Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp participated in the weekly Southeastern Conference coaches’ teleconference on Wednesday, looking to his team’s next game against the Missouri Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. (ESPN2).
Redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr (knee) and junior wide receiver Latroy Pittman are both expected to be practicing with the team on Wednesday. Orr is expected to be available for Saturday’s game, while Pittman’s status is a bit more up in the air as he will only be taken limited practice repetitions.
Outside of offensive coordinator Kurt Roper declaring Tuesday that redshirt junior Jeff Driskel would get the start, Muschamp said there has been no solid decision made about how the quarterback rotation will go on Saturday.
“We’re going to see who has the hot hand and see who’s helping move our football team and gives us the best opportunity to win. We’ll make that decision as we go through the game,” he said. “Both guys deserve and have earned the opportunity to play. We’re still kind of going through that through [Wednesday]’s practice into the game. Kurt and I will sit down Friday morning and make a decision on what we need to do.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On the retirement of SEC Commissioner Mike Slive: “I’d like to take the time to thank Commissioner Slive for his leadership and service to our conference, to really all of college athletics. What an outstanding job he’s done.”
» On why the spread makes things more difficult for defensive coordinators: “I think when people spread you out, they make you declare. You have less opportunity to disguise when they deploy four or five open receivers. … It creates space play; you got to tackle in space. You have to be able to rush the passer with four guys consistently well, in my opinion, to defend a spread offense. The ball is out of the quarterback’s hands quickly. Pressure is a little overrated, in my opinion, depending on the type of passing game, passing concepts that they’re using. But you got to be able to play man-to-man. You got to be able to deny the ball, mix zone with that. To me, it certainly can expose you as far as deficiencies in coverage and guys that can’t tackle in space.”
» On defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.‘s junior season: “Dante is an outstanding, talented player, but I think the biggest thing that jumps out at you on tape is his motor. He plays extremely hard, it’s very important to him, he’s a great competitor. You start there and then he’s got really good flexibility, great initial quickness off the ball, he’s got a good feel in the pass rush, pressure points and where to rush depending on who’s blocking him. But you start with his motor; he’s got a great motor. I think he’s taken the next step. Number one, he’s in better condition. Last year, we had some conditioning issues when he got tired because he empties the bucket every time out. He gives you everything he’s got. I think he’s in much better condition. I think he’s eating better off the field. He’s leaned his body down. He got some of the baby fat off of him that he had his first two seasons. I think he’s done a much better job managing his body off the field, and it’s translated on the field.”
» On the development of sophomore safety Keanu Neal: “Keanu was a young man in high school who was more a box safety. He did not play in the deep part of the field very much. As a matter of fact, when we had him in camp and evaluated his ball skills and his ability to play in the deep part of the field, we felt comfortable about it but we still didn’t know. We projected a little bit. He’s a guy that it took him a little more time than it does others as far as being able to adjust and play the ball down the field. He’s got really good ball judgment. He can finish on plays. He’s a very good tackler. He has very good instincts in the box and in the deeper part of the field. He has improved his communication skills tremendously. He’s a very hard self-evaluator, as a matter of fact, probably a little bit too hard on himself at times. He is a guy that continues to improve, gets better every practice, goes out, has a tremendous work ethic. I’ve coached a lot of good safeties, and he’s’ going to be right up there with them at the end of the day.”