No. 17/17 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss Saturday’s 30-10 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks and his team’s upcoming road contest against the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 12. The contest will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and air live on CBS.
Offensive Players of the Game: Senior wide receiver Solomon Patton
“He’s playing at a high level, creating plays after the catch. … Really proud of Solomon and how he’s playing. He’s a great young man, works extremely hard, has really dedicated himself to developing himself as a receiver and certainly is getting great results.”
Scrap Iron: Redshirt junior left guard Max Garcia
“Max is a smart guy. … Max is pretty solid all over. He was a guy that did a lot of things well for us. He can play left tackle, he can play multiple positions. He’s been a really good fit for us.”
Big Plays (Offense): Patton, senior WR Trey Burton, redshirt junior WR Quinton Dunbar, sophomore running back Matt Jones, redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy
Defensive Players of the Week: Junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy
Purifoy was also named SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.
Ball Hawks: Purifoy, junior defensive tackle Darious Cummings, sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr., redshirt junior LB Michael Taylor
Hard Hat: Freshman LB Jarrad Davis
Special Teams Player of the Week: Senior safety Jaylen Watkins
COULD MUSCHAMP HANDLE THE DEFENSE ALLOWING 50 POINTS?
LSU’s suddenly impressive offense has registered some huge outputs in its first six games of 2013 (including three SEC contests).
The Tigers scored 35 and 59 points in respective victories over Auburn and Mississippi State and also posted 41 points in a loss to Georgia.
Asked Monday if he would be able to handle his defense coughing up that many points, Muschamp explained that it would have been a concern for him in the past but now all he cares about is leaving each game victorious.
“As long as we win, I don’t care what happens. I’ll be honest with you. I got real caught up with all of that stuff when I was a coordinator. But I’m a head coach. I want to win. If it takes 51-50, let’s go,” he said. Watch the film on Sunday and we’ll figure out what we need to do to get better.
“But I can tell you right now, I used to grab the stat sheets when I was a coordinator. Not anymore. There’s one stat that matters and that’s winning. Do what you got to do to win games. It’s hard enough on Saturday afternoon to worry about all that other stuff. Just do what you got to do to win.”
Fowler concurred that winning is most important to Muschamp but was honestly concerned with the possibilities of what could potentially happen if the Gators gave up that many points in a single game.
“He’ll be happy that we won, but 50 points? Nah, he wouldn’t be happy with that,” he said. “Oh, no, not 50 points. Even if we win, I’ll have a nightmare. Scared. Jesus. No. … I don’t even know how he would physically handle that. I honestly don’t know what would happen. I wouldn’t want to know. That would be crazy.”
RUNNING INTO DIFFICULTIES
Florida moved the ball well on Saturday but did not have much success on the ground, racking up just 115 total yards including 89 on 28 combined carries by their two leading rushers. Muschamp discussed the lack of success in the running game.
“We need to run it better. We need to do a better job inside of getting some movement in the run game,” he said. “We had a hard time getting their inside guys. They did a nice job scheming us a little bit on some things. Just movement inside. There wasn’t a whole lot of movement inside as far as what we were trying to do. We did bounce the ball on a couple runs and in some situations to get some success. But more than anything it was just movement inside.”
Saturday was the second time in four games that Jones averaged fewer than 3.0 yards per carry on at least 17 touches. Redshirt junior Mack Brown toted the rock 11 times and averaged 3.5 yards per carry.
“I got great respect for the program, team and their staff. They do an outstanding job. Offensively right now they’re very balanced in what they do. Cam Cameron has come in as offensive coordinator and done an outstanding job. … Zach Mettenberger is playing at a very high level. The thing that strikes you – he’s completing 70 percent of his passes but he’s so efficient and effective throwing the vertical balls down the field. He’s very accurate with the ball down the field and that’s the one thing that jumps off at you watching the tape. …
“Defensively I’ve got a lot of respect for John Chavis. He’s been in this league for a long time. They’ve got a lot of young guys, but they’re very talented defensively. I coached at LSU. They can run, they can strike, and they can play. They’re just young right now. Bu they’re fundamentally sound. They play hard, they play fast, they play physical, and that’s the type of defense we will see on Saturday afternoon.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Muschamp said junior CB Marcus Roberson (Knee) and freshman LB Jarrad Davis (facial laceration) will both be able to play against the Tigers on Saturday.
» On mixing coverages to combat LSU’s passing game: “Defensive football is a lot like war. If you line up in the same spot, you’re gonna get blown up.”
» On the Gators’ offensive success on Saturday: “Scoring before the half was huge. I can’t tell you how demoralizing that is for a defense. … And then to start the third quarter… We always talk to our players about the last five minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the third quarter of getting out to a good start, finishing the half well and getting off to a good start. So offensively, that was outstanding.”
» On why Florida has been so outstanding defensively: “The most pleasing thing is a little bit of the culture we’ve created. You have guys like Dominique Easley. When a Dante Fowler comes in your program and he sees how Jon Bostic practices, he sees how Jelani Jenkins practices, he sees how Dominique Easley practices – the same for Jon Bullard, the same for Antonio Morrison, the same for the young safeties, the same for the young corners. Vernon Hargreaves sees how those guys prepare themselves each week. You take good talent and guys that are willing to have that blue-collar mentality, work hard at it and come together for a common purpose, you can do some things.”
» On whether UF will use the 41-11 loss at LSU in 2011 as motivation this week: “If you’re a competitor, it should [motivate you]. And I know we got a bunch of competitive guys in the locker room. … Most competitors I’ve been around certainly will use that. I will.”
» On how Florida will deal with the hostile environment of Tiger Stadium:“We start crowd noise at about the fifth practice of training camp, so our players start to feel comfortable being uncomfortable. When you go on the road, that’s key.”
» On Taylor’s nose for the ball and characteristics: “Well, he is a tenacious young man. Mike is around the ball a lot. Obviously in our defense we try to clear some things up for the linebackers to make players. But he is around the ball. He’s got very good instincts. And when you’re around the ball a lot, good things are going to happen. … He’s a very colorful young man. That’s probably the best way I can say it. Football is very important to Mike. He goes out to practice every day, brings his hard hat out there and works extremely hard. He’s very smart. He understands our defense.”
» On why Watkins and redshirt junior Cody Riggs were the cornerbacks chosen to move to safety: “Both guys, number one, are really smart. Both guys are willing tacklers, which you got to do in our league. Both guys can cover. … Your safeties have got to cover. If you can’t cover and play in space, you’re going to have a hard time. Both those guys have really good man coverage skills. They also have good zone instincts as well. We put a lot on our safeties. Both guys are really smart. They can get us in and out of the right stuff.”
» Muschamp said junior QB Jeff Driskel went to the team hotel Friday through Saturday and has continued to attend quarterback meetings while sidelined with his injuries. Though he hopes Driskel can join the team on the road in the future, that is a decision that will be left up to the trainers because he is still currently wearing a big boot that makes travelling difficult. “Tyler and he have a great relationship. Anything that helps Tyler play well, we’ll do,” he said.
» On Mettenberger looking like a different player this season: “We’re all in an instant coffee society where we want it right now. That’s not always the way it is. Sometimes that happens with players. So from a maturity standpoint, he’s playing at an extremely high level.”