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Gator Report

Antonya English

Death of former Gator Mo Collins hits homes for D.J. Humphries

The death of former Florida OL Mo Collins this week sent shock waves through the Gator football community. But it wasn't just fans and former teammates who knew Collins when he was a star helping to lead the Gators to the 1996 national championship who were affected.

Florida OL D.J. Humphries, a native of Union, N.C. was close to Collins and considered him a mentor. He said the news of Collins' death was devastating.

"He pretty much taught me the craft, you know what I mean?," Humphries said. "He took me from being a left tackle with a right-handed stance and showed me all the stuff to become an All-American in high school. That was pretty tough when I found I lost him this week. That was a big deal.”

Humphries was named a first-team high school All-American by USA Today, ESPN, Rivals and Sports Illustrated.

Former Florida coach Steve Spurrier also took time out this week to remember Collins, who died at 38 after suffering complications from kidney problems.

"Mo was a really, really good football player, good guy," Spurrier said during his weekly press conference. "It was sad to see a young man like that pass away at 38 years old. He was a wonderful guy."



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Gators hope Georgia game can turn around "rough" season

This isn't the way senior OL Chaz Green envisioned his final season with the Gators. Or the previous season for that matter.

A fifth-year senior, Green is one of the few players on the Gators' squad that knows what it feels like to defeat Georgia.

The Gators enter Saturday's game on a three-game losing streak to the Bulldogs. They have struggled on offense and will rely on a freshman making his first start at EverBank Field on Saturday. Florida is (3-3, 2-3 SEC) and is in danger of missing out on a bowl game for the second consecutive season.

"It's been rough. I mean, when you come to a school like Florida you want to win championships. That's definitely the goal every year. We have passionate fans. When it doesn't go as planned at the beginning of the year, it's rough because they're so passionate. They want us to win. They're definitely loving us when we're winning. When we're on the other side of the ball, it's a little different. They come down and they want us to win. We've just got to pull close and just try to get this win, whatever we can to get this win vs. Georgia. That would be huge for the program." …

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Gators won't get their wish: Todd Gurley ineligible for Florida game

Multiple Florida players have said this week they were hoping suspended Georgia RB Todd Gurley would be playing in Saturday's annual rivalry because they wanted to face the best.

It appears that's not going to happen, barring approval of a last-minute appeal by Georgia athletic officials.

The NCAA has ruled that Gurley must sit out four games - the equivalent of 30 percent of the season - for  "accepting more than $3,000 in cash from multiple individuals for autographed memorabilia and other items over two years.''

Gurley is the SEC's leading rusher with 773 yards in five games and before his suspension on Oct. 9 was considered a leading Heisman Trophy contender. He has already missed two games and will have to continue to sit out this week and won't be eligible to play in the Florida-Georgia game Saturday in Jacksonville.

In a statement, Georgia officials said: "Tuesday afternoon the University received the decision from the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff regarding the University's request for the reinstatement of Todd Gurley. The University plans to appeal the decision immediately.'' …

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Gators OC Kurt Roper: Eliminating mistakes will improve offense

Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper said the Gators spent the bye week trying to find anything possible to improve on offense.

Roper said the Gators' offensive struggles can be narrowed down to two key components: turnovers and passing problems.

The Gators are tied for 8th in the SEC in turnovers with five fumbles and 11 interceptions. Opponents have scored 54 points off Florida's turnovers.

"Right now, turnovers," Roper said when asked about the Gators' struggles. "Sometimes it’s a different theme, week-to-week. We obviously haven’t been as good in the passing game all season long. But, specifically, in the last game, it’s turning the football over. If you look at it, it’s kind of the trend. We were good in the first game, second game we were pretty good in, I think we had one. It’s been a theme of three until we doubled the three. We’re an offense that has to take care of the football better right now. It’s the primary goal going into this next opportunity.” …

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Losses to Georgia even tougher for Gators LB Michael Taylor

In a rivalry as intense as Florida-Georgia, any loss is brutal.

But if you're from Georgia and play for the Gators, the pain and agony is magnified with a loss.

Just ask Florida senior LB Michael Taylor.  A graduate of Atlanta Westlake High, Taylor is part of a Gators team that has lost three straight to the Bulldogs.

