10/8: Will Muschamp addresses recent incidents, Florida’s preparations for LSU

By Adam Silverstein
October 8, 2014

Updated/completed at 1:35 p.m.

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (3-1, 2-1 SEC) met with the media twice on Wednesday as his team continues its preparations for the LSU Tigers (4-2, 0-2 SEC). Florida is looking to defeat LSU for just the second time since 2010 as the Gators host the Tigers on Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and air live nationally on the SEC Network.

Muschamp’s regularly-scheduled media appearance on Monday was postponed as freshman quarterback Treon Harris is currently under investigation for alleged sexual battery. He addressed that and a variety of other topics on Wednesday.

TREON HARRIS SITUATION

With his second-string quarterback, freshman Treon Harris, suspended indefinitely while under investigation for sexual battery, Muschamp declined to comment further on the situation. In fact, he indicated that he preferred to not even have a press conference this week but understood that he needed to in order to help the media do their jobs.

“The statement that the university released Monday, I think, was pretty self-explanatory. It is a very serious charge, and there has been no change in his status,” he said.

“You handle things in life and you move forward and that’s what we’re going to do [as a team]. I feel very comfortable with how we’ve approached this situation.”

Muschamp declined comment on any questions related to Harris.


INJURY UPDATES

Muschamp expects to have redshirt senior linebacker Michael Taylor (knee) and three freshmen – running back Brandon Powell (hamstring), QB Will Grier (back spams) and wide receiver C.J. Worton (broken hand) – back in action for Saturday’s game. Taylor has been dealing with the flu and missed two days of practice but will return to the field Wednesday and be active by the time the weekend rolls around.

A surprise player listed as questionable is junior RB Matt Jones. Muschamp initially said he had knee swelling and would be a game-time decision but added later in his press conference that he “fully expects” Jones to play in Florida’s next game. Jones has not yet practiced this week but is expected to return to the field Wednesday and start as usual on Saturday.

Still questionable is redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr, who missed the Tennessee game after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery a couple weeks earlier. Orr returned to team workout son Monday and Tuesday but will have to practice late in the week if he hopes to be active on Saturday.

The only previously healthy player ruled out for Saturday’s game is redshirt junior WR Valdez Showers, who suffered a high-ankle sprain and will miss the contest. Freshman LB Daniel McMillian also missed the Tennessee game with a head injury and his status is currently unknown for LSU.

OPENING STATEMENT

“Tennessee was a big win for us. I thought offensively we improved on third down. we had seven conversions on third down. … I thought we ran the ball well. We need to continue to throw it better, be more efficient in the throwing game, timing, ball placement, catching the football. I think we protected well in the game but continued to make some progress there.

“Defensively, it was a total team effort. We had eight red zone snaps, you had -11 yards, three incompletions, an interception and a sack. I think our guys played extremely well. We made it a one-dimensional game. We were able to get pressure on the quarterback with four guys rushing, three guys at times. We picked our spots to pressure, it thought D.J. [Durkin] did a good job and our defensive staff.”

QUARTERBACK DEPTH CHART

Muschamp confirmed that redshirt junior Jeff Driskel will indeed start on Saturday but noted that he is not sure who will be listed as the No. 2 signal caller. Grier and redshirt sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg will split reps throughout the week in practice.

He also said that Driskel was absolutely in line to play Saturday no matter what, though Florida had not determined whether Driskel or Harris would have started the contest.

“We had not made a decision off the last game who would start the game. I knew Jeff would play in the game, I do know that. As we continue to practice [Wednesday and Thursday] … we’ll make that decision [on a backup] at game time.”

Muschamp once again praised Driskel for the way he has handled the situation, noting that he has kept a positive attitude despite being benched last week.

“Jeff’s a tough young man. He’s resilient, and I met with him Sunday and talked to him after the game and talked to him Monday. He understands that there’s some situations he needs to play better. He takes full responsibility to be the quarterback at the University of Florida. The way he has handled this has been outstanding.”

Muschamp also said that he has not necessarily moved away from potentially using more than one quarterback – “We’re going to do what needs to be done to win the game.” – even if that means potentially costing Grier his redshirt season.

“We hadn’t really made a decision considering the length we still had to go in the season. We had not had that discussion as far as redshirt at that time,” he said. “Given the situation of having two guys who had played to that point in the season, that’s probably where we were headed. Certainly given the situation right now, obviously not.”

