Kansas plucks Charlie Weis from Florida

The Kansas Jayhawks have hired Florida Gators offensive coordinator Charlie Weis to be the team’s next head coach, the university announced Thursday.

Weis, who has spent the last year working under Florida head coach Will Muschamp, will be officially introduced in his new role on Friday at a yet to be determined time.

Deciding to leave his job as offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs one year ago, Weis said he chose to join Muschamp’s staff for a number of personal reasons and called the opportunity “almost a dream.” He signed a three-year, $2.6 million contract with Florida, making him the highest paid assistant in school history.

At the time, Weis explained that it was a fantastic opportunity for his family. His son would be a student assistant with the Gators, his wife would be pleased with a 10.5-acre estate in Reddick, FL with plenty of horses, and his special needs daughter could get the assistance she needed with her condition.

“This opportunity is one of those unique situations where I can go to a great institution where my son goes to matriculate and be able to spend the next bunch of years watching my son grow,” he said on Jan. 2. “He wants to coach. It took us very long to try to find a place where he could be involved with the football program in a student assistant capacity. When I finally did talk to Will, we chatted about that and then we talked about me. I had to really reflect on that, spend time with my wife and [my son].

“We talked about a whole bunch of things and at the end of the day, I don’t think anybody could understand how wonderful an opportunity it would be to be able to work at a place and see your kid on a daily basis. It’s a tough business. To go to a program like Florida and be able to be around my kid at the same time … is almost a dream.”

Weis was the main reason redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley returned to the team instead of transferring. He was also the catalyst that convinced freshman QB Jacoby Brissett to commit to Florida over Miami even though the Gators already had Jeff Driskel in their 2011 recruiting class.

He recently said that he had no designs of leaving UF and would remain at the school as long as Muschamp and the university would have him.

“I’m going to coach for a long time. My wife says I can’t quit,” he said on Nov. 22. “That’s not even – remember I have a kid who is a freshman in college here and remember the reasons why I came here. I’ll be here for a while unless you’re trying to get rid of me.”

Weis went 35-27 as head coach of Notre Dame and led a Florida offense that finished 102nd in total offense (334.17 yards per game) and 72nd in scoring offense (25.58 points per game) in 2011.

Muschamp gave Weis his blessing publicly while discussing his departure at a press conference on Thursday for the 2012 Gator Bowl.

“When you’re a coordinator and you have an opportunity to be a head coach, I support you 100 percent,” he said.

It remains to be seen who Muschamp will tab to replace Weis, but it is expected that he will continue running a pro-style offense. He could look for an accomplished coordinator in the college ranks or go back to the NFL once again.

Muschamp may also have to find a quarterbacks coach (a position Weis held) and replace offensive line coach Frank Verducci, who joined his staff with Weis. The two are friends and worked together previously at Notre Dame.

Florida running backs coach Brian White will be the offensive coordinator and call the plays in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 2, 2012 against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

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2012 Gator Bowl teleconference: Easley out, Marotti gone, Meyer lingers over game

The Gator Bowl Committee held a teleconference Sunday to officially announce that the Florida Gators (6-6) will face the Ohio State Buckeyes (6-6) in the 2012 Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl set for Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL. Florida head coach Will Muschamp and Ohio State interm head coach Luke Fickell each spoke about a variety of topics on the call.


Gators sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who went down with a knee injury against Florida State, has torn his anterior cruciate ligament and will have surgery on Wednesday, Muschamp said. He will be forced to sit out the bowl game and miss all of spring practice, too.

Easley’s recovery time will likely take longer than six months, which means his being able to return for summer practice is in doubt. Redshirt junior DT Omar Hunter will likely start alongside redshirt senior DT Jaye Howard in the bowl game.


Muschamp confirmed OGGOA‘s reports that Florida strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti has decided to leave the program and work at Ohio State under new head coach Urban Meyer beginning in 2012.

“Mickey left to go to Ohio State, but our coaching staff is in tact,” he said. “We’ve had coaches on our staff have other opportunities. I’m excited about the continuity of our staff and our staff that’s in place.”

As far as replacing Marotti goes, Muschamp said there is a ways to go until that decision is made (and it probably will not come until after the bowl).

“I’m going to take my time on that. That’s a critical hire,” he said. “Mickey did a great job at the University of Florida, and I appreciate his efforts, but we need to get stronger. We need to get physically and more mentally tough, and it starts there in the weight room. That’s a critical hire for me.”


