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Florida head coach Will Muschamp made the announcement and had this to say:
"I met with both quarterbacks this morning. Both guys will play in the first game. They both deserved the right to play. They have earned that. They both have had really good camps."
The QB competition has been interesting for all of the preseason, with both of them having completion percentages around 62-63 percent. Neither player has started more than two games at the college level.
The Florida Gators had two players on last year's Senior Bowl roster and early indications are they could be adding even more players next year. The team has four players on this season's Senior Bowl watch list.
Bostic was a full-time starter as a junior and racked up 94 tackles and three sacks. McCray played in just nine games last season, recording 24 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Nixon started nine games last season at left tackle. He was a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2009.
The most heralded of the four is Sturgis. He was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award last season after making 22 of 26 field goals and all 31 of his extra point attempts. His longest field goal in 2011 was 55 yards.
Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease knows exactly what he wants from the wide receiver position: production, sans drama.
According to GatorSports.com, Pease has set the expectations for his players at wideout somewhat sternly:
"I'm going to tell you this: We're not just sticking anybody out there that looks pretty and can run. They better go out there and perform. They better go out there and block.
"If you came here thinking, ‘I was labeled this, labeled that,' you might not see some people. You go out there and you make plays. That's the bottom line at that position. We don't want any of these Terrell Owens guys."
The Gators have been known for putting dynamic playmakers on the field at wide receiver, but this current Florida squad doesn't have that level of talent. So it would seem that Pease wants his players to go back to the basics and do the little things in order to help make the team successful.
"He's fine. He's practicing," offensive coordinator Brent Pease said.
Reed, a redshirt junior out of New London, Conn., played in 11 games for the Gators last season, including 10 starts. He 28 receptions for 307 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.
Florida is thin at tight end, according to Pease, but converted defensive end Tevin Westbrook has lent a hand in practice. Westbrook played in three games as a true freshman defensive end last season, but converted to the offensive side of the ball this summer. Pease praised his attitude on Wednesday:
"The kid's got a great attitude. I probably can't say enough good things about him. He's done a great job. He can catch and block. He's built our depth and he's made our packages better."
Florida's third preseason scrimmage was rained out Tuesday. Rather than rescheduling the scrimmage, the coaches said they will try to incorporate those reps into this week's practices.
The Florida Gators gave contract extensions to five assistant football coaches on Monday, including defensive coordinator .
Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn signed a one-year extension through the 2013 season. He did not receive a raise (he’ll make $510,000 this season) but he was paid an $80,000 signing bonus and also will receive an additional $80,000 retention bonus on or around Jan. 31, 2014, if he is still a member of the staff.
Linebackers coach and special teams coordinator D.J. Durkin got a two-year extension and a $75,000 raise that brings his annual salary to $340,000. Running backs coach Brian White got a one-year extension and a $50,000 raise that brings his annual salary up to $290,000.
Tight ends coach Derek Lewis and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson received one-year extensions but no raises.
For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Tampa Bay. For more in-depth coverage of the Florida Gators, visit Alligator Army. And for more from around the world of NCAA football, check out SB Nation's college football news hub.
Senior running back Mike Gillislee has won the competition to get the majority of the position's carries, Florida head coach Will Muschamp announced Monday morning in a press conference. Gillislee will get the bulk of carries, and although Muschamp declared him the clear winner of the competition, he said there were positive signs from all the backs.
Gillislee was impressive at the Gators' open practice Saturday, which could have been the performance that sealed his win and the workload this season. Here's what Muschamp said then, per OnlyGators.com:
"[Senior Mike Gillislee], to me, has still distanced himself from an all-around back standpoint -- protections, carrying the ball, doing the little things, carrying the fakes out," Muschamp said. "His experience helps, obviously. He's very driven. He is a guy that can have top-end speed and finish some runs for us."
Gators junior defensive end Ronald Powell seems to have a new attitude since recovering from a torn ACL in this year's spring game. Before the injury, Powell wasn't exactly living up to the high expectations he came to Florida with in 2010.
