9/3: Muschamp, players speak after opener

By Adam Silverstein
September 4, 2011

The No. 22 Florida Gators (1-0) defeated the Florida Atlantic Owls (0-1) in their season opener at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday. Below are choice quotes from head coach Will Muschamp, the game’s most valuable player redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey and redshirt senior starting quarterback John Brantley following their team’s first victory of 2011.

HEAD COACH WILL MUSCHAMP

Opening statement: “It was a good opening night. If you had a script of what you wanted to occur in the night for the most part… We faced some adversity. I thought we did some very positive things in the game. Procedural issues. Offensively we were at a minimum, we did have a couple issues we got to get ironed out, but I thought we moved the ball well, I thought John played extremely well in the game and we got the ball to our playmakers – Charlie [Weis] does a phenomenal job of accentuating those guys. Defensively I thought we played pretty clean in the game. We had a couple issues I think we’ve got to tie up. Obviously in the kick game, on our coverage units on the kickoff coverage, was disappointing. We have covered very well all through training camp and it was disappointing to see some of that tonight.

“To open the game with a kickoff return – and then we got called for holding there – but if they call it, it’s holding. [I was] really excited to see Jeff [Demps] and Chris on the field. […] they are very special with the ball in their hands. Very pleased with how john directed our offense, and thought we played pretty clean defensively – just have to clean some things up. They say your most improvement is from your first to second game and I’m looking forward to that because we certainly have some things we need to work on.”

[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]On what Brantley did well: “Taking what they gave him. How many swing passes did we throw to Jeff and Chris? Get the ball in space to your playmakers. I thought they did a great job with that. […] Just very pleased with how he directed the offense. Got us in the right runs, got us in the right protections, took the ball to the right spots. Certainly we’ve got some things to clean up, but for a first ball game, first offense, new scheme, all the newness to everything we’re doing, [I was] very pleased with the performance.”

On Rainey’s three touchdowns: “He’s just a very talented young man. He works extremely hard. If you came to practice, you’d see a guy that gives 100 percent all the time in everything he does. He loves competing and he’s a lot of fun to coach because he really enjoys the game of football.”

On coaching his first game: “It was exciting. The preparation I enjoy as much as anything, and then game day being able to run out of the tunnel and knowing the excitement our players had. It’s about players to me. It’s about seeing those guys fulfilling a lot of their work and seeing their work coming to a conclusion as far as game time and playing a game. I enjoy that as much as anything.”

On the bad snap in the first quarter: “We had the dagum bad snap there, we got to get that ironed out. I know you all rolled your eyes when you saw that there, didn’t you? That was disappointing.”

On the orange jerseys: “Our seniors wanted to wear orange today. Our staple uniform will be our blue jersey at home and white pants. And if you get mad and want to e-mail, e-mail me. Don’t e-mail anybody else. I was the one who made the decision.”

On how encouraged he is by the first performance: “Well I think we need to be realistic here – we will face better opponents through the season. […] As we roll through the season, we’re going to get to know our team a lot better. We didn’t face as much adversity as maybe we would have hoped for in the game … but I’m very pleased with the attitude and the effort of our players. They worked awful hard, they compete – that’s a credit to Urban [Meyer] and his staff. These guys know how to practice. They know how to come and approach work every day and they’ve had a great attitude in everything they’ve done. I’ve been very pleased with that and we’ve got to continue to improve and get better because we’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got a long season ahead of us.”

RUNNING BACK CHRIS RAINEY

On his three touchdowns: “I’ll give all the credit to the offense. They were really good out there.”

On his spin move for a rushing touchdown: “That’s a God-given gift, so I can’t explain that one. You got to ask God. [Laughing] I did a stretch play, just reading the tackle and I guess I read it right and scored a touchdown.”

On if Brantley’s confidence is back: “Oh he definitely do. He looks like the old John Brantley you saw in high school – being a leader, taking over, got all of his confidence back, feel good in the pocket, trust everybody.”

On his touchdown return on the punt block: “I love special teams, especially on punt block. We work on that every day all day. That’s our favorite phase of the team, so you’re going to see a lot of blocked punts this year.”

On the limited offensive playbook: “We only did like six plays – that’s it – the whole game.”

On Muschamp being excitable on the sideline: “Well he scared me on the sideline. He was too fired up. [Laughing] I don’t know what he said, but he was yelling at the officials.”

QUARTERBACK JOHN BRANTLEY

On how comfortable he felt on the field: “We felt real comfortable. We had great preparation throughout camp this past week, and we were just happy to be able to go out and execute.”

On how confident he is after Saturday’s performance: “My confidence is pretty high right now. The team played well; the offensive line blocked amazing. The running backs ran very hard and those receivers got open. So right now confidence is high – not just with me but this team. The team played great and also that offensive line did amazing, too.”

On Rainey’s performance: “Chris is a huge factor for this team and he did a great job tonight – running back, slot receiver, everything. He’s all for doing that and he’s going to have a great season.”

On freshman QB Jeff Driskel’s first pass interception: “That’s always tough for your first pass for that to happen, but he’s a great quarterback and he knows to forget about it and move on. […] Once he got a first couple of plays underneath his belt, I saw his confidence growing, and he did a great job on that one drive [in the fourth quarter].”

On winning Muschamp’s opener: “It feels to introduce Coach Muschamp to the Gator Nation [with this win]. That was a good feeling.”

On Rainey saying they only ran a few plays the whole game: “It seemed like it. It seemed like we were calling the same plays. But Coach Weis, if it’s working, he’s going to keep calling them until they don’t work.”

On Rainey’s impressive spin move for a touchdown: “I didn’t see that when it actually happened and I looked on the replay a couple drives later. I was impressed. I’m happy to see he’s using what I taught him on the field.”[/EXPAND]

One Comment

  1. Ken (CA) says:

    Interesting on the punt block comments. It didn’t look like they had the punt block on all night, they barely pressured the punter. The only reason they got the block was because of the terrible snap.

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