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The Gators have the weekend off before they reunite Sunday night to start preparing for Georgia.

Friday October 25, 2013Gators Notebook: Offensive Improvement Starts Up Front, Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame, More Tidbits

The Gators have the weekend off before they reunite Sunday night to start preparing for Georgia.

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Gators have scattered for the weekend and are scheduled to return Sunday night to open game-week preparation for their annual showdown against Georgia in Jacksonville.

The bye week gives the players a chance to take a break after back-to-back road losses at LSU and Missouri.

The break gave head coach Will Muschamp and his staff time to re-evaluate and search for ways to end a two-game skid that has dropped Florida into a three-way tie with Georgia and South Carolina for second in the SEC East behind Missouri.

Much of their focus was spent on an offensive line that has struggled mightily the past two games to protect quarterback Tyler Murphy.

"We need to settle on a five and let those guys play,'' Muschamp said Wednesday. "Right now, we've underperformed, obviously. We're better than what we put on the field the last two weeks."

Offensive line

The Gators want to simplify some of the calls on the offensive line to speed up the offense. In the loss at Missouri, Murphy was under constant pressure and other than for a six-play, 70-yard drive in the third quarter highlighted by freshman running back Kelvin Taylor's 20-yard touchdown run, the offense rarely moved the ball.

The Gators finished with 151 yards of total offense and are ranked last in the SEC in total offense at 336.9 yards per game.

Muschamp hopes to have Murphy (shoulder) healthy for the Bulldogs. He was limited in the passing game at Missouri.

Still, Florida's third-year coach is looking for improvement from more than Murphy.

"It starts up front,'' he said. "We've got to block better in the run game; we have to protect better. We need more production from our skill position players. We've got to get more production out of the run game and more production in explosive plays.

"In the last two games we haven't had anything explosive."


A common question from fans in recent weeks concerns the Gators’ rash of season-ending knee injuries and if their training techniques could be to blame.

Will Muschamp

Muschamp announced Wednesday that redshirt freshman linebacker Jeremi Powell, a regular on special teams, is the latest Florida player to suffer a season-ending knee injury. Powell joins linebacker Matt Rolin, receiver Andre Debose, defensive tackle Dominique Easley and running back Matt Jones on the list of players to have their season come to an end because of a knee injury.

Rolin, Debose and Easley suffered their injuries in non-contact situations. Muschamp was asked recently if he believed there was any correlation between the knee injuries and Florida’s strength-and-conditioning program.

“No, we’re constantly looking at those things,’’ Muschamp said prior to the Arkansas game. “You’re always looking from a strength-and-conditioning standpoint [at] the things you’re doing. I did that research after Matt and Andre both had within a four-five day period ACLs, both non-contact situations, plant-and-change direction.

“No. 1, football is a very violent game. Guys have gotten stronger, their bodies have gotten stronger. Sometimes it’s harder for their bodies to hold based on the orthopedic surgeons I talk to. Sometimes things just happen. In our first two years here, we had two ACLs. That was it. There’s nothing that we can look at from a standpoint of strength and conditioning that shows any information that would show you something’s not going right.

“We constantly evaluate those situations, absolutely. And making sure we’re doing the right things. I’ve pulled our medical staff in, our strength staff in. I’ve consulted with outside orthopedics to make sure and watch the film in certain situations. There’s nothing we’re doing wrong.”


TheFlorida-Georgia Hall of Fame 18th Annual Merrill Lynch/Bank of America Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is scheduled Friday at 11:30 at EverBank Field.

Former UF standouts Jevon Kearse and Lindy Infante are Florida's inductees.To purchase tickets or learn more about the event, click here.

Kearse played for the Gators in the late 1990s and Infante was team captain in 1962 and later head coach of the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts.


Mathews Bridge

If you have been to Jacksonville for the Florida-Georgia game, you are likely familiar with the Mathews Bridge. The 60-year-old bridge (photo, right) is a major transportation artery for fans on the way to EverBank Field.

A ship hit the bridge last month, forcing officials to close the bridge and begin $3 million in estimated repair costs. While Jacksonville officials expect the bridge to be re-opened in time for the Florida-Georgia game in eight days, repairs are expected to continue until the day of the game.

You can read the latest update posted Friday afternoon on


"There's a lot of parity in our league right now. There's been some highs and lows for each team in the SEC through the year. The two consistent teams that have probably played the best -- and I haven't seen much, is Alabama -- and I've seen a bunch of Missouri." -- Muschamp on top-to-bottom strength of SEC in 2013


--A primary storyline for this year’s Florida-Georgia game is the unusually high number of injuries for both teams writes Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

--Miami Herald writer Jesse Simonton ranks his top 10 UF players through season’s first seven games.

--The AJC has a Florida-Georgia – or Georgia-Florida north of the state border – photo gallery from the last 30 years.

--Georgia encouraged by running back Todd Gurley’s practice on Thursday writes Marc Weiszer of the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald.

--Gators senior Jon Halapio plays through pain to become leader of UF’s offensive line writes Phillip Heilman of the Palm Beach Post.


If you call it the Florida-Georgia game, you’ll like this video …


 Florida's 34-31 overtime win in 2010, capped by Chas Henry's game-winning field goal.


If you call it the Georgia-Florida game, you’ll likely prefer this one from 30 years earlier …

Georgia's 26-21 win over Florida in 1980; my favorite part is listening to Al Michaels.


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