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Monday November 18, 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 Georgia Southern (2:00 p.m. on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium).

 

Opening Statement:

“I thought we had good effort the other night, but it's about winning and we didn't get the job done. As a staff and as a team, we've got to put our guys in better situations to be successful. We've got to make plays, and we didn't get that done. So, I’m disappointed with that; we needed to get that win there and that was very frustrating.

 

“Injury-wise, Tyler (Murphy) threw lightly yesterday. We'll probably know more Tuesday or Wednesday of whether or not he'll be able to play this weekend. D.J. Humphries ran around yesterday and I'll probably know more Tuesday or Wednesday, again, whether or not he'll be able to play. It looks doubtful at this time. Marcus Roberson ran yesterday, and we'll find out more as the week progresses on his availability for the game. We had no other significant injuries from the game. We have a couple of guys banged up, but everyone should be available for this weekend.

 

“Georgia Southern - Jeff Monken is a guy that runs a triple option offense. It's all about eyes and execution offensively, taking care of your responsibility on every snap. They run a classic triple-option, a dive-option with a lot of different looks that they're going to give us and they do a nice job of executing those things. It's all-responsibility football. It's an over and under defense. We need to look at that, and getting a lot of looks in the kicking game as far as things they do. So this weekend's all about responsibility football, defensively. We're getting ready for an offense that's so different from what we've seen in three years. Obviously we spent a lot of time in the offseason preparing and looking at different teams and how they handled this because it's so different from what we've faced. We're looking forward to getting back in the Swamp and honoring our Armed Forces, first responders and ROTC. We're looking forward to that.”

 

On Marcus Roberson’s status:

“Yeah, he's fine. He wouldn't have been able to play in the game Saturday night obviously because of his ankle, but hopefully we'll get him back this weekend.”

 

On Skyler Mornhinweg being able to handle more moving forward:

 No I think he can handle more. I think a lot of our plan was based on their front and (Jadeveon) Clowney and those guys being able to protect him for his first start and a lot of those situations. When you move past that he'll be able to do more.”

 

On how much Florida has seen of the triple option:

"Furman gave us some looks to us in the first year early in the game, but no not to this extent."

 

On if he’s concerned for the team to be facing the triple option:

"Well again, we've got to simulate, that's the difficulty facing a team like this - simulating it in practice. You just don't ever see it. Not many teams run it. I guess the service academies and Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern are the only schools that majorly run the triple. It's not something you see every day. Recognition is key. Simplicity in what we do. Execution is going to be key."

 

On what happened on the long run play against South Carolina:

"Well, they blocked it well. We brought a corner. We had a four-down but the center released and went straight to the linebacker and cut the two-eye loose on the backside. Normally that's not what you see in that situation. They split us and we were running split safeties coverage. We could've taken it on differently at linebacker, but when you have a free safety covering down on one and an override on the run game over to the B-gap pressure got the ends up the field. We changed that a little bit and I don't know why we did, but it was well executed on their part."

 

On Ahmad Fulwood’s status:

"He's fine. I think it was his shoulder, but he's fine. He took a pretty good shot there, but he's fine."

 

On his comments to the “fair weather” fans:

“We have great fans here. It’s a small percentage. It’s just frustrating for me. Anybody that knows me, knows I care about the kids. It’s just frustrating for me. That’s part of the profession. But for our kids it’s frustrating. They’re working extremely hard, and that’s who I hurt for. We have great fans. I mean, I’m talking to a small percentage of our fans.”

 

On the defense’s responsibilities when facing the triple option:

“It’s not necessarily gap. It’s responsibility within the defense of taking care of the fullback, taking care of the quarterback, taking care of the pitch. It’s not just the front guys. It’s the whole defense. Based on call, who has what, and then based on the blocking scheme. So if they run a veer scheme it could be five technique taking the dive. If they run an R scheme, it could be the linebacker taking the dive. So you’re responding and reacting off of what they give you. And that’s something we’ve got to work on starting today and throughout the week. It’s all about responsibility football. It’s based on the blocking scheme and if you want to stunt into it if that block down in the B gap, then the outside defender taking first threat. First threat could be fullback, it could be quarterback. So those are things you got to work through. That’s why you can’t run a bunch of different fronts and have a bunch of different changeups - to make sure your guys can execute the plan. They run it fast and they run it. Again, that’s why you have to make sure assignment, sound eyes and execution.”

 

On Jarrad Davis:

“He really has played well. He made a huge play on fourth down the other day. Again, coming from the backside and made a really nice open field tackle. He’s an explosive young man. He’s very smart. And he’ll start again Saturday. He deserves that opportunity. He continues to improve. He’s probably been our most productive special teams player. Everything we’ve put him in, he’s been productive. Practices well, practices hard, practices physical.”

