Monday July 14, 2014LIVE BLOG: GatorZone Recap (updated 8:30 p.m. ET)
The Gators make a visit to SEC Media Days today in Hoover, Ala.
The Gators make a visit to SEC Media Days today in Hoover, Ala.
Blog Posts Related to SEC Media Day
GatorZone.com’s Chris Harry and Scott Carter recap the Gators’ day at SEC Media Day
STORIFY RECAP OF GATORS’ SEC MEDIA DAY (Updated at 8:00 p.m.)
Check out the social media chatter today about Coach Will Muschamp and the Gators’ players at SEC Media Day 2014 #SECMD14
THAT’S A WRAP (Updated 6:30 p.m.)
HOOVER, Ala. — The Gators are close to wrapping up their stay at SEC Football Media Days here at the crowded Wynfrey Hotel.
They’ve done a lot of talking over the past three hours, much of it related to their expectations coming off a 4-8 season.
Here are some quick news nuggets from the day:
Florida head coach Will Muschamp said left tackle D.J. Humphries is up to 295 pounds. Humphries was around 280 pounds entering last season and has worked to add bulk to his 6-foot-5 frame.
Freshman offensive lineman Nolan Kelleher (back surgery) will miss the season and redshirt. The Gators are impressed by Kelleher’s intelligence but will have to wait on any contributions on the field. Meanwhile, freshman defensive back J.C. Jackson (shoulder surgery in the spring) enters camp cleared for non-contact drills.
Muschamp said sixth-year senior receiver Andre Debose has been cleared for contact. Debose missed all of last season following a knee injury during fall camp.
Muschamp tackled the issue of being on the hot seat right of the box during his opening statement Monday.
“That’s part of it. The way you combat that is having a winning football team and winning football games, which is what we’re going to do.”
COACH MUSCHAMP MAKES HIS FINAL STOP OF THE DAY AT THE SEC NETWORK SET (Updated at 6:10 p.m.)
VIDEO: See What the Gators Had to Say (Updated at 5:20 p.m.)
JEFF DRISKEL ON WITH ESPNU (Updated at 4:55 p.m.)
Gators QB Jeff Driskel just got done with an interview on ESPNU… some highlights:
On the new offense:
It’s a much different offense, a much quicker tempo… we’re going to spread the ball around. Coach Roper puts players in position to be successful. We have the players to be successful in this offense.
On what he’s learned from last year:
I can’t turn the ball over in the redzone. I have learned a lot, and I am ready to show that this upcoming season.
On who he thinks can break out:
Demarcus Robinson. There’s a lot of hype around him in the program. He’s a guy that’s done a lot of maturing. He has tremendous skill level, and has ability to be a big time receiver in the SEC.
On Coach Muschamp’s demeanor:
He’s never blown up on me during a game. He’s gonna let the Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach handle (what needs to be corrected). He’s been behind me 100% since I’ve been on campus.
DANTE FOWLER BOWTIE UPDATE (Updated at 4:25 p.m.)
MEANWHILE THE PLAYERS… (Updated at 4:10 p.m.)
Jeff Driskel with the TV cameras
Dante Fowler with the National Media
Fowler: "My expectation for Dante Fowler is to be a leader, put my team on my back and get this team to the SEC Championship."— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) July 14, 2014
Vernon Hargreaves with the SEC Network
COACH MUSCHAMP ANNOUNCES 8 OPEN PRACTICES THIS FALL (Updated at 3:55 p.m.)
HOOVER, Ala. — If you want to see the 2014 Gators in action prior to their season opener Aug. 30 against Idaho, Gators head coach Will Muschamp announced Monday that you will have eight opportunities.
Speaking to reporters here at the SEC Football Media Days, Muschamp said Florida’s first open practice is scheduled Aug. 7 at the Dizney Lacrosse Stadium.
The first weekend practice of fall camp — Saturday, Aug. 9 — is open only to season-ticket holders as an exclusive reward for their support of the program.
