11/26: Florida vs. Florida State post-game

By Adam Silverstein
November 27, 2011

The Florida Gators (6-6) lost to the Florida State Seminoles (8-4) at home on Saturday for the first since 2003, dropping a 21-7 final even though they held their opponent to 95 yards of total offense. OGGOA takes a look at some of the notable occurrences before, during and after Saturday’s game along with plenty of notes and quotes from head coach Will Muschamp and the players.

INJURY AND ABSENCE UPDATES

A number of Gators found themselves down on the ground hurt during the game Saturday. Thought specific, detailed updates were not available for all of the players, Muschamp said overall that he expects everyone to be fine.

Sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley (knee), redshirt sophomore tackle Kyle Koehne (knee), redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey (hip), redshirt sophomore guard Jon Halapio (leg) and freshman tight end A.C. Leonard all hurt their extremities during the game but should not suffer any long-term issues.

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley appeared to be concussed (and had a cut on his left cheek) after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit, and sophomore linebacker Darrin Kitchens was motionless on the field for a while after being hit hard on the opening kickoff of the second half. Muschamp did not provide an update on Brantley, though Kitchens is said to be “fine” and was walking around after the game.

Additionally, redshirt sophomore TE Jordan Reed did not suit up for the game after he struggled putting pressure on his injured ankle Thursday during practice.

GATORS “A SOFT FOOTBALL TEAM”

Muschamp began his post-game press conference with criticisms of his Florida team.

“I’m extremely disappointed again with today and this season overall. I didn’t do a very good job with this football team. At the end of the day, when you’re not able to run the football, you’re going to have a hard time winning games against good defenses. When you become a one-dimensional team, when you’re a lateral running team and you can’t run the ball inside and you can’t run the ball vertically at people, you’re going to struggle. And we haven’t been able to do that.

“We’re a soft football team. That’s the bottom line. I told our guys we’re not a physically tough team and we’re not a mentally tough team. Self-evaluation is hard sometimes but that’s the facts. That’s the facts. It’s hard to say it. I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but soft’s not one of them. And we are…and that’s my fault.”

Asked why he chose to call the team “soft” in particular, Muschamp said that should not be a new sentiment as far as the team’s feelings concerned. “That’s not the first time they’ve heard it. It’s not the first time they’ve heard it all season, I can tell you that,” he said. “I always say self evaluation’s hard. It starts with me and it falls on my shoulders and I’m the one who’s responsible, but at the end of the day, you are what you are. You are what your record is.”

Muschamp also explained how he will try to change that mentality immediately. “We’re going to have a very physical bowl practice. I thought we had a physical training camp. I thought we’ve amped up our physicality as far as practices are concerned, but we need to take it to another level – obviously,” he said. “When you can’t convert a 3rd and 1, 4th and 1, when teams have continually run the ball against you throughout the season, it’s very disappointing.”

Read the rest of the Florida-Florida State post-game notes…after the break!

MUSCHAMP MORE FRUSTRATED THAN FANS OR ANYONE ELSE

Despite the negative sentiment from fans, Muschamp promised that no one is more upset than he is about how this season has gone. He went on his second mini-rant of the press conference when discussing how things have to be turned around.

“More players on our football team need to take ownership in the team. I think we’ve made tremendous strides in that area, but we’ve got a long way to go. And we’re going to get there. We’re going to get there. I have a clear vision for what we want to do and how we want to do it and I’m more excited today than the day I was hired about where we’re headed because I know where we’re headed. I’ve told our football team that. We’re going to be fine.

“It’s a very frustrating time right now to be a Florida Gator. And I understand that. And it falls on my shoulders. And there’s nobody else you need to look at. And you don’t need to blame the offensive coaches or the defensive coaches or the special teams coach or whoever’s recruited or who was here before. It falls one guy’s shoulders and that’s mine, and it’s going to get corrected. And we’re going to be fine. And we’ve got a good, young, solid football team.

“And I know everybody’s frustrated. I get that. I do. I’m frustrated, too. I guarantee more than you guys are, more than anybody sitting in that stadium. Very frustrated. But it’s going to get fixed, all right? We’ve got good, young talent on our football team and we’re going to be fine. I know patience is a bad, bad word and I’m not asking for it, but I also think sometimes you’ve got to be realistic. You’ve got to be realistic. If you have an education, you’ve got to be realistic some days.”

IMPROVING IMMEDIATELY

Muschamp was pleased that, regardless of how down the team looked, the players continued to do their best while on the field Saturday. He discussed after the game how things are going to change going forward.

