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Driskel To Be Ready By Spring For Florida

jeff-driskelWill Muschamp pushed back the start of Florida’s spring practice this year to March 19th.  The goal: Get his likely starting quarterback healthy enough to take part.  Smart move.

Jeff Driskel is now expected to “be fine” in time for spring drills, according to his head coach.  Driskel will be trying to rebound from a broken leg suffered in September against Tennessee.  Getting Driskel back in time to work with new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper was imperative.  Last year’s backup, Tyler Murphy, has transferred out, leaving the Gators with just one proven option at the signal-caller position.

Not all of the news from Gainesville is positive, however.  Top tailback Matt Jones will be on the shelf this spring, needing two more surgeries to repair a knee injury suffered last season.

Muschamp will enter the 2014 season on a seriously hot seat.  AD Jeremy Foley stood by his man after a 4-8 season last year.  Big improvement will likely be a requirement if the fourth-year head coach is to survive into 2015 at Florida.

Unfortunately, Muschamp has a quarterback who Roper will need to coach up, a new system for his offensive players to learn, and a number of holes to fill across his roster thanks to transfers and early departures.  On paper, it doesn’t look as though the Gators will be capable of a Auburn-style turnaround.  But then again, who saw Auburn going all the way from 3-9 to 12-2 in a single season.  So, yes, we’re saying Muschamp’s got a chance.  It may be a long one, but he’s got the opportunity to turn things around.  Getting Driskel back for spring practice is a major help in achieving that goal.

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Florida WR Debose Out For The Year With ACL Injury

andre-debose-practiceYou gotta hate seeing good players go down to injury at any time.  You really have to hate it when the player is hurt during practice.  So when a player is lost for the season during a preseason practice, it’s both equal parts stomach-turning and sad.

Florida receiver Andre Debose injured his knee last night and today it was learned he will be lost for the 2013 season due to an ACL tear.  Debose is a redshirt senior.  The receiver/kick returner could apply for a medical redshirt and a sixth year of eligibility if he is indeed out for the season.

“I know that Andre is disappointed,” Will Muschamp said.  “He had been doing very well in camp and we were more than pleased with his effort and attitude.  Andre was hurt in a non-contact situation.  He just planted his foot and there was a tear.  He will have surgery after the swelling goes down.”

Quarterback Jeff Driskel is out of practice following an appendectomy.  Running back Matt Jones is out with a viral infection.  Now Debose is done before the season begins.  Considering the Gators’ struggles on offense last season, all the missed practice time and now the injury to Debose are cause for serious concern in Gainesville.

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Get Ready For Florida’s Burton Package

trey-burton-p1Quarterback?  Running back?  Wide receiver?  Florida senior Trey Burton can play them all.  And according to Will Muschamp, he probably will this fall.

“He’s going to be in the slot for us and does a lot for us there,” the Gator coach said.  “We obviously will have a Trey Burton package, which was very effective for us last year.”

Burton played in 12 of the Gators’ 13 games a year ago.  As a rusher he gained 190 yards on 29 carries (a healthy 6.55 yards-per-carry average).  As a receiver he pulled in 18 passes for 172 yards.  As a passer he completed three of four passes for four yards.  He also returned three kicks for 33 yards.

All told, Burton scored three touchdowns on the season and accounted for 194 yards.  Here’s guessing most Florida fans wouldn’t ditto Muschamp’s “very effective” assessment.

An argument can certainly be made that Burton would have been more effective had he been given more touches last year.  He amassed just 51 which is a tad more than four per contest.

With quarterback Jeff Driskel and running back Matt Jones both out for now with health issues, Burton should be getting more work at practice.  For his part, he’s A-OK with offensive coordinator Brent Pease lining up in different spots.

“If I played nothing but running back, I’d be behind Mike Gillislee and I probably wouldn’t have played one game last year,” Burton told The Gainesville Sun.  “If I played nothing but wide receiver, I probably wouldn’t have played at all either.  So I’m just going to do whatever I possibly can to get on the field.”

That’s a great attitude to have and here’s hoping he will be able to make the most of a few added touches this fall.  But the fact of the matter remains… Burton appears to be more versatile than effective.

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Report: UK Hires FSU D-Coordinator Stoops

When you see that Matt Jones of KentuckySportsRadio.com has reported that Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops has been hired by Kentucky, well, you probably think that’s about as official as you can get.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But KentuckySportsRadio.com isn’t actually connected to the University of Kentucky and it’s not the school’s official radio network.  It’s a pro-Wildcat website run by UK backers.  (It’s also a very entertaining site, if you ask me.)

That said, WLEX-TV in Lexington is also reporting that Stoops has been tabbed as the man to lead the Cats.  But the station is sourcing KentuckySportsRadio.com’s report.

This doesn’t mean that the KSR report is incorrect.  But just be clear that it’s a report, not an official announcement from the University of Kentucky.

Not yet anyway.

 

UPDATE — The Orlando Sentinel reports that “Stoops is on Florida State’s campus and is expected to attend practice that beings around 3:15″ this afternoon.  Stay tuned.

 

LATEST UPDATE — CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman has confirmed through a source that Stoops will indeed be hired by UK.  (Kudos to KSR and fellow Middlesboro-native, Matt Jones.)

Official release from UK.

