4/8: Muschamp pleased with Driskel, special teams & scrimmage, but lines, secondary need work

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Tuesday, four days before the 2014 Orange & Blue Debut spring game to provide updates on individual players and how the team as a whole is progressing heading into its final practices.

HE LOVES LONG KICKS, THAT (WAS) A PUNTING PROBLEM

Just one season after averaging 45.8 yards per punt and being a finalist for the Ray Guy award, punter Kyle Christy fell off in a major way. He was only able to average 39.6 yards on 21 attempts before losing his job to freshman Johnny Townsend, who was supposed to take a redshirt and not play during his first season.

Now a senior entering his last season with the Gators, Christy appears to have turned things around and was praised accordingly by Muschamp on Tuesday for his performance in the team’s last scrimmage. “Kyle Christy punted the ball extremely well, really hit the ball well,” he said.

With Townsend (wrist surgery) out for the remainder of spring and expected to miss 8-10 weeks, Christy has every possible opportunity to win his job back entering summer workouts and fall camp. He seems to be making the most of it.

“I think he’s had a good spring, I really do,” Muschamp added. “I think he’s punted well. He’s done some nice things, absolutely.”

Special teams as a whole was abhorrent for Florida last season, especially when it came to the kicking game. Muschamp also praised UF’s kickers for the work they did Saturday, combining to go 14-for-17 on field goal attempts.

Austin [Hardin] was 7-of-9 field goal-wise; he missed from 47 and 41. Frankie [Velez] was 7-of-8 and missed from 46,” he noted. “So, I thought we’ve made some improvement as far as being more accurate in kicking the football.”

Continue Reading » 4/8: Muschamp pleased with Driskel, special teams & scrimmage, but lines, secondary need work

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3/25: Florida defense years ahead of offense, Gators injury and depth chart updates

Spring practice remains underway for the Florida Gators with the team participating in workouts, many of which have been open to the public, for the second-straight week. Head coach Will Muschamp discussed practice, provided injury updates and went over a number of hot topics when he met with the media Tuesday afternoon.

FOUR DAYS VS. FOUR YEARS

Twice on Tuesday, Muschamp made it a point to note that there is quite a disparity between the respective preparedness of Florida’s offense and defense.

“Our team, let’s see, has had four days of installation offensively…and about four years of installation defensively. I think that puts things in perspective a little bit about where we are,” he explained.

Though the Gators defense lost most of its best players to graduation and the NFL Draft, the remaining student-athletes are all familiar with the system and simply building their knowledge base from one season to the next. In fact, Muschamp said Florida has “not cut back at all defensively” with formations or play calling, trying to make things “as hard as possible” on an offense that is much less comfortable in its own skin.

New offensive coordinator Kurt Roper has only been able to work with his unit on the field for four days, but Muschamp noted that he is “really pleased with the production” the offense has shown thus far, saying it is “really playing fast, physical” and “really limiting negative plays.” He also praised Roper for his approach to this point.

Continue Reading » 3/25: Florida defense years ahead of offense, Gators injury and depth chart updates

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gators 2014 Spring Football Preview: Offense

Spring practice for the Florida Gators football program begins on Wednesday, March 19 and lasts for 15 practices concluding with the 2014 Orange & Blue Debut spring game on Saturday, April 12. Below is the first of OnlyGators.com‘s two-part series that takes a look at the team on a position-by-position basis.

Due to extensive team injuries, more players started for Florida at times in 2013 than normal. In this case, the term “starter” is being used as applicable per position.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES
Returning starters (2/2): Junior D.J. Humphries, redshirt senior Chaz Green
Fresh faces: Redshirt freshman Roderick Johnson

By the time the 2013 campaign came to an end, the Gators lost three starting tackles for the season. The first of those absentees was Green, who had locked up the starting right tackle job over the summer but tore his labrum in practice and missed the entire season. Then came Humphries, who started the first six games at left tackle but missed the final five after an injured MCL kept him hobbled for the remainder of the year. Florida’s offense struggled mightily, in large part due to a weak offensive line, but Green and Humphries will almost assuredly start for UF as long as they can remain healthy. Johnson did not play in 2013 after suffering a physical setback early in camp but impressed the coaching staff with his athleticism when he was able to practice as a part of the scout team. He is a candidate to see a good number of snaps this year.

