8/13: Muschamp discusses first scrimmage

Head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday following the Florida Gators‘ first scrimmage of the fall. He spoke about a number of topics including what was learned this weekend, the quarterback competition and how players are progressing.

REVIEWING THE SCRIMMAGE

Offense
Muschamp said the Gators offensive unit accounted for 11 “explosive plays” (more than 12 yards on the ground, 15 through the air) over the course of the scrimmage and that they were equally split between the running and passing games. He also pointed out that he was pleased with how the unit got in and out of the huddle and went through the scrimmage, giving special praise to the running backs.

“Offensively we ran the ball very well. Mike Gillislee, Mack Brown had his best scrimmage since he’s been here, and Matt Jones – all three ran the ball extremely well. Very pleased with those guys getting the ball north and south.”

Defense
While the offense did well overall, it also put the ball on the ground four times and the quarterbacks combined for three interceptions (though he would not say who threw them). That also means the defense did well in one of the No. 1 areas in which it had to improve from last season – turnovers.

There were also 11 missed tackles on the afternoon, a number that Muschamp said was unacceptable but also choked up to the rust of just getting into the new season.

Special Teams
Nothing in particular stood out in this area for Muschamp though his instance the some of the younger players on the team contribute to this unit perhaps means there is not as much desire to play on special teams as there was previously at Florida.

“Special teams we need more young guys to step up and contribute,” he said. “We’ve got some really good athletes in this freshman class and they need to step up. They need to come to the table and understand that that’s part of…one-third of the game and it’s very important here at Florida – controlling the vertical field position of the football game.”

QUARTERBACK COMPETITION ADDRESSED

Though Muschamp would not go into too many particulars, he said that both signal callers are completing 63-65 percent of their passes and are about even statistically in their attempts and completions. They have been taken out of the red protective jerseys as of Sunday’s practice.

“Obviously the quarterback I’d like to be a little more settled,” he said when asked which position he is most concerned about as of now. “But again, my confidence level is overly high in both guys. I would just like to settle in where we are as far as that’s concerned. You’re always concerned in camp when you got guys banged up here and there as far as injuries are concerned. I worry about everything, I guess. I don’t know if there’s one thing I could say. How much time do you got?”

PLAYER UPDATES, NOTES AND QUOTES

» Redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed twisted his knee and will miss 3-4 days of practice. Muschamp said that he is a little sore but perfectly fine otherwise.

» Freshman defensive back Marcus Maye (knee) participated in his first practice on Sunday. “He looked good for the first time out there,” Muschamp said.

» Praised was heaped on freshman wide receiver Raphael Andrades, one of the last players to join Florida’s 2012 recruiting class. “Raphael Andreas had a good day from a receiver standpoint. [He] caught a bubble screen and made a couple guys miss, caught a ball down the field for a jump ball, 50-50 ball,” he said. “I know he’s only a two-star so he’s not supposed to be a good player, but we had the guy in camp and the guy’s got great ball skills. He judges the ball well, catches the ball well, and he’s a guy we need to get more reps to.”

» Redshirt sophomore RB Mack Brown showed flashes on Saturday but still must become a more consistent player especially when it comes to his blocking and pass protection. “He ran the ball extremely well, protected well. He didn’t do a lot of dancing. He stuck his foot in the ground and got north and south, which is something that he can do very well. He’s a strong guy, he’s got a strong lower body. That was very pleasing,” Muschamp said.

» On redshirt sophomore tight end Omarius Hines: “I think he plays very well in the slot. He’s a guy that you can get the ball to on the edge and he can create some things down the field. He’s an explosive athlete. He catches the ball well. He does get on the perimeter and runs well. There is certainly a place and package for him with what we’re doing, and he will have one.”

» On freshman TE Kent Taylor: “Athletically in the throwing game he’s a really good athlete, catches the ball well. We need to get better at some point of attack things, which we knew that coming in and he did, too.”

» On freshman Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr.: “Through 10 practices, he’s done a nice job. He’s been a guy that has produced well and been very productive. He’s very attentive in meetings. He asks questions; he asks the right kind of questions. He plays hard. It’s hard for a young man to come in in the summer and understand the tempo and understand all of the mental gymnastics you have in playing the game and the different things that happen. He’s working very hard at it.”

» Muschamp said redshirt senior Frankie Hammond, Jr. has been the team’s most consistent receiver.

» On junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd playing inside: “He eats a lot of space in there.”

» Muschamp said “right now Marcus Roberson” would be starting as the team’s punt returner with redshirt junior WR Andre Debose and sophomore DB De’Ante Saunders next in line. He added that Saunders is rotating as the third safety and fifth cornerback in practice right now.

» Muschamp said the primary starting offensive line included senior Xavier Nixon at left tackle, a rotation of redshirt junior Kyle Koehne and redshirt senior James Wilson at left guard, redshirt junior Jonotthan Harrison at center, redshirt junior Jon Halapio at right guard and redshirt sophomore Chaz Green at right tackle.

» On how the team looks at this point in the fall: “I’m very pleased after 10 practices where we are [with] he commitment level, the toughness, the things that we’ve identified that were major issues for our football team a year ago. I’m very pleased with where we are but we still have miles to travel, you know?”

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