Muschamp Monday: Morrison out, USC & combating complacency

For the first time since Steve Spurrier’s third year in Gainesville the Gators are under .500. The difference between that season and this one was that Spurrier’s team started the year 1-2 on the way to a 9-4 (6-2 SEC) finish while this season will likely end on November 30 when Florida hosts Florida State.

Florida is reeling through a four game losing streak and the No. 11 South Carolina Gamecocks won’t make ending that losing skid easy this week as they play host to Florida at 7p.m. ET at Williams-Brice Stadium.


Injury Updates

  • Antonio Morrison injured his meniscus early on against Vanderbilt. Morrison was able to play through the injury most of the afternoon but Will Muschamp announced that Morrison would need surgery and is out for the rest of the season.

Antonio Morrison will be out for the season. He tore his meniscus. It’s a radial tear, the same thing Matt Jones did. So, very disappointed for him.”

  • Tyler Murphy continues to deal with shoulder soreness. He will not practice on Monday but is expected to be back at practice by Wednesday.
  • Jeremi Powell will have surgery to repair his ACL this week.
  • D.J. Humphries is doubtful to play this week but Muschamp was not ready to rule Humphries out for the rest of the season.

He’ll be back this season, based on the injury report this morning he’s doubtful for this weekend. He can get into a stance and move and stuff but he can’t press off of it right now. He’ll play before the year is out.”

  • Andre Debose has decided to apply for a medical hardship waiver and will return for his sixth year in 2014.


Combating complacency

  • It’s no secret; this is not how anyone expected the season to go. With no SEC Championship to play for and bowl eligibility looking less-and-less likely, it would be easy for the players to lose focus and become complacent. That is something that Muschamp says he hasn’t seen from this team yet.

I don’t think so. I think we have good core leadership in what we’re doing. I told the guys, and I’ve told them multiple times we’re going to play the guys that are going to practice and prepare the right way, and we’ll move forward with those guys.”

  • Muschamp said that playing time is the No. 1 motivator.


On South Carolina

  • Will Muschamp was asked why he reached out to Steve Spurrier when he was hired at Florida and gave probably his best answer of the year.

Well, he’s got a statue in front of the stadium.”

  • Muschamp would go on to say that Spurrier is a coach who has done things the right way and that he has enjoyed playing against Spurrier when he was at Georgia and coaching against him since he’s been at Florida.
  • South Carolina running back — and former Florida commit — Mike Davis has already surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season. Davis is averaging more than six yards per carry and is a player the Gators must scheme for this week.
  • The biggest player that the offense will have to worry about is Jadeveon Clowney.

You have to prepare for him every snap as far as the run game and the pass game. He’s an explosive player, he’s got great initial quickness for his size, he’s got great power. He’s a guy that has a great combination of speed-to-power, and that’s the most difficult issue you deal with. And he’s got great instincts on blocks. Whether you over-set him, he’s inside. If you under-set him, he’s outside. He’ll use his hands extremely well. Again we’ve got to always account for him in protection and in the run game, and make sure he’s accounted for.”

  • It isn’t just Clowney though, South Carolina has a very tough front seven and defensive line, especially Kelcy Quarles, who leads the team in sacks.

Replacing Antonio Morrison

  • Florida will have to move some pieces around to replace their starting middle linebacker. Mike Taylor will move inside more and Jarrad Davis will get his first start at weakside linebacker.

I think Mike moves into the MIC position, which he’s more comfortable playing probably. And Jarrad Davis is a guy that we’ve been very pleased with. He’s a young player that’s going to be a very good player here. He’s played outstanding on special teams, and when he’s had his opportunities at linebacker he’s played well. So he’ll play well.”


  • Alex Anzalone, Darrin Kitchens and Neiron Ball will also get more playing time in Morrison’s absence.
  • While people point to the linebacker play as a weakness during the losing streak, everything starts up front. The defensive line needs to do a better job of not letting offensive linemen get to the second level.

The key, to me, as much as anything, is keeping guys off the second level. And that’s something we haven’t done consistently.”


Kicking carousel spins on

  • Austin Hardin had the best week of practice last week and that is why he was given the opportunity to kick the first field goal.
  • After Hardin’s miss Brad Phillips was given a chance and took advantage of that but the kicking situation remains an open competition every week.

It’s an open competition every week right now we haven’t had any consistency in what we’re trying to do. Austin hit it the best coming into the game and pushed the first one and then Brad had an opportunity and we’ll evaluate it at the end of this week.”

  • Florida has also gone away from having a short distance and long distance kicker like they had against LSU.


Quick Hitters

  • Florida needs to win two of their last three contests to get bowl eligible. Muschamp said that bowl practices are critical but that the team is only focusing on South Carolina now.
  • Muschamp will continue to evaluate the coaching staff on a week-to-week basis.
  • The team is still looking for leadership but the coaching staff wants the players to lead by example.

It’s not really your voice; you need to do it with your actions. Jon Harrison and Jon Halapio up front have done a nice job for us. Defensively, Damien Jacobs has done a nice job. We just need more guys collectively as a group doing that right now. We need to show it instead of talk about it.”

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC