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November 13, 2012

View from the press box: Football tidbits

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    There's only so much one can see when watching the Gators play on television. That's why Inside the Gators is returning its "View from the Press Box" feature for 2012 - a look at things that might have gone unnoticed during the broadcast. Here's what we saw Saturday:

  • Though announced attendance was 86,482, Saturday's game was the worst-attended game of the season by fans. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise given the opponent and time of year, but one might have thought homecoming would be a slight attendance boost. The student section had the greatest number of empty seats, with entire sections nearly empty. That was hardly the only empty section as there were plenty of empty seats in the North and East stands. There were even more empty seats than usual in the usually packed tight West stands.

  • The fans who did show up got restless in the second half and began booing the offense after failed possessions. It was the most booing, directed at the home team, heard in the Swamp this season.

  • Left guard James Wilson was dressed and went through warm-ups, but the coaching staff decided to hold him out of action because of a knee injury.

  • Linebacker Neiron Ball had his foot looked at by trainers, who taped the foot heavily. He was later sent to the locker room for a possible MRI. He was listed as doubtful for this Saturday's game on Monday.

  • Despite the low-level opponent, defensive end Dominique Easley had his dance moves in full gear Saturday and was one of the lone players who was jacked up for most of the game. The defense as a whole was a stark contrast to the offense - whose players looked for the most part as though they were attending a wake. That has been an ongoing issue on that side of the ball. They don't have a cheerleader type, or even a leader who at least attempts to rally the troops when things aren't going well. They come off the field and take their seats. There's been a glaring lack of emotion from the offense all season. The only emotion seen all game was when the line coach openly displayed his displeasure at the play of the line.

  • Injured Buck linebacker Ronald Powell was seen icing his knee on the sidelines during the game.

  • Easley and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd were constantly giving pep talks to fellow defensive players on the sidelines.

  • Injured offensive tackle Xavier Nixon did not play Saturday but was seen spending time with his replacement, D.J. Humphries, on the sidelines.

  • Former Florida cornerback and current Cleveland Browns standout Joe Haden was on the Gators' sideline and spent a lot of time talking to Powell. He spoke to Florida's team Friday night at the team hotel.

  • Offensive tackle Matt Patchan spent most of the game talking to fellow unused offensive lineman Tommy Jordan.

  • At one point in the third quarter when the Gators were struggling mightily on offense, offensive line coach Tim Davis tore into his unit on the sidelines. Right guard Jon Halapio said after the game Florida was having communication issues for most of the game.

  • After Louisiana-Lafayette's lone offensive touchdown, Will Muschamp had some choice words for Buck linebacker Lerentee McCray as he came off the field.

  • For a moment in the third quarter, Matt Elam left the game with a shoulder injury and was checked out on the sideline. While he was out, cornerback Jaylen Watkins shifted to nickelback to take his place.

  • Safety Valdez Showers shoulder was injured when he collided with Loucheiz Purifoy on the game-winning blocked punt in the game's final seconds.

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