Florida Gators: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

OSU extends offer to Watch List DT 

February, 27, 2013
Urban Meyer was at it again Wednesday with yet another offer to a defensive lineman.

2014 DE Brown taking it slow 

January, 4, 2013
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- 2014 defensive end Keyon Brown (Wauchula, Fla./Hardee) had a blistering pace to his process going when four offers flew in from Louisiana-Lafayette, Miami, Pittsburgh and UCF.

Things now have been a little more manageable. Brown says he's still talking to teams the same, but it is at a slower rate.

"Right now, I am not really decided or anything like that," he said. "I probably won't decide until next year where I am going. The recruiting process started off crazy. It has kind of slowed down, it is steady, but it isn't as crazy as it was."

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Top 5 moments: Block party

December, 11, 2012
Editor’s note: GatorNation is counting down the top five moments of Florida’s 2012 season this week. They could be plays, drives, quarters or decisions, but regardless of what they are, they are the significant moments that shaped the season.

We continue with No. 4: Block party

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Was Florida’s shot at possibly playing for a national championship going to be squashed?

Not by an SEC opponent, but by Louisiana-Lafayette?

At Florida Field?

Loucheiz Purifoy
Rob Foldy/Icon SMILoucheiz Purifoy's blocked punt, which Jelani Jenkins returned for a touchdown, kept Florida's national championship hopes alive.
That was possible on Nov. 10. The game was tied at 20 with 1:42 remaining and the Ragin’ Cajuns taking over at their own 27-yard line. They needed only to get into position for a field goal to give Brett Baer, a Lou Groza Award semifinalist, a chance to hand the Gators perhaps the worst upset in school history. Instead, coach Mark Hudspeth decided to play for overtime.

That decision, plus three UF timeouts and Loucheiz Purifoy’s long right arm, kept the Gators alive.

After gaining only 7 yards in three plays, ULL lined up to punt with 13 seconds remaining. Purifoy came off the left side of the formation unblocked, got his hand on Baer’s punt, and Jelani Jenkins caught the ball and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown with just two seconds remaining.

"We certainly make it interesting," UF coach Will Muschamp said after the game. "It’s a football team that’s finding ways to win games."

The Gators shouldn’t have even been in that position though. UF had outscored ULL 206-35 in four previous meetings with the Ragin’ Cajuns, including a pair of shutouts. Even with backup QB Jacoby Brissett playing in the fourth quarter because of an ankle injury to starter Jeff Driskel, the Gators should have had an easy victory.

Instead, the offense managed just 162 yards passing and 311 total yards against a ULL defense that was giving up 294.6 yards per game passing and 433.2 yards per game in total offense, stats which ranked 114th and 89th in the nation, respectively.

ULL rallied from a 10-point deficit to take a 20-13 lead -- one touchdown came on a blocked punt return -- before Brissett led the Gators on a game-tying drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Quinton Dunbar with less than two minutes to play.

Then came Purifoy’s block, which turned out to be one of the biggest plays of the season. The Gators beat Jacksonville State the following week and then went on the road and beat Florida State to stay alive in the national championship race until Notre Dame's victory over USC hours after UF’s victory over FSU.

It also was instrumental in UF earning an at-large bid to the Allstate Sugar Bowl instead of spending New Year’s Day in the Capital One or Outback bowls.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Here’s an analysis of three key plays in Florida’s 27-20 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.

Block party 1

ULL blocks Kyle Christy's punt

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Florida 10: Week 10 rankings 

November, 12, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Which Florida players are making the biggest contributions on the field?

GatorNation will tell you every week. It’s not just a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.

Here’s this week’s top 10 (last week’s rankings in parentheses):

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The 2012 season has been hard for Florida QB Jacoby Brissett.

He lost a seemingly endless battle with fellow sophomore Jeff Driskel for the starting job and had to sit and watch from the sidelines as Driskel led the Gators to an 8-1 record. He made just two appearances, in blowouts over Kentucky and South Carolina, since he started the season opener.

[+] EnlargeJacoby Brissett
Courtesy of UF CommunicationsJacoby Brissett is hoping his attention to detail pays off should he need to finish out Florida's season.
He had to continue to prepare as if he was going to play while at the same time knowing he wasn’t. It was an unusual situation for the former U.S. Army All-American who two years ago led West Palm Beach, Fla/Dwyer High School to the Class 4A semifinals.

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3 Up, 3 Down: Florida 27, La.-Lafayette 20 

November, 11, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida avoided one of the worst losses in school history by making a huge play on special teams in the closing seconds. The Gators’ offense -- as usual -- struggled but came through late with a game-tying touchdown drive.

Here are the good and bad from the 27-20 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette:

[+] EnlargeJelani Jenkins
Rob Foldy/Icon SMIJelani Jenkins saved what would have been a brutal loss for Florida.

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Louisiana Lafayette (5-3) at No. 6 Florida (8-1)
Saturday, 12:21 p.m. ET
Florida Field, Gainesville, Fla.
SEC Network

Gators to watch

Omarius Hines
Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesFlorida senior Omarius Hines will have an expanded role, including kickoff returns, on Saturday.
RB Omarius Hines: With WR/KR Andre Debose out with a knee injury, Hines will have to take over the role as the Gators’ primary ball carrier on the jet sweeps and the kick returner. He did it last week against Missouri and had a 36-yard TD run on a jet sweep. Hines isn’t as fast as Solomon Patton, but he is a more physical runner and that allows the Gators to use him in other ways, too. He’s a player who needs to touch the ball more and will get his chance again.

