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State schools see Injury adversity strike already

(Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire)
Florida Football Insiders



We are only two weeks into the college football season and schools from Tallahassee to Miami and from Tampa to Gainesville there are questions about prominent players health.

For Florida State, head coach Jimbo Fisher confirmed to the media Tuesday that the Noles will be without star Safety Derwin James for several weeks. He injured his knee in the 3rd quarter of the blow out win over Charleston Southern. In addition to being a starter he brings play maker mentality to the FSU D. But for now, he’s in the rest and rehab mode.

In Miami, the Canes have had two easy wins at home and may have a trap waiting in Carolina Mountains, as they take on Appalachian State Saturday. Miami is already without starting DT Courtel Jenkins sidelined with a meniscus injury in his knee, but now they add arguably there most aggressive defender in the back seven of the defense with fifth year-senior Adrian Colbert nursing the same meniscus injury. New Head Coach Mark Richt will have his hands full on several fronts this Saturday.

At USF, the Bulls venture on the road for the first time when they hit the Carrier Dome for Syracuse. And the midweek good news is that all world running back Marlon Mack appears that he will be back at least to carry some in Western New York. Mack, who gained 1,400 yards a year ago, returned to practice after clearing concussion protocol. The USF junior was crunched by a Towson defender in the first half of game one and suffered not only the blow to the head but an upper chest injury. With FSU looming in two weeks at home, the Bulls need Mack healthy and carving up defenses again.

Finally in Gator country, it doesn’t look like star WR Antonio Callaway will be able to play or at least be effective, in the game Saturday with North Texas. The sophomore, who is the top Florida return threat as well,  injured his quad in the Kentucky game last week and was limping in practice Tuesday afternoon. Those are typically 2-4 week injuries depending on the severity, which means he should be better for the early showdown in Knoxville, but more importantly for the full slate of the SEC. For now, though, it’s hope and wait.

You can scheme, prepare, dial up the best stuff, but you have to have the best players to succeed and while none of the above seem to be season threatening injuries, they are a reminder of the ultimate unknown: who’s hurt?

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Florida Gators

Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday

Florida Football Insiders



Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.

The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:

A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.

With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.

As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.

Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.

It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.

Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.

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Florida Gators

Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools

Jamil King



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.

The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of  former DB C.J. Henderson.

Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.

The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.

Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?

Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.

The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.

Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.

Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.

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