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Monday October 15, 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 will play host to South Carolina, Saturday, October 20 at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.


Opening Statement

“To recap Vanderbilt, great turnout by our fans who showed up there in Nashville and helped them sell out their stadium, great turnout by the Gator fans. I knew it would be a 60 minute game, they do an outstanding job, James Franklin and staff certainly have got them playing well and we knew that was going to happen. We had some injuries and some things I’ll address moving forward but I’m proud of our guys for battling through some adversity and continuing to play well and playing together.”


“Team stat, won the explosives there, we had 10 to 4, and won the turnover margin +1, so any time you have a double positive on that it gives you a great opportunity to win and that’s the most important thing. Offensively, we ran the ball extremely well, 31 carries for 331 yards had 10 explosive plays. Some things we obviously need to work on are 3rd downs. We had three drops in some critical situations, especially coming off of the goal line in order to flip the field there and we’ve got to score touchdowns in the red zone when we get down there and have opportunities. We had a critical coaching error coming off of the timeout and we had too many guys on the field, wasn’t communicated well by our staff and that’s been addressed, but those are some situations that as we move forward we cannot allow to happen.”


“Player of the Game, Jeff Driskel, played outstanding and you could see in some of the zone read situations on film that they obviously tried to take Mike Gillislee out of the game and that really opened some things up for Jeff. He really played well and made some really good decisions in the game and we’re very proud of him. Scrap Iron was Jon Halapio, he continues to have a good football season for us and he’s playing well. Defensively, forced a fumble and blocked a kick and held them to some field goals there in the red zone, I think 3 to 5, other than that, we didn’t play very well. We had some mental errors from communication, eye control issues, 3rd down, just overall I thought it was a very sloppy game defensively. Did not play well, did not adjust well, some things we had practiced and gone over that Vanderbilt had showed before, so very disappointed with our effort. Our effort was good, but just how we played. Player of the Game, Jon Bostic, played extremely well, very productive, active in the middle, made a lot of plays, blocked extremely well. Jon’s really progressed this year as far as his physicality of playing in the core, the formation and blocks and disengaging and getting off of people, real proud of him. Ball Hawks was Jon Bostic with the big 3rd down stop and the strip of the quarterback, Neiron Ball with the recovery, Earl Okine with the blocked kick and Loucheiz Purifoy with the recovery, he just needs to secure the ball better than he did.  Special Teams wise, covered very well again, we’ve got great coverage down the field our guys are doing a fantastic job. The fake punt was executed extremely well, the two point conversion was executed extremely well, and then the kickoff return. When you’re on the road and you have an opportunity to answer in those situations, you need to swing the momentum of the game. I felt like the punt fake was there and the kickoff return from Andre was a fantastic effort of him running through some guys and getting about a 60 yard return to flip the field on them and put us down there and really take the wind out of their sails. Player of the Game though was Chris Johnson, he had three tackles inside of the 20 on kickoff, they were doubling him and he ran through every one of them and I’m real proud of his effort, obviously the big play there was Solomon Patton.”


“Injury wise, right now we expect to have Jelani Jenkins full speed and ready to go, Dominic Easley should be ready to go, John Harrison should be ready to go, Latroy Pittman will be questionable with an ankle, don’t know as the week moves on how serious that will be, James Wilson should be fine and Xavier Nixon should be fine. So we’re really hoping to get all of those guys back and they’re all definitely going to be fine, or probable at the worst, except for Pittman who would be questionable at this time.”


