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Thursday, February 02, 2023

UF kicker Joey Ijjas has earned a scholarship with the Gators and will be the starting placekicker this season, Coach Urban Meyer said Wednesday.

When Meyer recently announced that Ijjas would likely be the man to kick field goals for the Gators this season, it appeared Ijjas had won the job by default. Junior Jonathan Phillips has been battling a hyperextended knee.

"(Ijjas) is going to kick in the first game," Meyer said. "He had a hell of a day today. He's earned it. I'm happy for Joey."

Ijjas is the most experienced kicker on the team after taking over as the UF's kickoff specialist last season.

The senior has not yet attempted a single field goal with the Gators.

POSITION BATTLES: Redshirt freshman Bryan Thomas has impressed Meyer in practice lately and is making a push for playing time at safety, the coach said.

While senior Tony Joiner is a lock to start at free safety, there is some competition for the free safety position.

Senior Kyle Jackson is the frontrunner, but he is being pushed by Thomas, sophomore Dorian Munroe, freshman Major Wright and redshirt freshman Jamar Hornsby.

"(Jackson) struggled yesterday, but he had a good day today," Meyer said.

At wide receiver, Meyer praised junior David Nelson and sophomore Riley Cooper.

"They're going to play," he said.

Meanwhile, Meyer is still waiting to name Tim Tebow's backup at quarterback.

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The coach recently admitted that freshman Cameron Newton had the leg up on fellow freshman John Brantley, but he backtracked a bit Wednesday.

Meyer said he expects to decide within the week.

WOMEN'S HOOPS: The UF women's basketball team released its 2007-2008 schedule Wednesday.

The Gators will begin their season at home against Xavier on Oct. 9.

Notable non-conference games on the schedule include trips to Nebraska, Louisville and Temple, as well as home games against UF State, Texas Christian and St. Louis.

"It's a very challenging non-conference schedule," first-year head coach Amanda Butler said. "Some of the games aren't necessarily ideal for gaining confidence, but it will toughen us up and get us ready for the quality of competition we are going to face in the SEC."

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