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Monday November 19, 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 Florida’s final game of the season against in-state rival Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla. Saturday, November 24 at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.


Opening Statement

“To recap Jacksonville State, I’m obviously very proud of the 19 seniors, and finishing undefeated at home. Those guys have really helped turn our program around and get it headed in the right direction. Certainly not where we need it to be, but I really appreciate their effort and attitude and how they’ve approached this season. The team stat explosives were 12 to 2, obviously we didn’t turn it over, we took care of the football and they had one turnover for a score. Whenever we win those, we’re going to have a chance.”


“Offensively, we ran it well, I thought Jacoby played well, I thought we threw it efficiently in the game, he did what we asked him to do, obviously in the second half we wanted to kill the clock and end the game but I thought he played really well. Red zone offense, our third down struggles mostly were in the red zone, that’s where we had issues of converting some third downs, we’ve got to get those converted and that’s something that we’ll go back and study as we move forward. Player of the game: Mike Gillislee. Scrap Iron was Jon Halapio, Xavier Nixon, and Jon Harrison. Big Plays was Omarius Hines and Mike Gillislee and Matt Jones played his best ball game, played very well in the game, ran the ball hard, got the ball north and south, exactly what he’s capable of doing.”


“Defensively, stopped the run, the red zone stops, third down, I thought we were very efficient there. Disappointed with the first play, obviously we’ve got to wrap up better on the sideline and get the guy on the ground. An outstanding effort by Jon Bostic, really running the guy down and making that play, phenomenal effort. Player of the game and Ball Hawk was Jon Bostic. I thought Jon, again, continues to excel and play very well. Here’s a guy who ends his junior year and took to heart coaching and said, ‘Hey these are the things you want to improve, and you want to get better and take the next step, here’s what you need to do,’ and what a great example for our young players of a guy who listened and who was a really good football player last year but certainly has taken the next step and is playing really good football at linebacker here at Florida.”


“Special teams: our kickoff coverage was outstanding. They were averaging (field position) the 17 yard line. Obviously the field goal block was very disappointing, that’s something that we’ve worked on and changed personnel up several times throughout the season, and we’ll continue to look at. I’m really proud of Marcus Roberson for going in at the punt returner and fielding some kicks and some short kicks. Especially making some good decisions, he had one really nice return. Player of the game was Darrin Kitchens because of his coverage on special teams and Caleb Sturgis, again has been outstanding.”


“On to FSU, obviously a good football team, EJ Manuel is playing like a senior quarterback should play. He’s completing close to 70% of his passes, directing the offense, getting them in and out of the right runs, it’s very obvious on film as he directs that football team that it is his football team. Rashad Greene is an outstanding receiver, leads a very talented and deep receiving corps. Benjamin, and Smith, are guys that are bigger guys, tough matchups, especially in the red zone. They do a nice job of utilizing Wilder, Freeman, and Pryor, nice rotation they have at running back. Nick O’leary is a really good tight end, and a guy who does a really good job for them in the passing game. They’ve got everybody back up front offensively and a year older, which they were really young on the offensive line from a year ago. Defensively, Mark Stoops does an outstanding job. I think they’re about first in the country in everything. Carradine and Werner are the two ends that have kind of starred for them, they’re really good pass rushers, they create vertical separation, they do a nice job of creating some problems for you, and they’re very fast and athletic, they’ve got size at the linebacker position, they cover extremely well, good specialist, good returners, they’ve had an outstanding year. We’re looking forward to going to Tallahassee, we didn’t play very well in this game last year, and we’re certainly looking forward to the opportunity that we have in front of us Saturday.”