This feature at GatorNation has Powell saying this could be his turnaround and a teachable moment for him. Powell has been working out every day in hopes of an early return to the field. Injured in April, the prognosis was that he would be out 4-6 weeks.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp said Powell's work ethic has been "off the charts." Here's Muschamp from the GN link:
"I've said it all summer, the guy's attitude and his approach to a tough deal has been amazing. He's been a lot more mature than the rest of us about handling it and where he is with it and what he needs to do to improve himself. So yeah, it's amazing to hear how quickly those things can be healed now."
A Gator team still searching for its offensive identity might have found a potential star to tie its reins to in the form of Mike Gillislee.
Head coach Will Muschamp had some high praise for the senior running back following Saturday's scrimmage, according to Adam Silverstein of OnlyGators.com.
"[Senior Mike Gillislee], to me, has still distanced himself from an all-around back standpoint - protections, carrying the ball, doing the little things, carrying the fakes out," Muschamp said. "His experience helps, obviously. He's very driven. He is a guy that can have top-end speed and finish some runs for us."
While this may seem like Muschamp is finally sold, fans will might still want to take a wait-and-see approach before getting too excited about Gillislee, as the head coach has seemed to forget about the career backup at times.
The 5'11", 209-pound running back actually received a slight decrease in carries last year from his sophomore campaign (58 to 56) with his red-zone opportunities decreasing as well (seven touchdowns to just two).
Working in Gillislee's favor is the fact that Muschamp has already acknowledged earlier this offseason he "should have played him more last year." And with Chris Rainey a Pittsburgh Steeler now, it seems that Muschamp just might be forced to follow his declaration.
With 10 practices remaining before their Sept. 1 season opener against Bowling Green, the Florida Gators are contending with a handful of injuries putting potential contributors at risk of missing playing time.
After Saturday's scrimmage, it was confirmed that backup left tackle D.J. Humphries has an MCL injury and will miss at least two weeks of football, according to Mark Long of the Associated Press. Linebacker Lerentee McCray also left practice with a hamstring injury, the severity of which remains yet unknown.
Fortunately for Gators fans, quarterback Jeff Driskel's bruised scapula did not seem to limit him too much in Saturday's scrimmage. Alligator Army's Andy Hutchins attended Florida's open scrimmage and was pleased with what he saw out of the sophomore signalcaller:
But what I saw from Jeff Driskel today was evidence that he can be a great quarterback: He hummed the ball into small holes in a net apparatus in 15-yard passing drills, looked far more comfortable in the pocket than the skittish freshman we saw last year, and acquitted himself nicely with deep throws.
Updates on these injured Gators are forthcoming as more information becomes available.
The Florida Gators receiving corps will be a key to any success sees on the football field this season. And after attending Saturday's practice session, SB Nation's Alligator Army blogger, Andy Hutchins, feels that Florida's wideout's may not be that bad this season:
I saw good catches by Frankie "Hot Light" Hammond (Twitter seemed to like that nickname, so I think it can stick) and Quinton Dunbar, and some nice work by both Raphael Andrades, bigger and smoother than I expected, and Solomon Patton, who is quick. And that's the bulk of the receiving corps that doesn't include Andre Debose (who I saw drop a pass on the sidelines) or Latroy Pittman, theoretically the most explosive guys the Gators can play. It wasn't all gravy (Andrades dropped a screen that hit him in the hands), but I'm a lot more hopeful about these receivers than I was when I woke up.
Trey Burton is listed as 6-foot-3, 228 pound running back on the Florida Gators roster. But Burton is a very versatile player that gives head coach Will Muschamp a utility-type player that can be used in a variety of ways.
Andy Hutchins, author of Florida Gators football blog Alligator Army, attended the Gators open practice on Saturday and gave his thoughts on Burton and the conundrum that his versatility presents:
... he's still a jack of all trades and master of none; he's not fast enough to outrun everyone, not big enough to overpower many, not a good enough blocker to demand playing time as a fullback, not a good enough route-runner to see time at wide receiver. He practiced with the wideouts for much of Saturday, but I have no idea if that means anything. If Burton gets deployed in his ideal situation, as a sort of plug-anywhere Swiss Army back, I think he can still be productive.