Despite the fact that he will not be coaching the Buckeyes in the game, Meyer will undoubtedly be the most talked about storyline when the game is discussed. Fickell said that he thinks all of the anxiety will be on the Gators’ side even if Meyer is slightly uncomfortable with the matchup.

“It might be a unique situation for the other people involved, but for our coaches and our players, I don’t know that it will be much of a difference,” he said.

“For Coach [Meyer], I imagine it’s going to be a little bit harder. Just to know the situation and the matchup. I’m sure there are a ton of people at Florida that he loves and respects, as well as players that he loves and respects. I think there might be a little bit more anxiety there than with the rest of us.”

Fickell also said that Meyer’s familiarity with UF’s roster probably won’t play much of a role in OSU’s preparations.

“I don’t know that’s a huge, huge part of what we do. You can have some ideas of guys, but you can get that from coaches that play against other guys, coaches that were on somebody’s staff a year before. That might be a little bit a part of something, but it still comes down to what you do,” he said.

Muschamp dismissed the notion, saying that he does not believe Meyer’s job at Ohio State will be a distraction to Florida because “we’ve moved on.”


» Muschamp on accepting the bowl bid: “We’re so excited to play in front of all the Gator fans there in Jacksonville and in the state of Florida.”

» Muschamp on redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley’s status: “We’re going to do what we got to do to win the football game. John’s disappointed with the way he played the last game there in the swamp. He’s disappointed and so are we. He’s fine back from that game.”

» Muschamp on Florida transitioning: “Right now at Florida, we’re very disappointed with a 6-6 season. It’s not acceptable, and we were 7-5 the year before. We’re going through a little transition at Florida as well. We’ve got to get back to numbers as far as recruiting is concerned. We are in a bit of a transition with these two years back to back.”

» Muschamp on Ohio State already selling their allotment of tickets and what florida fans need to do: “They need to support the Florida Gators, and I appreciate them. We have the best fans in the country, and they’re upset and they’re frustrated and I don’t blame them. Our guys are going to work hard and put on a good show there against Ohio State.”

» Muschamp on offensive coordinator Charlie Weis’s injured hip: “He’ll probably have some hip surgery done after the bowl game, but he’s fine.”

» Muschamp on if he is encouraged about the last week of recruiting; “It’s going great. Recruiting has been outstanding. First of all you’re recruiting with the University of Florida. It’s a great school, great campus, great tradition of football program and a great staff. A hard working staff in recruiting. Players can very easily see where we’re headed with this.”

» Fickell on his relationship with Muschamp: “I’ve known will for a few years. I know that he’s just taken over and probably had some ups and down as well. That’s probably why we’re record-wise in a similar situation. […] I can tell you that if they’re going to take on the personality of their head coach, they’re going to be tough, they’re going to be well-coached and they’re going to be disciplined. That makes for two similar teams.”

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Florida’s Charlie Weis: “I’ll be here for a while.”

As the Florida Gators prepare for their final home contest of the season against the Florida State Seminoles on Nov. 26 in The Swamp, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis met with the media on Tuesday to discuss the team’s upcoming game.


Florida’s offense may not have been as consistent as fans had hoped this year but as far as Weis is concerned, he will have plenty of time to perfect it while wearing orange and blue. Despite a bothersome hip that has forced him to sit down a lot and use a cane on the sideline, Weis said his health is fine and not nearly as important as what is going on as the game at hand Saturday.

“Not to downplay it, but it’s really not important how I feel. We’re coaches. We’re not players. I can do my job fine. I got as much gas in the tank as I had at the start of the year. There’s no less gas. I’m still running on full,” he said.

“I’m going to coach for a long time. My wife says I can’t quit. That’s not even – remember I have a kid who is a freshman in college here and remember the reasons why I came here. I’ll be here for a while unless you’re trying to get rid of me.”

He also joked that his reasons for staying long-term are genuine. “No, [Charlie Jr.] doesn’t get free tuition – in case you’re wondering,” Weis said with a smile.

Reflecting on the Sept. 2008 incident at Notre Dame that resulted in him tearing two ligaments in his left knee and breaking his right knee, Weis said that major injury did not affect his ability to coach so there is no reason why this relatively minor one will.

“Remember I got wiped out really bad there a couple years ago. It couldn’t hurt any worse than that,” he said. “I didn’t miss any time then. I stood on the sidelines with no ligaments in my left knee and a broken right knee. Maybe I’m a masochist, but it never entered my mind. Not once.

