With the Florida Gators coming off a tough road loss and looking to become bowl eligible with a victory over the Furman Paladins this Saturday, 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.
CONSISTENCY THY NAME IS BOSTIC
All season long Muschamp has been saying that “consistency in performance” during practice is a determining factor as to who starts and gets to see the field. Providing that consistency both in practice and during games this year is junior linebacker Jon Bostic, who Muschamp noted continues to impress him with how well he’s played.
“We do a production chart by week for each game. Throughout the entire season, he’s a guy that has had a winning performance for the season as far as a production per play ratio,” he said. “[Bostic is] a guy that’s been productive, gets in and out of the right fronts, gets us lined up, does a great job communicating the calls. He’s played extremely well. He’s played very consistent week in and week out with his performance. There has not been a lot of up-and-down with him. He’s a guy that’s played a lot before so he’s had a lot of snaps, he’s got experience. He’s really blossomed in his role in what we’re trying to do defensively.”
Muschamp added that Florida’s defensive scheme has helped Bostic’s tackle numbers soar, especially considering how much better the Gators have been playing on the line in recent weeks.
“More than anything, we put a lot of emphasis on playing blocks up front and not letting people to the second level. As the year has gone on, we’ve done a nicer job of keeping him free,” he said. “We’ve kept him free in a lot of situations to be able to run and make plays. Our defense is really designed for both of those guys [Bostic and Jelani Jenkins] to make a bunch of tackles. Jon certainly benefitted from that. When he has his opportunities, he makes plays.
“He plays well in space, he plays with good toughness, he’s done a nice job disengaging on blocks. I’ve been very pleased with his consistent performance, and that’s been something we’ve struggled with as an entire football team. Consistency in our performance is week-in and week-out, and he has been a guy that has shown the consistent performance we got to have to be successful in this league.”
INJURY UPDATES AND FUTURE REDSHIRTS
Muschamp also updated the redshirt situation, saying that offensive linemen Tommy Jordan and Trip Thurman as well as wide receiver Ja’Juan Story and safety Valdez Showers will all receive them this year. Tight end Clay Burton and defensive end Tevin Westbrook, both of whom played early in the year but were injured, are potential medical redshirt candidates after the season.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On the inconsistency of Florida’s offense: “More than anything just being so inconsistent, that’s what’s hurt us the most. At times we’ve run the ball well – you look at the second half of the South Carolina game – we ran the ball pretty well against a very good defense. We get in the red zone and you look at the three games that we had opportunities there – Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina – we’re 1-for-7 as far as touchdowns in the red zone. That’s been a killer for us. Those games are certainly different outcomes if we cash in on those opportunities. The inconsistency in which we’re playing with has been the most frustrating. It’s not one position; it’s across the board, different things we’re not doing well enough to win those games. That’s been the most frustrating part of our season thus far.”
» On if the 5-5 record has anything to do with him being a first-year head coach: “I don’t know that there’s been anything reflected in our record based on me being a rookie head coach. I honestly don’t. [...] I don’t think our record is indicative of me being a first time head coach. I don’t think that has anything to do with it.”
» On why the wide receivers are so inconsistent: “When teams play man-to-man, you got to get open. You got to be able to be a threat vertically down the field. We have some deeper developing routes where you try to come off of a comeback or some curls inside. You got to create some separation in those situations and continue to challenge people vertically down the field which we try to do. [...] More consistent play at that position in catching the ball, finishing the plays; we’ve had some drops that have certainly hurt us in some situations. We’ve done some nice things, but we’re just not playing very consistent outside.”