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Monday September 30, 2013Quotes From Will Muschamp's Press Conference

Gainesville, Fla.

Head Coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to preview the Gators’ upcoming game against Arkansas (7:00 p.m. on Saturday at The Swamp).

 

Opening statement:

 “Just to recap Kentucky very quickly. I’m very pleased with the win. I always talk in terms of the team stat with our guys, as far as turnovers and explosive plays. There was the one interception and then Vernon (Hargreaves) made a great play off sudden change coming back three plays later in the back of the end zone, there was a fantastic play high point on the ball. Fourth down is also involved in that as far as change of possession. We were two of two in the game and we’re there at midfield with the two score lead and I felt very comfortable where we were defensively and that we were going to be able to convert. I thought that Matt Jones made a great run in that situation and Kentucky was two of four. We obviously need to clean up our field goal block team there. We’ve been very aggressive on that, and then they did a nice job of their execution on that play. We need to tie that up. But explosive plays, we had seven and they had two, one of those being the fake. So I think again defensively, taking an offense like that and not letting them get explosive plays and changing field position on you is huge, and that’s a credit to our defense.

 

“Offensively, we were very workman-like, very efficient. Executed extremely well and executed the plan extremely well. Got a hat on a hat. The run game did a nice job protecting Tyler (Murphy). We were very efficient on third downs and stayed on the field. I thought our offensive line play outstanding. It really blocked well in the run and in the pass. Tyler (Murphy) did a really good job of managing the game for us and getting us in and out of the right things in the run game and in the pass game, taking the ball to the right spot; he was very accurate with football. Players of the game were Matt Jones and Max Garcia. Both of those guys played extremely well. Scrap iron D.J. Humphries, Jon Harrison, Jon Halapio, and Clay Burton, they are all guys that we feel like could block well up front, assignment-wise, and played the way we want to play here. Big plays, Tyler Murphy, again; I compliment his play. Quinton Dunbar had two big plays in the game, Matt Jones had two big plays and Trey Burton had two big plays. And all that comes upfront. Those guys were able to protect us and able to get us in the run game, which was outstanding.

 

“Defensively I thought we handled the tempo very well. They had an off week. They came in and they did a nice job in the first drive of getting us a little off-balanced with some things, but we adjusted well in the game. Their substitutions, matching those substitutions, recognizing sets and things, I thought our players did a really good job. Third down was critical and I thought upfront that the stat of five sacks is great, but it’s more about affecting the quarterback in the game and that’s what we were able to do. So I’m very pleased with that. Players of the game were Ronald Powell and Jon Bullard. I thought Ronald played probably his best game since he’s been back, his best football. He played extremely hard in the game. He did a really nice job of pushing the pocket. Several of the sacks should really be accredited to him as far as winning against the tackle and forcing someone else to have an opportunity to get a sack there, so that was really good. I thought Jon Bullard played his best game since he’s been at Florida. Ball hawks: Ronald Powell had a forced fumble in one of the early runs in the game and we didn’t have anyone there could clean the carrier up, it was a nice trip attempt. Obviously Vernon (Hargreaves), on the interception. Hard hat was Jabari Gorman. Jabari played well in the game as well.

 

“Special teams, very pleased with four out of five touchbacks and being able to pin them back there. I’m very pleased with how Austin (Hardin) kicked in the game. The 53 yarder, I had all the confidence in the world he was going to make it. He made them all in pre-game, and you have to put him out in those situations and let him kick. I’m really pleased at how he handled last week and the challenge and the opportunity that we presented in front of him. I’m very pleased with his performance. Special teams player of the game was Keanu Neal, the guy that continues to cover very well. Does a nice job at continuing to progress at safety position. I’m very pleased with his progress and Gideon Ajagbe is another guy I want to recognize as far as how he’s playing on special teams as well. The scout teamers of the week are offensive is Cody Adams, with a repeat guy from the week before. He does an outstanding job preparing a football team. Defensive is Cam Dillard. Cam is a center from Michigan we signed and a guy that I think has a really bright future here at Florida. And Alvin Bailey on special teams. Alvin’s done some really nice things for us. A guy that’s got some return skill, shown some nice things as far as blocking kicks, and I’m really pleased with his progress as well.

