10/15: Florida at Auburn post-game notes

The Florida Gators (4-3, 2-3 SEC) fell again on the road on Saturday, dropping a 17-6 decision to the No. 24 Auburn Tigers (5-2, 3-1 SEC). OGGOA takes a look at some of the notable occurrences before, during and after Saturday’s game with notes and quotes from both head coach Will Muschamp and the players.

MUSCHAMP’s GAME RECAP

Early in his post-game media availability, Muschamp provides his own quick recap of the game as he sees it from offense, defense and special teams.

“It was a tough, hard-fought game. Obviously three turnovers lead to 10 points. It’s tough to win the game. We’ve gone three games where we haven’t gotten a turnover defensively or on special teams. We’ve got to create some positive momentum for our football team and our offense, and we’re not doing enough of that. That’s something we’ve got to be able to do. [Turnovers] leading to 10 points was just really, really disappointing.”

INJURIES AND ABSENCES

In addition to redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (lower leg) and redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee) being ruled out early in the week, it turns out that neither senior running back Jeff Demps (ankle) nor sophomore Buck linebacker Ronald Powell (neck) were cleared to play. Muschamp said Monday that both players were expected to be fine for the game but admitted Saturday that Powell did not practice all week and Demps was a game-time decision.

Perhaps even worse for Florida, injuries piled up for the Gators on Saturday. Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs, who hit two field goals, injured his leg and was unavailable for the remainder of the game. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose appeared to hurt his ankle and changed out of his uniform. Redshirt senior left guard Dan Wenger was wearing a boot on the sideline, junior left tackle Xavier Nixon appeared hobbled, and both junior RB Mike Gillislee and sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley were injured during the game but eventually returned.

ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS

Will Brantley play against Georgia?
“I’m hoping so. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know. His rehab is going very well.”

Was there any indication in practice that there were punt return problems?
“We haven’t had any issues at all.”

Why didn’t Gillislee get the ball more as previously suggested?
“We weren’t really doing much in the run game. That kind of dictated that. We felt like we needed to open it up more and work the perimeter. We did have some read series runs where he was a part of that and didn’t get the ball in those situations.”

Why did freshman Kyle Christy take over at punter?
“We just had not been flipping the field in the punting. We felt like we needed to look at a possible change in that situation, and Kyle had been punting extremely well. His operation time had been the issue. He had his operation time down pretty much throughout the week, and we felt like he deserved that opportunity.”

MUFFED PUNTS AND NUMEROUS MISCUES

Two important factors have dug Florida into big holes over the last two weeks – penalties and turnovers. Though the Gators committed their fair share of penalties on Saturday, their turnovers were much more detrimental to the outcome of the game. UF muffed four punts in the game and gave up two of them. Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey fumbled one in a play that should have been an interference call against an Auburn player; it eventually cost Florida a short-field touchdown.

Replacing Rainey after his third muffed punt, sophomore WR Robert Clark followed suit and let one slip between his arms. Clark’s fumble resulted in a field goal. After the game, Muschamp explained why the change was made and why Clark was chosen.

“Bobby’s done an outstanding job. Chris was gassed a little bit and was tired and had a hard time fielding a couple,” he said. “Bobby’s been doing it all year for us and being very effective. We’ve had Frankie [Hammond] back and several guys back. Andre’s been back but he was hurt. I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Bobby.”

DRISKEL AND BRISSETT SPLIT TIME

Freshman Jacoby Brissett was named the Gators’ starter this week after a full week of practice, but as offensive coordinator Charlie Weis mentioned on Tuesday, it appeared as if classmate Jeff Driskel would get his fair share of snaps, too. That is exactly what happened during the game, which wound up being a tale of two halfs as Brissett started the first portion of the game and Driskel led the team after halftime.

Muschamp explained that having just six points going into the locker room was unacceptable and that Florida “needed to do something different from what we were doing” in the second half. “We knew Jeff was going to play in the game,” he said. “We came in at halftime and talked. Jacoby’s play was nothing that we were disappointed with. We just weren’t moving the ball effectively enough, and we felt like we needed a change. Jeff had a couple nice drives. We need to do more. We need to play better around both guys.”