“Our guys kept fighting. They kept hanging in the game and playing. We’re going to stay the course with what we’re trying to do,” he said. “I told our football team. We need to build depth on this team. We need to get better on both lines of scrimmage because until you do that, it’s going to be very difficult to beat the teams in our league.

“We need to get better. We need to improve. That’s what recruiting is for and that’s what bowl practice, the offseason and spring are for. That’s what we’re going to do as a program – move forward to build on what we need to do. We didn’t improve our football team from last year’s record, and I felt like we should have.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Muschamp on the offense’s struggles: “We’re doing all we can do with what we’ve got right now. We got to find some better answers obviously in what we’re trying to do. We’ve gone to wildcat. We’ve gone to Trey’s package. We’ve gotten in the I. We’ve gotten in the pistol. We’ve gotten in a lot of different stuff. We’re trying.”

» Muschamp on the quarterbacks: “We’re very excited about the future of that position at Florida with Jacoby [Brissett] and Jeff [Driskel]. Very excited.”

» Muschamp on Brantley being unable to finish his final start at UF: “I hurt for him. You hut for any player regardless of if he’s a senior or not. If somebody gets hurt, it’s never good. I never want to see somebody struggle to finish the game or not finish the game, especially if they’re a senior in their last game at The Swamp. It’s disappointing.”

» Muschamp on running faltering as season wore on: “In our first four games, we were a perimeter run team. We played against teams that we had a little more speed and we were able to get the edges and gain the edges. We were kind of new, and it doesn’t take long in this league for people to adjust to what you do and how you do it. You can’t run laterally in this league. The defenses are too good. We’ve tried to run the ball inside, you know. The frustration of me. We’ve tried to run the ball inside. We just haven’t been very effective. We don’t get much movement.”

» Muschamp on if there is a big rebuilding project ahead: “I think we’ve got good talent on our football team. We’ve got good young talent. Over 70 percent of our roster is freshmen and sophomores. Those are the guys that are playing, and those are the guys primarily making most of the plays in situations. We’ve got to gain depth. You got to have more people involved. You have to create competition at practice. We’re just too thin on the line of scrimmage to win in this league. We said it from the beginning. We said it’s a line of scrimmage league for a reason, because it is, because I’ve been in this league and I know what it takes to be successful in this league. And we’re not good enough up front right now. We’re just not.”

» Redshirt senior DT Jaye Howard on the loss: “I got emotional, but you got to look at it from the good side. A lot of players on the defensive side of the ball grew up today. I’m always going to be a Gator, so they grew up for next year.”

» Howard on the defense’s performance: “We played the best we’ve played all season.”

» Senior RB Jeff Demps on the game: “It was a hard way to go out. They played good, and we just beat ourselves tonight. It’s tough to go out like that, but we’re going to go out and practice real hard for the bowl game and hopefully come out with a victory.”

» Junior LB Jon Bostic on his personal foul: “I thought it was real close. He was just around the pile and we were both going to the ball. I didn’t think it was a personal foul on my side, but I’m not the ref, but I have to be careful next time because it was kind of close.”

» Bostic on Muschamp calling the team soft: “We just got to man up. There’s no question about it. Defensive wise, offensive wise, special teams, we’re making a lot of mistakes everywhere. It is like it is. What can you say? It hit home, but it’s what it is. Obviously the outcome shows it. We got to get better, that’s the main thing. We just got to get better.”

» Bostic on Urban Meyer possibly going to Ohio State: “Obviously he’s gotten better. I haven’t really paid too much attention to it. We’ve been trying to win games here.”

» Redshirt sophomore LB Jelani Jenkins on Muschamp calling the team soft: “It’s basically him saying we’ve got to get better. We have a couple weeks of bowl practice and we have a lot of time to get better as a team, send the seniors out the right way. It’s basically him saying we’ve got to get better. If the coach says it, he’s probably right.”

» Jenkins on seeing Brantley struggle and get injured: “It was very tough. I have the utmost respect for Brantley. He’s a tough quarterback. I wouldn’t rather have anybody else back there at quarterback. Me and Brantley are good friends. It was definitely tough seeing him limp out having to be put on the sideline for injury. I’m proud of him. He does his best every time he goes out on the field.”

» Jenkins on Meyer: “There’s no comment about that. We’re dealing with Florida right now.”