“As far as the injury report, Jeff Driskel will play in the game. He worked out yesterday, and what would be his percentage right now, I don’t know right now. I know that’s going to get asked, we will not practice him today but he will practice tomorrow. He probably could practice today but when talking to Anthony, we felt like it was best for him to have treatment today. We’re not going to be on the field very long today, we’ll be in helmets only, but he will play in the game, to what degree, again, the week will determine that on how his health continues to improve. Neiron Ball, Chaz Green, Hunter Joyer and Andre Debose, will all play in the game, they will not practice today, they will be on the practice field for tomorrow as we move forward this week and get ready for the game.”


On calling the team ‘soft’ after the loss to FSU last year
I don’t know, I think when you’re 4th and 1 and you’re trying to run a quarterback sneak and lose 13 yards, that’ll trigger it. I think it was a culmination of a lot of things throughout the year, again we wore down stopping the run against South Carolina late in the game. We had our opportunities, we didn’t get off of the field. Georgia, same thing defensively and then we struggled to be able to take the pressure off the quarterback last year and being able to run the ball in some form or fashion. So I think it was a culmination of things, you get built up, a little frustration, and you say what’s on your mind. That’s what I did with the team and in the locker room when the game was over and that was our challenge as we moved forward from that point into our offseason program and really it turned for me in the bowl practice and I thought we had an outstanding bowl practice. When you’re 6-6 at the University of Florida, it’s never good after experiencing it, but you also find out who’s on board and who’s not with your football team. I knew then, with that team, with our team right now, that we had a bunch of guys that were bought into what we were doing. There was no wavering, there were no guys wondering if what we were doing was the right thing and that’s really where I saw some good things coming.”


On how different the team is in terms of last year
Night and day. You look at the adversity that we faced through the year and different circumstances and different places and how we’ve handled it, and not just top to bottom, offense, defense, special teams, coaching staff, everybody included, has been night and day.”


On what he thinks he’ll remember about the defense this year
We’ll reflect when we finish playing. I think it’s been a pretty resilient bunch. You look at the first play of the game, regardless of who you’re playing last week, you get a 76 yarder and a lot of people in that situation want to point fingers, want to blame somebody else and say ‘why did this happen’, our guys don’t do that. Our guys, they rally around each other, they come together, you force a three-and-out from that situation on and you get the shut out. I think there are a lot of situations in my mind that I could go through and see their resolve and their resiliency throughout the season.”


On how much of a difference depth has made
It’s been the difference, that’s why you’re recruiting so you can have numbers on both lines of scrimmage in this league, because you’re going to have injuries. It’s going to happen. It’s something you’ve got to prepare for. To me, you have 15 to 17 offensive linemen on scholarship and you’re able to have 10 to 12 defensive linemen, you’re able to rotate and play in the game. That’s what good programs do.”


On importance of beating rivals to build your program
“Sure, but there’s a list of things too: being undefeated at home is important, beating your rivals is important, winning your division is important, going to Atlanta is important, there’s a big list of them.”


On if there’s a chance Driskel may not start and will be rotated
“We’ll see how the week goes, I don’t know. I know right now, based on yesterday, that he will play in the game. How much he’s going to play, whether he’s going to start, I don’t know that right now. I’ll know more as the week goes. We’re not going to practice him today, but he could practice today. We’re going to take one more day off of it and get him on the practice field tomorrow.”


On the magnitude of the game playing into Driskel playing
“No, he wouldn’t have been able to play last week regardless of who we played, and based on talking to him yesterday and feeling very comfortable about where he is right now, regardless of who we’re playing, he would be able to play this week.”


On the possibility of getting back in the National Title hunt
“Huge if. We’ve got to take care of business Saturday, and really any clutter outside of just focusing on the game Saturday doesn’t really matter and to me. That’s really going to be my message to our football team at 3:00 today. Let’s understand what’s at stake and what’s important, and focusing on the game.”


On the clutter of critics that say that Florida doesn’t win impressively
“Those 3 seconds that I just thought about was about as much time as I’ve spent thinking about it.”


