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New Spring pro football league announces Steve Spurrier as first head coach

Florida Football Insiders

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Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

The newest spring professional football league, the Alliance of American Football (AAF), announced it’s intentions last month to begin play in February of 2019. However, they wanted to wait on naming franchise cities and coaches.

Well, on Saturday morning, they made a splash and it involves not only the city of Orlando being named with a team, but arguably the most famous, successful and outrageous Gators personality of them all, as the head coach.

The “Head Ball Coach” is back:

Steve Spurrier will return to his professional football coaching roots, as he was once the highly successful coach of the United States Football League’s Tampa Bay Bandits in the mid-1980’s.

Spurrier later went on to coach at Duke, leading them to the 1989 ACC title before returning to his alma matter, where he had won the Heisman Trophy, and became the most flamboyant (and annoying to opponents) personality in southern coaching. Spurrier won SEC championship six times and eventually the 1996 National Championship while in Gainesville.

Back to the AAF, their CEO and co-founder Charlie Ebersol (the son of legendary Emmy award winning TV producer Dick Ebersol) made the announcement live on CBS TV Saturday morning. He was joined by one of the league’s former professional “player consultants,” in former Steelers great WR Hines Ward, and then a short time later, Spurrier joined them on set in New York.

The AAF also released this statement from Spurrier:

“What first captured my attention was Charlie and Bill’s commitment to putting top-flight, professional football on the field and creating a true alliance between fans, players and the game. The Alliance offers a unique opportunity to get back into coaching, this time for a spring season, and work closely with hungry, talented athletes looking to begin, revive or extend their professional careers.

The fact I can do this in Orlando makes it that much sweeter. I’m fired up and ready to go.” — Steve Spurrier, Orlando Alliance head coach”

The “Bill” is Bill Polian, the former Colts GM, who when the AAF held it’s initial press conference in New York, was essentially designated as the lead football personality, without being named as commissioner.

Here’s a clip from the “CBS This Morning” Saturday show with Spurrier talking about why he wants to return to the sidelines:

Spurrier does have recent pro football experience too, albeit a bad one. He was the failed head coach of the Washington Redskins in 2002-03. Spurrier was just 12-20 in two years in Washington before resigning.

The AAF will continue to name franchises this spring and summer, as they plan to play with eight teams in 2019.

They have an exclusive television deal with CBS to show their inaugural game next February, weekly “games of the week” on CBS Sports Network, and then it’s championship game back on CBS in April of 2019.

Orlando is no stranger to spring football having had the Renegades of the USFL that were actually coached by ESPN College Football analyst Lee Corso. And then, the one year failed experiment that was the XFL in 2001, which had former Gators coach Galen Hall coaching the “Orlando Rage” team.

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Florida Gators

College programs continue November domination of our power rankings

Jamil King

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Another week has come and gone in the football world. Already in November, the season is flying by. Some teams are hitting stride, others are falling flat, and some are treading water. With that let’s get right into the rankings:

5. Jacksonville Jaguars- The 5th spot might as well be cursed. Almost every time I put a team here they lose. So, sorry Jacksonville. Out of all the teams to lose they showed the most upside. The Jags came into the season with championship hopes. What they are now looking at is a team that is trying to make a late-season push for the playoffs. They finally got Lenard Fournette back in the lineup, and he showed that he is the centerpiece to the offense. He had 30 total touches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. The Jags are two games out of the second wildcard, and if they have any playoff aspirations, they need to start a win streak immediately.

4. FAU Owls-  The Owls were not flying last Saturday- they were running, running, and running. Devin Singletary became the first running back in school history to top over 4,000 yards career yards. He also had a modest 148 yards rushing and two touchdowns and his running mate Kerrith Whyte, Jr. had 163 yards rushing and two touchdowns of his own. The Owls would handle Western Kentucky 34-15. Owls are picking up steam in C-USA.

3. Florida Gators- Felipe Franks was able to quiet the crowd and lead the Gators to gritty come from behind win Saturday. One thing though this was a home game. Franks gave the crowd “the shhh motion,” with his finger over his lips not once, but twice. The Gators put up 21 unanswered second-half points leading them to a win over former coach Will Muschamp and the Gamecocks. The Gators finished 5-3 in the SEC and will hope for an easier time with Idaho this week and a lot more cheering than boos and quiet gestures.

2. FIU Panthers- The Panthers pounced all over Texas-San Antonio last week by the score of 45-7. QB James Morgan broke the schools single-season touchdown record with his 22nd of the season. Morgan would add two more along with 291 yards. The Panther defense forced four turnovers in the win. A road date with Charlotte is on the schedule for next week before ending with Marshall as the Panthers look to win the C-USA East division and potentially host the Title Game.

