SEC: Matt Patchan

Dalvin CookTom Hauck for Student SportsFlorida went into Miami's backyard to get a commitment from ESPN 300 RB Dalvin Cook, but the Hurricanes aren't exactly ready to concede him to the Gators.
Florida and Miami face off this weekend in what could be the last match up between these two in-state teams for the foreseeable future. The Hurricanes and Gators have had some memorable games on the field, but also some fierce recruiting battles off it. Here's a closer look at 10 recent recruiting battles -- five that Florida won and five that Miami won.

Two more players are transferring from Florida.

After freshman defensive back Willie Bailey decided to leave Florida this month, coach Will Muschamp announced Thursday that sophomore safety De'Ante Saunders and redshirt junior offensive tackle Matt Patchan have also decided to transfer.

"Really appreciate their time at Florida. We wish them the best," Muschamp said Thursday. "I think they just needed a fresh start, both guys and both situations. That's all I've got to say about it."

Neither were expected to play against Louisville in next week's Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Saunders, who started seven of the eight games he played in this season, sat out the final two games of the season with what Muschamp said was a knee injury, but was ruled out of the bowl game before the bowl preparation even began. Patchan hadn't seen any playing time all season because of a strained pectoral muscle.

Saunders was actually pretty productive during his time on the field this season. He played at both nickel and safety, and finished the season with 18 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery and four pass breakups. He also got some time as the Gators' punt returner, returning five kicks for 39 yards.

He told the Gainesville Sun that his release from UF was "a long time coming." While Muschamp said Saunders missed time this season because of injuries, the 5-foot-8 sophomore had his issues away from the field. He was suspended for a violation of team rules in November, and reportedly missed the first two games of the season because for disciplinary reasons.

According to the Sun's report, Saunders is already considering Louisville as his top choice for his next school. If he does decide to transfer to Louisville, he would reunite with former Gators teammates Robert Clark and Gerald Christian.

It seems like Saunders' transfer really didn't come as much of a surprise. If he thought it was a long time coming, then so did the coaches. It's probably best for both parties to move on at this point. But losing another experienced body at the safety position will hurt the Gators, as Josh Evans will graduate and junior Matt Elam is seriously considering leaving early for the NFL draft.

For Patchan, a change of scenery is probably what he needs after enduring an injury-riddled career at Florida. He probably would have been the odd man out in terms of playing time in 2013 on the Gators' offensive line. There are a lot of healthier bodies in front of him when it comes to the tackle spot.

Muschamp hopes Jenkins returns for LSU

September, 26, 2012
Florida coach Will Muschamp is holding out hope that junior linebacker Jelani Jenkins returns for next week's LSU game after fracturing his thumb against Texas A&M on Sept. 8.

Muschamp said during Wednesday's SEC coaches call that Jenkins will see a specialist on Friday to have the pin removed from his thumb. He'll then be fitted with a cast and further evaluated to see if he'll be healthy enough to play against the Tigers.

"We feel pretty optimistic about him [playing]," Muschamp said.

"Right now, we feel he should be able to go, but, again, you never know until the guy looks at it."

It helps that Florida has a bye this week, so that will give him more time to heal.

If Jenkins were to play against LSU, he'd have to wear a cast on his hand to protect his thumb, Muschamp said. From there, it's all about how much pain Jenkins can take.

Mushcamp said Jenkins was "pretty limited to nothing" during the first week after his injury, but has been running and lifting as much as he can with a cast on since.

But how well things will go once Jenkins gets back on the field is a mystery. Muschamp said he wasn't sure how big Jenkins' cast would be and how much it would affect him in a game. He spoke with head athletic trainer Anthony Pass about about whether he thought Jenkins could play next week, but even he didn't know.

"I'm a little in the dark on all this until he meets with the specialist on Friday," Muschamp said.

Other injury updates

Muschamp said that Trey Burton (back spasms), Jordan Reed (shoulder), Chaz Green (ankle) and Dominique Easley (knee) are doing well and should be ready for next week's game against No. 3 LSU.

