentucky scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass from QB Patrick Towles to Stanley Williams to take a 27-20 lead in the first overtime.

But with fourth-and-6 from the 9 yard line, Florida QB Jeff Driskel hit Demarcus Robinson in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown to send the game into a second overtime. However, it appeared the game clock had expired.

The SEC office issued this statement on the matter: …

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Gators survive Kentucky in triple overtime

It took three overtime periods, but the Florida Gators managed to survive a much-improved Kentucky team with a 36-30 victory Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Gators junior RB Matt Jones had the game-winning 1-yard run in the third overtime. It was the first three overtime game in Florida history.

Florida has now defeated Kentucky 28 consecutive years, dating back to 1986.

Gators WR Demarcus Robison had 216 yards and 15 receptions, becoming tying the UF single game record held by Hall of Famer Carlos Alvarez who had 15 in a 1969 game against Miami.

Listen to coach Will Muschamp's postgame comments here:

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Gators vs. Kentucky from Wildcats' perspective

Florida will host Kentucky Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in the Gators' SEC opener.

Here are a few links to stories you might be interested in from those who cover Kentucky:

WDRB's Rick Bozich says Beatling Gators Not As Tough As It Looks.

Roommates Melvin Lewis and Mike Douglas sharing load on Kentucky defensive line, by Jennifer Smith.

Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal writes about Kentucky preparing to face Gators fast-paced offense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kurt Roper, Mark Stoops no strangers to each other

When Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops meet Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, it won't be anything new for the two coaches.

Their head-to-head meetings date back to their ACC days when Roper was Duke's offensive coordiantor and Stoops was defensive coordinator at Florida State.

Check out video of Stoops talking about his days coaching against Roper from John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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Will Muschamp plays prank on his boss on Gator Hotline show

You can tell the Florida Gators got off to a good start in their season-opener - a 65-0 win over Eastern Michigan last Saturday.

So much so that Florida coach Will Muschamp was in a good enough mood to play a little prank on his boss Jeremy Foley Thursday night.

Foley, who was the featured guest on the weekly Gator Hotline Show, received a call from
"Bill from Gainesville".

Turns out it was actually Will - as in Muschamp.

It's pretty funny. So is Foley's response.

Check out the audio here.

Muschamp is scheduled to make five appearances on the show this season, which is broadcast every Thursday from 7-8 p.m. He will appear on Sept. 18 heading into the Gators' huge SEC game at Alabama.

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Break from social media just what Gator RB Kelvin Taylor needed

Florida sophomore Kelvin Taylor is as big a fan of social media as any other ordinary college student.

But if you follow him and haven't seen any action over the past month, there's a good reason.

Taylor shut it all down until this week.

He spent all fall camp in a battle for the starting job with Matt Jones, and said he wanted to make sure he was focused on what was most important during August: football.

'It was just me being more focused and into my play books, my plays, studying defensive opponents and different things like that," Taylor said. "I felt like it helped me a whole lot just staying away from all of social media and just being more focused with my teammates and my coaches and just getting locked in for the season. So I felt like it helped me a whole lot."

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Containing Kentucky's Patrick Towles a concern for Gators

Florida coaches and players acknowledge there are multiple challenges in facing Kentucky in Saturday night's SEC opener at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Among them?

Trying to contain dual-threat QB Patrick Towles - who is 6-foot-5 and 238 pounds.

“He does a great job," Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. "Their offense is really balanced. They’ve run the ball well and thrown it well. And with him being part of their running game, that presents another issue. Anytime you’re facing a team that runs with the quarterback, it’s now an issue of numbers in the box because there’s one more blocker they can account for by the threat of running with the quarterback. He’s good on his feet. He’s making plays. He’s a big, physical guy. You’ve got to hit him to get him down.”

Towles, a sophomore who won the starting job in fall camp,  is 37-of-60 for 547 yards and two touchdowns, but has also rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown. …

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Gators LB Mike Taylor says after last season, no motivation from opponents necessary

Afer holding Eastern Michigan scoreless this past weekend, the Florida defense is preparing for a much tougher challenge vs. Kentucky in Saturday's SEC opener.

Senior LB Michael Taylor met with the media today and discussed the Gators' overall improvement, concerns about Kentucky and why trash talking from the Wildcats won't affect Florida this week.

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