10/6: Florida vs. LSU post-game report

Florida Gators football (5-0, 4-0 SEC) came away with a signature win on Saturday afternoon at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL as they upended the LSU Tigers (5-1, 1-1 SEC) in a match-up of top-10 teams. It was the Gators’ first victory over the Tigers since 2009 and marked an important win in the young career of head coach Will Muschamp, who spoke with the media following the contest.

HISTORY / STREAKS / NOTES

» Florida is 2-0 against ranked opponents in 2012 after going 0-5 against such foes in 2011. UF has also improved 3-0 when trailing at the half in 2012 after going 0-5 in similar situations just one year ago.
» The Gators are 8-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 9-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points.
» Florida is outscoring opponents 78-13 in the second half and 41-0 in the fourth quarter through five games in 2012.
» The Gators have not allowed a touchdown in nine-straight quarters.
» Florida has started a season 5-0 for the first time since 2009.
» The Gators defeated a ranked opponent at home for the first time since Nov. 15, 2008.
» Florida defeated an SEC West team in Gainesville for the first time since Oct. 17, 2009.
» The Gators have held opponents to just 19-of-75 (25.3 percent) on third down conversion attempts.
» Florida won the time of possession battle by 14:52, nearly a full quarter. It is the second-straight week in which UF held a similar margin (15:22 vs. Kentucky).
» The Gators ran the ball on 25 consecutive plays to end the game.
» Florida has registered at least one interception per game this season.

INJURY UPDATES

Redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who returned to action Saturday with a cast on his hand after missing two full games with a broken thumb, barely got a chance to make an impact as he went down with a hamstring injury in the second quarter and did not return to the field. Muschamp said after the game that Jenkins likely just tweaked his hamstring and team doctors expect him to be able to return to practice in a few days.

Read the rest of what Muschamp and the players had to say…after the break!
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Gameday: No. 10/11 Florida vs. No. 4/3 LSU

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 85°F, scattererd T-storms (45% chance of rain), WNW at 4 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT

Tickets: Starting at $58 on TiqIQ

TV: CBS/CBSHD (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper

(10/11) FLORIDA GATORS (4/3) LSU TIGERS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Les Miles
Record: 4-0 (3-0 SEC) Record: 5-0 (1-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +2.5, O/U 42

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on what happened with the Gators over the last two weeks? No problem. OGGOA has been here the whole time posting a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam on Saturday.

LSU a big test, great opportunity for Florida | Gators do not need superheroes | Miles says Florida is much improved | Gators defense can still improve

HISTORY / STREAKS

» Florida leads LSU 30-25-3 in the all-time series between the two teams and holds a 14-11-3 advantage in Gainesville. The teams have squared off every year since 1971. The Tigers have won consecutive games in the series but have split the last 12 contests with the Gators 6-6 dating back to 2000. UF is the last team to have won more than two-straight games in the series, capturing four contests in a row from 1998-2001.
» It is just the fourth time in the series that Florida and LSU enter the game both ranked in the top 10. It is just the fifth time that the Gators and Tigers are both undefeated when going head-to-head on the gridiron.
» Florida is 10-1 against unranked opponents and 1-5 against ranked teams since Muschamp took over the program in 2011.
» Muschamp spent four years at LSU as an assistant coach under Nick Saban. He is 1-2 all-time as a coach against the Tigers (0-1 at UF, 1-1 at Auburn).
» Since 1990, the Gators are 28-9 overall and 8-2 in The Swamp when playing a game after being afforded a bye week.
» Florida has started the season 4-0 for the fourth-straight year but is looking to improve to 5-0 for the first time since the 2009 season. LSU is 5-0 for the fourth year in a row.
» The Gators have not defeated a ranked opponent at home since Nov. 15, 2008.
» Florida has not defeated an SEC West team in Gainesville since Oct. 17, 2009. LSU has won seven-straight games against SEC East opponents overall with its last loss coming to UF in 2009.
» The Gators were 0-5 when trailing at the half in 2011 but has started the 2012 season 2-0 in that category with both victories coming against league opponents.
» Florida is 7-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 0-4 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards. The Gators are also 8-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points and 8-3 when scoring first.
» UF has scored in all but one quarter (15-of-16) so far in 2012.
» The Gators have scored on 13-of-14 red zone trips (92.9 percent) but have only converted 8-of-14 possessions (57.1 percent) into touchdowns.
» Florida has converted just 23-of-58 third-down attempts (39.7 percent) this season.
» The Gators have held their opponents to 18-of-62 on third down (29.0 percent); UF was second nationally in third-down defense (27.3 percent) last season.
» Florida has at least two kickoff returns for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons after never having more than one in a single season before 2010.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 64-13 in the second half and 34-0 in the fourth quarter through four games this season. UF is the only team in the SEC to not allow a fourth-quarter point to be scored.
» Florida is out-possessing opponents by an average of 9:34 through four games, a margin that ranks eighth nationally.
» The Gators are +5 in turnover margin through four games after being -12 in 2011. UF has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (325) since 2000, while LSU has forced the second-most turnovers (316) in that span of time.
» Florida has grabbed six interceptions so far in 2012 (three games with two each) and is already closing in on its 2011 total of eight picks.
» The Tigers are riding an 18-game regular season winning streak into The Swamp on Saturday. It is the longest such streak in the nation.
» LSU will play its 20th straight game as a top-five ranked team.
» The Tigers are ranked in the top 10 nationally in rush defense (ninth), total defense (fourth), scoring defense (ninth) and pass defense (sixth).
» A total of 20 players on LSU’s roster have recorded an impact defensive play (sack, tackle for loss, interception, forced/recovered fumble).
» The Tigers under Miles are 12-10 vs. top 10 opponents and 4-3 against the Gators.

