10/8: Muschamp’s Monday press conference

No. 4/6 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel with the media on Monday to review the team’s big 14-6 win over the LSU Tigers and preview Saturday’s road contest against the Vanderbilt Commodores.

OPENING STATEMENT

“We had an electric atmosphere, an outstanding atmosphere to play in. We really appreciate [the fans’] support. [The fans] caused some communication issues for the other team and that’s always an advantage playing here in The Swamp. As a team, I thought we played hard, played very physical. It was very evident on film as you watched the tape in all three phases. So, very pleased with the effort.”

INJURY UPDATES

Muschamp said that redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who played Saturday with a cast on his hand after missing two games with a broken thumb, is “probable” for the Vanderbilt game after tweaking his hamstring. He added that redshirt junior tackle Matt Patchan (pectoral) and junior cornerback Cody Riggs (foot) remain out.

PLAYER AWARDS

Offensive Player of the Game: senior running back Mike Gillislee
“He’s a guy that’s just having an outstanding senior season, a great example or our football team, the type of young man you want on your team.”
* Gillislee was also named SEC Offensive Player of the Week and one of two Walter Camp Players of the Week.

Scrap Iron: offensive linemen, fullbacks and tight ends
“They did a really nice job of getting a hat-on-a-hat in the run game, creating some opportunities for Mike and our runners.”

Defensive Player of the Game & Hard Hat: junior safety Matt Elam
“I thought he played outstanding, played his best football game since I’ve been here. It was great effort. He always does give great effort, but it just was a very productive game for him. Obviously the strip on the long completion was just a phenomenal play. What an extra-effort play. It wasn’t his play but he came across the top and just made an outstanding effort play that sort of exemplifies kind of who we are.”
* Elam was also named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

Ball Hawks: Elam, junior CB Jaylen Watkins, senior Mike linebacker Jon Bostic, freshman Buck LB Dante Fowler, redshirt sophomore Sam LB Neiron Ball, sophomore S De’Ante Saunders

Special Teams Player of the Game: sophomore CB Loucheiz Purifoy
“[He is] a guy that’s covering as well as I’ve been around. Here’s a guy that plays corner, starts at corner, plays in upwards of 50-60 snaps in a game. The way Kyle [Christy] is playing right now, he’s covering punts for about 50. [Purifoy] just does a great job of getting down the field and disrupting returns. He’s on our kickoff coverage team. The importance of special teams – here’s a guy that understands it and gets it.”

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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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Muschamp directs Florida to signature win

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp ensured the fans all offseason that their team was headed in the right direction. He spoke at Gator Clubs, appeared on national television, did radio interviews and repeated himself over and over again, promising that Florida was tougher and deeper than one year ago.

Muschamp’s emphatic Gator Chomps following his team’s 14-6 victory over the LSU Tigers on Saturday were his way of releasing the pent up frustration that was visible on his face but not communicated in 2011. The Gators were simply not good enough to win football games one year ago.

“We weren’t physical enough on the line of scrimmage to compete and play in this league. Our depth was part of that issue because of the way we practiced,” he said on Wednesday. “Some of the things I wanted to do, and I felt like we needed to do, we couldn’t do because of numbers and attrition. We didn’t practice the way we always wanted to practice. And then as we went through the season, my realization of where we were sort of came to a head. We weren’t physical enough on either side of the line of scrimmage.”

That does not sound like the Florida team of today, one which boasts one of the best defenses in the nation and an offense that has succeeded by running the ball down opponents’ throats while out-toughing them for four quarters.

“You saw two very physical teams going at it [Saturday] on both lines of scrimmage. Obviously it’s easy to see our improvements that we’ve made,” Muschamp said after the game. “I can’t speak any further without talking about Jeff Dillman, our strength coach. It was very evident out there on the football field tonight. We had a very strong, physical football team that had good endurance against an outstanding, athletic bunch, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Credit [him] and his staff; those guys do an outstanding job.”

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Elam leads Gators defense in quest for revenge

Saturday, October 8, 2011 at around 7 p.m. was the most depressed the Florida Gators felt all last season, which should come as no shock considering the then-No. 17-ranked team in the country looked anything but while getting run out of the building by the then-No. 1 LSU Tigers by a 30-point margin in Baton Rouge, LA.

Florida’s offense, without starting quarterback John Brantley, may have had an excuse for its lackluster performance, but the Gators defense was equally as pitiful, coughing up 14 points in the first quarter, 24 points in the first half and 41 (the most they allowed all season) by the time the final whistle sounded.

Yet while that game seemed like the worst thing that could happen to Florida in 2011, one year later it may have been exactly what the Gators needed to realize what it takes to beat a big-time Southeastern Conference opponent.

“We took every game that we lost, every game that we lost that wasn’t close. We take all that personal because we’re letting each other down. It’s more than a football team,” said junior defensive end Dominique Easley after Florida’s big 14-6 win over LSU.

