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Gator Report

Antonya English

Billy Donovan says Battle 4 Atlantis will be good for Gators in long run

Right now the Gators are down to six scholarship players due to injuries.

And tonight Florida will start a freshman (Devon Robinson), a walk on (Jacob Kurtz) and a transfer (Jon Horford) with limited time playing for the Gators, against a Georgetown team with a veteran starting lineup.

Still, when it's all said and done at the end of the season, Florida coach Billy Donovan believes this week's participation in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament will ultimately be good for his team.

“I think the last three or four years we kind of decided to do this collectively - myself and Mike Hill (associate AD) and Jeremy (Foley, AD), to create a competitive schedule all the way through," Donovan said. "I think there’s been a real focus, at least in home games for our fans, to have some really good non-conference quality games, and to try and play a national schedule. The last two years, there’s been a real strong feeling from inside the league, the commissioner and during our meetings, to boost non-conference scheduling. The last few years, we’ve had games like this. …

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Weather affecting Gators as they prepare for Florida State

As Florida prepares for its season finale against Florida State on Saturday, the Gators have been hampered by the inclement weather this week.

Heavy rain storms throughout the day and night Tuesday forced the Gators to move practice indoors, which effectively canceled any type of normal Tuesday work schedule.

"Preparation is the key," Florida coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday. "We had a good day Monday, and couldn’t get out yesterday, but we got a good walkthrough in Florida Gym. Hopefully we’ll be able to get out today and get some work done.”

It's the second outdoor practice the Gators have had to cancel in the past two weeks.

Florida does not have an indoor practice facility and athletic director Jeremy Foley has said repeatedly over the past several months it's not in any immediate plans for facilities upgrades.

 

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Will Muschamp: Florida-FSU "one of the great rivalries" in college football

Florida coach Will Muschamp will conclude his head coaching career with the Gators Saturday against Florida State in Tallahassee in a game Muschamp said he considers "one of the great rivalries in all of college football."

The unrranked Gators and No. 1 Seminoles will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Florida is the last team to defeat Florida State - a 37-26 win on Nov. 24, 2012.

Watch Muschamp preview the Seminoles:

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Will Muschamp expects D.J. Durkin to lead Gators just fine in bowl game

When the Florida vs. Florida State game ends Saturday night, Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin will become the Gators' interim head coach.

At the time he was fired on Nov. 16, Florida coach Will Muschamp informed athletic director Jeremy Foley that he would not coach beyond the final regular season game in Tallahassee.

Florida (6-4) became bowl eligible with its 52-3 win over Eastern Kentucky this past Saturday. Durkin will run the pre-bowl practices and be the acting head coach for the game.

Muschamp said the decision is a sound one.

"He'll do an outstanding job," Muschamp said. "He's a really good football coach. He sees the big picture, he's an outstanding recruiter, he's got a tireless work ethic and he does a great job with our players. He will do a fabulous job."

This isn't Durkin's first time being on the staff when a shakeup is about to occur. Durkin was in his first year as a linebackers/special teams coach on Urban Meyer's staff when Meyer resigned in 2010. He was later retained by Muschamp.

In 2013, he was promoted to defensive coordinator after Dan Quinn left the program to become defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks.

 

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Gators drop 10 spots to No. 18 in latest AP poll

After going 1-1 last week, including a late-game collapse to Miami and needing overtime against ULM, the Florida men's basketball team dropped 10 spots in this week's Associated Press poll.

The Gators are No. 18 in the poll released today.

In the USA Today coaches poll, the Gators fell nine spots to No. 16.

The drop in both major polls comes as the Gators are battling injuries and trying to find themselves with a team of players who haven't much time on the court together.

Last week Florida was without two starters. In both the Miami and ULM games, forward Dorian Finney-Smith was out with a broken hand. Against ULM starting guard Eli Carter was out with a mid-foot sprain.

Both remain questionable for this week. Finney-Smith has been cleared for non-contact drills, but has not practiced. Carter has not been cleared to practice, coach Billy Donovan said Monday.

Florida will play Georgetown Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament at Paradise Island in the Bahamas. The game will air on the AXS network.

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Gators QB Treon Harris will start vs. Florida State

Treon Harris suffered a contusion on his lower knee against Eastern Kentucky late in the second quarter this past Saturday.

EVE EDELHEIT | Times

Treon Harris suffered a contusion on his lower knee against Eastern Kentucky late in the second quarter this past Saturday.

Florida freshman QB Treon Harris will start Saturday when the Gators play Florida State, coach Will Muschamp said.

Harris suffered a contusion on his lower knee against Eastern Kentucky late in the second quarter this past Saturday. 

He sat out most of the second half in a 52-3 blowout, but Muschamp said he will be fine to practice and play this week.

The Gators will travel to play No. 1 Florida State on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.

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Foot sprain confirmed for Gators guard Eli Carter

Florida athletic officials said tonight that tests have confirmed junior G Eli Carter has a mid-foot sprain.

Carter injured his left foot near the end of practice Thursday and was in a boot during the Gators' overtime win over ULM Friday night.

X-rays on Friday were negative, but Carter underwent an MRI today to determine if there was more extensive damage.

Florida coach Billy Donovan said after Friday night's game that the medical staff was concerned Carter might have suffered a lisfranc injury, which could have kept him out of the lineup for a significant amount of time.

With the sprained foot, Carter is expected to miss 8 to 10 days.

The Gators travel to the Bahamas next week to compete in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

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Gators Mike McNeely gets one last moment of glory in the Swamp

It has been a surprising senior season for former walk-on WR Mike McNeely, and on Saturday his final game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium ended in storybook fashion.

McNeely scored the Gators' final touchdown in a 52-3 win over Eastern Kentucky on a 28 yard pass from Jeff Driskel.

The Clearwater native and Palm Harbor University alum had two receptions for 36 yards in the game.

Watch McNeely in his postgame interview:

 

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Jeff Driskel helps send Gators seniors out with a win over Eastern Kentucky

Four games ago he was benched for freshman QB Treon Harris after struggling most of the season.

But on Saturday junior QB Jeff Driskel got a shot at some redemption - and helped send his senior teammates out with a 52-3 victory over Eastern Kentucky in their final home game.

Ironically, Driskel would have been a senior if he hadn't been injured last season and forced to redshirt.

Playing the majority of the second half, Driskel was 9-of-11 for 164 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for one touchdown.

Watch as he talks his performance and the team's victory after the game:

 

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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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