10/23: Muschamp talks injuries, state of Gators, confidence in staff, running Kelvin Taylor

Updated at 5:45 p.m.

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp spoke twice on Wednesday, making his scheduled appearance on the Southeastern Conference‘s coaches teleconference before sitting down with the media for the only time during his team’s off week.

INJURY UPDATES

Florida lost another player for the season, Muschamp announced, as freshman linebacker Jeremi Powell tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a non-contact situation during the Missouri game while on the field with the punt block unit. He is the eighth player the Gators have lost for the season, four of which have gone down with ACL injuries. “He’s a guy who was really emerging, special teams-wise. He did a great job on kickoff for us and on special teams, was really playing well,” Muschamp said.

Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy, who played Saturday with an injured shoulder after not practicing most of the week, will be held out of practice all week but “will start throwing again next week [and] should be fine” to start against Georgia.

Similar precautions are being used with redshirt junior LB Ronald Powell (ankle), who missed the Mizzou game and will also be held out of practice this week. Muschamp expects to get him back on the field next week. “I think we’ll get Ronald Powell back next week. He’s been unable to do anything thus far this week. He’s been running but just not ready for the change of direction and taking on blocks. But I think he’ll be fine,” he said.

Additionally, senior defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (head) should return next week. Jacobs was injured against LSU when his helmet came off in a pile and he got kicked in the head. Florida pointed out that he returned to the game, but Jacobs did not fly with the Gators to Columbia, MO, and has not practiced since. “I felt like he was going to play last week. I really didn’t know until Thursday practice he was not going to be able to go,” Muschamp noted.

He also could not provide much of an update regarding redshirt junior LB Darrin Kitchens (shoulder), who is rehabbing from his injury but also currently away from the team with his wife, who gave birth to a baby girl Monday night. “He’s been with his family, which is where he needs to be,” Muschamp said.


STATE OF THE GATORS

“Obviously when you struggle like we have the last couple of weeks, I think you go back on Sunday… I had some coaches who were supposed to be out recruiting Sunday and Monday and told the whole staff we need to get back in, we need to sit down and figure some things out. You go back to technique and fundamentals, you simplify. We’ve got to get our guys playing faster; we’ve got to get our guys playing with more confidence. That’s what we’re trying to do right now.

“We constantly self-evaluate. It’s not something or anything new that we’re doing. But from a standpoint of scheme, personnel, preparation, practice, however you want to cut it up, that’s what we’ve got to do. That’s what we’re doing at this point – finding some things we can do well offensively and get back defensively to the way we’re capable of playing, which we certainly didn’t do that Saturday, and that’s on me.

“We need to do a better job across the board. When you’re not producing, you can’t continue to do the same things or you’ll get the same result. Very pleased with our players’ attitude yesterday.”

STAFF CHANGES AHEAD?

Asked whether he gave offensive coordinator Brent Pease a vote of confidence over the weekend, Muschamp avoided the direct question and instead noted that the staff as assembled is nearly identical to the one that helped the Gators find a high level of success just one season ago.

“This is the same staff that came a game away from playing for national championship, OK? Obviously we’re not where we want to be right now and nobody knows that more than our staff. We need to go back and reevaluate what we’re doing and continue to improve our football team over the next five weeks,” he said.

He also, in a roundabout away, appeared to provide an opinion on the job offensive line coach Tim Davis has done this year with his position group. Muschamp was asked if he ever could have guessed the offensive line would struggle so much this season considering the players coming back and new blood being infused via transfer.

“I just don’t think we’ve performed as well as we need to, there’s no question. First year, we were a little handcuffed as far as where we were and what we were trying to do. But certainly this year I felt like that we would have played a little better at this point,” he answered.

RAISING KELVIN

Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor was the lone Florida player to shine on offense Saturday, picking up 77 yards and his first career touchdown on 12 carries in the ballgame. The problem? He did not touch the ball more throughout the contest, especially late in the game after he got rolling with some big runs.

Taylor amassed just four total carries in the first half. In the third quarter he only had two until the Gators decided to feature him on a drive late in the period. On that drive he touched the ball on five out of the six plays and gained chunks of nine, eight, 14 and 20 yards, with the last rush winding up in the end zone.

