10/12: Florida at LSU post-game report

By Adam Silverstein
October 12, 2013

The No. 17/17 Florida Gators (4-2, 3-1 SEC) got manhandled by the more physical No. 10/11 LSU Tigers (6-1, 3-1 SEC), falling 17-6 on the road at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, FL. After the tough loss, Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media to provide some of his thoughts on his team and its defeat.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» LSU improved to 4-1 against Florida at Tiger Stadium since Les Miles took over the program and is now 15-16 at home all-time against UF
» The Gators are 1-4 in their last five games against ranked opponents, beating Florida State in 2012 but falling to Georgia, Louisville, Miami and LSU all since Oct. 27, 2012.
» Florida fell to 7-10 under Muschamp when rushing for fewer than 150 yards and 4-9 when tied or trailing at the half.
» The Tigers posted 327 yards of offense against the Gators’ top-ranked defense, the most UF has allowed in a single game yet in 2013. LSU was held to fewer than 400 yards and less than 30 points, both for the first time this season.
» Florida has held 13-straight SEC opponents under 20 points.
» The Gators have forced at least one turnover in 17-straight games.
» Florida failed to score a touchdown in an entire game for the first time since falling 17-9 to Georgia on Oct. 27, 2012.
» UF once again won the time of possession battle (34:11-25:49) and have done so in all six games this season.
» The Gators did not sack the opposing quarterback once, the first time that has happened in 2013.
» Florida committed at least eight penalties in a game for the fourth time this season. It’s also the fourth time the Gators lost 70+ yards in a game due to penalties. Two of those four contests ended as losses.
» UF was held to 2.8 yards per carry and under 150 team rushing yards for the second-straight game and third time overall this season (two losses).
» The Gators have not turned the ball over in back-to-back games.

» Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor registered career-highs of 10 carries and 52 rushing yards. He was a breath of fresh air in the Gators’ backfield but also missed a key block late in the game that resulted in a sack.
» Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy completed just 55.6 percent of his passes, registered 115 passing yards and a QB rating of 91.3, all career lows. He also rushed for -13 yards (due to sacks), another career low mark. Murphy succeeded on a pooch punt attempt, booting the ball 36 yards and pinning LSU at its own one-yard line.
» Redshirt junior walk-on kicker Frankie Valez handled field goals for Florida on Saturday. He went 2-for-2, making the first two attempts of his career. His long of 44 was also a season-long for UF.
» Junior punter Kyle Christy struggled mightily in his primary role but completed a 14-yard pass to redshirt junior linebacker Neiron Ball on a fake punt. It was the first pass of his career and Ball’s first reception.
» The Gators did not register a sack on the evening, but Florida’s offensive line and allowed Murphy to be taken down four times and hurried on five more occasions.
» Redshirt junior nose tackle Leon Orr recovered the first fumble of his career.


OPENING STATEMENT

“I think it starts with consistently being able to run it and stopping the run. … We didn’t consistently control he line of scrimmage offensively. Too many negative plays put us behind in the down and distance, which is very difficult to overcome against a good pass rushing team. I thought we settled down there defensively in the second half. The 3rd-and-17 was a killer conversion there in the first half there. Guys fought hard but we didn’t win enough on the line of scrimmage.

“We still have everything sitting in front of us as far as the SEC East is concerned and that’s what we need to look forward to. Disappointed that we didn’t get the win. They got a good football team. We knew that coming in. just disappointed we didn’t play the run a little better defensively and be more effective running the ball overall.”

INJURY UPDATES

Sophomore running back Matt Jones was the clear starter on Saturday but got knocked out of the game early with a left knee injury. Muschamp downplayed the severity of the ailment after the contest but did not provide any specifics whatsoever.

“Matt did get hurt in the game. We do not think it’s serious. We’re not sure how serious it is. He’s going to get taken and looked at,” he said. “I’ll know more about Matt on Monday. I don’t know much now.”

Replacing Jones was Taylor and redshirt junior Mack Brown, who picked up 56 yards on 15 carries. Taylor got his most extensive action of the season and looked like the playmaker he was billed to be, but he also missed an important block that, had it been made, likely would’ve resulted in a Florida touchdown.

“Kelvin had his best week of practice this past week. A lot of it has to do with practice and how you practice and prepare. I thought he did a nice job,” Muschamp said. “We still got to clean some things up in protection. Running the ball is one thing. But we also have to block and block the right guy and be in protection and understand who to block. A lot of those passing situations aren’t always on the offensive line.”

Also leaving the game for good was senior defensive tackle Damien Jacobs, who had his helmet ripped off on LSU’s first touchdown of the game. He was checked for a concussion and event went back to the locker room at one point, but Muschamp said he was treated for a cut.

“His helmet was knocked off and while he was on the pile, one of the players hit him in the head without a helmet on, so he had a laceration on his head,” he said.

SWITCHING UP THE SPECIALISTS

Velez traveling with the Gators was a surprise. Him starting as the field goal kicker and connecting on two attempts, including a 44-yarder, was even more of a shocker.

“Frankie’s been a guy that we just…open competition. We play the best players regardless of who they are. If they’re a walk-on, whoever it is,” Muschamp said. “He kicked the best this past week in practice. We traveled him, I think for the first time, for an away game and he went out and did a fantastic job.”

Muschamp indicated that Velez will remain the starter going forward unless things happen to change in the interim. Considering how poorly Christy punted on Saturday – his short hang time and lack of distance hurt when UF needed long punts and he used too much leg when Florida was trying to pin LSU deep in its own territory – a switch may be coming at that position, too.”

“The punter job, I don’t know,” he said. “We had opportunities to pin them and [win] field position and we didn’t do it. Kyle had two opportunities and he didn’t do it. I’ll open it up. I seriously considered, during the game, taking the redshirt off Johnny Townsend.”

The initial plan was to redshirt Townsend to add a year of separation between him and Christy, who is planning to return to Florida for his senior season. It now looks like the Gators may have no choice but to rely on a freshman punter going forward.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On his post-game message to the team: “Still everything sitting on the table as far as Atlanta is concerned. Need to take care of the SEC East. It’s wide open. It’s all in our hands. We just need to go watch the tape to improve from this Saturday.”

» On Murphy and his performance: “I think we got to protect better. We had too many free runners at the quarterback. … We got to give him more time.”

» On why Florida struggled stopping the run: “We just didn’t get movement up front. Our guys didn’t get off blocks. … You got to get off blocks and make tackles. Our guys knew that coming in, and we didn’t do it enough tonight. … You can call whatever defense you want to call. A kid’s got to get off a block and make a play. Our guys got to accept that.”

» On the penalties and miscues: “We moved the ball but we gave up too many negative plays and that’s concerning. The negative plays, we get behind that, we have a hard time sometimes converting in those situations. We gave up more negative plays today than we probably have all season combined.”

@ONLYGATORS TWEET OF THE GAME

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