Notebook: Trash-talk of no concern to Gators

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks gets sacked by Florida State defensive back Stanford Samuels III during last year's game in Gainesville. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]


That seems to be the reaction on the Florida football team to Florida State defensive back Stanford Samuels’ prediction that the Seminoles will beat the Gators in Tallahassee on Saturday.

“I heard it, but it doesn’t matter to me,” UF quarterback Feleipe Franks said Monday. “We’re going to go out there, and we’re just going to play our game. It doesn’t really matter what people think.

“We hear stuff like that all the time — this, that or the other. We go out there and play. There’s a football game played Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.”

In case you haven’t heard, here’s what Samuels said Saturday night after the Seminoles 22-21 win over Boston College: “That’s all we’re talking about. We’re going to win. We’re going to beat the Gators.”

Some Florida’s players have seen Samuels’ quote. Others haven’t.

“I have not seen that,” junior wide receiver Josh Hammond said. “I try to stay off of social media.”

Samuels isn’t the first player to make a prediction about Saturday’s game. That distinction belongs to UF senior tight end C’yontai Lewis, who made his after UF’s Saturday afternoon win over Idaho.

“That’s the biggest game of the year,” Lewis said. “I’ve just got to get a win against them. They beat me on my official visit and they beat me every year I’ve been here. I’ve just got to get that win, get the streak going. After we beat them this year, it’s never going to end.”

UF coach Dan Mullen said pregame talk and predictions will be no factor in the outcome of Saturday’s game.

“We talked about how to win the game. I don’t know if that is going to help you win the game,” Mullen said. “What’s going to help us win the game is how we practice this week, the intensity of how we practice, how we prepare, then how we perform on Saturday is the most important thing. So whatever it’s going to take to get that done is the most important thing.”

No more SOW

Urban Meyer was big on rivalry games when he was at Florida. One stab he always took at Florida State was by never calling the school or the Seminoles by name. Instead, he referred to FSU as the School Out West.

Mullen, the offensive coordinator under Meyer at UF from 2005-08, will not carry on the tradition.

He called FSU three things Monday: Florida State, the Seminoles and State.

“The neat thing is we have different rivalries. They’re different rivalries for different reasons, both those games (FSU and Georgia),” Mullen said. “I’m not going to call them, what did he call them, ‘The School Out West?’ We’re not going to call them that, we’re just going to go beat them.”

Healthy Gators

Not only did the Gators come out of the Idaho game injury free, they will be adding some players this week who were not available in last Saturday’s game.

Wide receiver Freddie Swain (ankle) and offensive guard/center Brett Heggie (ankle) are on schedule to return at some point this week. Safety Brad Stewart (quad) has a chance to return, along with tight end Moral Stephens (unspecified).

“(Heggie) should be back this week, we hope by early week,” Mullen said. “We’re hoping to get Brad Stewart back early this week. Freddie Swain, he’ll be back. He practiced one day (last week) and aggravated it a bit. He’ll be back. He wanted to play but we didn’t let him. He should be cleared to go today. Moral Stephens, we’re hoping to have him back midweek.”

Mullen said sophomore running back Malik Davis, who fractured his foot in the third week of the season, will redshirt this season.

“He’s not going to be back unless we play in the Super Bowl,” Mullen said. “We won’t be playing into February, so I don’t think he’ll be back at all.”

;Mullen also said starting center Nick Buchanan will return this week. UF gave no reason why he was held out of the Idaho game. There were reports that he was suspended.

With Buchanan and Heggie both out, starting guard Tyler Jordan took over as the center for last Saturday’s game.

“(Jordan) did a great job of us,” Mullen said. “He’s been a backup for us at center. He’s gotten reps for us at practice during the season as an emergency because you’re going to look silly if you don’t have a center.

“When you have two centers down, you have to have somebody be able to play, or you’re going to look pretty silly. John (Hevesy) does a good job of preparing upwards of five centers per game, and so Tyler was ready to step into that role.”



  1. Haven’t seen much FSU this year or kept up with their roster but it appears we push them this year. I believe we did 4+ years ago and lost to bad play calling and coaching. While we could lose I don’t think that will be the case. We have coaches and we have players that can execute with depth. And they are willing to make the adjustments to a fluid situation. Hallmark of Good leadership.

  2. There is no mystery to how and why FSU has beaten Florida in each of the last five years.

    It all comes down to lack of Gator offense in each and every case. While it’s obvious that you need to score points to win, the more insidious problem is evident in the box scores for each of the last three games. Florida’s elite defense kept the Gators in each of the last three games until the fourth quarter, when the Gator offense’s inability to convert third downs caused the Gator defense to tire.

    An article on the Saturday Down South site says that in each of those last three games, Dalvin Cook ran wild. He did… but not until the fourth quarter when the Gator defense was exhausted. In each of those last three games, Cook was pretty much bottled up for three quarters. But in each, FSU scored two fourth quarter touchdowns.

    The key to the Gators winning on Saturday will be their third down conversion percentage. If the offense can keep the chains moving so that the defense is fresh in the fourth quarter, the Gators should win the game. This Gator offense should rush for at least 350 yards against this Noles team.

    Other factors should help this time around too, including better strength and conditioning and a coaching staff that is finally, after seven long years, far superior to the FSU coaching staff. The Noles have had difficulty adjusting to their new schemes. This should be a field day for Coach Mullen calling plays, and I expect Grantham to blitz early and often with great success.

    Finally, while the Noles are disorganized, they are still talented. There’s a good chance they will hit on a few explosive plays against our thin secondary, and Akers may break free for a long run or two. But the Gators should still be able to win it.

  3. What ever happened to T.J. McCoy? All this talk of trouble at center, and no mention of him. I know that he was undersized, and more than one poster here has commented that he was not a good SEC center (recognizing the defense, making the O-Line calls..) but he seems to have vanished off the map.

    I trust CDM’s judgement, but he did play center earlier this year. Is this just another example of how bad coach MacElteeth was at recognizing talent or recognizing when it wasn’t there?

  4. @robg8r1994, where’s the optimism? Get some sunlight! Deandre Francois is a good quarterback, but he ain’t Drew Lock.

    @Pierre, T.J. McCoy is very smart and gives amazing effort, so I suspect he simply got beat out by Nick Buchanan this year. And as @Arnold pointed out, he has been dealing with injury. McCoy is a 2014 class transfer from N.C. State. He (3*/0.8200) and Buchanan (3*/0.8274) evaluated roughly the same in the 247 Sports composite ranking coming out of high school. Jordan (3*/0.8821) and Heggie (3*/0.8656) both evaluated higher. Heggie has been plagues by injuries. In terms of player development, it would appear that Buchanan and Heggie have surpassed McCoy and Jordan.