While the Florida Gators offense continues to be a bit of a mystery, one thing that is crystal clear is that Will Muschamp's defense will be one of the best in the country.
Alligator Army's Andy Hutchins attended the Gators' open practice on Saturday, and its clear that there will be a few new stars that will command your attention real soon.
The defense was the real star of the scrimmage, and likely always is this fall. I saw nothing from Florida's running game, though there's not a ton you can see in a light contact practice from a running game, and I suspect that was because of the defensive line controlling things up front. I saw Dante Fowler, who does not look like a freshman, practically living in the backfield. I saw Marcus Roberson get flagged a couple of times and play good coverage without his hands; I saw Brian Poole get worked over on one route in a goal-to-go drill. Jon Bostic is enormous now, as is Jelani Jenkins, and Loucheiz Purifoy looks good. It's not going to shock you or make you all that happy to learn that Florida's defense is well ahead of its offense right now, unless you really like defense, but I'll put it this way: Ronald Powell may be the most talented defender Florida has, and the Gators didn't seem to miss him all that much (he's doing drills and such, though) on Saturday morning.
The Gators defense will get an early test run versus Bowling Green on September 1st, then the competition ramps up in the following weeks in contests versus Texas A&M and Tennessee.
Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel appears to be the frontrunner to be the opening day starter when the Florida Gators begin their 2012 college football campaign, according to Andy Hutchins author of Alligator Army, SB Nations Florida Gator blog.
Hutchins attended Florida's open practice and came away with some positive observations of Driskel:
He hummed the ball into small holes in a net apparatus in 15-yard passing drills, looked far more comfortable in the pocket than the skittish freshman we saw last year, and acquitted himself nicely with deep throws. The caveat, of course, is that it was just practice, and that Brissett didn't look that much worse. I don't think Florida's in bad hands with either, but Driskel had the better practice Saturday.
Driskel has been competing with fellow sophomore signal caller, Jacoby Brissett.
The Florida Gators will kickoff their 2012 football campaign in two weeks versus Bowling Green with many positions up for grabs on the offense. Quarterback is still being sorted out and wide receiver is a mystery. One position that seems full of promise is the tight end position.
Alligator Army's Andy Hutchins attended the Gators' open practice on Saturday, and while Jordan Reed has been tabbed as the starter, there's plenty behind him that are capable of contributing in a major way.
Jordan Reed and Colin Thompson were not practicing with the tight ends, but Florida suddenly has an embarrassment of riches at the position. Tevin Westbrook and Clay Burton are loads, and Westbrook looks to have better hands than one would expect from a converted DE, and Kent Taylor runs very well and could function as a bigger wide receiver in passing situations. I wouldn't trust Taylor to block SEC defenders, as he's a bit slight, but I liked what I saw from him in the open field.
With the quarterback position still in flux, the tight ends will have to step up to be a bailout option for whomever takes the snaps in week one.
D.J. Humphries has an MCL injury and will miss two weeks.
Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp has encouraged a healthy competition between his three quarterbacks, Jeff Driscoll, Jacoby Brissett and Tyler Murphy, and all have been battling on the field for the right to earn the starter's role for the 2012 campaign.
Muschamp will continue to let that competition continue through the remainder of practice and into the season, according to Jason Lieser, Florida Gators beat writer for the Palm Beach Post:
Gators coach Will Muschamp says QB competition could last all season. Says he plans to announce a starter Aug. 27.— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) August 18, 2012
The competition between Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driscoll appears to be the closest with regard to which player will be the starting signal caller, but with an injury to the shoulder of Driscoll in practice this week, Muschamp has no plans to alter his plans of letting the two settle it on the practice field.
The injury to Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel -- which took the Internet by storm on Tuesday, sparking a series of reports about the severity of the sophomore signal-caller's ailment -- is reportedly a bruised scapula.