“South Carolina, obviously Coach Spurrier winning a Heisman trophy here and his 12 years as head coach here will probably never be repeated. You look at six SEC titles and the 1990 season, had the best record in the SEC, and National Championship, and really put Florida on the map as far as winning championships in football. I’ve asked him before why it didn’t happen before and he never gives me a good reason but he just did a phenomenal job here as the head coach, and a guy that’s very well respected and a guy that I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for. Their football team is a little similar to ours in running the ball and playing really good defense and winning in the kicking game. Connor Shaw, their quarterback, is just a winner, makes plays with his legs, does a lot of good things for their football team, they run the zone read with him, pocket movement stuff, and the play is never dead with him. He can create so much with his legs and he’s a tough hard-nose competitive guy, a guy you enjoy competing against because of the way he plays the game. He’s a coach’s son, and a really good athlete. Marcus Lattimore is a phenomenal football player, he’s got his strength back, he’s a one-cut runner and he gets the ball north and south and really moves the pile for them, he’s an outstanding runner. Ace Sanders and Bruce Ellington, are two receivers who are extremely talented. They’re huge upfront. Justice Cunningham, the tight end, is a guy you really appreciate as you watch the film and the things he does for their team, blocking, and in the throwing deal there, he’s a really good player. Defensively, Clowney and Taylor are the two ends that you’ve got to account for or they’ll make you have a long day. Those guys are really athletic and they can convert speed to power in the rush and they’re really good players. Shaq Wilson, from over at First Coast there in Jacksonville, is an instinctive back, Victor Hampton and Jimmy LeGree are two outstanding corners, probably the best corner combination we face this year. DJ Swearinger is an outstanding safety for them, really good defensively. Special Teams, Ace Sanders is averaging 17 yards a punt return. Again, outstanding football team, they’ve recruited extremely well, Coach Spurrier has been able to keep those guys at home there in South Carolina in the state and that’s probably been the key. You see a lot of these guys are from the state of South Carolina. A 3:30, CBS kickoff here at the Swamp, and we’re looking forward to getting back in front of our home crowd.”


On not being a pass-happy team in the SEC and why it worked in the ‘90’s but not anymore
“I think defenses are further along. Generally if you look at college football, offenses are a little ahead and defenses catch up. I think that from a pressure standpoint you can go back to, probably the late 80’s, you see Joe Lee Dunn was the first guy to really go to all out pressure stuff, and Bill Oliver did it at Alabama for a time, as far as guys that really went aggressive defensively.  That wasn’t always the case because defenses we’re playing against, mostly option football teams in the 70s and 80s and generally you don’t want to pressure option teams because they can crease you in the run game. Offenses are a little ahead of us and defensive guys catch up a little bit and they are always staying ahead of the curve a little bit. I don’t know that maybe we’ve kept guys in the southeast, from a standpoint of the defensive lineman. You really look in the NFL draft, each year most of the men being drafted from the defensive line are from the southeast. So that’s just where a lot of really good big guys that can run are from, and we’ve been able to keep most of those guys at home.”


On things that are key in making the fake zone read work
“I think the read, number one. Mike does a tremendous job because we may be giving it to him based on the read that Jeff has, based on what the end or the back or whoever we’re reading on that particular play. So obviously the fake is key and the execution of the assignments of the blocks, and that’s where we’ve been good because a lot of people are giving us different looks because of the run game and our players and staff have done a really nice job of adjusting to the looks. Hunter Joyer did a really nice job the other night adjusting to some of the different looks on the backside of the zone read and adjusting to those. I think all of those combinations are certainly helping it.”


On whether teams who are good at taking the ball away are generally good at not giving the ball away on offense
“I suppose so. We’ve tried to emphasize it everywhere I’ve been, and we certainly didn’t do a very good job last year, and we’re doing a little better this year. We’ve just got to continue to emphasize it and we talk about it every day, the importance of having ball security offensively and getting the ball out on defense.”


On being ranked No. 2 in the BCS rankings
“It has absolutely nothing to do with anything in our season right now. We have one goal, and that’s to play South Carolina on Saturday. Really nothing matters other than playing South Carolina and preparing ourselves throughout the week. It’s a long season.”


On Muschamp’s memories of playing against Spurrier and if it has any benefits as a coach
“They’ve changed a lot offensively and, again, I think that they’ve talked, when he was at Florida, about the Fun and Gun. They were 50/50 run to pass. They ran the ball extremely well and you look at his best teams offensively, they were able to consistently run the ball extremely well, which created opportunities down the field. He was always balanced in what he did offensively and that was something where he never put the quarterback in the shotgun for very long because he wanted the quarterback under center to have the opportunity to keep the linebackers in there for the play actions and the divide draw that he used to always run with the dig in behind it. Winning speaks for itself and having done what he did at Florida and what he did at Duke and obviously now at South Carolina having similar success.”


