Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 23-20 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs and upcoming home game game against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday, Nov. 9. The homecoming contest will kick off at 12:08 p.m. and air live on FSN.
“Very proud of our players’ effort. You dig yourself a hole there in a game like that, continuing to fight and play with intensity and effort and creating some opportunities for yourself. Extremely proud of them battling through the game. …
“Disappointed, we need to finish. We had our opportunities late in the game and didn’t get it done. That falls on my shoulders. We got to get over the hump in those situations. We’ve had opportunities in several games going back to Miami and LSU and some opportunities to cut it and have a chance to win the game. And we just didn’t get it done. That’s on me. We’ll get our players to finish these situations and get over the hump and that’s’ what we’re going to do.”
Sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries (MCL) remains sidelined but may return in a week or two. The Gators had no new injuries, according to Muschamp, though he did discuss how redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy‘s shoulder ailment has bothered him over the last two games.
“The Missouri game it was a big effect. I don’t think there’s no question. He missed all week. He wouldn’t say it, but he was under a lot of pain going into the game. I certainly think it’s improved from there as far as the wear and tear in the game and taking some shots, obviously. But it has affected him. He won’t say it, but it does,” he explained.
» Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor: “He’s done very well. That’s been the step forward. Talked to Fred [Taylor] about it on Friday. As far as his protection and things are concerned, he’s done a much better job with those things.“
» Junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy: “I thought he played well. … The sack was obviously a huge play, he came free on it. I think he’s continued to progress as the season and play well. I think the wrist obviously slowed him down. It was a little bit more serious than people know. He’s coming around and continuing to improve and play well.”
» Freshman wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood: “He’s going to be a good football player, just got to continue to play fast and block well on the perimeter. Did a nice job for us. He’s going to be a really good player. I think he played 28-30 snaps, so he’s continuing to get more snaps as we move forward.”
» Inside linebackers sophomore Antonio Morrison and redshirt junior Michael Taylor: “I think [Morrison’s] done a decent job. He missed some tackles on Saturday and that’s uncharacteristic for him. … I think Antonio’s been steady. I think we put a lot on the Mike linebacker as far as directing our defense and front-wise and movement and things we do. He’s got a lot on his plate. I think Mike [Taylor]’s done a nice job when he’s slid there and played in the middle, which is more of his natural position. I think I’ve been pretty pleased with the steady play of them. I think it’s a little unfair at times, especially in the Missouri game, it’s hard to play when we don’t play well up front and you don’t play blocks. It’s very difficult. Our front played better the other day as far as playing blocks and keeping them off the second level.”
» Junior right tackle Trenton Brown: “I thought we improved, and I thought Trenton did some nice things. He’s a big man; he’s a large body. … They had him one time on the hold, which was a good call. … For a first start going in that environment, I thought he played well.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On Florida getting off to slow starts defensively: “I think it certainly has impacted the games as far as how we’ve relied on our defense in obvious situations. But you don’t put your finger on one thing and say, ‘It’s this.’ … Those first two drives were just extremely disappointing. We just got to go back and put our guys in better situations to play and that’s on us as coaches. We got to put our guys in better situations to play and that’s on us as coaches. We got to put our guys in better situations to feel more comfortable and react as opposed to think in some situations and that’s the best way I can summarize it. In every game it’s been a little something different. … We just need to coach better.”
» On whether he is using bowl eligibility and motivation going forward: “Motivation is what you saw in the second half – those guys playing for each other. We got a close-knit football team. A team that’s got character. You wouldn’t have seen that in the second half if that wasn’t the case. Our guys, they’ll play, they’ll play hard.”
» On whether other long passing plays were called aside from the one on the first series: “Just off the top of my head, we had two incompletes on the sideline to Quinton [Dunbar]. We called a similar look with a double post two other times. We were in a seven-man protection and gave up a sack on one, on the other Tyler ended up scrambling on the play and got a positive play out of it. I would say another eight or 10 shots in the game. That’s just what we were looking for. We had others called in the game that maybe the progression didn’t take it that way based on the coverage.”
» On if the penalty problems will take care of themselves: “No, it something we coach every day and obviously we’re not doing a very good job. It’s something we emphasize, something we talk about. We talk about this is an emotional game, there’s going to be some things. We got to learn to walk away from those situations, and it’s something I’m going to address with the team again today.”
» Muschamp admitted that the Gators’ director of player personnel, Jon Haskins, resigned 10-14 days ago but did not provide a timetable for a new hire in the administrative role. OnlyGators.com learned Monday that Haskins was actually let go from his post and not for a performance-related reason.
» Muschamp said he would like to get freshman LB Jarrad Davis more work while also repping redshirt junior Darrin Kitchens more (he came back this week from a shoulder injury).
» On why Florida defers possession when winning the coin toss: “It’s game-to-game, number one, it’s not something we always try to do. … The other situation Saturday and the last ballgame, I believe, there’s a wind factor. We wanted the wind in the fourth quarter. Sometimes the wind comes through the stadium from the north side back to the south end zone and we wanted to make sure we had the wind in the fourth quarter Saturday. It’s a game-to-game thing.”
» On if the team can build from its solid performance in the second half: “The point is to win the game, and we didn’t do it.”
» Muschamp said the Gators’ kicking competition will remain open though he expects redshirt redshirt junior walk-on Frankie Velez and redshirt freshman Austin Hardin to continue splitting the field goal responsibilities with the latter attempting longer kicks.