Make us your home page

Sunshine State Report

The latest on college sports in Florida

Toledo wide receiver Bernard Reedy says of course the Rockets can defeat the Gators

Don't tell Toledo WR Bernard Reedy that the Rockets don't have a chance to upset the No. 10 Gators when the two meet at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Reedy, a St. Petersburg Lakewood alum, ranked sixth in the nation in all-purpose yards last season, with  88 receptions for 1,113 yards and six touchdowns. He also returned 19 punts for 210 yards and a  TD, and returned 32 kickoffs for 885 yards and three TDs.

Reedy said this week that he believes Toledo can pull the upset, particularly because of its up-tempo offense.

“If we can keep the pressure on them the whole game, we can eventually wear them down,” he said.

More from Reedy about his thoughts on the Florida game.

Full Story

Gators preparing for Toledo's up-tempo offense

Toledo may be a heavy underdog against the Gators on Saturday, but Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said that's not the way the Gators are looking at it.

Toledo returns four All-MAC players from last season, including senior QB Terrance Owens who passed for 2,707 yards last season and rushed for 395.

"Toledo presents some problems that way because their quarterback is very mobile," Durkin said. "He can run around and scramble real well, and you can't get a pass rush on him. So we definitely, in every game plan, we want to effect the quarterback, but we have to do that in different ways. He can make you pay when you get out of your lanes and do some things up the field. That will be a challenge for our defense, obviously a point of emphasis, and it's something they really rely on to move the ball." …

Full Story

Former Gator Danny Wuerffel to be honored at Sept. 21 Tennessee game

Former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel will be at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for the Sept. 21 game vs. Tennessee, being honored for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Wuerffel will be participating in the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program, a tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951. During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game.

This year’s Division 1A Hall of Fame Class will be inducted Dec. 10 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The class includes: Ted Brown (North Carolina State), Teddy Bruschi (Arizona), Ron Dayne (Wisconsin), Tommie Frazier (Nebraska), Jerry Gray (Texas), Steve Meilinger (Kentucky), Orlando Pace (Ohio State), the late Rod Shoate (Oklahoma), Percy Snow (Michigan State), Vinny Testaverde (Miami, Fla.), Don Trull (Baylor), Danny Wuerffel (Florida), and coaches Wayne Hardin (Navy, Temple) and Bill McCartney (Colorado).




Full Story

Toledo bringing young defense to Gainesville

When Toledo travels to Gainesville to play the No. 10 Gators Saturday afternoon, the Rockets will be bringing a young defense - particularly its defensive line.

While Toledo's offense features four All-MAC players, the Rockets return just four starters on defense with six on the defensive front that are just first or second-year players.

Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who faced Toledo two years ago when he was offensive coordinator at Boise State, said he realizes the personnel has changed, but said the scheme is challenging.

What they do scheme-wise and how they move around and the energy their kids play with, they’re going to cause some confusion in what they do up front," Pease said. "I feel they’ve got some depth in guys. They’re not just going to sit there and play straight up on us. They’re going to maneuver, slant and twist and try to create some confusion up top."

More on Toledo's young defensive line from the Toledo Blade's Ryan Autullo.

Full Story

South Carolina, Vanderiblt, Ole Miss kick off 2013 SEC college football season tonight

South Carolina will kickoff the SEC college football season tonight at 6 p.m. with a game against North Carolina.

It is the first of two games involving SEC teams tongiht.

Ole Miss will play at Vanderbilt at 9 p.m. Both games will be televised on ESPN.

"We're looking forward to the game with North Carolina," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "It's a very good team, a team that was 8-4 last year. I think they lost three games by a total of nine points - one, three and five. We've got a complete sellout here. Our fans are ready and hopefully our team will be as ready as the fans. It should be an exciting game."

The rest of the SEC teams will begin the season on Saturday, including Florida vs. Toledo at 12:21 p.m. on the SEC Network.

Here is the full schedule of college football games for this weekend.



Full Story

Gators punter Kyle Christy happy to be healthy again

If you had told Florida punter Kyle Christy before he injured his shoulder just how difficult the road to recovery might be, he probably wouldn't have believed you.

But seven months after undergoing surgery to repair an injury he sustained when he fell off his scooter - yet played with all season - Christy said he's finally feeling healthy again. But the recovery hasn't been easy.

