The Florida Gators (4-5, 3-4 SEC) hit rock bottom on Saturday by falling 34-17 to the Vanderbilt Commodores (5-4, 2-4 SEC) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on homecoming. After his team’s fourth-straight loss, Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media to provide some of his thoughts on the defeat.
ANSWERING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS
» Opening statement on Florida committing four costly turnovers: “Not going to win many games turning it over four times and spotting them the ball on the 10, the 22, the 4 and the 10. We’re not good enough to overcome critical mistakes like that. … Emotionally it takes the wind out of your sails when you turn the ball over. You throw it to them and give it to them inside the 10-yard line three times, you’re just not going to win. We’re not good enough to overcome those things.”
» On why the Gators have struggled to come from behind in games: “Right now we’re not strong enough mentally to handle that. A year ago, maybe earlier in the year, we were. Right now we’re not. It’s a woe-is-me mentality right now, and we got to overcome that. Our leadership needs to step forward. … We’re going to move forward with the guys that are willing to accept challenges and opportunities that sometimes are difficult, sometimes are tough.”
» On his opinion of fans booing and his altercation with a fan last weekend: “That doesn’t bother me. You know what, I made a mistake last week, I made a real mistake with a very passionate, passionate Florida fan [who] was telling me his opinion of me. You know what? That’s fine. That’s fine. They pay their ticket, they can boo all they want. That’s good. Doesn’t help our program. That’s fine.”
» On whether he is worried about his job and/or plans to make changes to his staff heading into 2014: “You evaluate everything at the end of the season, and that’s what I certainly will do. I’ve done that in my first two years and will do it again this year. I’m not worried about that.”
The lone bright spot for the Gators on Saturday was a terrific touchdown grab by freshman wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood. Though Murphy’s pass was initially deflected by the defensive back, it ricocheted off his foot and into there air where Fulwood grabbed it with his feet in the end zone. Check it out below, courtesy of Yahoo! Sports.
“I was happy for Ahmad. He’s worked hard. He’s really developed himself, practiced well and [we’re giving] those opportunities to a guy that’s’ going to continue to be a really good player here,” Muschamp said.
Muschamp pointed the finger at himself after Florida’s loss, putting the blame on his shoulders and not shying away from expressing his disappointment with his team and the 2013 season as a whole.
“I’m a competitor. I don’t like losing. I certainly don’t like the product we’re putting on the field, and that’s my responsibility. I take full credit for that. When it’s good, it’s good. When it’s not good, it’s not good. And it hasn’t been good. So that’s on me,” he said.
“We’ll make the decisions to move forward that we need to do to help this football team through the latter part of this season as we move forward. That’s my plan. I’m not asking for anybody to be happy. I’m not asking anybody to give a pass. This is the real deal, the University of Florida.
“My expectation, I guarantee you, is as high or higher than anyone sitting in those stands. There’s nobody more let down or hurt or competitive-edge dented a little bit by this run. It’s on me. We’ll get it turned [around], I can assure you of that.”
Muschamp said he puts “more pressure on myself than anyone else” to do a great job for the Gators and is in no way losing sight of his or the team’s long-term goals.
“I’m a lot harder on myself than [the media is] or anyone else is going to be or anybody in this Gator Nation, I can assure you of that,” he explained.
“Again, I self-evaluate. I’m very critical of myself and what I need to be better. And I don’t need to hear anything from the outside telling me what we need to do with this football team. I can assure you of that.”
DOERING’S GOT A TWO-BITS
Former Florida WR Chris Doering served as the honorary Mr. Two Bits before Saturday’s game. Check out video of his performance below, courtesy of GatorVision.tv.
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Vanderbilt beat Florida for the first time since 1988 and first time in Gainesville since 1945. The Commodores broke the Gators’ 22-game winning streak and earned their first victory over their SEC East rivals since joining the league in 1992 (1-21).
» UF played in and lost its third-straight game against a team coming off a bye. Florida has lost four consecutive games overall
» The Gators lost to unranked opponents in consecutive weeks for the first time since 1988. Florida is 18-3 against unranked opponents under Muschamp.
» UF is 7-13 under Muschamp when rushing for fewer than 150 yards, 8-9 when an opponent scores first and 4-12 when tied or trailing at the half.
» Florida’s streak of 19-straight games with a turnover was snapped.
» UF outgained VU 344-183 in total yards but lost.
» The Gators committed a season-high 11 penalties for 84 yards, matching the most yards lost due to penalty by the team this year.
» Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy completed 30-of-46 passes for 305 yards and a touchdown. But he also threw three interceptions on the day and committed four total turnovers by fumbling the ball as well. His 46 passing attempts were the most by a UF signal caller since Rex Grossman in 2002, and his 305 yards were the most since John Brantley in 2011. Additionally, Murphy’s 30 completions were the most since Tim Tebow on Jan. 1, 2010. Every category was a career-high for Murphy.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On whether slow starts – and allowing teams to score early – hurt Florida: “It’s a 60-minute game regardless of how the game starts.”
» On the third interception, which senior WR Trey Burton bobbled: “Trey, the ball was maybe a little behind him, but you got to make that play. You got to make that play. That’s a senior. You make that play.”
» Muschamp said he had planned to move redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Ian Silberman to tight end before the Georgia game. However, an injury to Gators sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries (sprained MCL), made Silberman staying on the offensive line a necessity.
» On if he ever thought about replacing Murphy: “No. I think he’s our best opportunity to win.”
@ONLYGATORS TWEET OF THE GAME
Last time Vandy beat Florida in Gainesville (1945): gas = .21/gal, bread = .05/loaf, milk = .62/gal, stamp = .03, min. wage = .40/hr.
— OnlyGators.com (@onlygators) November 9, 2013