12/19: Muschamp’s Monday press conference

Head coach Will Muschamp met with the media Monday to answer some questions and look ahead to the Florida Gators‘ next opponent, the Ohio State Buckeyes. Florida and Ohio State will go head-to-head in the 2011 Gator Bowl at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL on Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. Below are some of the most important notes and quotes from Monday’s availability.


Sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley (torn ACL): “That surgery went very well. He is rehabbing as we speak. He probably will miss spring but will certainly be cleared for the summer, so he’ll be ready to get back.”

– Sophomore Sharrif Floyd will move back inside and play his natural position of defensive tackle after spending the entire year at defensive end. “Sharrif will play inside. For lack of numbers, we played Sharrif at end,” Muschamp said. “He is a more natural inside player. When [Easley] was injured in the Florida State game, we moved Sharrif inside and he played extremely well.”

Redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee): “We’re evaluating him right now. There’s a possibility he will have surgery to repair his knee. We’ve exhausted every measure as far as not having surgery at this point and we’re in that process at this time.” Muschamp hopes to have him back next season depending on the severity of the injury.

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (concussion): “He’s fine. We gave our guys off the week after the game while we were on the road [recruiting]. We lifted him and [he] ran a little bit.”


Muschamp maintained Monday (sorry for the alliteration) that Florida will not officially hire an offensive coordinator until after the bowl game but that does not mean he has been stationary in his search for Charlie Weis’s replacement. “A lot of people have a tremendous interest in the job,” he said. “I’m taking my time. I’m talking to an awful lot of people and will continue to do so to find the best fit for the University of Florida. We will make that decision after the bowl game.”

Interim offensive coordinator Brian White, the team’s running back’s coach who is filling in for the bowl game, is a candidate at the top of Muschamp’s list and will have bowl practice and the game itself to convince his head coach that he deserves the job. “I’ll sit down and talk to Brian but again, he’s a guy I’ve been with every day. I like how he’s managing our offensive football team at this time,” Muschamp said. “He’s doing an outstanding job. He has experience at the position with Wisconsin and had great success. Certainly he’s a candidate.”

Other candidates – like Jacksonville head coach and former UF QB Kerwin Bell – are being interviewed in the meantime. In the end, Muschamp is looking for someone who can add his special touches but keep the status quo. “You’re also looking for the right fit. We’re not going to come in and change what we’re doing. We don’t think that it’s smart to hire a guy and have 40 guys learning as opposed to one guy learning,” he explained. “Obviously will he tweak some things? Certainly. Will he change some things? Yeah, maybe. But we’re not going to just take a playbook, throw it out the window and bring another one in. We got a young football team, and I think continuity is the most important thing at this point with our football team.”


Already looking back on the Gators’ 6-6 regular season, Muschamp (as he has all year) puts the blame primarily on himself, saying he is responsible because it all falls on his shoulders. Nevertheless, he thinks there is plenty for Florida fans to look forward to with the bowl game and offseason upcoming.

“At the end of the day, are we headed in the right direction? Yes, I emphatically believe that. Is it where we want to be at this point? No. Are we going to get there? Yes,” he said. Muschamp added that the 2011 season did not go as expected because, simply put, Florida did not play for a SEC Championship. “That’s what I understand, and that’s what I expect,” he said.

Asked if there was one thing he could change about how the year went, Muschamp said it would be one of the very first decisions he made as head coach. “The most disappointing thing or poor decision I made was training camp not having been more physical because of numbers. You get nervous about injuries. You get nervous about situations with guys as far as having a more physical camp to prepare our team for the season. If I had one thing I wish I could have changed, that would be it,” he said.


» Florida began practicing on Friday and worked on fundamentals and technique over the weekend. Preparations for Ohio State began on Monday, and the team will practice Monday-Thursday this week before going to Jacksonville next week.

» On the sophomore class: “Without getting specific, there’s no question the majority of our playmakers are in that class. You look offensively, defensively and special teams of the guys who really contributed to our football team.”

» On there being so much attrition this year: “I would attribute it to a lot of different things. I think it is hard to really put your finger on one thing and say, ‘This is it.’ Anytime you have transition there is a natural attrition that occurs. Whether it is the coach that recruited you, the position coach, the coordinator, the head coach is different, the scheme is different. There are a lot of things.”

» On why Brantley impresses him: “Regardless if you pay attention to it or not, you hear negativity a lot. Quarterback is a tough position to play. It is the hardest position o play on the field. When it’s going well, you normally are put on a pedestal that you actually are playing probably better than you really are. At times when things aren’t going very well, you’re probably painted to be a little bit worse than you really are. From that standpoint, a guy that went through a frustrating year the previous year, came into our situation [and] really embraced it, did a good job with our offense, unfortunately had some injuries and some setbacks. The one thing I’m going to tell you about John is that he’s a positive guy. He loves being a Florida Gator. And that’s important to me. He’s a guy that does everything he can do in a first-class manner. He’s got a great family that supports him and is a guy I’m really proud of to be a part of this football group.”

