Florida’s 30-10 win over Arkansas Saturday night at The Swamp brought out the best the Gators have to offer in some areas, while leaving head coach Will Muschamp looking for some answers in a couple of other categories. Calling it “a team win” Muschamp’s post game press conference offered plenty of insight about the 18th-ranked Gators, who travel to Baton Rouge to face LSU next Saturday afternoon.
Muschamp on Tyler Murphy
- Muschamp was complimentary of his quarterback on Saturday night. Muschamp agreed that Murphy’s arm carried the Gators in the first half until the running game could get going and he spoke highly of Murphy’s poise.
That’s a talent. Having awareness and knowing when to step up. He had a couple of really nice throws across the middle, especially in the first half. He did a good job in the third quarter of stepping up in the pocket. He did a great job of finding the window, stepping up and finding time.”
- Murphy’s legs have also been an additional aspect to his game that has to be accounted for. While Jeff Driskel was a dual threat quarterback as well, Murphy has made quick, clear decisions about when to tuck it and run and when to give the play more time to develop.
When he starts moving and scrambling, you have to match the routes and that’s very difficult to do. You can’t ever account for that and that’s something that he does a very good job of; we’ve become a very good scramble team with Murphy.”
- Muschamp commended Tyler Murphy for being a game manager. He said that calling a quarterback a game manager should be considered a compliment not considered a “dirty word.”
Disappointment with the defense early (again) and late
- Starting slow is starting to become thing for the Florida defense. The Gators were gashed in the first quarter to the tune of 120 yards but rebounded and held them to just 155 the rest of the game.
- Specifically, the Gators were gashed on the ground early, giving up 81 rushing yards on 11 carries in the first quarter.
I’m disappointed in how we played the run early in the game; we got out of our gaps and had guys trying to make plays, but when you play a team like Arkansas, you cant get frustrated.”
- Muschamp didn’t like the way his defense finished either.
I’m disappointed with how we ended the game defensively with some silly penalties. We don’t need to make that part of our game. We played penalty free up until that point, so I’m disappointed in that.”
On the offense
- Muschamp commended the offense for finishing the first half the way it should.
- Solomon Patton had a career game against Arkansas (6-124-2 TD) and became the first Gator receiver to catch two touchdowns in a game since Andre Debose caught 80- and 64-yard scoring passes against Furman.
The two huge plays Solomon Patton had in the first half were textbook of how we want to do that – run the ball, spread them out a little bit, get the ball to the minus forty and then hurry in.”
On Loucheiz Purifoy first career interception
- Despite being one of the most hyped players on Florida’s defense, Loucheiz Purifoy came into the night without an interception to his name. That changed in the second quarter when Purifoy picked off Brandon Allen and returned the interception 42-yards for a score.
I’ve seen that play a lot, but I haven’t seen him finish that play. He’s been in that position and he bats them down sometimes, but to finish on that play and to create some momentum and get the crowd going, the top came off the place when that happened. I thought it was impressive.”
- Muschamp credited Purifoy for being an aggressive player.
On Trey Burton’s 31-yard punt return
- Trey Burton let a punt hit the ground in the second quarter and the Gators were forced to start an offensive drive on their own eight because of it. Burton redeemed himself in the second half with a momentum-changing punt return.
Huge punt return by Trey Burton for 31 yards. It flipped the field for us and he really changed the field position.”
On the win and Arkansas
- As always, Muschamp was very gracious to the opposing team and coach.
Arkansas has a good football team and Bret Bielema does a godo job. They have some good young talent, they play hard, they play physical, they play tough. They’re going to win some football games.”
- Muschamp called it a “team win” and said he was very proud of his football team and of the fans.
I also want to recognize our fans; Gator Walk was amazing and the atmosphere here tonight was certainly a huge part of the game.”
On the kicking struggles
- Austin Hardin missed a kick to move to 4-8 on the year and while his replacement Brad Phillips was 1-1 on field goals, he missed an extra point.
- Muschamp reiterated that the placekicking competition was still open and professed his distaste for how inconsistent both kickers have been.
Obviously, the blocked kick wasn’t a high point, but Austin Hardin just kicked it too low; it had nothing to do with penetration. So, we’ve got to improve there. You can’t miss an extra point at the end. So, obviously, you see a little bit of where we’ve had some issues with the kicking game. That’s a little frustrating but I have confidence those guys. Both of those guys have the ability, they just have to go out there and do it.”