No. 6 Florida Gators football (10-1) concluded its seven-game home schedule with a 23-0 victory over the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (6-5) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday. Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media and provided some of his thoughts after the game.
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida finished 7-0 at home in a season for just the third time in school history. The 2006 and 2009 UF teams also accomplished that feat.
» The Gators are 14-1 against unranked opponents under Muschamp.
» Florida is 11-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards, 14-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 10-1 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 11-3 when scoring first and 13-1 when leading at the half.
» The Gators were once again subpar on third down, converting just 2-of-11 opportunities. UF is now 54-of-153 (35.3 percent) on third down this season.
» Florida is +13 in turnover margin through 11 games after being -12 in 2011. UF has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (342) since 2000.
» The Gators have grabbed 16 interceptions so far in 2012 and has doubled its 2011 total of eight picks. UF has registered at least one pick in eight-of-10 games and has also forced eight fumbles.
» Florida’s senior class consists of 19 players who have spent either four (10 players), five (eight) or six (one) seasons wearing the Orange and Blue. The true senior class is 23-5 in The Swamp. It went 7-0 as freshmen in 2009 and as seniors in 2012.
» Senior running back Mike Gillislee registered his third-highest yards-per-carry average of the season (6.1) and rushed for 100+ yards for the fourth time in 2012. He is now 36 yards away from reaching the 1,000-yard plateau and becoming the first Gators running back to do so since Ciatrick Fason in 2004. Gillislee also scored his ninth touchdown of the season and first rushing score since Oct. 6.
» Redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturigs made three field goals, bringing him just one away from tying Jeff Chandler’s school record of 67 in a career. Sturgis is also three made field goals away from tying Bobby Raymond’s single-season UF record of 23.
» Senior Mike linebacker Jon Bostic registered the first interception return for a touchdown of his career. Bostic’s registered the pick early in the third quarter, bringing it back seven yards for the score.
» Senior safety Josh Evans led Florida with seven tackles including two solo takedowns and 1.5 for a total loss of two yards. He also had a half sack.
On Florida’s senior class:
“I just want to thank the 19 seniors and the job they’ve done for the University of Florida. All of those guys have represented our university in a first-class manner. Last night was really a special night. The guys got up and talked about their experience and told some great stories … I really appreciate them going through a coaching change, going through a 7-6 campaign, certainly questioning a rookie coach and his staff and where we were headed with the program. Certainly could have walked the plank, so to speak, on us, and certainly never did. I’m very appreciative of this bunch and last year’s bunch as well for going through a very tough season, a very difficult season.”
On the lack of production in the second half:
“I felt like, in the second half, we had the game under control defensively. We could have done some more things offensively, and I just told Brent, I said, ‘Let’s go win the game. Let’s get out of here and win the game.’ That’s what we needed to do. That wasn’t on Brent; that was on me.”
Read the rest of what Muschamp and the players had to say…after the break!
Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel could be seen on the sideline standing without the use of crutches and without a protective boot on his injured ankle. Muschamp confirmed after that game that Driskel’s ankle has improved though he has not yet been cleared to practice and is currently questionable for next Saturday.
“I think it’s much better than it was. He’s off crutches. He’s not in a walking boot or a brace anymore,” Muschamp said. “We’ll see how it progresses through the week. I’ll probably know more Monday and then certainly more Wednesday about where he is.”
The Gators only suffered a pair of new injuries during Saturday’s game as sophomore fullback Hunter Joyer hurt his thigh and redshirt sophomore tackle Chaz Green dinged his ankle. Muschamp expects both to be fine for next week.
He also delivered some bad news. Redshirt sophomore guard Ian Silberman is out for the season after tearing his labrum. Additionally, sophomore S De’Ante Saunders, who mysteriously appeared on the injury report this week after playing two weeks ago without issue, has not only been ruled out for next Saturday but also Florida’s yet-to-be-determined bowl game.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Muschamp on Bostic’s final game in The Swamp: “Jon Bostic, I don’t know if there’s a guy playing better inside linebacker in the country than Jon. Instinctive, tough, everything we’ve asked him to do as a football player, he’s answered that.”
» Muschamp on how sophomore QB Jacoby Brissett played: “I thought he played well. Again, at the end, we’re sitting there late in the third and into the fourth quarter, we had the game in hand. There’s no reason in making a mistake at that time. … Why risk dropping back, getting hit in the back, coughing the ball up and putting him in a situation like that? … I didn’t want to risk a big turnover, that’s why we were very, very conservative in the second half.”
» Muschamp on if UF can beat FSU with its offense as-is: “No, we need to get better. We need to be more consistent. There is no question they’ve done a really good job recruiting defensive players. Mark Stoops does an outstanding job with their defense. They’ve played well all year, and they played well last year. We need to get more production offensively. More than anything, we need to be more consistent offensively. We can’t continue to self-inflict wounds on ourselves as far as the penalties and different mistakes that we make, blocking assignments. … Those are things we just can’t allow to happen. We got to go back and coach better is the way I look at it.”
» Muschamp on Gillislee being near 1,000 yards: “Mike Gillislee would stand before you and wouldn’t say much. He would say he’s worried about winning the game, because I know how Mike is. He’s a team guy and he wants to win more than anything else. Certainly 1,000 yards would be a great accomplishment, not just for him but for our entire offense because we know how difficult it is for one guy to do that in this league.”
» Muschamp said freshman RB Matt Jones was not practicing great at times during the season and had his carries reduced accordingly. However, he has matured and worked through those struggles and was rewarded with additional opportunities on Saturday. Jones finished with eight carries for 65 yards (8.1 yards per carry).
» Muschamp on if he thought the team would play like it has been this season: “Part of coaching and part of being a good coach is realizing who you are and what you are and what your players can do and what they can’t do and always putting them in a situation to be successful. Don’t ask them to do things they can’t do. I knew that as a defensive coordinator; maybe not so much as a head coach at times. I knew after spring identifying kind of what I thought we were going to be. This is about what I thought. I thought we were going to be a team that was going to have to grind it out a little offensively, that was going to need to play very good defense, that was going to need to stay injury-free especially inside defensively because of our lack of depth in some situations. We’re going to need to cover well outside and make huge gains to play our style of defense, and we have. I don’t know if there’s a better defense in the country. I think we’re playing very well.”
» Muschamp on Sturgis: “He’s outstanding. We’re trying to find an extra year of eligibility.”
» Muschamp on struggling offensively on third down once again: “In the second half it was [conservative] but that wasn’t by design. We got to go back and be able to get better in those situations. There’s no question. We need to improve.”
» Muschamp on winning: “All wins are very difficult. It’s hard to go out and win regardless of the opponent, regardless of the circumstances and the situation.”
» Redshirt senior defensive tackle Omar Hunter on the Senior Day victory: “I wouldn’t have it any other way. The defense played hard, tough-nosed football. The offense grounded and pounded the ball. And special teams, that’s how you gut those wins out. It’s not pretty, but I’ll take it. A win is a win.”
» Redshirt senior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. on Senior Day: “It’s real emotional. Me and the other seniors put so much into this program. it had to come to an end at some point. we’re just embracing it and taking it slow, and we’ll move on.”
» Redshirt senior left guard James Wilson on Senior Day: “It’s been a long journey. Definitely blessed for the opportunity to be here. I’ve had some ups and downs. Coming out of that tunnel for the last time was bittersweet.”