» On how he will approach recruiting with so many empty spots: “You still want to evaluate and take the right guys. It’s a little different now because we have a whole year to evaluate. My philosophy at that point was not taking a guy you weren’t sure about. That’s the most important thing – right now we’ve had a full year to evaluate. We know what we’ve evaluated. We’ve ranked everybody at every position. We understand the numbers at certain positions that we want to take, but we’re not going to take a guy to take a guy. We’d rather – if there’s five at this position and you want to take three, you know you’re going to get two so you take four more at this position if you really feel good about those four. More than anything, at the end of the day, it’s kind of like the NFL Draft. You take the best player available at those situations.”

» On redshirt junior tight end Omarius Hines not seeing the field much: “He had some injuries early in the year. As we moved forward, you look at Jordan Reed and A.C. Leonard were very productive at the position. […] We expected more of an impact on special teams as well, not just on offense. The injury put him behind a little bit as far as moving forward.”

» On his plan for redshirt freshman QB Tyler Murphy: “To compete at the quarterback position.”

On sophomore Buck linebacker Ronald Powell: “He played better as the year rolled on. He’s having a nice bowl practice as we progress to this point. He’s had his best practice since we’ve been here the other day as far as just his pad level, his hand placement and affecting the quarterback in the rush. He always plays with good effort and toughness.”

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S Shaw, DE Trail to transfer from Florida Gators

Two more Florida Gators football players – redshirt freshmen safety Joshua Shaw and defensive end Lynden Trail have decided to leave the program, The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley confirmed Tuesday.

Both four-star recruits from Florida’s heralded 2010 recruiting class, Shaw and Trail are the 10th and 11 players to depart since head coach Will Muschamp took over.

“We wish Lynden and Josh the best of luck in the future and we certainly appreciate their contributions to the football program,” Muschamp said in a school release.

Shaw registered 22 tackles (one for loss) and a pass breakup in 10 games this year, while Trail never saw the field and did not even dress for the vast majority of contests.

“I have enjoyed my time at Florida but I feel like I need to be closer to my family right now,” Shaw said in the same school release. “This is not a football decision, this is a family decision. I need to be with my family.”

Each player came into the program with a previous relationship. Shaw (Palmdale, CA) was close to and from the same state as sophomore defensive end Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA), and Trail attended the same high school as redshirt freshman wide receiver Quinton Dunbar (Booker T. Washington).

“I have decided that I would like to pursue opportunities elsewhere,” Trail said. “I want to thank the fans and Gator Nation for their support. I’ll always be a Gator at heart.”

Trail also wrote about his decision on his Twitter account Tuesday.


The duo join DE Chris Martin, WR Chris Dunkley, WR Javares McRoy, running back Mike Blakely, tight end Michael McFarland, linebacker Dee Finely, TE Gerald Christian and WR Robert Clark as players who transferred this season. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins was dismissed from the team following two marijuana arrests in less than 90 days.

Additionally, redshirt junior offensive lineman Daivd Young announced that he plans to graduate and will not participate in his final year of eligibility. Young saw action in all 12 games so far this season.

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11/21: 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 defeated the Furman Paladins 54-32 on Saturday in The Swamp and is beginning to prepare for Senior Day against the Florida State Seminoles on Nov. 26. Below are some of the most important notes and quotes from Monday’s availability.


Muschamp revealed Monday that he was quite happy with Florida’s ability to put points on the board Saturday but was equally upset with the Gators’ inability to keep Furman from reaching the end zone seemingly at will in the first half.

“Pleased offensively with the explosive plays – averaged 20 yards a completion, which was good to see with the vertical passing game. Played penalty free on offense,” he said. “Defense totally unacceptable. Tackling was poor, leveraging the ball, lack of communication in some areas, couple of blown situations for touchdowns. Just totally unacceptable. Got some young guys that think they’re just going to roll their hat out there and win games. That’s not the way it works. Regardless of the opponent, you have to prepare the same all the time. We let them know that after the game, during the game and then this morning. That is not going to be tolerated.”