1. UCF Knights- The Knights won yet again, and at this point, it feels like clockwork. McKenzie Milton tossed a pair of touchdowns and ran for one. Greg McCrae topped 100 yards rushing with Adrian Killins adding 83 yards rushing. The Knights have gathered more national attention with College game day making the trip to Orlando over the Notre Dame Syracuse contest. The Knights will have their toughest test of the season under the bright lights against Cincinnati, who just took out USF. UCF wanted attention. They now have it.

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Florida Gators

Gators have lots to smile about after late comeback

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Through a lot of reasons that Gator fans should be smiling on Saturday night after Florida roared back to defeat South Carolina 35 – 31 at the Swamp.

They should be smiling because, when it appeared all was lost when South Carolina took a 31-14 late in the third quarter, the Gators showed guts and heart that makes the difference in battles like these. Honestly, it’s the type of deficit that the Gators would have thrown in the towel on in the last few years.

Further, smiling because it came at the expense of Will Muschamp, their former coach, who was his usual animated-maniac self as South Carolina unraveled in the 4th quarter.

Smiling because Felipe Franks, for all the criticism of the last couple of weeks and talk of him being benched, played one of his best games of his Florida career. Frank’s completed 15 of 21 passes for 161 yards with a TD pass  and ran for two critical scores, including the game-winner on a fourth-and-goal (above) with four minutes remaining.

Yes, there is some controversy over him putting up the finger to his lips to “shush the Swamp,” as it was cheering him. This was as if to say: stop criticizing me, yet cheering me. Now, in fairness, a lot of those people that were cheering that 4th and goal touchdown had been the same ones calling for Frank’s to be benched. They’re happy and Franks is now happy with the comeback.

Smiling because the Gators put two running backs, Jordan Scarlett and LaMichael Perine, both went of 100 yards and Florida put together three long scoring drives late in the game, when they had to have them.

Smiling because For the first time in three games, the Gators defense finally came up with a takeaway and it was huge, as CJ Henderson’s pick in the fourth all but iced the game.

Smiling because Dan Mullen, his staff and their players demonstrated there was no quit in them, yet again. It was the second time in a month that Florida was down by at least 17 points, Vandy was the other, yet, they rallied to win. And you can tell his players love playing hard for him:

Smiling, because the win has the Gators at 5 and 3 in the SEC and in Prime position to have a New Year’s Day bowl game in Florida, probably at either the Outback Bowl in Tampa or the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville.

No. It wasn’t easy, but it was memorable Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

And the smiles will last for at least while.

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Florida Gators

Gators backup QB Trask apparently suffered serious knee injury Wednesday

Florida Football Insiders

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Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Well, if the Gators were in fact looking at another quarterback to possibly replace starter Feleipe Franks, they were dealt a bad injury break Wednesday afternoon.

That’s when reserve quarterback Kyle Trask was injured in a non-contact situation during the Gators practice. He was carted off the field and there has been no official update given.

Thomas Goldkamp, Gators beat reporter with 24/7 Sports, was the first to report the injury Wednesday evening:

The Gators had another struggling Saturday offensively at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, when they were beaten decisively 38-17 by Missouri for a second straight loss. Trask actually replaced Franks the second half of the game, and he threw a fourth-quarter touchdown. That gave some Gator fans hope that coach Dan Mullen might be contemplating a switch for this week’s match-up with South Carolina.

Trask, who is a redshirt sophomore, was a high school star in Texas, who redshirted in 2016. However, he also had an injury last year and never played.

With Mullen and his new staff taking over, their was an off season competition for who would start this season. Franks eventually won that competition and has been the Gators starter the entire year.

As of Wednesday night, Florida had not confirmed Trask injury or the severity of it.

Our Matt Zemek had written earlier Wednesday about the “pros and cons” of remaining with Franks or going to another QB.

The Gators also have dual-threat quarterback freshman Emory Jones, who they could turn to, should they still want to bench Frank’s for this game or later in the year.

Jones has played sparingly this season, including two weeks ago during the loss to Georgia. He only carried the ball out of the “Wildcat formation” four times for 12 yards in the game with the Dawgs. It’s also believed that Jones has struggled to pick up Mullen’s offense in his first season, and was not ready to be the guy to replace Franks, unless it’s an emergency.

Now, if Trask is done for the year, Jones may be that guy right behind Franks.

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