No. 17/17 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp made his scheduled appearance Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference‘s weekly coaches teleconference and touched on a number of topics surrounding his team heading into Saturday’s road contest against the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers. Les Miles, LSU’s head coach, also spoke Monday and Wednesday about this week’s match-up.
Updating his team’s injuries, Muschamp said junior cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee) had his best practice since being injured a month ago and will be full speed for Saturday’s game. Additionally, freshman linebacker Jarrad Davis (facial laceration) will be fine to play.
Unfortunately, the news was not all positive for Florida as freshman LB Alex Anzalone sprained his ankle against Arkansas, was unable to practice all week and is already listed as out for this weekend’s game.
MAD HATTER ON THE GATORS
Miles discussed his team’s upcoming showdown with Florida on Monday at the start of his weekly press conference with local and national media.
“We’ll be challenged. A very, very talented team. They have good players. They’ll be coming to Tiger Stadium. Any time that we get these two teams matched up – I can think back into ’07 and think back into times that we’ve faced Florida in this stadium – they’ve always been very competitive, a great challenge certainly to both teams. So good, quality Florida team, ranked number 17, which in my opinion, they look a lot better than 17. They’re the No. 1 team defensively in the league. They’re allowing 12 points, 217 yards, 65 yards rushing and 152 yards passing. They lead in all major defensive categories. Again, a very sound scheme. They don’t give up big plays. Again, Will Muschamp does a great job with that defense.
“Offensively they’re averaging 25 points, just under 400 yards a game, 107 yards rushing and 200 yards passing. And they, again, good balance. The quarterback is a playmaker. Tyler Murphy, and they have two very, very quality running backs and this Trey Burton comes in. He’s a playmaker. He leads them in receiving, and he can play quarterback. … Seems like we’ve been playing that guy for a long time. We need check his eligibility. But a very, very quality team, and we’re looking forward to getting to work on him [Monday]. It’s a workday. We look forward to welcoming Florida to Tiger Stadium, and we expect that it will be a loud, very, very home team-friendly crowd.”
[Editor's Note: Burton has career statistics of 64 total yards and one rushing touchdown in three games against the Tigers.]
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Muschamp on what Murphy has done better than Jeff Driskel: “We’re taking care of the football better. … We’ve improved ourselves throwing the football overall to start the year and we’ve continued to improve through the year. That’s what I’ve seen from game one till now. We’ve taken steps forward in the passing game every week.”
» Muschamp on whether Murphy ever looked like he could unseat Driskel: “We don’t ever look at it from the standpoint of being the starter last year. We compete every day. … Tyler took major strides when Jeff was out with his appendix in camp. That’s when I saw a different Tyler Murphy. I saw a guy that had a great command of our offense and himself in growing with confidence and his teammates’ growing confidence in him. He has done a fabulous job being the quarterback at the University of Florida.”
» Muschamp on if he wishes he had given Murphy a shot earlier: “His production speaks for itself. We came a game away from playing for a national championship year ago, and we had a pretty good year.”
» Muschamp on his memories of the 2003 LSU title season, when he was on the coaching staff under Nick Saban: “I remember when Florida came in and beat us. That wasn’t a favorite one. Old Ben Troupe and Ciatrick Fason got after us pretty good that day, and Chris Leak. … It was a special year. Nothing but great memories. And I’ve got great respect for the LSU program.”
» Muschamp on whether he will be able to participate in pre-game festivities honoring the 2003 team: “I’m worried about that 2013 LSU team, not the 2003 one. That’s for sure.”
» Miles on Florida’s defense: “The numbers have changed some but I think they’re very talented guys, run to the ball and play an aggressive brand [of football], so they don’t look much different to me. They run to the ball, are around the plays. They play very sound and solid football at the line of scrimmage. They have all the earmarks of a very quality defense.”
» Miles on Murphy: “I think he’s a guy that the game slows down for him when it becomes a tight game. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We’ll have to pressure him in a number of ways, not just a stiff diet – whether it’s pressure or coverage. It’ll be a great challenge.”
» Miles on Murphy (on Monday): “He’s a guy that’s very athletic. He’s a guy that can throw the football. They’ve run a number of wide kind of reverses and fake reverses and those things. So it’s an offense that’s diverse. But, again, I think that the trigger man is certainly the guy that makes good decisions. I think he’s thrown five touchdown passes and one interception, plays smart and does what the coaches ask him to do.”
» Miles on sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr.: “He reminds me of the very, very fine defensive ends that have been at Florida for quite some time.”
» South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier on Murphy: “Obviously Tyler is a very good player. He’s a dang good player. His throwing motion is beautiful. He throw a nice, catchable ball. He can move around in the pocket. You’d never think the young man hadn’t played [more than] just two or three games now. He must’ve looked good in practice down there. But he finally got his chance and sometimes that’s the way it works out. You get your chance and make the most out of it. He’s a very good player. … Watching Tyler, he throws the ball beautifully. Fundamentally he’s very sound. And all their receivers, they’re catching everything. He throws a very catchable ball. He’s a very good quarterback, I think.”