 

“On to Arkansas, I’ve got a lot of respect for Bret Bielema, their head football coach. They’re a very physical football team. I don’t think defensively that we have seen a team like this. As far as the two back run team is concerned, the play actions, very big upfront, talented upfront, two talented runners in Williams and Collins. Brandon Allen, the quarterback already shorted against Southern Miss, missed the Rutger’s game, which obviously affected their play in that game, but Travis Swanson, the center, is probably as good a center as we’ll face this year, he’s very athletic. They use him a lot on perimeter plays and pulling him and getting out in front. He does an outstanding job. He’s had 44 starts there. The guy has got a lot of respect. Watching the tape, Javontee Herndan is a tough matchup outside. He’s got four touchdown catches this year. They will create a bunch of one-on-ones, because you’re going to have to put some folks in a box in order to stop the runs. So we’ve got a great challenge in front of us, defensively.

 

“For us offensively, they’ve got six seniors back on defense. Smith and Flowers are two defensive ends of the guys that jump out at you. Two really good pass rushers. I think Smith was in the top five in sacks in the country, a guy that has a really good initial quickness in first step, but they are physical and tough. Hines and Mitchell are two very talented corners and Hocker, the place kicker, is probably the best in the country. So they have a well-rounded football team. They had a tough deal up in Rutgers. They didn’t have the quarterback and that situation; obviously Texas A&M has a really good football team and Johnny Manziel made a bunch of plays and some off-rhythm plays against them in a well-played game the other night. So we have our work cut out for us. It’s going to be a great night in the Swamp. Seven o’clock kickoff. We’re looking forward to it. Our players, getting back last time we were in our stadium against Tennessee, was an unbelievable environment and that’s what we are certainly going to expect again. Injury-wise, Valdez Showers, I’m hoping to get back Tuesday or Wednesday, definitely Wednesday. I don’t know about Tuesday right now, but we feel like he will be back. Colin Thompson is out. Other than that, we should be good to go for the game.”

 

On asking running backs to help slow Arkansas’ pass rush:

“Well, we’ll have different protections and whether it’s a six or seven man protection, utilizing our tight ends and our backs to chip on [Chris] Smith and [Trey] Flowers. They’re really good rushers, they have two big guys inside that do a really good job of pushing the pocket; but there’s no question we need to account for them on the edges, and that will be something we address as the week goes on.”

 

On how Tyler Murphy handled himself in both game situations:

“I think that’s one of his strengths, his demeanor and how he handles things. After the interception you would expect a guy to be down about things, and he understood what happened on the play. We should have had a rub situation on the backer, didn’t happen; he could have thrown it better, could have run the route better, there’s a lot of things that could have happened on the play it wasn’t entirely on Tyler [Murphy] but he came back, bounced back and led us down the field on the next drive. Those are things that would want to be able to see, a guy that doesn’t get too high or too low; again I’ve always said this: he is extremely intelligent. He doesn’t get caught in the moment, so to speak, as far as his emotions. And that’s something you have to have at that position.”

 

On relationship with Bret Bielema:

“Not really, I’ve met Bret [Bielema] obviously at some of the meetings and he did a great job at Wisconsin through the years. He’s a defensive background coach, so I’ve got a lot of respect for the job he does. It’s hard just being in a meeting with a bunch of guys in a room, but again, from a football standpoint, his resume is pretty good and what he did at Wisconsin was outstanding. I think it was three straight Rose Bowls. He did an outstanding job up there at Wisconsin, and I think you see his imprint on this football team from a physicality standpoint. They play good defense, they do a good job on the offensive line as far as moving people and things, and I think he does an outstanding job.”

 

On being pumped up preparing for a smash-mouth football team:

 “I’m pumped up at every practice. I’ll be excited at every game. I love playing spread offenses too… look at the results.”

 

On being so good on third down defense:

“Well that’s something we emphasize, we talk about a lot. I think there are several things you need to be able to have. Number one you need to be able to rush the passer with four guys. I think that’s critical. I think you have to be able to cover man-to-man and deny the ball. Down situations: third and six and less, you have to be able to play some man-to-man. You have to have some good zone concepts and principles when it is longer yardage and be able to rush four. And you need to have a good pressure package. I think our defensive staff does a good job of mixing those as far as our rush, our pressure package, our man concepts and our zone concepts. So you keep the offense a little off balance, that’s one thing. We try to have a little subtle change first and 10, second down for us, but third down can be very drastic depending on the team we’re facing and what we carry into a game. So we try to make the offense adjust in those situations each game, based on what they do. We work on it every day, that’s one of the few things, we don’t do as much of it today, but Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, we work hard on third down. That’s something, a great opportunity to get off the field, and who’s going to make the play. And those guys understand what you emphasize is what’s important, and they understand the importance of third down. We spend a lot of time on third down.”

