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Sunshine State Report

The latest on college sports in Florida

Gators season comes to an end with 37-7 loss to Florida State

Florida's difficult season came to an end on Saturday afternoon with a 37-7 loss to undefeated and No. 2 Florida State.

The loss was Florida's first back-to-back in Gainesville to the Seminoles since 1987 and 1989 and ended Florida's season at 4-8. It's the first losing season for the Gators since in 38 years.

After game Florida coach Will Muschamp once again vowed he will get the program back on track.

Here are some of his postgame comments:

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Florida basketball goes for fifth straight win over Florida State tonight

No. 15 Florida will put its 19-game home winning streak on the line tonight when the Gators host rival Florida State at 7:30 p.m. at the O'Connell Center.

The Florida senior class is trying to become the second consecutive class to finish their careers 4-0 against the Seminoles.

This is the first of four highly-competitive games for the Gators that will include No. 13 Connecticut, No. 2 Kansas and No. 21 Memphis over the next three weeks.

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Gators senior Jaylen Watkins on FSU: "We know we can compete with them"

Jaylen Watkins will play his final game as a Gator Saturday aftenroon when Florida hosts Florida State, and it's not the way he expected his final season to conclude.

The Gators have won just four games and will not be eligible to compete in a postseason bowl.

So Florida State is, for all intents and purposes, the Gators' bowl game.

Watkins didn't guarantee a victory, but said he's confident the Gators can compete with the No. 2 Seminoles.

More from Watkins, who is celebrating a birthday today:

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Even Gators have to find humor in Georgia Southern blocking blunder

If you’re active on social media, by now you’ve probably seen the photo or video of Saturday’s blocking mistake where Gators C Jon Harrison and WR Quinton Dunbar somehow end up blocking each other.

It’s an embarrassing moment that in many ways sums up the Gators’ season, and the players said even they couldn’t help but find some humor it in.

“I thought it was comical,” RG Jon Halapio said. “We’re all in the locker room joking around about it. I don’t even know what happened on that play. I honestly don’t know. He was supposed to pull to the right and I think Solomon (Patton) had the ball or something. I guess Quinton got in his way. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Check out the play here

OL Kyle Koehne didn't find as much humor, but he tried to offer a plausible explanation.

“Yeah, well, you know, I mean, sometimes guys get mixed up," Koehne said. "Sometimes you don't really see, you lock onto somebody and you don't really notice who you're blocking. Just two guys trying to play hard and do their job and they happened to get messed up. Hopefully that won't happen again anymore.” …

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Pease believes he's earned the right to remain on staff

Speaking at his weekly news conference Tuesday afternoon, Brent Peace patiently answered multiple questions about his job status and performance this season.

AP photo

Speaking at his weekly news conference Tuesday afternoon, Brent Peace patiently answered multiple questions about his job status and performance this season.

Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease said he has not been told by coach Will Muschamp that he won't be retained at the end of the season, but if it turns out to be the case, it's something he can live with.

Speaking at his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon, Peace patiently answered multiple questions about his job status and performance this season. At times he seemed optimistic, at others resigned to his fate. Ultimately, he said, he would like to be judged by more than just this season.

When asked if he's earned the right to be the Gators' offensive coordinator next season, Pease answered emphatically: "Yes."

Pease said he refuses to make excuses for the Gators' offensive woes by talking about the multiple injuries that have plagued the team. Florida will start third-team QB Skyler Mornhinweg against No. 2 Florida State on Saturday. It will be his third consecutive game as the Gators' starter.

The Gators have won just four games this season, and have an offense that is ranked No. 111 nationally. But Pease said he would like to be judged on his entire body of work since he arrived two years ago, including last year's team that finished 11-2. …

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Will Muschamp on Gators' program: "I don't believe we're that far off."

Florida is on a six-game losing streak and coming off a loss to IAA Georgia Southern this past week, but Gators coach Will Muschamp remains optimistic about the direction of the program.

Muschamp said Monday that he believes the Florida program has obviously hit a setback, but remains on track for the future.