However, Muschamp said that cornberback Cody Riggs (foot) and offensive lineman Matt Patchan (pectoral) will probably be out "a couple weeks."
Barrett JonesNed Dishman/Getty ImagesA move to center shouldn't slow Alabama's Barrett Jones, last season's Outland Trophy winner.
Our preseason SEC position rankings continue with the big uglies. The real muscle down in the trenches. Offensive lines are crucial in every level of football, but teams seriously do live and die by the play of their offensive lines in the SEC.

Past rankings:
On to the SEC's offensive line groups:

1. Alabama: Four starters return (with 95 combined starts), there's size, there's athleticism and this line just screams first-round NFL talent, starting with mammoth tackle D.J. Fluker and guard Chance Warmack. Reigning Outland Trophy winner Barrett Jones is moving to center, but with his versatility he should excel there. Add former top recruit Cyrus Kouandjio at left tackle and this is arguably the country's top offensive line.

2. LSU: Like Alabama, this line is full of experience, as four starters return and so does Josh Dworaczyk, who was granted a sixth-year after a knee injury caused him to miss all of 2011. Some think he was LSU's best lineman before last season began. Tackles Chris Faulk and Alex Hurst are two of the best in the league and center P.J. Lonergan is tough to beat. Former highly-touted recruit La'El Collins should also contend for time this fall, too.

3. Texas A&M: This could be the strength of the team. Left tackle Luke Joeckel is a future first-rounder, while right tackle Jake Mathews has All-SEC potential. Senior center Patrick Lewis provides a very sturdy anchor in the middle. Guards Jarvis Harrison and Cedric Ogbuehi are young, but both got good experience last year, as Harrison started five games and Ogbuehi started six. Depth could be an issue, as most reserves are younger.

4. Arkansas: The Hogs have one of the better center-guard combos in the league in Travis Swanson and Alvin Bailey. Both have received preseason accolades and should be even better in 2012. Sophomore tackle Brey Cook came in with a lot of hype and if he develops in his second season, this line will be really good. Sophomore Mitch Smothers proved he can play just about anywhere and big left tackle Jason Peacock is back, but is still in the doghouse after his arrest this spring.

5. South Carolina: Replacing Rokevious Watkins at left tackle won't be easy, but the staff feels like redshirt freshman Brandon Shell might be the man for the job. He's incredibly talented and athletic and improved his blocking ability during his redshirt year. Center T.J. Johnson and guard A.J. Cann are coming off of solid seasons, but the right side has questions. Right tackle Mike Matulis started five games last year, but missed spring while recovering from shoulder surgery and right guard Ronald Patrick recorded zero starts last year.

6. Tennessee: The good news is that everyone is back. The bad news is this is the same line that was incredibly inconsistent last year in the run game, as Tennessee ranked 116th in rushing offense. However, the staff feels it has a better lineup with the emergence of sophomore Antonio Richardson at left tackle. Stud Dallas Thomas moves to left guard and Ja'Wuan James, who has started 25 games at right tackle, provides some good stability. The line has 99 combined starts and allowed just 18 sacks last year, but the proving ground with this group is establishing that it can come off the ball and be a better running team.

7. Missouri: The Tigers lost three starters from last year, but that doesn't mean Mizzou is without experience. Old man Elvis Fisher was granted a sixth year after last year's season-ending knee injury and will provide a major boost at left tackle. And three other linemen return with starting experience from last year: tackle Justin Britt, who took over Fisher's spot last year, and guards Jack Meiners and Travis Ruth. One thing to keep an eye on is the line's durability. The average weight of this group is roughly 295 pounds.

8. Auburn: Three starters return to a line that has a ton of young depth. Center Reese Dismukes is the anchor and one of the top centers in the league. Guard John Sullen and tackle Chad Slade combined for 21 starts last year. The staff really likes redshirt freshman Greg Robinson at left tackle and former top recruit Christian Westerman will compete for time after sitting out last year. Guard Eric Mack made strides this spring before he was shot near the hip during the tragic shooting that occurred near Auburn's campus in June.