LAST TIME OUT

After dropping a heartbreaker at home to LSU in 2010, Florida entered Tiger Stadium looking for some revenge against their annual SEC West rivals. Instead the Gators were dished a harsh dose of reality by the Tigers, which outscored them 14-0 in the first quarter, led 24-3 at the half and went on to wipe out the visitors 41-11 in Baton Rouge, LA. Florida was forced to start freshman Jacoby Brissett at quarterback for the second-straight game, and he was held to just 94 yards passing, which included a 65-yard touchdown throw. LSU outgained UF 253-124 on the ground, and the Tigers’ defense dominated the Gators’ offense, registering four tackles for loss (one sack), a forced fumble and two interceptions.

Read the rest of the Florida-LSU preview including injuries and absences and which players to look out for from both sides of the field.
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 10/11 Florida vs. No. 4/3 LSU

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10/3: Quinn thinks defense can only get better

No. 10/11 Florida Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media on Wednesday to discuss a number of topics concerning his unit including its personnel as well as how it is preparing for Saturday’s game against the No. 4/3 LSU Tigers.

IT CAN ALWAYS GET BETTER

Florida may be rolling into Saturday’s showdown ranked No. 17 nationally in total defense (305.00 yards per game) and No. 10 in scoring defense (12.75 points per game), but the team is bested by LSU in both categories (fourth at 217.80 YPG and ninth at 12.60 points per game, respectively).

As far as Quinn is concerned, the Gators have plenty of room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball. And on Wednesday he detailed the areas in which he thinks the unit can improve.

“From a coverage standpoint, I think there’s been some good matchups in terms of how the guys are playing routes and that way. From a communications standpoint on the back end, we would like to still see that improve where you play some no-huddle teams that move fast and that type of thing,” he explained. “In the run game, I’d like to see that area squared up at the line of scrimmage where we just didn’t maybe fit a run exactly like we needed to. And then the final phase for our area of improvement is getting the ball back.”

Florida’s 1.25 turnover margin (seven gained, two lost) is 18th best nationally. UF being able to take the ball away from LSU, which has coughed up the ball eight times already this season, could go a long way in helping fuel the upset.

THUMBS UP AT LINEBACKER

As head coach Will Muschamp announced during the weekly SEC teleconference on Wednesday, redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins returned to practice and has been cleared for game action on Saturday. Quinn said that Jenkins is already relatively comfortable with the cast he is wearing on his thumb (some of his other fingers are free) and is once again bringing experience and talent to the defense.

“I think the more they have it on, you kind of get used to it. It might be harder the first time you go out and practice. I think he would absolutely take it over not playing, so it’s good to have him back,” he said. “Through practice this week I’ve been pleased with what we’ve seen from him.”

