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Gator Report

Antonya English

Former Gator Riley Cooper apologizes for using racial slur in videotaped altercation

Former Florida and current Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper issued an apology via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon after videotape of him using a racial slur surfaced on the Internet.

AP photo

Former Florida and current Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper issued an apology via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon after videotape of him using a racial slur surfaced on the Internet.

Former Florida and current Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper issued an apology via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon after videotape of him using a racial slur surfaced on the Internet.

The 25-year-old who grew up in Clearwater was videotaped during an altercation outside of a Kenny Chesney concert at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia last month. The video obtained by Crossingbroad.com shows Cooper using a racial slur that same evening.

According to the report, Eagles players Danny Watkins and Jason Kelce are seen in the video trying to calm down Cooper. It is unknown how the altercation began or what Cooper is really upset about.

Cooper points to the crowd and says “I will jump that fence and fight every (N-word) here, bro.”

You can see the videotape of the incident here.

Cooper apologized via his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon saying: "I am so ashamed and disgusted with myself. I want to apologize. I have been offensive. I have apologized to my coach, Jeffrey Lurie, and Howie roseman and to my teammates. I owe an apology to the fans and to this community. I am so ashamed, but there are no excuses. …

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Florida QB Jeff Driskel undergoes appendectomy

With only three days before the Gators are scheduled to start fall practice, starting quarterback Jeff Driskel underwent an appendectomy, Florida coach Will Muschamp announced.

“Jeff had acute appendicitis and fortunately the medical staff caught it very quickly,” Muschamp said. “His surgery went well and how long he is out will be determined by how his body responds, which could be two weeks.”

The loss of Driskel at the start of fall camp is a huge blow to the Gators, who are extremely thin at the position in terms of experience.

Besides Driskel, no other player on the roster has thrown a pass in a collegiate game.

The 6-foot-4, 237 pound Driskel was about to enter the season as the undisputed starter for the first time in his career. He began last fall in a battle for the position with former Gator Jacoby Brissett. He eventually won the job after the first game of the 2012 season - and led the Gators to a 10-2 season.

Driskel finished the season with 1,646 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also had over 400 rushing yards with four touchdowns.

 

 

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Only one CBS football expert believes Gators will win SEC East

The CBS.com experts have weighed in with their predictions on how individual schools will fare in their conference this season, and only one believes the Gators will win their division.

CBS.com columnist and commentator Bruce Feldman picked the Gators to finish first in the SEC East.

Check out where other CBS writers picked Florida - and their predictions on the rest of the SEC and the nation.

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Pollspeak lists Gators among top 15 teams misjudged by poll voters since 2008

Pollspeak.com, the website that monitors and tracks trends and tendencies in voting polls for major college sports, has released its list of the most overrated and underrated football teams over the past five years.

The interesting thing is that the date is not based on how teams fared on the field, but instead on how they were perceived in the AP and Coaches polls via voting.

According to the website: "Keep in mind that this list is not so much a reflection of the teams as it is a reflection of the voters. The purpose of the list is to track voter bias over the last five years. . . It simply means that voters have misjudged both pretty consistently compared to other teams. Finally, keep in mind, this isn’t an opinion piece; this is just simple math."

Based on the data, Florida is the 15th most overrated team based on the polls during the period from 2008-2013.

Oklahoma, USC, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Nebraska are the top five most overrated, according to Pollspeak.

Standord, Cincinatti, TCU, Oregon and Utah were the five most underrated.

Check out the full list and the methodology that Pollspeak uses here.

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Unity and finances keys to the power of the SEC

With college football games set to kickoff in just over one month, the SEC is back in the spotlight as the league begins defense of its seventh consecutive national title.

With so much success, it might be easy to think it's been an easy task. Clearly, it has not.

Forbes magazine contributing writer Jason Belzer takes an interesting look at the SEC's prominence and its domination in college football since 2002, noting that Commissioner Mike Slive's ability to keep the member-schools unified has been critical.

The full article can be found here.

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Gators to have four open practices during fall football camp


For Florida fans who have been lamenting coach Will Muschamp’s closed-practice policy, there’s good news.

Florida will hold four open practices during its preseason fall training camp: Aug. 15, 17, 19 and 20. The Gators officially open camp on Aug. 2.

The Aug. 17 practice will be held in conjunction with the Gators’ Fan Day, which is scheduled from 3-6 p.m. at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Practice will be held from 9-11 a.m. at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, and fans can use Gates 1, 4, 6, 15 and 18 to enter the stands beginning at 8:30 a.m.

