No. 20/18 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp made his scheduled appearance Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference‘s weekly coaches teleconference, his only media availability during the team’s first bye week of the 2013 season, and touched on a number of topics surrounding his team and Saturday’s game.
(MOSTLY MINOR) INJURIES MOUNT FOR THE GATORS
Muschamp announced or updated injuries for nine different players, though the biggest is to freshman defensive back Nick Washington, who injured his shoulder during practice on Monday and will have season-ending surgery next week.
“He had a previously injury there in high school over in Jacksonville at Trinity. We’re going to have to have surgery on Monday, so he’ll be done for the season,” Muschamp said. “He was just reaching in for the ball, a non-contact injury, knocking the ball off a guy during the skeleton period. Unfortunately that happened, he was really progressing well as a defensive back for us and on special teams, doing a good job.”
Considering Washington only appeared in two games for Florida, he would be eligible for a medical hardship waiver (redshirt) by the NCAA as long as the school applies for one and submits the necessary documentation following the 2013 season.
Junior quarterback Jeff Driskel, who the program announced Monday suffered a minor knee injury in the second quarter against Miami, will be healthy enough to play against Tennessee, Muschamp reiterated. “We’re just precautionary just trying to get him off his knee a little bit. We got a long season ahead.”
He also announced that redshirt sophomore right tackle Tyler Moore, who suffered a sprained ankle late in the fourth quarter and was seen leaving the stadium Saturday on crutches with a boot on his foot, would not play if Florida had a game this week but “probably should be fine for Tennessee.”
Other players injured on Saturday but expected to be active for next week’s game include redshirt freshman safety Marcus Maye (shoulder), junior cornerback Marcus Roberson (sprained knee), sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee) and sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. (hip contusion).
Muschamp also announced that redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio (torn pectoral) will take contact in practice for the first time on Wednesday and is still on track to play against UT. Freshman offensive lineman Roderick Johnson (knee) returns to contact next Monday but will likely take a redshirt this season.
SECOND INTERCEPTION EXPLAINED
Following the 21-16 loss to the Hurricanes, senior wide receiver Trey Burton took some heat off Driskel by telling reporters he was to blame for the Gators’ second interception of the game. Burton explained that he ran the wrong route and Driskel threw to the spot he was supposed to be. Some believed Burton was simply trying to help out a teammate by lumping the mistake into his already poor performance, which included a costly penalty and red zone fumble, but Muschamp revealed Wednesday that Burton indeed screwed up the route on that play.”
“A third down situation, we get the wrong route run. That’s tough, when you’re anticipating a route breaking a certain way and it doesn’t break the way [it’s supposed to]. It’s hard on the quarterback. And [Driskel] forced one ball. Other than that, we did throw the ball pretty well. It was just those two situations on the interceptions,” Muschamp said.
Burton was praised by his teammates all week for being the second leader of the offense behind Driskel, someone who helps everyone on the field remember their assignments in case they forget because he has such a solid grasp of the playbook.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On the bye week schedule: “It’s early for an open date. We haven’t had this since I’ve been at Florida. We used Sunday to go rehash the game there in Miami. It was an unfortunate loss, certainly didn’t take advantage of some situations we should’ve. Five turnovers, not starting the game well defensively cost us the game. Monday and Tuesday we worked really just going back in the red zone and working on some tempo things, some things we felt like we needed to work on after our first two ballgames. We scrimmaged our young players on Monday and Tuesday and then we’re starting on Tennessee today and tomorrow and then we’ll have a team lift on Friday, give the guys the weekend and get them back Sunday night for some meetings and things.”
» On winning eight-straight games against Tennessee: “Those eight victories have nothing to do with what’s going to happen Saturday. Obviously Butch [Jones] has done a really good job at Tennessee. It’s starting our SEC season and a team, a university that we’ve got a lot of respect for.”