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.”

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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.

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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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9/22: Florida vs. Kentucky post-game report

No. 14 Florida Gators football (4-0, 3-0 SEC) started slow but eventually blew past the Kentucky Wildcats (1-3, 0-1 SEC) on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville, FL, shutting out the visitors 38-0 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. After the game, head coach Will Muschamp and sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel discussed the contest.

HISTORY / STREAKS / NOTES

» Florida has won 26-straight games against Kentucky, tying a SEC record for longest one-sided winning streak in league history. UF is 46-17 all-time against UK, 26-4 in The Swamp and 32-1 overall since 1980.
» The Gators are 7-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 8-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points.
» Florida is outscoring opponents 64-13 in the second half and 34-0 in the fourth quarter through four games in 2012.
» The Gators have outscored the Wildcats by at least 30 points in last five meetings.
» Florida registered its first shutout since Sept. 10, 2011 (Alabama-Birmingham) and first conference shutout since Sept. 29, 2001 (Mississippi State).
» The Gators have started the season 4-0 for the fourth-straight year.
» Florida won the time of possession battle by 15:22, more than a full quarter.
» UF nearly doubled UK in total offense (403-219) and more than tripled their opponent in passing offense (203-60).
» The Gators registered three interceptions in the second quarter, marking the first time the team has picked off three passes in a single quarter since Nov. 25, 2006.

INJURY UPDATES
Noticeably absent from Saturday’s game was junior running back Trey Burton, who Muschamp said at halftime had suffered back spasms on Friday and was held out of action. Muschamp expanded on those co
mments after the game.

“Trey Burton came in Friday morning with back spasms. We worked on him all day Friday, Friday night, into this morning. We did everything we could do but every time he planted on his right foot he had pain shooting up his right hip. That’s all it was,” he said.

Muschamp added that Burton did have some back spasm issues in 2011 but that the problem came out of nowhere on Friday and the staff had not seen any prior indications of him being unable to play.

Redshirt sophomore tackle Chaz Green (ankle) and junior defensive end Dominique Easley (knee inflammation) were both held out again though Muschamp specifically said he expects Easley to return against LSU on Oct. 6.

Junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) and redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed (shoulder) were both dinged up during the game with neither returning to the field after being hurt. Muschamp said Floyd had a stinger on his shoulder and should be fine while Reed was unable to regain full range of motion right away and sat out as a precaution.

Read the rest of what Muschamp and Driskel had to say…after the break!
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9/19: Will Muschamp’s SEC teleconference

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp made an appearance Wednesday during the Southeastern Conference‘s weekly coaches teleconference and touched on a number of topics surrounding his team and its upcoming game against the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. live on SEC Network.

INJURY UPDATES

The injury situation up to this point has not been as devastating for the Gators as it has been in years past though some key players are still on the mend and attempting to rejoin the team this season.

Muschamp announced Wednesday that redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins received a new hand cast for his broken thumb recently and has a very good chance of being ready to play against LSU after the bye week. “In eight days they’re going to pull the pin out of there and take another look at it, but he’s going to start lifting and running [Wednesday] as far as getting back into the swing of things, getting his body back. We’ll go from there,” he said.

The news was not as positive for junior defensive end Dominique Easley and fifth-year redshirt junior tackle Matt Patchan.

Easley, who looked like he may have re-injured his knee (torn ACL against Florida State last season), did not do any major damage but still has swelling in the area and is “questionable” for Saturday’s game against Kentucky. Patchan (pectoral) continues to be out and Muschamp does not know when he will be back despite the fact that his injury was only expected to cost him a few weeks.

CONFIDENCE A HUGE FACTOR FOR FLORIDA

Starting the 2012 campaign with a 3-0 record including two big road victories against tough SEC opponents has been exactly what the doctor ordered for the Gators. Muschamp believes the team’s overall maturity, coupled with this confidence boost, is what has Florida rolling right now.

“Any time you win and have success it brings some confidence to you as a player. Confidence is such a key part of athletics,” he said. “When you feel good about something and you think positively about something. I always tell the players: A positive attitude doesn’t guarantee anything but a negative one does. Any time you’re negative or you think in a negative way, you’re not usually going to have much success. Our guys expect to play well. Our guys expect to win in every situation. That’s what you want in your program and that’s what happened around here for a long time. We got a lot of tradition in our program. Guys came here to Florida to play in games like they’ve played and they’ll play in again on Saturday at 12:21 p.m.”

Though the Wildcats are 1-2 with losses to Louisville and Western Kentucky and their sole win at home against Kent State, Muschamp said UF’s players have not begun looking ahead and are completely zoned in on this week’s game.