How many times did Taylor carry the ball the rest of the game? Once.

“Well, again, we probably did that too early in the game, getting away from that. It became a two-score game in the fourth quarter and we felt like we needed to pick up the tempo of the game a little bit as far as creating some plays. Probably got away from that a little early, we did,” Muschamp explained.

Taylor’s touchdown cut UF’s deficit to 23-17. Unfortunately, Florida allowed Missouri to drive right down the field and kick a 33-yard field goal. The Gators next gained possession trailing 26-17 with 13:32 left in the game.

Murphy completed a pass for a one-yard loss and threw incomplete twice. The Tigers got the ball back and took 4:17 off the clock with another field goal drive to go up 12 with 8:04 left. Redshirt junior Mack Brown got the touch at the start of Florida’s next drive.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Muschamp laid out the schedule for the off week. He said Florida ran and lifted on Monday, had a good practice Tuesday, would start preparing for Georgia on Wednesday and Thursday, and would run and lift again on Friday before getting the weekend off.

» On dealing with so many injuries: “We go to Missouri and they’re really explosive offensively, no-huddle team, you play 80-plus snaps and we only had about 13 guys on defense healthy. That was tough as the game wore on. But that’s part of the game. It’s unfortunate. It is what it is. You’re not going to hear us complaining about it. Certainly no one is feeling sorry for us. We just got to coach our guys up better, put them in better situations to play faster. I think when you struggle, you need to go back to technique and fundamentals, you need to simplify to get our players to play faster and play with more confidence. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

» On why the defense struggled so mightily against the Tigers: “We got displaced a little bit in the run game and that was disappointing from the standpoint of movement. We didn’t do a good enough job of playing blocks up front. Guys were free-releasing on linebackers, which is hard when a guy’s 310 pounds and you’re 230 pounds taking a guy on in the hole. Do a better job of striking and playing up front to keep those guys off the second level. That’s the way we play, and most good run defense teams play that way. And we just didn’t do a very good job of that up front.”

» On what has changed since senior DT Dominique Easley was knocked out for the season: “Dominique brought a lot from a playmaking standpoint, but he also brought a lot of leadership in how he played the game. And so that certainly has been a void that we’ve been trying to fill. Said it when it happened – you don’t replace Dominique Easley. It’s going to take a team effort to get some of those things done, and we just need to play better. I do feel like we’ve played better offenses, but again, we need to play better and put our guys in better situations to be successful.”

» On the status of Florida’s two second-year tight ends, redshirt junior Colin Thompson and sophomore Kent Taylor: “Colin Thompson has not been able to get back on the practice field with a foot injury. Again, a guy that we felt that was really developing well. Was blocking well at the point of attack, which is something we’ve struggled with at that position this season. Right now, Kent’s healthy.”

» On if recruiting has been hit due to the team’s recent performances: “Recruiting is going fine. We’re in good shape there. It is what it is. I think anybody with a shred of intelligence can see the situation. It’s been frustrating but we need to coach better.”

» On the first day back: “I was pleased with [Tuesday's] practice. Our players responded very well. … I think our guys obviously aren’t pleased with where we are. It’s not what they came to Florida for. It’s not what I came to Florida for. So I told them again we just need to circle the wagons, pull together and come together of the common purpose on Saturday afternoon of playing better and coaching better. And that’s what we’re going to do.”

» On injuries causing the team to be weakened overall: “We don’t make excuses around here. We need to play better than we have the last two weeks, that’s for sure.”

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41 Responses to “10/23: Muschamp talks injuries, state of Gators, confidence in staff, running Kelvin Taylor”

  1. Nugent1021 says:

    Anybody with a shred of intelligence can see that our offense has been bottom 5-10 in the league for 3 years and appears to be getting worse.

    Is that what he means? I just want to understand.

    • Gatorgrad79 says:

      ” you can’t continue doing the same things or you get the same results…” REALLY, Muschamp? It only took 3 years for you to figure that out?! (and even if you only count this season it took you 7 weeks to figure that out?! Cause, really, the opposing defenses got it figured out in a single weeks preparation….)

  2. JPo says:

    “it is what it is”

  3. Lava says:

    “We don’t make excuses around here.”