Jenkins returning to the lineup means that linebackers redshirt sophomore Michael Taylor and freshman Antonio Morrison will see fewer reps than they have been used to over the last two-plus games. Quinn is still confident that they will be able to contribute plenty this week.

“With the other guys who backed him up, I really have a lot of trust in those guys, in Mike an Antonio. In that way, no differentiation for us with whose in the game,” he said. “I think what Jelani adds in experience and playmaking ability, he adds value for us and we certainly need to get him in there. But we’ll certainly still play Mike and Antonio in the ball game.”

STEPPING UP AT THE RIGHT TIME

Redshirt senior defensive tackle Omar Hunter claimed on Tuesday that winning SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week following the Kentucky game was not a big deal for him. However, the award was indicative of the vast improvement he has made this season, going from underperforming reserve to the fourth-leading tackler on the team. Quinn said Wednesday that Hunter’s improved strength and pop off the ball has made a major difference this season.

“His practice preparation leading up into Kentucky, into the bye week and going into LSU week – he’s been really practicing well. His pad level, his hand placement, all the things you’re looking for in a defensive tackle he’s been doing in practice. And that’s why, for him, it’s carried over into the game,” he noted.

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10/1: Muschamp talks injuries, Driskel, LSU week

No. 10/11 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and a handful of players met with the media on Monday to review the team’s bye week while also previewing Saturday’s upcoming home game against the No. 4/3 LSU Tigers.

INJURY UPDATES

Muschamp said that junior running back Trey Burton (back), junior defensive end Dominique Easley (knee) and redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) are all scheduled to play against LSU.

Redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (thumb), who had a surgically-inserted pin removed on Friday, will be non-contact at the beginning of the week before attempting to practice in a cast on Wednesday. He is questionable. “We’re going to see how it goes. Jelani is a tough kid, and we’ll see what he can do,” Muschamp said.

Senior Mike LB Jon Bostic said he is thrilled to have Jenkins back in the mix and hopefully back on the field come Saturday. “He helps out in pretty much every way. He’s one of those guys I’ve played next to since I’ve been here. We have that chemistry between us,” he said. “Getting the calls out, sometimes in the past couple weeks I’ve been making sure the linebackers have been on their [assignments]. With him coming back, we can kind of split the defense up where I’m going with the defensive line and he’s going with the secondary making sure everybody is on the same page.”

Finally, junior cornerback Cody Riggs (pectoral) and redshirt junior tackle Matt Patchan (pectoral) are out and will not play.

GATORS DON’T NEED SUPERHEROES

A stance he has maintained all season, Muschamp noted again Monday that as long as his players do their job and do not try to do anything more, Florida will have a great chance to win on Saturday. This stance not only pertains to instances like the defensive front seven maintaining their rushing lanes (an adjustment UF made when coming back strong in the second half against Texas A&M) but also to sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel playing within himself throughout the game.

“I think Jeff needs to be Jeff. We don’t need any super-human effort here,” Muschamp said. “We just need to go out and execute and play our game. That’s what we plan on doing. He doesn’t need to do anything more than he’s done in the previous four weeks.”

Read the rest of this post…after the break!
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Gators LB Jenkins cleared to practice in cast

Florida Gators redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who broke his thumb in week two action against Texas A&M and has missed his team’s last two games, will return to practice on Tuesday or Wednesday, head coach Will Muschamp announced while appearing on Sports Radio 1010XL in Jacksonville, FL on Friday afternoon.

A veteran defender who registered five tackles and a sack over the first two games of 2012, Jenkins attended his scheduled meeting with a specialist on Friday and had the surgically-inserted pin removed from his thumb.

Muschamp said on Wednesday that trainers were “optimistic” about Jenkins being able to play against LSU though he would have to do so in some form of a cast. He confirmed Friday that Jenkins will be allowed to return to practice on Tuesday or Wednesday to see how he handles playing with a large cast on his hand.

His pain and comfort levels will determine if and how much he plays next weekend.

“I certainly hope [he can play],” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said on Wednesday. “He provides some real speed for us on the field. I think the guy’s a terrific blitzer. He can certainly match up, tight end-wise, covering when we get into our nickel package. And then just his experience playing linebacker, I don’t think you can overlook that.”

