Gators notebook: No new COVID cases in any sport this past week

Robbie Andreu
Gator Sports
Florida coach Dan Mullen watches his team form the sideline during Saturday's game against Kentucky at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

 Since recovering from an outbreak that caused the postponement of two games earlier this season, the Florida football team has managed to stay ahead of the COVID-19 curve.

 The school reported Tuesday that there have been no positive tests for COVID-19 over the past week. The Gators had one positive test last week and made it through the month of November with just the one.

 “Our guys went through it and we understood it and we were able to get through it and move forward,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “I think that has allowed our guys really to get back their focus on football.”

RB Clement transferring

Florida redshirt sophomore running back Iverson Clement has entered the transfer portal.

Clement, a four-star recruit from Mount Holly, N.J., rushed for 94 yards on 12 carries in three years with the Gators. He's appeared in five games this season, carrying the ball five times for 29 yards.

He joins safety Quincy Lenton in the portal from UF. Lenton put his name in the portal last month and did not play for the Gators in 2020.

Clement played running back in all three seasons at UF, but lined up at another position as an early enrollee in 2018. Due to injures that spring, he moved to safety. Clement also played on special teams.

The Gators have four scholarship running backs remaining on the roster (Dameon Pierce, Malik Davis, Nay'Quan Wright and Lorenzo Lingard), all of whom can return next season. Five-star transfer Demarkcus Bowman will also be added to the position group in January.

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Mullen vs. Grantham no big deal

 The heated verbal exchange between Dan Mullen and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on the sideline in the first half of the Kentucky game did not stun the players in any way. They’ve seen this kind of thing before, linebacker James Houston said.

 “They’ve got their little battles that they have little arguments and what not, but it’s all for the team, it’s all about getting better,” Houston said. “We all push each other to be great every day. That’s like one of our teammates arguing with each other. We’re all pushing each other to be great.”

Cold weather Gators

 Playing Tennessee in Knoxville in December means the possibility of cold weather. And that’s what the Gators are bracing for this week, a game with the temperature in the low 40s.

 “Our players I’m sure will be fine,” Mullen said. “I’ll probably be bundled up with a hat, gloves and a big puffy winter jacket. I’ve gotten used to the warm weather, that Florida weather.

 “I don’t think it will be a big factor, to be perfectly honest with you. It is what it is. We have a lot of guys that have a desire to go play football beyond college. Turn those games on, most of them are in cold locations, so we’ve got to learn how to do that. It will be a fun experience for us.”

 Houston said the boys from old Florida will be ready for the cold challenge.

 “I’m a Florida boy, South Florida boy,” he said. “I’ve been in snow, I’ve seen the snow, so I’m not a stranger to it, but playing in the cold, it’s different for Florida boys. We’ve just got to be hyped and get that blood going, juices flowing, so we can come out strong.”

Diabate coming on

 True sophomore Mohamoud Diabate is starting to make more plays at his new position after making the move from outside linebacker to inside linebacker before the start of the season.

 Diabate made several plays in the win over Kentucky, including a second-half interception. 

 “He’s becoming a player,” Mullen said. “The more experience, the more times you see things, the more react to it, the more plays you make. He’s an explosive player. He’s got great speed. You saw him running down some play, tracking down some ball carriers (Saturday).”