He also handed out the team’s weekly awards:

Offensive Player of the Game: Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley
Scrap Iron Award (best OL): Redshirt sophomore tackle Kyle Koehne
Big Play Award: Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose
Extra Effort Award: Freshman tight end A.C. Leonard
Defensive Player of the Game: Redshirt sophomore Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins
Hard Hat Award: Sophomore Buck linebacker Ronald Powell
Ball Hawk Award: Jenkins and freshman safety De’Ante Saunders
Special Teams Players of the Game: Sophomore linebacker Darrin Kitchens
Special Teams Big Play Award: Sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley
Scout Team Players of the Week: Tevin Westbrook, Ja’Juan Story, Valdez Showers

Muschamp did not get into specifics regarding injuries this week, though he did note that redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed (ankle) will probably miss practice Monday-Tuesday before returning Wednesday. He and the following players are all expected to play Saturday: Sophomore safety Matt Elam (groin), redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey (ankle), redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray (shoulder), redshirt senior guard Dan Wenger (foot), junior tackle Xavier Nixon (ankle) and senior defensive end William Green (undisclosed).


Redshirt senior wide receiver Deonte Thompson: “He’s really helped himself as far as playing on special teams. He’s done a nice job on teams for us. Given his opportunities, I think he’s made some plays for us when given the opportunity. I think he’s played consistent for us. He’s blocked extremely well for us this year. […] Deonte’s worked extremely hard. He’s done everything we’ve asked. He’s had an outstanding career here. He’s going to graduate in December. He’s done all the right things, and I’m very pleased with Deonte. He can run – that’s the one thing – he can run vertically down the field, and he’s a very physical player. You look at most NFL rosters, they’re going to carry at most six receivers. If you’re not the top one or two, you got to play special teams. I think he’s helped himself this year on our coverage units – punt, punt block – and the different things that he’s been able to contribute to our football team. I think he’s really helped himself as far as those things are concerned.”

Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey: “I try to judge things with my own eyes. I don’t really like to form an opinion on something that you hear. In my eyes, since I’ve been here, I’ve seen a guy that loves the University of Florida. He loves to compete. He goes out to practice and in the weight room and everything he does, he does 100 percent. He’s got a great sense of humor. He positively affects everyone around him. This team loves him. It’s very obvious to see that. He’s banged up. He’s hurt. His ankle’s bad. We’re sitting there in the Vanderbilt game down on the goal line and we had decided in pregame not to play him. He’s tugging on my back telling me, ‘Put me in the game. Let me carry the ball.’ That’s the type of guy you’re dealing with. That, to me, is a competitive, tough guy that you want playing on Saturday and the type of guy you want on your football team. You need more of those kinds of guys.”

Redshirt senior guard Dan Wenger: “He’s a guy that ahs bonded very easily with our players, very quickly with our players. Maturity, knowledge of the system and what was expected. He’s been a very valuable member for us. He’s a guy that wants to be a strength coach, so he’s in graduate school right now doing very well. He’s a guy I think will be an outstanding coach because of how he deals with people.”

Freshman fullback Hunter Joyer (and his maturity): “The year he has had this season has been very somewhat unnoticed maybe outside of the building. In the building, he’s as appreciated a football player on our football team for what he’s accomplished as a freshman. To come in, block, carry, catch and do the things he’s done offensively and step into the role, he’s a good football player right now but his best football is ahead of him. He’s an outstanding young man and an outstanding student-athlete.”


» Muschamp said all nine scholarship seniors are set to graduate in December.

» Muschamp on the season so far: “We’re certainly not pleased with the season in any respect. It’s totally unacceptable here at Florida and I realize that. Our goal is to go to Atlanta. In all areas we need to improve.”

» Muschamp on the recruiting importance of UF-FSU: “I don’t think that any young man makes his decision based on the outcome of one game. I’ve never felt that way. At the end of the day, young men make their decision based on the opportunity that they have at a certain school from an education standpoint, a football standpoint, a playing time standpoint, a coaching standpoint, the position coach. I don’t think that three hours on Saturday make a decision for young men. Those ones that it does, I don’t know if you want them in your program.”

» Muschamp on not blaming players for mistakes/losses: “At the end of a game, I’m not like a lot of coaches. I’m not going to come in and blame all of our players. There are a lot of coaches that do that. I’m not going to do that. When we play well, it’s because our players played well. When we don’t, it’s my fault. That’s just been my approach all the time, and the players understand that, too. I’m the first one that’s going to stand up and say I need to do a better job. I think it’s very unprofessional for a grown man to come up here and blame a 19-20-21-year-old kid for a mistake. I think that’s ridiculous, and I’m not going to do that. So if it makes somebody mad, let me know.”

» Muschamp on what he told his team for Thanksgiving: “I love this time of the year, and I told the players this morning, ‘I want everybody to call somebody in your life and thank them. We’re in such a society of self-entitlement and how does it affect me. Somebody has helped you get to the University of Florida. Somebody has helped you accomplish the things you have accomplished in life. I want everybody in the room to call somebody and thank them for what they’ve done for them.’ I love this time of the year from the standpoint of rivalry games and Thanksgiving is a lot of fun.”

