Muschamp critical of Gators’ defensive start

By Adam Silverstein
September 7, 2013

Anyone that watched the sloppy offensive performance put forth by the No. 9/12 Florida Gators (1-1) on Saturday was aware that the team squandered multiple opportunities to put points on the board and assist a defense that struggled early in the first quarter but was stout for the vast majority of the game.

Head coach Will Muschamp would certainly agree, but he was not about to let the defense off the hook for the way it played early in Saturday’s 21-16 loss to the No. 24 Miami Hurricanes (2-0).

“Disappointed early. I thought we gave them way too much momentum and belief early in the game. I thought we should’ve played much better early in the game. Very disappointed with the first two series,” he said.

“Alignment, communication, assignment – you name it, we didn’t do it very well in the first two series. We got very discombobulated, in my opinion, defensively.”

Florida gave up 21 points on Saturday, only the third time in the last 16 games under Muschamp that the Gators defense allowed that at least that many points in a contest.

Of those 21 points, Miami scored 14 off a pair of Florida turnovers.

UM quarterback Stephen Morris led a nine-play, 50-yard touchdown drive after UF sophomore running back Matt Jones fumbled the ball on the game’s opening series.

Canes running back Duke Johnson ran for a two-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter after Gators junior QB Jeff Driskel was sacked by linebacker Tyriq McCord and fumbled the ball at UF’s four-yard line.

Muschamp was displeased with Miami’s initial touchdown drive but even more upset that Florida gave up a long touchdown on the Hurricanes’ third offensive possession, which came right the Gators had capitalized on a timely punt block.

Morris led Miami on a six-play, 84-yard drive that was capped by a 52-yard touchdown pass to WR Phillip Dorsett, who beat Florida redshirt freshman safety Marcus Maye down the middle of the field.

“The big play should not have been there. We should’ve made that play,” Muschamp explained. “We repped and practiced over and over again something that they’ve done very well since they’ve been here. Certainly we prepared for it. That was disappointing.”

After coughing up that touchdown, the Gators defense solidified. Florida dominated the line of scrimmage and was tight in coverage, holding Miami to -10 yards combined on its next five full offensive drives. At one point, the Canes gained positive yardage (one yard) just once over a span of 10 plays.

Eventually, UF let UM move the ball 50 yards on a drive that spanned the third and fourth quarters, but Miami was still forced to punt the ball back. The Hurricanes’ next two drives resulted in an interception by freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III and -7 yards on three plays. Then Driskel fumbled.

The Gators defense held once again to give the offense once more chance, forcing the home team into a three-and-out on its final offensive drive of the game.

“I thought we rebounded and came back and played through some adversity and tough deals,” Muschamp said.

Though he agreed that UF’s defense kept the team in Saturday’s game, he also said it was their “job” to do so and he expects that from the unit at all times.

It was just the fourth time in Muschamp’s 28-game tenure at Florida – and the second time since the start of the 2012 season – that the Gators coughed up two first-quarter touchdowns. UF is 1-3 in those games.

“Regardless of the situation, they need to play well,” he said. “We expect that. I was just very disappointed in how we started the game.”

He added: “At the end of the day, we gave them too much momentum. We gave them belief early in the game defensively. And that’s what they needed. We gave them what they needed early in the game and that’s on our defense.

“We didn’t play worth a dang to start the game.”


  1. Cal Burke says:

    Jeff Driskel HAS got to go.
    Jeff Driskel personally lost the Georgia (2 int, 1 redzone, 3 fumbles, 2 fumbles lost redzone) game last year, and the Louisville Sugar Bowl (pick 6, int in redzone!!) game. Those were our only two loses. He just lost the Miami (2 int. Lost fumble, all again in redzone!) game.
    Driskel HAS to go. Period.
    This moron has the cranial capacity only slightly above a canary. Now he whines that he a primarily a runner. Then run, Forrest, run!!
    Phys Ed major? There’s a stretch, Einstein.
    Not to mention Driskel has no motivation now that is a RICH pro baseball player. What does he care? Pro baseball is the alternative if this football thing doesn’t work out. Which it won’t!
    Driskel HAS to go. Period.
    Too much like Terry Dean. Too much Doug Johnson. Heck, Doug would be a vast improvement.
    Driskel HAS to go. Period.
    Time to get Matt Staver, in the game.
    Driskel HAS got to go.
    We have 6-8 decent QBs on the roster and one ******* ‘tard named Dweff Dwiskwel.
    Now on to Will MuscleCramp. He is NOT bringing the cole slaw to the MENSA picnic. Do you really, really want two more years of Dweff Dwiskwel and Will Musclecramp?
    A trick play on a PAT in the 1st Quarter? Blame the defense which set up that TD thanks to Purifoy? Durkin should be pissed about that crap from an IDIOT head coach!About the only thing I can say about these two buffoons Dweff and Cramp) is that they had better start wearing their bike helmets and name-tags on the sideline so they don’t hurt themselves running into the Gatorade coolers and the VISITOR’S wa, wa, waterboy can point them to the proper sidelines.
    Before we lose THREE STRAIGHT to Georgia, four next year, FSU, USC, Tenn, LSU, and on and on, with the Laurel and Hardy of College football, immediately replace Musclecramp with Brent Pease, and send Dwiskwel packing to some Bosox minor league.
    Then develop that WFO Boise State offense we have the players for and give Staver a chance. Grier next year too!
    If not, chant this new Gator mantra tonight: “Two more years of days like today. Two more years. Two more years.”

