Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Colleges

Florida Gators working to keep their latest strong start going

GAINESVILLE — If you're a Florida fan who is overjoyed by a 4-0 start, you might want to keep this in mind: Florida began the year 4-0 in 2010 and 2011, then finished a combined 7-11.

That is why there is only cautious optimism in Gainesville right now. The No. 11 Gators (4-0, 3-0 SEC) will spend this bye week working on ways to ensure they are a better team than they are today when No. 3 LSU comes to town in two weeks. The Gators' strong start will be tested by five straight weeks of SEC opponents: LSU, at Vanderbilt, host South Carolina, face Georgia in Jacksonville and host Missouri.

"We've got three huge days to improve. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are opportunities for our team to get better," coach Will Muschamp said Monday. "We met (Sunday) as a team, and I told our guys, starting with me all the way down, we all have room for improvement. Let's figure out and let's be coachable, let's be understanding. It's a good place to take care of themselves, but let's accentuate on the negatives of our football team right now and understand what they are, and let's get better."

The Florida-LSU game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and be televised by CBS.

HUNTER HONORED: Senior NT Omar Hunter was named SEC defensive lineman of the week. It is the first SEC weekly award for Hunter, who had a career-high eight tackles in Saturday's 38-0 win over Kentucky.

MYSTERY OF DEBOSE: When he arrived in Gainesville, Andre Debose was touted as the next Percy Harvin, but injuries hampered his first season, and this year he has struggled. He hasn't caught one pass and has two rushes for 1 yard. Muschamp said Debose needs a more consistent effort in practice.

"You know, again, anybody who is in the coaching profession, there's a key to every kid, and we've got to find that key to motivate any young man, not just Andre," he said. "Day in, day out, to consistently perform well, to consistently do it the right way. Because generally your practice habits carry over to the game. I'm young, but I'm old-fashioned. I believe that. Guys that don't go out and consistently perform well in practice, it generally carries over to the game. As coaches, we want guys that consistently do it well and do it right."

INJURY UPDATE: OL Chaz Green (Tampa Catholic) missed his second straight game with an ankle injury Saturday but is expected to be ready to face LSU, as are DL Dominique Easley (knee), WR/RB Trey Burton (back spasms) and TE Jordan Reed (head injury). LB Jelani Jenkins (broken thumb) is expected to meet with doctors this week; his status is unknown.

OL Matt Patchan (Armwood) has missed all four games with a strained pectoral muscle and slight muscle tear. Though there is no timetable for his return, he could be back in about three weeks.

YOUNG GUNS: Florida has played quite a few freshman, including RB Matt Jones (Armwood), LB Dante Fowler Jr. (Lakewood), WR Raphael Andrades, LB Antonio Morrison, DL Jonathan Bullard and OL Jessamen Dunker. Andrades and Bullard got their first starts against Kentucky, and Muschamp said the rule of thumb in his regime is be the best players play — period.

"If guys play well, practice well and prepare themselves well, I don't care what year they are, we're going to play the best guys," he said. "We're going to play guys that I know when I go to bed at night I've got complete confidence they are going to play hard for Florida. And those guys will do that. They are talented guys. They've earned the right to play, earned the right to start given the opportunity."

Muschamp said the staff will spend part of this bye week getting extra work for the young players with the expectation that their playing time will increase.

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @TBTimes_Gators.

Comments
Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Florida Gators defensive lineman Cece Jefferson will be out four months after having surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week, according to a report Wednesday evening from the Gainesville Sun.Jefferson, a 6-foot-1, 242-pound senior, injured th...
Published: 04/18/18
Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Tuesday evening's news that quarterback Jake Allen plans to transfer from the Florida Gators isn't a surprise.Allen, a former three-star recruit in 2017, was fourth on the depth chart. The St. Thomas Aquinas product didn't seem to fit new coach ...
Published: 04/18/18
Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

When former Wharton High star Auden Tate hears his name called sometime next week, he'll join a surprisingly small group.Recent Florida State receivers drafted into the NFL.Over the past decade, only two Seminoles receivers have been drafted: Rashad ...
Published: 04/18/18
Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Tallahassee police suspected Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois possessed marijuana with the intent to sell it when they executed a search warrant on his home last week, according to an affidavit.The case — which culminated Thursda...
Published: 04/17/18
Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Even as Florida State was finishing its first recruiting class under Willie Taggart, the Seminoles were already talking about what they could do in the new staff's first full cycle, for 2019."I can only imagine having a year here to be able to recrui...
Published: 04/17/18
Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

TALLAHASSEE – Florida State running back Khalan Laborn's breakout 140-yard output in Saturday night's spring game was a sign of what could be for the former blue-chip recruit.It was also a reminder of what almost wasn't for the Seminoles.With a...
Published: 04/16/18
New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

Steve Spurrier will make one of his first appearances in his new role with the Alliance of American Football tomorrow in Orlando.The league will welcome Spurrier as the coach of its Orlando team at an event at Ember (42 W Central Blvd.) at an event f...
Published: 04/16/18
Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

TALLAHASSEE – Judging by the crowd for Florida State's spring game on Saturday, Seminoles fans are excited about the dawn of the Willie Taggart era.The official attendance of 53,974 — a new record for a spring game — inclu...
Published: 04/14/18
Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

GAINESVILLE —It took some time, but the offense scored points in bunches, much to the delight of the 53,015 in attendance at Florida's spring game.And the Gators had fun doing it, pulling out all the stops with gadgets and celebrations that bro...
Published: 04/14/18
FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois agreed to a pre-arrest diversion program after police found 17 grams of a cannabis/tobacco blend in his bedroom Thursday afternoon.The Tallahassee Police Department previously received a report of drug activ...
Published: 04/13/18