» Muschamp on if he considered selling the beach house he owns with Jimbo Fisher: “Have you seen the market up there? Do you want to buy it? The market is not real good right now. It’s a buyer’s market though, you’re more than welcome. Jimbo will cut you a heck of a deal.”

» Muschamp on leadership: “Leaders don’t have bad days. Leaders have maybe one a little tougher than another one, but leaders don’t have bad days. They step up every day and they bring it every day. For younger guys, that’s hard to understand. They’ve got to understand it’s an everyday process about being a good football player, about being a leader, about positively affecting everybody around them. You don’t have bad days. That doesn’t happen.”

» Brantley on everything coming full circle: “Me, Rainey and Deonte, it just seems like yesterday that we were sitting in the back row being freshmen. We’ve had a lot of great times and we’re just excited for our last game in The Swamp being against FSU.”

» Brantley on his health: “I’m feeling a lot better. I’m really close to 100 percent, just feeling better each week.”

» Rainey on his favorite player in the Florida-Florida State series growing up: “Emmit Smith. I got a chance to meet him. That’s all that matters to me.”

» Rainey on what was discussed in Monday’s meeting: “If you study on something on film and somebody comes out with a different formation, you just got to be alert to it, be focused all around. Give it all for the seniors and let them leave the right way.”

» Rainey on spending Thanksgiving with the Pouncey brothers: “They sure do eat a lot.”

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11/7-8: Brantley, Howard, Demps, Debose, Koehne

With the Florida Gators finally earning a victory on Saturday after a difficult four-game losing streak, a number of players were made available to the media early in the week to discuss how the team is progressing heading into Saturday’s game on the road against the No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks.


It would be hard to blame him, so redshirt senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard admitting that he did not want to be seen during Florida’s four-game losing streak through the month of October is certainly understandable.

Now that the Gators have picked up a victory, the team has one goal remaining: win the rest and send the senior class out on a high note.

“My goals are to win for the seniors,” redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose said Tuesday. “You come to Florida to win and we just want to win all the games. That’s my only goal – just to win. If we do win out, it’s a very successful season. We would have accomplished a lot of things this year. We didn’t get the ultimate goal of going to Atlanta but with the team we have that’s a good season.”

Just like Debose, redshirt sophomore tackle Kyle Koehne said the team wants to ‘finish things right for the seniors.” He believes the Gators are “hungry for another SEC victory” and have a great shot doing that this week against South Carolina.

Senior running back Jeff Demps, who only has two more home games before hanging up his orange and blue uniform, said winning is important but he what he cares about most going forward is the effort his teammates show. “As long as we finish out good and everybody plays hard, I’ll be fine with that,” he said.


» Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley on the young QBs: “These young guys are maturing faster than usual because of these tough times. You learn from these times. Just like Jacoby [Brissett], [Jeff Driskel is] growing up and maturing each week. […] They’re going to have a good battle come springtime.”

» Howard on his NFL prospects: “Right now I’m just concentrating on winning. I want to win for my program and do it for Coach [Will] Muschamp. He really has been a tremendous change for me in my life. I just want to see him win and be successful. He motivates me. I talk to him every other day. He always has something positive to say. I needed that change.”

» Howard on what changed for him this year: “I took advantage of my time this year. I’m not taking any class so I’m in watching film with my classes every day, trying to get better. I have certain areas that I need to improve on. I’m still young. I’ve only been playing football since my freshman year in high school, so I still have a lot to learn.”

» Howard on which young defenders are improving the most: “Especially the [defensive backs]. They’ve really grown up over the last couple of weeks. you can just see them coming in, getting extra film work and carrying themselves like professionals.”

» Howard on his most improved player:Dominique Easley. He is completely a different guy from what he was last year. He’s all about football. That’s what he loves to do.”

» Howard on sophomore Buck linebacker Ronald Powell: “He’s just learning the game also. That defensive line is going to be real good in the next two years. They’re probably going to be unstoppable.”

» Debose on the mood of the team after the win: “We’re definitely happy about the win. We’re a little bit more cheerful coming out to practice and stuff like that. We’re feeling more confident from losing four games straight.”

» Debose on losing so much this year: “You come to Florida to win. For you to just lose four-straight in a row, that’s not a fun feeling at all.”

» Koehne said redshirt junior center Sam Robey took first-team reps on Monday.

» Koehne on Brissett’s presence in the huddle: “He’s a calm guy. He’s slowly building confidence with us all and is taking the lead as a young quarterback.”

» Koehne on redshirt sophomore C Jonotthan Harrison being pulled: “We all wanted to help him out and pick him up. It’s up to him and how he responds to it to decide how he’s going to be in the future.”