9. Mississippi State: Injuries and constant reshuffling along the line caused the Bulldogs' offense to struggle for most of last season. Three starters are gone, but junior guard Gabe Jackson, who is one of the league's best, is back and so is right guard Tobias Smith. If Smith, who suffered a season-ending knee injury early last year, is healthy, this line should be very strong along the interior. Dillon Day started six games last year and returns at center, while junior college transfers Charles Siddoway and Dylan Holley are pushing for time.

10. Florida: The Gators return four starters to a line that struggled all last season. Will Muschamp said he saw vast improvement up front this spring, but tackles Xavier Nixon and Matt Patchan must show more consistency and leadership. Jonotthan Harrison is solid at center and guard Jon Halapio has improved each year. Sophomore tackle Chaz Green and impressive early enrollee D.J. Humphries will compete for time as well.

[+] EnlargeKenarious Gates
Radi Nabulsi/ Georgia may have O-line questions, but likely none concerning junior Kenarious Gates.
11. Georgia: Yet again the Bulldogs have questions up front. Junior Kenarious Gates is very versatile and athletic and is Georgia's most reliable lineman. The staff was pleased with guards Dallas Lee and Chris Burnette coming out of spring, but a lot is riding on sophomore David Andrews making it at center. If he has to move, Burnette will have to move to center and more reshuffling will come. Inexperience is worrisome and true freshman John Theus should get plenty of chances to take one of the tackle spots.

12. Vanderbilt: Thanks to offensive line coach Herb Hand, this group was one of the most improved in the league last year. He'll have a tall task again with a lot of youth and inexperience. Left tackle Wesley Johnson is one of the most underrated linemen out there, while Ryan Seymour has been solid up front. The right side has issues and the depth is a concern. Injuries made it tough for this line to get through spring practice, and six freshmen are coming in to compete for spots during fall camp.

13. Kentucky: The Wildcats lost three starters from a line that struggled throughout 2011, but vets Larry Warford and Matt Smith are back to provide a solid center-guard combo. However, they'll be asked to help a cluster of youngsters. The left side is gone and will be replaced by youngsters Zach West (redshirt freshman) and Darrian Miller (sophomore). Right tackle Kevin Mitchell started just one game last year. Any sort of injury up front would be devastating for the Cats.

14. Ole Miss: This is arguably the Rebels' weakest position. Hugh Freeze wasn't thrilled with the line this spring, continuing to say it didn't handle the offense's tempo well. Guard Matt Hall, who had double-digit starts last year, left the team this spring. Center Evan Swindall was Ole Miss' most consistent lineman this spring, while senior A.J. Hawkins moved to guard. Comfort was an issue for everyone, and the tackle spots were filled this spring by Emmanuel McCray, who missed all of last season, and JUCO transfer Pierce Burton.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- On the eve of my coaching debut at Florida's 2012 Orange & Blue Debut, I had the chance to sit down with Gators coach Will Muschamp to talk shop about his team and tried to get a couple of pointers on how to handle the pressure of being a college coach in the toughest conference in America.

Like most conversations between coaches, I'll choose not to repeat what advice Muschamp shared with me, but I will share that Muschamp appears to be much more comfortable with his team this year than he was at this time last spring. He was new to the head-coaching world and very new to all of his players, meaning there were plenty of bumps along the way.

"More than anything, I know the team better," Muschamp said. "I know the players better. I understand more about how they tick and what we need to do to be successful with them."

[+] EnlargeWill Muschamp
Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesWill Muschamp called his Gators soft last season and tasked his new strength coach to work on them this offseason.
It's also easier now that his players have grown up a little. In Muschamp's debut season after leaving Texas as the defensive coordinator, the Gators were primarily made up of freshmen and sophomores -- more than 70 percent to be exact. They had less starts on defense going into the season than any other school in the SEC.

Florida also had to deal with transitioning from a spread offense to a more pro stye, and had different defensive philosophies to understand.

Now, Muschamp heads into Year 2 with reinvention on his mind -- for himself and his team.

