Florida Gators coaches and players spoke this week ahead of Saturday’s neural-site contest against the Georgia Bulldogs scheduled to kick off at 3:30 p.m. from EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL, and air live on CBS.
Below are some stories, notes and quotes that either broke towards the end of the week or fell through the cracks and did not make it into one of the six posts already published here on OnlyGators.com (see links).
Monday: Will Muschamp previews Georgia, updates injuries, talks new starters
Tuesday: Brent Pease talks changes to the offensive line and overall scheme
Wednesday: LT D.J. Humphries out 2-4 weeks, Florida-Georgia updates
Thursday: Overcoming embarrassment, can Gators’ defense return to form?
NEW LEADER IN THE BACKFIELD
Muschamp confirmed on Thursday during his weekly radio appearance that freshman running back Kelvin Taylor will be Florida’s starter on Saturday. “He’s earned the opportunity,” he said. “He’s really done a good job in the opportunities he’s had as the season has evolved.”
MORE CHANGES AT TACKLE
Though the Gators experimented with redshirt junior left guard Max Garcia at left tackle during the off week, he will remain in his current role. Unfortunately, sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphires going down with a sprained MCL on Monday means that redshirt sophomore Tyler Moore, who was actually benched as the starting right tackle in favor of junior Trenton Brown, will be back in the lineup.
“We were going to give Trenton Brown an opportunity to start at right tackle,” Muschamp explained. “Unfortunately, D.J. Humphries sprained his MCL Monday in practice and he’ll probably miss 2-3 weeks. We hope to get him back before then. But Tyler Moore will bump over to left tackle.
“Max has been playing inside and playing very well inside at left guard. We didn’t feel like it was good to move him and possibly create another void at the left guard position.”
Florida’s defense will receive a nice boost Saturday as redshirt junior linebacker Ronald Powell (ankle), senior defensive tackle Damien Jacobs and redshirt junior LB Darrin Kitchens (shoulder) have all been cleared to play.
Muschamp has also decided to burn the redshirts of two freshmen Gators – defensive linemen Joey Ivie and Jay-nard Bostwick – in order to increase depth and give Florida some fresh bodies up front.
“Those two young guys will probably see some action on Saturday,” he said.
Activating Bostwick will allow sophomore Jonathan Bullard to play mostly at his most productive position, defensive end. Bullard had been moving inside to fill the void.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Muschamp said redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy “had a good, sharp week of practice” and is not ailing from the shoulder injury he suffered against LSU.
» Muschamp on why junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy has not seen much time on offense recently: “Right now Loucheiz sprained his wrist. I want to say it was the Arkansas game. And he’s been wearing a brace on that. So he’s had a hard time handling the ball. That’s why he hasn’t been on offense or been in the return game for us right now.”
» Muschamp said the way the Gators simplified the offense was by restricting some formations, shifts and motions. “I think we’ll see a confident, fast football team on Saturday.”
» Muschamp on whether it is hard to coach against Georgia, his former school: “When you’re in this coaching profession, you’re not loyal to places, you’re loyal to people. I’m loyal to the University of Florida no different than when I was coaching at Auburn, when I was coaching at LSU when I was coaching at Texas. I’m loyal to those players, I’m loyal to that staff, I’m loyal to this administration and this university.”
» Muschamp on what costume he would wear if he dressed up for Halloween: “A healthy Florida football player.”
» Garcia on the mindset of the offensive line: “As an offensive line we just need to get back to where we were – what we do – go back to our identity running the ball and being smash-mouth, those types of things. We kind of got away from that the past few weeks.”
» Garcia on what the offensive line did to improve during the off week: “I feel like we just got back to the fundamentals of the game going back to communicating, going back to the simple things that we need to do that we got away from. I think that’s what we focused on and that’s what we fixed.”
» Garcia on the offensive line shouldering the blame: “We definitely call ourselves out for those losses. We feel like we had a lot to do with those losses, keeping the defense on the field and us going three-and-out too many times. We do feel like it’s the majority our fault.”
» Garcia on facing the Bulldogs: “I just really want to beat Georgia. That’s what I want to do. This is the first time I get to play against them, against the home team, and that’s all I want to do. I want to beat Georgia.”
» Murphy on the importance of Saturday’s game: “It’s kind of like a one-game playoff. If you lose, your season’s kind of done or down in the dumps. Both teams are going to come out hungry and ready to go.”
» Senior wide receiver Solomon Patton on being amp’d up for the Georgia game: “Oh yeah. I’ve definitely been waiting on this game. I’ve had it circled ever since last year. This is like the main game that I’ve been waiting on all year.”
» Sophomore BUCK LB Dante Fowler, Jr. on UF’s defense: “We’re still the same team. We just got to bounce back. I feel like our defense is still a great defense. Once you lose a game or two, you kind of lose your confidence. All we got to do is get our swagger back.”