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Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Georgia Gameday

Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 84,000]
Weather Forecast: 71°F, sunny, winds NNW at 13 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET)

SiriusXM: 91
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 4-3 (2-3) Record: 5-2 (4-1)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +3; O/U 48.5


Need to catch up on the Gators before week four action? No problem. OGGOA has been here all week compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

Story: Gators QB John Brantley remains on schedule
Notes: Florida discusses Georgia rivalry week

Muschamp’s presser | Weis comments on offense | Quinn comments on defense


» Georgia leads the all-time series against Florida 46-40-2 and holds a 40-37-1 advantage in games played in Jacksonville, FL. However, the Gators are on a three-game winning streak against the Bulldogs and also hold records of 8-2 in the last 10 match-ups and 18-3 dating back to 1990.
» Florida’s victory over Georgia in 2010 (34-31) marked the first time in the history of the series that a game went into overtime. Neither UF nor UGA was ranked in that contest for the first time since 1979.
» For the first time in series history, both the Gators and Bulldogs enter Saturday’s game coming off of a bye week. Florida took a three-game losing streak into the off week, while Georgia had won five consecutive games before getting a week of rest.
» The Bulldogs are 12-4 under Richt following a bye week.
» Richt is 2-8 against UF since taking over as head coach of UGA.
» Muschamp, who played college football for Georgia, will be facing his alma mater for the eighth time in his coaching career; he is 3-4 in the prior seven contests. As a player with the Bulldogs from 1991-94, Muschamp’s teams were 0-4 against the Gators.
» Florida is undefeated this season when out-rushing their opponent or leading at the half; however, UF is winless when tied/trailing at the half or being out-rushed.
» In their four victories, the Gators are outscoring opponents 54-3 in the first quarter, while in their losses they have been outscored 31-10. UF has also scored on their opening drive in four of seven games.
» The Bulldogs are outscoring their opponents 61-10 in the first quarter; Georgia’s defense has only allowed three first-quarter points to be scored this season.
» Florida has half as many upperclassmen (19 seniors, 14 juniors) as they do underclassmen (35 sophomores, 33 freshmen) on the roster the season.
» The Gators had a 100-yard rusher in four-straight games to start the season, the team’s second-longest streak ever, before failing to accomplish that feat in each of the last three games (all losses).
» Fourteen different Florida players made their first career start this season including five freshmen; 15 total freshmen have seen game action this year.
» The Gators offense has struggled as of late, and Florida has had major problems putting the ball in the end zone. UF has scored points in 19 of 28 quarter this season and touchdowns in only 15 of those quarters.
» Turnover margin has also been a consistent issue for the Gators. Florida is -7 on the season and has given up the ball exactly that many times in their three losses.
» The Gators not forced a turnover in three weeks after acquiring four in their previous game and seven total over the first four weeks of the season.
» UF’s offensive line has only allowed 11 sacks through seven games, making them second in the SEC in that category.
» Florida is No. 11 nationally and fifth in the SEC in total defense (289.1 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 16 nationally and third in the SEC in scoring defense (18.9 points per game).
» UF’s pass defense is allowing just 168.4 yards per game, good for third in the SEC and sixth nationally.
» The Gators’ defense is fifth in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 27.5 percent of those attempted to be successful.
» Florida’s defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (311) since 2000. UF also has the most interceptions in the nation (72) since 2008.
» Georgia is the only team in the SEC to score first in every game this season.
» The Gators and Bulldogs each lead in two of the four major statistical categories. Florida tops Georgia in national averages of rushing yards 175.7-162.4 (41st-54th) and points against 18.9-20.4 (16th-27th), while UGA leads UF in passing yards 248.7-178.0 (47th-100th) and points scored 32.3-26.9 (36th-71st). The teams each defeated one common opponent – Tennessee – this season, with the Gators winning 33-23 in week three and the Bulldogs claiming victory 20-12 in week six.


The Florida-Georgia game one year ago was one for the ages, ending in overtime after Gators punter Chas Henry kicked a 37-yard field goal to claim a hard-fought victory. Florida led 21-7 at the half after scoring on three rushing touchdowns in the second quarter. Georgia fought back to tie the game 24-24 in the middle of the fourth quarter, but a 51-yard touchdown run by Trey Burton (his second score of the game) gave UF the late advantage. Aaron Murray’s 15-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green tied the game once again, sending it into overtime for the first time in series history. On the Bulldogs’ first overtime possession, Will Hill intercepted Murray and nearly returned it to end the game, falling just short of the goal line. The Gators took over and Henry iced the game, making up for a missed field goal earlier in the contest.


