Head coach Will Muschamp meets with the media each week to wrap-up the previous Saturday’s game and look ahead to the Florida Gators next opponent. Florida fell 24-20 to the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday and is beginning to prepare for a homecoming game against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Nov. 5. Below are some of the most important notes and quotes from the availability.
WEEKLY INJURY AND ABSENCE UPDATES
Muschamp said Monday that redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley felt “fine” after the game and much better than the training staff would have thought. The plan is to get him back under center this week, something the team will probably wait until midweek to begin testing. “Sometimes when you come off of being inactive, rehabbing an ankle when having an injury, and you come out and you’re on it for 60 minutes in a ballgame, sometimes you would expect some lingering effects from it,” he explained. “We don’t feel like he had any.”
Redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee) remains sidelined and has not done any practicing with the team – just rehab. “We’re still holding out hope,” Muschamp said. “he has kind of shut it down at this point. He’s in there with our medical, which is doing an outstanding job. he’s trying to work through that at this time right now.”
Junior running back Mike Gillislee (ankle), redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs (leg), redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray (shoulder) and sophomore cornerback Cody Riggs (wrist) will all hopefully be back in action on Wednesday, he added. “We feel like most or all of these guys will be available for the game unless something happens this week,” Muschamp noted. Sturgis in particular was planning to kick for Florida on Saturday but felt a “twinge” in his leg during warm-ups and was therefore held out with sophomore Brad Phillips taking his place and doing quite well.
GAME AND OPPONENT STATEMENTS
“You have a hard time winning against good football teams in this league when you don’t capitalize on your opportunities and you give them more opportunities in the game. That was very disappointing. Offensively we moved the ball well in the first half, but our inability to run the football became a one-dimensional game. They have some decent pass rushers on the edge and they were able to affect the quarterback in the game and really disrupt some things we were trying to do in the throwing game. We’ve got to find ways to run the football. We’re continuing to look at that. Some things we had planned in the game, we didn’t do. The first two series of the second half we were backed up coming off of our goal line there. We had some success in the first half. We have to go back and look at the things we did well; we have to identify those and move forward.
Defensively I thought we played solid. We had some opportunities to make some stops there at the end and didn’t get it done. The two fourth-down passes, we were in position to make the plays and Georgia won because they made those plays and we didn’t. We’ve got to finish those plays and those things. As a staff, we’ll continue to work and put those kids in those situations in practice and continue to improve. That falls on my shoulders. Special teams, I was very proud of Brad Philips and the job he did stepping in for Caleb. Brad is a guy that has worked extremely hard and certainly taken advantage of his opportunities. I’m very proud of the job he did in the game. […] Our kickoff coverage and our kickoff return units were outstanding. D.J. Durkin continues to do a nice job with our special teams.”
He also spoke about Florida’s next opponent on Nov. 5, Vanderbilt.
“James Franklin is doing an outstanding job with his football team. You watch these guys on tape and they play hard. They’re very well coached. They’re multiple offensively in what they do; they give you a lot of different looks. They have gone with Jordan Rodgers, as a quarterback is a guy who runs extremely well, is a good athlete and throws the ball well. […] Defensively they’re leading or second in the SEC in interceptions with 15. They’re a pressure outfit. They come after you a pretty good bit. They do a nice job of mixing things up as far as the different ways they try and pressure you. And they attack you in special teams.”
ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS
Why is the team reluctant to run between the tackles?
“We did a little bit but we weren’t very effective. When we ran more lateral run game, we weren’t very effective. We got a lot of vertical penetration inside. Some things we went into the game and felt good about they did a nice job of taking away. When we ran it inside, we weren’t very productive with it. That’s what led us to throwing the ball a good bit.” Muschamp added that without Brantley for a few games, Florida could not stretch the field vertically. The Gators have also played much better defense recently and, on Saturday, Brantley not playing from under center also inhibited their ability to run.