“I did have to go into the box one game – one bowl game. My right knee – the one that was broken – just the pain was too unbearable. So I couldn’t stand, so I went up in the box. I was the only one that went to a bowl game in Hawaii, won by 100 [49-21] and was miserable. I was probably the only one in the whole program.

“You have to go to a crummy bowl. We end up going to Hawaii. I could think of a lot worse things to do. We play great and everything, and I’m miserable because I know four days later my right knee is going to be replaced. I couldn’t have been any more miserable. Everyone was so happy. It was Christmas Eve, and I was miserable.”


Senior running back Jeff Demps (and his NFL aspirations): “Anyone who runs that fast – you can’t coach speed. When you can run that fast, that immediately puts you in the discussion in everyone’s draft room. There is not a draft room that he won’t be discussed in. He’ll probably get taken higher than his stats would be because of those physical attributes, because there are teams where speed comes into play. When you have that type of speed, that speed is rare.”

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (and his improvement): “He’s probably been – I wouldn’t say the most pleasant surprise – but probably the thing I’m probably pleased about the most. From my initial conversations with him in January to now, it’s a totally different persona than the one I sat down with. He was always a wonderful young man, a good kid. Watching him evolve from where he was to where he is now both on and off the field, I couldn’t be more satisfied for him. I would really like nothing more than him to finish this out by going and beating Florida State. I think that would just be a great thing for him.”


» On running the ball against Florida State: “You better run the ball because if you think that you’re just going to line up against that front four – which is really a front eight because they have good talent in the second group, too – if they can turn the game into a one-dimensional game, then you have a problem. […] They’re fast. […] They have very god speed. They are very well-coached. They’re very vanilla. They’re not trying to trick you. They’re saying, ‘We can just bring out four guys and bring out another four guys and we’ll be able to get after you and get pressure on your quarterback.’ For the most part, they do that. They’re pretty solid on defense right now.”

» On his mindset before a game: “I’ve never gone into a game ever expecting to lose a game ever. Even games that everyone said we were underdogs. I’ve never in my life gone into a game and said, ‘Welp, let’s mark this one up as a loss.’ So yes, I’m confident for our guys.”

» On what he will think after evaluating the film this season from a coaching and execution perspective: “I’m sure I’ll be miserable. The odds of that are 100 percent.”

» On why the offense should improve in year two: “Now you’re pushing execution. You’re expanding on things that you could do that you couldn’t do because mentally the guys aren’t capable of doing it the first rattle out of the box. Usually – not always because it hasn’t been the case everywhere I’ve been – but usually you make your biggest jump between your first year and your second year because now your guys are a year into the system.”

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11/22: Florida seniors talk careers, final game

With the Florida Gators hoping to end the 2011 season on a high note with a home victory against the rival Florida State Seminoles, a number of seniors were made available to the media Tuesday to discuss preparations heading into Saturday’s game, which is also Senior Day for a total of 18 players.


Though there were talks that he may not even return this season, senior running back Jeff Demps did just that and has played well on occasion. He may have a long-term future in track, but Demps plans to do whatever he can to succeed as a football player.

He said Tuesday that he is “probably not” going to run track in spring and has not planned on participating in the trials for the 2012 London Olympics. “All my focus is on football,” he said.

Demps hopes to be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft and will be working to that end after the regular season is over.

Saturday’s game against Florida State also has a bit of added significance for him because Demps was a Seminoles fan growing up.

“I wanted to go there. For me to finish out my college career against those guys is definitely [special],” he said. “I grew up watching this game and never thought I would be playing in it. For me to come out with a victory against the childhood team that I love would be pretty nice.”


Classmates when they enrolled five years ago, redshirt seniors quarterback John Brantley and wide receiver Deonte Thompson have always been close. As their careers have progressed and both have struggled under the high expecatations of Gator Nation, they have only gotten closer.

On Tuesday, Thompson said he and Brantley would be “friends forever” and he only wishes that his buddy could have had more success while wearing the orange and blue.

“I admire him to the utmost respect. He’s a tough guy,” Thompson said. “A lot of people may not know but he’s tough as nails. Especially this year, he proved it playing on a hurt ankle. Things ain’t been falling his way, but he always keeps a smile on his face.

“I think he’ll be remembered as one of the good quarterbacks that came through. He did the best with what he had and is a great leader.”


For redshirt senior guard/center Dan Wenger, who transferred to Florida this summer, Saturday will be the third Senior Day he has participated in during his college career. That does not make it any less special.