» Redshirt junior DT Omar Hunter on the loss: “It’s very frustrating losing to your rival, Florida State, on your home field. It’s very frustrating, especially because we feel like we could have won that game. We feel like we made a lot of mistakes ourselves and beat ourselves.”

» Hunter on Muschamp calling the team soft: “I agree with him 100 percent. We got to get together and get tougher – mentally and physically. We’ve had a harder offseason than we’ve ever had here. I take some of the responsibility of myself as a leader of the team, and I know some of the older guys do too not pushing the younger guys hard enough. We can get a lot tougher, a lot tougher.”

» Hunter on Brantley: “A guy like Brantley, when he was down, the team seems like it was down a little bit. That’s our quarterback. That’s our main leader. He’s the guy that holds it all together. To see him go down definitely takes something out of the team.”

» Hunter on Meyer-to-OSU: “Not a problem with me at all. If he wants to be at Ohio State, good luck to him. I love Coach Meyer. He brought me here to Florida. I can never say anything bad about Coach Meyer. I respect him a lot, love him as a coach, and if he wants to go to Ohio State, good luck to him.”

20 Comments

  1. MG says:

    Soft shmoft, Muschamp had enough talent and 12 games to show he has a clue. He doesn’t. One more similar season and he moves on. Muschamp lost all the goodwill of the gator nation. Only sunshine pumpers think otherwise.

  2. GatorKen says:

    I think Muschamp has finally had enough and by calling the team soft to the public is a start. He has to get into their heads and make them understand. Muschamp came into a team with talent but very young and then the OL is just undersized. They struggled last year and this year was not much better. I hope Champ can bring us a nice recruiting class with some hungry OL players who have passion. We saw some good things from the defense and late the WRs were starting to show some promise.

    I think Muschamp will be fine. He might need to chance up some of his staff and tell Weis he has to open up the offense a lot more.

    The off season should be fun though, QB race, RB race, and getting some OL guys who want to protect their QB.

  3. Zach says:

    Anyone who puts this teams problems squarely on Muschamp is ignorant. We are operating on probation sized scholarship players, with very few lineman(Meyers fault). The O outgained last years team by a wide margin, in the first year of this system! Wr’s on this team wouldn’t start on most SEC teams, save Debose, and that is on Meyer. The schedule this year was brutal, low on scholarship players, talent evaluation was poor at several offensive positions(Meyer), and we had several critical injuries. Go ahead and blame Muschamp, hope he gets fired, then you will really see a downward spiral in this program. He’s done an excellent job with what he had, and has blamed no one. I suggest fans keep their mouths shut in their criticisms when they havent looked at the facts.

    • Mr2Bits says:

      Gotta love the fact that everyone is looking to blame someone around here. This season has really turned some Gator fans into complete and utter a-holes. People have relegated themselves to making fun of our coaches weight to looking to fire a coach who hasn’t had more than one year to change our system. The blame is solely on the players. You cannot always blame coaches for players lack of execution. From the hardest schedule we have really ever had, to injuries, to no offensive play makers. This year was simply the perfect storm of shit hitting Gator nation in the face!

      • g8ter27 says:

        Who are you? Wasn’t it you who gave Addazio crap each and every week last year for his play calling? In fact, wasn’t it you who wanted to resort to punching him in the face? This staff had a smaller group but everyone acts like they were crap. Lets see, Nixon..5 star recruit, Driskell, Brantley, Brissett, Dubose, rainey, Elam, Floyd, Powell, Easely, Jenkins, Roberson, Patchan, Wilson. Thompson…every one of them 5 star recruits on some sights and some on all sights. The cupboard was not left empty here, offensively we have done less with these kids than any coaching staff could have. You take these same kids on offense and think Saban or Miles or anyone else would have played that bad week in and week out? Look at Auburn, what do they have on offense? Nothing, but enough to out score us. Hell we took the best punter (or one of at least) coming out of high school and turned him inito one of the worst I have ever seen. Play calling was horrible this year, we had speed and chose to assert muscle that wasn’t there….not even close. Muschamp is pissed and he should be. Weiss, Marrotti, and Durkin did a terrible job this year, so did some of the players (John Brantley) but that is on the coaches. Unlike Weiss, Brantley did the best with what he had which was very little, Weiss had more weapons than we utilized. We have people in here that want to take a dump on Meyer now and say how bad he sucked at recruiting…that is BS. I am no longer a Meyer fan for his quitting this team in order to go to OSU but he could recruit. Anyway, to say this staff did a good job is wrong because they did not. I am more than willing to say Muschamp hasn’t had his shot yet and deserves a break with the abuse he is taking in the media. The giy doesn’t point fingers. Weiss I am very concerned about. This offense is worse than last year….why?

