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Gators cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy had a breakout game Saturday against Arkansas.

Monday October 7, 2013Purifoy Has More to Celebrate Than First Interception; Injury Report, More Tidbits

Gators cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy had a breakout game Saturday against Arkansas.

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gators cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy has had a lot on his mind lately. And some days the fact he did not have a career interception until Saturday night didn’t seem that big a deal.

On those days Purifoy often was thinking about his mom.

“I wanted him to stay focused and keep his head up,’’ Rená Floyd said Monday. “He won’t tell you, but he’s got a lot on his plate trying to worry about me. I always tell him, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’ I don’t want him to worry.”

The 46-year-old Floyd was able to make it to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday for Florida’s 30-10 win over Arkansas. She felt well enough to drive down from Pensacola with one of Purifoy’s sisters.

Loucheiz Purifoy

Prior to the game Floyd even stopped by her son’s apartment and pulled out a mop.

“You know how boys are,’’ she said. “I cleaned up some.”

In late August Floyd traveled to a clinic in Birmingham, Ala., with her sister Belinda for a day of tests. Floyd needs a kidney transplant and Belinda went to see if she was a good match.

The clinic called back a few days later and asked Belinda to come back for another visit.

“They tested her from head to toe,’’ Floyd said Monday afternoon as she rested from a dialysis treatment earlier in the day. “It’s a process you go through.”

The clinic recently called Floyd and gave her the good news: Belinda is a compatible donor.

Purifoy was one of the first people she called to tell.

“I was in shock. God answers prayers,’’ Floyd said. “I really want to wait until football season is over if I can. I keep praying that will happen.”

Until the doctors call with a specific date for the transplant, Floyd will continue dialysis treatments three times and week and send blood samples regularly to Birmingham.

Meanwhile, Purifoy finally snagged his first career interception and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown against Arkansas. There was chatter last week about Purifoy’s slow start. Other than for a blocked punt at Miami, Purifoy didn’t have many season highlights.

He made up for that by halftime Saturday, including a sack, forced fumble and pass breakup prior to his interception. Purifoy was named Walter Camp and SEC defensive player of the week for his performance.

He didn’t make any excuses when asked after the game about his quiet start.

“It’s a lot of pressure, but you take it and deal with it,’’ Purifoy said of the high expectations prior to the season. “You’ve got to play and fill up to what people expect. I don’t like letting people down. If I let my team down then I ain’t doing my job.”

Florida coach Will Muschamp said that wasn’t the case despite the lack of big plays.

Floyd was thankful she was there to see Purifoy’s first pick.

“When he intercepted that ball and made the touchdown, I was jumping and a clapping and then I had to sit down,’’ she said. “I broke down and was crying. I was so happy for him. He always says, ‘I’m going to get me a pick.’ It was so exciting.”

THE KICKER CONUNDRUM

The Gators will open practice for Saturday's showdown at No. 10 LSU still in search of more consistency from the kicking game.

A year ago the kicking game was one of Florida's strengths. This year has been a different story, in large part due to the departure of kicker Caleb Sturgis.

His replacement, redshirt freshman Austin Hardin, is now 4-for-8. Hardin was replaced Saturday when his 48-yard attempt in the first quarter was blocked.

"Austin just kicked it too low,” Muschamp said. “It had nothing to do with penetration. I could’ve blocked it. We just can’t ... we've got to improve there.”

Muschamp pulled Hardin after the block in favor of Brad Phillips, who connected on a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter that put Florida ahead 24-7. However, Phillips missed the extra-point on the Gators' final score, drawing a stare from Muschamp as he walked toward the sideline.

Despite the struggles, Muschamp is hopeful either Hardin or Phillips can lock down the job.

"I’ve got confidence in those guys; both of those guys have the ability and just [have to] go out and do it,” he said. “They certainly showed the ability. Consistency in their performance is what needs to improve."

INJURY REPORT

Cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee) missed his third consecutive game Saturday.

Muschamp voiced optimism that Roberson might play against the Razorbacks but after participating in pregame warmups, Roberson came back out in street clothes.

"We’ve just got to give him a little bit more time,” Muschamp said. “I thought he ran well this week, practiced Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and just came out for the game and didn’t feel totally right. But I think he should be fine for this week.”

Valdez Showers

Running back Valdez Showers (ankle) returned after missing two games and caught a 9-yard touchdown on a shovel pass from Murphy for Florida's final score. (Showers, photo to right).

Otherwise, the Gators came out of their third consecutive SEC win healthy.

The only other player Muschamp mentioned in his postgame injury report was freshman linebacker Jarrad Davis, who plays primarily on special teams.

Davis suffered a facial laceration on the opening kickoff and was held out as a precaution.

QUOTE OF NOTE I

“Defensive football is a lot like war. If you line up in the same spot, you’re going to get blown up.” Muschamp on importance of mixing coverages against LSU’s talented receiving corps

QUOTE OF NOTE II

Florida’s defense was “probably one of the better ones that I’ve ever had to scheme up against or play against.’’ – Arkansas coach Bret Bielema at his Monday press conference

QUOTE OF NOTE III

“As long as we win, I don’t care. Honestly. I got real caught up in all that stuff when I was a coordinator. When I’m a head coach, I wanna win. If it takes 51-50, let’s go.” – Muschamp on high-scoring games

QUOTE OF NOTE IV

“Then it’s going to be hard [for offenses]. People might not catch a ball.’’ – Purifoy on return of Roberson to Gators’ secondary

NOTES AND NUGGETS

Gators receiver Solomon Patton has 348 yards receiving through five games; he needs only 36 more yards to surpass Florida’s leading wide receiver last season (Quinton Dunbar, 383 yards); tight end Jordan Reed was Florida's top pass catcher in 2012 with 45 receptions for 559 yards … Gators center Jon Harrison is eligible to play Saturday at LSU. Harrison was ejected in the third quarter against Arkansas after a heated discussion with an official. “Jon’s an emotional guy. He lost his temper and did something he shouldn’t have,’’ Muschamp said. A player is suspended for the first half of the next game for targeting and fighting ejections but Harrison’s ejection does not fall into that category … The small plane towing an advertising banner that crashed near Flavet Field on Saturday was piloted by Graham A. Hill. His passenger was Ian C. Conrad. Fortunately Hill and Conrad suffered injuries that were not life-threatening and no one on the ground was hurt … LSU is third in the SEC in scoring, averaging 45.5 points per game … Tigers senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger leads the SEC with 15 touchdown passes and is averaging 289.7 yards per game.

 

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