 

On asking more of Mornhinweg in the fourth quarter of the South Carolina game than they had in the first three quarters:

“Well, you know I think, again, when you’re called upon to execute and do your job, he certainly was capable, in my opinion. As the game was kind of rolling on there, we felt pretty good with where we were as far as playing field position and playing good defense. Unfortunately, we have the run spit out on us there which was a backbreaker in the game for me. That’s when we had exactly what we wanted, keep them pinned back, force them to punt, get the ball to midfield, hope we go down and get points there. So certainly, we hadn’t thrown it as much and maybe that does affect you, but he was certainly capable to go and execute at that time.”

 

On Jarrad Davis being a pleasant surprise:

“Well, you never know how a player is going to react, coming in to college. You don’t ever know regardless of how heralded they are. He was not a heavily recruited player, but he’s a guy that has come in and is very smart, very intelligent, works hard, explosive, got great speed, can finish on plays. I mean he’s got all the intangibles you want, instincts at the position. But you don’t ever know when you have a freshman, regardless of how heralded they are or so-called experts coming out. But he’s a really good player. I’m glad we got him.”

 

On being pleasantly surprised with the entire freshman class:

“Again, you don’t ever know. But a lot of times, playing as a freshman comes down to maturity. You look at the guys that are really contributing a lot for us; they’re all very mature guys. They all work hard. They come to practice every day. They’re accountable for what they do and how they handle themselves. To me, playing as a freshman goes into a couple different things. Obviously, you have to have an opportunity. You have to have the ability. And then past that, the further your position is away from the ball, generally you play quicker because the game slows down and your athleticism can take over. But the last thing to me, and maybe the most important, is maturity. You know, handling a new playbook, new scheme, new system, new surroundings. Some guys, there's no gauge for that on how they're going to respond and handle those situations. And you don't ever know. I've been in this for a long time and I've had guys that there's no question in my mind they can help us as a freshman. How much, who knows? And they've come in and just not done it. And there's been guys just totally off the radar and you wouldn't expect them to help at all and they've been major contributors and starters for you. So you don't ever know until you get them on campus and you see what they can handle and what they can't handle.

 

On defending the triple option and how much Georgia Southern throws:

“Well, they're averaging 19 yards a completion. So obviously when you lose your eyes on the run game, they can hit you deep. They've got some guys who run it extremely well. They have guys who fit their system. Jeff (Monken)’s been there now enough time to where they're able to have the kind of guys that fit what they are. So there's no question it goes back to eyes and execution. Get your eyes in the right spots, don't lose them in the wrong spots and make sure you cover down on what you're supposed to cover down on.”

 

On being worried about a specific wide receiver:

“Nah, they all are. Just from the standpoint of you cut one loose, it's never good. That's where you've got to make sure, again, your eyes are in the right spot, you're covering down. They give you a lot of motions and adjustments that you've got to be able to leverage the formation right for the triple to stay outside for the pitch and take care of all the option responsibilities, but also be good on all the wheel routes off the play-action, all the different shots they'll give you. They do throw it a little bit more than most triple teams do.”

 

On if he’s changed the way he interacts with the players due to the way the season is going:

“I’m not any different than at any time. You’re real with the players. I told them after the game it was a great effort, but at the end of the day, it’s about winning. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win the game in those situations. Very upfront and honest with our guys about where we are and what we need to do to get better. We’re in it together. Those are the things I talk to them about.”

 

On the administration’s continuing support of him:

“It says a lot about Jeremy (Foley) and Dr. Machen from a standpoint of seeing where we were three years ago and understanding, making good decision within our program to see the day-to-day operation and understand the steps you made in year two and why we are where we are right now. And nobody’s happy with that. Absolutely nobody is happy. The expectation level here is to win championships, and we haven’t done it. But I think it’s seeing the big picture, too, and understanding where we are with the program and feeling good, not necessarily where we are right now, but understanding why we are where we are and where it’s headed. We’ve got a bunch of good young players in this program, a bunch of good kids in this program. We’re recruiting extremely well. Things are heading in the right direction; it’s just been a frustrating time for us this season.”

 

On Skyler Mornhinweg as a person and if he changed throughout the week as it became more apparent that he could start:

“Skyler’s really quiet, not a real vocal guy, but then again he hasn’t been asked to be; but he’s a very polite young man. His father is a coach, Marty, who has been in the NFL for a long time and is a guy I’ve got a lot of respect for. Skyler is very cerebral, smart, works at the game extremely hard, well respected by his teammates. As the week wore on, he didn’t really change. That’s kind of who he is. There’s not a whole lot of change in him as far as his demeanor is concerned. I thought he handled it really well. I really did.”

 

On whether he’s concerned or excited for Georgia Southern and the triple option:

“It’s a huge concern just because it’s so different. It’s a huge concern for me, and when our players turn the film on today, they will certainly realize why we’re concerned with what they do. What they do is different. We need to make sure our guys are ready to go at 2 o’clock on Saturday.”

 

On when Muschamp’s concern will change to excitement:

“Our guys will be excited. You can still be excited if you’re concerned. That’s every game for me. We’ll be ready to go.”

 

On what Muschamp needs to see to become more excited than concerned:

“Execution at practice.”

