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Monday September 3, 2012Quotes and Video from Coach Muschamp's Monday Press Conference

Gainesville, Fla.

Head Coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to preview the Gators’ Southeastern Conference opener at Texas A&M (3:30 p.m. on Saturday).


Opening Statement

“We’re getting started in the SEC, we’ve got the SEC opener out in College Station, looking forward to that. To wrap up the Bowling Green game, we won the turnover battle +1, and explosive +6, always something we talk about with the football team. We ran the ball well except for short yardage, we need to improve there but we averaged over 5 yards a carry and Gillislee averaged over 6 yards a carry. As we move into next week, we’re going to start Driskel vs. A&M, I met with Jeff and Jacoby this morning, and its nothing Jacoby did not do, just feel like Jeff, with his legs, can give us some different variables in our offense that can help us as we move forward. So it’ll be Jeff’s game to play, I told him, ‘I don’t want you to be looking over your shoulder but you need to play well,’ and we certainly know that Jacoby is capable of playing very well for us. I’ve got confidence that we can win with both guys, both of them handled it professionally and the way you’re supposed to handle it, and they’ve handled this whole competition that way. I just felt like at this time, it’s good to move forward to name one guy and go with it. I thought Jeff did a good job Saturday as well as Jacoby. Frankie’s explosive play at the receiver position was much welcomed, and that was a big play on his part, really excited for him, we need to continue to get those plays outside.


“Defensively, I was disappointed with the 2nd drive on the first half. We had some opportunities on 3rd down, there was one drive on third down we were poor, we’ve got to do a better job in those situations, and some issues in the 2nd half with the run game. We had 10 missed tackles, which is too many. Especially on the perimeter with as much man as we play, to be able to get some things open as far as that’s concerned. We did defend the pass well, they had 56 attempts right at 4.03 which would have led the nation last year as far as per attempt so that was really good and not only giving 3 big passes, especially one early to the tight end but we’re 76 percent on 3rd down which is pretty good.


“Special teams, very sloppy. Very disappointed, as good as we’ve been on teams, as much time as we spend on special teams around here, the effort needs to get better and the execution needs to get better, and it will. Caleb had his 6th career 50+ yarder, so again, I think he’s the best kicker in the country, it was a slow operation on the last one, we’ve got to do a better job blocking the edge.


“Players of the game, offensively, it was Mike Gillislee, played well, scrap iron up front was Xavier Nixon, who played his best game, Special Teams - Andre Debose, did some good things in the return game, ballhawk was Marcus Roberson, defensively, Jon Bostic, scouts of the week, Dakota Wilson, Max Garcia, and Mark Herndon. Injury-wise, Drew Ferris will be out with a broken clavicle, broke his collarbone, and got rolled up on. Kyle Crofoot will assume the snapping duties for him, I don’t think we’ll get Matt Patchan back this week, I’m hoping for Tennessee but I’m not sure about that either. Other than that, we should be status quo as far as injury situation should be concerned.


“Going to A&M, Kevin [Sumlin] is a guy who did a great job at Houston, they are an up tempo offense and will get as many snaps as they can get. They will give you the illusion of a lot of throwing but they’re going to run the football. Johnny Manziel they have named as the starting QB from Kerrville, Texas, was a really good athlete, outstanding quarterback for their high school there. He’s a guy that’s got legs, throws it well. Ryan Swope is an outstanding receiver for them; he’s played well for them throughout his four years.  Four or five offensive lineman are back from last year, which they did an outstanding job. Christine Michael is a running back from Beaumont that hurt his knee last year and is coming back from that and is another outstanding back. Mark Snyder is their defensive coordinator and was at Ohio State previous to South Florida and now at A&M. He’s a pressure guy, last year was not there but they did lead the country in sacks with 51. Dustin Harris led the nation in punt returns last year so they’ve got a good football team coming back.


“SEC opener in College Station and our guys are certainly looking forward to the opportunity after meeting with them this morning and going over some things we need to improve on with our team moving into the second week.”


