Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 19-14 loss to the No. 10/11 South Carolina Gamecocks and upcoming home game against the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday, Nov. 23. The game will kick off at 2:00 p.m. and air live only on pay-per-view.
RETURN IN QUESTION
It is not known whether redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy (shoulder) will be available to play on Saturday against Georgia Southern, and it is not expected that a decision will be made until later in the week.
Muschamp said that Murphy “threw lightly” on Sunday and felt more comfortable than he had in a while. But he has not yet been cleared to practice in full and the team currently preparing for redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg to be the starter.
Murphy called himself “day-to-day” and noted that he felt much better than last week. He estimated that he played at 60-70 percent against Missouri and was even healthier than that two weeks later when taking on Georgia. However, he reinjured the shoulder during the Vanderbilt game, which is why he was unable to play last Saturday.
“It’s getting better. After the game last week I really couldn’t move it, but now I’m able to move it and rotate and stuff like that. I got range of motion and stuff like that. It’s a lot better, getting better,” Murphy said.
Now estimating his health at 70-75 percent, Murphy hopes to get back on the field Saturday but cautioned that it will be a mutual decision between himself and the trainers.
“It’s all about if the ball’s coming out efficiently. If I can’t make the throws in practice, it’s not going to happen in the game,” he said. “Sitting out not practicing doesn’t help. It’s just kind of something we’re trying to figure out what’s best for the team and how we can be successful.”
Junior cornerback Marcus Roberson was suspended for the South Carolina game but would not have been cleared to play anyway due to an ankle injury he suffered against Vanderbilt. Muschamp said Roberson “ran well” on Sunday and will hopefully return to practice during the week. As long as he’s cleared medically, he can play on Saturday as his suspension as just a one-week punishment.
Additionally, Gators sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries (MCL) remains doubtful despite moving around on Sunday. The team hopes to have an update mid-week. Freshman wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood, who took a hard hit late in the fourth quarter against the Gamecocks and looked to be shaken up, did not suffer a concussion but rather hurt his shoulder. He will be good to go this week.
ADDRESSING THE ADMINISTRATION AGAIN
Asked to expand on the statement he made after Saturday’s game, one in which he expressed his appreciation for athletic director Jeremy Foley and president Bernie Machen, Muschamp said:
“I think that it says a lot about Jeremy and Dr. Machen from the standpoint of seeing where we were three years ago, understanding making good decisions within our program to see the day-to-day operation, understanding the steps you made in year two, and now why we are where we are right now. Nobody’s happy with that. Absolutely nobody’s happy. The expectation level here is to win championships, and we haven’t done it. But I think it’s seeing the big picture, too, and understanding where we are and where we’re headed with the program. And feeling good, not necessary where we are right now, but understanding why we are where we are and where it’s headed.
“We got a bunch of good, young players in this program, a bunch of good kids in this program. We’re recruiting extremely well. Things are headed the right direction, it’s just been a frustrating time for us this season.”
PREPARING FOR THE TRIPLE OPTION
One of a few teams nationally to still employ a triple option offense, Georgia Southern presents a unique challenge for Florida on Saturday. The 6-4 Eagles will face the Gators in their last FCS game ever (the program is moving into the FBS next season) and looking for an incredible upset.
“It’s a huge concern just because it’s so different. It’s a huge concern for me. … What they do is different, and we need to make sure our guys are ready to go at two o’clock on Saturday,” Muschamp said.
“It’s all about eyes and execution defensively, taking care of your responsibility every snap. … This weekend is all about responsibility football defensively. We got to be taking care. It’s a very difficult preparation getting ready for an offense like this, which is so different than what we’ve seen in three years. … That’s the difficult thing when you face a team like this, simulating it in practice. You just don’t ever see it. Not many teams run it. … It’s not something you see every day. Repetition is going to be key, simplicity in what we do and execution is going to be key.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Muschamp on telling some Gators fans to “get a grip” after Saturday’s game: “We got great fans here. It’s a small percentage and it’s just frustrating for me. Really, if anybody knows me, I care about the kids. It’s just frustrating for me. I’m fine with it. That’s part of the profession. But for our kids, it’s frustrating. They’re working extremely hard. That’s who I hurt for. We’ve got great fans. I’m talking to a small percentage of our fans.”
» Muschamp on why he punched a chalkboard during Saturday’s game: “Just [to] emphasize a point.”
» Muschamp on freshman linebacker Jarrad Davis, who started on Saturday: “He really has played well. He made a huge play on fourth down the other day coming from the backside and made a really nice open field tackle. He’s an explosive young man, he’s very smart. He’ll start again Saturday. He deserves that opportunities. He continues to improve. He has been our most productive special teams player. Everything we’ve put him in, he’s been productive. He practices well, practices hard, practices physical. He’s a really good player.”
» Muschamp on why so many freshmen have been able to contribute this year: “You don’t ever know until you get them on campus and you coach them and you see what they can handle and what they can’t handle.”
» Muschamp on Florida failing to force a large number of turnovers this season: “That’s something we’ve talked about a lot, a ball hawk mentality. We’ve gone through and tried to emphasize to our players opportunities they had to strip the ball, take the ball away. … Last year you had Jon Bostic and you had Matt Elam, you had some guys that had a ball hawk mentality of getting het ball off. Sometimes you got to develop in that role a little bit. When you’re more comfortable with what you’re doing system-wise, it makes you play faster in some situations. We’ve played more man maybe than we did a year ago when we had zone with more eyes on the ball, which I think is another contributing factor for breaking on a ball and having balls be jarred lose in those situations. … I do think we’ve missed some opportunities. … We haven’t had as many strip opportunities as we would like.”
» Murphy on Muschamp supporting the players publicly: “It means a lot, especially when you’re the head guy. He’s willing to take the blame for everything. He always has our back, especially when people are talking negatively about us. It just means a lot. When you see a guy like that leading the way, you want to follow behind him and work hard for someone like that and give him your all. Guys are feeding off of that. We’re trying to get a victory this week so we can turn things around a little bit. He has our backs, so we’re trying to do the same thing and have his, keep fighting for him and keep pushing through.