Florida Gators Prepare To Take On Big10’s Iowa Hawkeyes In Outback Bowl Monday

By  //  January 1, 2017

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GATORS NOTEs, GRUDEN VISITs, PLAYER INTERVIEWS

ABOVE VIDEO: A quick preview of the 2017 Outback Bowl.

TAMPA, FLORIDA – Former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Jon Gruden’s name used to surface as a potential candidate nearly every time a major opening came along in college football, including at Florida when Urban Meyer departed after the 2010 season.

Gruden called Meyer’s last game at Florida – coincidentally, also Florida’s last trip to Tampa – as the TV color analyst for the 2011 Outback Bowl.

Of course, Gruden has stayed in the broadcast booth over the years as color analyst on “Monday Night Football.”

However, the Tampa resident stopped by Jesuit High School on Wednesday afternoon to speak to the Gators at practice. Gruden even broke the huddle for the No. 20-ranked Gators, who face No. 21 Iowa on Monday in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium.

Monday Night Football color analyst and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer head coach, John Gruden, stopped by Jesuit High School on Wednesday afternoon to speak to the Gators at practice.

THEY HAVE HISTORY

Unlike coaches around the Southeastern Conference this season, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has a solid scouting report on Florida quarterback Austin Appleby. A familiar storyline surrounding Monday’s game is Appleby’s background at Purdue and his three games against the Hawkeyes.

In Iowa’s 40-20 victory over Purdue last year, Appleby completed 23 of 40 passes for 259 yards, no interceptions and a touchdown. Ferentz was asked about facing Appleby one more time.

“I’m not real enthusiastic about seeing him again,” Ferentz said. “It’s not like we’ve got a great memory from last year’s game. He played pretty well against us.”

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OUTBACK BOWL PRESS CONFERENCE

Gators head coach Jim McElwain joined Iowa’s Ferentz on Wednesday afternoon for the first Outback Bowl press conference since the teams started to practice in Tampa.

INJURY UPDATE

The Gators suffered several lingering injuries in the second half of the season and some are still lingering.

But whatever health scare kicker Eddy Pineiro had over Florida’s holiday break appears to be no concern. Pineiro was dressed and at practice on Wednesday.

“He’ll be out there today and do whatever he does,” McElwain said at a press conference prior to practice. “I don’t know that he practices a ton, to be honest. I think he swings his leg around a little bit. So he’ll do that.”
Meanwhile, linebacker Alex Anzalone, who missed the last four games due to a broken arm, was in full pads. The status of several players remains uncertain.

“We’ve had some guys actually go through workouts,” McElwain said. “Nothing has really changed.”

McElwain expects to have a better idea of player availability on Friday.

QUOTE OF NOTE I

ABOVE VIDEO: Following Friday’s practice, Jim McElwain addressed the local media in Tampa.

“You said 140 countries? I’m not going to tell that to our guys. They might get scared.” – McElwain after hearing Monday’s game on ABC will be broadcast in 140 countries around the world

QUOTE OF NOTE II

“I think just our logo being on local television and being out there the way it is, it obviously is something that helps.” — McElwain on if playing a bowl game in Tampa helps with recruiting in the city.

QUOTE OF NOTE III

ABOVE VIDEO: Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz talks about his teams chances vs. the Florida Gators in the 2017 Outback Bowl on January 2 in Tampa. 

“They’ve got an NFL back end [secondary]. That’s a challenge. We’re not exactly NFL stature on the outside necessarily.” — Ferentz on challenge of facing Florida’s defense

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