On Jeff’s ability to make things happen with his legs impacting the decision to name him starter

“I certainly think it played a big part in that, I think that the QB run game creates issues for a defense and right now in the development of our offense that’s certainly going to be something that’s going to benefit us.”


On Jeff playing the whole game vs. Texas A&M

“Jeff certainly needs to play well but I told him, ‘You don’t need to be looking over your shoulder,’ and Jacoby needs to understand he’s one snap away.”


On Muschamp’s experience at A&M helping prepare the team

“It’s an SEC-like atmosphere; it’s going to be very similar to a lot of stadiums that we walk into. We’ve got some guys who are traveling for the first time and are playing in that atmosphere for the first time, so again I think all of our guys can help with that as well as myself.”


On relief level of having a starting QB

“It’s no different than it was before. We need to play well at the position, and we need to play well offensively, need to play better defensively, need to play much better on special teams. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we can win with both guys but I feel like we needed to move forward with naming one guy and we’ll go that way.”


On QB upside and development

“At the end of the day, the negative for both of them is experience. They don’t have that; they don’t have the number of snaps under their belt. That’s partly my fault for splitting reps so we needed to move forward with naming the starter. Jacoby will still be repped at practice and will certainly be ready when called.“


On what he wants to see Jacoby do from here on out and if he has the chance to overtake Jeff

“Certainly, look at our league right now, look at us last year; we went through 3 QB’s at one time, look at South Carolina right now. It’s one snap away. It’s a lot like a lot of other positions; Jeff needs to be productive too. I told him that, ‘I don’t want you to look over your shoulder but you need to play well.’ That’s what you have to do at every position and Jacoby needs to continue to do what he’s doing.”


On things Jeff needs to clean up

“ I think we had one naked there on the goal line we had a chance to get the ball off, we need to get that one off down there, we had an opportunity to convert that one third down and we didn’t. Other than that, he took the ball at the right spots, he had two drops, and those both could have been caught. I think he did some good things as far as the management of what we were trying to do. He needs to work on his pooch punt.”


On what Jeff has done from last year to this year that put him in the position to be a starter

“Just maturity. That position is difficult to play at any stage of your development, and it’s really difficult to play as a freshman QB in the SEC and I think both of those guys were put in very difficult situations last year. It’s great experience for them now and very trying on me but for them it was very beneficial for both of them. Again, I think that both guys, and that’s why we needed to make a decision on one, they need snaps. They need game-time snaps, there’s going to still be a growing curve here. It’s not all going to be perfect, and I understand that. It’s part of the growing process at that position. But I think we help ourselves by naming a starter and moving forward. “


On importance of the Texas A&M game

It is an important game because it’s the next one and it’s an SEC game, I think it’s critical. Is it the end all? No, but it’s a critical game for us to go on the road and play well, and improve from game one to game two, which we need to, and I think we will. This team understands that we have some things to work on and we need to pay more attention to the details of the things we need to do at each position, each call and each situation to play better, and we will.”


On the gift basket from College Station Mayor

“It was wonderful. There were some koozies and things, it was nice. Very appreciative.”


On Tyler Murphy’s chances of playing time

“Right now, none.”


On Purifoy being on the field as receiver

“Loucheiz is a guy that’s got good vertical skills and he’s got good ball skills. We’re trying to get more explosive at the position and he’s certainly a guy that can do some things for us and that role will continue to grow as we move forward”


On Debose’s inconsistency

“He did a great job on special teams for us. He needs to make a better judgment on the tackle out of bounds, but other than that, he played very well. He played hard, he played physical, he played fast, did an outstanding job. He played with urgency, toughness, so there’s a reason why we named him special team’s player of the week, he deserved that. He played well in that role. He’s got to continue to expand and we’ve got to continue to expand that role with him. He’s a very explosive guy.


