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Monday August 27, 2012Quotes From Will Muschamp's Press Conference

Gainesville, Fla.

Head Coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to preview the Gators’ season opener against Bowling Green (3:30 p.m. on Saturday at The Swamp).


Opening Statement:

“Excited to get going again we’ve kind of started obviously last week on Bowling Green on Thursday and Friday.  We went in to practice last night because of the weather, obviously, that may or may not be coming in that took a turn for the west but it looks like we’re going to survive it. We had a good practice last night, worked solely on scout team and preparation for Bowling Green. We’re looking forward to getting out in our stadium the rest of the week. We will have a walk through today, practice Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and have our normal walk through on Friday. As I’ve stated before both quarterbacks will play in the game and Brent (Pease) and I are right now planning to play one in the first quarter, and we have not made that decision yet, and another in the second quarter and through half time make a decision as we move forward. Jeff (Driskel) has been cleared as of yesterday for contact, so he is fine and will play in the game so we’re good to go as far as that concerned.


“As far as depth chart, which I think was released this morning so I’m sure you’ve got a lot of great questions about that. Injury-wise right now, Ronald Powell is obviously out. Kedric Johnson’s is out. Nick Alajajian, Colin Thompson had surgery on his foot. Jeremy Brown is being re-evaluated tomorrow and we will know more tomorrow on that. Matt Patchan is out with a peck injury. Tommy Jordan has got a shoulder and he will be out of the game and I’ve already updated you on Jeff there.


Looking forward to Bowling Green, Dave Clawson and his staff has been together there four years and they’re well coached. On offense that last year, (quarterback) Matt Schilz threw for 3,000 yards and 28 touchdown passes. Any time you face an experienced quarterback and three year starter it’s always going to put some strain on you and they have a lot of guys back on defense. We’re looking forward to getting back out in front of our fans and the last time we played in our stadium we didn’t coach or play very well and we’re looking forward to getting out and competing and playing well.”


On the status of De’Ante Saunders:

“He has a hamstring at this time but he will sit the first two games right now. He’s got a hamstring problem and probably wouldn’t be able to go in the first game at least anyways.”


On Bowling Green improving production last year and threat posed for this weekend:

“I think Dave Clawson does an outstanding job offensively. His staff has been together four years and when you have an experienced quarterback who has thrown for 3,000 yards in a good league obviously that is going to present its challenges for you. They’ve got all their backs back from a year ago and they only have one returning receiver but again they’re an offensive team that will spread the field and create some match up issues for you and you’ve got to win outside. We have to win with pass rushing. We have a lot of things to prove defensively based on last year’s inconstant performances.”


On if the quarterback who plays the best will see the second half start:

“We will evaluate it at half time, exactly what I’ve said.”


On strength coach Jeff Dillman:

“Jeff is a really good strength coach, regardless of that situation [Appalachian St. beating Michigan], and he does a great job with our players. If you look at their bodies over a period of time since he’s been here its very obvious. I think the confidence level has gained a lot from the stand point that we’re stronger. We’re a more fit football team than we were a year ago. But we’re a year older as well. We were a young football team last year and a lot of these guys bought into what we’re doing in the weight room and we have gotten stronger and made tremendous strides.” 


On how they are pushing players to be tougher than last season and avoid injury bug:

“Well we’re going to practice hard and when you have good depth on your football team you are able to do that and we’re going good on good every day. That’s how you get better and that’s how you improve.  You obviously have to prepare your team for Saturday and  what you’re going to see as far as the different offensive and defensive sets that you’re going to see and we do that film, walk through, and through work on the field with first scouts but we’ll continue to go good on good throughout the season. At the University of Florida, you have to have great confidence in yourself when you face game day because generally in every position you’re facing somebody that is good or better than what you’re going to face throughout the year on any given Saturday. It ought to give our players an awful lot of confidence when they hit the field on Saturdays to know that they’ve been going against a guy every day in practice that is pretty good too.”


On camp being tough according to Jon Bostic and Frankie Hammond:

 “Did you see anything preseason that we may have said?”


On being ready for this game and putting last season behind them:

“You never put last season behind you. It is what it is and you have to learn from it and move forward and let it motivate you. That’s what we’ve done as a staff. I’m really pleased with what we’ve done as a football team and look forward to seeing us play on September first.”


