Antonya English, Times Staff Writer

Antonya English

Antonya English has covered University of Florida sports for the Times since 2001, a tenure that has included three head football coaches and three national champions. A former news reporter, she moved to the sports department at the Gainesville Sun in 1993 for what she thought would be a short stint, and never looked back. She came to the Times from the Dallas Morning News in 1997.

Phone: (813) 226-3389

E-mail: english@tampabay.com

Blog: Gator Report

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  1. Kurt Roper saw something special in Gators QB Treon Harris

    Blog

    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."...

  2. College football preview: Florida vs. Idaho, 7 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU; 1250-AM

    College

    Florida opens the season hoping to end a seven-game losing streak and finally put last year's 4-8 season in the past. This is the first meeting between the Gators and Vandals, but it marks a return for former UF team captain and All-SEC LB Bam Hardmon, who played for the Gators from 1999-2002. He is currently the Vandals' defensive line coach.

    Watch out for …

    The return of Florida QB Jeff Driskel and the Gators' new offense under Kurt Roper. How well have the Gators perfected the new offense? How will first-time center Max Garcia handle a live game situation at that spot, and has the offensive line improved enough to offer more adequate protection and open up the running game so necessary for this offense to succeed? Will the receivers finally become more of a factor? And how will the young secondary, which coach Will Muschamp says remains a work in progress, perform — along with nine true freshmen who will see their first collegiate action? All questions that will begin to be answered. Expect backup QB Treon Harris to see action, as the Gators continue to try to solidify that position....

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

    Blog

    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....

  4. Why aren't students going to college football games?

    College

    TAMPA — The University of South Florida has taken measures both creative and benevolent to embrace — a Bull-hug, if you will — one of the most vital segments of their football fan base.

    In August alone, USF players, coaches and athletic administrators have courted the student body with pizza and pep rallies, T-shirts and team-bonding events. The players even spent a recent day helping students haul their belongings back into their respective dorm rooms....

    Even reigning national champion Florida State suffered a 6.1 percent dip in attendance from 2009 to '13. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times
]
  5. Former Gator Cody Riggs ready to make impact at Notre Dame

    Blog

    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....

  6. Kurt Roper takes charge of Florida Gator offense, fortunes

    College

    GAINESVILLE — On the night before games, Kurt Roper generally sleeps pretty well. He doesn't expect that to change tonight — despite the circumstances.

    When Florida opens the season Saturday night against Idaho, Roper, 42, will be the center of attention. The first-year UF offensive coordinator has been given the task of resurrecting the offense, and essentially the program.

    Florida finished 4-8 last season and ranked No. 113 nationally in total offense, with 18.8 points per game....

    First-year offensive coordinator Kurt Roper has been given the task of resurrecting Florida's offense, and essentially its program. [Rob C. Witzel/The New York Times]
  7. Gators Matt Jones gains valuable life lesson from Illness, injury last season

    Blog

    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....

  8. "SEC Storied" documentary focuses on Steve Spurrier tonight

    Blog

    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....

  9. Florida Gators pick No. 2 quarterback

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Freshman Treon Harris has been named the backup QB for Saturday's opener vs. Idaho. The Miami native led Booker T. Washington High to the Class 4A state championship in 2012 and 2013. Coach Will Muschamp said the competition between Harris and freshman Will Grier was extremely close, but Harris won — for now.

    "There's really no separation from the backup standpoint,'' Muschamp said Tuesday. ''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."...

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

    Blog

    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....

  11. Freshman Treon Harris earns backup QB job for Gators

    Blog

    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."...

  12. Tim Tebow determined to become better broadcaster

    Blog

    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....

  13. Former Gator Josh Shaw proclaimed a hero for rescuing nephew

    Blog

    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....

  14. 2014 Florida Gators football schedule

    College

  15. Max Garcia will be in center of Gators' action

    College

    GAINESVILLE

    Max Garcia was at the Gators' postseason banquet at the end of last season when coach Will Muschamp approached him with a question completely out of the blue. "He asked me if I had ever snapped the ball before," Garcia said. "I kind of chuckled at him and I was like, 'Nah.' But I knew what he was hinting at." In fact, the 6-foot-5, 294-pound senior had never played center in his career. After transferring from Maryland and sitting out 2012, he alternated between left tackle and guard for the Gators last season. But with the departure of starting center Jon Harrison, the Gators desperately needed a replacement and there was no obvious candidate. "I just (went) with the decision and have just taken it as an opportunity and ran with it," he said. "Obviously coaches trust me in this position. They trust me to do it, I have to trust in myself that I can get the job done." The transition hasn't been seamless. Garcia struggled in the spring, most notably with his snaps. He spent countless hours over the summer working on getting the timing right. After practice, he has stayed for 10-15 extra snaps daily. Teammates said they now see the results of the hard work he put in....

    Max Garcia, celebrating after Florida’s victory over Arkansas last season, alternated between left tackle and guard last season. The senior transfer is now taking over at center for the Gators.