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Monday October 8, 2012Quotes and Video from Head Coach Will Muschamp's Monday Press Conference

Gainesville, Fla.

Head Coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to preview the Gators’ upcoming game as they travel to Nashville, Tenn. to face SEC opponent Vanderbilt (6 p.m. on Saturday).


Opening Statement

“Just to recap LSU, I want to thank our fans. We had an electric atmosphere out there and an outstanding atmosphere to play in and I really appreciate their support. They caused some communication issues for the other team and that’s always an advantage playing here in the swamp. As a team, I thought we played hard, played very physical, it was very evident on film as you watched the tape in all three phases, so very pleased with the effort. Team stat that we always talk about are explosives, we were locked up 3 and 3, both defenses played well. Turnovers we were plus 1, so you always want to end up on the positive side of that because you’re going to have a chance to win some games. Offensively, we ran the ball well. On 3rd down we were very efficient, especially being 100% in short-yardage situations. So we’ve made some strides there week to week and we’re 100% on scoring touchdowns in the red zone, which is really the difference in the game. They had 2 opportunities and we were able to hold them to two field goals. To play good red zone defense, and be able to score touchdowns in the red zone, is really good. We need to improve on creating more balance offensively, but it’s a combination of things, if it’s route running route concepts, getting rid of the football at the right place, taking the ball to the right place, protection, there’s a lot of things that go into that and we just need to continue to work on that. You’ve got to give LSU a lot of credit and also Brent credit in the second half. What we were running was working and we were running the football, we did what we had to do to win the football game. But certainly as we move forward we’ve got to continue, starting this week, in being a little bit more balanced offensively.”


“Player of the game was Mike Gillislee. He played an outstanding game, ran hard, a guy that’s just having an outstanding senior season and a great example for our football team. He’s the type of young man you want on your team. Scrap Iron, the guys we gave it to were the offensive line, the fullbacks and tight ends. They did a really nice job of getting hat on hat in the run game and creating some opportunities for Mike and our runners.  Mack Brown did a nice job when he was in there, Jeff on some of the zone read stuff, we were able to create some opportunities in the run game and on both touchdowns the running back was untouched against a really good defensive front. So that says a lot about how they played up front, really proud of their effort. Defensively, stopped the run, did a nice job of controlling the line of scrimmage, affected the quarterback in the game, as far as the throwing game was concerned. The red zone, we were one hundred percent in making them kick two field goals. I always tell the guys, ‘they’re going to have opportunities in the red zone we have got to make them kick field goals’ and we were able to do that in two situations. Before the half was a critical time in the game, really good on third down, we tackled well, I think we’ve missed seven tackles in the last three games, so we are tackling very well as a football team right now, that’s something that we work on every day. We need to improve our communication. We had some situations where we were checking some things, based on formation that we’ve got to get communicated better and that’s something that we’ll need to work on. Situational football at the end of the game and some 3rd downs where we need to be more aware of the situation in the game and how were playing, whether were trying to bluff a disguise and things we don’t need to be doing in certain situations. We just need to play smarter football on the defensive side, and certainly can make some improvements there.”


“Player of the game was Matt Elam, Hard Hat of the game was Matt Elam. I thought he played outstanding, played his best football game since I’ve been here, great effort and always does give great effort but was just a very productive game for him. The strip on the long completion was just a phenomenal play, what an extra effort play. It wasn’t his play, but he came across the top and just made an outstanding effort. Ball Hawks were Jaylen Watkins with the big interception, Dante Fowler and Jon Bostic both had pressures on that play, which I felt like kind of elevated the throw so they got Ball Hawks as well. Neiron Ball, at the end of the game, Pop Saunders recovering Matt, and Matt stripping the ball there, that was good. Special Teams, I thought our coverage units were really good in the game. They’ve been pretty solid all season. Punt returning and kickoff returning, we need drastic improvement. Nice job on the kickoff return right before the half, Andre really hit it in there and if we could’ve cut off one guy, we might have gotten one out of the back there. Punt return, we’ve worked on it, fielding the punts and not losing yardage in those pressure situations. We can’t continue to do that and that’s something we’ve addressed and obviously haven’t done a good job of, so we’ll find somebody different and figure out what we can do there. Kyle Christy punted very well and the Player of the Game was Loucheiz Pourifoy, a guy that’s covering as well as I’ve been around. He’s a guy that starts at corner, plays an upward of 50-60 snaps a game, and the way Kyle is punting right now, he’s covering punts for about 50 (yards). He does a great job of getting down the field and disrupting returns. He’s on our kickoff coverage team, the importance of special teams, here’s a guy that understands it and gets it.”


