8/24: Muschamp maddened by lack of execution

By Adam Silverstein
August 24, 2011

With the Florida Gators now having completed training camp and headed into fall practice, head coach Will Muschamp met with the media after Wednesday’s scrimmage and went off how the team is failing to progress on both sides of the ball heading into the 2011 season, which begins on Sept. 3 at home against Florida Atlantic.

MUSCHAMP’s RANT ON EXECUTION

Entering his media availability 30 minutes early, Muschamp sat down and went on a rant that lasted just over three-and-a-half minutes and was interrupted with only a few questions interjected between his statements. Here it is uncut:

Asked how scrimmage went Wednesday evening: “Not very well. We tried to do it just like a game with preparation as far as pre-game procedure – I thought that was fine. As far as the scrimmage was concerned, we did not execute very well. The mental toughness was not there. A very immature football team at this point. [We’re] not consistently performing at the level we need to perform at. I was just disappointed overall with the mental effort tonight. There were some procedure issues we should not be having at this point, defense, some mental mistakes we should not be having at this point. Just overall pretty displeased. […] Not what we were looking for tonight, that’s for sure.”

Asked if the team took a step backward: “Well it dang sure wasn’t a step forward. We just got to get on the film. We’re going to go out and have a good practice Thursday and Friday, get back Sunday night and get after it again. That’s all we can do – coach better and play better. It’s not a lack of effort, in my opinion, in those situations. It’s just a lack of focus on what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to do it. We have no sense of urgency about what we do and how we do it and how we approach it. [It’s] very frustrating. And it’s not everybody. We’ve got a bunch of guys who do it the right way but not enough and not collectively enough guys doing it that way right at this point. We just got to find the guys who do it. I told the coaches, ‘We’re staying here tonight and we’re going to figure it out. We’re going to stay here as long as it’s going to take to figure out the guys who are going to play hard for the Gators, and the ones who don’t we’ll weed them out and go to the next guy.”

Asked if players will lose their current positions: “There ain’t no doubt. We’re going to figure it out. Tonight we’re going to look at the tape and get the guys that want to compete and play hard and the ones that don’t, we’ll go to the next guy.”

Asked if it is concerning to have these issues so close to the first game: “You just try to put people in situations, and it was frustrating that we didn’t execute the situations we needed to execute. Whether it was coming off the goal line, red zone, third down, 45 seconds to win the game – whatever it was we just didn’t do what we needed to do on either side of the ball. It was just disappointing. Coaches can’t play; the players got to play. We just need better effort, need to do a better job I guess from our standpoint as coaches evaluating what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with.”

BRANTLEY’s BACK AND INJURY CONCERNS

[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley was “not totally” healthy when participating in Wednesday’s scrimmage as he is still nursing a sore back and the coaching staff “went out there with the idea that we were going to [pull him early],” according to Muschamp. “He’s still a little sore,” he said. “Had a good day Tuesday. He repped a little bit early and then we had some of the other guys rep in there. He’s still sore in the back, but we feel like he’ll be fine. […] Based on the information I have, based on his Tuesday practice, a little soreness here and there. I just don’t have a whole lot to be concerned about at this point.”

Freshman tight end A.C. Leonard (torn meniscus): Out for the opener, a 6-8 week injury

Redshirt junior TE/wide receiver Omarius Hines (hamstring): Questionable for opener

Redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (sprained knee): Held out recently but should be available for opener. “I’m hoping to get him back tomorrow or Friday or if not that definitely Sunday night.”

“I CANNOT WAIT FOR PRACTICE TOMORROW”

Muschamp said Wednesday’s effort at scrimmage “needs to be” a wake up call for some of the players on the team. Though he cautioned on multiple occasions that many of the players did show flashes and perform admirably, those who faltered or failed to impress him were also plentiful. “To me, any time you step on the field and you’re a competitor you compete. I hate to paint the brush that there was a lot of guys – there was a select few – because we had a bunch of guys compete and play hard. Proud of those guys; proud of their efforts,” he said. “You see things a as coach you don’t want to see. We didn’t finish very well, play very well at the point of attack, played too high on both lines of scrimmage. You just see things that displease you. And that’s what I saw coming from what I saw, and I told them that’s what I thought after.”

Faced with a tough decision – whether to cut the scrimmage short due to his displeasure or force his players to grind through it – Muschamp chose the latter method because he wanted to see what the Gators were made of at this juncture. “There are a couple different ways to do it. You can [stop it] or you can hope that your leadership takes over and realizes it is not going as well as you would like,” he explained. “Tonight we were doing a lot of situational work, so you’re working different groups. It’s not like the whole offense is over there together or the whole defense is over there together – and a lot of special teams work. You’ve got to work through it and you’ve got to let the players play.”

When it all comes down to it though, Muschamp wants Florida’s student-athletes to know the buck stops with them – not the coaching staff.