“It’s pretty emotional for me and my family. This is truly going to be it – last time running out of a collegiate tunnel. It’s a pretty emotional week for me,” he said.

Wenger is thankful for the opportunity the Gators gave him this year – to play one more year of college football instead of being forced to retire.

“It’s been amazing to tell you the truth. It’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “Regardless of the ups and downs we’ve had, obviously I wish it would have turned out better, but I couldn’t’ be more thankful and blessed for the opportunity I had to play here and play a sixth year of college football. I’m just really, really thankful for Coach [Will] Muschamp, Coach [Frank] Verducci and Coach [Charlie] Weis – as well as the rest of the coaching staff – to have this opportunity and this chance. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love playing for Coach Muschamp. It’s been a lot of fun.”

In a similar situation is senior G James Wilson, who has missed more time with knee injuries than he would care to remember. Saturday also marks the likely end of a career.

“It’s definitely going to be emotional. I had a great time and love my teammates. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, the experience,” he said.


» Demps on Brantley-Thompson not being a better playmaking combo: “They do have some pretty good chemistry, it’s just Deonte is not always the first option. He’s got to look to the other receivers.”

» Demps on how the offense would have functioned if Brantley was healthy all year: “It would have been a different season. As you can see, Brantley was coming around. He was real comfortable in the pocket. He was being Brantley-like, the old days like in high school.”

» Demps on his ankle “It’s pretty good. It’s still not 100 percent, but I can play on it and run on it pretty well.”

» Thompson on if the offense in 2011 was better than 2010: “I don’t know. I really don’t.”

» Wenger said that his ankle is fine, and he will return to practice on Tuesday.

» Wenger on if he will stick around as a graduate assistant: “It hasn’t come up but after the season anything is possible. I would obviously have to work some things out and find out where the next chapter of my life is going to take me.”

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11/8: Weis evaluates Brantley, center, players

As the Florida Gators prepare for their next road contest against the No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks on Nov. 12 in Columbia, SC, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis met with the media on Tuesday to discuss his team’s upcoming contest.


Though he returned two weeks ago against Georgia, redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley has been anything but 100 percent over the last two games. His ankle injury may be subsiding, but Brantley dinged up his arm in the fourth quarter against Vanderbilt and sat the final few series. He did not practice Monday but was supposed to return to the field Tuesday, something Weis confirmed after practice. “John looked pretty good. He could have practiced yesterday. He got more rest and the other guys got more work. That worked out for everyone. He took almost all the reps today,” Weis said.

He also discussed the pistol set and said he did not install it against Georgia because Brantley was so banged up that he could not have even run plays like that. Nevertheless, he is impressed with how quickly Brantley picked up the changes and believes it is indicative of the type of player he is dealing with. “I wish I had him another year. I’d love to have him,” Weis said. “He’ll move on and I don’t think his football playing career will end when he leaves here.”

Weis also praised Brantley for his strong mental makeup and gumption, two things he certainly needed to have after a rough 2010 season. “I like the fact that when I got here he was a beaten down young man, and he stood as tall as you can possibly stand. That’s what I like more than anything else,” he said. “You don’t think these kids hear the boo birds when they come off the field? They hear it. They take it to heart. There is no doubt that the team looks to him as the leader of the team. That’s something that I didn’t know whether or not that would happen or not, but they definitely do.”


Many wondered why redshirt junior Sam Robey did not win the starting job in the preseason and how redshirt sophomore Jonotthan Harrison, who had not played the position in years, was able to supplant him. Now nine games in, it looks as if Robey may be regaining the job due to Harrison struggling with his snaps.

In addition to a few high snaps that Brantley has had to jump on this season, Harrison’s shotgun snaps have been a bit low, something that is messing up the timing of plays. “That’s why we made a change in the game because the timing of when the back gets the ball – whether its protection related or in the run game – it’s significant,” Weis said about pulling Harrison for Robey on Saturday.

Weis added that Robey has taken reps as the starter this week but did not mention whether or not Harrison has as well. “One thing we’re not going to do is just stand pat,” he said. “We’re going to make sure we put ourselves in the best position whether we’re underneath center or in the shotgun.”

Should Harrison lose his job, he could regain a starting guard job, possibly supplanting redshirt senior Dan Wenger who has been dealing with various injuries.