Aside from the first hour of GameDay being hosted by Florida alum and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, the Gators and Bulldogs rivalry game will be featured in a separate segment about the series and will also be one of the games argued about during the pickets segment on Saturday’s broadcast at approximately 11:45 a.m.


Read the remainder of OGGOA’s Gameday Preview including an injury report, players to keep an eye on and multiple preview videos…after the break!

Continue Reading » Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Georgia Gameday

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10/26: Quinn used bye to work on fundamentals

As the Florida Gators prepare for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party against the No. 22 Georgia Bulldogs on Oct. 29 at a neutral site in Jacksonville, FL, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media late Wednesday to discuss the bye week and his team’s upcoming contest.


With so much to improve on after three-straight losses, Quinn said he used the bye week to focus on the players themselves and not the game plan for Georgia. He gave each player – and each position – separate assignments to concentrate on in order to improve the most efficient way possible.

Like always, Quinn wants the improvements to begin up front in the trenches. “Let’s play better at the line of scrimmage,” he said. “I thought at the last outing that performance was better. Playing blocks at the line of scrimmage and tackling were going to be such a big emphasis for us.

“As you go back through the bye week, you go through the games, take out some calls of what we’re doing well, statistically look at the film and [point out] the things we’ve had trouble with. Is it worth in these certain calls staying with it or getting rid of them and adding something new? That’s kind of what we did. We made a real big emphasis at the line of scrimmage and [with] tackling during the bye week. Just a hard ball, fundamental, hand placement technique [standpoint], and I felt it was real beneficial for the team.”

Quinn noted that the defense spent additional periods during practice on tackling drills, ensuring that this would not be an issue going forward this season. “The biggest thing is you drill it a lot,” he explained. “Each day you devote some practice time to not just the technique but angle tackles and open-field tackling. It’s more just the time spent on it.”


Sophomores safety Matt Elam and buck linebacker Ronald Powell have played quite differently through the first seven games of the season. While Elam has been the model of consistency and versatility, Powell had one big game and has struggled otherwise.

“Matt provides a lot for us on defense. For him to be a guy who can come from safety and then move down into nickel is really a key guy for us – he can play two positions. I was really pleased with the way he played nickel in the last ballgame,” Quinn said proudly. “He’s a good player at both spots. Sometimes with a lot of good players, the closer they get to the line of scrimmage, sometimes they get in the action. I wish I had another one. I’d play him at both spots.”

Quinn was less complimentary of Powell overall but said he believes the extra work during the bye week may have done a lot to help him going forward.

“When we got together, for him, two of the things we had were his pad level was one thing that we thought he could really improve on, and his use of the hands was something that he worked on hard in the week,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”

In addition to Powell needing to improve his game, he appeared to injure his neck/shoulder during the LSU game and did not travel with the team to Auburn. He returned to practice during the bye and is a full-go this week.


» On not having caused any turnovers in the last three games: “It’s a big emphasis for us. […] Certainly some are going to come from the way we can rush the quarterback better. That’s part of it. When we play on third down. We’ve played a few good running clubs the last few weeks – teams that were committed to running. That factors in a little bit. No excuses. [We] got to get the football. It’s something we address with everybody each day, too.”

» On Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray: “He’s really a talented quarterback. […] He gets a lot of velocity on the ball; he can really get it out of his hands fast. He’s a guy that can make plays both with his arm and with his feet. You make a big emphasis on how you pass rush him, get your contain and make sure you’re pushing the pocket and things like that. He provides a real challenge for you because he is a dual-threat.”

» On the Bulldogs’ big offensive line: “Both of their tackles are big guys. Usually you have to be leery of what the offensive line is listed at as you could be plus or minus some – both in the NFL and in college. Sometimes they’re listed at 330 and that guy hasn’t been 330 in four years. They certainly have a big front, and it’s a good challenge for us.”

» On if he is excited to participate in his first Florida-Georgia game: “It’s kind of cool that there are some Gators here that can talk you through that – with Terry Jackson and Marquand Manuel. […] It’s kind of cool to be a part of it. Everybody says the build-up and the ride to the stadium and everything. Although I’ve seen it on TV, and you’ve seen the pictures of the stadium and everything, and it looks like exactly like the kind of environment that you’d want to coach in. I can’t wait.”

» On the Bulldogs stomping on the field in 2007: “I have seen that reply a number of times – on an endless loops. I’m ready to see something else.”

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10/24-25: Florida discusses Georgia rivalry week

With the Florida Gators preparing for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on Saturday against the No. 22 Georgia Bulldogs, a number of players were made available to the media early in the week to discuss how the team is progressing heading into the neutral site game in Jacksonville, FL.


All of the players were asked about what Georgia week feels like and if they are especially pumped up for this particular contest.

Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey: “[It’s] a big game, big week. I’ve been in the game twice and have seen what can happen in this game. It’s fun, exciting. […] This is a big one. This determines if we can still go to the SEC Championship and stuff like that. It’ll be big.”

Junior linebacker Jon Bostic: “It’s a big game. It’s another SEC game. We don’t really look at it as ‘Georgia;’ it’s another big SEC game.”

Redshirt sophomore guard Jon Halapio: “I didn’t realize the stories that they were telling me until I went to an actual Florida-Georgia game my first year. It’s probably one of the best games to play in all year. We’ve been waiting all year for this game, so it’s going to be a good experience this year.”

They also discussed what it is like to cross over the St. John’s Bridge on game day and see the festivities already ongoing and awaiting their arrival.

Bostic: “Going across that bridge – when you see it split down the middle, it really doesn’t get better than that. It’s crazy how it’s split right down the middle. When I first got here as a freshman, I really didn’t know too much about it. A lot of the older guys were telling me. As soon as you go across the bridge, that’s when you really start feeling it. Most of the time it’s when you step in the stadium as soon as you get out of the bus, but there it starts as soon as you cross the bridge.”

Halapio: “That’s when it hits you that it’s the Florida-Georgia game, when you cross over that bridge and all you see is red-and-black and orange-and-blue, RVs everywhere, Georgia flags, Florida flags everywhere. That’s when it really hits you that it’s the Florida-Georgia game.”

Redshirt junior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr.: “[My older teammates] broke it down, but until you experience it yourself, you can’t really know what to expect. You hear about it and, when it finally happens, you’re like, ‘OK. This is more than what they were saying.’ You take it all in. It’s a rivalry game, and you wouldn’t expect nothing less. Once you go over that bridge it’s game time. It’s time to focus and get ready for the game.”


Many of the players also felt strongly about the Bulldogs rushing onto the field after scoring in the first quarter of the 2007 game. To this day they feel it was disrespectful and still want some sort of revenge.

Rainey: “All I can remember of this team is when they were dancing on us. That’s embarrassing and we lost that game, too, at the same time. […] It stays in my head when people do something like that to me.”

Redshirt senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard: “I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never seen anything like that. I had never witness that in a football game before. Just to see it was like they don’t care about Florida really. It’s respect. You don’t do anything like that. Total disrespect. We went out there and made a statement the following year. Just keep the tradition alive and get a win this year.”

Hammond: “That definitely plays a role. I was in high school when that incident happened, but I came that following year. I feel that and I know what some of the players went through that are actually still here that actually experienced that. It definitely makes that rivalry game have that intensity. […] Every week we play against Georgia they replay it. We’ll probably end up seeing it today. They replay it just as a reminder of how that team – obviously it was unnecessary – and they went ahead and did that. Just stay professional and just play football the way it’s supposed to be played and move forward.”


» Sophomore defensive end Sharrif Floyd on what his unit worked on during the bye week: “We didn’t just focus on what the D-line had to fix. As a defense we worked on fundamentals, tackling and form and everything over the bye week. We knew it was going to be tough going into it, so we just got our minds right, dealt with it and did what we had to do. We prepared well and did a good job as a whole during the bye week.”

» Floyd on Georgia’s offense: “I really didn’t see nothing outstanding. I’m just ready to go, do my job, worry about the offensive line first and play everything else after.”

» Rainey on the team’s mentality heading into the UGA game: “It’s hard that we lost three games, but all we can do is keep our head up, stay focused, stay positive and just get ready for a big game and hopefully we can pull out with a win.”

» Rainey on how Tim Tebow looked this week: “It’s just like he did back here. He’s a leader, works hard, never gives up.”

Bostic on what his unit worked on during the bye week: “The whole bye week we just worked on fundamentals. Everything – hand placement, tackling, playing smart, trying to focus on not getting as many penalties as we’ve had in the past.”

» Bostic on needing to create turnovers: “We’re just trying to play hard, do our job. Turnovers are going to come. They may not come as much as we like every game, but we just got to keep playing like we’re playing knowing they’re going to come.”

» Howard on the defense needing to create turnovers: “We need to get turnovers badly. We haven’t had a turnover since the Kentucky game, and we have to get that back going to be successful and give our offense a chance.”

» Howard on how sophomore Buck linebacker Ronald Powell is playing: “He’s doing fine. He’s playing well. He wasn’t able to travel with us last week, but he’s growing each week. He has three sacks on the year so far, so the production is there, but he’s young and still learning the game. He’s just going to keep getting better the more he plays.”

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10/24: 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 had a bye this week and planned for their contest with the Georgia Bulldogs on Oct. 29. Below are some of the most important notes and quotes from the availability.