    Seriously? “We have a lot of injuries, we only had 13 players on defense, they ran a no huddle offense.” Sounds like excuses to me.

  4. g8ter27 says:

    “….you need to simplify to get our players to play faster and play with more confidence.” I sure hope he is only talking about defense and not simplifying the offense.

    e

    • HardToKillGtr says:

      We just got to coach our guys up better
      Put them in situations to go faster
      Have to go back to fundamentals and technique
      I’m with g8ter27. Does CWM realize what he is saying? That he and his coaches have done a sorry job coaching our football team. We are coming into mid-season and the players do not have the fundamental skills to play their position. No wonder our team seems lost during too much of the game. At any elite SEC school are they being re-taught fundamentals and technique in the middle of the season? I hope I just don’t understand what CWM is talking about.

    • nugent1021 says:

      that’s part of the problem. He’s only talking about defense. That’s the only part of the game he pays attention to. It takes both sides of the game to win. He got a $250k raise after only playing literally one side of the ball last year. If I did half my budgets I’d be fired, not get a raise.

  5. Joe says:

    I recall Mizzou being plagued by injury last year and getting beat up because of it. They are now undefeated. You can’t underestimate the impact of the absence of so many starters. We are depleted. It’s not going to be pretty. We can get over it and look for the positives in the coming weeks or continue complaining for the rest of the season to no avail. I’m not happy losing but I’m also not going to thrash a good group student athletes and coaches because they aren’t living up to Gator Nation’s lofty expectations in a season riddled with injuries.

    • JamDog says:

      Well said, Joe. I’m sick of the terrible attitude of some Gator “fans” that seem to comment a lot on this site & others. I hate that we’re losing, but we’ve caught some tough breaks. Keep your chins up Gator Nation

    • gatorboi352 says:

      I’m sorry but 3 years in and the verdict is IN. Muschamp is simply not who we (Foley) thought he was. He would have to win out this season AND win a bowl game to keep the heat off of him.

  6. CH says:

    “Get back to technique and fundamentals”
    Yes. Like passing, catching, running and blocking. Let’s get “back” to that.

  7. Oldflyer says:

    Geez. What do you expect out of a news conference?

    It seems clear that he recognizes that serious adjustments need to be made since he canceled recruiting trips for a staff review.

    How about a little patience and see what changes are made, and what effect they have.

    It is clear that no matter what he says or does, it will not satisfy some self-appointed critics. Reminds me of the vultures circling about 10 or 11 years ago. A really ugly sight; especially when the vultures are wearing orange and blue beanies.

    I never knew that there were so many unemployed football experts, and leadership gurus. What a load of talent going to waste.

    Just to review one comment denigrating the idea of simplifying. I have read many expert message board opinions that the blocking schemes must be too complex, because there are too many untouched defenders. So, maybe we are going to see simplified blocking schemes. Then there will be some other excuse found to bi—I mean complain.

    • HardToKillGtr says:

      I’m not an unemployed football and leadership guru. I’m a retired football expert leadership guru. My seven years of volunteer coaching at a large elementary school qualifies anyone to coach our Gator football team this year. Coach Will called a few times. Had to turn him down. His reputation concerning offense is not good. He is unable to view the offensive part of a team as anything but a necessary evil that keeps all of the top offensive coaches out of his reach.

  8. aziatic41 says:

    Its simple. Hire a great offensive coordinator. Look at what Dabo Swinney has done at Clemson. He hired Chad Morris and now Clemson is one of the most exciting offensive teams in college football. Muschamp has a decent defensive-mind. So defensively I’ll give him some credit although I’ve always felt our defense has been overrated during Muschamp’s tenure. He should definitely fire Pease! Our offense has struggled for the past 3 years. Last year we got lucky and caught a few breaks. We could have easily been 7-5 with the close games we escaped. We were one of the worst 11-2 teams I’ve ever seen. And Louisville proved that in the Sugar Bowl. We got handled by a Big East school that had way less talent. If Muschamp doesn’t beat UGA and FSU he should be relieved of his coaching duties at UF.

    • Tractorr says:

      I don’t know if we should be modeling ourselves after Clemson considering how they just got dismantled at home by FSU.