Needless to say, he desperately wants a win this Saturday. But not just for himself. He wants to give some relief to his mother who works at Emory and has had to endure the abuse after games year after year.

Watch Taylor talk about what the rivalry means to him and why the Gators need a win:

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Georgia's defensive resurgence could be key vs. Gators

When Florida and Georgia meet Saturday aternoon in Jacksonville, the Gators will have true freshman QB Treon Harris making his first start against a Georgia defense that is coming into its own.

The Bulldogs are ranked No. 20 nationally in scoring defense, fourth in the SEC - holding opponents to 20 points per game. Georgia ranks 20th nationally in scoring defense, and fourth in the SEC, at 20 points per game. Last season, Georgia was No. 79.

The Gators are No. 73 nationally in scoring offense and are still in search of something that works offensively.

For more on Georgia's turnaround on defense, check this story from Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph,


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Florida vs. Vanderbilt to kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

If you were one of the people who was certain that the Florida vs. Vanderbilt game would be an afternoon affair, think again.

ESPN announced today that the Gators at Vanderbilt game on Nov. 8 will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally on the ESPN Network.

Florida Football at Vanderbilt to Kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

Here is the full slate of SEC games scheduled for Nov. 8:

SEC NETWORK         12 p.m.           Presbyterian at Ole Miss

ESPN                      12 p.m.           Georgia at Kentucky

CBS                        3:30 p.m.        Texas A&M at Auburn

SEC NETWORK         4 p.m.             UT Martin at Miss. State

SEC NETWORK         7:30 p.m.         Florida at Vanderbilt

CBS                       8 p.m.              Alabama at LSU


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Will Muschamp, Gators expect to face Georgia's Todd Gurley

Georgia RB Todd Gurley remains suspended as of today, but Florida coach Will Muschamp said the Gators are preparing as if he'll play when the Gators and Bulldogs meet Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville.

Gurley has been indefinitely suspended while Georgia athletic officials investigate whether he received improper benefits for signing autographs.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday he's unsure of Gurley's status for the Florida game.

''We're just waiting for a response,'' Richt said during his Sunday weekly conference call. ''We just don't know what to expect. We're just going to keep practicing hard and preparing for the game.''

Muschamp believes he knows what to expect: Gurley vs. Gators

Asked if the Gators are prepaing as if Gurley will play, Muschamp responded: “Absolutely.”

When asked if he expected Gurley to play, Muschamp said "I would expect him to play.”

The Gator players echoed that sentiment.

When asked about Georgia's running game, Florida LB Mike Taylor referred to Gurley. "We knew Todd Gurley was going to be back this week," Taylor said. …

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Former Gator Mo Collins dead at 38

Former Florida offensive lineman Mo Collins, a starter on the Gators' first national championship team, died early Sunday morning.

He was 38, and had been undergoing treatment for problems with his kidneys.

Collins played for the Gators from 1995-97, and was a three-year starter and a member of the Gators' 1996 national championship team. He opted for the NFL following his junior year and was a first round selection by the Oakland Raiders at No. 23 overall.

Collins played six seasons with the Raiders including the 2002 Super Bowl team that lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He started in 64 of 71 regular season games he played in.

At the time of his death, he was a coach for West Charlotte High School in Charlotte, N.C.

For more on the story, check out this story from the Charlotte Observer.



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Gators lose another recruit

One of the top football recruits in the state of Georgia who had orally committed to Florida has decided to reopen the recruitment process.

Adonis Thomas, a 4-star LB from Central Gwinnett High School, said on Twitter Thursday night: "After talking things over with my family and other close relatives I've decided it's best for me to open back up my recruitment."

Thomas had chosen Florida over Alabama this past August. According to the Atlanta Journal-Counstitution, he made his first visit to Gainesville during the Gators' abysmal 42+13 loss to Missouri.

This is the second highly-rated recruit to jump ship on the Gators this week. Cleveland (Ohio) LB Jerome Baker of backe out of his oral commitment and said he's going to play for Urban Meyer at Ohio State.

Florida is now down to nine commits for 2015.

With concern over Gators coach Will Muschamp's job security and future, it's not surprising recruits are uneasy. Florida AD Jeremy Foley tried to calm the storm with a statement earlier this week saying he was evaluating the program throuhgout the season, but it hasn't stopped fans and media from speculating that Muschamp won't survive this season.

