With the Florida Gators coming off their fourth-straight loss and set to face the Vanderbilt Commodores on homecoming this Saturday at 12:21 p.m., head coach Will Muschamp spoke during the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference to provide some insight about where his team is at heading into the contest.
A TOUGH LOSS FOR BRANTLEY
In his fifth year with the team, even after earning a tough win one year ago, redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley sincerely wanted to beat Georgia on Saturday and put another great Florida memory away before leaving the team he grew up rooting for. After the Gators fell 24-20 over the weekend, Brantley appeared down in the dumps by his locker and Muschamp was able to process what he has been through over the course of his career at Florida.
“It really kind of hit me Saturday night in the locker room after the game – an unfortunate defeat. He was really hurting – more than physically – mentally. I walked over to his locker and saw a guy that’s father played at Florida, his uncle played at Florida, he’s been a Gator his whole life. He’s over there hurting, and he’s fought through adversity, handled adversity like a true class person does,” Muschamp explained.
“To see him hurt like that was very disappointing for me. I’m very proud of John and how he’s handled everything and how he’s pushed through everything. He’s been our leader of our football team, certainly our offense. I saw his parents when I was getting on the bus leaving the stadium and told them how proud I was of him and they ought to be proud parents for the type of young man they raised.”
Though the big game against Georgia is over, Brantley still has at least four more weeks to leave a lasting mark on his Gators legacy.
RAINEY HOBBLED THIS WEEK
Fans may have believed that redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey injured his hands by the way he dropped passes and has fumbled the ball over the last two games, but the player actually sprained his ankle Saturday against Georgia and has been seen on camp this week in a walking boot. Muschamp said the boot is standard operating procedure whenever a player has swelling in that area but also noted that Rainey is not guaranteed to play against Vanderbilt as of right now.
“Hopefully we’ll get him out [Wednesday] and run him a little bit and see how he feels,” he said. “I would say probable-to-questionable at this time. He’s not full speed at this time, but again we’ve got Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and hopefully we’ll get him back in the fold.”
TEAM DISCIPLINE ROOT OF PENALTY ISSUES
“I divide penalties into a couple different areas, but you got discipline issues and you got guys who can’t stay onside and jump offsides on defense. Those are discipline issues. If you hit a guy late that’s an aggressive penalties but that sot mimes can be looked at, in my opinion, as a discipline issue,” he said. “Aggressive penalties sometimes are judgment calls, and those are the ones you’re kind of at the mercy of if they throw the flag or not. Certainly we’ve been on our end of those shares. We got to be a better disciplined football team. Those are the procedural issues and again we had them last week against Georgia. Charlie Weis was in the box and we had some issues as far as getting the play down at times, misalignment at times.
“There’s multiple issues but it goes back to focus and discipline and it comes back on my shoulders. I got to do a better job of making sure that we are where we’re supposed to be, the communication is what it’s supposed to be, because those can’t be tolerated and put us in a very ought situation. There’s a lot of reasons for it, but all they are is excuses in my opinion. I just got to do a better job.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On his thoughts going into the game: “We had a couple good days of preparation here as we get ready for a Vanderbilt team that is really playing well. James Franklin has done a great job with his football team. They’re well-coached, play hard, multiple on offense, press you on defense, really attack you there in special teams. They pose a lot of issues and have played extremely well this year.”
» On how he compares Alabama and LSU: “They’re very similar teams. They’re big, physical teams. They’re both very physical on both lines of scrimmage. They run the ball like you need to in this league. That’s why they are where they are and the rest of us right now this year are trying to catch up. They both play really good defense, but they play well as an entire team from a standpoint of ball possession offensively and defensively taking advantage of opportunities when they have them. They’re very similar makeups as far as when you look at their rosters.”
» On what he thinks the Alabama-LSU game comes down to: “Both lines of scrimmage – this one is going to be won up front. That’s the matchup I’d be interested in watching. Both of them have very good defensive fronts. Both of them are very physical on the offensive lines. They have talented backs. Again, you come down to turnovers obviously in the game, but who is able to consistently run the ball and play well up front [will win]. Certainly neither team can get into a one-dimensional game against the front they’re going to face. I do know that. I think the line of scrimmage matchup is the one I’d be interested in watching.”
» On the biggest challenge he’s faced as a first-year head coach: “More than anything time management as far as just I’m very involved in the defense and special teams and recruiting. Being able to manage my time being the head coach, making some of the appearances and things you’ve got to do – planning practice and doing other things you got to do. I’m not a CEO guy. I’m in the meeting rooms. I’m part of what we’re doing scheme-wise and those facets. Managing that and also understanding that being the head coach, you got some other responsibilities as well not just being involved in the scheme standpoint of your side of the ball.”
» On what he thinks of Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin: “He’s a guy that I’ve been impressed with – just bright, intelligent, smart and energetic. You are what you put on tape. When you turn on the tape and your guys play hard, they play fast, they play physical. They’re well coached – that’s what you are. It’s impressive to watch the job that he’s doing, and we’ve got our work cut out for us Saturday.”