FS Josh Evans: Evans is having the best season of his career, and not only because he leads the Gators with 62 tackles. He has picked off two passes, broken up three others and has two sacks as a blitzer. His improvement has allowed the Gators to walk SS Matt Elam up to the line of scrimmage without worrying about giving up the big play.

RB Chris Johnson: He has only touched the ball five times on offense, but Johnson is pretty much everywhere on special teams. He nearly had a touchdown on a fumble return against South Carolina and he leads the Gators with nine special teams tackles.

Ragin’ Cajuns to watch

QB Terrance Broadway: He has filled in capably for Blaine Gautier (broken hand) and is coming off back-to-back games in which he has accounted for at least 349 yards of total offense. He threw for 265 and rushed for 84 against Arkansas State and threw for 373 and rushed for 87 against Louisiana-Monroe. He’ll have a tougher time against UF, which is giving up only 140.1 yards passing per game.

(Read full post)

Michael DiRocco and Jeff Barlis break down Louisiana-Lafayette's trip to Ben Hill Griffin to face No. 6 Florida.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 6 Florida plays host to Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday. It’s the first of three non-conference games for the Gators, who finish the regular season against rival Florida State in Tallahassee. Florida has won the four previous meetings with the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Here are five storylines for the game:

1. Gators won’t be grounded: Florida has got to find ways to make some plays down the field in the pass game before the Nov. 24 FSU game. The Gators are going to work on that against the Ragin’ Cajuns. That means better pass protection from the offensive line and the backs and tight ends who have to pick up rushers, as well as better work from the receivers. It might be time to get Raphael Andrades and Latroy Pittman more involved as pass catchers, because Quinton Dunbar and Frankie Hammond have not been consistent enough, although they have come through with several big plays.

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GAINESVILE, Fla. -- Florida coach Will Muschamp took to the SEC's weekly teleconference on Wednesday morning to talk about the Gators’ game against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday. He touched on injuries, the passing offense, and what he remembers about telling QB Jacoby Brissett that Jeff Driskel had won the starting job.

1. Three guys are out

The Gators will be without two reserves and their top kickoff returner against the Ragin’ Cajuns, Muschamp said.

Mack Brown probably will be out with an ankle. He’s not been able to do anything thus far this week.

"Andre Debose hyperextended his knee last Thursday and has been unable to get back in action so far, so definitely those two guys [won’t play]. Expecting everybody else back.

"Leon Orr, who’s missed time with an illness, right now is working his way back in shape. Probably will not play Saturday.”

The Gators’ other injured players -- LT Xavier Nixon (undisclosed), LG James Wilson (knee), RG Jon Halapio (ankle), FB Hunter Joyer (thigh bruise), K Caleb Sturgis (ankle) -- will play.

2. Airing it out

UF has thrown the ball 52 times in the last two games, including a season-high 29 times against Georgia. Not by design, though.

“I think it’s a little bit how the game played out. We realized we need to do a little bit more vertically throwing the football. It’s been a little bit of a conscious effort but more than anything what the defense is giving us. People are loading the box. We’ve got to create some opportunities for us down the field.”

3. A smooth conversation

Muschamp has commented several times this season about how well Brissett has handled himself after losing out on the starting job. Muschamp was asked what the meeting was like when he told Brissett that Driskel had won the job and what his message to Brissett was.

“Jacoby is a competitor and a guy that has handled this as good as anybody can handle it. But [the meeting went] very well. ... [Muschamp told him] that I thought he had done a great job preparing and working and we decided to go with Jeff. That meeting is between Jacoby and I. He was very professional.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The next two weeks might not result in much excitement among Florida fans or even players, but there’s no doubt that two upcoming games against weak nonconference opponents are just what the Gators need right now.

Six starters and two key special teams players are among nine players who either missed Saturday’s victory over Missouri or suffered injuries during the game. None of the injuries appear to be particularly serious, and there’s plenty of time for those players to rest in the next two weeks so they can be completely healthy for the Nov. 24 regular-season finale at rival Florida State.

But if some can't play against the Seminoles, UF coach Will Muschamp isn’t worried. He has watched his team overcome injuries all season, and do it well enough to be 8-1 overall and 7-1 in the Southeastern Conference.

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Lavon Hooks a basketball player no more 

October, 12, 2012
Lavon Hooks went to Booneville (Miss.) Northeast to be a basketball player. He'll leave a football player.

"He wasn't on anybody's radar," Northeast head coach Ricky Smithers said.

Now he is. Once a 6-foot-4, 245-pound hoopster, Hicks is now a 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle.

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Sunday Night QB: Scouting during the bye 

September, 30, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida not playing on Saturday presented the chance to get a look at some of the Gators’ upcoming opponents.

Here’s a breakdown of what Florida fans should like about what they saw and what should be a concern when they play.


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QB Will Grier talks Tennessee-Florida visit 

September, 17, 2012
Will Grier was able to double-dip on Saturday.

In one trip, the junior quarterback from Davidson (N.C.) Day School was able to inspect two of the schools he is strongly considering: Tennessee and Florida.

[+] EnlargeWill Grier
Miller Safrit/ESPN.com2014 quarterback Will Grier watched two of his favorites play Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn.
“It was great,” the 2014 prospect said via text message when asked of his visit to Knoxville, Tenn. “Amazing atmosphere.”

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McElwain discusses new Florida football
SEC Network's Greg McElory and Booger McFarland sit down to discuss the future of Florida football with head coach Jim McElwain.