Gators walk on wild side


Fans walk around before the game between the Florida Gators and Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday in Lexington, Ky.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:49 p.m.

Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease has come up with a way for getting his quarterbacks to relax and clear their minds on game day.

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Fans walk around before the game between the Florida Gators and Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday in Lexington, Ky.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer

On Saturday afternoon in Lexington, he took them on a nature walk near the team hotel.

“Definitely (it helped),” starting quarterback Tyler Murphy said Monday. “It took my mind off the game for a little bit. I was able to laugh and have a good time with my teammates and stuff like that. Any time you can have time like that with your teammates, it's good.”

Murphy said Pease had told the players beforehand that he was going to have something for them to do during their down time Saturday. He texted them the game plan around noon.

“He shot us a text and said, 'Nature walk, 1:30, don't be late.' “ Murphy said. “It was kind of cool. (It) cleared my head.

“We didn't sing any songs. It was fun. Coach Pease growing up, being from the Montana area, where he went to school, he knows a lot about nature. It's kind of cool just to learn about different trees and bushes and stuff like that. It was fun.”

Murphy said the walk was for only 15 or 20 minutes.

“We didn't go too far,” he said. “We just kind of walked around the hotel. The weather was nice, so we were just getting some fresh air.”

Murphy said Pease quizzed the players after the walk.

“Unfortunately, I didn't know anything,” he said. “It was just fun.”

Day game in Death Valley

The SEC announced Monday that Florida's game at LSU on Oct. 12 will be televised by CBS and will have a 3:30 p.m. kickoff. The Gators' last night game in Baton Rouge was in 2009.

Injury update

UF coach Will Muschamp said he's hoping to get running back Valdez Showers (ankle) back at some point this week. He missed the past two games.

“Definitely by Wednesday,” Muschamp said. “I don't know about (today). We feel like he will be back.”

Muschamp said starting cornerback Marcus Roberson, who sat out the Kentucky game with a knee injury, is full go again and will play in Saturday's game against Arkansas. Also returning this week is sophomore tight end Kent Taylor, who has been out the past few weeks with an injured ankle.

Redshirt freshman tight end Colin Thompson (foot fracture) will miss Saturday's game and could be out for several more weeks.

“Other than that, we should be good to go for the game,” Muschamp said.

Bullard makes an impact at DT

With starting defensive tackle Dominique Easley sustaining a season-ending knee injury last week in practice, defensive end Jonathan Bullard saw considerable playing time at tackle in the win over Kentucky. That will continue, Muschamp said.

“Yeah, I think so,” he said. “I think it's going to be game to game. Jon's a guy that we really trained in August camp to play inside just in case something happened. He's a big-bodied guy. He's got some fast-twitch for an inside player. He can give us a push inside.

“But he's going to play both end and tackle for us. Obviously, a little bit depends on our package that week and what we're trying to do.”

Muschamp said defensive tackles Damien Jacobs and Darious Cummings both played well against the run Saturday night, but need to generate more of an inside pass rush.

Teammates calmed Murphy down

Murphy said it first hit him at practice last Tuesday that he was the starting quarterback. He said he did not react well.

“I came out and tried to do too much,” he said. “Guys were able to calm me down and just tell me to be myself. I think it kind of hit me then that I was the guy. I realized I couldn't change who I was.

“I had a few high throws. I tried to force some balls. I made a few bad checks. But I was thankful that it happened that day, and I was able to learn from it. That's what practice is for. You come out and you give it your best and things may not go your way, but you have to learn from it and continue to develop and keep getting better.”

Murphy said wide receiver Quinton Dunbar and former UF quarterback Chris Leak had a calming effect on him.

“Dunbar was the first one to come over to me,” Murphy said. “He said just be yourself. Don't change and stuff like that. Then some of the offensive linemen came over, and Chris Leak came over and talked to me and just calmed me down.

“He's been a good mentor for me since he's stepped here on campus. He has won a national championship himself, so I'm just going to sit there and listen to him and try to soak in as much information as I can.”

Hargreaves honored by SEC

True freshman quarterback Vernon Hargreaves III was named the SEC's freshman of the week for his performance in the 24-7 win at Kentucky.

Hargreaves had a crucial interception in the end zone in the third quarter that pretty much sealed the win. He is now tied for the SEC lead with three interceptions this season.

“That was a play on the ball that I haven't seen in a while,” senior cornerback/safety Jaylen Watkins said. “He leaped up. He has great ball skills. We saw that all through camp and he's performing the way he performed in camp in the games. I'm pretty sure he's going to get more playing time.”

Watkins said Hargreaves' early success has not gone to his head.

“He's a very humble kid,” he said. “He's one of the most humble people I've ever met. He doesn't ever talk about his picks or anything. If you guys were to talk to him, he'd say he's trying to get like me, Marcus (Roberson) and Loucheiz (Purifoy). I'm surprised he says stuff like that, because he has three picks in his first four games. That's pretty good.”

This and that

Muschamp announced the player awards from Saturday night's victory over Kentucky: offensive players of the game — Matt Jones and Max Garcia; defensive players of the game — Ronald Powell and Jonathan Bullard; scrap iron award — D.J. Humphries, Jon Halapio and Clay Burton; ball hawks — Powell and Vernon Hargreaves III; hard hat — Jabari Gorman; special teams player of the game — Keanu Neal; scout team players of the week — Cody Adams, Cameron Dillard and Alvin Bailey.

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