Muschamp, who spent Friday in Jacksonville recruiting before appearing on the radio, is set to attend the Glades Day-Yulee high school football game in the evening. The contest features two of the best 2013 running backs in the state – four-star Florida commitment Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL) and four-star Alabama pledge Derrick Henry (Yulee, FL).

Asked during his interview about his relationship with former Gators RB Fred Taylor, Kelvin’s birth father who is set to be inducted into the Jacksonville Jaguars’ ring of honor on Sunday, Muschamp said the two go way back.

“He’s a great Gator. I consider him a friend. He’s a guy that’s come and spoke to our football team on several occasions and just gets real with them,” he said. “Unfortunately, I had to tackle him when I was a senior and he was a freshman. I didn’t come in on the good end of that. I was on the long list of people he ran over.”

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9/26: Muschamp, Pease, Quinn speak during bye

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp, offensive coordinator Brent Pease and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn all met with the media on Wednesday to discuss the bye week and the team’s upcoming game against LSU on Sat., Oct. 6.

INJURY UPDATES

Junior running back Trey Burton (back spasms), redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed (concussion), redshirt sophomore tackle Chaz Green (sprained ankle) and junior defensive end Dominique Easley (knee inflamation) are all “doing very well,” according to Muschamp, and are expected to be able to play against LSU.

Additionally, redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (broken thumb) will see a specialist on Friday and have the surgically-inserted pin removed from this thumb. Muschamp said team trainers are “optimistic” about him being able to play next Saturday, but he will have to do so initially in a cast. His pain and comfort levels, should he receive doctor approval, would determine if and how much he plays.

“I certainly hope [he can play],” Quinn said. “He provides some real speed for us on the field. I think the guy’s a terrific blitzer. He can certainly match up, tight end-wise, covering when we get into our nickel package. And then just his experience playing linebacker, I don’t think you can overlook that.”

Redshirt junior tackle Matt Patchan (pectoral) and junior cornerback Cody Riggs (foot) will both sit out vs. LSU as they are expected to each be out a couple more weeks.

WAITING FOR DEBOSE…

Redshirt junior wide receiver Andre Debose has yet to put forth the consistent effort that the coaching staff expects. After touching on their issues with him a bit last week, Muschamp and Pease were asked about him again Wednesday. Muschamp, responding specifically to a question about Debose as a punt returner, said he needs to field the ball better but it is really up to the rest of the players on the field to block better for him. Pease had this to say on Debose’s performance up to this point:

“He’s got to get comfortable and do it consistently with what we’re doing in the offense. And there’s a trust. There’s a trust factor there. You go out there, you’re going to run the right route. You’re going to do it hard, whether you’re covered or not. Because sometimes running a route, it isn’t always built for you. Depending on what the coverage does, you’ve got to open it up for other players if they double-team you or play a cloud coverage over the top of you and you’ve got to stretch the safeties. If you don’t do that, you hurt your teammates. So it’s just a combination of being consistent, understanding, playing effort all the way through because as a receiver, you’re covered at times. You have to compete. You have to continue to try and get yourself open. You can’t say, ‘Oh, I’m covered. I’m done running my route,’ and stop running. That’s unacceptable.”

DRISKEL PROGRESSING NICELY

For a second-year quarterback with only three SEC starts under his belt, sophomore Jeff Driskel continues to stand out (in a positive way) for Pease. He said Wednesday that the way Driskel has progressed has, in some ways, been quicker than a number of other signal callers he has coached throughout his career.

“Some of the guys I’ve worked with, he is ahead of what they’ve done on a week-to-week basis,” he said. “Sometimes it’s maybe right on par. I don’t think he’s behind anybody because I think each week he’s done a better job.”

Pease also said he is very pleased with how Driskel, a mobile quarterback, has been able to hang in the pocket and not rely on his legs to get him out of jams. “One of the things I think he’s done a really great job of is just his comfort zone in the pocket, trusting the protection and starting to use his feet when he has to. He hasn’t mastered it by any means, but he’s gotten a lot better at it on a week-to-week basis,” he said.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Muschamp on if he would be a proponent of NFL-style injury reports for college teams: “No, I wouldn’t be for that. [...] That’s not going to work on our level.”