TEAMMATE SCUFFLE

Mornhinweg and freshman defensive end Gerald Willis got into a fight outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Monday night over what wound up being a disagreement over a pair of cleats. OnlyGators.com covered the legal matter in full on Tuesday, but Muschamp offered his thoughts on the situation on Wednesday.

“That was a tremendous misunderstanding. I tell you, boy, we’ve made a big one out of this.

“We’ve got an air thing that takes the wetness out of the cleats. Skyler last year was No. 17 and Jordan Sherit is No. 17 this year. Gerald was coming from class and was trying to get ready for practice and couldn’t find his cleats on the air thing, and he grabbed No. 17 because he’s buddies with Jordan Sherit and he thought that would be OK, and he went out to practice. There was a disagreement on the cleats and whose cleats they were.

“Nobody stole anything. If anybody stole anything, they wouldn’t be on this football team anymore, I can assure you of that. There was a disagreement; I wish it would have been handled a little bit differently. That’s, you know…

“Me and my brother Mike used to fight all the time. It happened in our family. Maybe our family is really different from everybody else’s family. Me and my brother Pat, I never won, took swings, never won. It’s the way it goes. It’s families. It’s what happens.”

HONORARY MR. MISS TWO BITS

Florida announced Wednesday that former Gators softball pitchers Stacey Nelson and Hannah Rogers (together) will serve as the honorary Mr. Two Bits for Saturday night’s game against LSU.

It is an interesting decision for UF. With this tradition expected to continue long into the future, one would think that Nelson and Rogers deserve their own, separate, opportunities to take on this role.

Nevertheless, the duo of hurlers will be the first females to perform Mr. Two Bits duties ahead of a Florida football game since the school started the honorary festivities in 2013.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Muschamp named Jones the team’s Offensive Player of the Game against Tennessee, and credited redshirt senior center Max Garcia as the Offensive Lineman of the Game. He handed the entire defense the Defensive Player of the Game award but singled out freshman cornerback Jalen Tabor and sophomore safety Keanu Neal as the Ball Hawks. Finally, redshirt sophomore kicker Austin Hardin and defensive backs sophomore Marcus Maye and senior Jabari Gorman all split the Special Teams Player of the Game award.

» Tabor was also named the SEC Freshman of the Week and took home a variety of Natioanl Freshman of the Week awards. He was tremendous in coverage on Saturday.

» On Hardin striking his game-winning field goal: “Austin Hardin hitting the 49 yarder, which would have been good from 60, I’m really proud of him. His confidence level has certainly taken a step forward and needs to continue to.”

» On Florida’s deep roster of backup running backs, specifically sophomore Kelvin Taylor and redshirt senior Mack Brown: “They’ve both been outstanding, and they’re both competitive guys. They both want to play. There’s one ball right now. Both of those guys, I expect their roles to maybe, depending on how we move forward in the next 72 hours with Matt, which I expect him to play, but I’ve got confidence in Kelvin, I’ve got confidence in Mack Brown, Adam Lane has been over repping with our guys the last couple days just in case, a guy that I’ve got tremendous confidence in him as well. Talk about a hard guy to tackle, a low center of gravity; a strong, tough back that catches the ball well out of the backfield. And then you add Brandon Powell to the mix of a guy that’s going to get some snaps Saturday in some different roles. I’m excited about that position. I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone in that ballgame that Matt Jones gets heavy as the game goes and he ran extremely well.”

19 Comments

  1. cline says:

    Probably just coach speak about Worton and Powell, but time is up on the older receivers. If you can’t make a play move over for the young guys to get their shot. We need something to get the offense going.

    i still think we can beat LSU if we avoid miscue’s GO GATORS!

    • 5wideU says:

      Agree with that. There needs to be some serious improvement from the WRs or the new guys need to get in.

  2. senuod says:

    I’m a little surprised we haven’t seen a two-back scheme yet, considering the amount of talented backs we have. Maybe a triple option play. Have two backs in the backfield with the QB. Jones and Adam Lane might be perfect for that considering they’re so hard to tackle and reportedly great at catching in the backfield.

    Just a thought.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Stole the words right out of my mouth. They had talked all preseason about using Jones in a receiver position with another back on the field. Haven’t seen that even attempted yet.

      The receivers need to start catching the damn ball too.

      • senuod says:

        They did run a pass play to Jones with Treon during the Tennessee game. Think it was actually his Treon’s first completion of the game. I don’t really remember seeing a similar play to a back before that. These types of plays would also give Hunter Joyer a chance to get some playing time in a backup role. I know Muschamp has used Joyer in that manner in the past.