    • nugent1021 says:

      Don’t know about him being relieved honestly. I think Pease has had a couple years and isn’t any better than he was last year. No improvement. Yes, we’ve got injuries, but so did Missouri. They lost their quarterback (which was our big loss on offense as well and no, matt jones wasn’t doing so great) but yet that FRESHMAN ate our lunch. Yes, the defense was the part of our team that was hurting. I get that. They fell on their faces for this game. Whatever. But what’s the deal with the offense? It’s horrible. Horrible. Last in SEC, bottom 5-10 of the WHOLE LEAGUE. Every year.

      I love how these guys come in here and want to be self-righteous “I’m a better fan because I’m Mr positive” acting like losing is something that is okay. Our coaches are paid a lot of money from money I’ve given and went to school there for. The offense is down right terrible and has been. Look at the Saints – fabulous under Sean Payton. Terrible last year with him suspended. Fabulous again this year. I think they even lost a few players. It really comes down to coaching. I hope they figure out what the deal is and fix it. And for you self-righteous ones out there – I don’t think I know more about the game than our coaching staff. I just know all this blaming of the receivers and offensive line is wrong. Plain wrong. Like with the Saints, it comes down to coaching. Ohio State, 6-7 prior to Meyer. Undefeated since. It comes down to coaching. The only people to blame here are the coaches. They make the money and are paid to win. Muschamp coaches the defensive side of the ball and that’s not the problem. Unfortunately, when you want to be the head coach it comes directly and indiscriminately back on you.

      None of us want to lose and none of us are enjoying this, but pretending like you’re the bigger fan by not pointing out the obvious – the offense sucks – is pretty low to attack your fellow gator fans to make yourself look better.

      Go gators, maybe we win out. If we beat Georgia I’d consider it an okay season all in all.

      • sean kidd says:

        Was going to write another comment with my thoughts but that pretty much says it all right there. Love the Gators, loved them before I went there, this offense sucks and there is no reason for it with the talent we have, we have the play makers. These kids don’t know who to block or how to read a defense, they aren’t being taught. I am with Nugent on that.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        I find it really interesting the CWM can’t seem to find any playmakers and blames the receivers yet some of those very receivers that weren’t playmakers are playing on Sunday now, like Deonte Thompson.

        Yes there have been a ridiculous amount of injuries this year, but the offense wasn’t good in week 1 and 2 before the rash of injuries. Especially look at Miami, even though we racked up a lot of yardage, the Offense was an epic fail, with all of the suspended starters back no less. And the offense now is only slightly worse than it was the past entire two years top to bottom.

      • Frank says:

        Nugent- Appreciate your opinion. As Adam once told me-we’re all entitled to voice our beliefs. Here’s mine: Coach says best players start/ Best players get injured/ Lesser players start/ Lesser players lack reps-not prepared/Competition improves/ Trainwreck…Bye week: Coach takes lesser players thrown into fire unprepared-works on fundamentals, schemes, etc./ God week(s) of practice/ Gators ambush uga/ Maybe run the table :)

        • Frank says:

          *Good week(s) of practice…

          • nugent1021 says:

            Well, we need to wait until the end of the season anyway. West Virginia has the worst defense I’ve ever seen and maybe Holgromson (whatever) will get canned as head coach and he can be our next offensive coordinator. That dude tosses the ball around. Grier would love it, too.

  9. aziatic41 says:

    I would love for us to beat UGA but with them returning Gurley it is going to be real tough. Murray has sliced us for years and with the running threat of Gurley on the field at the same time its going to be very tough for our defense.

    Hopefully we can get Murphy outside the pocket more offensively and get Kelvin Taylor more touches. Also with how bad our playcalling have been we don’t know how good Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood really are.

    Isn’t it too late in the season to change our offense ? We’ll have to see next week. Lots of drama now and ahead..

  10. HardToKillGtr says:

    Gator football fans are not the reason we lose games.