 

On Skyler Mornhinweg’s performance against Georgia Southern:

“I thought he handled the situation very well. We need to give him more, which we will. I thought he executed what we asked him to do. We had one procedure issue coming out of the huddle on a missed call, and that was it. Other than that, we were pretty dead on with getting in and out and getting the management of the game and taking the ball to the right spots. He made some nice throws when we asked him to. He made some good decisions in the game, yeah.”

 

On whether Mornhinweg would have been ready prior to being thrust into the starting job:

“Well, I don’t think you ever know until they play. It’s kind of like asking about a freshman. They may come in with all these stars, but you don’t ever really know until you coach them and see them perform on game day. Until a guy gets out and actually plays in the game, you can’t project anything as far as maybe a good feeling about where a player is. I thought he would manage the game very well because of who he is, and he did.”

 

On having a different game plan against South Carolina because of Mornhinweg’s inexperience:

“I thought the first half executed extremely well, blocked extremely well. South Carolina obviously caught on to some things in the second half. We had some opportunities still. If you go back and watch the tape, we had some creases in the run game we could have hit, could have blocked a little better in some things. Again, you give them credit. They’re a good defense. They came back in the second half and made some proper adjustments. We needed to create some more plays for ourselves.”

 

On what Muschamp needs to see from Mornhinweg to show that he can take on more responsibility:

“Well, again, the offensive line performed well, which gives me more confidence to do some different things. I think that’s where you start. It has nothing to do with Skyler (Mornhinweg). I’ve got confidence that Skyler can go out and execute our offense very well. He did it in the spring last year and in camp when we had opportunities. It’s just hard for a guy who’s been third string to get a bunch of reps, so you really don’t have a database of knowledge to say this guy can do these things. Then when you work into the season, you’re working a lot of scout work, so you’re not really working fastball tempo against a defensive look. But I’ve got confidence in as far as executing what we call, and putting him in situations where he can be successful. I feel much more comfortable about our offensive line after Saturday night with where we are at this point.”

 

On the defense’s lack of causing turnovers this season:

“That's something we've talked about a lot, a ball-hawk mentality. We've gone through and tried to emphasize to our players some opportunities that they had to strip the ball, to take the ball away. We had one the other night on an overthrow. Brian [Poole] had an opportunity for an interception that would have negated a score. We just continue to emphasize the opportunities that are missed in those situations. We have a turnover period every day at practice that we rep through, which we've doing. I think our staff does a really good job defensively of emphasizing turnovers. When I was at Texas, we had a guy named Earl Thomas who had 10 or 11 interceptions and four or five caused fumbles. The next year we weren't as good in turnovers and Earl Thomas wasn't there. I think last year we had Jon Bostic, Matt Elam and some guys that had a ball-hawk mentality of getting the ball. And then sometimes you've got to develop in that role a little bit. I think it's more comfortable of what you're doing system wise. It makes you play faster in some situations. We've played more man than maybe we did a year ago when we had more zone with more eyes on the ball, which I think is another contributing factor, breaking on the ball and having some of those balls be jarred loose in some situations. So I think there are a lot of contributing things. As much as anything, I do think we have missed some opportunities. We've had some opportunities at interceptions that were dropped, and we've had some balls on the ground that we haven't gotten. We haven't had as many strip opportunities as we would like. That's one thing we have looked at as a staff. We've just continued to go back and look at when a ball carrier is carrying the ball loose, this is an opportunity for a strip right here. We've got to take advantage of those opportunities.

 

 “That’s something that when I was the coordinator at Texas we talked about. It just seemed like the ball fell your way at times and sometimes it didn’t fall your way at times. Whoever controls that, it does seem that they come in bunches at times. We’ve had some games this year, Tennessee being one, that we’ve had some opportunities to get our hands on the ball and we finished those opportunities.”

 

On planning to start Mornhinweg rather than Murphy at quarterback this week:

“Well, yeah, exactly. If we had to play today, yeah, that would be the plan moving forward. I’ll probably know more Tuesday or Wednesday. Tyler did some light throwing yesterday, felt comfortable. Not ready for him to practice today. We’ll see Tuesday and Wednesday how far he progresses.”

 

On if the decision to play Murphy is based on his comfort level:

“No. Our medical staff clears people. I don’t have anything to do with it, nor does the player -- other than his input of discomfort. When you have the situation that he has, discomfort is a huge issue in the throwing shoulder. So if he says, ‘I just don’t feel comfortable throwing,’ then he’s not going to play. But our medical staff handles all of that.”

 

On how healthy Murphy has to be to play this week:

“Well, again, that’s up to our medical staff and Tyler. They come to me and say these are the situations. My whole issue with that is, is the player at risk of further injury by playing? If that’s the case, then he’s not going to play. That’s the call that I make. I don’t know about percentages, but that’ll be our medical staff and Tyler talking about a discomfort level. Different injuries are different things. Some guys, if you have ankle or something, there’s a discomfort level with playing and being able to be a productive player. Certainly, this being the throwing shoulder of the quarterback, it’s a huge issue with discomfort if he’s not able to do some of the things he wants to do to put enough spin on the ball to be able to execute.”

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