    • ziggy says:

      You’re an idiot

    • nugent1021 says:

      Muschamp has proven he can make an elite defense. Not sure what Pease has proven, or that a defensive coordinator should be a head coach for that matter. We keep blaming receivers or whatever, but really the guys we have have the talent. It’s the offensive (pun) coaching. How come good offensive coaches can step right in and immediately turn a program from mediocre (see Ohio State/Meyer) into an elite team with a scoring offense? It’s the coaching. So tired of people talking about the receivers. Agreed, though, Driskel has laid an egg in those games you mentioned. I hope they get this thing fixed, but we’ve been saying that for a couple years now (about the offense) and it DOES appear like 2 more years of this. I don’t pretend to know more than they do (but I’m also not making the obscene cash they are), but a couple things are obvious – they won’t let Driskel run with it much (and he keeps screwing up square peg/round hole thing) and Pease has yet to impress. Dan Hawkins was horrible at Colorado after being the offensive coordinator at Boise St. Pease has been pretty bad too so far. Grier will walk if we change coordinators, at least he’s indicated so, so we’re pretty much stuck with this for 2 years I guess.

      • ziggy says:

        Yeah, we should hire an offensive head coach so that we can look good while getting our ass kicked like UGA and FSU. Just like last year, all we need is a sliver of red zone production out of this offense to win with our tenacious D. We’re a lot closer than people think. That being said, I’m not sure if Driskel can take that step. I hope Muschamp can survive until we have a competent QB.

        • G2 says:

          These type of games are won and lost with Driskel, thought he would be better this year but looks like more of the same.
          Here’s an idea, since he’s really a spread kind of guy and not a drop back pocket passer, lets go more the the diamond formation (the only running game that worked yesterday) and let him run 10-15 times a game. It loosens up the D, he can throw on the run or tuck it. This 3 yards and a cloud of dust is getting old! Also got to get Taylor in the game, our only breakaway threat at the moment.

  2. HardToKillGtr says:

    Yep, we have a head coach who can’t quit being a blue collar defensive coordinator and can’t get a QB with any color collar to stay or come play for us. Why am I surprised no blue chip (blue again) QB would come here to play for a defensive coordinator. Time to let the next guy I’ve never heard of get some playing time. Hope he won’t quit.

  3. SAD GATOR says:


  4. Timmy T says:

    Please, please, please for the love of God run a play action pass on 1st down. Take a friggen shot at the end zone when we’re sitting 1st and 10 on the opponents 22 yard line…instead of running straight in the line every single, friggen time. I would venture to bet we run the ball on 1st down about 95% of the time. If not that high, its pretty damn close and if I know that, you can bet opposing D coordinators know it too. I understand the power game philosophy, but it’s a good thing to be a little unpredictable every now and then. Fooling your opponent can be a weapon too, coach.

  5. ga8or22 says:

    Muschamp needs to look into a mirror – he and the coaching staff are to blame! They, for the 4th time in 2 years, have failed to prepare the TEAM for a game. Bowling Green , Louisiana Lafayette, Louisville and Miami. We lost 2 of those and only won one be the grace of a blocked punt on the last play of the game. It is squarely on the shoulders of the coaching staff and they have failed to prepare the TEAM. You win as a TEAM and lose as a TEAM. Muschamp is a very poor motivator and while the kids like his exuberance he is a failure as a coach. I on;y hope he either learns from his failures and improves or is fired by the end of the year.