He also acknowledged that “playing as a true freshman quarterback in this league is difficult” and thinks both signal callers are “going to be fine” in the long run. Muschamp also refused to place the blame on their shoulders. “You can’t score six points and win games. It’s going to be tough. You got to score more points than that,” he said. “It’s not all their fault either. We got to play better up front. We got to play better at the wideout position. We got to develop some things in the run game. We got to do a lot.”

Nevertheless, Muschamp did point out that the passers have a long way to go. “Both guys didn’t do anything that really killed us in the game but again didn’t do enough to help our football team,” he said. “We had a missed throw there on the flea flicker – it was wide open and we need to hit that and we need to take advantage of those situations when we have opportunities to make those. The more reps and the more turns those young men get, they’re going to be really good football players. I’m excited about both of them. We just need to continue to move forward. It’s been tough with Jeff being hurt a little bit. Going into the fifth week of the season, Jacoby didn’t have a whole lot of reps because he’s a third stringer. That’s the reality of it and that’s part of the game.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Muschamp on losing three-straight games: “I told [the players] that losing is hard. Losing is tough. It’s not fun. But we’re going to stay the course here, OK? The guys fought and competed hard in the game, and I felt that way a week ago. We didn’t get the results we wanted but we took a positive step forward. I saw some good things. I saw some things that we obviously need to correct. Very proud of our effort, how we competed in the game in a tough place to play. I thought that we didn’t win the game and that’s what everybody wants to see, but I see a lot more than that. I saw things that we’ve got to do as a program to take steps forward, and I thought that we did some of those things tonight. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get the win.

» Muschamp on if he is happy his defense played much better: “Well, it wasn’t good enough.”

» Muschamp on if he hoped a wide receiver would emerge this season: “It’s more than anything not necessarily somebody emerging, just somebody playing consistently. That’s the biggest issue right now – consistent play at the position. We’re not getting enough consistent play at the position.”

» Hammond on the team’s numerous issues: “It’s football. Nothing’s going to come easy. They did a good job scheming things up and playing at the line of scrimmage. We have to go back, look at the mistakes we made, see what the problems were and make a correction.”

» Hammond on how much of a difference Brantley would make: “You have a veteran quarterback with more experience. He makes things happen.”

» Hammond on having two weeks off: “The bye week I think will be beneficial for us. We can get guys who are banged up with nicks and knacks back. We got two weeks to prepare for Georgia, so we got kind of a jump start. We can break it down even more, analyze and see what they’re really all about.”

» Redshirt sophomore guard Jon Halapio on the offensive line’s play: “I could have done a better job. I don’t know where the mistakes were because we haven’t watched film.”

» Redshrit senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard on the play of senior defensive end William Green: “He went hard. Willie Green shows up to play every day and he went hard in the game tonight.”

» Howard on tough opponents: “The last few weeks have been pretty tough in the trenches. I think our defense stood up today. We played hard and we have to continue to do that.”

» Howard on the defense handling Auburn’s offense: “We had complete confidence coming into this game that we were going to play. Our coaches preached adjusting to the temp – the hurry-up offense. We adjusted well to it and came to play.”

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14 Responses to “10/15: Florida at Auburn post-game notes”

  1. jay d says:

    Wake up call muschamp…this is the sec…teams don’t build off of losses…they build off of wins…I don’t give a crap about the minimal bright spots the gators showed…6 points is pathetic agaisnt a defeanse giving up 400 plus yeards a game…no exccuses muschamp…this loss is on you and weis!

  2. scooterp says:

    The defense needs to learn how to wrap up – stop trying to strip the f/%! ball. They always manage to tack on another 5 yards because we don’t tackle well in the secondary. And Muschamp needs to dial it down a notch – its one thing to be passionate, but when you go overboard you look like a cartoon. You are the CEO of a top 5 football program – sometimes you need to look the part, right now he doesn’t. This team is trying to hard to make big plays – when that happens the basics tend to suffer.