Gators coach Will Muschamp addressed the media about Driskel's injury on Wednesday, saying that the injury is not too serious and that Driskel will continue to practice, but will be remain in a red, no-contact jersey for a week. Drieskel said did not know when he injured his shoulder. Nor did Muschamp.
Driskel's shoulder will be evaluated next week and again during the opening week of the Gators' regular season, and the quarterback competition between Driskel and Jacoby Brissett will still continue as planned, according to Muschamp. The coach said Driskel will not miss any reps at all due to the injury, and his only restriction is not being able to participate in contact drills.
Here is the video of Muschamp discussing the injury:
Florida beat writers are learning an age-old lesson: Mama knows best. After conflicting stances on the health of Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel - specifically his left, non-throwing shoulder - it turns out that Driskel's mother's quote to USA Today on Tuesday was accurate, versus the "nothing to see here" reply from head coach Will Muschamp in response to nefarious "internet reports:"
UF coach Will Muschamp came in and told us Driskel suffered a bruised scapula and will be non-contact until next week.— Michael DiRocco (@ESPNdirocco) August 15, 2012
Does that mean the "dead heat" race between Driskel and competitor Jacoby Brissett is suddenly gaining some space? Not so, says Coach Boom:
Driskel didn't even remember the play he got hurt. Driskel will practice and get his normal reps. QB competition unaffected, Muschamp said.— Michael DiRocco (@ESPNdirocco) August 15, 2012
No sooner than Will Muschamp had scolded that nefarious "Internet" for starting some jabber that Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel had injured his non-throwing (left) shoulder did Jeff Driskel's mother tell USA Today that the quarterback had indeed injured his shoulder Sunday, missed practice Monday and might return by Wednesday:
Driskel is competing with fellow sophomore Jacoby Brissett for the Gators' starting quarterback job. Mary Driskel told USA TODAY Sports her son told her he injured his left, non-throwing shoulder in drills on Sunday and woke up sore on Monday.
She said Driskel did not practice on Monday or Tuesday but is expected to return on Wednesday.
So as if Facebook wasn't a daily reminder already, according to GatorZone, "internet reports" now actually equals "your Mom." Expect a lively debate to ensue over the potential for NCAA sanctions towards a program for forcing a student athlete's parent to do 200 burpees in the August humidity of north Florida.
Will Muschamp doesn't have time for the rampant media speculation - especially from you, "Internet" - about Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel's alleged shoulder injury. Still, the second-year Gator head coach issued a single-line statement to quell all the conjecture from those darned pesky reporter types:
The UF communications office received calls inquiring about the reports and released a statement in the afternoon saying Muschamp would address any injuries at his next media availability.
"Jeff was at practice today and will be taking reps at practice Wednesday," the statement said.
In the GatorZone update, the reports of Driskel's supposed left shoulder injury were classified by "internet reports," which apparently means reports by media members from print and radio and TV outlets who use the Internet as a means of communication. This dastardly "internet report" was cleared up officially through GatorZone, which one would best be described as an Internet-only outlet.
That pesky Internet.
Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel has more than likely injured his non-throwing (left) shoulder according to various reports, although the extent is unknown and the team has yet to make an official comment. In the absence of confirmation, there's a huge amount of speculation as to the severity of Driskel's ailment among the media:
Significant! Minor! "Seems fine!" SB Nation Florida blog Alligator Army bemoans the state of the Gator press corps in light of the rampant speculation:
There's no beat more grueling in college athletics than covering the Florida Gators. With more than a dozen (very good) teams, scores of prominent players, an insatiable fan base, and a savvy, quiet athletic department, it forces every writer to wait for the same meager drip of information, cover the same things, and work virtually every day of the year.
Breaking news: Jeff Driskel HAS two shoulders, including a "left" shoulder. Also, purple monkey dishwasher.
Brissett was used more towards the end of the 2011 season, so his experience in SEC play could give him an edge over Driskel.