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Sunshine State Report

The latest on college sports in Florida

Gators season-opener vs. Idaho cancelled due to inclement weather

After multiple, lengthy delays, Florida's season-opener against Idaho was cancelled Saturday night after officials determined the field was unsafe to play on.

The game was delayed for two hours and 48 minutes due to lightning and heavy rain.

When the game finally began, Idaho won the toss and deferred to the Gators.

Florida receiver Valdez Showers returned a kickoff 64 yards on the opening play, then lightning in the area forced a delay again.

SEC rules dictate that if lighting is detected within 15 miles, game officials must be notified. If the lightning is within eight miles, the game must be suspended for 30 minutes.

At 10:38 p.m.., after nearly 45 minutes' delay, Florida athletic officials announced the game had been "terminated due to unsafe and unplayable conditions." …

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Senior Darious Cummings among three Gators suspended for Idaho game

Three Gators players will miss tonight's season-opener against Idaho due to suspensions.

"Jay-nard Bostwick and Darious Cummings will not play due to a violation of team rules," Florida coach Will Muschamp said in a statement released prior to the game. '"Demarcus Robinson will miss the game due to a university sanction that is now resolved. I support the university sanction. We have rules here that we have to follow - team, athletic department and university rules - and when you don’t follow them there are consequences.'

The suspensions are for the Idaho game only.

"I expect all three players to return next wee," Muschamp said.

Robinson, who is listed as the backup receiver to starter Quinton Dunbar, is no stranger to suspensions. He was suspeded tiwce last year, including on Nov. 23 for the remainder of the season. 

Cummings is a senior starter at nose tackle and Bostwick, a redshirt freshman, is a second-team nose tackle. Ironically, Cummings was suspended for last year's season-opener for a violation of team rules.

Safety Marcus Maye (hamstring) is the only player questionable for Florida. He was listed day-to-day during practice this week.

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Kurt Roper saw something special in Gators QB Treon Harris

After Kurt Roper was hired as Florida's offensive coordinator back in January, one of the players he went out and recruited was Miami QB Treon Harris.

So what exactly did Roper see in Harris? A playmaker.

"I think he was a guy that made a lot of plays and that's what it really gets down to," Roper said. "He was a decisive quarterback when you watched him in high school, whether he was going to make decisions in the passing game or decision in running the football versus a good pass rusher or whatever it was. But I think I saw a decisive football player. He's working hard to get better every day and he's obviously a talented guy that has a really strong arm, a fast arm and can make plays with his feet."

Harris has been named the Gators' backup QB for Saturday night's season-opener vs. Idaho, but coach Will Muschamp said that position remains a week-to-week process and no decisions have been made concerning redshirting freshman Will Grier.

As for the Gators' offense on Saturday night, Roper is eager to find out how ready the Gators are for this season. …

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Texas A&M win over South Carolina costs local furniture store more than $1 million

No. 21 Texas A&M's victory over No. 9 South Carolina Thursday night may have stunned a good chunk of the college football world, but it probably didn't cost most people the way it has a local furniture store.

The Ashley Furniture Store in College Station, Texas, promised that if the Aggies won by more than 10, all furniture purchased between August 16th and 27th would be free.

Believe it or not, they plan to make good on that offer.


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Former Gator Cody Riggs ready to make impact at Notre Dame

When former Florida DB Cody Riggs decided to transfer to Notre Dame after last season, he said the decision was a combination of wanting a change in the classroom and on the football field.

Riggs, who graduated from UF, used the NCAA's transfer rule for graduates to avoid having to sit out a season.

It appears that decision is working out well. With Notre Dame CB KeiVarae Russell involved in an internal investigation into academic fraud, Riggs' stock has risen and he's earned a starting job.

Here is more on the story of Riggs' newfound success.


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Gators Matt Jones gains valuable life lesson from Illness, injury last season

Last season this time, Florida RB Matt Jones was still recovering from the effects of a severe viral infection he became infected with last August.

A few weeks later, Jones suffered a knee injury that ended what he believed was a very promising season.

On Saturday when Florida hosts Idado at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in the 2014 season-opener, the junior from Seffner will once again begin what he hopes is an outstanding season - for himself and the Gators.

But last season's adversity has taught him appreciation for the game and some valuable life lessons.

Listen in here:

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"SEC Storied" documentary focuses on Steve Spurrier tonight

Former Florida and current South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier will be featured tonight in an ESPN Documentary SEC Storied.

The film focuses on Spurrier and his long history with the SEC, is co-directed by Kenny Chesney and Shaun Silva, and will air tonight at 8 p.m. on the SEC Network.

“The Believer” reveals the essence of the most competitive man in the most competitive football conference in the nation," ESPN said in a press release.

Check out this preview of tonight's SEC Storied.

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Gators Jeff Driskel looking forward to returning to the field after injury

It has been 10 months since Jeff Driskel limped off of Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium with a broken leg that sidelined him the remainder of the Gators' 2013 season.

