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Gator Report

Antonya English

Gators could be without Eli Carter and Dorian Finney-Smith an extended period

Florida junior guard Eli Carter will undergo an MRI on Saturday to determine the extent of the left foot injury he sustained in practice on Thursday.

"There's no break," Donovan said. "They're concerned with a lisfranc . . . this is the first thing I've ever heard of lisfranc. They want to look into it to I think rule that out or it's just a mid-foot sprain. If it's that (Lisfranc), from what I've heard it's a pretty extensive time for him to be off. And if it's the other one, then they're hoping 8 to 10 days. So today was the X-ray to make sure there was no break and it wasn't. It's not on bad foot, it's on his other foot. So that's probably a good thing. We're just hoping it's the other thing. I think what they're trying to do right now is really dot their I's and cross their T's. And I really appreciate our medical team going to the nth degree to find out exactly what it is to be sure."

Carter missed more than a year with a right foot injury that kept him sidelined most of last season.

Junior guard Dorian Finney-Smith, who has a hand fracture, did not dress with the team on Friday night and Donovan said he was missing to take care of some academic issues. …

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Gators Eli Carter suffers foot injury, will miss tonight's game vs. ULM

Florida junior guard Eli Carter will not play in tonight's game vs. Louisiana-Monroe after suffering a foot injury in practice on Thursday.

Gators athletic offiicals said Carter's X-rays were negative, but he will undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Carter is the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 14.5 points per game.

He's the second Gator sidelined with an injury since the season began. Junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith suffered two broken bones in his non-shooting hand in the season-opener and has not played since.

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Gators C Max Garcia a finalist for Pop Warner award

Florida senior center Max Garcia has been named one of five finalists for the 2014 Pop Warner National College Football Award. He is joined by Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Stanford
safety Jordan Richards and Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah as the other finalists.

Garcia, a redshirt senior from Norcross, Ga., has started 21-straight games for the Gators. He made the transition to center prior to 2014 and has graded out 97 percent in 635 total plays this year. He has been named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice this season and is a candidate for the Rimington Trophy, awarded to the nation's top center.

The award will be presented Dec. 8 at Disney's Wide World of Sports during the Pop Warner Super Bowl.



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Gators S Keanu Neal will return for Eastern Kentucky game

Sophomore S Keanu Neal is expected to return to the lineup this week after missing two weeks with a high ankle sprain.

Safety Duke Dawson is also expected to play this Saturday against Eastern Kentucky.

"Duke Dawson had turf toe," coach Will Muschamp said. "We tried him in pregame last Saturday and he was unable to go, but he’ll be back and ready to go. He practiced well (Tuesday)."

While Florida is getting Dawson and Neal back, the Gators will be without senior LB Keanu Neal and sophomore LB Jarrad Davis, both of whom underwent season-ending surgery on Monday.

The injuries will require other players to step.

"Mike Taylor and Antonio will get more reps now, and they've been playing quite a bit prior to that as well," defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. "Alex Anzalone, who's been getting some reps the last couple of games we've been getting him in there, his role will increase. And Daniel McMillian will get in there and play, too. It's a good opportunity for him. Man down, man up. Those are two great kids and great players that we lost, but both of them will bounce back and recover and they've got a lot of football ahead of them."


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Will Muschamp wants to coach again next season

When he spoke to the media Monday afternoon for the first time after he was fired as Florida's head coach, Will Muschamp said he was unsure of what the future would hold.

"Hasn't crossed my mind as far as what holds after these next two weeks," Muschamp said Monday. "I'll take a little time with Carol (his wife) and hang out and we'll figure it out from there. That's what I've done my whole life. I can't imagine me not doing it, but, again, I want to do what's best for me and my family."

But it appears after a couple of days to give it some thought, Muschamp realizes he wants to coach again soon. While his sole focus right now is the final two games of the regular season for the Gators, he said today he wants to coach next season.

