Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday for the first time since the conclusion of the 2013 season in which his team finished 4-8. Muschamp updated the team’s injuries and provided some thoughts about a number of subjects.
Additional information about Florida’s offense, the three new members of its coaching staff and the Gators’ nine early enrollees will be published in subsequent posts.
“You are what your record is. I’m a 4-8 coach and we’ve got a 4-8 ball club. We need to work hard to get better and improve in every facet.”
INJURY UPDATES FOR SPRING PRACTICE
» Redshirt sophomore running back Matt Jones: “He had a radial tear of the meniscus, which basically splits the meniscus in half. … Generally, when you have a radial tear, one of two things you try and mend the meniscus back where you take it out and create a bone on bone situation, which, for a running back, is not good. In the first operation, our orthopedics put 60 percent back, which is very good. We’re very optimistic about the meniscus being fine. We’re going to go back and build the quad back and then we’re going to come back in three to four weeks to have a scope to repair the remaining 40 percent. And our orthopedics feel very confident that they’re going to be able to do so. But it is a little more lengthy. When you hear a ‘meniscus,’ you feel, ‘OK, it’s just a meniscus.’ You go in and reattach it and it’s fine. But this was torn all the way through. It’s a little more serious than a regular meniscus. He will miss spring; we feel like he’ll be ready to go for summer.”
» Redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel (broken fibula): “We did bump back spring [practice] about 10 days or so, which [he] should be fine. His rehab is coming very well.”
» Redshirt senior wide receiver Andre Debose (torn ACL): “He is doing well with the ACL, but he probably won’t be in any contact drills.”
» Redshirt junior offensive tackle Tyler Moore (elbow): “Tyler Moore should be fine for spring. He has another X-ray in about 2-3 weeks that will tell us more about when he will be clear for contact, but he should be fine for spring.
» Second-year linebackers Alex Anzalone (shoulder), Jeremi Powell (torn ACL) and Matt Rolin (torn ACL): “[All three] will be out. Rehab is going very well.”
» Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Octavius Jackson (shoulder): “Octavius Jackson had shoulder surgery on a chronic shoulder. We’ll know more about his future in the coming weeks. He’s having some issues there with his shoulder.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On whether Florida has fallen off in terms of recruiting: “Not at all. I feel like, considering we didn’t have a great season, I feel very comfortable where we are recruiting wise.”
» On whether he’s disappointed how things ended with QB Tyler Murphy: “I want to address the guys that are here apart of our football team. We wish him…we appreciate his contributions here and wish him the best of luck.”
» On starting positions heading into spring practice: “Every position is open. Every position. When you go 4-8, it’s all open.”
» On whether adjustments will be made to the strength and conditioning program after a season filled with a record number of injuries: “No. As far as those things are concerned, obviously we had some disappointing things that happened injury-wise. I did to a lot of research on soft-tissue injuries that we’ve had that have been dramatically reduced in our three years. Hamstrings in 2011, we had 15 where our student-athletes missed time. This year we had three. I think we had six or seven quad injuries [in 2011]; this year we had none. We had seven sports hernias in 2011; this year we had none. A lot of that goes to training. As far as the soft tissue injuries we’ve dramatically improved where we’ve been. But as far as the way we will train in the weight room and the conditioning programs, no. Practice-wise we will be more up-tempo offensively but that’s going to help us defensively. Look at all the teams we play. Most all of them are not huddling. We will adjust some things in practice to make sure we do what we need to do. We need that defensively as well.”
» On having three players with eligibility remaining declare for the 2014 NFL Draft: “Appreciate all three of those guys’ contributions here at the University of Florida. All three of those guys, in my opinion, did things the right way on how they handled it. Took all the information in, evaluated their situation, and guys, this is a personal decision. It’s a family decision they make. I support it 100 percent because they did it the right way. … Whatever it is worked for them. That’s how you look at it, and I appreciate how all of them took the information we had in June and you look back at last year’s draft. What we told those guys who came out early was about exactly where they went, round-wise, you know, depth wise as far as their position was concerned. So I appreciate those guys, and the way that they handled the situation there. I appreciate their contributions to Florida.”
» On what his sales pitch would be to offensive recruits: “Help us improve. I think a great opportunity to walk into a great situation to improve, play in an exciting offense. This is still the University of Florida. It’s a great education. We’ll compete and play for championships. That hasn’t changed. Not in one year, that hasn’t.”
» On whether recruiting – decommitting, prospects putting on shows for fans and teams – has gotten crazier: “The earlier and earlier recruiting goes, you’re going to continue to see this. That’s not stopping. I think the earlier it is, young men are making decisions before maybe they have the information or they’re sure of what they want to do or how they’re going to do it. I think you’re to continue to probably see this. You’ve got to recruit through it, understand when signing day is and know that you settle that there and at the end of the day, you’ll find out in a year or two, three years sometimes, what kind of a signing class it was as opposed to that day. That’s for sure.”
» On his philosophy with bringing in junior college players: “It’s got to be a position of need. You’ve got to feel like someone is going to come in and immediately help you. We’ve been very fortunate in our time here with Damien Jacobs coming in, Darious Cummings and now Drew Savary, of guys at a position of need to be able to step in and help us play. The thing that I always tell the junior college players that we recruit is, ‘Your clock is starting, so you better go to a situation where you know you can contribute.’ Those are the things, to me, that are important in those situations. You don’t want to see a junior college kid go to a university and not play. Their clock is starting, and they need to get on the field and play.”
On the Gators missing important bowl practices: “Football is a developmental game and you have opportunities to go out and play the game. It’s not like basketball where you can go tee it up with some of the guys or baseball where you can go do some of the individual work that certainly can help you. Not having the opportunity to go out and take snaps never is good.”
» On whether he is concerned about linebacker depth: “Probably 80 percent of what we play is nickel and dime. And when you really look at the teams and where our league’s headed right now … you’re playing 80 percent nickel [or dime defense]. You’ve got five and six [defensive backs], you’re playing really two natural linebacker positions. So depth for spring concerns you a little bit, but I don’t know that our numbers aren’t OK right now. Generally you talk in terms of eight or nine scholarship Mikes and Wills or a Sam here or there for what we play. In our scheme, that’s normally what fits us. Certainly for spring it’ll be a little of a concern, but those guys’ turns and reps will be there. We’ve talked in terms of movement toward a bigger nickel combination of Keanu Neal or Brian Poole or one of those guys because a lot of the time you get into the issue of substitution because of the tempo, when teams do change it’s harder sometimes to match personnel like we do. So you’ve got to be able to adjust your nickel personnel in the regular packages, and we’re going to look at that.”
» On flipping recruits from other schools: “You stay on guys and try to make valid points you’ve made throughout the entire recruiting process all the way through. Some guys, again, recruiting is happening so early sometimes maybe they don’t have all the information and they make a decision before they’re ready. For whatever reason, that’s kind of the way it’s fallen out.”