Friday Final: Florida focused on defending triple option, Gators desperate for a win, fan support

By Adam Silverstein
November 22, 2013

Florida Gators coaches and players spoke this week ahead of Saturday’s contest against the Georgia Southern Eagles, which is scheduled to kick off at 2:00 p.m. from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, and air live on pay-per-view.

Below are some stories, notes and quotes that either broke towards the end of the week or fell through the cracks and did not make it into one of the six posts already published here on OnlyGators.com (see links below).

Monday: Will Muschamp previews Georgia Southern, updates injuries, more
Tuesday: Brent Pease talks offensive line, running game | Florida’s freshmen wideouts still works in progress
Wednesday: Two Gators ruled out for Saturday | QB Tyler Murphy not ruled out, but Skyler Mornhinweg in line to start

DEFEATING THE TRIPLE OPTION

Florida on Saturday will be tasked with defending Georgia Southern’s triple option. One of a dwindling number of teams that still uses the offense, GSU expertly runs it and has since Paul Johnson took over the program in 1997. Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, who along with the other defensive caches has been preparing for this since the summer, discussed UF’s defensive plan and how it has been communicated.

“It’s something different than what our guys see week to week. Usually you go from one opponent to the next you have a different game plan but you build off certain concepts that you normally carry and work on, there’s carryover. This week there’s not as much carryover. It’s kind of a whole different game plan of how you play it,” he explained.

“It’s just responsibility football; it’s everyone doing their job. Everyone has an assignment on each snap and they gotta do their job and not worry about the guy next to him and try to guess and do what he’s doing. Option football, that’s what they make you do, they’re gonna make sure everyone’s doing their job and if not they’re gonna make you pay. They’re good enough at it, they do enough of it, they can read the right way and if someone’s not where they’re supposed to be, it’ll show.”

Redshirt junior linebacker Michael Taylor said he has experience facing the triple option in high school and noted that defending it all starts with stopping the dive.

“If you’ve never seen it, you can be like, ‘God, this is tricky.’ But most of us have seen it before. This is a pretty high-tech level of triple option,” he said. “They’re probably the best to do it; them and Georgia Tech. We have a lot to prepare for. It’s just going to be a good week of preparation and hopefully have a good Saturday.”

Redshirt junior defensive tackle Leon Orr expects the triple option to be “something of a challenge” but has confidence that the Gators will be able to defend it well.

“It’s a total technique change,” he said. “It’s all about focus, when it comes down to it. It’s something our defense [has to] hone in on and be able to focus on your role and not trying to do too much and going out there and doing your job like the coaches always preach.”


GETTING DESPERATE

At 4-6 and on a five-game losing streak, Florida needs to get off the schneid in a major way. Taylor admitted as much earlier in the week.

“[We’re] about as desperate as I am about hearing about it,” he said. “You get tired of losing. You come to a place like Florida, you’re not accustomed to it. You’re not used to losing five games. It definitely wasn’t in the plans. Players, coaches, we’re all disappointed. It’s like it’s all sliding downhill. But one thing we do have is two games left on the calendar.”

Many could be tempted to look ahead to the Florida State game next weekend, but Taylor is completely focused on GSU and refuses to take this contest for granted.

“I mean, if you don’t come out prepared and ready to play you can lose to anybody. We lost to Vanderbilt. We hadn’t lost to Vanderbilt in 20-something years. So, any team is capable of losing on any day,” he said. “I know this team put up 352 yards on Alabama last year, so this is no team to push aside. This is a team to be prepared for.”

Taylor and junior offensive tackle Trenton Brown both thought the Gators would be able to pick up a much-needed win last week against South Carolina. Brown said he had that believe starting on the Monday of game week.

“We were prepared. We had a great week of practice,” he said. “You could tell guys’ heads were in the right place, looking to get a win. We just couldn’t get it done.”

Taylor took the loss even harder: “Boy, did we have them. Yeah, we had them. I’ve got to say that one hurt more. That one and Georgia hurt a lot. Those two hurt the most. That one mainly because of the situation we went into the game with and how we came out and had them right there. We had the game. We just couldn’t close it out. That was a tough plane right, a tough bus ride. It was quiet. The good thing about it is you still have games left. When you still have games left, you still have preparation the next week and something to look forward to.”

PLAYERS DISCUSS UPS AND DOWNS OF FLORIDA FANS

» Redshirt junior offensive lineman Max Garcia on whether he got nasty messages via Twitter and other social media: “Yeah, sometimes. I mean, I’d say probably about two, three games ago it was pretty bad. But now, you know, I think fans are trying to be more supportive as of late and I really appreciate that.”