Muschamp isn't as tense internally. He's more settled in his approach, making his understanding of his players easier. He's also made sure his guys toughened up, as new strength coach Jeff Dillman ran them through a gauntlet offseaon workout plan.

One area Muschamp sees a lot of positive change is the offensive line. With most of his line returning, Muschamp said there isn't much to teach this group. It's much better than last spring, when Muschamp and his coaches had six scholarship offensive linemen for the spring game. This line really struggled last season and as it declined, so did the offense. Muschamp said he's more comfortable with his guys upfront because they're bigger, stronger and more confident.

Keep an eye on the battle at right tackle. Veteran Matt Patchan is having the best spring of his Florida career, but redshirt freshman Chaz Green is going to make it tough for him to keep his job. Also, true freshman D.J. Humphries is pushing senior-to-be Xavier Nixon at left tackle. Humphries will play this fall and it wouldn't shock anyone if he claimed the left tackle spot.

But who will throw behind that line? No one knows. Honestly, no one is quite sure. Muschamp said Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel are both getting equal reps in practice and he expects that to continue into the fall. They're even and have made significant strides, Muschamp said, because the game has slowed down for both. For Muschamp, he isn't worried about talent. He just wants to get them more reps and as much live action as possible.

"Both of those guys can play and win a championship," he said. "They're both that talented and they also have the off-the-field things you gotta have at that position as far as leadership is concerned."

Muschamp called his team out for being soft last year, but one player who can't be considered soft is safety Matt Elam. People around the program think he was Florida's best player, regardless of position. He ended last season with 78 tackles and led the Gators with 11 for loss. He also played the last part of the season with a sports hernia and had surgery in January.

Muschamp expects him to be fine for the season and the thought is that he'll be a top defensive back in the SEC this fall.

Florida still has a lot of questions as it closes out the spring, but one thing is for sure, Muschamp is much happier with this group now than he was a year ago.
Things should be pretty interesting between Florida (6-6) and Ohio State (6-6) in the Gator Bowl, aka, the Urban Meyer Bowl:

WHO TO WATCH: For Florida to win this game, quarterback John Brantley has to step up. Florida's offense has been very hard to watch since Week 4 and that's mainly because of the struggles under center. First, Brantley went down with a serious ankle injury that left him hobbled for weeks. Then, his freshmen backups did little to lead the offense. It's time for Brantley to shake his regular season struggles. He has to make good decisions and he can't fold under pressure. If Brantley can get the passing game going against a pretty talented Ohio State defense, the Gators should be able to open up a running game that was inconsistent during the second half of the season.

WHAT TO WATCH: Florida's whole offensive operation struggled, but it all generated from poor line play. The offensive line has self destructed from time to time, limiting Florida's chances to make plays for most of the year. Getting consistency up front will be key against an Ohio State defense that ranks 24th nationally. Making things more difficult for Florida's thin line is the loss of starting right tackle Matt Patchan, who will miss the Gator Bowl with an upper back injury.

WHY TO WATCH: Sure, both squads went 6-6 during the regular season and had offenses that ranked in the 100s nationally, but it wasn't long ago that both were at the top of the college football heap. Both met in the 2006 national championship game and have been to six combined BCS bowls since. This is Will Muschamp's first bowl game as a head coach, and Luke Fickell's last as Ohio State's interim head coach. Neither team has anything to lose so we can only hope to see more opening up from both offenses. Plus, Meyer will be casting a pretty big shadow over Everbank Field, so that will add some extra drama.

PREDICTION: Ohio State 20, Florida, 13. Both teams really struggled on offense this season, but the Gators' defense ranks ninth nationally, while Ohio State's is 24th. Florida should be motivated to play the Buckeyes, but even with a new man calling the offensive shots, it's hard to tell if things will be much different Monday.
Things will look a lot different for the Gators this season.

There will be a new coaching staff, which will feature the coordinators alongside the head coach on the ground instead of the booth, and there are a ton of new faces out there.

Monday, Florida released its depth chart for Saturday's opener against Florida Atlantic and there were a few surprises.

The first thing that stands out is that the Gators could line up with two true freshmen starters in the secondary. If that were to happen, it would be first time in school history that two true freshmen started in the secondary for the Gators during the season opener.

Coach Will Muschamp currently has De'Ante Saunders penciled in as the starter at free safety and Marcus Roberson at one of the corner positions. If Saunders starts, he would be the first true freshman to start for the Gators at safety on opening day. Saunders is also listed as the starter at the nickel.

Junior cornerback Jeremy Brown is questionable with a knee injury, so Moses Jenkins or Cody Riggs could start opposite Roberson.

Sophomore Sharrif Floyd is listed as a starting defensive end. Floyd began his career as a defensive tackle, but Muschamp wants to get the best players on the field and Floyd is versatile and strong enough to play outside. Senior William Green is behind him on the depth chart.

Sophomore Dominique Easley is set to start next to Jaye Howard inside.

On offense, Matt Patchan is listed as the starting right tackle. He's dealt with a handful of injuries through the years, but if he's healthy, he could be the Gators' top lineman.

Notre Dame transfer Dan Wenger, who had his Irish career cut short by concussions, came in as a center, but is listed as the starting left guard. Former guard Jonotthan Harrison is the starting center.

Quinton Dunbar is listed as the starting receiver at the X position. Dunbar has been one of the coaches' favorite players to watch this year and the thought is he could be a big-time deep threat this fall.

One other interesting note is that tight end Jordan Reed is also listed as the backup punt returner behind Chris Rainey. Reed isn't the shiftiest player, but he's very athletic and tough to bring down. Still, you'd think Florida would want to get one of its faster, more elusive players in the open space.
A day after Georgia declared there would be no eligibility issues for tight end Orson Charles after being linked to an ex-Miami booster in a Yahoo! Sports report, Florida released a statement on its two players linked to the story.

Florida wide receiver Andre Debose (see the allegations against him) and offensive tackle Matt Patchan (here are the allegations against him) were both named in the Yahoo! Sports report as athletes who were improperly brought to Miami booster Nevin Shapiro so that he could try to persuade them to sign with the Hurricanes.

Florida said in a statement released by the university that neither player has any eligibility issues.

"We have been in communication with the NCAA and there are no eligibility issues with Andre Debose and Matt Patchan as it relates to recent reports," the statement said. "Andre, Matt nor the University of Florida will have any additional comments regarding this matter."

Florida wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill was also linked to the report as a coach who Shaprio said was knowingly involved in the impermissible recruitment of Miami recruits, including Debose, while he was the Hurricanes' wide receivers coach. Shortly after Yahoo! Sports' report was published, Florida issued a statement on Hill, saying that he was confident he did nothing wrong during his time with the Hurricanes.

"While we declined comment for Yahoo's request, Coach Hill indicated he was very comfortable with, and very confident in how he conducted himself while at the University of Miami," associate athletics director/communications Steve McClain said in a statement.

Former Tennessee running back Bryce Brown, now a member of Kansas State's football team, was also cleared of eligibility issues after he was also named in the Yahoo! report.

SEC names tied to ex-Miami booster

August, 17, 2011
The damning allegations made by convicted Ponzi schemer and former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro might cripple University of Miami athletics, but Shapiro's actions might affect some schools outside of Coral Gables.

In a Yahoo! Sports report, Shapiro said he provided impermissible benefits to at least 72 Miami athletes and other athletes, and also committed NCAA violations with members of the Miami coaching staff when he had improper recruiting contact.

It is an NCAA violation for a school's booster to be involved in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes.

Three SEC schools -- Florida, Georgia and Alabama -- were linked to Yahoo! Sports' report.

First-year Alabama assistants Jeff Stoutland and Joe Pannunzio have been accused by Shapiro of steering recruits to him in order to help persuade them to sign with Miami.

The Yahoo! Sports report quoted Shapiro as saying Stoutland, Alabama's current offensive line coach, was among coaches who brought prospects to his home or luxury suite for recruiting pitches. The story also said Pannunzio, Alabama's director of football operations, was involved, though the report only cited unnamed sources when referring to Pannunzio.

Stoutland was the offensive line coach at Miami from 2007-10, while Pannunzio spent the past five years as the Hurricanes' tight ends coach/special-teams coordinator.

Alabama released a statement Tuesday night through team spokesperson Doug Walker.

"The University of Alabama is aware of the story, but we will have no further comment," Walker said.

Shapiro told Yahoo! Sports that Florida wide receiver Andre Debose and offensive tackle Matt Patchan were athletes who were improperly brought to him so that he could try to persuade them to attend Miami. Shapiro also alleged that current Florida wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill was one of the coaches present when impermissible contact with three recruits, including Debose, took place in 2008.

According to the report, Debose, along with two of his high school teammates, was brought to Shapiro's multimillion dollar mansion by Miami recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt. The report also stated that Hill, who was Miami's receivers coach at the time, was also there.

"I took [Debose, Armstrong and Dye] in my car the first night," Shapiro told Yahoo! Sports. "They came to my house. They were there with Clint Hurtt, who at the time was the recruiting coordinator, and Aubrey Hill, who was the receivers coach. I gave them a strong pitch on why they should come to the University of Miami. Ray-Ray Armstrong and Dyron Dye were both already in the boat, meaning they were ready to come. Debose was the only one who was wavering."

Shapiro also said he gave Miami equipment assistant Sean Allen around $2,000 to $3,000 in cash and told Allen to show the players "a good time." The reports states that Allen later used the cash to take the three players to nightclubs and a strip club.

Shapiro alleges that two Miami assistants were with Patchan, three members of his family and several other Miami players. Shapiro also said Stoutland was there.

Florida released a statement through Associate Athletics Director/Communications Steve McClain in regards to Hill's role at Miami.

"While we declined comment for Yahoo's request, coach Hill indicated he was very comfortable with, and very confident in how he conducted himself while at the University of Miami," McClain said.

Georgia tight end Orson Charles was also listed as a player who had impermissible contact with Shapiro. The report stated that Charles allegedly toured Shapiro’s mansion in 2008 with Tampa (Fla.) Plant coach Robert Weiner and then-Miami quarterback Robert Marve, who also played at Plant.

Florida and Georgia will not face program violations, but it's unclear what could happen to Debose, Patchan and Charles.

A former SEC name also linked to the Yahoo! report is former Tennessee running back Bryce Brown. He originally committed to Miami, but signed with Lane Kiffin at Tennessee after national signing day, before transferring to Kansas State last year.

Shapiro alleges he provided a lunch costing more than $500 and a hotel room for more than $1,000 for Brown, his family and family adviser in 2008.

Noting the Gators' spring game

April, 9, 2011
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- While Florida’s spring game was a bit of a snoozer, new coach Will Muschamp was pleased with how his team progressed this spring.

