Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media Monday afternoon at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to discuss the upcoming rivalry game against the Tennessee Volunteers, update the injury status of several players and players of the week after the UAB game.
Muschamp wants more production from Ronald Powell
It’s well documented that Ronald Powell was the No. 1 recruit in the nation his senior year of high school and a lot has been expected of the talented sophomore. Muschamp, however, said he wants to see more production from the 6-foot-4, 248-pound defensive end/linebacker.
“We’d like to have some more production,” Muschamp said of Powell. “As far as affecting the quarterback, he had a couple nice hits the other night. I think he’s playing well at the point of attack in the run game but just need a little more production. I talked to him about it yesterday as far as just being a more productive player as far as some of those things like sacks and hits and those things – we need to be a little bit more.”
Muschamp talks Tennessee
Muschamp said his players had a different buzz about them after the 39-0 victory over UAB Saturday night because it was Tennessee week. Muschamp gave a quick synopsis of Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and the rest of the Volunteer team.
“Tyler Bray has played really good football,” Muschamp said. “He’s completed close to 80-percent of his passes. They went to him the latter part of last year and they really turned around their offense as far as their production was concerned.”
“They have explosive playmakers outside in Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers,” he continued. “Both guys that can stretch the field vertically, very good with the ball after the catch. Guys you got to account for. They are going to run the football, they are going to be balanced in what they do with the play-action and things.”
Muschamp also talked about the Tennessee defense.
“Defensively, I got a lot of respect for Justin Wilcox and what he’s done defensively,” he said. “He’s a really good football coach. He’s got his guys playing hard, playing fast, and playing physical. They’re in the right spots as far as what they are doing defensively.”
‘So You Think You Can Dance’
Sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley dances on the field, he dances on the sidelines, and well, he dances just about everywhere. So what does his head coach think about all this dancing?
“I think every player is different,” Muschamp said. “Obviously as long as it’s within the rules, as long as he’s not doing anything to taunt the opponent then I’m fine with that. I want guys to be who they are.”
It’s clear to see that Easley is set on former Florida and Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith’s ‘Dancing With the Stars’ title.
Muschamp on “vanilla” defense
The Gators have not blitzed a whole lot in the first two games this year. Muschamp was asked if this vanilla defense was because he didn’t want to show too much before the Tennessee game.
“I think as you approach each game, we approach to do what we have to do to win the football game,” Muschamp said. “When the game also gets to a certain score, there comes a point where you need to execute and especially when we start to trying to play some younger players. A lot of times they don’t handle some things as well as other so we try to base down and play what we play.
“The worst thing you can do when you are up 25-0 in the third quarter is to give up a big play. Obviously the game changes how you call the game. So I wouldn’t say we’ve tailored anything. We’ve installed to win the game and do what we got to do to win the game.”
Spread offense vs. new pro-style offense
Muschamp said new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has done a nice job of installing his new pro-style offense while at the same time, keeping some elements of last year’s spread offense.
“I think you see some elements here and there that they are familiar with in the run game, especially last Saturday,” he said. “That’s one thing that Charlie and our offensive staff have done a really nice job of – identify what we do well and make sure we accentuate the things we do well as opposed to plugging them in to our system and saying this is what we are. Learn it.”
Muschamp said running back Jeff Demps and tight end Jordan Reed should be fine for Saturday. Defensive back Jeremy Brown will try to give it a go this week, but is still questionable. Stephen Alli missed Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury, and his playing status for Tennessee is uncertain.
Muschamp also said freshman tight end A.C. Leonard is close to coming back and was going to get some work done with Leonard on Monday.
As for redshirt redshirt freshman defensive end Lynden Trail, he didn’t dress in Saturday’s game against UAB.
“Lynden just needs to play better,” Muschamp said.
Offensive Player of the Week – Chris Rainey (164-yards of offense and one touchdown)
Defensive Player of the Week – Lerentee McCray
Scrap Iron Award – Dan Wenger
Extra Effort Award – Mike Gillislee
Ball Hawk Awards – Matt Elam, Jabari Gorman, and Marcus Roberson
Special Teams Player of the Game – Darrin Kitchens
Big Play Award – Andre Debose
Scout Team Player of the Week: Jason Traylor, Loucheiz Purifoy, and Tim Clark
Gator Country football and recruiting analyst Derek Tyson can be reached at Derek@GatorCountry.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at DerekTysonGC.