OFFENSIVE GUARDS
Returning starters (0/2): None
Fresh faces: Junior transfer Drew Sarvary, freshman Kavaris Harkless

With Jon Halapio and Kyle Koehne graduating – and Florida’s starting left guard changing positions (more on that below) – new offensive line coach Mike Summers will have the opportunity to hand-pick some players to help solidify the unit. Sarvary – a First Team All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference selection last season – and redshirt junior Trip Thurman will compete for the jobs, as will senior Trenton Brown and redshirt junior Tyler Moore, both of whom started games at tackle for the Gators in 2013. Florida’s guards are a work in progress, no two ways about it. Harkless could get in the mix as well though it is tough to know what UF can get from a freshman offensive lineman in the spring.

Continue Reading » Gators 2014 Spring Football Preview: Offense

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Florida freshmen wideouts still works in progress

“It’s not, ‘Add water, instant player,’” is one of Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp’s favorite lines, something he often says when discussing how far most freshmen normally need to come from a development perspective before being capable of stepping onto a college football field.

Florida’s five-player freshman wide receiver class is apparently no exception to Muschamp’s slogan. At least not this season.

Despite the Gators being in desperate need of serious playmaking talent along the outside, the team has gotten very little out of some of its youngest wideouts.

Only three of the five have played this season with those that have totaling 18 receptions, 128 yards and one touchdown through 10 games.

“Everybody hears about how these kids are graded out in recruiting and everything is pretty at that time. But when you get in the game going against corners that are experienced in this league and defenses that are big and fast, you get lost sometimes in coverage,” explained offensive coordinator Brent Pease on Tuesday.

“You just got to compete. You’ve got to play faster … until you really have the strength to dominate somebody.”

Ahmad Fulwood, a four-star prospect out of Jacksonville, FL, is leading the charge with 11 receptions for 92 yards and the score, an impressive grab that came to Saturdays ago in Florida’s loss to Vanderbilt.

“Ahmad has come on and put himself into the rotation and done a good job,” Pease said. “What I see from him is he’s finally catching up to the speed of the game and gotten more consistent catching.”

Continue Reading » Florida freshmen wideouts still works in progress

Tags: , , , , , ,

11/18: Muschamp previews Georgia Southern; Murphy improving but not yet cleared

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.”

INJURY UPDATES

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.

Continue Reading » 11/18: Muschamp previews Georgia Southern; Murphy improving but not yet cleared

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

11/12: Pease calls Murphy game-time decision, talks Mornhinweg and job security

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media on Tuesday ahead of the 10th game of the season against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday, Nov. 16. The game is set to kick off at 7 p.m. and air live on ESPN2.

QUARTERBACK A GAME-TIME DECISION

Redshirt junior starting quarterback Tyler Murphy announced Monday that trainers considered him day-to-day as he rehabilitated from a sore shoulder that has been ailing him over the last few weeks. Though rumors ran rampant that Murphy was actually out for the season, OnlyGators.com confirmed with a source close to the player that he is indeed day-to-day and trying to get back for the South Carolina game.

Pease said the exact same thing on Tuesday, noting that it would be up to the trainers to determine whether or not Murphy goes on Saturday.

“I think it’s probably a game-time decision. … He’s got to get in some practice time at some point in time and at least go out. … It’s about his comfort, ability of how to throw and spin it,” Pease said.

Murphy being a game-time decision means redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg has taken all of the repetitions in practice and may very well be starting against the Gamecocks and their, at times, extremely talented defense.

Mornhinweg has never stepped on the field for the Gators, but Pease noted that he has received a fair share of first-team reps in recent weeks.

“We were in it a couple of weeks ago when Skyler was taking all the reps going into the Missouri game. It’s not something that is a new situation or us, but you got to plan and make sure the things we do with Skyler – Murphy will be able to perform – fit things around both of them in a game plan that is really going to benefit our team,” he said.

“He’s ready to go. The thing that’s tough on a kid in his situation is just experience. You hope you never really have to play with a redshirt freshman, and nothing against him, because he’s a smart kid, he works hard. In a developmental situation, you hope you get into your sophomore or junior year before you get into that situation whether you’re competing for the job or in a back-up role ready to play.”

Should Murphy be ruled out and Mornhinweg start, redshirt junior walk-on Christian Provancha would serve as the back-up quarterback as UF is trying to preserve freshman Max Staver’s redshirt.

Continue Reading » 11/12: Pease calls Murphy game-time decision, talks Mornhinweg and job security

Tags: , , , , , , ,

11/9: Florida vs. Vanderbilt post-game report; Muschamp takes responsibility for Gators’ failures

The Florida Gators (4-5, 3-4 SEC) hit rock bottom on Saturday by falling 34-17 to the Vanderbilt Commodores (5-4, 2-4 SEC) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on homecoming. After his team’s fourth-straight loss, Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media to provide some of his thoughts on the defeat.