"To be honest, my shoulder in the spring set me back a little bit, but I think I'm doing pretty well," Christy said this week. "I was hoping it wouldn't screw me up at all, but just not being able to catch snaps for a while, it's weird. And then I had to just get back into it."

Christy said he's 100 percent healthy now and looking to improve upon his 2012 season - which is saying a lot. Christy averaged 44.3 yards per punt last season and was a Ray Guy Award finalist for the nation's best punter.

"I want to do really well and improve on last year, and live up to all the preseason stuff," Christy said.

He is a preseason All-SEC selection by the SEC coaches and media.



Full Story

Gators LB Antonio Morrison apologizes, wants to move on

Antonio Morrison, right, was arrested twice in a 35-day span this past summer.

Orlando Sentinel/MCT

Antonio Morrison, right, was arrested twice in a 35-day span this past summer.


Florida suspended LB Antonio Morrison met with the media on Wednesday saying he wanted to apologize for his behavior this past summer - which included two arrests - then move on.

"I want to apologize," Morrison said. "I've been in trouble the past few weeks and it's sincere from me. I apologize to my coaches, my teammates, everybody (for) everything that went wrong. It's behind me. I'm moving forward from this. It's behind me. I just want to play football."

Morrison was arrested twice in a 35-day span this past summer. He was arrested in June for hitting a doorman at a Gainesville night club after the man refused to waive the cover charge for Morrision - who reportedly asked "Do you know who I am?"

He was arrested again in July for barking at a police canine which was sitting in a patrol car, but was on duty at the time.

Morrison, 19, received deferred prosecution in the first case. Charges in the second case were dropped after the state attorney's office said no arrest should have been made. …

Full Story

Gators RB Matt Jones on schedule to return for Miami game

Matt Jones practiced in pads for the first time on Tuesday.

AP photo

Matt Jones practiced in pads for the first time on Tuesday.

Florida RB Matt Jones practiced in pads for the first time on Tuesday, but his status for Saturday's game remains unchanged.

Jones, who is still recovering from a viral infection he contracted in early August, will not play on Saturday.

"Matt was in pads and ran around a good bit," Florida coach Will Muchamp said. "We tried to bang him around a little bit. I think he's a little sore this morning. He's on track to play next week, but he won't be available Saturday.

Muschamp said Jones will participate in preseason warmups on Saturday as the Gators prepare to host Toledo to get acclimated to the heat.

"We'll probably take him through pregame, honestly to put him in uniform and get him out there in the heat," Muschamp said. "We'll let him run around a little bit and continue to acclimate his  body."

Full Story

Who is the real Aaron Hernandez?

The summer arrest of former Gator tight end Aaron Hernandez stunned the sports world and threw a huge negative national spotlight on the Florida program and former coach Urban Meyer.

Now Rolling Stone magazine has published a profile of Hernandez, who sits in a Massachusetts jail on murder charges, that portrays a troubled, deeply-disturbed young man.

Entitled "Gangster In the Huddle", it's worth a read. Check it out here.

Full Story

Gators want Jeff Driskel to be smart when it comes to running

Florida QB Jeff Driskel had 118 carries for 413 yards and four TD’s last season, but one of the objectives of fall camp has been to reiterate the need to be smart when running.

In other words, get down instead of running head on into defenders.

Because Driskel has been non-contact in practice, offensive coordinator Brent Pease said he won’t know until Saturday whether Driskel can contain himself more.

“He understands it,” Pease said. “You just do things visually to show him in practice, little drills here in practice. Sometimes – he’s a competitive kid – so he’s probably gonna go compete to get things right sometimes. He’ll have to learn and understand that you get your pads down. There are plenty of examples from last year where he got popped pretty good. Vanderbilt game, he got popped pretty good. LSU got him. Even when he hurt his ankle against Lafayette. You’ve gotta learn from those things. Go back and show him.”

Driskel said that doesn't in any way mean he won't run the ball. That's just part of who is he as a quarterback - and who the Gators need him to be. …

Full Story

Former Gator Matt den Dekker promoted to majors by New York Mets

Former Florida outfielder Matt den Dkker has been called up to the Major Leagues by the New York Mets.