» Muschamp listed a number of true freshmen who have not played much (or at all) this season but are doing well in practice recently: defensive linemen Alex McCalister and Quinteze Williams, guard Jessamen Dunker, TE Kent Taylor, DB Brian Poole, WR Raphael Andrades, QB Skyler Mornhinweg and walk-on RB Mark Herndon.

» Expanding on a statement from Monday, Muschamp said that depth at defensive line has allowed players to see 12-20 fewer snaps per game, which is making a huge difference in their energy and performance late in the game. “When you talk about another 15-18 snaps to a 300+ pounder, it takes its wear and tear on them. And then you’re also taking on a double team with their guard and tackle for a combination of 700 pounds for another 2-3 more power plays. It makes a huge difference,” he said.

» Pease on an aspect of the game in which the offense may be ahead of the curve: “I think our balance in what we can do, run and pass, and how productive we’ve been with it. Guys are really fitting into being productive, being playmakers in the offense.”

» Pease on LSU being a measuring stick for Florida: “Oh, absolutely. They’re good. This is a defining moment to see where we’re at, who we’ve got to play and how well we got to play.”

» Pease on the play of redshirt sophomore WR Quinton Dunbar: “Q’s done a great job. He is getting comfortable with everything. His practice habits have started to carry over more to the game. He’s getting a good feel. The thing about it is, when that happens, these guys as young as they are, when they have fun but they’re still competing, you can see that stuff carries over. When you’re not having fun and it’s not working, you’re probably not going to be doing it on Saturdays. Well, that’s not him. He’s smiling, having fun. He’s making plays on third down, makes blocks; he’s out there competing.”

» Quinn on preparing to face LSU: “When you talk about SEC play, it kind of gets you fired up. There’s a great game for us coming up, and it’s exactly why you come to Florida as a player and as a coach to have opportunities to play and coach in games like this.”

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Snell’s Slant: It was nice to see Florida dominate

A three-year starter for the Florida Gators who played under head coaches Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, former guard Shannon Snell has joined OGGOA as a football columnist to provide his unique perspective on the team throughout the 2012 season. Snell, who played in 46 games over four seasons and started 36 contests, was named a First Team All-American by Sporting News in 2003 and spent two seasons in the NFL.

After consecutive weeks of tight, close-call games, it was nice to see Florida put together an overall dominant performance against a clearly outmatched Kentucky team. Games like that one are great building blocks that teams can use to improve their confidence before heading into a bye week or big game (such as LSU in two weeks).

Jeff Driskel has become the clear leader of the Gators’ offense. He is, for the most part, making sound decisions and legitimately looking good while doing it. His scrambling ability has – and will continue to be – a threat until people start to respect it, which will only open up things in the passing game even more for UF.

Offensive coordinator Brent Pease appears to be confident enough in the sophomore quarterback’s abilities and, despite the fact that Florida remains a run-first team, may very well call more vertical plays than one might expect against LSU. Pease and the Gators are now in the position where they can call passing plays with confidence instead of trepidation. This will be a huge step considering LSU’s defense is on another level compared to that of any of Florida’s first four opponents.

Praising Mike Gillislee has become a standard feature of this column over the last few weeks, and I have no problem maintaining that he is still the best running back in the SEC. But how about Matt Jones? He received double-digit touches out of the backfield this week and did a solid job. This guy is a beast. He has a nasty downhill running style and will only get better with age. It’s impressive how it seems to always take more than one defender to bring him down.

Jordan Reed continues to be an offensive nightmare for opposing defenses. It was shocking that he was able to hold on to the ball after taking that big hit over the middle, especially considering it was announced this week that he suffered a head injury. Talk about fearless. That’s the kind of toughness you want to see out of every player.

Read the rest of this edition of Snell’s Slant…after the break!
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9/24: Muschamp talks Gators’ injuries, bye week

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to review his team’s dominant 38-0 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday while also previewing the bye week and the activities planned for the Gators over the next few days.

INJURY UPDATES

Redshirt sophomore tackle Chaz Green (ankle), junior defensive end Dominique Easley (knee), junior running back Trey Burton (back), junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) and redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed (head) “should be fine for LSU based on the information I have,” Muschamp said Monday. He also noted that Reed suffered a head injury (read: concussion) and not a shoulder injury as initially reported.