On his discussion with Urban Meyer about Frankie Hammond when Muschamp took over team:

“Frankie is our most consistent receiver right now. Everyone looks at vertical plays downfield now, and that’s great, but you have to be able to block and make the tough catches in the middle of the field. You got to know your assignments and the timing of everything. Throughout the summer, I think Jeff (Driskel) and Jacoby (Brissett) both felt comfortable with Frankie. He’s a guy that is an experienced player and brings that to the table also. I think he has really tried to step up for some of the younger players, for him and them as well.”


On what has been consistent about Frankie Hammond’s game:

“I think he has always been a pretty consistent guy. He’s tried to affect people in a positive manner as well and that’s one of the things I’ve seen change in him as far as I’m concerned.”


On philosophy with the new kickoff rule:

 “We would like Andre (Debose) to bring it out, depending on how deep it is. We’ve kind of given him a landmark there of when we want him to take it out. We’ve worked really hard on that and we want him to make good decisions for those situations. All of that is also affected by the hang time of the kick. If it’s drilled and shallow, we’ll go ahead and take it out. If we’re in a game where the guy is hanging the ball up there even if it is three to four yards deep, then we’ll stay in, but, that’s game to game. We’ve discussed that. As far as our kicking off, obviously, we feel comfortable with Caleb (Sturgis) kicking it out of the end zone, but there are some situations where we want to try to pin some people deep based on our coverage. We feel very comfortable about our coverage teams with Chris Johnson and Loucheiz Purifoy, Mack Brown and some of the guys we have back from last season. They’ve done a fabulous job for us. Those guys all have a lot of experience running down and covering the kick for us, so we’re excited about that.”


On what he wants to see from the defense against Bowling Green:

 “We need to go out and execute well. We want to tackle very well, that’s always a concern going into the first game. We’ve had about three live scrimmages as far as going out and tackling against good people. We want to execute well and execute the game plan and play well. All those things add up to a pretty good Saturday.”


On Bowling Green’s starting quarterback Matt Schilz going against Florida’s cornerbacks:

“We respect a lot of what we see on tape. We respect all of our opponents.”


On Andre Debose adjusting to the new kickoff rules:

“We just go back again to looking at hang time and the location of the kick. So, we’ve giving him some landmarks and then going into the game, looking at how high the kicker is hanging the ball in pregame. So, we’ll watch pregame and get a time on how long the ball is in the air and how deep the kick is going to be. A lot of it is a guesstimate on our opinion about that and then he’s got to make good judgments about that as well.”


On Trey Burton:

“Well Trey is very smart, very intelligent. Football comes very easy to him. It comes easier to him than maybe others as far as understanding concepts. He sees the big picture and understands that part of it. You can verbalize a lot with him that maybe you can’t with other guys. He just takes to the game very well so you are able to put him in a lot of different spots. You get into where you term guys rep guys, where you have to repeat plays over and over. Trey is not one of those you can verbalize it and say here this is what we want.  He understands that part of it which helps on special teams, helps on offense and in a lot of areas.”


On specific skill Trey Burton possesses that separates him:

“I would say his intelligence is his skill. I think his intelligence and being able to learn is a skill because it helps him being able to run routes well and understand leverage, run the ball, understand protection and see defenses.


On (Trey) Burton’s physical skill:

“I think he is a really smart football player which helps his physical attributes. He runs well, he catches the ball extremely well. He has really good hands and he has a good feel in coverage of leverage of getting off a defender.”


On teams playing well with two quarterbacks:

“I think both guys are good players. As I said before, I am not overly concerned with the quarterback position and the talent level that we have there. We have good players, no different than the corner position. I think we have really good players at that position and I think we can play well. Does that mean we are going to play well? No, it doesn’t. But going into the season I feel very comfortable about both of those positions where we have great competition with guys that all deserve to start and all deserve to play.”


On expectations for the quarterbacks:

“Win. To play well, take care of the ball, score points, get us in and out of the huddle. Just to manage our team, and not in a conservative manner, let’s get the ball going.”


On backup running back and SAM linebacker positions:

“Mack is a guy that I think has had a good camp and he will play definitely Saturday. Matt Jones will also play in that role and Omarius Hines could see some opportunities along with Chris Johnson, depending on how things are going. At SAM linebacker, Darrin Kitchens has done a nice job. Neiron Ball has had a little bit of an ankle, he should be fine and play in the game, but Darrin has done a nice job. Both of those guys will play at that position. A lot will depend on the game time as to how much we will play in regular or some type of sub-grouping.”


