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Sunshine State Report

The latest on college sports in Florida

Gators QB Jeff Driskel welcomes the challenge of Saturday's game against Bowling Green

The situation is somewhat unorthodox, but Florida sophomore QB Jeff Driskel said he understands why the coaching staff has decided to play both he and Jacoby Brissett in the first half on Saturday vs. Bowling Green and he's taking a business-like approach to the challenge.

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Gators volleyball entering prestigious Nike tournament with "nothing to lose" mindset

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Florida soccer to play No. 1 Florida State tonight

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Gators face challenge in Bowling Green quarterback Matt Schilz

Bowling Green may have won just seven games the past two seasons, but that doesn't mean the Gators can take the Falcons lightly.

The Falcons have the 10th youngest roster in the nation, but return a veteran QB in Matt Schilz who finished fourth in the MAC with 3,024 passing yards and tied for the conference lead with 28 passing TD's.

"I’m very impressed with their quarterback, not just from his accuracy but the way he can create,'' Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said. "He gets outside the pocket and can convert. He’s got good legs. He can run on third down to convert, but he can create also. If protection were to break down, he can get outside the pocket and still make completions. I think it’s always good, knowing the opponent you’re playing against. We’ve had time to watch him on tape and know this guy is a strong caliber quarterback. We’re certainly up for the challenge.”

Bowling Green graduated just four senior starters, and Florida coach Will Muschamp echoed Quinn's sentiments that containing Schilz won't be easy. Muschamp said he's eager to see if the Gators have improved as much as he believes. …

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Gator defense under pressure to improve, set tone

With the battle between two inexperienced sophomore quarterbacks still ongoing, and the implementation of a new offense, Florida's defensive players said they understand it's up to the defensive unit to be the backbone of the team, particularly early in the season.

Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said the goal of the defense following last season was to vastly improve in several key areas, and he's eager to see how well the defense plays on Saturday.

"We want to start fast,'' Quinn said. "It's been that way for the whole offseason. Some of the things going into the offseason that we really wanted to improve on: we want to be a better tackling team; we worked hard at it. We certainly emphasized taking the ball away; we want to see some improvement in that area. and we talked about affecting the quarterback. three areas we really set our jaw on and said these are three areas we really want to improve. I'm anxious now that the season's here to see and evaluate that, too." …

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In case you'd forgotten ...

Three Missouri students who call themselves Fifth Down (after the loss to Colorado in 1990) spend their down time creating music videos related to the Tigers. Their latest, called "SEC Bound,'' centers around Missouri joining the SEC. It includes the line "Hey, Gainesville, remember that Sugar Bowl", referencing the Tigers' 20-18 win over the Gators in the game played Jan. 1, 1966.


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Texas A&M will use extra days off to prepare for Florida

With the realization that its season opener won't be played this weekend having finally sunk in, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said the Aggies will now turn their attention to the Sept. 8 game against Florida - the first SEC game in history for TAMU.

The Aggies were scheduled to playat  Louisiana Tech on Thursday night, which would have still given them a few extra days to get ready for the Gators. Now, they'll get a few more.

"We'll begin our work today preparing for our home opener againt Florida next Saturday,'' Sumlin said on Wednesday's SEC teleconference.''

Sumlin described the postponement of the game as disappointing, but players obviously understood. The game was pushed back to October because of Hurricane Isaac, which made landfall in Louisiana on Tuesday. …

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Jacoby Brissett refusing to let pressure to be Gator QB get to him

Florida's game against Bowling Green on Saturday could be Jacoby Brissett's final opportunity to secure the starting quarterback job this season, but if he's under any pressure due to the situation, he's hiding it well.

Brissett met with the media on Tuesday and clearly doesn't appear to be under any stress. In fact, he was full of jokes.

When told that the coaching staff continues to insist there isn't much difference between he and Jeff Driskel, Brissett agreed. Asked if there was any difference at all, he responded: "At the beginning of the spring, I said I looked better. I'm sticking with that."

Brissett said he wasn't even aware that the coaching staff had planned to play each QB one quarter each in Saturday's game until Tuesday, although they were told of the decision on Sunday.

"I wasn’t really paying attention to it (details),'' Brissett said "I knew I was going to play, that’s it. That’s all that really mattered.''

The sophomore from West Palm Beach said he's known to be a jokester among his teammates, and it helps keep tha atmosphere loose. But, he said, he's well aware when to shut it down and get serious. …

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Florida will now be Texas A&M's season opener

Due to concerns over fan safety with Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf Coast area, school athletic officials have postponed the team's season opener against Louisiana Tech, which had been scheduled for Thursday night.

That means the Aggies will now open the season against Florida on Sept. 8 in College Station - the school's first SEC game.

Louisiana Tech officially released the news on its Twitter account: "For the safety of fans and student-athletes, Louisiana Tech's game vs. Texas A&M has been postponed until Oct. 13."

