With the devastating situation of Hurricane Dorian jeopardizing the east coast of Florida and the United States, football is obviously secondary to safety. However, both the Florida Gators and the Jacksonville Jaguars have their eyes on what will potentially be transpiring over the next 2 – 3 days.
First, Dorian made landfall as a Category 5 over the Bahamas on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, devastating the islands with over 190 miles per hour winds and storm surge.
The latest projected path, as of lunchtime Monday, is the hurricane will begin to turn North and to the West Monday night and Tuesday. There is encouraging news that Dorian may miss the state of Florida and potentially, skirt the Southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States altogether.
However, the University of Florida is monitoring the situation and has already canceled classes for Tuesday.
And, athletic director Scott Stricklin took to Twitter Monday morning to answer a fan question about the status of Saturday night’s primetime game scheduled at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium against UT – Martin:
No changes to weekend schedule at this point. The only adjustment that has been made is that campus is closed Tuesday.
Current forecast has Gainesville receiving relatively minimal wind/rain, but that of course could change. Stay tuned and be safe! https://t.co/PQRfZIcQpF
— Scott Stricklin (@ScottStricklin) September 2, 2019
The Gators are obviously very familiar with Hurricanes threatening and/or canceling their home games. This includes, the infamous in decision to cancel the LSU home game in September of 2016 due to Hurricane Matthew.
Thankfully, that hurricane never came on shore, but it did have wind and storm surge damage to Jacksonville and the surrounding area. However, it did not impact Gainesville and the game could have likely been played, even the following day, etc. Instead, it was postponed and moved to Baton Rouge that November.
Now, the same situation exists for later this week. And, that includes the Jaguars, who are getting ready for their regular season opener at home with a scheduled 1 p.m. game time with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The NFL will obviously be involved with the Jags to make a determination on the game day and time and whether it might need to be pushed back to later Sunday. And in the past, the league has also moved games due to hurricanes Sunday night or Monday night.
The NFL would obviously not prefer to have the Jaguars game on Sunday than on Monday night. That’s when they already have a scheduled doubleheader with the Saints and Texans and Broncos and Raiders, but the hurricane and it’s possible damage will take precedence.
In the meantime it’s “a wait-and-see,” as Dorian slowly turns and heads North.
Vols Coach Pruitt- “Yes I hate Florida”
The Tennessee series with Florida has not been too kind to them as of late, but even as a heavy underdogs at the Swamp Saturday, they believe that they could change that. Oh, and then there’s your second year head coach wanting to make it clear he definitely dislikes the Gators.
Jeremy Pruitt, whose team suffered a humiliating opening-week loss at home to Georgia State and then followed that with another loss in heartbreaking fashion to BYU in overtime in week two, took to the radio airwaves Wednesday to answer questions from Volunteers fans. And, one wanted to make sure how much he despised Florida:
Jeremy Pruitt didn't mince his words when asked if he does, in fact, hate the Gators.
"Yes, I hate Florida."https://t.co/4Ux0DzPwYl
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) September 19, 2019
The caller asked a question about whether the Vols might be able to pull a shocker, like they did over Auburn in Pruitt’s inaugural season of 2018, but also very plainly put it to the former Alabama and Florida State defensive coordinator, “do you hate Florida?”
Pruitt answered the question about the mentality going into Gainesville, as a 14-point underdog in their SEC opener. Then threw in the line,
“And yes, I hate Florida.”
And, while Gators fans might take that insult, as perfect “bulletin board material” to motivate their team, the dislike has been there from both sides for 25 years or more.
Encouraging for the Vols, and even though it was under previous coach Butch Jones, Tennessee should have a mentality should be that they can hang with Florida. As each of the last two meetings in Gainesville under Jones, Tennessee had the lead in the final minute of the game, only to let Florida dramatically score the game-winning touchdown on a huge pass play.
A year ago in Knoxville, the Gators used six turnovers and two defensive touchdowns to wipe out Tennessee 47-21 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final.
Meanwhile, instead of the “level of hatred, or not” Gators coach Dan Mullen has bigger concerns about using dual quarterbacks in Kyle Trask and Emory Jones. And, he must deal with the expectations that the Gators should, once again, wipe out “The Big Orange.”
Then, let the media and fans talk about insults, afterwards.
Gators coach Mullen likely to use two QBs against Tennessee
After losing starting QB Feleipe Franks to an ankle injury on Saturday night against SEC rival Kentucky, the Gators have now found themselves with an unexpected decision as to who will be starting QB?
Franks was replaced by redshirt junior Kyle Trask, who was seeing his first significant action of his Florida career, especially trailing by double figures in a hostile SEC road environment. However, it’s likely that RS Freshman Emory Jones will also take some snaps at quarterback this season.
Mullen sat down with Emory Jones and Kyle Trask this morning and told them they're ready for this moment because of all the reps they've gotten in practice.
— Robbie Andreu (@RobbieAndreu) September 16, 2019
Mullens decision to potentially go with both QBs could be not only to determine which guy will be his offensive leader for the rest of the season, but to also give their next opponent, Tennessee, more to prepare for as the head into their next conference rivalry game.
The Gators second year coach announced on Monday that Franks is officially done for the season.
On a fourth-and-one scramble with 3:21 remaining, Franks was sandwiched between multiple Wildcat defenders and bent backwards. Even though replays weren’t shown, it was clear he had suffered a dislocated right ankle injury.
So bad was the injury, that trainers who came to assist Franks on the turf at Commonwealth Stadium immediately put an air cast on his right leg. Then he was eventually carted off to the locker room after nearly the entire Gator team had surrounded him and wished him well.
Frank’s has been a “lightning rod of criticism” throughout his Florida career, but did silence a lot of those critics with his play down the stretch last season. That included a late season comeback win over South Carolina, playing well in the rivalry victory over Florida State, and then, following that up with a good performance in the easy victory in the Peach Bowl over Michigan.
However, Franks and the offense struggled much of the first three quarters of Saturday night’s SEC opener at Kentucky. At the time he left with an injury he was an efficient 12-17 for 174 yards with a TD pass and 1 INT. Still, they had only put one touchdown on the board while trailing 21 – 10.
Trask went in for Franks and went on to pull out a come from behind win for the Gators, completing 9 for 13 passes, with 126 passing yards. He’ll be competing for playing time with Jones, the No. 85 overall prospect in the Class of 2018 and four-star dual-threat quarterback.
Jones saw limited action last season to maintain redshirt status, but completed 12-16 passes for 125 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the four games he play in. Jones is also more of a dual threat to run and that will give Mullen and staff more options on play calls, if/when he’s on the field.
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