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Monday Morning One-Liners

1. Surgery went well for Florida running back commit Matt Jones.

2. Alabama and Auburn are in the final six for defensive back T.J. Davis.

3. The nation’s top running back has scheduled an official visit to Georgia.

4. Will Georgia’s 2013 commit commit Derrick Henry still consider Florida?

5. ESPN’s Jamie Newberg looks at unofficial visits and how they affect recruiting.

6. Mr. Newberg takes a look at recruiting in the SEC West for 2012.

7. One of the top prospects in Florida is ineligible to play football this fall.

8. The Knoxville News Sentinel’s John Adams looks at how expansion could affect SEC recruiting.

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Arkansas’ Davis Injures Leg; Reports Say He Could Be Done For The Year

Quick, who is the SEC’s leading returning rusher from a year ago?  It’s not Marcus Lattimore.  It’s not Mike Dyer.  It’s Knile Davis of Arkansas.

And unfortunately he went down with a leg injury during a scrimmage yesterday.

Davis — a major weapon in Bobby Petrino’s arsenal — was injured during the first series of the Razorbacks first preseason scrimmage.  Matt Jones of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette writes:


“Davis, a junior captain, appeared to injure his ankle or leg on the play and remained on the field for several minutes while being tended to by team trainers.  He was eventually helped off the field and carted into the Broyles Center, where the team’s locker and training rooms are located.”


Coaches would not answer questions about the injury last night.  While coaches refused to provide details, Robbie Neiswanger of The Arkansas News Bureau writes this morning that “the sound of Davis’ scream and some reaction from teammates (on Twitter) has made it pretty clear the SEC’s leading returning rusher isn’t going to be around to help after suffering what appeared to be another severe ankle injury.”

Davis has broken his right ankle twice — once in high school and once as a freshman.  This injury was to his left ankle.

Dennis Johnson and/or Ronnie Wingo will now be expected to pick up the slack with Davis likely gone for most or all of the season.  That could be especially tricky when it comes to new quarterback Tyler Wilson.  Breaking in a new starting signal-caller, Petrino was probably going to lean quite heavily on Davis early in the season.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that he’ll be able to do so now.


UPDATE — KFSM-TV in Fayetteville is reporting that Davis will miss the entire 2011 season.  From what we’re hearing, the runner might have suffered a compound fracture of his left ankle.

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Tuesday Morning Recruiting Headlines

1. Florida landed five-star prospect D.J. Humphries on Friday. The Gators are going after more of them.

2. Florida’s top running back prospect in 2013: the son of a former NFL pro bowler.

3. Tight end Kent Taylor visited three SEC schools last week.

4. Bryan Fischer of CBS Sports ranks the SEC classes as they stand today.

5. Mr. Fischer provides some details on where the SEC stands less than six months to go until signing day.

6. The SEC has eight schools ranked in ESPN’s top 25 for 2012.

7. Athlete Mike Hilton from Tyrone, Ga., chose Ole Miss over offers from other SEC schools.

8. Florida RB commit Matt Jones is recovering from a knee injury.

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Eligibility Of Hogs’ Hoops Signee Ross In Doubt

John Pelphrey put it together.  New coach Mike Anderson held it together.  But now Arkansas’ top 10 signing class might take a hit due to academics. 

It seems signee Aaron Ross — a top 100 prospect from Little Rock – was not able to take a specialized ACT last weekend.  Ross has a learning disability and was hoping to take an untimed, verbal exam, according to Matt Jones of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.  But paperwork which would allow him to take that test was not turned in on time.

As a result, Ross will probably have to head to the juco or prep school route if he eventually wants to suit up for the Razorbacks.

Ah, but there’s another side to this story.  Ross says that taking the untimed test “wasn’t the plan.”  Even so, according to The Arkansas News Bureau, “Ross did confirm he took another timed ACT last Saturday and was waiting for results.”

“I’m not worried about that,” Ross stated.  “I will be there as soon as I get all of this situated.”

Uh, yeah.

If Ross isn’t cleared, UA will have only 11 scholarship players on its roster next season.  If that’s the case, expect Arkansas to take its recently handed-down APR penalty next season, as well.

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Petrino Happy To Keep Hogs’ Staff Together

It’s a rarity in this day and age for a football program’s entire coaching staff to remain together for more than a season or two.  But Arkansas is one of the lucky ones that avoided turnover this offseason.  And Bobby Petrino’s very happy about it.

“I think it was critical to be able to keep our coaching staff intact this year,” the Hogs’ head coach told Matt Jones of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.  “We had a lot of changes last year and with the loss of some of the seniors and their experience, to have some of the continuity of the techniques that we teach and the language we talk, we’ll be a step ahead of where we were last year when we started spring football.”

Not surprisingly, the Razorback Athletic Department forked over pay raises to all of Petrino’s assistants in order to keep them in Fayetteville.

“It’s certainly a credit to (AD) Jeff Long and our chancellor in showing their commitment to our football team to keep our assistant coaches intact, but also to our assistant coaches, who love living in Northwest Arkansas.  They understand the uniqueness of the fans, and the passion of the fans.”

True.  But winning games and pocketing more money didn’t hurt either.

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Petrino Says Mallett Rumors Are Unfounded

Before Ryan Mallett hit the field at Arkansas’ Pro Day yesterday, his coach opened up about his former quarterback with NFL scouts.

“I brought them in and talked to them all,” Bobby Petrino said.  “I told them, ‘Here’s Ryan Mallett, one of the hardest working players I’ve ever coached.  He’s more dedicated and spends more time in the meeting rooms, studying film on his own and completely understanding our playbook and understanding what the other side of the ball is going to do.’

“I addressed the rumor out there that this guy points fingers and isn’t a great leader.  The first thing I told them was, ‘Points fingers?  We moved the the ball up and down the field, and got in the end zone all the time.  There weren’t a lot of fingers to be pointed.’  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Ryan is one of the greatest encouragers and leaders I’ve ever been around.

“Rumors are just part of football.  You can’t stop them.  Blame it on Al Gore.  He created the internet, right?”

Matt Jones of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has more on Petrino’s talk here. 

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