He will be in uniform tongiht when the Mets play the Phillies.

den Dekker is the fifth player in UF head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s tenure at Florida to reach professional baseball’s highest level. He joins: left-hander Nick Maronde (2009-11)  who was called up to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last August; left-hander Steven Rodriguez (2010-12) who joined the Los Angeles Dodgers last September, catcher Mike Zunino (2010-12) who was brought up by the Seattle Mariners this past June and left-hander Kevin Chapman (2007, 09-10) who came up to the Houston Astros earlier this month.

den Dekker, who was a fifth-round selection in 2010, had recently been playing for the Las Vegas 51s of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he batted .296 in 53 games, with 38 RBI, 34 runs, eight doubles, six homers and four triples. Over his last 10 games, the center fielder hit .368 (14-for-38) and had a stretch of four multiple-hit outings in a row from Aug. 19-22.

Full Story

Gators still confident in O-line depsite injuries

Major injuries have hit the Florida offensive line hard, but coaches and players insist the Gators will rally just fine.

Florida RT Jon Halapio has missed all of camp and will miss at least the first two games with a torn pectoral muscle. And on Monday, Florida coach Will Muschamp announced that RG Chaz Green will miss the entire season with a torn labrum.

“It has been (rough), but that encourages growth and development of players," senior center Jon Harrison said. "Man down, man up mentality. That’s all you really can do.”

Harrison said Halapio is a man of faith, and is holding onto to that during as he attempts to recover.

“He’s real optimistic, everything happens for a reason type deal," Harrison said. "He’s a big faith guy. He’s being strong in his faith and knowing he’ll be back in like two weeks from now is real encouraging for him and real exciting. We can’t wait for him to get back out here.”

Florida will rely on transfer Tyler Moore (Countryside) to take over for Green and Kyle Koehne is filling in for Halapio, but is versatile enough to move to other positions on the line when needed. …

Full Story

Gators not expecting easy game against Toledo

When Florida hosts Toledo on Saturday afternoon in the Gators' season opener, they recognize they can't expect to overlook the Rockets in anticipation of next week's showdown with Miami.

This just isn't that kind of opening-day opponent.

Toledo returns four All-MAC players on offense including RB David Fluellen (1,498 yards in 2012) and WR Bernard Reedy - a former St. Petersburg Lakewood standout who had 88 receptions last season.

“There’s definitely no easy game," Florida QB Jeff Driskel said. "You can’t just roll your helmet out and win. When you do play at a place like Florida teams are going to throw stuff different at you. You’re not going to always get what you see on film. So you got to prepare for that. Everybody that plays us is going to play their best. They’re going to take some gambles on offense and defense. Like I said no games are easy.”

Florida is hoping to get off to a better opening quarter start than most of last season. Last year, the Gators were outscored 40-54 in the first quarter. …

Full Story

Four area Gators among starting lineup for Toledo game

When Florida hosts Toledo Saturday afternoon in the Gators' season-opener, four area players will be among the starting lineup.

Tyler Moore (Countryside) will start at RT, Hunter Joyer (Wesley Chapel) will start at FB, Leon Orr (New Port Richey Gulf), and Dante Fowler, Jr. (Lakewood) will start at BUCK/LB.

OL Jon Halapio (St. Pete Catholic) is expected to be in the starting lineup once he returns from injury. He's currently recovering from a torn pectoral muscle, but may return as early as the third game of the season.

Freshman Vernon Hargreaves III (Wharton) is listed as the backjp to Brian Poole at nickel and to Marcus Roberson at left corner.



Full Story

Florida coach Will Muschamp reduces suspension for Antonio Morrison

Upon further review, Florida LB Antonio Morrison won't be suspended for two games afterall.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said today that he is reducing Morrison's suspension from two games to one, meaning the sophomore will play when the Gators face Miami on Sept. 7.

After a thorough review of Antonio Morrison's situation and how he has handled his punishment, I'm going to suspend him for this game only," Muschamp said Monday. "I just don't feel like his actions warranted a two-game suspension. That's where we are with that.

Morrison had been suspended after his second arrest in a 35-day span. The Bolingbrook, Ill. native was arrested in July after officers said he barked at a police canine which was on duty at the time.

One week later, the Gainesville State Attorney dropped the charges saying "in my view, no arrest should have been made in the case."

Muschamp suspended Morrison before the case was dropped, saying he was disappointed in his actions, particularly because he was arrested after 3 a.m. Muschamp said he's told players nothing good can happen at the time of the morning. …

Full Story