“We had a good open week, really worked hard on fundamentals and worked on Florida. We needed to improve our football team on both lines of scrimmage, working on offense, defense and special teams. I thought our players had a great attitude. [We] went out Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in full gear, and I thought we had really good work and we started our prep on Georgia with the players on Thursday; we started as a staff last Sunday. I thought we got a good head start on where we need to go. We’ll be in full gear [Monday and Tuesday] and then work in shells on Wednesday and Thursday as we prep to go to Jacksonville.”

He also spoke about Florida’s next opponent on Oct. 29, Georgia.

“Georgia has got a good football team. Three seniors on the offensive line. I said it last week, Aaron Murray is playing well for them and completing over 60 percent of his passes. He’s very mobile in what he can do directing this offense as second year being a starter. Isaiah Crowell is playing really well for them. Orson Charles is a threat at the tight end position; he’s a really good athlete and a guy that does a nice job vertically down the field. Malcolm Mitchell has played really well for them as a freshman at the X position; he was out last week versus Vanderbilt with a hamstring and they expect him back. Their defense is playing really well as the season has progressed as far as their points per game allowed, and they’re doing a nice job on third down mixing some different packages as far as over-and-under and what they’re doing with their fronts. Got a good football team and look forward to this.”


Muschamp said redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee) is the only one definitely out for the game because he “just continues not to respond to treatment” on his injury. Every previously injured player will practice on Monday.

Other players who were listed as injured last week include redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (lower leg), sophomore Buck linebacker Ronald Powell (shoulder/neck), senior running back Jeff Demps (ankle), redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturgis (knee), junior RB Mike Gillislee (ankle), redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle) and redshirt senior left guard Dan Wenger (foot).


By now most fans are keenly aware that Muschamp used to play for the Bulldogs, and he is tired of being peppered with questions all season about his relationships with certain programs and their coaches. Muschamp tried to put that to rest Monday. “I know there will be a lot of wasted ink on the fact that I played at Georgia and am coaching now at Florida. This is not the first time I’ve coached against Georgia. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of taking the Gators to Jacksonville,” he said.

Nevertheless, he wound up talking about it when questions were posed later in his availability. “Wherever I played has no bearing on this game at all. They’re all important. They’re all really, really important games. They’re all very important games. It’s a SEC East opponent, it’s a big rival and it’s important to the University of Florida, so it’s important to me,” he said.

“This profession is different from a lot of professions in that you do your job for the school you’re working for, and that’s my job – to do a great job for the University of Florida, and that’s what I’m trying to do. I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone, but I’m loyal to people not places. The people you work for – and I work for Jeremy Foley and Dr. Bernie Machen – those are the people that I need to do a good job for – and this football team and this staff. That’s how I view things. I’ve worked at Auburn. I’ve worked at LSU. I’ve worked at Texas. I’ve worked at a lot of places, and this is not the first time I’ve played against Georgia.”


» On the Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville: “You get charged when you come over that bridge and you see all the RVs and the passion and the tradition of the game. Growing up in the south, you understand the impact of that game. There’s no question that when you come over that bridge, it charges you up. You get goose bumps talking about it.”

» On using the bye as a teaching week: “When you have an open week, you can approach it several different ways. We took the approach of we needed some time off and we gave them Sunday and Monday off. We came in Tuesday and we had a very physical practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I thought we improved fundamentally on the things I have identified that we needed to work on. I thought we got better. I thought we improved. I thought we had a great attitude. I thought the guys went out and worked. And then we had a team lift Friday morning and gave them Saturday and Sunday off coming back last night. I thought we took a step forward. You either get better or worse when you step on the field, and I thought we improved our football team and continued to take the steps forward in what we need to do to be successful.”

» On Powell’s status with the team: “He’s good to go. He’s back off his injury, and he practiced Thursday full-go, so he should be fine.”

» On if there will be changes to the lineup: “Not significant changes. We looked at some guys at some different spots, and we’re going to continue to move forward with that at this point.”

» On the SEC East still being an “open” race: “When you come to the University of Florida, you play to go to Atlanta. That’s part of the deal here. I understand that. Each week, that’s what I’m trying to remove is all the external circumstances of why you want to play hard. You ought to want to play hard because you play for Florida and you play for your teammates. That, to me, ought to be motivating enough. Certainly winning the SEC East, yeah that’s great. That’s what we want to do, and we want to beat Georgia. In order to do that, we’ve got to take care of business this weekend.”

» On not getting enough turnovers: “We’re minus-7 for the season, so we’re last in the SEC. We’ve got to create some positive momentum for our team whether it’s in special teams or on defense. [We have to] continue to eliminate turnovers offensively and get some turnovers on defense.”

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