  11. Drew says:

    For once I wish Coach would be honest with his fan base. I’m so sick of all the coach speak. “We just gotta clean some things up”, “very pleased with where we are”, “(insert name) just tweaked it, he should be good to go tomorrow.”, “gotta get back to fundamentals”, it’s getting old. All the same cliche’s and the same results for three years now. An offense that can barely score, and a defense that has to keep us in games. Here’s a crazy idea, how about we have a dominant D, and an offense that can score and that passes more than 5-7 yards down the field. Can Champ and Pease coach em how to do that?

  12. aziatic41 says:

    Muschamp’s main quote regarding our freshman’s lack of production is “it isn’t just add water, instant player”. Well he needs to explain to us why other teams in the SEC have freshman who are contributing significantly but ours aren’t. COACHING

    • Gatorgrad79 says:

      or inadequate recruiting….?

    • adsfjkldfsljkdfs says:

      Kelvin Taylor (probably starting vs georgie, looks like a stud), VERNON HEARGREAVES (maybe the best corner in all of college football right now considering the two other corners at florida are the no. 1 and 5 rated DB’s and he looks way better than both of them, Antonio Morrison is starting at MLB, really the only reason we don’t have any more freshman starting is because most of our recruits were defensive players and the fact is that we are loaded on defense. We have 5-8 guys in our secondary that will play on sunday in the rotation, No one is overtaking Jonothan Bullard or Dante Flowers, although im suprised that caleb brantley hasn’t stepped into a DT spot after all the injuries there (to give him a break DT is generally a hard role to transfer into from HS to college), also no one is starting over ronald powell or michael taylor. It is not that we do not have the talent, it is just that other than the WR spot (who Demarcus Robinson, Ahmad Fulwood, and Alvin Bailey have all had shaky starts) and Kelvin Taylor who is probably starting next week, all of our recruits have been on defense and have not have an opportunity unless they are a flat out star because this is a loaded defense that is the best in the SEC and maybe the country (dont let that missouri game trick you, half there points came off our turnovers in our territory and when your offense is going 3 and out every time giving your defense a 1 minute break before having to come out and stop them again, its going to be hard to stop them every time.)

  13. SWFL Joe says:

    “the staff as assembled is nearly identical to the one that helped the Gators find a high level of success just one season ago.”

    With the exception of Joker this is the same offensive staff that finished last season ranked 103rd in total offense. Currently they are ranked 106th. I would think Muschamp has had plenty of time to evaluate how Brent, Tim, Derek and Brian are coaching em up.

  14. W says:

    Look at it this way—if nothing else, these injuries are allowing our younger players to get valuable on-field experience in the thick of SEC play. This will probably not benefit us a whole lot this year, and I think the probability of winning 2 of 3 from UGA, USC, and FSU is slim to none (even 1 is pushing it a little).

    But I think we all need to take a step back and look at the big picture. Someone above me mentioned this too, but Missouri was riddled with injuries last year, and look at them now. I would assert that part of that is the younger players who got to see playing time in light of injuries last year are now bigger contributors than they would have been otherwise.

    I’m excited for next year, and I know we still have a few weeks left in this season, but when you think about who we’ll be returning and the talent base we will build upon, there is no reason this team cannot win the SEC East, and possibly the entire league, next year.

    People need to back off Muschamp, for now at least. There’s a reason none of us were hired by Jeremy Foley. Just need to send a blank check to Philip Montgomery to be our OC, and all will be well in Gator Nation.

    • gatorboi352 says:

      “People need to back off Muschamp, for now at least. There’s a reason none of us were hired by Jeremy Foley.”

      Foley also hired Ron Zook. And then Urban Meyer.

      Point is, you hit on some, you miss on some. It’s ok to say he just missed on Muschamp. It’s ok though, Charlie Strong is laying in the wake.

  15. Gatoralum88 says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the brilliant posts from Drew and Nugent. While there have been too many injuries, either their coaching has been terrible or the recruits are busts. Just 13 defensive players ready? Uh, let’s see, I’m guessing they were: Bullard, Orr, Cummings, Fowler, Taylor, Morrison, Ball, Purifoy, Poole, Riggs (ejected), Hargreaves, Roberson, & Watkins? Who wasn’t ready? Gorman made 4 tackes, Cox and Davis also made tackles. Who’s CWM dissing? I know R. Powell, Jacobs & Kitchens weren’t available. I seem to remember, Jeremy Brown was once a starter. Can’t he help?