“Injury report: As we said before the game, Ronald Powell had a revision of the ACL, I think it was Wednesday or Thursday that he had it done, but it’s the same prognosis, nothing’s changed, he’ll continue to rehab. Jelani Jenkins had a hamstring, we feel like he is probable for the game. Cody Riggs and Matt Patchan will be out. Other than that, we’re pretty healthy. We’ve got some guys banged up here and there but nothing that should be out for the game.”


“On to Vanderbilt:  A guy I’ve got a lot of respect for is James Franklin. He’s an outstanding offensive coordinator, was at Maryland before Vanderbilt, but was at Kansas State when I was at Auburn and actually played against each other. He’s a really good football coach. They’re 2-3 right now but they went down to the wire with South Carolina, first game of the year there. They were driving the ball to win the game and don’t convert a fourth down on a heck of a throw and catch. A great play by the defender, but they’re right there at the end of the game and just came off of a road win against Missouri, so we’ll have our work cut out for us. They’re very similar to what we saw last year, eight starters returning on offense, seven on defense, all the specialists are back. We’re going against a team that we had to recover an onside kick to win the game. Offensively, Jordan Rogers is a quarterback that’s a duel threat guy, really gotten more confidence throwing the football as the season went on, had a really nice game against us last year, he’s throwing it well. Zac Stacy, the running back, is a hard runner and Jordan Matthews caught nine balls against us, and I think is leading the SEC in receptions right now. They certainly can do some things offensively. Defensively, Bob Shoop, their defensive coordinator, they are a pressure driven outfit. They finished top 20 in the country last year and they’re a team that we’ve got to make sure, they run a lot of zone pressures and over load pressures, that we’re on our P’s and Q’s as far as protection where the run game is concerned, to be able to create some opportunities for our offense and we need to stay more balanced, as I said earlier. We have our work cut out for us at 6:00 there in Nashville and we look forward another opportunity to go out there and get better.”


On how much better Florida’s depth is this year
“I think, again, there’s nothing more exerting than rushing the passer for a player, that’s where you’re able to rush the passer more. If you look at Tennessee earlier in the year, we were able to affect the quarterback more with 4 guys rushing as the game wore on. We’re able to play blocks better up front because guys aren’t playing as many snaps. Some of our guys, Earl Okine, Leon Orr, Jon Bullard and Dante Fowler, played an upwards of 20-25 snaps in the game. Sharrif is now playing 40 snaps in the game, and we didn’t take many snaps defensively. I think that there’s no question that it’s helped our team as we’ve moved forward, and we’ve been able to play more offensive lineman in the game as well.”


On how team will handle success
“We’ll see Saturday night. To this point, very well, as far as understanding approaching each game the same. We’re not going to put any more hours in as coaches this week than we did a week ago, we’re not going put any less either. We’re going to prepare very similar to what we’ve done thus far in the season, as far as what we’ve got to do to be successful and that’s winning the football game.”


On defensive statistics being spread out, not having one particular player with big numbers
“I don’t know, I think stats sometimes can be very misleading. We have some guys that are playing well upfront and I think Jon Bostic has been very consistent and played well in every game at the linebacker position. Lerentee McCray has played very well, Sharrif Floyd has been very disruptive inside, he may not get the stats that some of the other guys because he plays the defensive tackle position. The safeties have been pretty active through the first five games and I think we’ve had solid play at the cornerback position. Again, I think a lot of that has to do with who you’re facing. If you’re facing Texas A&M you’re not seeing as much as you’re seeing playing LSU, two drastically different offenses.”


