3/26: Muschamp talks injuries, evaluates players

By Adam Silverstein
March 26, 2013

Now two weeks into 2013 spring football practice, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss some of the latest developments surrounding the team and provide updates on specific players.

INJURY UPDATES

Freshman wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, one of eight Florida early enrollees and the one with arguably the best chance to make an immediate impact out of the bunch, went down with a high-ankle sprain during practice and will be out at least this week. “Probably next week, I hope, to be honest with you,” Muschamp said of when Robinson might return. “I’m not real sure when we’ll get him back. He’s in a walking boot right now trying to stabilize that.”

More seriously injured over the weekend was redshirt sophomore guard Trip Thurman (shoulder). “It does not look good right now,” Muschamp said. “We’ll know a bit more [Tuesday or Wednesday] where he is. That will certainly be disappointing [if he is out an extended period of time]. Trip has had an outstanding spring and really has made some progress but unfortunately those injuries sometimes happen.”

Other Gators who remain day-to-day with their injuries include sophomore defensive end Jonathan Bullard (hamstring), redshirt junior linebacker Neiron Ball (ankle) and redshirt junior cornerback Cody Riggs (hamstring).

PLAYER EVALUATIONS

» On junior CB/WR Loucheiz Purifoy: “He went [back to] defense and he took some snaps on offense in skeleton. We had a move-the-ball period and he probably took the first eight snaps on offense. Other than that he was exclusively on defense. I think he’s an explosive guy, catches the ball well has got good ball skills he’s got good vertical speed. He plays the game fast. I don’t know what his time is in the 40[-yard dash], but when you get on the field he plays fast. You notice him on the field.”

» On junior quarterback Jeff Driskel: “I think [Monday] he made some really nice throws – hit a sail route to Quinton [Dunbar] and an over route to Loucheiz. Very pleased with where we are in the throwing game. Still got to take care of the ball a little bit better in some situations, but I was really very pleased [Monday] walking off the practice field with the progress and what we did.”

» On redshirt junior running back Mack Brown: “Mack Brown has been really solid, has done some nice things. He’s been solid in protection and has caught the ball well.”

» On freshman RB Kelvin Taylor: “Kelvin Taylor has really nice, natural running instincts, has just go to learn what to do and where to go. That’s no different than the other mid-year guys. … Kelvin caught a nice screen, made a great cut in the middle for a score from about 40 [yards] out on Saturday. That was a really nice play on his part. But again, natural running instincts take over, we’re good. Assignments and some different things, protection from front to back and all that, we’re still at baby steps.”


» On redshirt senior CB Jeremy Brown: “He’s been through a lot. He’s had a little bit of a groin he’s still kind of nursing through right now during spring. Still repping and all but Jeremy has played and been successful. He’s played football and been here a while. He’s a guy I think certainly has persevered through some tough times … certainly looking forward to his opportunity to go out and play. The big thing is Jeremy and I sat down at the end of this past season and just had a heart-to-heart about where we are with things. It’s not different than James [Wilson] and I did after my first season. Do you want to be here? Do you want to play? Do you understand the commitment level it’s going to take to get that done? Both guys whole-heartedly wanted to be here. It’s important to both those guys to play at Florida. James had a great senior year for us, and I expect the same from Jeremy.”

» On senior CB Jaylen Watkins: “I’ve been keeping Jaylen primarily in regular package as a corner. I think it’s important for us to give these guys the turns and the reps they need and only play him at safety and the nickel the last week of spring may experiment with some guys as we move forward.”

» On junior tight end Clay Burton: “Clay Burton continues to do some nice things for us. We need to continue making some strides at the tight end position. Consistency in their performance is not where it needs to be.”

» On junior Hunter Joyer and redshirt junior Gideon Ajagbe at fullback: “I think Hunter Joyer has done some nice things for us at the fullback position, continues to give us more things. I’ve been very pleased with Gideon. He’s a guy that’s done some nice things in the two-back stuff we’re doing as far as run blocking and things. To be in a new position, very pleased with him.”

» On sophomore Buck LB Dante Fowler, Jr.: “I think Dante Fowler is playing well. I think he’s rushing the passer well. He’s understanding when we’re in our 3-4 stuff standing up and moving around.”

» On sophomore Mike LB Antonio Morrison: “I think Antonio Morrison is having a really good spring, been very consistent in his performance across the board.”

