Position coaches rarely make Gator Gathering appearances for the Florida Gators, especially in the spring, but the football program obviously did not want to spread head coach Will Muschamp too thin this offseason. That is why it was new wide receivers coach Joker Phillips who was chosen to speak in front of the West Palm Beach Gator Club on Tuesday at Roxy’s Rooftop in front of approximately 150 paying attendees.
OGGOA was on-site for the event and though Phillips did not speak with the media, a few newsworthy notes and quotes came out of the event.
» On a conversation he had before going on stage: “I was back in the back. There’s a guy named Frank who spells his name F-r-a-n-c-k, OK? That’s an unusual spelling, but Franck said, ‘Hey, we love you. Go Gators!’ I said, ‘They loved me at the last place until I played a game. Hope Franck loves me after this season.”
» On why he chose to continue his career at Florida: “I’m excited about being a part of Coach Muschamp’s vision. They paid me a lot of money at other places not to coach, so I had to make a decision. There were three things I decided that I wanted. I wanted to stay in the South where I can get sweet tea. I wanted to be able to recruit some of the elite athletes across the country. Third, I want to win a national championship. Coach Muschamp gave me the opportunity to do all the things I wanted by coming to Florida.”
» On how he perceives his position on the coaching staff: “My job as a receiver coach is to get you to where you’re supposed to be at on-time. Period. Get you to where you’re supposed to be at on-time, whether it’s the weight room, meetings, classroom, or curl route, slant route. [I must] get you to where the quarterback knows exactly where you’ll be at on-time. If the quarterback is taking three steps, and you’re supposed to be at five yards, you have got to be at five yards. You can’t be at eight. So many of our problems… I went around and listened to a lot of people talk about, ‘[Jeff] Driskel this…”No, no, it’s a combination. It’s a combination of blocking, a combination of Jeff, a combination of receivers not being where they’re supposed to be on time. And that’s my job as the receivers coach.”
» On offensive players jumping offsides: “Understand that these 18-to-22-year-olds – with all the things that are going on, with girlfriend problems, with mama problems, with fathers, with some of them have kids themselves, with all of the problems they have – understand they make mistakes. They make mistakes. What we have to do is rally around that.”
» On how the Gators defense can help the offense: “The thing that I’ve noticed in coming to a program like the Florida Gators is their defensive talent. I’ve never had this many possessions. Never. I’ve been in places where it felt like offensively we had to score every time, and that’s a lonely, lonely feeling.”
» On playing freshmen: “These guys are 17- and 18-years-old. They’re going to make mistakes. I describe some of these young guys like this: time bombs. They are. They’re like a time bomb. You never know who they’re gonna kill. They’re gonna kill one team or they’re gonna kill the other team.”
» On physicality, not speed, being an important characteristic: “You don’t have to have great speed to stretch the field. You need physical blockers to be able to help with that. I’ve had a 4.8[-second] receiver go 70 yards against the Clemson defense. He was able to do that because we blocked him. As long as you’re blocking and being physical, it gives you a chance to run past people. So we’ve got to be a physical bunch.”
» On if he can guarantee a win over Georgia: “I’m not going to be a YouTube sensation. Our goal is to win all our games, as simple as that.”
» On senior Solomon Patton and how he will be utilized: “I think Solomon is a guy who can stretch the field but is more of a jet sweep guy. He’s just so hard to see when you get the ball in his hands.”
» On junior Loucheiz Purifoy and how good of a receiver he could be if it was his primary position: “He [is] one of my overall top athletes I’ve ever coached and I only had him half the time. The guy is an unbelievable athlete. Could he be an NFL receiver? No doubt about that. No doubt about that.”
» On using crossing routes and “rubbing” to get receivers open next season: “We saw so much man-to-man coverage last year. … Well, how do you beat man-to-man coverage? You beat man-to-man coverage by running away and then picking. Well, I shouldn’t say ‘picking’ because that’s illegal. Rubbing. Rubbing people. … There are so many things you see in basketball that you can correlate to football. … If we see a lot man-to-man this year, which we will because we run the ball so well, we got to get Solo and [Andre] Debose, those guys running away from man-to-man coverage. We have to do more rubbing and those kinds of things.”
» On how the receivers can be more productive in 2013: “The thing we have to do is we have to get more [yards after catch]. When I watched that film last year, there was a catch and – Bam! – right on us, right now. One of the reasons why is we got to do more rubbing. We got to do more running across the field so we get guys running away from coverage and not having their back turned to a guy and a guy driving on him.”
Photo Credit: Kentucky.com