UF's Riggs supports targeting rule


Florida defensive back Cody Riggs (31) is penalized for targeting and ejected from the game against Missouri during the first half at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo., on Oct. 19.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, October 28, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 28, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.

Safety Cody Riggs' early ejection from the Missouri game for targeting not only ruined his day, it messed things up for eight family members who made the long trip from south Florida to Columbia to see him play.

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Florida defensive back Cody Riggs (31) is penalized for targeting and ejected from the game against Missouri during the first half at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo., on Oct. 19.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun

“They were really upset,” Riggs said. “They don't agree with the rule at all, but they're not on the field. They were really upset just because they came all the way up to Columbia and they spent money coming up there to see the game.

“My mom was upset that she only got to see me play for 10 seconds.”

Riggs was ejected after the first play of the game for his helmet-to-helmet collision with Missouri wide receiver Bud Sasser.

Riggs said the official made the right call (based on the rule), and that he's OK with the new rule.

"It's a good rule because of concussions,” he said. “I know people that have played in the NFL with concussions. I understand the intention of the rule, but at the same time my family came all the way up to Missouri from south Florida to watch the game, and they saw me play for 10 seconds off of a penalty that I really wasn't trying to hurt anybody. It has its pros and cons. It's just one of those rules that you have to live with."

After his ejection, Riggs had to leave the UF sideline. He spent the rest of the game in the locker room.

“It's very tough,” he said. “They don't let you sit on the sidelines, so I can't talk to my guys, encourage them. You just have to sit in the locker room, no TV in there. Just sitting there, and it's rough.

“Nothing to do. They actually were able to get me a laptop to watch the game, so I was able to watch it there. But you just sit there until the game is over.”

Riggs said his ejection is not going to affect how aggressively he plays.

“I'm not going to slow up the way I play. I'm going to keep playing hard,” he said. “I'm not going to be hesitant when it comes to hitting a receiver that's going across the middle. I'm just going to have to lower my target next time. I'm not going to slow down.”

Injury update

Outside linebacker Ronald Powell (sprained ankle) did not practice Monday, but UF coach Will Muschamp said he hopes to get Powell back on the field today.

“(Today), hopefully, and definitely by Wednesday,” Muschamp said. “If you were playing the game (today), it's still kind of up in the air whether or not that'll happen or not.”

Quarterback Tyler Murphy (sprained shoulder) is expected to be full go this week after not throwing in practice during the bye week.

Muschamp said defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (head) is expected to return to practice today.

“(Jacobs) should be fine,” Muschamp said.

Muschamp said outside linebacker Darrin Kitchens (shoulder) and redshirt freshman tight end Colin Thompson (foot) are doubtful for Saturday's game.

Gators have hope in East

South Carolina's dramatic overtime win at Missouri has put the Gators back in the race in the SEC's Eastern Division, although UF is still considered a longshot to reach Atlanta.

“It gave us a little hope,” Riggs said of the USC victory. “I went crazy. I was jumping around the house. I actually called (defensive back) Jaylen (Watkins). I was like, 'We're back in it. We're back .We still have a chance.'

“So, thanks to South Carolina, but we have to handle our business first. A couple of things have to go right, but we still have hope.”

Murphy said it's nice to be technically back in the race, but UF's focus this week is getting ready for Georgia.

“We never really lost belief,” Murphy said. “But we're kind of just focusing on beating Georgia. You know, if we win out and things play out where we can win the East, we'll be very happy, but we're just focused on beating Georgia. We're not thinking about the East. We have to beat Georgia.”

Muschamp looking for 'W'

Muschamp has never been on the winning side of the Florida-Georgia game. As a defensive back at UGA, he lost four times to the Gators. As the UF head coach, he's 0-2 against the Bulldogs.

He was asked if a win Saturday would be big for him.

“Not for me,” he said. “For our players and for the Gator Nation, absolutely. I hate to give you the boring answer, but I don't approach this one any different than the other ones.

“It's a critical game for us, obviously being a great rivalry game. It's one of the best college football games, year in, year out, to be a part of.”

Muschamp said being 0-2 in the rivalry as a head coach is worse than being 0-4 as a player.

“None of it is fun,” he said. “But certainly being here at the University of Florida and understanding the importance of this game to us and our people, we need to get a win."

Hargreaves a Thorpe semifinalist

True freshman quarterback Vernon Hargreaves III has been named one of 15 finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the country's top defensive back.

Hargreaves has started five games and is tied for second in the SEC with three interceptions. He is the only true freshman among the semifinalists.

Early homecoming kick

The Gators' Nov. 9 homecoming game against Vanderbilt will have a noon kickoff.

The SEC announced the game will be televised by either ESPNU or FSN.

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