Freshman fullback Hunter Joyer: “For a young guy, his arrow is pointing way up. He’s still figuring it out, but he’s a football player. He’s got good football intelligence. He’s physical and he’s not even playing as physical as he can yet because he’s still feeling his way through.” Weis said he was in for more than 30 snaps during the game and will be a great player to run inside zones with and pound the ball in the future.

Senior running back Jeff Demps: “When he puts his foot in the ground and accelerates, he has that track explosion. There aren’t that many people that have explosion like that. Once he plants his foot in the ground, he can explode.”

Freshman QB Jacoby Brissett: “On the play [that drew a pass interference call], which was a bootleg, I told him that they were bringing a lot of heat and to expect some pressure coming off the right edge and he might have to bail out a little bit to bide him some time. Fortunately he’s athletic enough to do that. He saw nothing shallow […] and went to the deep route and they were all over Frankie. He made a couple plays with his athleticism in the game. […] It doesn’t surprise me that he’s making those plays. He’s shown since the first game he was out there that he has pretty good composure.”

Redshirt freshman QB Tyler Murphy (possibly changing positions): “This is game 10. We’re just worrying about getting the team ready to play South Carolina. Those questions are ones that are answered in the offseason, they’re not answered in the middle of the season.”


» Redshirt senior RB Chris Rainey practiced in full on Tuesday and is expected to be active for Saturday’s game on the road against South Carolina.

» On the penalties decreasing last week: “The head coach made it a point of emphasis, which he has been every week. The players played with more discipline, and I think that’s the way you have to play. You have to play with more discipline. There’s going to be an occasional holding call, but line of scrimmage penalties – especially playing at home – are things you have to avoid and eliminate.”

» On the offensive production disparity between halves: “We only had the ball three possessions in the second half. Sometimes you have to take that into account. I always look at why drives work or why they falter. The more possessions you have, the more opportunities you have to go out there and score. So when you play a game like that and only get three possessions in the second half except kneel down, you have to make the most of them.”

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11/1: Weis on the Gators’ roster, miscues, Brantley, Rainey, tight ends, Nixon, Burton

As the Florida Gators prepare for their next home game against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Nov. 5 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis met with the media on Tuesday to discuss the bye week and his team’s upcoming contest.


Following Saturday’s loss, head coach Will Muschamp admitted that Florida is struggling with its running game because the team does not have the type of players on the roster to run a power system. Asked to elaborate on those comments Muschamp made, Weis agreed but said it is his job to make due with what the Gators do have.

“When you come in to any new circumstance, what you have to do is see what you do have and work around that,” he said. “Obviously the resource at this level is recruiting. As you bring in recruits that are different types of players, you do different types of things. That doesn’t mean you don’t like the players you have and don’t try to utilize what they do. You don’t try to put a square peg in a round hole.

“If somebody’s a certain type of player, that’s what you have to do. In college football it’s an evolution. It’s all based on when you bring in recruits and what they can do and then you adjust and tweak what you do based on who you have then.”

This is a stance contrary to what Weis’s replacement at Notre Dame – head coach Brian Kelly – said in October about the players he inherited before being forced to apologized.

“You got to be careful not to be disrespectful to the guys that are already here. Alls I know is, every year we’re going to try to recruit one of the best classes in the country. Hopefully some of those guys can challenge to get on the field early,” Weis said. “That’s all you can do. It might be a little bit general, but I think it’s really important not to sell out the guys that are currently on your own roster because then you’re placing the blame on them or placing the blame on the last coaching staff.”

Read more about the Gators offense…after the break!
Continue Reading » 11/1: Weis on the Gators’ roster, miscues, Brantley, Rainey, tight ends, Nixon, Burton

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11/2: Will Muschamp’s SEC teleconference

With the Florida Gators coming off their fourth-straight loss and set to face the Vanderbilt Commodores on homecoming this Saturday at 12:21 p.m., head coach Will Muschamp spoke during the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference to provide some insight about where his team is at heading into the contest.


In his fifth year with the team, even after earning a tough win one year ago, redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley sincerely wanted to beat Georgia on Saturday and put another great Florida memory away before leaving the team he grew up rooting for. After the Gators fell 24-20 over the weekend, Brantley appeared down in the dumps by his locker and Muschamp was able to process what he has been through over the course of his career at Florida.

“It really kind of hit me Saturday night in the locker room after the game – an unfortunate defeat. He was really hurting – more than physically – mentally. I walked over to his locker and saw a guy that’s father played at Florida, his uncle played at Florida, he’s been a Gator his whole life. He’s over there hurting, and he’s fought through adversity, handled adversity like a true class person does,” Muschamp explained.