The Gators are scheduled to report to camp the first week of August to kick off Muschamp’s fourth season and open practice Aug. 4.
Here is a complete list of the open practice dates (times to be announced):
In addition, the open practice on Aug. 16 at Florida Field will be followed by Fan Day at the O’Connell Center, which is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
The UF football and volleyball teams will be in attendance at Fan Day and will be signing autographs.
**Open to Gators season-ticket holders only
— Scott Carter
COACH MUSCHAMP AT THE PODIUM (Updated at 3:30 p.m.)
"After a frustrating season… it falls on my shoulders. There will be a lot of chatter about 'hot-seat' business. The way you combat that is have a good football team.
"We have the most complete team we’ve had at the University of Florida."
Check back later for full updates from Chris and Scott
STOP No. 1 DONE… ON TO THE NEXT ONE (Updated at 3:20 p.m.)
THE GATORS HAVE ARRIVED IN HOOVER! (Updated at 3:00 p.m.)
Coach Muschamp coming up next on the podium at 3:30 p.m.!
Ready for Muschamp: pic.twitter.com/jNKQVFHKvV— Richard Johnson (@RagjUF) July 14, 2014
COMMISSIONER SLIVE TALKS AUTONOMY (Updated at 2:30 p.m.)
HOOVER, Ala. — Commissioner Mike Slive’s introduction speech at SEC Media Days touched on the league’s achievements during the 2013-14 calendar year, including national championships in men’s golf, gymnastics, equestrian, men’s swimming, women’s swimming and diving, women’s outdoor track, softball and baseball.
And runner-up finishes in six other sports.
Oh, and top-five finishes in 13 of the 21 sports in which the SEC competes.
Some the Commish’s other points:
And then Slive went where everyone in the room expected him to go, mentioning “the din of discontent” that has been voiced throughout college athletics and made splashy headlines of late.
Slive used a quote from Dwight Eisenhower (pictured right) — “Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run him over” — as a segway in his talking points on the momentum gaining for autonomy and the balance of power moving to the five power conferences.
On Aug. 7, the NCAA Division Board of Directors will vote on a list of recommended changes by a steering committee on governance, one of those being full “cost of attendance” payments for student-athletes.
“The ongoing review of the NCAA governing structure is intended to provide for the introduction of new strategies and new ideas,” Slive said. “With a new structure in place, amongst other goals, we seek to support the educational needs of our student-athletes through the provisions of scholarships linked to cost of attendance rather than the historic model of tuition, room and board, fees and books.”
The next few months will be interesting… maybe even collegiate earth-shattering.
— Chris Harry
WATCH: Florida Football at SEC Media Days (Updated at 1:45 p.m.)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Representatives of the Florida Football team will be at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama, on Monday afternoon, with live and on-demand video coverage available on multiple platforms.
ESPNU is providing live television coverage of the event, and will carry head coach Will Muschamp’s press conference at 3:30pm ET along with analysis and interviews throughout the afternoon.
Fans can also view SEC Media Days coverage live on WatchESPN.
Once the event has concluded on Monday evening, GatorVision will have comments from players Jeff Driskel, Dante Fowler and Vernon Hargreaves III along with behind-the-scenes video from the event.
HEEEEEEEERE COME THE GATORS (Updated at 1:20 p.m.)
COMMISSIONER SLIVE TAKES THE STAGE; SPURRIER FILM IN THE WORKS (Updated at 1 p.m.)
HOOVER, Ala. — SEC Commissioner Mike Slive just concluded his annual state-of-the-league address. He reiterated need for autonomy for the SEC and the power conferences around the country.
Slive also noted that a month from today is when the SEC Network is set to launch. Here is some news Florida fans will be interested in regarding the new network:
A film on Steve Spurrier will be among four new films during the SEC Network’s opening month.— Edgar Thompson (@osgators) July 14, 2014
Slive also mentioned a couple of recent former Gators for their accomplishments: softball pitcher Hannah Rogers for earning SEC Female Athlete of Year honors, and SEC Male Scholar-Athlete of Year Patric Young.
Meanwhile, the Florida contingent headed for SEC Media Days is on the way from Gainesville and set to arrive here at the Wynfrey Hotel shortly.
NATIONAL MEDIA ON THE GATORS (Updated at 12:30 p.m.)
HOOVER, Ala. — The Gators are coming off their first losing season since 1979. They enter the 2014 season with a seven-game losing streak. In his fourth season, Florida coach Will Muschamp knows the deal.
He has referred to UF’s injury-marred 4-8 season of 2013 as “unacceptable” more times than I can count.
Muschamp will face many of the same questions at today’s SEC Football Media Days as he faced during the offseason at speaking appearances, booster functions and the grocery store.
I posed a question of my own to several national college football writers.
The question was simple: What’s a good season for the Gators in 2014?
Here is what they had to say:
Matt Hayes, Sporting News — A link to Hayes’ work
"Is the question what’s a good year for the Gators — or a safe year for Will Muschamp? The one thing I still can’t wrap my mind around is this: if we’re going to choose one season that defines a coach, why is the narrative pointing toward the first losing season since 1979 — with all of those freakish injuries at key positions — and not the year before when the Gators needed USC to beat Notre Dame to play in the national championship game? You don’t beat four top 10 teams in one season, the SEC’s deepest season in decades, by chance. That said, Muschamp has to win. He knows it. What’s enough? Eight or nine with a win over Georgia. But if Jeff Driskel stays healthy and plays to his potential, the Gators could be much better — and in Atlanta the first week in December."
Ed Aschoff, ESPN.com — A link to Aschoff’s work
“A good season for Florida is a season in which people see vast improvement on offense. We all know that Will Muschamp has done an excellent job recruiting on the defensive side of the ball, and the development on defense has been tremendous. But we’ve also learned the defense can’t do everything.
“The offense has to make strides, and it has to take pressure off of the defense. Florida will have a good season if the offense can consistently go forward and help out its defense. Florida doesn’t have to score 40 a game, but it has to be an offense that tests opposing defenses. The Gators have to push other teams around this fall in order to have success. There’s no way Florida can average barely 300 yards and 18 points a game again and expect to compete for an SEC East title.
“People will point to a certain number of wins — and clearly fans want to get back to Atlanta, but the program also has to see promise going forward. If Florida can legitimately fight for a spot in Atlanta for the entire year and show that the program is progressing offensively, that’ll be a good season.”
Jeremy Fowler, CBSSports.com — A link to Fowler’s work
“At least eight wins. As Auburn showed last season, a bad team’s luck can change just that quickly. Eight is the number because it doubles the win total from a year ago and atones for the mess that was made. It’s also a reasonable number. Expecting a swing from four to say, 12 wins, seems unrealistic, even if Auburn showed the blueprint. But anything less than eight would put a two-year stench on a program that barely tolerates one bad year. A bowl game won’t be enough.”
Andy Staples, SportsIllustrated.com — A link to Staples’ work
“That’s actually a pretty complicated question. A nine- or 10-win season would be quite good given last year’s troubles. Think about it this way. To win 10, Florida would have to beat at least three from this group: Alabama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida State. That’s a big task coming off 4-8. I don’t know if there is a minimum win total as much as a sliding scale combining wins and identity of the teams beaten. For example, 8-4 with a win against Georgia or Florida State is probably pretty tolerable.
“But if the Gators win their eight easiest games and lose their four toughest ones, the judgment of success or failure probably would depend on how they played in those losses. Were they nail-biters or blowouts? Of course, eight wins aren’t a given with Florida’s schedule. I didn’t even mention Missouri above, and the Tigers won the East last year and return quite a bit of talent. The magic number for happiness is probably about nine. Seven or eight would require a careful examination of the losses as Jeremy Foley determines the program’s future. Any fewer, and his decision is easy.”
Bruce Feldman, FOXSports.com — A link to Feldman’s work