9/14: Will Muschamp’s SEC teleconference

By Adam Silverstein
September 14, 2011

With the Florida Gators just days away from their third game of the season under head coach Will Muschamp on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against the Tennessee Volunteers, he spoke with the media during the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference to provide some insight about where his team is at going into into week three action.

PLAYER ABSENCE AND INJURY UPDATES

The availability of a few players has been on fans’ collective minds throughout the week, and Muschamp on Wednesday discussed how they are progressing.

About redshirt sophomore linebacker Dee Finely, who was arrested and charged with a pair of misdemeanors for driving a scooter with a suspended license and resisting arrest without violence, Muschamp was dismissive and refused to provide any details. “Yeah, I’m handling that. We’ll work through that. That’s where we are,” he said.

As far as sophomore defensive end Sharrif Floyd, Muschamp confirmed that he is set to return from a NCAA-mandated two-game suspension. He also said that Floyd’s plan in regard to paying back the $2,700 the NCAA deemed he owed to charity has been put into motion. The only thing he did not know was which charity Floyd would be donating the money to. “I have no idea. It’ll be a good one though,” he said.

Muschamp also had the opportunity to speak about Floyd’s character and what he brings to the team from multiple standpoints. “He’s a really good player. He’s a guy that is probably the most respected player in our locker room as far as how he handles himself on- and off-the-field,” he said. “He’s just a great young man and a guy that brings a lot of passion and a lot of energy to the locker room, to our football team. On top of all that, he’s a really good football player. God has blessed him. He’s very talented, hard-working – he’s as hard-working a kid as we have on this football team.”

Though Muschamp was not asked about the status of redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed’s hamstring (he said on Monday that Reed should play on Saturday), he was questioned about senior running back Jeff Demps’s shoulder. “He’s fine. He’s going to be fine. He’s practicing,” Muschamp stated.

EVALUATING TENNESSEE
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]A member of the same coaching staff as Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley when the two were at LSU some years ago under Nick Saban, Muschamp is well aware what the Volunteers will be bringing to the table on Saturday.

“We’ve got Tennessee coming to The Swamp this weekend, and I’m looking forward to that opportunity,” he said as part of his opening statement. “They’re very explosive team offensively with [Justin] Hunter and [Da’Rick] Rogers outside. [Tyler] Bray is playing very well at quarterback. [They] run the ball well and do play-actions off of that. Defensively the guys are playing hard with a lot of multiple looks. They’re doing a nice job and, of course, Derek does a great job with special teams – he and Eric Russell. A lot of respect for those guys and we’re looking forward to playing them Saturday.”

Bray, who has completed 78 percent of his passes through the first two games of the season, is of primary concern for a Florida defense that will feature a young secondary at the start of Saturday’s contest. “He’s been very accurate with the ball – not just in the intermediate but also with the vertical passing game,” Muschamp said. “He’s got two explosive guys outside, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

He also took some time to complement Dooley for his ability to coach up his team each week. “Derek is a smart guy, extremely hard-working, very detail-oriented in his approach to everything that we do,” he said. “[He] did a great job with our special teams, but a guy that sees the big picture. [He’s] very detail-oriented coach and that obviously shows on tape with this football team.”

COACHES NOT HOLDING ANYTHING BACK

Having outscored the team’s first two opponents a combined 80-3, Muschamp was asked if his team was holding anything back from a schematic standpoint during the first two contests. He scoffed at the notion though he did admit that the lopsided scores dictated that they could go away from their game plan in the latter portions of the game.

“We game plan every week to win the game. We’re going to do what we got to do to win the game,” he said. “Obviously as the game changes, you change your play calling offensively and defensively and even in special teams from the standpoint of what you’re doing based on the score. Obviously in our first two games we got up early and played very good there at times. We may have not done some things we had planned for in the game, but we don’t go into a game holding stuff for another opponent. I guess some people do that. I don’t. We prepare to win the game and we prepare to take the things we’ve got to do to win the game. Now whether or not we call them depends on the situation in the game.”

THOUGHTS FROM TENNESSEE COACH DOOLEY

» Opening statement on Florida: “This will be certainly our biggest challenge because it’s on the road and it’s against a team that’s dominated this league in the last decade. And it’s a team that we haven’t played very well against in a while. It’ll be a good measuring stick of where we are and we’ll see how we do.”

» On what part of the Gators’ defense and offense concerns him: “The first thing you notice on defense is probably the most talented defensive line in the country –extremely big, athletic and disruptive and almost impossible to block. If your five can’t block their four, it doesn’t matter what plays you have, it’s going to be a long day. Schematically, they were able to be very vanilla just because of the nature of the two football games that they played. I don’t think we’ve seen near what we might see on Saturday and that’s to be expected. Ultimately it’s going to come down whether we can handle up front. On the other side of the ball, of course, what you see is they do a great job of getting their ball to their playmakers and creating air for them. When they create a little air for their fast guys, they’re hard to catch and hard to bring down.”

» On his team’s third-down efficiency: “Jim [Chaney]’s done a good job with a play calling, but the Jimmys and Joes tend to make third down a lot easier for the coaches. Tyler’s done a great job of placing the ball where it needs to be. The receivers have done a good job of running fast routes and being where they’re supposed to be. So far we’ve been pretty good, but we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We’ll find out how we handle it against a quality defense this week.”

» On his young offensive line: “They’re young but we think they’re talented, too. They’re starting to get experience. Now this will be about their seventh or eighth game. Hopefully as each game goes on they play a little bit better and a little bit more confident.”

» On dealing with Florida redshirt senior RB Chris Rainey: “It’s not just his first two games. Watching his body of work over time, he just has an incredible way to impact a game. Whether it’s at runner, whether it’s at returner, whether it’s blocking punts, whether it’s returning blocked punts for touchdowns, you always see the guy in critical moments making big plays. Players like that are very hard to stop or contain. It’s just a combination of tremendous speed and athleticism but also competitive character.”

» On if he has memories of coaching against Muschamp in LSU practice: “Yeah, I have a lot of memories. Six years of them. He’s got his team and he’s in charge of everything now, not just the defense. I know this – his team is going to be well-prepared. They’re going to be very well-coached. They’re going to prepare fast and hard and fundamentally sound and tough, and it’s going to be a big challenge because he’s a good football coach.”

» On his team’s young defenders: “We’re glad we have A.J. [Johnson] and Curt [Maggitt]; we’d be in a real bind if we didn’t. That doesn’t mean they’re playing great, but it means they have the potential to be really good players for us over the long haul. They’ve done a real good job for true freshmen over the first two games, but this is going to be a big test for them because they’re going to be playing a lot and going against guys that are more athletic, bigger that are blocking them than they’re used to, and they’re going to be chasing down guys who are faster than they’ve ever seen.”[/EXPAND]

6 Comments

  1. Aligator says:

    Thanks Adam for all of your hard work on this site. The reporting has been exceptional ….

  2. Gio Showtime says:

    Any word on Omarius Hines or Tim Clark? It’s almost like they’re not even on the team

  3. Daniel M. says:

    Maggitt spurned Florida for UT. I’m thinkin Christian needs to burn him good on a crossing route. I think they are using Maggitt at LB.

    Why would anyone go to UT when you have an offer from UF? Befuddling. He probably looked at depth charts.

  4. aziatic41 says:

    Maggitt chose UT over Florida, exclusively because he knew he would play early at UT. Had he chose Florida, competition for early playing would’ve been a lot tougher. Nonetheless he’s done some nice things so far with Tennessee. I’m really looking forward to the game this weekend.

  5. CeeThree says:

    the very last line.. “they’re going to be chasing down guys who are faster than they’ve ever seen.” LOOOOOVE it.

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