  3. aziatic41 says:

    We suck right now. Auburn is not a good team at all. Their quarterback Trotter was trying to give us the game and we didn’t take it. With just an average offensive output we should have been up 21-7 going into halftime. Hopefully when we get Brantley back things will change but I seriously doubt it. Brantley really did nothing significant before his injury. And I’m beginning to think he suffered a fracture in his leg instead of a severe strain but Muschamp is just keeping it a secret like he does with everything else.

    On a positive note the defense played better today. They did a good job containing Dyer but still gave up a huge run to McCaleb in the 4th quarter. We are a wounded team right now. From the coaching staff on down we are wounded. The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. And on paper we are supposed to have one of the best coaching staffs in the country in Weis, Quinn, Bryant, etc. But right now it doesn’t look like it at all. Also our guys seem small and more injury-prone than the other SEC teams. Mariotti, the strength coach, needs to be evaluated in the offseason because are guys don’t look or play physical. This is the second year in a row that we’ve looked and played like this. When we lose we are losing ugly and are getting overpowered.

    Another huge problem is we have no “go-to-player” on offense. Every team in the SEC has one except for us. This same problem haunted us last year. I’m sorry but Chris Rainey is not a go-to-player. He is too small! At 170 pounds, thats just not gonna work in the SEC. In the years to come we have to bring in guys who are playmakers on both sides of the ball. In close games we have no one offensive guy who we can get to ball to that can make a big play.

    UGA is firing on all cylinders right now. Cromwell is another tough running back we are gonna have to stop. Georgia is very balanced and can move the chains. We are going to have to really play well to win this game. Hopefully we’ll have Brantley, Demps, and Powell back. I’d like to also see Powell get some playing time as an inside linebacker instead of playing exclusively at that weird “buck” position. Mcray his replacement should get more playing time also. He had some good plays last night.

    Also Matt Elam played a good game. He played the Gator way. I really wish more of our guys would play like him. Another bitter Saturday night for the Gator Nation..

    • triplegator says:

      Until teams can respect our ability to run inside, the DEs and OLB are going to cheat toward the edges. When linemen can’t hold blocks, one way to attack is with quick hitters with the FB. We have a good FB and the one time we ran him we got 8 yards. I don’t know why Joyer doesn’t get more carries. But until defenses at least think we *might* run up the middle, we will not be able to get the edge against UGA or SC or FSU.

      Also, we need some receivers the QB can trust to go get the ball. USCeast’s last touchdown was a jump ball into double coverage. But they have Alshon jeffrey, so it’s 6 points. With our receivers, it’s an INT. A guy should at least be able to prevent the interception when it’s 1-1 downfield. We just don’t have receivers who want the ball. Speaking of which, Jordan Reed looks like he’d rather be up in the stands selling hot dogs. Is he injured, or what?

      Last thought…we should have left Brissett in. Most of his incompletions in the first half were touch passes that he threw too hard. It looked to me like he was starting to settle in and get some touch, and then all of a sudden he’s out of the game. I think Brissett has poise and presence, and the only reason Driskel is even with him now is because Driskel enrolled early. i predict that by the end of next spring Brissett will be the clear #1 QB.

  4. G8Rgrad98 says:

    I do not understand why issues &player status are such great mysteries… It’s not like we are national championship material this year. I’m starting not to believe a word that comes out of Muschamp’s mouth, & I hate that feeling. It would be better if he was at least 90% straightforward with the fan base prior to a game so we at least can wager our expectations. I honestly thought we had a very good chance at beating Auburn until I heard of all our injuries… What’s that kid for Oregon who’s out because he has a dislocated elbow. He has a dislocated elbow, that’s the truth & thats it nothing more to say & they move on… Shoot we don’t know what’s going on from day to day, had no idea Powell didn’t practice all week. Does Will seriously think that gives us an edge?????