“To see him hurt like that was very disappointing for me. I’m very proud of John and how he’s handled everything and how he’s pushed through everything. He’s been our leader of our football team, certainly our offense. I saw his parents when I was getting on the bus leaving the stadium and told them how proud I was of him and they ought to be proud parents for the type of young man they raised.”

Though the big game against Georgia is over, Brantley still has at least four more weeks to leave a lasting mark on his Gators legacy.


Fans may have believed that redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey injured his hands by the way he dropped passes and has fumbled the ball over the last two games, but the player actually sprained his ankle Saturday against Georgia and has been seen on camp this week in a walking boot. Muschamp said the boot is standard operating procedure whenever a player has swelling in that area but also noted that Rainey is not guaranteed to play against Vanderbilt as of right now.

“Hopefully we’ll get him out [Wednesday] and run him a little bit and see how he feels,” he said. “I would say probable-to-questionable at this time. He’s not full speed at this time, but again we’ve got Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and hopefully we’ll get him back in the fold.”


Considering Florida is last in the nation in penalties, it is quite obvious that the Gators have a major discipline problem at this point in the season. Muschamp was asked about this development on Wednesday and went on to explain that he is also frustrated with the miscues but is certainly not ignoring them and how detrimental they are to the team.

“I divide penalties into a couple different areas, but you got discipline issues and you got guys who can’t stay onside and jump offsides on defense. Those are discipline issues. If you hit a guy late that’s an aggressive penalties but that sot mimes can be looked at, in my opinion, as a discipline issue,” he said. “Aggressive penalties sometimes are judgment calls, and those are the ones you’re kind of at the mercy of if they throw the flag or not. Certainly we’ve been on our end of those shares. We got to be a better disciplined football team. Those are the procedural issues and again we had them last week against Georgia. Charlie Weis was in the box and we had some issues as far as getting the play down at times, misalignment at times.

“There’s multiple issues but it goes back to focus and discipline and it comes back on my shoulders. I got to do a better job of making sure that we are where we’re supposed to be, the communication is what it’s supposed to be, because those can’t be tolerated and put us in a very ought situation. There’s a lot of reasons for it, but all they are is excuses in my opinion. I just got to do a better job.”


» On his thoughts going into the game: “We had a couple good days of preparation here as we get ready for a Vanderbilt team that is really playing well. James Franklin has done a great job with his football team. They’re well-coached, play hard, multiple on offense, press you on defense, really attack you there in special teams. They pose a lot of issues and have played extremely well this year.”

» On how he compares Alabama and LSU: “They’re very similar teams. They’re big, physical teams. They’re both very physical on both lines of scrimmage. They run the ball like you need to in this league. That’s why they are where they are and the rest of us right now this year are trying to catch up. They both play really good defense, but they play well as an entire team from a standpoint of ball possession offensively and defensively taking advantage of opportunities when they have them. They’re very similar makeups as far as when you look at their rosters.”

» On what he thinks the Alabama-LSU game comes down to: “Both lines of scrimmage – this one is going to be won up front. That’s the matchup I’d be interested in watching. Both of them have very good defensive fronts. Both of them are very physical on the offensive lines. They have talented backs. Again, you come down to turnovers obviously in the game, but who is able to consistently run the ball and play well up front [will win]. Certainly neither team can get into a one-dimensional game against the front they’re going to face. I do know that. I think the line of scrimmage matchup is the one I’d be interested in watching.”

» On the biggest challenge he’s faced as a first-year head coach: “More than anything time management as far as just I’m very involved in the defense and special teams and recruiting. Being able to manage my time being the head coach, making some of the appearances and things you’ve got to do – planning practice and doing other things you got to do. I’m not a CEO guy. I’m in the meeting rooms. I’m part of what we’re doing scheme-wise and those facets. Managing that and also understanding that being the head coach, you got some other responsibilities as well not just being involved in the scheme standpoint of your side of the ball.”

» On what he thinks of Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin: “He’s a guy that I’ve been impressed with – just bright, intelligent, smart and energetic. You are what you put on tape. When you turn on the tape and your guys play hard, they play fast, they play physical. They’re well coached – that’s what you are. It’s impressive to watch the job that he’s doing, and we’ve got our work cut out for us Saturday.”

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10/31: Muschamp’s Monday press conference

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.


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.


“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.”


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.


» 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.”

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