So it should come as no surprise that Driskel is one of tthe Florida players most anticipating Saturday's season-opener aganist Idaho.

Regardless of the opponent, Driskel's just happy to get back on the field.

Driskel said the Gators are confident and feel more prepared entering this season.

"I think we’re more talented this year," he said. "I think we know what we’re doing a little bit more this year. The more time you put in, the more time you spend together, the more confident you’re gonna be.”

More from Driskel during his weekly media appearance today:

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Freshman Treon Harris earns backup QB job for Gators

Freshman QB Treon Harris has been named the Gators' backup QB for Saturday's season-opener vs. Idaho, coach Will Muschamp said.

Harris is a Miami native who led Booker T. Washington High to the Class 4A State Championship in 2012 and 2013.

Muschamp said the competition between Harris and freshman Will Grier was extremely close, but Harris has won out - for now.

"The backup quarterback will be Treon Harris heading into this game," Muschamp said. "There's really no separation from the backup standpoint. We met through the weekend and talked moving forward and felt like Treon has some things he can provide for us offensively, but that's nothing that's made for the long term. No one's been redshirted. No decisions have been made with Will Grier, Skyler Mornhinweg or anyone else. All of those guys did some good things and we're gonna move forward from week-to-week on that situation there."

Gators senior LB Mike Taylor said surprising leadership for a young player may have given Harris the edge. …

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Tim Tebow determined to become better broadcaster

Tim Tebow's broadcasting career has been brief so far, but some who work with him say he's dedicated to becoming the best he can be at the job.

Tebow is an analyst on the new SEC Network, and while the former Heisman Trophy winner knows football, he's still learning the nuances of broadcasting.

Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated spoke with Tebow's colleague Joe Tessitore about the former Gators' dedication to learning.

More on the story.


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Former Gator Josh Shaw proclaimed a hero for rescuing nephew

Former Gators safety Josh Shaw will miss part of his senior season at USC after suffering injuries to his ankles in a rescue attempt for his young nephew.

Shaw, a California native, transferred from Florida in the spring of 2012. He was expected to be a starter for the Trojans this season. He is also a captain on the team.

He suffered two high ankle sprains when he leaped from a second floor balcony to save his nephew.

The full story is here courtesy of


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Idaho to kick off season vs. Gators still in search of starting QB

While Florida enters this week still trying to make a decision on a backup quarterback to starter Jeff Driskel, its season-opning opponent Idaho has QB issues of its own.

The Vandals have not settled on a starting QB and most likely will play two when Idaho takes on the Gators Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The battle for the position is between redshirt freshman Matt Linehan and sophomore Chad Chalich.

Here is more on the story from Idaho Statesman writer Dave Southorn.

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Gators to enter Idaho game week still undecided on backup QB

Florida will take the weekend off, then reconvene on Monday to begin game-week preparations for the Gators season-opener against Idaho.

And after three weeks of fall camp, Gators coach Will Muschamp said he has not decided on a backup QB to starter Jeff Driskel. It is one of several key positions still up in the air including secondary, kicker, OG and three in the secondary.

“We’ll release a depth chart next week," Muschamp said. "We haven’t made any decisions as far as backup quarterback, place-kicker, who’s starting in the secondary. None of those decisions have been made. We’re going to meet as a staff (Friday afternoon) and review today’s film. We’ll go from there.”

Three players - sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg and true freshmen Will Grier and Treon Harris - are battling for the backup QB role. Muchamp called the competition extremely close. …

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Will Muschamp awards Clearwater's Michael McNeely a scholarship

Michael McNeely, a Palm Harbor University alum, is one of two walkon Gators players who were awarded a scholarship Friday by coach Will Muschamp.

McNeely, a redshirt senior, is a WR who has made an impact on special teams.

"Mike has been a fantastic special teams player, and just a wonderful young man, and has done everything we've asked him to do," Muschamp said.

Kicker Frankie Velez was also awarded a scholarship. When starting kicker Austin Hardin struggled last season, Velez was called into action. He played in five games.

Muschamp, a former walkon at Georgia who eventually earned a scholarship, holds walkons who work hard in high esteem. …

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Relationships with players key to Kurt Roper's coaching style

When Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper first got into the coaching profession, he was just following in his father's footsteps. He just wanted to coach

But along the way, he has learned that a crictical part of coaching for him is the relationships he develops with his players. Throughout fall camp, Roper has been earning rave reviews from Gators players about his willingness to spend the extra time trying to get to know players away from the field.

"I think that’s part of the process," Roper said. "You hear a lot of coaches say they got in this for the relationships with players. I can’t say that. I got  into this because I wanted to be like my dad. But I’ve learned what a great part of this is. That’s been the part that I enjoy the most once I got in it and understand. It takes a while. You develop relationships through shared experiences. Now that I’ve been here eight months there are a lot of shared experiences with these guys. All that’s growing.” …

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