On getting balanced effort on defense
“I think that that says a lot about our depth and being able to play a lot more guys. Some guy’s stats are a little skewed probably because they’re not playing as many snaps as they did a year ago, especially in the front seven.”


On if Mike Gillislee is a Heisman candidate
“We’re in the 5th game of the year, next question.”


On double tight end set up with Silberman and Humphries
“We’ve used that in every game, so that’s something we’ve been using for a while. Both guys have done a nice job and I’m very pleased we were able to get those guys involved more, because they both deserve to play.”


On the decision making process of a punt returner
“It’s just about fielding the punt and making a good decision, it’s easy sitting on the practice field doing it, and sometimes in a game situation, they’re covering, and we’ve just got to make better decisions and we work on it every single day. It’s not something we haven’t worked on. You have to give their punter credit. He hung it up there pretty good. The returner is looking to see, number one, are we in a block look? Which, in most situations, you want to fair catch the ball because you’re not going to get any hold up from the punt team, they’re going to be covering well. The second thing he’s looking at in the return situation, did we do a good job on the gunners? Because those are the first two guys down the field because they have no protection responsibilities. What’s different with punt teams is that in a lot of situations like our punt team, where we have it designed for certain guys to have no protection responsibilities and they’re releasing immediately too because of the different rules in the NFL and college football. He’s got to make a judgment as he sees the flight of the ball and see where the coverage and how close the coverage is to him, to whether or not he can return it, field it, or fair catch the ball. It’s easy for you and I to sit here on Monday afternoon and talk about, but it’s a little different when its hung up there, and you’ve got some guys that can really run well down the field, and you’ve got to make that decision. We need to make better choices in those situations.”


On offensive performance on 3rd down
“We’ve put a huge point of emphasis since the first couple of games and failing in short yardage. To be one hundred percent against a front like that, that says a lot about our players, number one, and scheme-wise that our offensive staff put in place.”


On the team being able to handle pressure of success
“We’ll find out Saturday night. Our guys have worked hard and I don’t see a whole lot of difference in how they approach every day and how they’ve approached each game so far this year. It’s a long season and we’ve been able to stay relatively healthy to this point and I think that plays a large part in it as well.”


On offensive line specifics that led to a dominate performance in the second half
“Number one, from an assignment standpoint, getting hat on hat in the run game. That’s difficult against teams that move around a lot and do a good job upfront, which they do. I think the second thing was finishing blocks, and that’s something that we really put an emphasis on as we continue to move forward in the season against some of the people were going to play against, you’ve got to finish blocks. Most of the teams we’re going to play against, they don’t stay blocked long. You’ve got to finish people and that’s something that jumped out at me on tape that I was very pleased with.”


On importance of being able to run the ball
“We’ve got to continue to do so, that’s going to be the challenge. When you have success doing something, the first thing, as a defensive coordinator, you look at the tape and say ‘you better stop the run.’ So that’s why we need to create more balance within what we do. Generally, in my experience, when you’re able to run the ball offensively, that means defensively you’re probably pretty good at stopping the run. Not always, but for the most part, because you are good at what you’re used to seeing because your kids have a better feel and understanding of how to play those blocks and what to do in those situations. I feel like you see that a little bit with our defense and most situations, depending on the league you’re playing in, if you’re able to stop the run, your team has a really good chance of success and winning games. So that’s what I see in the big picture aspect of not just us being able to run the ball but also what it does for you offensively, it ought to create opportunities for you down the field.”