        Considering the drops we’ve been having, we may start seeing more of these plays.

    • Michael J. says:

      Since when has Adam lane become “so hard o tackle?” How long will folks like you be gullible enough to actually believe anything that is said by the coaches, players, and sycophants in Gainesville? Has Lane even played a down? No wonder there are so many people with unrealistic expectations, they actually believe the propaganda being fed to them. Vernon Hargreaves told us at the SEC meetings that Driskel was the “best quarterback” in America. Florida was “loaded” at wide receiver with at least eight guys who could play at a high level. Need I go on? My suggestion is to stop paying attention to the propaganda or how many stars a player has coming out of high school and focus only on how they perform in a real game against a real opponent, not a scrub like Eastern Michigan. UF is at the same place they were last year, they have beat Kentucky and Tennessee, but have struggled mightily to do so. But you are what your record says you are, and if UF can beat LSU Saturday, they will have improved from last year.

  3. 305Gator says:

    Well I hope Muschamp has put to rest the cleats caper episode. Like I suspected from the get go much to do about nothing, and shame on whoever was calling Willis a thief in the previous thread.
    Of course those of you who do not believe anything coach says and want him fired yesterday will probably claim it is some cover up.
    I do want to see more of Taylor and if Jones is banged up we may very well see just that . Hope Jones is OK though, we need him.
    So we will have both Skyler and Grier available. I haven’t seen anything out of Grier and Skyler is a 3rd or 4th string so that makes me a little nervous. Who will come in and spell Driskel this time around?
    The only good thing is that LSU is having problems as well and are not the formidable opponent they seemed to be early on.
    Hope we get the good Driskel this Saturday.
    Go Gators.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Maybe in the euphoria of the Tennessee win they thought they were attending free shoes u?

    • Razzlegator says:

      My only problem with this whole thing is that I’m having a hard time believing that all three of these kids wear the same size shoe. Locker room thiefs don’t steal cleats. Wallets and watches, that kinda stuff.

  4. Gatorgrad79 says:

    One thing for sure, Matt Jones cannot continue to get the holy crap beat out of him every week and hold up for the season, That power run up the middle only works when there is a real threat of the vertical pass, and that is not the case as of now. Until we find a long ball or even a consistent short pass game, Matt or whoever gets the hand off is getting slammed.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Matt’s a tough guy, I think he can tote the rock 20-25 times a game, every game. I think they do need to try to get him the ball in open space on pass plays like the one Harris threw to him last Saturday. I don’t think most defenses are going to want to try to tackle that guy in the open field with a full head of steam.

    • 305Gator says:

      Long ball ?
      Consistent short passing game ?
      Sadly with Driskel at the helm I think you are asking too much. How about we get him to complete a few simple passes on first down once in a while and a few 3rd down completions too. Oh and no turnovers in the red zone. And more TDs than INTs.
      One can only hope.

  5. g8ter27 says:

    What ever happened to Adam Lane?

    • G2 says:

      Thats what Im wondering also, is he still on the team? All this talk about his power game and nothing. I know he had some personal things going on in the first game or 2, seems like typical Muschamp at this point.

  6. Timmy T says:

    Jalen Tabor and Duke Dawson both played great. Those two being inserted into the line-up, Bullard to the nose, and Cox to end is what made the Defense click. Make no mistake about it. Dante’ and Vernon got some help and it showed. Now, we need Jeff to do his part and not make it any harder on them. If he can just not make the horrible mistakes at horrible times, our defense can keep us in every game. But we need Jeff to make some plays, too. Which, he is very capable of doing at times. And lastly, we need to catch the damn ball when it is indeed catchable. We do those things and Jeff manages the game better, I like our chances against anyone. Whole bunch of “ifs”, but I’m hoping. Go Gators!!!!

  7. ryan v says:

    We’re a 3-1 team (should be 4-1) with a loss to one of the decades best programs and our players and the media act like we’re walking around 0-4. Take a breath…

    • G2 says:

      Considering the clock issues that went in our favor we could easily be 1-3.

      • senuod says:

        Could be….but we’re not. We COULD have not gotten blown out by Alabama, but we did. This season is what it is so far and we are in fact 3-1. The east is still wide open and, though the reinstatement of Driskel does not lend itself to confidence in our offense, we still control our destiny against some very beatable teams.

      • Dave Massey says:

        The clock calls were both correct calls. We won the games fair and square. We are 3-1.

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