“My approach has always been every game counts as one regardless of the situation or circumstances of where you play or who you play,” he said. “That’s how we try to approach every game for that reason. I thought we had very good practice [Tuesday]. I thought we had really good tempo. Our guys went out and worked. We need to clean some things up, but I thought their focus was there. I thought they were tuned into what we were trying to do in the meetings and those sorts of things.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On if Florida has been trying to block punts through three games: “We’ve gone after one in every game and we plan to do so presented the situation. Had an opportunity against Bowling Green and Matt Elam barely missed it; I mean, got his hand right there – it was really close. I take that back. At [Texas] A&M I don’t believe we rushed one. We never were presented a situation. At Tennessee we did rush one and of course they changed and went to a rugby-style with the kicker. They didn’t even punt their punter against us because of the blocked punt from a year ago. They changed it up, which was a good play on their part. They were able to flip the field on us there. We went after open and weren’t successful on two situations.”

» On if he has more confidence now than he did last year in the wide receivers: “Certainly do, got a lot more confidence in playmaking ability and run after the catch and things that they’re doing. There’s a lot of things that goes into that. The number one thing that goes into that is we’re blocking well up front. I think it all goes back to our offensive line. We’re able to run the ball, which creates opportunities down the field. When you’re able to run the ball – you’re able to run the ball inside, you’re able to run the ball on the perimeter – it creates one-on-one matchups outside because people want to be able to load the box to stop the run. When you’re able to do that and those people can’t do those overload pressures and the different things they’re able to do because of the legs Jeff [Driskel] has and because of how we’re blocking up front, we simplify people also with our motions and shifts. We simplified some people defensively. I’m very pleased with the production obviously of Frankie [Hammond, Jr.]. Quinton Dunbar I thought made some big plays and blocks for us in the ballgame. Latroy [Pittman] and Raphael [Andrades] both played as true freshman. But when I talk in terms of wideouts, I always throw Omarius Hines and Trey Burton into that category as well. And then you talk about Jordan Reed and his production. And Andre [Debose] continues to come on for us. We just need to continue to give that group, collectively, moving forward [opportunities]. Solomon Patton has been huge for us as we’ve moved through the season here as far as some of the running things that Brent [Pease] has asked him to do. I think a lot of that is credit to Brent from the standpoint of finding out what the guys can do and let’s do what they do well. He’s put those guys in situations, to this point, to be very successful.”

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9/17: Muschamp, players discuss Florida’s win

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to review his team’s dominant 37-20 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday in Knoxville, TN. He and some players also looked ahead to this week’s game as Florida hosts Kentucky on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. in Gainesville, FL.

INJURY UPDATES

Junior cornerback Cody Riggs (foot) and redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (thumb) remain out with their respective injures though Muschamp expects to have an update on Jenkins (he may be able to play with a club on his hand if swelling goes down).

Muschamp also announced that junior defensive end Dominique Easley, who appeared to injure his knee in the fourth quarter on Saturday but was said to be fine after the game, has swelling in the knee and is currently day-to-day. Easley tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee last season against Florida State.

Finally, senior running back Mike Gillislee appears to be fine once again after carrying the ball 18 times on an injured groin. “He felt better after the game than he did before is what he told me. Everything we have from the injury report [Sunday] was very positive,” Muschamp said.

PLAYER AWARDS

Offensive Players of the Game: sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel and junior RB Trey Burton (Driskel was also named SEC Offensive Player of the Week.)

Scrap Iron: entire offensive line

Big Plays: redshirt senior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. and redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed (touchdowns)

Defensive Player of the Game: redshirt senior Buck linebacker Lerentee McCray

Hard Hat: junior defensive end Dominique Easley

Special Teams Players of the Game: sophomore punter Kyle Christy and redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis

Scout Team Players of the Week: freshman guard Jessamen Dunker, redshirt freshman walk-on defensive back Ben Peacock, freshman walk-on RB Mark Herndon

27-0 vs. 22-72

The biggest takeaway from the first three games of the season for the Gators is how well the team has played in the second half. Florida spent the entire offseason focused on being better conditioned and more mature late in games, which is evident by what the team has shown on the field so far this year.

Three of the four players that spoke with the media on Monday expressed that exact same sentiment.

“Over the offseason [Jeff] Dillman pretty much engrained that in our minds basically to finish out games. I think they had a score up from last year about the fourth quarter scores from us as far as our opponents. We just keep that in the back of our minds,” Hammond said. “We just want to outscore opponents and finish games. I want to say it was 72-22. Every workout we came into he reminded us. It stuck in our heads and we don’t want to have that score. I mean, it needs to be flipped around this season, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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