The challenge for the Gators this week, Jim McElwain said, is to handle that success without getting cocky or complacent.
The 11th-ranked Gators find themselves in a spot they haven't experienced in years, and first-year coach Jim McElwain isn't sure how his team will respond.
After struggling during the Will Muschamp era, Florida is 5-0 and just outside the top 10 after last week's win over then-No. 3 Ole Miss. The challenge this week, McElwain said, is to handle that success without getting cocky or complacent.
"It'll be really interesting to see how we handle the praise from all the people that obviously said they weren't worth a hill of beans and now are talking about them," McElwain said. "People (are) rubbing their bellies and making them feel good. Yeah, they should get their bellies rubbed. I mean, they've done a good job. And yet, how do you handle it?"
McElwain's metaphor choice shouldn't be a shock; he's made it quite known that he's a dog person.
His message doesn't come as a surprise, either. Since preseason media day, he has preached that players only get (at most) 15 opportunities and must maximize each one - regardless of the highs or lows that come from the previous game. …Full Story
Former NBA champion Mike Miller, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and two-time All-America offensive lineman Jeff Zimmerman are among the eight former Gators who will be inducted into Florida's athletic hall of fame in the spring, UF announced today.
Mike Miller made the Final Four with the Gators and won two NBA titles with the Miami Heat. Zimmerman starred for UF's football team from 1983-86 and was later drafted by the Cowboys.
Lochte won seven NCAA championships before setting four world records and winning 11 Olympic medals.
The other inductees:
Greg Burgess (men's swimming, 1991-94)
Kerron Clement (men's track and field, 2003-05)
Jane Collymore (volleyball, 2002-05)
David Lee (men's basketball, 2001-05)
Jessica Lehnhoff (women's tennis, 1999-2002)
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook remains day to day with a hamstring injury he sustained Saturday at Wake Forest.
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook remains day to day with a hamstring injury he sustained Saturday at Wake Forest, coach Jimbo Fisher said during his weekly Monday news conference.
Fisher said Cook's injury wasn't as drastic as initially feared, but Cook still won't participate in drills Monday.
Cook, one of the country's top rushers, leads the No. 12 Seminoles with 570 yards and six touchdowns. His status remains uncertain for Saturday's home rivalry game against Miami.Full Story
LOREN ELLIOTT | Times
Florida Gators wide receiver Brandon Powell completes a 77-yard reception for a touchdown against Ole Miss.
Florida's 38-10 win over Ole Miss bumped the Gators up 14 spots in the AP Top 25 — and leapfrogged them over the still unbeaten Seminoles.
UF (5-0, 3-0 SEC) is No. 11 in the latest AP poll, released Sunday. The Seminoles (4-0, 2-0) fell one spot, to 12th, after holding on for 24-16 win at Wake Forest.
The Gators were also the biggest riser in the coaches' poll. They jumped 11 spots to No. 12. FSU moved up one spot to eighth.
Ole Miss fell from third to 14th in the AP poll after the loss to UF. Full Story
GAINESVILLE - It doesn't appear as if the flu will keep Will Grier out of tonight's game against No. 3 Ole Miss.
Florida announced Grier as the starting quarterback tonight. The redshirt freshman was reportedly one of more than 20 players who battled the flu this week. The illness was so widespread that the team put bottles of hand sanitizer in the locker room to prevent it from spreading.
Grier has started each of the last three games for the No. 25 Gators. Sophomore Treon Harris is also available for UF after serving a one-game suspension last week.
John C. Cotey | Tampa Bay Times
Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche rests during practice before the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game.
In honor of Throwback Thursday, here's a timely #TBT.
No. 3 Ole Miss heads to Gainesville to play No. 25 Florida on Saturday. The Rebels are led by Robert Nkemdiche, the No. 1 overall recruit from the class of 2013.
Nkemdiche played in the Under Armour All-America Game that year at the Trop. Here's a story I wrote on his interesting cultural background heading into that game.Full Story
Times staff writers Matt Baker, left, and Joey Knight, right.
The last time Florida played Ole Miss, the Gators lost 31-30. That defeat inspired Tim Tebow's famed promise speech, which sparked UF's national championship run.
With the Rebels and UF meeting again this week, Times staff writer Joey Knight makes his own emotional promise in this week's Spanning the State video...after breakdowns of the Rebels and Gators, Miami-Cincinnati, Florida State-Wake Forest and USF-Memphis.
Note: No reporters were harmed in the making of this video.Full Story
Florida redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier will start Saturday for the fourth consecutive game, Gators coach Jim McElwain told reporters Wednesday evening.