ANSWERING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS

» Opening statement on Florida committing four costly turnovers: “Not going to win many games turning it over four times and spotting them the ball on the 10, the 22, the 4 and the 10. We’re not good enough to overcome critical mistakes like that. … Emotionally it takes the wind out of your sails when you turn the ball over. You throw it to them and give it to them inside the 10-yard line three times, you’re just not going to win. We’re not good enough to overcome those things.”

» On why the Gators have struggled to come from behind in games: “Right now we’re not strong enough mentally to handle that. A year ago, maybe earlier in the year, we were. Right now we’re not. It’s a woe-is-me mentality right now, and we got to overcome that. Our leadership needs to step forward. … We’re going to move forward with the guys that are willing to accept challenges and opportunities that sometimes are difficult, sometimes are tough.”

» On his opinion of fans booing and his altercation with a fan last weekend: “That doesn’t bother me. You know what, I made a mistake last week, I made a real mistake with a very passionate, passionate Florida fan [who] was telling me his opinion of me. You know what? That’s fine. That’s fine. They pay their ticket, they can boo all they want. That’s good. Doesn’t help our program. That’s fine.”

» On whether he is worried about his job and/or plans to make changes to his staff heading into 2014: “You evaluate everything at the end of the season, and that’s what I certainly will do. I’ve done that in my first two years and will do it again this year. I’m not worried about that.”

AH-MAZING TOUCHDOWN

The lone bright spot for the Gators on Saturday was a terrific touchdown grab by freshman wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood. Though Murphy’s pass was initially deflected by the defensive back, it ricocheted off his foot and into there air where Fulwood grabbed it with his feet in the end zone. Check it out below, courtesy of Yahoo! Sports.

“I was happy for Ahmad. He’s worked hard. He’s really developed himself, practiced well and [we’re giving] those opportunities to a guy that’s’ going to continue to be a really good player here,” Muschamp said.

Continue Reading » 11/9: Florida vs. Vanderbilt post-game report; Muschamp takes responsibility for Gators’ failures

Tags: , , , , , , ,

11/5: Pease on Wildcat; Brown, Moore step up

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media on Tuesday ahead of the ninth game of the season against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Nov. 9.

SECOND THOUGHTS ON THE BURTON-CAT

Suffice to say, the Gators have not had much success at all running direct snap plays with senior wide receiver Trey Burton this season. Nevertheless, Florida has continued to run them with the latest incarnation coming on Saturday in form of an option on 1st-and-10 from the Georgia 41. UF was trailing UGA 23-20 at the time and ended up completely stalling on the drive. The Gators never touched the ball again.

Asked Tuesday about the decision, Pease admitted that he definitely second-guessed the call following the game, even if he was not completely clear in his reasoning for running it in the first place.

“Well, I look at the play and, I mean, we knew we had it in and a lot of the things we’ve done with Trey have kind of been more inside with him carrying it. This gave us an option. What we wanted to do with him hitting it and also getting the ball to [Solomon Patton]. And, as I look back on it, yeah, I second guess myself on that play,” he said.

“One thing we do is we go through and we say, ‘OK, what plays are good?’ And that’s something we haven’t hit. I think with him it takes some adjustment by a defense to play to him, and we hope that’s what they do defensively. If we just designed the run for him, you’re right, those probably haven’t been that great this year. I know they were more effective last year. But that’s why the play was designed more for him to have an option, it’s either him or getting the ball to Solo.”

NOT-AS-OFFENSIVE LINE

Though Florida still surrendered four sacks on Saturday, only two were blamed on the offensive line. As a whole, the unit played much better with a big – literally – part of that being the effort contributed by a first-time starter in junior right tackle Trenton Brown.

“I think he did a good job in the game. There’s still some things you look at on film and [he can improve on]. He had one holding call,” Pease said. “But I think the kid went out and competed and was good on his assignments. There’s a couple things we’ve got to clean up. I think he’s good now that he’s kind of had some of those been-in-a-game situations. I think he’ll get better.”

Brown admitted that he has plenty of room for improvement but was also perturbed that his 6-foot-8, 360-pound frame did not see the field for more snaps through the first seven games of the season.

Continue Reading » 11/5: Pease on Wildcat; Brown, Moore step up

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 Page 1 of 6  1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »