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Muschamp: UF must keep poise against Miami

BY DAVID JONES
Florida Today

Published:   |   Updated: September 3, 2013 at 12:48 AM

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GAINESVILLE — Miami is opening its gates six hours before kickoff, calling for a “white out’’ of the Florida Gators and adding more seats to accommodate the demands of one of the most anticipated games in years for the Hurricanes.

But Florida coach Will Muschamp is trying to settle down all the emotions before they get started. He met with the players Monday with a message to control themselves.

“You’ve got to keep your composure,’’ Muschamp said. “It’s going to be a very emotional game, there’s going to be some ups and downs in the game. You’ve got to play for 60 minutes.’’

Florida QB Jeff Driskel won’t be one of those to worry about. He was complimentary toward the Hurricanes but was 10 years old in 2003, the last time the Gators played the Canes in Miami. He understands, though.

“The emotions are going to be high,’’ he said. “There’s going to be guys that know each other. And you always want to play well in front of your family and friends. About half our team is from South Florida, so they’ll be ready to go. But (Muschamp) did mention we need to handle ourselves, which we will.’’

Mack Brown, who had the first 100-game game of his career in the 24-6 win against Toledo in the opener, is listed as the No. 2 running back now. Matt Jones, the projected preseason starter, is back and was listed as the starter in the latest depth chart released Monday afternoon.

Muschamp said Jones, the former Armwood High product who missed the past month while recovering from a viral infection, will play Saturday. Muschamp said the Gators “feel pretty good about his progress. As we work through the week, we’ll be able to know how much he will be able to contribute, but he certainly will play.”

Also LB Antonio Morrison, who was suspended the first game for offseason legal issues, is back on the depth chart as the No. 2 middle linebacker behind Michael Taylor.

LB Darrin Kitchens pulled a stomach muscle but should play. Dominique Easley has the flu. Both, along with OL D.J. Humphries (knee), are expected to play.

A win Saturday would give Florida some recruiting help since the Gators have gone more into the Miami area since Muschamp became head coach in 2011. Miami’s program was hurt by NCAA issues but there’s no doubt this game will have some impact.

“They have players every year,’’ Muschamp said. “You take Broward and Dade (counties). Those two alone, the number of players that sign out of there every year. Certainly, recruiting the state of Florida is very important to us, first of all. There’s great players in the Orlando area, Jacksonville area, Tampa, St. Pete and all the way through. Whatever players that appeal to us are the guys that we’re going to recruit, but certainly, that’s a very fertile area.’’

OFF SCHEDULE: This could be Florida’s last visit to play the Hurricanes for a long time. Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley said it would be tough to keep giving up a home date to play a home-and-home series. If the SEC adds a ninth league game after the 2014 season, it would be highly unlikely he’d be willing to play again in South Florida.

Foley said the Gators started saving $700,000 on an annual basis beginning four years ago to make up the loss in the budget for 2013-14. UF usually plays seven home games but will play six this season.

This is the first time UF is playing a road game against the Hurricanes since 2003.

“I say it would be very difficult to ever do it again,’’ Foley said.

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