“It’s still the University of Florida," Muschamp said. "There’s some obvious reasons why we are where we are. We’re a team that won 11 games last year, and I don’t think that happened by accident. We have a really good football staff. We have some good players on our football team. We’re gonna have a good football team moving forward, so at the end of the day, this is a great education, it’s a great place to come compete and be a student athlete.”

Florida will host No. 2 Florida State on Saturday at noon.

More from Muschamp on the state of the program:

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Gators Will Muschamp: "We're going to get it fixed"

Georgia Southern was paid $550.000 to play the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Considering the outcome, the Eagles might have accepted the Gators' invitation for free.

Georgia Southern arrived in Gainesville as a 28-point underdog, but amassed 429 yards of offense on the way to a 26-20 upset of the Gators in front of  82,459 at Florida Field.

The loss was Florida’s first to a IA opponent since the division formed in 1978 and the first home non-conference loss other than Florida State or Miami since a 17-11 loss to Memphis in 1988.

Florida coach Will Muschamp called the loss "an embarassment" and once again vowed "We're going to get it fixed."

More from Muschamp in his postgame interview:


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Gators to take on Georgia Southern in "desperate" need of a win

When the season began you probably couldn't find a Gators football player - or a Florida fan for that matter - that would have circled Georgia Southern on the calendar as a critical win.

Or even listed the Eagles as a potential loss.

But 10 games into the season, Florida has just four wins, is on a five-game losing streak, and will host Georgia Southern on Saturday badly in need of a victory.

“We’re at the point where we’re in desperate need of a win to kind of bring the team spirit back up,” OL Trenton Brown said.

“I mean when you going into the season as a Gator you never imagine something like that," DT Leon Orr said. "You always have your mind on winning the SEC Championship, winning a national championship. I can’t necessarily say that I was going in thinking that this was going to be a pivotal game, going into the season.”

And, yet it is. The Gators still need a win on Saturday and one over No. 2 Florida State next weekend to become bowl-eligible. …

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Michael Frazier logs 36 minutes in Gators' 79-59 win over Middle Tennessee State

The concern for the No. 16 Florida Gators entering Thursday night’s game against Middle Tennessee was the Gators' lack of a true starting point guard.

With freshman Kasey Hill injured and senior Scottie Wilbekin still suspended for violation of team rules, the responsibility fell on shooting guard Michael Frazier and DeVon Walker.

Walker and Frazier combined for 26 points, two of six Florida players in double figures, to help lead the No. 16 Gators (4-1) to a 79-59 win over Middle Tennessee State.

Frazier, of Tampa, made his first start of the season and played a total of 36 minutes in the game - including all 20 of the first half.

Hear his thoughts on tonight's game:

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Gator men's basketball signs three

The Florida men's basketball team has received three signed National Letters of Intent as part of its 2014 recruiting class.

They are: Chris Chiozza, Brandone Francis and Devin Robinson.

Chiozza is a 5-foot-11 point guard from Memphis who is rated a four-star prospect and top-50 player in the 2014 class by ESPN and Rivals. He helped lead White Station High to a 22-6 record and district championship during his junior season.

Francis is a 6-foot-5 guard from Jacksonville Arlington Country Day. He is a four-star prospect and top-30 player in the 2014 class by ESPN and Rivals Helped Arlington Country Day to a 30-4 record as a junior.

Robinson is a 6-foot-8 forward from Chesterfield, Va., who is a five-star prospect by Rivals (20th overall) and a four-star prospect by ESPN (28th overall). Helped lead Christchurch to a 24-7 record during his junior season.

“We are really excited about these guys and their future at the University of Florida,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “They all have tremendous potential, and we’re glad they’re Gators.”




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Gators coach Billy Donovan preparing to shuffle lineup after loss of Kasey Hill

When Florida hosts Middle Tennessee tonight at the O'Connell Center, it will be the Gators' third home game in six days, but the first without freshman Kasey Hill.

Hill, who has the SEC’s best assist-to-turnover ratio and was fourth in the league in assists and steals,  suffered a high ankle sprain Monday night, which will force Gators coach Billy Donovan to create a makeshift lineup because the Gators don’t have a true point guard.