    • g8ter27 says:

      Speaking of Oregon. They are down 3 last night, their qb gets his legs bent back (very similar to Brantley) and out he goes. The redshirt qb comes in and looks awesome, they win by 2 touchdowns. Sure, it is Arizona State they are playing but still at very good program. When one of our guys goesout we have no backup plan, even 3 weeks later we don’t. Really? We were putting our hopes that much on Brantley this year? What bothers me is that 20 minutes later, here comes the hurt qb back out onto the field as if he was going to try to go back in if needed (he wasn’t). Then they have a corner get his leg rolled up making a tackle, looks bad but a series or two later, he is back. Debose hurts and ankle, he takes it to the locker room and changes into street cloths. We had many injuries last night that (only in my opinion) in just seemed like our guys get banged up and are looking to come out and change. We don’tseem to have any guys out there who have that “I’m fine coach put me back in” mentality. There is very little toughness on this team right now. It shows in the way we tackle, the way we address an injury and the way we handle situations. That is on the coach….maybe Urban recruited a bunch of…wellyou know, but not all those guys are like that and the coaches MUST instill some sense of toughness to these guys.

  5. collegeballdude says:

    like i said before; bring back the pit! we look so undisciplined….and soft. also the play calling is so damn predictable. our play calling was so much better during the first four games albeit against lesser talent. again i think our NFL experienced coaches are coaching these guys like NFL prima donnas……i did not expect to necessarily beat LSU or BAMA but damn sure expected a better fight. dropping 4 punts???…….that’s coaching unless someone in the stands had a laser pen pointing at their eyes……anyway, GO GATORS……what matters in life is not how bad you screw up but how quickly you recover!…..

  6. Alex says:

    I hate to be this guy, but this looks like a loose, undisciplined team. I really wonder when the coaching is going to “kick in.” I really hope this is just growing pains in the new system and lack of depth, but we are not winning in any phase of the game. We have no pass rush. We generate no turnovers. We can’t tackle. We can’t pass protect. We can’t run between the tackles, because we’re not blocking. We can’t run outside the tackles, because everyone knows we can run between them. We can’t catch passes. We can’t put passes on target. We can’t field kicks (even fair catches). We have no awareness of the first down marker (not naming any names). We seem to give up too easily.

    Again, I think we can attribute a lot of this to the lack of depth. We’ve got almost no rotation at any position this year. It’s going to take a couple years of great recruiting classes to get us to a competitive 2-deep again. Not sure what happened in Meyer’s last few years that left us with so few upperclassmen and starter/backup caliber players. Especially the O and D lines.

    • GG says:

      Why do you think he bailed out? Think he saw the writing on the wall. If you look back to recruiting even in the best years only half of the guys had any playing time. Without Tebow, Harvin and Spikes who knows?

  7. Gatorgrad79 says:

    When Meyer left and then came back, he screwed the pooch for recruiting. We had decommittments, players leave, and many soft committments immediately begin to look elsewhere, with every other SEC coach in their ear that “Meyer wouldn’t stay much longer”. Now, unless a kid really wants to start right away he isn’t looking at us first. There is no apparent possibility that we might get back to a championship calibre again in the next 4 years, while they can look at Bama, Lsu, Ga, SoCar, etc for a team that will compete for the conference title. I fear we are entering a few years of downward spiral if we don’t snap out of this in jacksonville.

  8. John Schaeffer says:

    There is plenty of talent on the roster, just really poor coaching. Muschamp is a dead man walking, everyone knows that new head coaches have one shot to change the culture of their team toward discipline and accountability, this was Muschamps year to set the tone and he blew it.

    Its not as if the Gators are playing really well and coming up just short, these are some of the worst losses I can remember, even when compared to the Zook era, full of ineptitude, lack of discipline and effort, not in position, poor fundamentals…..IT REALLY IS A DISASTER, IF I WERE FOLEY, ID CAN MUSCHAMP NOW, NOT TO MENTION THE EMBARRASSING TIRADE ON THE SIDELINE AFTER THE BAD CALL BY THE OFFICIALS. HE LOOKS A LOT LIKE MIKE STOOPS.

  9. swiftt_tech69 says:

    Yeah fire the first year coach who has two true fresh at qb. The d played great. You can scheme all u want but weis can’t complete passes to wide open wrs. Reed dropped one, wide open flea flicker missed. Ci or not rainey has to catch that ball. If jb had played I think we win. Bama lsu it would not have matterd much. Gillisle should start, rainey loses to many yards on 1st down.

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