4/24: Muschamp on Purifoy, Driskel, SEC, playoffs

By Adam Silverstein
April 24, 2013

The Southeastern Conference on Wednesday held a post-spring practice teleconference so the league’s coaches could wrap things up heading into the summer. Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp participated in the call as usual and provided an update on his team as the spring semester comes to an end.

TWO-WAY PLAYER STARTING OUT ON DEFENSE

Though junior Loucheiz Purifoy spent the first seven days of Florida’s spring practice playing wide receiver for the offense – which Muschamp said was an opportunity for him to get acclimated with the system, schemes and plays – he will begin fall practice at his more natural position of cornerback while the Gators coaching staff evaluates how its pass catchers have developed over the summer.

“The way I’ve got it planned, for the first 12 days, he is strictly on defense,” Muschamp explained Wednesday. “I want to see how these young wideouts continue to develop, how the guys continue to develop through the summer, where they are. Through those first 12 practices, you’re not going to find that out if we play him on offense, so I want to play him strictly on defense the first 12 days.”

After evaluating Florida’s other receivers through two weeks of practice, Muschamp will then make a decision about how much offense Purifoy will play in 2013.

“He’s going to play offense for us. How much will depend on those first 12-14 practices of where we develop at the position and how much he’s going to need to help us,” Muschamp said. “He’s an electric guy. He’s got no fear on the field. He’s got really good ball skills. He’s got vertical speed down the field. He can do some things for us, and I’m really pleased with his first seven days at the receiver position. Now he’s got a base learning, concepts-wise, of where we are offensively. So that helps.”

NOWHERE TO GO BUT UP FOR OFFENSE

The Gators may have finished 11-2 last season, but Florida’s offense still had a ways to go in its development. With junior quarterback Jeff Driskel entering his second season both as a starter and in offensive coordinator Brent Pease’s system, Muschamp believes the Gators are trending upward in that phase of the game.

“We won 11 games with a guy that didn’t have a whole lot of experience last year. I think you can kind of throw those things out the window at times. No question his experience will help with his development at the position. It’s year two of the scheme and the system, terminology. And I think we’re going to play better around him – that’s the bottom line,” he said.

While some may question if Driskel is able to take the next step in his development, Muschamp cautioned (as he usually does) that too much criticism is often directed at the signal caller when most problems usually stem from the offense as a whole.


“The quarterback is kind of like the old head coach. You get way too much credit when things go right and way too much blame when they don’t,” he said, “but that’s part of the position. He understands that being a quarterback at the University of Florida.

“He really attacked the offseason, in my opinion, from a mental aspect the way you’re supposed to do it. He understands more about what we are as far as where he’s protected, where to take the ball as far as the run game and pass game.”

Where the Gators can take the biggest step is with their playmakers. Driskel needs drastically improved play from the wide receivers and better protection from the offense line. Muschamp understandably thinks Florida has certainly stepped up in some areas but has a ways to go in others.

“I saw improvement up front offensively. I think we’re improved at the wideout position. … I think we’ll have quality backs again next year,” he said. “We still got some strides to run there at the tight end position.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On the new college football playoff tagged with “College Football Playoff” as its name: “I think the name sounds pretty good. That’s what it is. It’s a playoff – and it’s college football – so that sounds good. Whoever they decide on is fine with me. People way above my pay scale are making those decisions.”

» On having permanent crossover opponents in the SEC (Florida-LSU) that are not necessarily fair from a difficulty perspective league-wide: “We’ve exhausted this pretty good here. I know that the Florida-LSU game is a really good game for our conference. I totally understand what Les [Miles] is saying. Again, those decisions are not made by the coaches. We can voice our opinions. I understand the arguments on both sides of it. At the end of the day, we got some people in our conference that want the permanent opponents. Obviously Tennessee and Alabama and Auburn and Georgia. We’re not for nine conference games because obviously our in-state rival is Florida State. At the end of the day, that’s why you have a commissioner, and he makes those decisions. He’ll make a decision – what’s best for our conference – and whatever he decides we’ll go with.”

» On the SEC being well-represented at the 2013 NFL Draft: “There’s a bunch of good players in this league every year. That’s why we’re winning so many football games. I think you see in the top 10 at the end of every season there’s a bunch of SEC teams in there. It’s week-in, week-out in our league. It’s kind of the norm for us. We see great players and great coaches in the best league in the country. We certainly will be very well-represented in the NFL Draft starting Thursday.”

4 Comments

  1. Alex says:

    It’s crazy to look at the 2012 draft to the right of my comment and imagine that was just last year, when you compare to the crop of players we have coming out this year. Man, that class was bare.

  2. Ken (CA) says:

    Nothing like being politically correct. The playoff name is stupid, It isn’t The college football playoff onless FCS, Div 3, NAIA no longer counts for anything (yet div 1 schools keep playing them!)

    As for way above his pay grade making that decision, i bet he makes 5-10 times as much as the people making that decision…

  3. arniegreen says:

    muschamp makes millions — the people on the committee deciding the name are not “way above his pay scale” — they are making only a few hundred thousand

  4. Michael Jones says:

    I get a kick out of anyone questioning Driskel. The dude’s an absolute stud. He more than proved that last year. I can’t wait to see what he does this year.

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