On how Silverman, Robey and Humphries played in reserve role
“They did a nice job and Vanderbilt gave us a lot of looks and a lot of movement up front so I’m very pleased with how those guys progressed in the game. It certainly makes you have a better comfort level as you move forward that they’ve played in those situations and they’ve played on the road and they had to make adjustments in the game and they’ve played against good people, and that’s what they did. Certainly pleased with how they played.”


On elements that Florida has from an offensive standpoint
“I think we’re playing really good team football right now. I don’t think it’s any one component of our football team that’s playing superior to the others. I think we complement each other very well, I think our players have bought into the team concept and understand that they’re playing for what’s on that helmet rather than what’s on the back of their pads. That’s what’s been the difference in this football team and there’s a huge buy in to be unselfish and play for your football team and for your university and for your teammate and that to me has been the key to our season. Obviously being a little more mature and a having a year of experience and getting some key plays and some key opportunities for our team.”


On growing up a Gator fan and being aware of Spurrier’s legend and if beating him would mean more than other wins
“At the end of the day, we’re about winning championships on and off the field here at Florida and it’s another step to Atlanta. I knew about him winning the Heisman and certainly, not just being a Florida fan but being an SEC fan, thought the job he did as a coach here was pretty amazing.”


On Jelani Jenkins wearing a cast for Saturday
“He will be wearing a cast and they’ve modified it down a little bit so it shouldn’t be as restrictive as it has been, so he should be good.”


On Jadeveon Clowney
“Here’s a guy that’s very instinctive. He’s got great initial quickness off of the ball, so you’re always kind of on your heels a little bit at the tackle position, being able to block him. They move him around, they do some different things with him, and they stand him up and move him inside. You can’t always be certain for a matchup and know what you’re going to get and be able to chip him and do the different things, because they do a nice job of putting him in some different spots. He’s just a really good football player, he plays hard, he plays competitive, he plays with toughness, he’s got great length, and he’s got great flexibility in his lower body so he can change direction and bend the edge and flip his hips in the rush. He’s what you’re looking for. You need to account for him, he can ruin your day. You have to be able to account for him in the rush and in the run game.”


On Spurrier changing the offense
“I think that’s what good coaches do and that’s what makes him the coach he is. He’s adapted to what maybe he wants to be, to do what it takes to win football games and that’s a credit to him. Their two explosive players offensively are Connor Shaw and Marcus Lattimore, they’re two outstanding players. Then off of that, Bruce Ellington and Ace Sanders, they have a very good complementary wide-out and they’re very good at that position. They’ve used them in the run game to create extra gaps in the run game with the zone read, to do some of the things to create some issues for the defense for what I call ‘run pass conflicts’, and they do a good job of those things.”


On Hunter Joyer
“He’s a guy that catches the ball well out of the backfield. We really challenged him in the offseason to become a more physical blocker at the point of attack and he’s done that. He adjusts well to different looks, and different fronts, and some of the things we ask him to do where he’s got to block on the move, so he’s moving at a target and sometimes the target changes based on how we block upfront and he adjusts to those things extremely well. He’s extremely bright, extremely intelligent, on and off the field, he throws the shot put for our track team; he does a lot of things for Florida. He’s a very unselfish player and epitomizes what we want here at Florida.”


On offense being part of what he believes as a coach
“I believe you need to do what it takes to win games, so whether that means we need to throw it 60 times a game, then let’s throw it 60 times, and lets do what we’ve got to do to win, that’s the most important thing. I do think that you need to be able to have a hardness to your program, a physicality to your program in running the football and being able to stop the run because it’s going to come at a point in time when you’re trying to end the game, and you better be able to run it, or you better be able to stop the run at the end to get the ball back. You’re going to get in the red zone and you’ve got to be able to run it. I’ve always believed in John Wooden’s theory, he talked about in basketball, you’re going to have some off days offensively, but you can never have an off day defensively. It’s all about effort, if you play hard you should be okay, and that’s what I feel. The timing may not be there, the weather may not be there, offensively, there’s a lot of things that can happen, maybe your timing is not what it needs to be, but defensively you can never have an off day.”