» On defensive tackles senior Damien Jacobs and junior Darious Cummings, both of whom transferred from East Mississippi in 2012 and 2013, respectively: “I’ve been very pleased with Damien Jacobs. I think he’s playing his best football. He’s playing very square on blocks. He’s doing a nice job of anchoring and playing the double teams and keeping his gap. I think he’s playing his best football since he’s been here. I think Darious Cummings probably is a little further ahead of where Damien was this time last year, so that’s promising for us. Not where he needs to be – so let’s not get that confused – but certainly probably ahead of where Damien was this time last spring. So that’s a promising thing.”

» On junior CB Marcus Roberson: “I think Marcus Roberson, I think, is up to 193-194 lbs. He’s changed his upper body, gotten stronger. He’s better on the line of scrimmage in press. He’s more disruptive on receivers in routes. I think he’s made some strides.”

» On redshirt freshman safety Marcus Maye: “Marcus Maye is a guy who has been very productive, had an interception Saturday, done some really good things. But with that, we’ve got to continue to get some reps, continue to get turns, [he makes] too many mistakes as far as where his eye control needs to be. But again, you go back to production. The guy’s producing and making plays, let’s narrow some things down for him and put him in a situation to play fast.”

» Junior S Jabari Gorman: “Jabari Gorman is repping and I think has done a solid job. As a whole, we got to do a better job of communicating and a better job in space plays. We missed a couple tackles in space on Saturday that cost us touchdowns. That was one thing with Matt [Elam] and Josh [Evans], those guys got some guys on the ground in some situations; where the ball does break through, you got to tackle. … Jabari is a very coachable young man. I’ve been very pleased with his progress to this point.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Muschamp named 15 former Gators who either attended spring practice over the weekend or were in town for the private Pro Day on March 22: Percy Harvin, Carlos Dunlap, Mike Peterson , Brandon Siler, Riley Cooper, James Bates, Todd Johnson, Shane Matthews, Steve Tannen, Jerry Odom, Nick Schiralli, Brian Schottenheimer, Crawford Ker, Reggie McGrew and Willie Jackson. “It’s always good to have former Gators back being a part of our program, talking to our players and mentoring them as we move forward,” he said.

» On head basketball coach Billy Donovan: “I would say Billy Donovan is as good of a – not just basketball coach – college coach as there is in the nation for what he’s done at the University of Florida. You look at a guy and his accomplishments and everyone wants to point to the two national championships, but he’s put Florida to an elite status in college basketball and a relevant status in college basketball, which it never was before. I don’t know that the state of Florida, as far as high school basketball is concerned, is certainly not what football is as far as the amount of prospects we have to choose from. I think the job he’s done at Florida is really remarkable and [he is] certainly a great guy. The thing you like about Billy is Billy is who he is. He’s not any different from when you meet him the first time you meet him as opposed to now. He’s been a very good friend of mine since I’ve been here in Gainesville.”

» On who he wants to prove themselves in the spring: “Any freshman and any player that hasn’t played a lot, you’re challenging them all. It would be hard for me to single out one player. I always tell the guys you got to earn your stripes around here. That’s kind of my process. But it’s not just one guy, there’s a bunch of guys.”

» On how the freshmen are faring during practice: “The tempo of practice, the speed of the practice, the installation, it’s all a mess right now with all of those guys. All of those guys right now are swimming. We just got to continue to break it down for them, continue to install, continue to move forward, continue to create a pace where they know they got to get it going. They’re drinking water out of a firehouse right now, so all of them are in the same boat.”

» Florida ran scrimmage for 30-40 snaps on Saturday and will likely to do the same in scheduled scrimmages moving forward. The Gators have been working on 1st-and-10 and third-down situations but have also been introduced to other situations like coming off the goal line, being backed up on punts, being forced to flip the field, and the defense trying to get three-and-outs. Muschamp’s primary focus remains on one-minute situations. “I told the team [Monday], when you go win a championship, it’s going to come down to one-minute, you got to win the game on offense or defense. Any time you win the championship, you’re going to come down to 2-3 situations in your season where you either got to make a stop or you got to make a score.”

» Florida will spend time working in the one-minute, red zone and end-of-game situations during Wednesday’s practice. Friday morning’s drills will be a bit more loose before the coaches introduce the four-minute situations – killing the clock to win the game or having the defense make a stop and then converting that to a one-minute situation on offense.

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