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Gators guard Michael Frazier a preseason All SEC first team pick

Florida junior G Michael Frazier II on Wednesday was selected to the preseason All-SEC First Team.

Frazier, the only returning starter from last season's 36-3 Final Four team, averaged 12.4 points per game as a sophomore, while setting a school record for 3-pointers made in a season with 118. He was twice named SEC Player of the Week, and shot 10-for-15 from 3-point range in the SEC Tournament.

The Florida men's basketball team was picked to finish second in the SEC behind expected national champion contender Kentucky. Florida, the defending SEC regular season and SEC Tournament champions, received 258 points in the preseason media poll behind Kentucky. The Wildcats had 20 first-place votes.

Florida opens its season on Friday, Nov. 14, at home against William & Mary at 6 p.m.


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Flroida names Treon Harris as new starting QB for Georgia game

Florida coach Will Muschamp said today that freshman QB Treon Harris will be the starting QB for the Gators' game vs. Georgia game on Nov. 1, replacing fourth-year junior Jeff Driskel.

"Treon Harris will start the Georgia game," Muschamp said. "He’s getting all the reps right now. Jeff (Driskel) certainly is going to have a role in that game."

Harris has played in three games this season with his most playing time coming in this past Saturday's 42-13 loss to Missouri, in which he split time with Driskel. 

"Treon, you saw what he did late in the game," Muscahmp said. "He has a knack for making plays and making some good things happen for our football team. We've struggled with production at the quarterback position, and that's been an issue for us along with others. But that's been a huge issue for us. He's a guy that has a knack for making plays. He's got a much better understanding as we continue to move forward. We've got an open week now where he's getting a bunch of reps. Jeff's still going to have a role on our football team as a quarterback. Right now we feel like that was the best move moving forward." …

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Tim Tebow says Gators lack confidence, heart

Tim Tebow once gave a speech so impassioned it is now immortalized on a plaque outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

He won a Heisman Trophy and played on two national championship teams with the Gators.

So if anyone is qualified to criticize what's happening with the program right now, he's probably among them.

Tebow, now an analyst on the SEC Network, said on a radio interview Tuesday morning on Jacksonville's 1010XL that the Gators lack confidence on offense and aren't playing with the heart former Florida teams have had.

"They’re hoping that something is going to go well for them instead of believing someone’s going to step up and make the play," Tebow said. "They have to change that mind-set."

While Florida QB Jeff Driskel has taken the majority of the criticism for the Gators' offensive woes, Tebow said it's more complex than that.

"The thing about football is you have to have all 11 guys working together on every single play," Tebow said. "On this offense they are not working together. It’s either the left guard, the left tackle, the right tackle, the receiver drops the ball, the quarterback makes a bad read." …

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Steve Spurrier not interested in returning to Gainesville

In the midst of Florida's 42-13 loss to Missouri Saturday night, members of the national media - and some fans - began openly speculating about whom would replace Florida coach Will Muschamp.

Yes, at that point the feeling was that there was no doubt Muschamp was going to be fired.

One of the names that showed up among people's lists was former Florida Heisman Trophy winner and former Gators head coach Steve Spurrier.

Spurrier coached the Gators from 1990-2001 and led Florida to its first national championship. Now the head coach at South Carolina, for some odd reason some thought Spurrier might entertain the idea of returning to Gainesville.

The 69-year-old coach said Tuesday he's not planning a return to Gainesville.

"I tell everybody my next move is going to be to Crescent Beach (Fla.)," Spurrier said during his weekly press conference on Tuesday. "That's where my next move is going to be to."

For the record, on Monday Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said he won't make any decisons on Muschamp's future right now.

"At the beginning of the season we said we would evaluate the season as it plays out," Foley said. "We will continue to do so."


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It's early, but Billy Donovan likes what he's seeing so far

If football season is starting to get you down, take heart: basketball season is just around the corner.

The Gators kicked off practice this past Friday and coach Billy Donovan said it's early, but he likes what he's seen so far.

Florida has to replace four starters from last year's Final Four team.

Hear some of what Donovan had to say today about the first few practices:

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