Friday, November 24, 2017
Colleges

Healthy Gators ready for break

RECOMMENDED READING


GAINESVILLE — Last year at this time Florida was well on its way to becoming a team with almost more injured starters than healthy ones. So after 15 straight practices this year, coach Will Muschamp said today's planned two-hour final open practice will begin at 11 a.m. and last approximately an hour. Players will wear helmets, no pads.

The Gators have had only minor injuries, most recently a high ankle sprain for OL David Sharpe on Friday morning. Bryan Cox (shoulder sprain) is the only other player expected to miss today's practice. RB Matt Jones and OL Trip Thurman will return today. The Gators will get their first day off since Aug. 4 on Sunday, and the coaching staff will begin serious consideration about roster spots.

"The guys that are producing and playing well and doing it the way we want to do it, those are the guys that'll play," Muschamp said.

fowler's fine: Junior DL Dante Fowler said he was fine after being designated no contact for a couple of practices with a sore shoulder. "It was nothing big," Fowler said. Muschamp and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin have praised Fowler, a Lakewood High alum, for his growing leadership role. "I view myself as one of the team leaders, one of the guys that give great advice to the young guys or anybody," Fowler said. "I'm still learning how to become a leader, still maturing and things like that."

USF: High Harris hope

TAMPA — For USF sophomore LB Nigel Harris, the past year has been a whirlwind.

Last season the former Hillsborough High standout was forced into the spotlight as a true freshman in Week 3 against Florida Atlantic when he made his first career start in place of injured Reshard Cliett. He had a team-high 12 tackles, which earned him six more starts. He finished with 35 total tackles and one forced fumble in 12 games.

After adding 30 pounds of muscle in the offseason, he has emerged as a centerpiece in the Bulls' new 3-4 defensive scheme.

Linebackers coach Raymond Woodie complimented Harris' work ethic: "He has a huge upside. If he just keeps improving, he has a chance to be an all-conference player, in my opinion."

CHECK IT OUT: USF's Fan Fest is from noon-3 p.m. today at Corbett Soccer Stadium on campus. The free event features interactive games for kids and autograph and picture opportunities with players and coaches from all fall sports.

Jeff Odom, Times correspondent

UM: LB experiment

CORAL GABLES — Freshman David Njoku arrived at Miami as one of the highest-rated athletes in the 2014 signing class, and early expectations were that he'd play wide receiver, something he did at New Jersey's Cedar Grove High.

But Friday, Njoku had a new number and worked out with the linebackers, a group that was thinned this summer after the dismissals of Alex Figueroa and Jawand Blue. Coach Al Golden said the Hurricanes wanted to see if the versatile Njoku would be better suited to playing on defense but the move wasn't permanent.

"David is kind of a hybrid for us," Golden said. "We're just trying to look at some guys in different spots."

South Florida Sun Sentinel

FSU: Clearer focus

TALLAHASSEE — Some of Florida State's position races are coming into focus.

Coach Jimbo Fisher said senior Karlos Williams has cemented himself as the clear-cut No. 1 running back. He is the only back with game experience but faced competition from sophomore Mario Pender and freshman Dalvin Cook.

Sophomore LB E.J. Levenberry had surpassed junior Reggie Northrup, and punter Cason Beatty's job is safe for now, Fisher said. A stretch of inconsistency had led to speculation that Beatty could be overtaken, but walk-on Jonathan Hernandez hasn't been able to outperform him.

Miami Herald

Comments
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Rick and Tom podcast: USF vs UCF is the biggest game in Florida this weekend

Rick and Tom podcast: USF vs UCF is the biggest game in Florida this weekend

It’s a Thanksgiving Football Wednesday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones preview the Bucs-Falcons game, USF-UCF, Alabama-Auburn, Ohio State-Michigan and more.The guys agree on the Bucs game outcome with Rick saying they can’t win. They also agree that Tha...
Published: 11/22/17

Call Missouri jinxed, but Michael Porter Jr. injury is its own story

Please repeat after me: There is no such thing as jinxes, hexes, ghosts or cartoonish black clouds looming with personalized curses for select targets.Honest.But, boy, are there coincidences — even if some say there is no such thing as those, either....
Published: 11/21/17

Chip Kelly is not the best candidate for Florida job

For the sake of a beleaguered and bedraggled fan base, here’s hoping Chip Kelly becomes the next head coach of the Florida Gators even though I think he’s not a great fit — culturally, geographically and philosophically — at UF.Gator Nation needs som...
Published: 11/21/17

Lane Kiffin knows speculation about his future grows with each victory

BOCA RATON — Lane Kiffin already knows what profession he will choose once his coaching career ends.Kiffin, in his first season at Florida Atlantic, thinks he is destined to join the sports-media ranks. It will provide him opportunity to switch roles...
Published: 11/21/17
Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

These are strange, unsettling times for the University of Florida.The Gators need themselves a football coach.They offer a terrific job. Maybe one of the best jobs in the country.Right?Uh, right? (nervous laugh)Well, we’ll soon find out. Maybe this i...
Published: 11/21/17
UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

GAINESVILLE — At last, there’s some actual smoke to the Chip Kelly-Florida rumors.The Gators sent a group — including president Kent Fuchs and athletic director Scott Stricklin — to New Hampshire on Sunday to talk with the former Oregon coach about U...
Published: 11/20/17
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Published: 11/18/17
Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher longed for his team to play in this type of game throughout its disappointing season.After Hurricane Irma caused a three-week layoff between FSU’s first two games, forcing it to play 11 in a row to finis...
Published: 11/18/17
A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

GAINESVILLE — Chauncey Gardner wasn’t fooled. He saw UAB snap the ball. He saw the quarterback throw a screen. He saw the receiver fire a second pass downfield. Then a crowd of 84,649 saw the sophomore safety high-point the trick-play pass to earn hi...
Published: 11/18/17