        • ncgator says:

          Well said. I understand this entire offense was recruited for speed and for running a pure spread. That being said, you have to question Weiss’s play calling and Muschamp’s willingness to let its flawed design continue game after game. Everyone with even a cursory understanding of the college game knew running small backs off tackle was never going to work against decent defenses, much less the defenses in the SEC. In addition, continuing to start Brantley after the Auburn loss was mind-boggling. The season was over, why not give the playing time to JB & JD so they didn’t have to start from scratch next year. This team had the talent to be better than 6-6 and their failure to do so falls squarely on Muschamp and Weiss. As mentioned elsewhere, Muschamp better have the mother of all recruiting classes or this team is going to be another Tennessee.

        • Mr2Bits says:

          That’s correct, nobody infuriated me more than the Daz. He absolutely made my blood boil. I can agree with you that some coaches should have done better but to be frank, I’m just not seeing the offensive talent to do any better. We were a spread built team running a crappy version of the spread last year. We are a spread built team trying to run a pro-style offense in what is the worst schedules in decades this year. All Im saying is that I do not agree with the majority of the fan base making fun of our coaches weight and other things. It really comes off as being classless as they are a part of Gator Nation as much as anyone else.

    • LT says:

      Muschamp has done an EXCELLENT job?????? Wow. That is totally absurd. Even Muschamp doesn’t think that. The truth is, we have holes in this team, we lack depth, AND the coaches did not do a very good job. Its players and coaches. Want proof? The offense has clearly regressed as the season has went on. That, my friend, is coaching. We weren’t very good to begin with but we clearly got worse late in the year. Can anyone really say our offense wasn’t better when we played Tennessee than when we played FSU? The defense seemed to go up and down but at least finished on a strong note. The offense gets worse by the minute. Ill give Muschamp and Weis a total pass on this year but next year, there better be a huge improvement. NO EXCUSES!! Look at the great coaches out there who took over struggling programs and had great second years. Saban at Alabama, Stoops at Oklahoma, Chizik at Auburn, Tressel at OSU, Carroll at USC. Great coaches turn programs around in the second year even if the program has personnel problems and has been struggling. The defense is loaded with talent and all the offense needs to do is NOT be a laughing stock for this team to be a lot better next year. Why are we paying Weis a million dollars a year to be a coordinator if we are a laughing stock. Ill coach the offense for $100,000/ yr and we can be a laughing stock!

  4. edumacated opanian says:

    Open up what the Oline has no depth,looked like last year to me but much improved Defense

  5. Tractorr says:

    I really hope we get some good JUCO linemen because freshmen are not going to be able to start and make much of a difference.

  6. Vicki Browne says:

    They didn’t put Driskel in because……?????

    • scooterp says:

      … because Brissett was the best option. Duh!

      • LT says:

        Really? Driskel looked as good or better than Brissett when he played the second half at Auburn. Since then, Brissett has gotten a multitude of chances and Im not sure Driskel has even taken a snap. Even Brissett admits Driskel is a better runner than him. With a weak OL, a good runner is a valuable commodity. Brissett is Weis’ boy. Weis recruited him and I think that is why Weis plays him ahead of Driskel. Mark my words, if Driskel transfers, he will be a star wherever he lands.

  7. gator says:

    Urban Meyer,Never a TRUE GATOR.used our state athelets to make him look good, then used some BS excuses to QUIT. now he is not only a nut but he is a total PACKAGE.

  8. CF says:

    The SOS BS is ridiculous. This is the SEC… even if next year’s SOS is better, you better believe it’s still going to be a tough nut to crack. With this team, and with QBs like Brissett and Driskel who have shown NOTHING this year, I don’t expect a better season. My money is on Coach “Champ” to be out on his butt by the end of next season. Let’s hope Foley can dig up someone good, because this will just not do.

    • CF says:

      Do any of you see us beating LSU? SCAR? UGA? FSU? I think even @Tenn will be a toss up. 7 win season if hopeful… If this happens, Champ/Weis have to GO

  9. Joe says:

    Muschamp needs to clean out the locker room of guys that don’t want to play hard. Machen’s policy is once we offer a scholarship, it’s good for life. This leads to a sense of entitlement. While I don’t agree with a lot of what Saban and Miles do, if a player isn’t cutting it, pull the scolly and give it to someone who will. And of course wish them well in their future endeavors.

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