On having a guy like Trey Burton helping everyone:

“It is a tremendous help, especially to young players as well as older players in a new system. He understands and he gets it. He is a really good communicator with everyone. Again, he is a great football player and I am glad he is a Gator.”


On how much Trey Burton helped last season with (Charlie) Weis’ offense:

“Tremendously. He is a guy that gets it and understands it. He is a really good player and is very valuable in a lot of spots for our football team.”


On Mack Brown and strides he has made this year:

“Our run game is a little different this year. We are very different in what we are trying to do as far as our run game is concerned. What we are doing schematically helps his running style, which last year it didn’t. I think he has done a better job as far as his assignments and protection, the things you have to do besides just carrying the ball at the running back position. All of those things he has done a nice job of continuing to improve.”


On the importance of Hunter Joyer:
“He allows you to go get in the two-back runs you want to run, the power plays. He’s got really soft hands out of the back field, catches the ball extremely well. But he is also a guy in some one-back sets you will see out carrying the football. He’s a guy that can do a lot of things. Very intelligent, very smart and played a lot. Practically a starter as a true freshman at Florida, which says an awful lot about the player he is and can be. He’s really answered the challenged as far as our blocking is concerned. We’ve really challenged him and he has taken the step forward as far as that is concerned.”

On the freshmen being better mid-season than in Week One:
“You always want to improve as the season continues to move forward. They always say the greatest improve goes from game one to game two. I think that sometimes applies to your older players. I think for your younger players, you need to see a weekly improvement of where they are. It’s been part of our evaluation into training camp, week-to-week improvement with a young player. How much improvement has he made? Has he gotten bogged down or overloaded information?”

On the freshmen working their way onto the field:
“There’s no question. Jon Bullard is a guy that is definitely going to play Saturday, probably very early in the game. Brian Poole is going to play and figure into our plans. Just off the top of my head, Matt Jones is a guy that’s going to play. Raphael Andrades is going to play. Latroy Pittman, obviously as he is listed here on the depth chart. D.J. Humphries has an outside shot that he will play this Saturday. We want to get him another look tomorrow to make sure his knee is one-hundred percent. Jessamen Dunker is a young man who will figure in. Kent Taylor is a guy that is going to give us some snaps. Again, just because they are not on the ‘two-deep’ does not mean they are not going to play in the game. There are some guys that may have a larger role offensively or defensively than what is being put on paper.”

On if there are plans for Skyler Mornhinweg to play against Bowling Green:
“No, not at this time.

Antonio Morrison is another young man that’s listed second-team that will be playing extensively. He has had an outstanding camp.”

On how Bowling Green has progressed over the past few years:
“Well again, I have just watched their tape from last season. Generally, I am pretty focused on the season at hand. Last season, I was trying to focus on our season as best as we could. As we moved into the offseason, we watched their entire season from last year. Dave Clawson did a great job at Richmond before his time at Bowling Green.”

On the wildcat package:
“It is something we will use from game to game that we can certainly benefit from.”

On if others than Trey Burton will be running the wildcat package:
“Are you going to be at the game?”

On how the team is not looking ahead to Texas A&M:
“We need to take care of Bowling Green. I’ll turn the tape on from last year and let our team watch that. Did you watch the Furman game? We need to prepare well and play well in the game. That’s what I expect to have happen.”

On if Jeff Dillman will speak to the team about the Appalachian State-Michigan game:
“We just need to take care of the University of Florida. That’s really, at the end of the day, all I worry about. I don’t worry about other teams, what they have done, who beat who, where and when it happened. I am worried about Florida.”

On how much wins and losses build the program:
“It is certainly reflective of where you are. Again, short-term you understand the decisions you make are for the long-term of the program. Sometimes those decisions you make don’t reflect well in the short-term. You have to very realistic on where you are and where you are headed. That is what I try to do.”

On if wins and losses can be misinterpreted as the program building:
“Wins are important.”

On what Bowling Green does defensively:
“They have a nice side package there on third down. They do a nice of moving around and giving some issues. They are very experienced defensively. They are mostly an over team with three to the tight end side and play some quarters and middle field coverage. They do have a really nice ‘I’ package on third down that can give some issues not just for our quarterbacks, but in protection and making sure our hots are built in on what we need to do to be successful.”

On Bowling Green’s blitzing:
“They will pressure in some situations. They dance up a little bit on third-and-one. They do a nice job with their package.”


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