    On offense, at least they are what their group name implies…they are offensive. When Solomon Patton (Meyer recruit) is your best player it’s not saying much. It’s clear, Tyler Murphy has lost some confidence and is beat up. Kudos to him for playing with a bad shoulder when he couldn’t even practice until Thursday of last week. Also, I wish they’d stop playing Tyler Moore at tackle. Wasn’t his ‘ole verses Toledo warning enough? He has the size to be an effective guard at best. I’d rather not even begin to address what we’ve all been saying about the tight ends. If nothing else, Kent Taylor has similar size to Jordan Reed. I seem to remember seeing a Youtube video of him a few years ago where he displayed pretty good hands and speed. Rivals and Scout were once high on him. Regardless, if coach Boom survives, Brent Pease &/or Tim Davis must go. The “2 different OC’s in the last 3 years” nonsense has to stop. When 1st year HC Kliff Kingsbury can coach up TWO TRUE freshman quarterbacks to video game numbers & lead his team to a 7-0 record averaging 41 points per game, I don’t want to hear it. Gus Malzahn certainly didn’t need much time to turn his team around either (averaging 500 yards & 36 points per game). Say what you will about spread offenses, I’d much rather watch Auburn, Ohio State, Oregon, Texas A&M, or even Washington State than the Gators right now.

    So, I’m expecting an embarrassing beat down to come from Florida State, a 6-6 regular season finish, and an invite to the AdvoCare V100 Bowl (formerly the Independence bowl) December 31st. Hopefully, Will Grier, Dalvin Cook, and Ermon Lane will all honor their verbal commitments, live up to their hype, & bring some excitement & respect back to the Swamp. I still bleed Orange-&-Blue. Go Gators!

    • Michael Jones says:

      Good job, Gatoralum88. We have had injuries. No doubt about it. And they have taken their toll. But we’ve also had some pretty crappy coaching, and that has taken it’s toll too.

      Will never believe that this offense is Pease’s fault, though. I don’t believe that he has ever been turned loose by Muschamp. I believe Muschamp micromanages him. I believe Muschamp wants to run the ball down everyone’s throat and when our 3-4 running plays don’t work, then we go to our 3-8 yard passing game. Scouting us is very easy. We run the same plays out of the same formation week-in and week-out.

      It also looks like our players are being asked to overthink at the line of scrimmage. They all look lost-at-sea standing at the line of scrimmage staring over at the sideline to see what audible needs to be called. These aren’t NFL players. Call a play in the huddle, and then run the freaking play!!

      And I’m astonished at how poorly our offensive line has played. I thought Tyler Moore was Mr. All-everything as a freshman at Nebraska. What the heck happened?

      But I’m not ready to call for Muschamp’s job. He’s finally acknowledged that changes are needed. We should probably start with a change in philosophy, as in: know your personnel, get your best players on the field regardless of how long they’ve been in the program, and call plays that suit your personnel. . . . . oh, and one other thing: WHEN SOMETHING IS WORKING (e.g. Taylor), STOP GOING AWAY FROM IT!!! WTH?!?!?!

      I too still bleed Orange & Blue. . GO GATORS!!!

      • gatorboi352 says:

        “He’s finally acknowledged that changes are needed.”

        He needs to show it against Georgia before I buy in.

      • Gatoralum88 says:

        Michael, your assessment of the Gators offense is spot on! If you’d like a good laugh, you should read the beginning Gainesville Sun Columnist Pat Dooley’s picks column today. He pokes fun at CWM daydreaming about having Tebow re-join the team and writes “I know it’s been awhile for you and you’ll have to learn our playbook, but it’s not that complicated. If you can hand off and throw one-yard passes, you can handle it.” It made me laugh. I don’t think it’s a good thing when the local (homer) columnist is taking jabs for all to read.

  16. SW FL Joe says:

    Seven games in and it’s officially “Wait till next year”. How the Mighty Gators have fallen

  17. HardToKillGtr says:

    I was spoofing Oldflyer about CWM being unable to to attract high end coaches we need to be competitive. Particularly on the offensive side. Any thoughts on this?

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