Are you concerned about the play of junior tackle Xavier Nixon:
“Xavier has played well for us; he played well for us before we got here. You look at the positives. He’s done some positive things, too. We all want to focus on everything that’s negative. You look at the positive things and build off those and you try to be technical in your corrections. Is it a technique issue? Is it a set issue? Is it an alignment issue? Did the quarterback hold the ball too long? Not everything is on the offensive line. Anytime a sack happens, everybody wants to point the finger at the offensive line and that wasn’t the case Saturday” Muschamp said a number of other things happen in the game – a running back could miss a chip block, wrong formations and sets can be chosen, etc.
Was there a consideration not to go with Brantley on Saturday?
“We discussed it but we felt like John gives us the best opportunity to win the football game. We talked to John every series about his ankle, where he was with it and how he felt as far as his mobility was concerned, different things we could try in the run game, different things we could try formation wise to help us out as far as giving us a different look. As we continued to push through the game, we felt like John gave us the best opportunity. There is no question in my mind about that.”
Why was Florida unable to get off the field on fourth down?
“You create some situations in practice – jump ball situations – and you try to get the ball off the guy. You work a little more red zone cover routes. Again, as a coach, there’s a lot of different things you can approach as far as working at it. When you get that opportunity again – when you’re sitting out there in front of 90,000 people – you make the play. I have confidence in both players that they will make the play.”
Does the impatience of Gators fans bother you?
“Not at all. Not at all. No. Not at all.”
Will offensive coordinator Charlie Weis remain in the booth?
“We had some procedural issues obviously as far as communication was concerned. That’s something we’re working through right now to see if we benefit by still doing that. We’re in discussions about that right now.”
How do you punish players for committing penalties?
“We have different forms of punishment. A lot of situations we take the guy off the field. Some situations in our football team right now we’re a little bit thin, quite frankly. So we’re doing the best we can do.” Muschamp is insinuating that normally a player who commits a penalty would be pulled from the game for at least a few plays, but their lack of depth roster-wise inhibits that type of punishment.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Muschamp on the mood of the team: “We had a good meeting this morning. I told them we’re going to saddle up and continue to work and continue to press forward and be technical in our approach about the things we did well, the things we didn’t do well, and understand and learn from the film and continue to move forward. We’ve got an experience staff. We’ve got a staff that has been through tough times before and understands that part of it. It’s our job to bring a young team through this and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’ll stay upbeat and be technical about the situation – what you’re doing well and what you’re not doing well.”
» Muschamp on if freshman Jacoby Brissett remains the backup quarterback: “Right now Jacoby would be the No. 2 quarterback. We’ll continue to move forward with that. We create situations within practice where they all are getting reps. We’ll continue to evaluate that. It’s no different than any other position. The guy that plays the best and performs the best in practice deserves the chance to play, and Jeff’s a part of that.”
» Muschamp on why he cannot run the ball like he wants to: “It’s not about what you want to do. It’s about what you can do. We got to do a better job figuring out what we can do. We haven’t done a very good job of that the last couple of weeks.”
» Muschamp on freshman tight end A.C. Leonard being absent on Saturday: “He had a personal issue to handle. He’s fine. He was here this morning and we’re good to go.”
» Muschamp on if he takes losing hard: “There’s nothing good about it. There’s no moral victories. There’s nothing. You deal with it. You watch the film, you’re technical in your approach, you don’t get emotional with the players with it. You show what you did well, what you didn’t do well, what you got to do to improve yourself as a player, as a coach and a football team. The first person you look at is yourself. Too many people in our society want to point a finger at somebody else or blame somebody else for why something happened. I tell the players, ‘When we play well, it’s because you guys did a good job preparing yourself. When you didn’t, it’s my fault.’ That’s the way we do things around here. I don’t ever get over a loss. You live with them for a long time. I learned in this league you better move to the next week. We have another quality opponent on the horizon. You move on with it. When the season is over with it, you sit down, but you don’t ever get over a loss. I don’t.”