 

On the health of Marcus Roberson:

“Yeah. He was a game time decision. He went out in pregame Saturday night and just didn’t feel totally ready, but he felt good. He said ‘Coach if you need me, I can play’ but I’d rather hear I’m ready to go than if you need me I’ll play. Marcus [Roberson] is a team guy, he’d do anything for the team; I just didn’t feel comfortable putting him in that situation. So he and I talked after he came off the field, I said lets ice you down and get you ready for next week.”

 

On Tyler Moore’s ankle:

“I thought he did very well. There were a couple things here and there, from a technique standpoint, but I thought he played well, I really did. The tough thing about playing Kyle Koehne, is he’s our backup center. And that’s something we don’t necessarily like from Tim (Davis)’s standpoint and my standpoint of having our starting center and backup center on the field at the same time for situations of injuries and things that could happen. But it is what it is, we do what we have to do, but certainly having Tyler [Moore] back gives us another tackle, which those guys are hard to find, and Kyle’s done a fantastic job for us when he’s filled in and done a really nice job for us.”

 

On the possibility of the recent amount of injuries causing the program to be re-evaluated:

No, we constantly look at those things. You go back, I went back, and you’re always looking at, from a strength and conditioning standpoint, the things you’re doing. Everyone wants to ask a question about the ACLs. Well you know I did that research after Matt (Rolin) and Andre (Debose) both had ACL injuries within a four or five day period, both non-contact situations - plant and change directions. Number one, football is a very violent game. Guys have gotten stronger, their bodies have gotten stronger, and sometimes it’s harder for their bodies to hold. Based on the orthopedic surgeons I talked to, sometimes things just happen. In our first two years here, we had two ACLs; we had Dominique Easley against Florida State when he was rolled up on the goal line down there in the south end zone. We had Ronald Powell in the spring game. And that was it. We’ve had three in two months. So, there’s nothing that we can look at from a standpoint of strength and conditioning, that shows any information that would show you something’s not going right. We also look at shoulder injuries, a lot of the shoulder injuries - we’ve had six since we’ve been here in three years - four of them had labrums coming in here to Florida. So that’s a preexisting situation. Also preexisting situations are at Ronald’s re-tear, and the situation with Matt Rolin; Matt had had an ACL injury in high school. Your percentage of patella tendon tying the ACL back is 1-in-12 for a re-tear. If you use a cadaver, the odds for a re-tear are 1-in-4. So all of those things, if you’ve had an injury - a preexisting injury - which we’ve had in a lot of those situations, there’s a chance for that to happen again. I’m not saying it should happen again, I’m just being realistic here. So, it’s unfortunate. But two in three years is, good. You never want it to happen, and then two in three months and you’re scratching your head a little bit, and looking at how you approach practice, how you practice, if you’re practicing the right way. Those three were non-contact situations, a guy planting and changing direction. That can happen in the offseason program or that can happen walking to class, I mean, they’re going to go to class, so we constantly evaluate those situations. Absolutely. And making sure we’re doing the right things. I’ve pulled our medical staff and our strength staff in, I’ve consulted with outside orthopedics to make sure and watch the films and the situations, and there’s nothing we’re doing wrong here.”

 

On Dominique Easley’s ACL being due to field conditions:

“No, he was just changing direction. He didn’t slip or anything.”

 

On Jon Bullard’s performance continuing to improve:

“Yeah, I think so, I think it’s going to be game to game. You know, Jon’s a guy we trained in August camp to play inside just in case something happened. He’s a big body guy, he’s got some fast twitch for an inside player and can give us some push inside. But he’s going to play end and tackle for us, obviously it depends on our package that week and what we’re trying to do, but he’ll continue to do both.”

 

On performance of other defensive tackles:

“Well Leon [Orr] played 18 snaps. It was a game time decision. He came out and felt pretty good in pregame and I wanted to use him in situations. The first drive was about eight or nine plays, and on those tempo teams you can get a little gassed because of rushing the passer. And so we got a little tired inside and I went to Leon and said, ‘you good to go a couple series here?’ So he played, I thought he played well. I thought Damien Jacobs held the point extremely well inside, played blocks well. I thought Darious Cummings did the same thing. We need to get a little more push in the pocket in the middle as far as rushing the passer.”