Furthermore, redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (thumb) will be reevaluated on doctors by Wednesday as it will be determined whether he can begin practicing and potentially return to the field on Saturday with a club on his hand.

Redshirt junior OT Matt Patchan, on the other hand, will miss yet another game while continuing to deal with his strained pectoral and torn muscle.

“Yeah, I expect him to play this year. I certainly do,” said Muschamp when asked if Patchan would miss another season. “If we played this week, no, I would say probably not LSU [either] but maybe the week after. That’s what I’m hoping based on meeting with our medical staff [Sunday]. We’re hoping to hopefully get him some work next week on the field. How healthy he’ll be at that point, I don’t know. It’s a pec strain; he had some tear on the muscle. It’s a painful injury and up front you’ve got to be able to use that to block. Rehab has gone well. He’s worked extremely hard as far as that is concerned. We’re just hoping we can get him some snaps. But he will play this year, yes.”

BYE WEEK BENEFITS

In addition to giving Florida the opportunity to rest and heal, the bye week coming early for the Gators this year will also help the team clean up a number of issues.

Muschamp wants the offense to focus on figuring out how to make the passing game a bit smoother. He envisions the timing between the quarterback and wide receivers improving so that Florida can convert more third downs and throw the ball vertically to move down the ield. The Gators will also work on short-yardage and goal line plays while figuring out how to block better on the perimeter.

“That’s where you get big runs is when you’re blocking on the perimeter and finishing blocks down the field,” he said.

Defense has been pretty solid for Florida so far though Muschamp wants the Gators to get better pressure while rushing four guys without a blitz. He also hopes to see improvement in red zone defense as UF has allowed seven touchdowns in 10 total opponent trips through four games this season.

Where Florida may be able to take the biggest leap is special teams. The Gators must find a way to produce better in the return game, especially on punts. “We’ve got some explosive guys. We need to settle on a guy and get a guy back there that’s, number one, going to field the ball but, number two, can get the ball north-and-south, stick your foot in the ground and get north-and-south,” Muschamp said.

UF has also yet to block a single punt this season despite Muschamp and special teams coordinator D.J. Durkin calling a handful of designed punt block plays. Florida no longer has Chris Rainey to count on in that regard but does still feature junior Solomon Patton and other young, speedy and elusive players.

PLAYER AWARDS

Offensive Players of the Game: redshirt senior left guard James Wilson

Scrap Iron: redshirt juniors right guard Jon Halapio and RT Kyle Koehne

Big Plays: redshirt senior TE Omarius Hines

Defensive Players of the Game: redshirt senior DT Omar Hunter and junior cornerback Jaylen Watkins
* Hunter was also named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week.

Ball Hawks: Watkins, redshirt sophomore LB Michael Taylor and sophomore defensive back De’Ante Saunders

Special Teams Player of the Game: sophomore punter Kyle Christy

Scout Team Players of the Week: freshman linebacker Jeremi Powell, freshman defensive lineman Alex McCalister, redshirt sophomore walk-on wide receiver A.J. Mobley

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On what he’s seen while watching LSU on film so far: “Typical LSU – physical, tough, recruited extremely well, good job developing their players, a physical style of play that you appreciate as a coach.”

» On the progression of sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel: “The more snaps he continues to get, the better he’s going to get. He’s going to work hard at it. He’s a cerebral guy. He’s going to learn and work at it and watch the film and understand. He takes coaching very well. It’s just the more snaps you get, the more opportunities you get. The game starts to slow down; you start to see it better. Obviously the timing with the receivers will continue to improve, in my opinion.”

» On the bye week: “We got three huge days to improve – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – opportunities for our team to get better.”

» Muschamp said sophomore CB Loucheiz Purifoy is the only player at his position who is “really excited” about tackling running backs and that the others need to take a cue from him and become better at stopping edge rushing.

» On the Gators being confident at 4-0: “I just think that confidence is a great thing. We were a confident football team last year at 4-0…and then we lost our quarterback.”

» On some of the recent struggles for senior LT Xavier Nixon: “He’s been banged up. He’s had a shoulder; he’s had a legitimate injury there. He’s a guy that’s pushed through it. Run assignments the other night were very good; he blocked extremely well in the run game, needs to finish on a couple things. Protection a little bit we need to solidify as far as his pass protection is concerned.”

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