On A&M not having first game

“It’s an advantage to go in there having played with some new players and a new QB for us, but there will be some new wrinkles in what they do. They were really successful in Houston offensively. Will they tweak their scheme to their players? Certainly, they have a good coach and they do a good job. [Offensive coordinator] Cliff [Kingsbury] does a great job with their offense and that offensive staff has been together and they will tweak to what they have but their base concepts will remain the same going into it. Mark Snyder has been a very good coordinator over a lot of different spots so he’s a guy that’s not going to get far away from what he’s done before based on the talent he has there. Again, we are at a little bit of a guessing game from the standpoint of them not playing. But that’s always with the first game and you go through that as a coach and you go through that going into a bowl game after you’ve had some time off, we just need to adjust to what we’re doing, we need to play fast, we need to have a great tempo because I know they will offensively. We need to get lined up and get our cleats in the dirt and play.”


On expecting them to do a lot of quick plays like Bowling Green

“That’s what they do, that’s who they are. The ball is out quick, they’re going to get the ball in the space and let guys try and make plays. You have to tackle well and you’ve got to stop their run and part of their run is their screen game. They say it’s a pass but that’s part of what their run game is, their bubbles and quick screens and the different ways they get the ball to their playmakers. The ball is out quick so you can’t get frustrated  in the game like I think we did a little early in the Bowling green game with pressure because you’re going to have a hard time getting there when the ball is out quickly. “


On play calling

“You go into every game trying to accomplish something and we accomplished everything we wanted to accomplish for the most part. Do we want to do better on third and short? Yeah, we do, a lot better. Do we need to be more creative in those situations? Certainly, we can and we will. I wanted to make sure we played a certain way in the game and I never had any doubt in my mind that the outcome of the game was going to happen. We played well on both lines of scrimmage for the most part, take away the third and shorts, very disappointed with those and the results of those. You extend those drives, you’re talking about probably another 12-14 snaps in the game. But at the end of the day we didn’t make them and need to. We’ll be more creative with what we need to do as far as play calling is concerned, formations and shifts, but as far as going in to the first game with two young QB’s  and wanting to put in the run game and the play actions off of that and trying to create some explosives outside, mission accomplished.”


On what A&M will add to the SEC

“I think they have a great recruiting base and a great financial support, those are the two things that are very critical. They have great facilities, so they have the ingredients to be successful and they have been successful for a number of years. I think you open yourself up to Louisiana a little bit for them, as far as familiarize those kids for the SEC, but East Texas is a great recruiting area. There are a lot of great players in East Texas. I think, again, it’s a program that has a lot of tradition and history and looking forward to having them part of the SEC.”


On disciplining because of penalties

“We’re disciplining them, but it’s Monday and we still haven’t practiced this week for the opponent so were going to go tonight and practice through the week and we handle those on the practice field.”

On decision to go with Jeff

“It’s the total process; from off season to spring practice to training camp to Saturday. It’s not a knee jerk reaction, it’s a total process and it was a very difficult decision, both guys are very deserving and very good football players, but at the end of the day I feel like we needed to name a guy and move forward.”


On play of RB behind Gillislee

“Mack brown ran the ball hard and Matt Jones did a nice job for his first time going out there and playing. Omarius Hines did a nice job with some touches, and really as we move forward Matt and Mack need to separate themselves in some form oR fashion to continue to get Gillislee the touches that we need for him to have in the game.”


On Patchan’s injury

“He’s doing everything he can do to get back. I know the rehab is going well, everything has been very positive on that end and he’s further ahead than we thought. We thought originally 4 weeks, now we’re kind of edging that back a bit. I know he’s frustrated, I’m frustrated for him, he’s worked extremely hard, had a really good off season. Hope it’s not that much longer, we need to get him back, he’s a good football player and he can help our team.”


On Easley’s performance

“I thought he was solid. I talked to him before he went out and I asked him I said ‘how do you feel’ and he said ‘I’ll be honest with you, I’m a little itchy to get out there.’ As far as coming back off of an injury like that, you’re always a little anxious. I thought he played well and I thought he played hard, got some good pressure. I thought he did a nice job”

On handling the QB who didn’t win the job

“Everybody is different. Both guys in the situation, both last year and this year, handled it very professionally. Obviously, Jeff wasn’t very happy last year and this year Jacoby wasn’t very happy and I respect that. I wouldn’t want them to be pleased with it.”


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