On what he plans on working on with Jeff this week after seeing game tape
“I thought he did his job, won the game. He did what called for us to win the game which was get us in the right runs late in the game and to execute a critical third down scramble to continue to move the chains down the field. I thought he did what he had to do to win the football game. We need to also realize we need to make improvements, not just with Jeff, but with everybody. There’s no question as you watch the film, that’s easy to see. The thing that I’ve been most impressed with Jeff is that week in and week out is his coachability, to be able to walk in and watch the film and understand the things he’s go to improve on, and that’s part of being a good player, recognizing what you need to work on, because generally the good plays take care of themselves. He’s been very mature about the process of being a quarterback at Florida. We’ll coach off of the tape but we won’t get into different plays in the game and what we could’ve done or should’ve done. At the end of the day, I thought Jeff made some really good decisions and we won the football game. We need to do a better job in the passing game, and that doesn’t just fall on Jeff; protection, route running, fakes, different things we’ve got to do to be more precise in the throwing game to create more balance for our football team.”


On comparing the team from this year to the team last year
“From the standpoint of experience and maturity, those two words resonate with me throughout our season so far, this had been a group that’s a year older but a year more mature; a team that seems to understand that we don’t have all of the answers, that we need to work and get back at it and our coaching staff understands that and I think that it permeates throughout the entire program, what we need to do to continue to improve. When we watch the film we understand that, so what? We made some good plays but we need to capitalize on the things that we didn’t do well, because that’s what we’re going to see again. Obviously because of some injury situations last year that were tough to overcome, we went through some tough times, but I also think that sometimes you have to fall in order to get up.  I think those guys sitting in those locker rooms last year, and going through tough times certainly grew up a little quicker than you do having some success and understanding what it’s like to be knocked down, we certainly got knocked down.”


On Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rogers
“He’s a guy that’s very effective throwing it but he will pull down in any spot and run the ball, so pass rush discipline is going to be key. He hurt us with his leg last year and he hurt us throwing the ball. We had some pass rush issues last year as far as our discipline was concerned up front and keeping him in the pocket, but he was also accurate with the football. He’s a guy that in every call you have to understand that there could be an option situation, because they do run the option from the one-back, two-back, from the shotgun, from under center. They also are able to create some gun-run situations with his legs, so you have to be very careful in those situations.”


On Brent doing things that Muschamp agrees with, philosophically, but also in a much different style that hasn’t been used a lot in the SEC

“It’s very difficult in our league to line up in conventional sets and, consistently, against good people, run the ball. It’s really hard. So you’ve got to find creative ways to do it, and that’s a credit to Brent and Bryan and Tim, and our entire offensive staff, in finding and creating different ways to run the ball and still maintain your same core beliefs offensively.”


On what Omarius Hines brings to the offense
“We try to find different opportunities to get him the ball. You see some of the explosive plays he made Saturday, you go back to Texas A&M, you go back to Tennessee, he’s a guy that’s an explosive athlete and can stretch the field vertically. I’ve always said it’s very difficult to count him, from a defensive perspective. What is he? Is he a running back? Is he a slot receiver? We’ve used him in tight end situations. We’ve used him as a full back. So week to week we change out how we use him. It’s very difficult to identify, from a defensive perspective. He’s an explosive guy, but he stayed healthy. Last training camp and last year we didn’t make it through camp, so he’s a guy that’s stayed healthy and is capitalizing on his senior season.”


On things that were done well from the defensive base package and things that can be improved
“I think we’re playing blocks better upfront, Sharrif Floyd, Dominique Easley, Jon Bullard and Neiron Ball played well. A lot of those guys are just playing blocks better on the line of scrimmage instead of running around people, and when you play good running teams you create run seams in the defense when you play on the edges of people instead of playing down the middle. I thought that was something we’ve made a lot of improvements with. They were a base package team, as far as their two-backs and two tight ends, they didn’t spread us out very much so that’s what we did there.”


On what he expects from Vanderbilt
“They’ll do anything from four open receivers, to empty, to two-backs, and three-backs and some wildcat looks. They pick their packages each week based on what they think is going to be successful in the game and we’ve got to be ready for all of those things. James has got a very multiple background offensively, little west coast feel at times, and a lot of the two back and one back stuff as well.”


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