On Thursday, Aug. 15, practice will be open at the Gators’ lacrosse stadium; on Monday, Aug. 19 and Tuesday, Aug. 20, it will be held at the football practice facility. All times are TBA for those practices.

Tickets also remain available for the Gators' season-opener against Toledo on Aug. 31.

The Gator Ticket Office is offering an exclusive meal deal ticket package for that game wishing to attend  that game. The ticket package includes seats in the upper North End Zone Sunshine Seats, one game ticket, one souvenir soda and one hot dog for only $35.

Season, single-game or group tickets can still be purchased at GatorZone.com.

 


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Florida coach Will Muschamp gets raise, will earn nearly $3 milion annually

Florida coach Will Muschamp has received a salary increase that will put him near the $3 million mark.

Florida athletic officials confirmed on Friday that Muschamp has received a $250,000 annual increase over the remaining five years of his contract, which runs through the 2017 season.

With the raise, Muschamp will earn approximately $2.93 million per year.

“Dr. Machen and I believe very strongly in Coach Muschamp and his leadership and we felt it was appropriate to adjust his salary to be more in line with his market value," Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said.

Muschamp led the Gators to an 11-2 season last year. He is 18-8 in two seasons as the Gators' head coach, now entering his third season.

Alabama’s Nick Saban is the highest-paid college football coach in America, earning $5.47 million per season.




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Durant grad Kelsey Horton awarded $7,500 postgraduate scholarship from NCAA

Kelsey Horton ranks fifth in Florida's career record book for homers (36), and was second in the SEC with her 12 sac bunts last season.

Jim Burgess

Kelsey Horton ranks fifth in Florida's career record book for homers (36), and was second in the SEC with her 12 sac bunts last season.

Kelsey Horton, a former Florida softball player and Durant High grad has been awarded a $7,500 postgraduate scholarship from the NCAA.

She is among just 29 female scholar-athletes to earn the award.

Horton is a 2012 Capital One Academic All-American who earned a 3.76 GPA and graduated with a degree in nutritional sciences this past May.

A two-time All-SEC and NFCA All-Southeast Region selection, Horton was a top-10 finalist for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award and was named to the 2013 SEC Softball Community Service Team for the second-straight year. The 2012-13 UF Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Vice President, Horton helped lead the Gator softball squad to three Women's College World Series appearances and the 2013 SEC Championship during her time at UF.

She finished her career as a Gator with a 211-45 (.824) four-year overall record and an 80-24 (.769) mark in SEC play. Horton ranks fifth in Florida's career record book for homers (36), and was second in the SEC with her 12 sac bunts last season.

Horton will attend Auburn University's Harrison School of Pharmacy this fall. …

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Florida makes moves to distance itself from former Gator Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez's All-American brick.

osgators, via twitter

Aaron Hernandez's All-American brick.

The University Athletic Association has spent the past few weeks trying to distance itself from former All-American tight end Aaron Hernandez, who remains in a Massachusetts prison charged with first degree murder.

On Thursday, the UAA announced it has removed Hernandez's likeness from multiple areas of its football complex, and removed Hernandez from the bricks commemorating its All-Americans.

"We didn't feel it was appropriate to celebrate Aaron Hernandez,'' the University Athletic Association said in a statement. "We put together an immediate plan after the initial news broke to remove his likeness and name in various private and public areas in the facility, such as the South Endzone team area, locker room, football offices, Heavener Complex, Kornblau Lobby and the brick display entrance to the football facility."

Hernandez, 23, has been accused of orchestrating the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player who was the boyfriend of Hernandez's fiancée's sister. He has pleaded not guilty to murder. …

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Charges dismissed against Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison

Antonio Morrison, right, was arrested for the second time in 35 days early Sunday after he was accused of interfering with a police animal and resisting arrest without violence.

Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel/MCT

Antonio Morrison, right, was arrested for the second time in 35 days early Sunday after he was accused of interfering with a police animal and resisting arrest without violence.

One day after Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell said Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison should have been given a warning instead of arrested for barking at an on-duty police canine, the Gainesville State Attorney's Office on Tuesday dismissed all charges against Morrison based on a lack of evidence.

Bill Cervone, State Attorney of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, said the arrest never should have occurred.

"In my view, no arrest should have been made in this case, whether technically sustainable or not," Cervone said in a statement. "In my office, I teach and we attempt to practice restraint. The power to do something as profound as depriving another person of liberty and subjecting him to all of the consequences of an arrest or prosecution cannot be abused, even when one's patience is thin. After nearly 40 years as a prosecutor I understand the pressures that officers on the street deal with. Those pressures simply cannot be allowed to override the common sense and the law, as they may have in this situation."

