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Tuesday September 25, 2012 Debose will play more when he practices better

Updated: 3:34pm, September 25

Andre DeBoseGAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Four games in and junior wide receiver Andre Debose is still looking for his first pass reception of the 2011 season.  

Actually, he’s looking for more playing time, too.

Florida coach Will Muschamp has made it clear that Debose, who led the Gators in receiving yards (432) and touchdown catches (4) in 2011, needs to practice better during the week to get more opportunities on the weekends.

“It’s as much effort as anything,” Muschamp said when asked about Debose (pictured above) and his lack of playing time. “Just consistently doing it the right way.”

The coach admits to being a little old-fashioned when it comes to this practice-to-play philosophy. Practice habits, he believes, carry over into the games.

As such, Muschamp has made it clear from Day 1 of his UF tenure that any residual feelings of entitlement he may have inherited from the previous regime no longer applied. More than a few times the phrase, “You have to practice to play here now,” has been uttered at the coach’s media podium.

The interesting word in that statement, of course, is “now.”

So four games in, one of the gem’s of UF’s 2009 signing class -- Debose accounted for more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage in leading Sanford Seminole to the Class 6A state championship -- has two rushing attempts for one yard and has been limited almost exclusively to punt and kickoff return duty.

The Florida coach is looking for more from him Monday through Friday.

“When young guys come in, it’s very difficult. Most times, in most situations -- not all -- they have not been asked to work hard because they have not had to,” Muschamp said this week. “They’ve been the big fish in the little pond and did not have to work very hard. Their raw athleticism was so much better than the other guy that it didn’t really matter. Well now all of a sudden they’re swimming in a big lake. They have to figure out the other guy is running well too."

He wasn't finished.

"The little things matter," Muschamp continued. "How you run the route. How you cover the guy. Your hand placement. Your pad level. All those things do matter. Working hard all the time does matter. And you can’t have a mental lapse as far as your work ethic, concentration and focus. The good players I’ve been around -- Jason Taylor, one of the best practice players I’ve ever been around;  Junior Seau, one of the best practice players I’ve ever been around; they’re going to be in Canton, Ohio for a reason -- God blessed them with a lot of ability, but they took advantage of the ability. They took it to another level.”

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