Here are some notes from the Blue team’s 13-10 win over the Orange in Saturday’s Orange and Blue Debut:
  • The Gators entered Muschamp’s first spring game with a laundry list of injuries. Here are some of them: RB Mike Gillislee (stress fracture), RB Mack Brown (broken fibula), RB Mike Blakely (shoulder surgery), OL Xavier Nixon (ankle), OL Matt Patchan (wrist surgery), OL Nick Alajajian (knee), FB Trey Burton (ankle), WR Andre Debose (ankle), DT Jaye Howard (ankle surgery) and CB Janoris Jenkins (shoulder surgery).
  • Freshman wide receiver Javaras McRoy missed Saturday’s game after undergoing a medical procedure on his lung. Muschamp said he missed the last week and a half of practice, but will be fine. “There’s no serious situation right here,” Muschamp said.
  • Redshirt freshman receiver Chris Dunkley wasn't seen at the game. He was suspended from the team earlier in the week for academic reasons.
  • Redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Murphy finished 7-for-11 passing with a game-high 68 yards. “I made some plays,” Murphy said. “I made some mental errors and stuff like that. I have to focus on getting better in the offseason and watching film and learning from my mistakes.” Starter John Brantley only played in the first half, going 4-for-14 with 45 yards. Brantley started the game 0-for-6 and didn’t complete his first pass -- a 19-yard completion to tight end Jordan Reed -- until 5:28 remaining in the second quarter.
  • The teams combined for 340 yards of total offense, while the Orange defense held the Blue to the fewest points (13) by a winning team in the history of Florida’s spring game. The Orange also limited the Blue to six total completions, tied for the lowest in spring game history (Orange, 2008). The Blue defense held the Orange to the fewest total offensive yards (143) in spring game history. “It’s going to look different, but we’re going to be more comfortable with it,” Brantley said of the offense. “Everyone will be healthy, everyone will be fresh.”
  • However, the Orange broke the spring game record for highest third-down percentage, completing .625 (5-for-8) of its third-down attempts. The previous record was .556 by the Orange team in 2001.
  • Rising senior kicker Caleb Sturgis tied Jeff Chandler’s 2001 spring game record by making all three of his field-goal attempts. In the first half, Sturgis made a 21-yarder for the game’s first points. He followed with a 43-yarder with 1:56 left in the half. His final one came on a 33-yard attempt late in the third.
  • Freshman punter Kyle Christy tied Nick Fleming’s 2003 spring game record for longest punt with a 55-yarder in the first quarter. Christy enrolled at Florida in January and is listed as the first-team punter.
  • Muschamp said he and his staff achieved the goal of finding its playmakers and devised a list of 22 players they are comfortable relying on. One of those players was redshirt freshman Quinton Dunbar, who caught two passes for 45 yards, including a 29-yarder to start the second half. “Dunbar has made more big plays than anybody else [this spring],” Muschamp said.

SEC lunch links

March, 21, 2011
Making the rounds on a Monday:

SEC players returning from injury

January, 27, 2011
As we start to look more and more to next season (the start of spring practice at some SEC schools is less than a month and a half away), let’s not forget those players who were injured and didn't finish the season or missed the season for some reason, who could make a big impact in 2011.

Here’s an alphabetical list of some of those guys:
  • Justin Anderson, NT, Georgia
  • Mark Barron, S, Alabama
  • Jeremy Brown, CB, Florida
  • Chad Bumphis, WR, Mississippi State
  • Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas
  • Mister Cobble, DT, Kentucky*
  • Chris Dunkley, WR, Florida
  • Marcus Green, TE, Mississippi State
  • Robby Green, DB, Alabama*
  • A.J. Greene, OT, Auburn
  • Dennis Johnson, RB, Arkansas
  • Greg King, LB, Tennessee
  • Kentrell Lockett, DE, Ole Miss*
  • Ben Martin, DE, Tennessee
  • Gene McCaskill, WR, Kentucky
  • Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
  • Warren Norman, RB, Vanderbilt
  • Matt Patchan, OT, Florida
  • Trovon Reed, WR, Auburn
  • Jordan Rodgers, QB, Vanderbilt
  • Richard Samuel, LB, Georgia
  • Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt
  • T.J. Stripling, LB, Georgia
  • Brandon Taylor, S, LSU
  • Marlon Walls, DT, Tennessee
  • Shaq Wilson, LB, South Carolina

* Cobble was academically ineligible for the 2010 regular season.

* Robby Green was suspended for the 2010 season by the NCAA.

* Lockett is applying to the NCAA for a sixth season after injuring his knee early during the 2010 season.

Injuries already mounting for some

August, 12, 2010
We’re not even a full week into practice for some SEC teams, and already the injuries are beginning to mount.

Some are more serious than others, and injuries are obviously a part of football when you start contact. But the freakish things during non-contact drills drive coaches crazy.

Tennessee lost a pair of starting defensive linemen in a span of two days to torn Achilles tendons. Florida offensive tackle Matt Patchan, who’s been beset with injuries throughout his career, suffered a hairline fracture in his wrist and will be out for 10 days.