"I’d like to obviously be working next year," he said. "But certainly after the FSU game Carol and I will take a little time and sit down and see what our next step is. I’m looking forward to that next step, but what that will be I have no idea. I haven’t put any thought into that as far as where, what, when and how, I don’t know all those things. Certainly right now my focus is on this team and getting us ready for these next two games." …

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Gators TE Jake McGee still undecided on future

Florida TE Jack McGee is still pondering his future and whether to ask the NCAA for waiver for a sixth year of eligiblity.

McGee transferred to Florida this past May after graduating from Virginia. He utiliized the NCAA rule which allows players to transfer for a fifth year of eligibility if they have graduated from their previous school.

He arrived in Gainesville with impressive stats and high expectations but suffered a broken leg in the season opener against Eastern Michigan. McGee has not decided whether he'll seek a medical redshirt, coach Will Muschamp said.

"Jake and I had a conversation two to three weeks ago about that," Muschamp said. "That’s totally up to the NCAA as far as his situation, him applying for a sixth season. They make that decision. He has not notified me 100 percent either way of what he’s decided to do."

Muschamp said he has offered to help McGee deternine whether a sixth year of college or the NFL Draft is best for him. …

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Will Muschamp believes Dante Fowler is a first round NFL Draft pick

Florida coach Will Muschamp, a former NFL assistant, said he believes Gators DE Dante Fowler is a first round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Fowler, a junior, announced on Twitter Tuesday night that does not plan to return for his senior season and will enter the NFL Draft.

Fowler has openly expressed his disappointment that Muschamp, whom he calls a mentor and father figure, was fired on Sunday. While that may have factored in his decision, the gneral consensus before Muschamp was let go was that this was Fowler's final season. 

Asked today on the SEC teleconference is Fowler is a first round pick, Muschamp said "Yes."

"There aren’t many folks, again I don’t see outside of our league very much, that can possess the qualities he can give you as far as rushing the passer and that’s paramount in that league," Muschamp said. "You’ve got to be able to have guys that can rush the passer, he can win one-on-one. So there’s no question in my mind."

Muschamp said Fowler, at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, has great physical attributes as well as a knowledge of the game that will translate well in the NFL. …

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Gators Mike McNeely receives prestigious National Football Foundation award

Mike McNeely, the Palm Harbor University alum who joined the Gators three years ago as a walk on then went on to earn a scholarship this past August, has been chosen to receive the National Football Foundation's Legacy Award.

McNeely, of Clearwater, will be recognized during the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, which will take place Dec. 9 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

"Millions of kids play high school football," NFF Chairman Archie Manning said. "Mike McNeely represents the power of football in creating pathways for them to follow their dreams of making it to the next level while getting a first-class education. Mike is somebody who has taken full advantage of every opportunity that has been given to him, and we hope that his accomplishments will inspire the next generation."

McNeely recently achieved national attention after scoring a momentum-changing touchdown during a fake field goal attempt in the Gators' 38-20 upset victory against then-No. 9 Georgia on Nov. 1. …

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Gators DE Dante Fowler says he won't return for his senior season

A few hours after Florida DE Dante Fowler, Jr., struggled to find reasons why he should return for his senior season, he announced Tuesday night he has decided not to come back for his senior season.

With his beloved head coach Will Muschamp leaving after the final regular season game of the season, Fowler, a Lakewood alum, announced on Twitter that he will declare for the NFL Draft at the end of the season. “I came in with champ. I’m leaving with Him,” he said. "Simple as that."

Earlier Tuesday Fowler expressed his profound sadness that Muschamp was fired on Sunday and said the only thing that would make him return would be if he told he was too young to go to the NFL.

Fowler is the Gators’ second-leading tackler with 43 tackles, eight for loss, 3 ½ sacks,  11 quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery.

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Gators DE Dante Fowler says outside distractions helped derail team, Will Muschamp


Count Florida DE Dante Fowler among the Gator players who've said they are heartbroken over the decision to fire coach Will Muschamp, effective at the end of the season in two weeks.

Fowler said Tuesday he has loved every minute of playing for Muschamp the past three seasons, but understands ultimately it's about wins and losses.