Morrison's deferral agreement from a case in July will remain intact, with Cervone saying "there are no grounds to revoke that agreement." …

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Will Muschamp wants players to realize actions have consequences

Antonio Morrison, right, was arrested for the second time in 35 days on Sunday.

Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel/MCT

Antonio Morrison, right, was arrested for the second time in 35 days on Sunday.

Florida coach Will Muschamp made his rounds at the ESPN coaches Car Wash today, and the subject of middle linebacker Antonio Morrison was among the topics the Gators' head coach addressed.

Muschamp said he talked with Morrison's parents, who live outside of Chicago, Monday night and again expressed his disappointment.

Morrison was arrested for the second time in 35 days on Sunday after he was accused of interfering with a police animal and resisting arrest without violence after he allegedly barked at a police canine who was sitting in the police car. The dog's officer was responding to an official call.

"I've suspended him from all team activities at this point," Muschamp said. "It's all about making good choices and decisions, and he made a poor choice and decision to be out at 3 o'clock in the morning. And that's No. 1 with me."

Morrison was the projected starter for the season, but has been suspended for at least the first two games.

"But we'll bring him back in camp, and we'll work through this process with him," Muschamp said. "Again, it's about educating young people. And they've got to understand when they make these mistakes there are consequences in our program."

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Florida coach Will Muschamp to participate in ESPN coaches "Car Wash" on Tuesday

If you want to hear about Florida football directly from coach Will Muschamp, you'll have plenty of opportunities on Tuesday.

Muschamp will take part in the ESPN coaches "Car Wash" on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. He will appear on multiple ESPN programs - including  College Football Live, SportsCenter, First Take and Highly Questionable on television; ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo, The Herd with Colin Cowherd and Coach and Company and SportsCenter.

Muschamp will appear on College GameDay radio at 11 a.m. and First Take at 11:20 a.m. He will appear on at 12:20 p.m, followed by a 12:30 p.m. interview with college football inside Travis Haney and an appearance on SportsCenter Tonight with Freddie Coleman at 1 p.m.

His last event will be a 3:10 p.m. appearance on College GameDay.

Tuesday's ESPN Car Wash will include Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, Tennessee coach Butch Jones, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and Kentucky coach Mark Stoops.

 

 

 

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Tickets remain for Gators season-opener vs. Toledo

With a little more than one month remaining before the Florida football team's season-opener vs. Toledo on Aug. 31, the Gator Ticket Office is offering a special deal to entice ticket purchasers.

Dubbed the "It’s Great to be at the Home Opener" ticket package, the deal includes seats in the upper North End Zone.

The ticket package includes one game ticket, one souvenir soda and one hot dog for only $35. Fans will be able to redeem the hot dog and souvenir soda voucher at concession stands C322 and C325 during the day of the game only.

Tickets and concessions vouchers are available for purchase online at Gatorzone.com or by calling 1-800-34-Gator. Vouchers for concessions will be mailed after purchase.

Tickets can either be printed online or mailed with the vouchers. Fans will be able to take advantage of this special offer until Tuesday, Aug. 20. …

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Florida LB Antonio Morrison arrested for barking at police dog

Thirty-five days after he was arrested for punching a nightclub doorman because he wouldn’t wave the club’s cover charge, Florida sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested again Sunday.

For barking at a police dog.

Morrison was charged with interfering with a police animal and resisting arrest without violence, and this second stint in jail could ultimately be more costly.

Florida coach Will Muschamp announced Morrison has been suspended from the team, and his deferred prosecution agreed upon from his June 16th arrest could be jeopardized.

"I’m extremely disappointed in Antonio Morrison’s decision-making," Muschamp said in a statement released by the university. "He has been suspended from the team and will miss at least two games to begin the season."According to an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, Morrison went up to a parked patrol car, which was on the scene responding to a disturbance at an after-hours establishment, and began barking at the police dog in the car. …

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Aaron Murray relishes one last shot at beating Gators

Tampa native Aaron Murray spent Thursday afternoon making the rounds at the final SEC Media Days appearance of his impressive Georgia career.

The Bulldogs' starting QB, a Tampa Plant alum, said he's looking forward to his best season ever. Which is saying a lot. Last season, he started all 14 games and finished the year with 3,893 passing yards and a school-record 36 touchdown passes.

One other goal for Murray is to help the Bulldogs extend their winning streak to three consecutive.

"It would be awesome, not just to beat them three times in a row, but because it’s a big game, it’s a big rivalry game and it’s a big game for us in the East," Murray said.

More from Murray during Thursday's SEC Media Days

 



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