On Jon Bostic
“The biggest thing with Jon was disengaging on blocks, playing blocks upfront and playing more physical at the point of attack, and that’s what he’s doing. He’s getting on big lineman and he’s shedding them and getting off and making plays. You’re going to get blocked, that’s going to happen, but good players don’t stay blocked long and Jon hasn’t. He’s been very active. He’s a very instinctive player, he plays well in space, covers well in space. You look back to A&M there and his play on Manziel on the 3rd down on their sideline, very athletic play in space for a 250 pounder. So I’ve been very pleased with him to this point.”


On luxury of having a middle linebacker already set
“I’m young but I’m old fashioned in that you’re only as good as you are up the middle. We’ve gotten very productive play for the most part defensively from Sharrif Floyd, Omar Hunter, Jon Bostic, Jelani Jenkins, Antonio Morrison and our two safeties. We’ve been pretty strong up the middle and I would say the same thing offensively, Mike Gillislee, Jeff Driskel, Jon Harrison, Jon Halapio, and Jimmy Wilson. You better be strong up the middle in whatever sport you’re talking about.”


On timetable for Riggs and Patchan and possibility of Riggs redshirting
“I don’t know, we haven’t really talked about that, were going to try to get him on the field and run him a little bit today but he won’t play this weekend, maybe next week. We still have half of the season to go and Patchan, I would not say for this week, possibly next.”


On Marcus Lattimore and similarities to Mike Gillislee
“Very similar, he’s a one cut runner, he gets the ball north and south and he pushes the pile and that’s the one thing you see with him in the zone read. Sometimes there’s not much of a hole there, but he finds it and he sticks his face in there and he gets the pile moving. You look up, and you’re working 1st and 10, and all of a sudden in the box they say 2nd and 5, he gained 5 yards, then he pops one out of there and he’s going to make you tackle him. He’s physical, tough, just a really good football player. He’s a guy that you like to compete against. He’s a guy that’s going to go after it and compete and play hard and play fast and play physical. You see no issues with what he had with his injury last year, a guy that’s running extremely well in my opinion.”


On Neiron Ball
“First of all, Neiron is just a great young man, and he’s been through an awful lot, not just with the injury, but he’s had some tough things happen in his life, some setbacks. So anytime you’re able to see something like that, it makes you feel good about where you are and what you’re doing and being able to coach guys like him, because he’s such a  wonderful young man. He’s a really good player too. He’s a guy that missed football for a year, it’s a developmental game, and when you miss that much time it doesn’t come back as easy as it does for others. It’s come back very quickly for him. He can continue to help us in pass rush and he’s doing a good job for us at linebacker and he’s an integral part of our special teams. I think he’s a guy that really, because of the injury, he didn’t lift for about 4-6 months, so here’s a guy that’s going to get in our weight room after the season and were going to make him live in the weight room for about six months. He’s a guy that’s going to continue to develop, he’s got great flexibility. He’s a very explosive athlete, a guy that can change direction, great initial quickness in short area, so I think he’s got a very promising career in front of him.”


On Driskel helping the defense prepare for Shaw
“We do a lot of work every day and Jeff is not alive, obviously, but when you’re able to simulate somebody like Connor Shaw and understand the way he plays it’s easier for our guys, anywhere I’ve been, to see it live as opposed to showing them film. Meaning, when you tell them, for example, Johnny Manziel earlier in the year, the guys a really good athlete and he can really run and it took us a first half to figure it out. Now they’ve seen firsthand with Jeff and the similarities between him and Shaw. So you go, ‘Okay, eureka, I’ve got it.’ That’s been my experience.”



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