"Muschamp is just a great coach," Fowler said. :You know a lot of things didn’t work out his way. He just didn’t win enough games in my opinion. If it wasn’t for that, Champ would still be here. But you know that’s just the world that we live in nowadays. People want changes to be made, they deserve those.”

Fowler said Muschamp was under tremendous pressure over the past two seasons, and my midseason of this year, it started to take a toll on the team. …

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Gators' AD Jeremy Foley: "We understand how important this hire is"

Florida fans want more offense. Plain and simple.

After four years of an offense that finished 105, 103, 113 and is currently ranked No. 88 nationally, fans are eager for an offensive-minded head coach.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley is well aware of that. It's part of his plan in his search for a new head coach to replace Will Muschamp.

Watch Foley talk about the Gators' upcoming search and what kind of coach he's trying to find.

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Gators Will Muschamp goes out with "no regrets"

He's known on the sidelines for his scowl and fiery behavior, but when Will Muschamp addressed the media Monday afternoon to talk about his dismissal as the Gators' head football coach, he did so with class, showing respect for both his players and employers.

At times humble, others reflective, Muschamp said he understood Florida's decision because with a 27-20 overall record he just didn't win enough games.

But he has no hard feelings.

"I'm always going to be a Gator, unless I'm on the other sideline," Muschamp said.

Muschamp will coach the Gators in their final two regular season games - against Eastern Kentucky on Saturday and the season finale at Florida State on Nov. 29.

Watch more from his farewell press conference here:


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Steve Spurrier not interested in returning to coach the Gators

Before the rumors even get started, former Florida coach Steve Spurrier wants to set the record straight: he's not coming back to coach the Gators.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley announced on Sunday Will Muschamp will not return as head coach next season. He will coach the final two games of the regular season before stepping down.

Spurrier, who coached at Florida from 1990-2001 and won six SEC championships, said Sunday he isn't a candidate to replace Muschamp nor does he want to be.

“I’ve already had my run at Florida, I think everybody knows that," Spurrier said. "They need to hire a coach that hopefully will be there 10 years. That’s what all athletic directors do, they hire a coach sort of going on the assumption he’s going to be there at least 10 years.”

Spurrier and Muschamp have become close friends during Muschamp's tenure and Spurrier said he was sorry Muschamp would not be retained at the end of the season.


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Billy Donovan says Gators "not remotely close" to No. 7 ranking

The Florida men's basketball team will open the season tonight against William & Mary ranked No. 7 in the AP preseason rankings.

Several national analysts including Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis and ESPN's Jeff Goodman have said they aren't sold of the Gators right now.

Gues what? Neither is Florida coach Billy Donovan.

Asked if the Gators are a No. 7 team at this time, Donovan said: "No. Not even remotely close."

The Gators are replacing four senior starters and have a group of young talent Donovan is trying to mesh with his returning players. The Gators will open the season tonight without hearalded sophomore Chirs Walker, who is suspended the first three games, and without Duke transfer Alex Murphy who is ineligible until the end of the fall semester.

The Gators are coming off a Final Four season last year, but Donovan said fans shouldn't be expecting the same from the 2014-15 team.

"We’ve talked a lot about that from the perspective of, I know what those kind of teams look like (Final Four) and we’re not one of those teams," Donovan said. …

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Two Gators named to coaches 2015 preseason All-SEC basketball first team

Florida G Michael Frazier and F Dorian Finney-Smith were named to the coaches preseason All-SEC first team, the league announced today.

Frazier, who set UF's single-season 3-point record last season, averaged 12.4 points and 3.5 rebounds last season.

Finney-Smith, the 2014 SEC Sixth Man of the Year, averaged 8.7 points and 6.7 rebounds.

Eleven different schools are represented on the first and second teams with Kentucky having five selections. Florida and LSU each had two selections. In all, 29 different players received votes for the coaches’ teams.

The coaches’ preseason All-SEC first and second teams consist of a minimum of eight players on each squad, voted on by the SEC men’s basketball coaches. No ties were broken. …

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