On Bill Parcells quote “You are what your record says you are”

“I agree 100%. You play in our league and you play in some of the venues we’ve gone in and regardless of what it looks like or how it goes. My wife told me I was sexy after the game. She said, ‘We don’t win sexy, but you’re sexy.’ There’s something good in that I guess. She was kidding.”


On telling the team in August that he was going to try to temper his demeanor on the sidelines a bit
“No, I just told our team that there’s obviously situations in the game that arise that you can’t control and I felt like at times our team, in critical situations, last year didn’t perform well. Well, why? Your team is a reflection of who you are and there are times you’ve got to be able to understand that you’ve got to be in control in some situations and I talked to them about making sure that we were more disciplined. Again, I’m just trying to relate situations for them to make sure that we’re a little more in control in situations and we certainly have been this year.”


On the uniqueness of the cornerbacks and defense’s style of play
I think that we play a lot of man-match and man-coverage and it’s a very difficult thing to do, especially against some of the skill people we play against. For the quarterback to drop back and throw a fade ball and you’ve got your back to the ball and you’ve got to have poise with your back to the ball and you’re running with a guy that’s pretty fast and there’s a quarterback who’s usually pretty accurate and you’ve got to be able to understand when you play the ball and when you don’t play the ball. All of those things, and they happen in a split second, we ask our guys to do that a lot and a lot of people play off and off coverage and allow underneath throws and we try to deny underneath throws as much as we can. We don’t do it every snap but we do it a lot, percentage wise. Probably an upwards of 80% of what we do to deny the ball and make it difficult on the offense. We ask them to do a very hard job, it’s not that we ask them to do a lot of stuff, but we ask them to do a difficult job.”


On saying before the season that they felt great about where they were at corner and if that was a question mark when he first got to Florida

“No, I just meant from an experience standpoint. I felt like the talent level was fine, but again, it just takes time to go through and you’re playing the deep ball and back shoulder fades and you’ve got to be able to play through the receiver instead of playing the ball. Those situations that are very easy to talk about and do on the practice field, you’ve got to be in game time situations to do some of those things and the guys have that experience and they understand how to play those situations now as maybe opposed to a year ago. The talent level has always been there, it’s just the experience factor. Again, you’re looking at Marcus and Loucheiz, who are sophomores, true sophomores, and Jaylen, going into last season, was a guy who had not played very much. Nor had Cody Riggs, who has been injured, but Jaylen has been a guy who played some safety and some corner for us and I think that has played very well at the corner position.”


On importance of this game after No. 1 and No. 2 losing last week
“This game is important for a lot of reasons beside of any ranking that’s involved and anything outside of that. This is an important game for the University of Florida, it’s important for your state to win this football game. There are a lot of other reasons that come first and foremost, in my mind, as opposed to the external situation out there.”


On wanting to get the team back on track to the winning ways against FSU
“Sure, that’s important. Again, there are a lot of things that I think, when you take this job, that you need to do and that’s to beat your rivals.”


On facing Florida State’s front
“They’re very athletic, they’ve got girth, they’ve got size, they’ve got speed, they’ve recruited. They’ve got a lot of depth. They throw a lot of guys in there who play and play well and when you lose a guy like Brandon Jenkins to start the season and you’re able to still play at a high level and rush the passer well with four guys rushing that says something about your recruiting. So they do a good job. They’re very similar to what we’ve seen in our league.”


On the SEC winner being in the title game
“I think that’s the way it should be.”


On Jacoby playing well adding more flexibility to the offense
“I don’t know about more flexibility, I think Jacoby can handle anything we do offensively, I don’t see that. I think him getting good quality snaps is very important and playing well is important. We’re going to see how the week goes and that will determine itself to seeing how we practice this week.”


On Jon Bostic and Omar Hunter not knowing that Florida was ranked No. 4
“They’re very good soldiers.”