“That game was serious to us, just for the fact that we got our ass kicked [last year].”

Easley and the rest of the defense understood what the Gators had to do against a Tigers team that featured a run-heavy offense but shaky and injury-riddled offensive line. Florida had to attack, which is exactly what the defense did from start to finish.

“Honestly, we wanted to come in this game and win, but more we wanted to come and hurt them. We wanted them to feel the pain that we felt last year because we had hurt in our heart, so we wanted them to feel the pain we had,” he said.

“Third quarter, them boys were huffing and puffing. I was looking at people’s eyes and they were scared. We wanted to take somebody’s will. We like to take people’s will, not just win the game. Take their will and make them remember this night.”

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Humble “program guy” Gillislee never lost faith

“Free Gilly” became a rally cry for Florida Gators fans in 2011 when the team’s undersized but speedy starting running backs were simply not getting the job done. Senior rusher Mike Gillislee got that well-deserved and long-desired freedom in the first week of the 2012 campaign and has used his talent, coupled with a humble, team-first attitude, to emerge as one of the best players not only on his team but in the entire Southeastern Conference.

“Playing running back is all about being patient and having faith in your offensive line and knowing that the holes will open up soon,” Gillislee said Saturday after toting a career-high 34 carries for a beastly 146 yards and two touchdowns against the LSU Tigers, a team that features one of the best defensive lines in the nation.

But Gillislee’s patience does not only manifest between the sidelines.

A four-star prospect out of Deland, FL in 2009, he committed to Florida knowing he would have to work to earn carries in then-head coach Urban Meyer’s spread offense. When Meyer left and Will Muschamp took over promising to overhaul the offense with a pro-style system, Gillislee’s hopes for playing time were undoubtedly raised.

A combination of injuries and roster depth hurt his chance to break out in his true junior season as he carried the ball two fewer times for exactly as many yards (328) as he did in UF’s final year under Meyer.

Instead of getting down on his luck, Gillislee kept his head up and plowed forward.

“[He’s] a great example for everyone on our football team,” Muschamp said. “This guy puts Florida before himself and that’s really hard nowadays with a lot of young people. They want everything now and that’s not the way Mike is. That’s not the way he’s built.”

Gillislee admitted as much after Saturday’s game.

Read the rest of this feature story on Mike Gillislee…after the break!

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Video: Muschamp crowd surfs on players as Gators celebrate signature win over Tigers

Saturday’s huge 14-6 win over the No. 4/3 LSU Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium was a signature moment in Will Muschamp’s short career as head coach of the No. 10/11 Florida Gators. Courtesy of GatorVision, Florida’s multimedia outfit, check out the video below which includes the Gators’ raucous celebration after the game.

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Mike Gillislee, Florida Gators run over LSU 14-6

Saturday in The Swamp was a coming out party for the No. 10/11 Florida Gators (5-0, 4-0 SEC), which earned the team’s biggest win under head coach Will Muschamp to date with a 14-6 come-from-behind victory over the No. 4/3 LSU Tigers (5-1, 1-1 SEC) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

Senior running back Mike Gillislee was nearly the entire offensive attack for the Gators as he carried the ball a career-high 34 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns, most of which occurred in the second half of the game.

Florida’s victory over LSU is the team’s first at home against a ranked opponent since 2008. The Gators are now 3-0 when trailing at the half in 2012 and have started the season 5-0 for the first time since 2009. UF is 8-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and continued their dominance in the second half, holding LSU scoreless over the final 30 minutes of the game.

Despite each team being flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct personal foul on the opening drive, LSU was successful in marching down the field on Florida right out of the gate. The Tigers moved 64 yards in 10 plays but were stalled inside the red zone and settled for a 31-yard field goal just minutes into the first quarter.

A pair of big punts by Gators sophomore Kyle Christy kept the visitors at bay as Florida struggled to get anything going offensively even though the team started near midfield on consecutive possessions.

With LSU backed up once again, UF junior cornerback Jaylen Watkins intercepted quarterback Zach Mettenberger and handed his offense the ball at the 38-yard line. The Gators were unable to capitalize on the field position, however, as Florida’s offensive line was exposed and sophomore QB Jeff Driskel was sacked on consecutive snaps.

The Gators began making some progress one possession later with a seven-play, 49-yard drive, but it was halted when redshirt senior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. fumbled the ball away on 2nd-and-10 at the Tigers’ 22-yard line.

After another defensive stand, Florida wasted little time turning the ball back over to LSU. Driskel was sacked for an 11-yard loss and fumbled the ball, which the Tigers recovered at the Gators’ seven-yard line. UF was able to hold strong, however, and forced LSU to kick another field goal and take a 6-0 lead into the half.

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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.
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