In some cases, teams are being careful with players coming off serious injuries and have kept them out of live scrimmage situations and/or team work to this point. Auburn safety Zac Etheridge (neck), Georgia offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant (knee) and Vanderbilt defensive tackle Adam Smotherman (knee) are examples.

Here’s a sampling of some of the guys who have already missed practice time:

Alabama: Safety Kendall Kelly (dizziness/heat).

Auburn: Linebacker Eltoro Freeman (foot), receiver Trovon Reed (undisclosed).

Florida: Offensive tackle Matt Patchan (wrist), receiver Chris Dunkley (hamstring), receiver Chris Rainey (racing heartbeat).

Georgia: Linebacker Akeem Dent (toe), Linebacker Richard Samuel (leg), receiver Kris Durham (undisclosed).

LSU: Offensive guard Josh Dworaczyk (illness).

Ole Miss: Linebacker Mike Marry (hamstring).

South Carolina: Running back Kenny Miles (hamstring), receiver Dion LeCorn (shoulder), Shaq Wilson (hamstring), fullback/tight end Patrick DiMarco (cracked forearm).

Tennessee: Defensive end Ben Martin (Achilles), defensive tackle Marlon Walls (Achilles), linebacker Greg King (knee), safety Janzen Jackson (hamstring).

Vanderbilt: Running back Wesley Tate (foot), defensive back Javon Marshall (undisclosed), offensive tackle Justin Cabbagestalk (knee).

Pouncey back at practice for Gators

August, 26, 2009
Posted by's Chris Low

The best news for Florida's offensive line was getting junior Maurkice Pouncey back onto the practice field Tuesday.

Pouncey, who started at center in all 14 games last season, had yet to practice in full this preseason after being slowed this summer with a torn labrum in his shoulder. Pouncey, one of the team captains, worked with the first unit during team drills Tuesday.

There had been some talk about Pouncey possibly moving to guard, where he started 11 games in 2007, but it looks like now the plan is for him to remain at center.

That doesn't mean there isn't still some pretty intense competition going on in the Gators' offensive line.

Sophomore James Wilson has really made the decision difficult for the coaches. He's played very well this preseason and is making a bid for the starting left guard job. Wilson was slowed by a foot injury earlier in camp and nearly transferred to Wake Forest following the 2007 season. He's also weathered a pair of knee surgeries during his career.

The right side of the line appears set with Mike Pouncey at guard and Marcus Gilbert at tackle.

Sophomore Matt Patchan appeared to have a beat on the left tackle job after playing on defense last season, but Wilson's progress has made things interesting. Junior Carl Johnson is right there in the mix, too. He started eight games at left guard a year ago.

Redshirt freshman center Sam Robey and junior guard Maurice Hurt are two other guys who've made bids for playing time, so the Gators enter the season with excellent depth up front.

Florida's offensive line still taking shape

August, 17, 2009

Posted by's Chris Low

If you had to pick Florida's starting offensive line at this point, the Pouncey twins would be there (somewhere) along with Carl Johnson (somewhere).

Slotting everybody into specific positions is when it gets tough.

Steve Addazio, the Gators' offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, has been frustrated by some of the injuries. Maurkice Pouncey has done very little this preseason as he's still recovering from shoulder surgery. Having an all-Pouncey guard tandem is a possibility with Mike Pouncey playing the other guard spot, but only if the coaches are 100 percent sold on redshirt freshman Sam Robey being able to handle center.

Addazio had hoped to get a good look at sophomores Matt Patchan (concussion) and James Wilson (ankle) in the scrimmage Saturday, but both were injured. Patchan is making a bid to win the left tackle job, while Wilson is also having a solid preseason. The key with Wilson will be staying healthy.

The good news for the Gators is that they're building depth and look like they will have some different options this fall.

Johnson could play left guard or left tackle depending on what Patchan does the rest of preseason camp. It appears that Marcus Gilbert is probably going to be the starter at right tackle. Gilbert, a junior, has started at both left guard and right guard during his career.