 

On what comes to mind for a night game in The Swamp:

“Loud. We have the best fans in the country, and our last home game was outstanding, the Gator Walk, and our crowd certainly made a difference in the game. And that makes a difference here. I’ve been here on the opposing sideline, there is a difference.”

 

On being on the sideline for the Georgia game when they played in Gainesville:

“Just hope we can hold on. But no, I’ve been here as an opposing coach, more recently than that, but it’s tough. We used to have the Florida fans right behind our bench and that made it a lot tougher. I don’t know who changed that but we need to go back and put our folks behind their bench again. You know, it’s a little tougher.”

 

On preparing for a team that dominates time of possession:

“It’s more of winning or losing football games. Certainly you got to find ways to get off the field on third downs. With a lot of two back teams that run the ball very effectively, it’s hard to give them negative plays. So you’re going to be managing a lot of third and threes, third and fours, and a lot of third and fives, which are an easier conversion for an offense to go on third down. So I think that’s where it changes, you’ve got to be patient in the game with something like that, you can’t get impatient as far as how you’re calling the game defensively. I think those are things I’ve always kind of looked at. It’s good from the standpoint of their offense isn’t on the field, but I don’t know that there is any direct relation of winning football games on ball possession.”

 

On facing teams with a first-year coach and dealing with the scheme changes:

“You know, when Bobby Petrino was there, I don’t know offensively that they’re different, but they’re not totally far. Bobby was going to get in the two back and run the ball, and they ran the ball very effectively. They were able to spread the field, and they still do. Jim Chaney, who is now their coordinator at Arkansas was at Tennessee last year and did a fantastic job there, they were very good the past few years. They are, philosophically, very pro style, that’s who Jim is and that’s what they were before, and that’s what Bret wants offensively. So I don’t know that there’s been that much of a change, there’s not been a drastic change in what they’re trying to do, so I think there’s been pretty good carryover for their players probably.”

 

On the health of Kent Taylor:

“He had hurt his ankle, so he’s been out, probably the past two or three weeks. So hopefully we’ll get him back this week some time.”

 

On anything else hindering Taylor’s production:

“No.”

 

On plans for Easley and Debose next year:

“Dominique’s [Easley] definitely going to go to the NFL, but Andre [Debose], we haven’t talked past that about it.”

 

On assessing Tyler Murphy’s career as a whole:

“He’s playing really well the last two weeks, but he’s just a great young man in the program. He’s a good football player, he’s a guy that does everything right, very smart, a guy you really enjoy having in your program. He’s been very productive the past two weeks, certainly on Saturday afternoon.”

 

On what impressed Muschamp about Tyler Murphy’s progression:

“His persistence in life and his patience. When you get your opportunity, be ready to cash in on it and he certainly did. Life is full of opportunities and you never know when you’re going to be presented with one. And he certainly is taking total advantage of his and done an outstanding job.”

 

On Tyler Murphy’s pre-staff checks and changes:

“Oh he did it at about 70, 80 percent the other night. It’d be hard for me to put a percentage on it, but we put him at the line with most everything. He’s smart. He can handle it all.”

 

On Tyler Murphy’s preparations:

“Preparing all of the time. When he was a back up, to be the starter. When his number called, to be ready. It’s a great example for our team and really in life anytime you’re sitting there wanting to be the next guy be ready when your number’s called and be ready to execute.”

 

On Alex Collins:

“He’s a good football player and a guy that we recruited obviously. He’s a really good football player. He’s done an outstanding job. He’s averaged 120 yards rushing a game so he’s a very good football player. Both backs are outstanding, Williams and Collins.

 

On going to Kenny Chesney concert with wife and seeing the singer:

“No, I just saw him there.”

 

On it being a Nickelback concert:

“I listen to Nickelback. Although I couldn’t name a song.”

 

On Dominique Easley’s injury and future:

“He’s a guy that’s had two ACL injuries and I think that that’s the best move for him right now is to go and prepare himself for April and getting ready for that. He and I have talked briefly about it and that’s what he wants to do and I support him a 100 percent.”

 

On Dominique Easley receiving interest from NFL teams:

“No, he’ll have plenty of interest. He’s going to be a productive guy at the next level. He’s a really good football player. He’s extremely intelligent. He gets the game. His tape speaks for itself and how he plays the game, how he approaches the game. He’ll be fine. There will be a lot of organizations who want him to be in their organization.”

 

 

 

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