Sophomore Treon Harris will also be available as a change-of-pace option against No. 3 Ole Miss. He started the season opener but didn't play against Kentucky and was suspended last week against Tennessee for violating team rules.
Grier has completed 62 of his 99 pass attempts for 725 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions. He led UF on two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to earn a 28-27 win over the rival Volunteers last week.
"What I like more than anything is maybe how calm he was in the situation when we needed it most," McElwain said in today's SEC coaches teleconference. "I thought that's something we can build on."
UCF head coach George O'Leary watches his winless team warm up before last weekend's 31-14 loss to South Carolina.
At some point during UCF's 31-14 loss to South Carolina last week, Brandon Geers looked around the dive bar he co-owns in Orlando and counted about 30 people - down from the 200 fans who used to frequent The Basement during Knights games.
"It was kind of just depressing..." said Geers, 29. "It was very real that the Blake Bortles days are over, and we've got to do something to spark these Knight fans up again."
The solution: free beer.
The Basement is offering free beer during UCF games - from kickoff through the final whistle - until the 0-4 Knights' next win. The management, loaded with UCF alumni and fans, is prepared to carry the promotion beyond Saturday's noon game against Tulane and all the way into next season if necessary, Geers said.
Geers has received about 200 phone calls this week as word of the promotion went viral online, and he's expecting a packed house for the bar and its upstairs night club, The Attic.
Geers said he isn't worried about the cost associated with providing free alcohol until the team with the country's worst offense finally earns a win.
"I don't think that's the way you can look at it," said Geers, a UCF alumn. "The notoriety is priceless. …Full Story
Two of the state's former star running backs will be honored as ACC legends at the conference's championship game, the league announced Tuesday.
Florida State great Warrick Dunn and Miami standout Clinton Portis are the teams' honorees.
Dunn helped the Seminoles win the 1993 national championship and became the program's first two-time 1,000-yard rusher. He later starred for the Bucs and was named to three Pro Bowls.
Portis was a part of the Hurricanes' loaded 2001 title team. He rushed for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns that season before spending nine years in the NFL.
With the 2016 NFL draft a mere seven months away, why not start the hype for who will be next year's top picks?
Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey is No. 5 on ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.'s big board. The state's other star defensive back, Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III (Wharton High) is No. 8.
Ole Miss DL Robert Nkemdiche is No. 1 overall, and another Rebel, OT Laremy Tunsil, is fourth. Ohio State DE Joey Bosa is second, and Kiper's top quarterback is Cal's Jared Goff (No. 3 overall).
I suppose I should point out here that all of the aforementioned players are juniors who have yet to declare for the draft - or finish the first month of the season - but where's the fun in that?
Former Gators star RB Fred Taylor will be honored as one of the SEC's football legends at the conference championship game in December, the league announced Tuesday.
Taylor starred at UF from 1994-97 before becoming a Pro Bowler with the Jaguars. As a senior, he rushed for 1,292 yards - fourth-most in Gators history - and 13 touchdowns. Taylor ranks third in UF history with 80.9 yards per game and is fifth all time with 31 rushing touchdowns.
His son, Kelvin, is a junior running back at UF and leads the Gators in yards (276) and touchdowns (five).
OCTAVIO JONES | Times
Mario Pender is expected to be released from the hospital later today or tomorrow and will miss Saturday's game at Wake Forest.
Florida State running back Mario Pender remains hospitalized after one of his lungs collapsed last week, Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday at his weekly news conference.
Pender is expected to be released from the hospital later today or tomorrow and will miss Saturday's game at Wake Forest. Fisher does not yet know when Pender - a backup behind star Dalvin Cook - might return.
Pender has rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown in three games this season. True freshman Jacques Patrick and sophomore Johnathan Vickers will likely fill Pender's role.Full Story
Florida's 28-27 comeback win over Tennessee put the Gators back in the AP top 25 for the first time in two years.
UF (4-0, 2-0 SEC) is No. 25 nationally - the first time the Gators have been ranked since Oct. 13, 2013, before their 36-17 loss at Missouri. UF is No. 23 in the coaches' poll.
Florida State was off last week but still fell in both polls. The Seminoles dropped two spots No. 9 in the coaches' poll and slipped one spot, to No. 11, in the AP poll.
UF's upcoming opponent, Ole Miss, remained third in the AP poll.
Miami linebacker Marques Gayot was released from Ryder Trauma Center on Thursday morning after sustaining a neck injury during Wednesday's practice, the school announced Thursday. Gayot is expected to make a full recovery.
Gayot, a 6-foot-1, 221-pound sophomore form Lake Worth, has eight tackles in nine career games.Full Story