Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to review his team’s 27-14 victory over the Bowling Green Falcons in the season opener for both squads on Saturday. He also discussed the game ahead this week as Florida will travel to College Station, TX to face the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Offensive Player of the Game: senior running back Mike Gillislee
Scrap Iron: senior left tackle Xavier Nixon
Defensive Player of the Game: senior Mike linebacker Jon Bostic
Ball Hawk: sophomore cornerback Marcus Roberson
Scout Team Players of the Week: junior offensive lineman Max Garcia, freshman walk-on RB Mark Herndon, freshman walk-on defensive lineman Dakota Wilson
Junior long snapper Drew Ferris broke his clavicle (collarbone) and is out indefinitely. [Story]
Redshirt junior tackle Matt Patchan, who was ruled out of Saturday’s game with a strained pectoral, will miss the next game as well.
“I know he’s doing everything he can do to get back,” Muschamp said of Patchan. “I know that the rehab is going well. Everything has been very positive on that end, positive from him. He’s further ahead than we thought [he would be]. We though originally four weeks, now we’re kind of edging that back a little bit. I don’t know. We’re hoping to get him back. I know Matt’s frustrated. I’m frustrated for him because he’s worked extremely hard; he had a really good offseason. I hope it’s not that much longer. We need to get him back. He’s a good football player and he can help our team.”
PREPARING FOR TEXAS A&M
Suffice to say that Muschamp is impressed with Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin and the up-tempo offense he is bringing in his first season with the team. He noted that Sumlin likes to use quick screens to enhance the run game and hopes that the Gators do not get frustrated with that like they did against the Falcons.
“They’re going to get as many snaps as they can get,” he said. “They will give you the illusion of a lot of throwing, but they’re going on run the football.”
Florida will not have the greatest opportunity to prepare for Texas A&M this week considering their opponent’s season opener was postponed due to the threat of Hurricane Issac. Muschamp feels like the Gators are at an advantage going in with a game under their collective belt but admits that the team could be a bit unprepared for what the Aggies will do offensively.
“We are in a little bit of a guessing game from the standpoint of them not playing, but that’s always with the first game,” he explained. “You go through that as a coach, and you kind of go through into it when you go into a bowl game and you have that much time off with some different wrinkles that they may give you.”
Bostic said he thinks Florida will be fine as long as the defense concentrates on the game plan and focuses on the players on the field in front of them.
“We have to be sound on our assignments. The first quarter may be a little rough, but we have to make sure everybody is paying attention, paying attention on the sidelines when we get back so when we do make our adjustments in the first quarter everybody is together,” he said.
Read the rest of what Muschamp had to say Monday about Florida’s first game including issues with discipline and adding more creativity on offense.
BECOMING MORE DISCIPLINED
In a theme carried over from the 2011 season, the Gators are once again searching for ways to fix their penalty issues. Florida committed 14 on Saturday including 10 in the first half, and Muschamp appeared frustrated with that fact on Monday. “We’re exhausting the measures we need to – to try and get it corrected,” he said.
Bostic took some of the pressure off of Muschamp’s back, noting that the coaching staff can only do so much when it comes to teaching discipline and that it is up to the players to handle the situations better.
“We got to take that into our own hands. Coach Muschamp and Coach Quinn, they coach that up day after day,” he said. “It kind of comes down to [the players] now. If we say that we want to be a team in a certain place we want to be, it comes back to the offensive leaders and the defense to basically stop this. That’s going to be one of our main focuses. We have to hold each and every person accountable out there.”
ADDING CREATIVITY ON OFFENSE
Muschamp admitted Monday, just as he did Saturday after the game, that he purposely wanted the Gators to establish the run and be somewhat vanilla on offense in their season opener. “I wanted to make sure we played a certain way in the game, and I never had any doubt in my mind that the outcome of the game was going to happen,” he said.
“We’ll be more creative [this week] with what we’re trying to do as far as play calling is concerned, formations and shifts. As far as going into the first game with two young quarterbacks and wanting to put the game in the run game and the play actions off of that, trying to create some explosives outside…mission accomplished.”
One player who surprised some by playing on offense was sophomore defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy, who saw snaps at wide receiver on Saturday. Muschamp explained how he fits into that role and why Florida is giving him some snaps there.
“Loucheiz is a guy that’s got good vertical speed, and he’s got really good ball skills,” he said. “We’re trying to get more explosive at the position and he’s certainly a guy that can do some things for us. That role will continue to grow as we move forward.”
Muschamp was asked if Purifoy playing at wideout had anything to do with the inconsistencies of redshirt junior wide receiver Andre Debose. He dismissed that notion, praising Debose for his work on special teams and saying that he expects him to contribute more on offense as the team gets deeper into the season.
“He did a great job. Played hard, played physical, played fast – did an outstanding job – played with urgency, played with toughness. There’s a reason we named him the special teams player of the week. He deserved that. He played well in that role that he’s got to continue to expand. And we’ve got to continue to expand that role with him. He’s a very explosive guy,” he said.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Muschamp on missed tackles: “We had 10 missed tackles, which is too many, especially on the perimeter with how much man[-on-man defense] we play.”
» Muschamp on the numerous special teams miscues: “Special teams was very sloppy. Very disappointed [considering how] good as we’ve been on teams and as much time as we’ve spent on special teams around here. The effort needs to get better and the execution needs to get better – and it will.”
» Muschamp on if his experience coaching against Texas A&M in the past helps this team: “I’m not playing. Thank goodness.”
» Muschamp on if he ever got the gift basket from the College Station, TX mayor: “I did. It was wonderful. Some koozies and things. It was nice. Very appreciative.”
» Muschamp said redshirt sophomore Mack Brown and freshman Matt Jones can take snaps away from Gillislee’s heavy workload as the season goes on but must prove during practice that they deserve the additional opportunities in the game.
» Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel on being moved down to No. 3 on the depth chart after the Auburn game in 2011: “Obviously it was tough. I didn’t let it get to me too much. At first I was real upset and going through a little tough time. I had the support of family and friends and just [kept] working hard.”
» Redshirt senior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. on what Driskel brings to the table: “He’s a versatile quarterback so when things break down in the pocket he can stretch plays. And he can run th ball as well, so that’s defintely something teams will have to respect as we go on down the line.”
» Hammond on if the quarterback decision will split the team: “We’re a close-knit group. [...] I don’t think Driskel being the starter or anything will break up the team or anything like that.”
» Junior defensive end Dominique Easley on junior Sharrif Floyd being moved back to defensive tackle: “I mean, he’s a bear, so it’s good to have a bear in the middle.”