Senior guard Scottie Wilbekin remains suspended for tonight's game.

More from Donovan on how others will have to step up in Hill's absence:

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For Gators RB Mack Brown, losing starting role not a huge problem

When the season began in August, Gators RB Mack Brown found himself in a starting role due to an illness to Matt Jones.

When Jones suffered a season-ending injury later in the year, the starting role was yet again Brown's. But his own injury opened the door for freshman Kelvin Taylor, who is now listed as the starter. It's not something Brown had hoped for, but he says he's still doing whatever he can to help the team.

“When I went down in the Missouri game the role kinda went to Kelvin," Brown said. "So now I’m just doing my job, you know. Gotta run the ball and just stay healthy and contribute to the team.”

Since the Gators use Brown and Taylor in different series throughout the game, it's not as if Brown isn't seeing the field at all. As for having a freshman take the starting role, Brown said he doesn't have a problem with that.

“It’s not hard, I mean, we both switch out every other series so it’s just, he starts the game and I come in second series. It’s not nothing big. I’m happy he’s doing good.”

The alternating series was a litlte tough to adjust to when he and Jones first started it early in the season, Brown said, but he inisists he's fine with it now. …

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For Christian Provancha, being fourth-string Gators QB is just fine

The way injuries have taken a toll on the Florida Gators this season, there's no telling who might get a chance to play.

At least that's the way Christian Provancha sees it.

Provancha is a senior walk-on QB from Cocoa who began the season way down on the depth chart. No. 4 to be exact.

But with injuries to starter Jeff Driskel and second-string QB Tyler Murphy, Provancha is technically at No. 2 right now behind Skyler Mornhinweg.

"I came here for academics and hoped I could contribute to the team,' Provancha said. "That’s (last week at South Carolina) the first game I really felt like I had the opportunity to possibly contribute. Everyone hopes to be in this situation where you have the opportunity to contribute, but not like this. You want to work your way up the ladder with skill. We’ve been plagued by injury and stuff, but I was just really happy to be able to show that I’m there for the team and stuff like that. And give everyone a better idea of what I’ve got, get a few more reps. It felt good being out there. But it was a little nerve-wracking.. .  I’m just very appreciative of the coaches and the players and their trust.” …

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Gators lose guard Kasey Hill to injury

Florida's 67-53 victory over Southern University came fairly easily, but it wasn't without a cost.

Gators freshman guard Kasey Hill suffered a high ankle sprain and will miss at least one month.

"It’s one of those sprains where it’s certainly a longer healing process and when you try to rush guys back too soon it normally complicates things," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "So right now I think in talking to the doctor and talking to our trainer, the minimum right now is we’re looking at a month before we can consider getting him back on the floor.  It’s unfortunate. It’s a part of the game. We’ll have to find some different ways to compensate for his absence."

With 18:04 remaining in the game, Hill was fouled as he drove to the basket, and the collision caused his left ankle to take a gruesome, awkward turn.

Hill let out an anguished scream as he went to the ground, and spent about a minute writhing in pain under the basket before he was helped from the floor. …

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Gators Skyler Mornhinweg embraced the challenge of first collegiate game


On the Friday night prior to Florida's game against South Carolina, Florida quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg slept just fine.

Very well, in fact.

Mornhinweg, the son of New York Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, said he had numerous conversations with his father throughout the week as he prepared to take over for the injured Tyler Murphy, and said he felt very calm and confident heading into the game.

"I'm very proud of him," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "I just told him to cut loose and have fun. We weren't going to put a lot on him as far as asking him to do a bunch of different things. . . I thought he did a really good job of managing."

Whether Mornhinweg will get another opportunity this week agaisnt Georgia Southern remains to be seen.

"He's (Murphy) not out for the season, Muschap said. "Tyler didn't take any reps (last week). He's not out for the season, but I don't know about this week. He's got a sore shoulder, AC sprain, very similar to what he had before. And it's all about tiime and healing and I don't know yet."

Here's what Mornhinweg had to say about his first collegiate game:

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