Both schools previously had bye weeks scheduled on that date.

What that means for both teams remains unclear. Last week TAMU coach Kevin Sumlin named Johnny Manziel as his starting quarterback - the first true freshman to start at QB for the Aggies. That means a kid who has never played a college game will open the season in a historic conference game against the Gators.

On the otherhand, the Gators may have their own QB situation to deal with. Florida still has not named a starter, and offensive coordinator Brent Pease did not completely rule out the possibility of still being undecided next week. …

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Playing both quarterbacks against Bowling Green serves two purposes for Gators

With a quarterback competition that has been so tight that neither Jacoby Brissett nor Jeff Driskel has emerged as a clear favorite, playing both in Florida season's opener against Bowling Green serves a dual purpose Gator offensive coordinator Brent Pease said today.

It will allow each to show what he can do in a live game, under pressure. And it will give each the benefit of being able to say he had every opportunit to win the job - fair and square.

Pease said he understands that the situation may be tough because he's been in it himself. But he's challenged both Brissett and Driskel to embrace the opportunity.

"That's one of my things I've explained to them,'' Pease said. "You can embrace it. You can hate it and not embrace the situation. I have been in their shoes. At times, I personally probably approached it wrong. Just living off my experience, I've tried to say whichever way we go with it, you get a fair shot. Make your production and make your statement when you get in there."

More from Pease on the QB situation and what to expect on Saturday.

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Will Muschamp on playing two quarterbacks, Bowling Green and injuries

Florida coach Will Muscham held his first weekly press conference of the season, and talked about how he'll utilize his QB's this weekend, what he expects from Bowling Green and updated injuries.

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Dante Fowler, Jr. plays his way onto Gators' depth chart

Freshman Dante Fowler, Jr. is listed at No. 2 behind senior Lerentee McCray at the BUCK LB position on Florida's depth chart released today.

Early last month, Fowler, Jr. wasn’t sure he would even be able to enroll at Florida, spending a stressful period awaiting a decision from the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Now he is one of three freshmen listed on the depth chart, including RG Jessamen Dunker (will back up St. Pete Catholic alum Jon Halapio) and WR Latroy Pittman.

Muschamp said although they are not listed on the depth chart, he also expects RB Matt Jones (Armwood) and TE Kent Taylor (Land O’ Lakes) to see playing time on Saturday.


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Florida's Erika Tymrak named SEC Offensive Soccer Player of the Week

e._tymrak.jpgFlorida senior Erika Tymrak has been named the SEC Offensive Soccer Player of the Week for her performance in the Gators' upset over No. 2 Duke on Sunday.

Tymrak scored the game-winning goal, in overtime, and played a part in two of the Gators' three goals. It was Florida's first win against a No. 2 team since the 1998 NCAA College Cup semifinal round.

This is the third SEC player of the week honor for Tymrak, who also scored the second golden goal of her collegiate career. The first was in 2010 versus Georgia.

Tymrak was an All-SEC first team selection in each of the last two seasons.

Florida finishes its three-match road stretch versus top-15 teams on Friday when it travels to No. 3 Florida State (2-0, 0-0 ACC). Match time is set for 7 p.m. at the Seminole Soccer Complex.


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Florida quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel to split first half against Bowling Green

Although he has not officially named a starter, Florida coach Will Muschamp said today that both Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel will play against Bowling Green on Saturday, each playing one quarter in the first half.

"Both quarterbacks will play in the game,'' Muschamp said during his weekly press conference. "Right now Brent (Pease, offensive coordinator) and I plan to play one in the first quarter, we have not made that decision yet, and another in the second quarter and then through halftime make a decision heading into the third quarter.''

Muschamp said Driskel was cleared for contact by the medical staff on Sunday. He had been limited to non-contact due to a bruised bone in his shoulder which he sustained early in fall camp.


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Gators upset No. 2 Duke in soccer

 After struggling to score in its first two games of the season, the Florida soccer team overcame a 2-0 first-half deficit to upset No. 2 Duke this past weekend with a 3-2 in OT in the Carolina Nike Classic.

It was the third consecutive meeting between the two schools that went into extra minutes. The game was decided in the 93rd minute of the contest. Senior All-American Erika Tymrak scored the winning goal.

Through its first three games of the season, the Gators are 1-1-1.

"I know this is the biggest win of the season since it is the only one," UF coach Becky Burleigh said. "It was just a much-needed win and confidence boost for this team. We overcame a lot in this game. After going to overtime in a battle with North Carolina Friday night, to be able to have the legs to go into overtime today and win this after overcoming a two-goal deficit shows the character this team has. It was a huge game for us because of the way we started the season against Miami. It would be easy for us to have some self-doubt, but everyone on this team knew that we are a really good team and we just had to go out and prove it."



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