It’s Florida-Georgia week but it’s anything but typical. Both the Gators and Bulldogs enter this game unranked for just the second time since 1980 and it’s just the first time since 1926 that Florida and Georgia will square off with both teams riding multiple-game losing streaks.
In just his third season at Florida, Will Muschamp is very familiar with this rivalry and he’s yet to experience the taste of victory. Muschamp played safety at Georgia where he was 0-4 in his career against the Gators and is currently 0-2 as a head coach against his alma mater.
Muschamp’s losing streak in the series isn’t the only thing on the line this week. The loser of the game on Saturday will — for all intents and purposes — be eliminated from the SEC East race, while the winner will maintain slim hopes of reaching Atlanta.
- Ronald Powell — who missed the Missouri game — did some running last week in practice and some change of direction movement on his sore knee. Powell will not practice on Monday but Muschamp said he is hopeful that Powell can return to the practice field either Tuesday or Wednesday.
- Tyler Murphy has an AC sprain in his throwing shoulder. Murphy did not throw last week (Skyler Mornhinweg took the first team reps) but Murphy will practice Monday –he may not throw – and will play on Saturday.
“Tyler Murphy looks fine, probably won’t do a whole lot of throwing today, but will be full speed tomorrow. Damien Jacobs should be fine, will not practice today, but will be back in practice tomorrow.”
- Darrin Kitchens (shoulder) is doubtful for the game against Georgia.
- Jeremi Powell tore his ACL on a special teams play against Missouri and is waiting for the swelling in his knee to go down before he can have his ACL repaired some time next week.
- Damien Jacobs (head injury) will not practice on Monday but he is expected to be back on Tuesday.
- Colin Thompson hadn’t practiced since injuring his foot but he was able to do some running during the off week. Thompson experienced soreness in his foot after the workout and he is doubtful for the game Saturday.
“Colin Thompson I would say is doubtful for this time. We ran him (Sunday) a little bit and he had some soreness in the foot, trying to get him back off the injury there.”
Looking ahead to Georgia
- Aaron Murray is just two touchdown passes shy of tying Danny Wuerffel for the SEC career lead in touchdown passes and could break Wuerffel’s record against the Gators on Saturday. Muschamp said the offense starts with Murray.
- Georgia expects to get their starting running back Todd Gurley back for the first time since he injured his knee.
“Todd Gurley’s an explosive runner. You appreciate competing against a guy like him, the way he competes when he runs it. Runs it extremely hard.”
- Florida’s turnover margin is -4 in their last two trips to Jacksonville. Currently, Georgia is ranked 13th in the SEC with a -5 turnover margin on the season.
- Players met with the media before Muschamp Monday. Murphy said that Kelvin Taylor would “definitely” have a bigger role in the offense. Muschamp confirmed later that was in fact the case and that Taylor would “probably” start this week.
“Well we’re working through the week but that’s probably what we’ll end up doing.”
- Taylor has taken some time to come around but he has reportedly stepped up to the challenge since Matt Jones went down with a knee injury.
“He’s a very talented runner. He’s a guy that can certainly do some things in the run game. He’s got great vision and great instincts in the run game. Again, we’ve got a lot of confidence in Kelvin and what he’s doing, and again, he’s earned this opportunity.”
- Florida used the bye week to get back to the fundamentals and worked on making things simpler on both sides of the ball.
“Simplify as far as that is concerned, as far as communication at the line of scrimmage, being able to get to the line of scrimmage. I told our offensive staff, ‘To me, it all comes back to execution. Let’s go execute what we’re trying to do.’ Too many situations where we’re not on the same page against Missouri and what we’re trying to do.”
- Keeping things simple on both offense and defense should allow the players to think less on the field and play faster this Saturday.
“If you take more off their plate, they’ll play faster. That’s really what we need to do at this time.”
Finding the right mix on the offensive line
- The offensive line has been the source of a lot of Florida’s problems. The coaches are trying to find the five players who fit best together.
- Tyler Moore and Trenton Brown are getting the most reps at right tackle but it is unclear at this time who will start on Saturday.
- Muschamp singled out Jon Halapio and Jon Harrison as two offensive linemen who have performed well this season. Other than that, there has been a lot of rotating on the line this past week.
“Well, we’ve repped a lot of guys in there. Octavius [Jackson] is a young player who is ascending and is coming along and he may get an opportunity. As far as that’s concerned he would be the young guy coming along. Trip Thurman has done some nice things inside for us. Kyle [Koehne], again, plays all three positions for us inside and we want to strictly leave him inside. Move Max [Garcia] to left tackle if that’s something we feel like we need to do.”