On Dan Quinn
“He knows what, philosophically, that I want done and we’re able to do that. He and I think a lot alike, as far as football is concerned and training players and implementing your scheme and your system and having an idea of how you want to play and the type of standard that you play with. He and I are very much in accord to what we want to do defensively and so being able to be the head coach, you’ve got to be able to do some different things other than just sit in the defensive room all day, and I have all of the confidence in the world in Dan and what we’re doing and how it’s being done.”


On different things that Dan Quinn has brought
I’ve coached more on the secondary and the back-end and as far as the technique is concerned, he’s one of the best front guys I’ve been around. As far as just the technique and coaching fundamentals, our players will echo that, as far as last year from Jaye Howard to Omar Hunter and all of those guys that he’s developed and they’re playing at an extremely high level and I think a lot of that credits to Dan and Bryant, both. I think they both do an outstanding job. Dan does a really nice job week to week with pressure ideas, studying protections and those sorts of things that he brings to the table and just does a really outstanding job.”


On if it has been a struggle to ‘pull the reigns back’ offensively
“Absolutely not, I’ve seen a lot of coaches that weren’t good coaches and that were stat guys, and they’re worried about stats and want to grab the stat sheet when the game is over with, and at the end of the day, the most important thing is winning the game and doing what it takes to win. Like I said Saturday, understand who you are and where you are and it may not be where you want to be at times and it’s frustrating at times but at the end of the day, you’ve got to do what it takes to win football games and that’s what we’re judged on at the end of that, not style points, not stats, none of those things matter to me. It’s been hard one time, when we lost, it was very difficult.”


On where they fell short offensively last year against Florida State
“We’re very differently equipped than we were a year ago. I think we’re much better on the offensive line and that’s really where we struggled against this group last year. They rushed four guys and stopped the run and were able to play guys in coverage and force the quarterback to throw the ball off rhythm and so again, we’re much more equipped offensively and on the offensive line than we were a year ago and that was the biggest issue.”


On Jeff being limited in any way affecting his effectiveness
“It certainly would and again that’s why we’re going to work through the week and sort of see where we are. Based on yesterday’s performance, certainly he’s going to play in the game, how much and as far escapability is concerned, that will determine how the week goes.”


On what being able to play for a BCS game says about the team’s accomplishments this season
“It says a lot about our senior leadership and our staff and our strength staff and the job that they’ve done and our offseason program and all of those things point that we’re heading into the right direction.”


On how many pass interference calls he’s been upset about
“I’m never happy about a penalty. I think that sometimes, the way we play, there is contact and it’s a judgment call and at the end of the day if they throw a flag it’s a penalty. There’s never a good penalty, don’t misunderstand what I‘m saying, but there are times that it’s a bang-bang play and the contact is there and the ball is there and if they throw a flag it’s a penalty. It is what it is, but it may be a bit different if we can play 10 yards off of the guy and let the guy catch it and try to make the tackle. That’s where I get frustrated sometimes when people complain about pass interference. Well, you know, the way we play sometimes there is contact and there is going to be a penalty called but you live with who you are and what you are, that’s part of the deal.”


On where he sees Jimbo Fisher’s fingerprints of the FSU team
I think offensively, they’re very multiple in what they do, they stay with the run, he’s going to find ways to run the football, they stick with the run. Obviously the quarterback, you can see his development through his time there with what they’re doing offensively. Jimbo is a guy who sees the big picture and understands that you better be good on defense. If you look at last year’s game, they played to their defense in our game because they didn’t feel like we could move the ball consistently so they played to their defense. They did what you’re supposed to do and what good coaches do.”


On politicking for the Gators
“Our record speaks for itself, and playing in the Southeastern Conference, and playing the teams we’ve played and where we’ve played them and being at the University of Florida. Our fan following is as good as anybody in the country so I don’t feel like you need to politic much other than putting your shirt on and showing who you are and where you are.”


On wanting to get one of the quarterbacks the majority of reps by the end of the week
“Certainly, but as we work through the week, we’ll figure that out and know what we need to do to be successful in the game.”

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