  6. GatorGrad98 says:

    Are some of you folks even Gator fans or just trolling FSU / Miami fans???

    • Gatorgrad79 says:

      We have to take the truth in all these comments and sort it from the vitriole (I can excuse those who are frustrated – I am as well). This is starting to feel eerily like the reign of John Brantley. Surrounded by talent and never found the formula. Once crowned the heir apparent, nothing would be allowed that took him out of starting. I can see giving JD a shot early in the next few games, but if the lack of JUDGEMENT and decision making result in turnovers, then the COACHES have an obligation to prepare an ALTERNATIVE (read back-up QB) to give the TEAM the best chance to win. There is a point at which the team begins to feel that all their great play is for naught and after this season we could see the biggest exodus ever of Soph and JR players to either the NFL or other colleges next year!!

  7. Oscar says:

    Stop complaining about Muschamp and the offensive coordinator, while not a sexy offense, we were controlling the time of possession and were moving the ball; however, due to the boneheaded plays from Driskel and the carlessness of Burton, we ended up turning the ball over. Not the coaches fault that his quarterback does not have the mental fortitude or his players are careless with the ball. At worst case, we should have been able to get field goals in 3 of those possesions, resulting in 9 more points which would have put us in a great position to win the game. Player’s fault not coaches fault.

  8. Walt P says:

    Not going bash the team because those guys playing hard. But JD is killing it. Not the receivers not the line JD. I felt last year Florida let the wrong QB go, hopefully they will give someone else a chance cause if not its going be a long season. Especially when everyone start putting 8,9 in the box.

  9. Geoff says:

    We should have won tnis game! Stop bashing Muschamp! Jeff Driskel is a spread QB. If he was playing in Urbans O you would all be kissing his ass. He’s a great athlete, but maybe not an amazing pro style QB. I truly believe he would be nearly as productive as Tebow in the old offense. Sadly we are forcing him to play out of character. He is not perfect for Muschamps style. There is really no other option until Grier comes to town. Our D played amazing . We prob have the best defense in the country. Muschamp is D!!!! So everyone that is pissed off, chill out! We held Duke to 2.8 a carry , I’m pretty sure he didn’t move the ball in the second half. We held their whole team to 1.8 a carry. I love it. Maybe we chose the wrong QB when we let Brisset go or maybe we need to let driskel run… Maybe Pease has to go… But not Will. Don’t give up on him just yet. You all are sore losers. Overreacting. I didn’t like going for 2, other than that Will can’t control fumbles or horrible passes that are intercepted. I’m proud of our defense and I think the whole team will grow from this. I am a Gator who grew up in miami and moved back after graduation. This loss hurts more than you can imagine. I have to hear from ignorant cane fans who never even attended the university how we suck for the foreseeable future, but I won’t turn on my team or our coach. Go Gators! See you all in Gainesville on the 21st when we turn this around and take care of the Vols!

  10. Joe says:

    The first thing Weiss did when he got to Gainsville was look at tape of JD, the second thing he did was recruit another QB. The guy maybe just a cooler sitter on game day, but he does know what a QB is suppose to look like and apparently JD wasn’t it.

  11. Sammage says:

    I’m not as critical of the players as I am of the coaches for this one. In crunch situations we were pretty predictable (except for the crazy 2 pt conversion attempt of course). Look, I love Trey Burton but when he lines up in the Wildcat there is 0 chance anyone else is going to touch the ball. He never hands it off on the zone read and he never throws it. Defenses know this and just go after him. When we line up with one back a mile in the backfield on a short yardage situation there is 0 chance we’re doing anything other than a QB sneak. No need to defend anything else. On first down we’re going to run the ball. You can count on that. On 1st down we’re almost always going to run it. i haven’t charted the whole game, but in our first 5 possessions we ran it 71% of the time on 1st down. Only passed it 4 times…and two of those game on one drive. Also just noticed that Driskel threw an INT twice coming out of time outs. I think the timeouts may be letting him think too much and get jittery…or the coaches are putting a lot of stress on him during them. Anyway, it’s still Great to be a Florida Gator, but it’s better when we win.

  12. ergator says:

    These comments by Champ are ludicrous. The defense played well enough to win while the offense was far too predictable and unimaginative. This is year two for Driskel in the Pease “system” it is time for both to held accountable for the lack of production in the red zone – which has been pathetic for the last three years.
    ga8or22, I also say that the team was unprepared for Georgia games over the past two seasons and that is all coaching staff not having the team prepared. How can you not be prepared to play an in-state hated rival?

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