» Garcia on whether he and other players were able to tune out fan unrest: “Oh yeah, definitely. A few guys have like took the app off their phone or something like that just because it was getting really just negative. We don’t need that in our lives. We’re college guys. We still have a personal life after this, so I mean when they attack us that way it’s like all you see us is as a football player. That’s not the way it should be, but that’s the way it is.”

» Trenton Brown on how he deals with getting a hard time from fans: “You gotta just let that roll off your shoulders a little bit. That’s going to happen all the time. That happened to me in JUCO. It doesn’t seem like that’s a big scale, but it happened in JUCO, so I knew it would happen on this stage and on the next stage as well.”

» Redshirt junior running back Mack Brown on whether he has heard negativity coming from fans: “There was a lot of negativity before the South Carolina game. But after South Carolina, I feel like the fans [realized] we played our hearts out because a lot of people told us we were going to get beat by 40 points against South Carolina. The way the game went down. We got dedicated fans. I love Florida fans and they always got our backs. So, we just gotta win for the fans, win for them. The team just has to win.”

» Orr on how many fans he expects to show up Saturday: “I mean I would ask everybody to come, ya feel me? I expect our Gators to always come out there and support us. I never really expect anything less than the best because we are Florida Gators and they do support us like they do.”

» Garcia on fan support after South Carolina including some showing up to welcome the team home after the loss: “Well, after the game, I mean, it was raining when we came back from Columbia and there was about I’d say like eight to 10 Gator fans out there waiting with signs in the rain after we got off the bus. And I was like ‘Wow, that’s so uplifting.’ You don’t see that often. I’ve never seen that type of support before. You get tweets like ‘Oh, we’re still behind you’ and stuff, but when you see it actually in real life, you know, our fans are still out there waiting for us, they didn’t know when we were coming back, you know, so they could have been out there for hours. But you know stuff like that, I really appreciate that, the team really appreciated that.”

» Mack Brown on fans waiting around and welcoming the team after the USC loss: “It was raining and they was clapping like ‘good game.’ we came close, we should’ve won. … It just felt good to like see fans clapping for us when we got off the bus after a loss. It felt pretty good.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Mack Brown on whether the direct snap is staying in the offensive game plan: “I feel like for right now. I’m pretty sure when [Jeff] Driskel comes back, he’ll be [taking the snaps] again. … When coach told us we was going to do it, we was very excited. Taking advantage of it this season ‘cause I know next season it’s back to the quarterbacks.”

» Durkin on who has served as the scout team’s quarterback when running the triple option in practice: “We’ve had a couple different guys. [Freshman wide receiver] Alvin Bailey’s running it, [freshman walk-on WR] D.L Powell. We’re using different running back receiver-type guys that go run and do it and guys that have a history of doing it at the high school level where they’re from.”

» Durkin on the play of freshman LB Jarrad Davis last Saturday: “Jarrad played really well. He played fast, the game wasn’t too big for him, he was ready. Obviously it was his first start, so happened to be on his birthday so he was kinda amped up before the game and all that. He responded well, played really well, made some good plays for us. He played fast, and really, he did his job, he executed well. It wasn’t like he was out there just running around. He was where he was supposed to be within the defense. He did a great job.”

» Taylor on Davis: “That’s my boy. I’m confidence in whoever’s going to be out there with me. But when Jarrod’s out there, I love when he’s out there. Y’all have seen it. I’ve seen it. Coaches have seen it. The whole public has seen it. The boy can play football. That’s basically it. He’s talent. He can hit. He can run. He can do it all. Confidence, it’s great. I love when he’s out there.”

» Durkin on how junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy has performed with talk of the 2014 NFL Draft looming: “I think he’s had a lot of teachable moments this year. I think as of late, most recently, he’s handling it well. He’s playing well. He played well on Saturday night. That’s part of the education process that we continue to go with these guys, something we’ve been talking about with them since back before the season even started. There’s a lot of things right now he might look at or do differently, but I think that’s true with anyone. He’s playing well as of late, he’s practicing well and we expect him to make plays for us Saturday.”

» Durkin on whether he hopes to be a head coach one day: “Do I have head coaching aspirations? Yeah. I definitely one day want to do that. In terms of this season or any other with a school, that’s all stuff that I don’t even have time to even think about or look at until after the season. I mean, I’m just trying to stop Georgia Southern running the triple option right now and when I say that I really mean it. Every day it’s a full grind to get practice together, get everything, get our guys in the best position possible to have success and go play a great game. I have really enjoyed doing that; I loved doing that. This is a great place and I love working for Will [Machen] and Jeremy Foley, so, my focus is 100% on our defense.”

One Comment

  1. AJ says:

    I’m guessing the administration is only 900% behind Muschamp now?

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