“Players need to lead. It’s their football team, not mine,” he said, “[but] I wasn’t questioning leadership tonight. We should have enough guys mentally tough enough to battle through what we needed to do and play smart football.”

Then he made a foreboding statement:

“We’re going to be in full gear and we’re going to strap it up and we’re going to get after it. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I cannot wait for practice tomorrow.”

SOME PLAYERS FLASHING

Muschamp refused to say specifically that any one player excelled or shined on Wednesday, but he did provide some comments on a few who “flashed” on a play here or there or have been impressing him recently. (He likes to go back and watch the tape before dishing out praise because while one play may stick out, that player could theoretically perform poorly the rest of the practice.)

“[Dominique] Easley plays hard inside. Sharrif Floyd plays hard. Those guys showed up to me,” he said specifically about Wednesday evening. “Andre Debose made a nice play across the middle today.”

On Easley, the sophomore defensive tackle: “Dominique’s a hard-playing guy, likes the game, plays hard, practices hard, takes a lot of pride in his performance. […] He’s got a very good first step, he certainly does. He’s got a very good anticipation. I tell Charlie [Weis], ‘Every snap, hard count him.’ We work on that an awful lot, and he’s doing a better job of holding in there on those sort of things. But he certainly has a great first step.”

Redshirt junior right tackle Matt Patchan: “Matt’s got some toughness to him. He likes playing the game. Certainly good to get him back and throw his hand in there. He’s a really good football player. He certainly brings some toughness to our team, so we got to continue to develop that with other guys around him and him to consistently do that all the time.”

Sophomore safety Matt Elam: “Matt’s just a really instinctive football player. He sees things on the back end. He’s able to get a good jump on the ball where other guys may not see it as quickly – it doesn’t naturally come to some guys as quickly. To me on the back end you’ve got to have some natural instincts. You’ve got to have natural instincts to play the ball, to understand about reception area – where the receiver is going to be, where the ball is being thrown, understand about angles. We can talk about coaching that all the time. Some guys get it, some guys don’t. That’s something that certainly comes very easy to him. […] I think he’s got great acceleration to the ball. When he sees it and he goes and gets it, he’s got that ‘umph’ He’s got that extra gear. He has some things that, from a coaching standpoint, you like to take credit for but are really just natural ability.”

Sophomore running back Trey Burton: “Trey’s lining up in a lot of different positions. He gives so much to our football team from a blocking standpoint in the run game and protections, catching the football and running the football. He’s been very effective in doing all of those things. We certainly use him as far as in the slot, mismatches outside, get him on a linebacker, slip him on the flat and wheel routes and the different stuff we do with him. We do an awful lot with him. He gets the game very well; it comes easy to him. I think he’s had a great camp.”

Redshirt junior linebacker Lerentee McCray: “At this point he’s played the best at the SAM, I’d say he’s been the most consistent guy. He also gives us some good pass rush. He does a nice job rushing the edge so he can give us some juice on the edge there.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On what he told Easley to “straighten him out” in the offseason: “I just told him it was going to be a certain way [and] if he didn’t like it, he could leave.”

» Muschamp said the Gators have been pumping crowd noise into camp since the fifth practice in order to help the team work on communication, signals, snap counts and general focus. He plans to do it for every single practice up until the first game.

» On if the team is ready to play a full game: “Well we need to be ready next Saturday night, so we’ll be ready.”

» On if he has already game planned for some teams: “We installed for the season during camp, so once we get through our base package, then we install for maybe some things that we don’t see our offense give us. Some of the different stuff maybe our offense doesn’t give us formation-wise, play-wise, route concept-wise for the team’s we’ve got to beat because we scout all of our opponents in the offseason. We’ve taken some time the last part of camp and into Tuesday and even into tonight to work on some opponent stuff.”

» On why he game plans so early: “You try to expose it to them so when you get into week one or week four or week eight or week 10 or whatever and you’ve practiced some of the looks. I don’t like to introduce something totally new concept-wise and learn it in a week and execute it on game day.”[/EXPAND]

10 Comments

  1. CeeThree says:

    woof.. practice tomorrow doesn’t sound like it’s going to be nearly as fun as Will makes it out to be.. lol

  2. cline says:

    Grind to Shine!

  3. GatorNsc says:

    well i hope they got it all out of their system now

  4. Brett says:

    Part of me wonders whether this was a bit planned to motivate the team 10 days before the game

  5. scooterp says:

    I’m sure it was planned. Too much love, as of late, has been oozing from the practice field. We were due a Muschamp meltdown to keep the team on their toes.

  6. CeeThree says:

    I think he was serious. He doesn’t come off as the type to play games. This isn’t a 10 win team. Should be a reality check for all you wackjobs expecting an undefeated season.

  7. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Demps & Rainey are only now learning proper pass blocking technique? Along with last years abysmal O-line performance it explains alot…

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