Muschamp Monday: Arkansas, LSU and Death Valley

Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday following Florida’s 30-10 win over Arkansas on Saturday night. The win moved the Gators to 4-1 on the season and 3-0 in SEC play. The Razorbacks gave Florida their first real test against a two-back, physical, run-first opponent and the Gators defense responded — even if it took them a quarter.

Muschamp took time to recap the win over Arkansas as well as look forward to traveling to LSU this weekend.

Injury Report

  • Muschamp said that Marcus Roberson, who has missed the last three games with a knee injury, will play this weekend.

Getting Marcus back this week will certainly help.”

  • Jarrad Davis had a cheek laceration that he sustained last week on kickoff coverage., but  will play this week.

Weekly Awards

  • Offensive Player of the Game: Solomon Patton
  • Defensive Player of the Game: Loucheiz Purifoy
  • Scrap Iron: Max Garcia
  • Big Plays: Trey Burton (2), Quinton Dunbar (2), Solomon Patton (3), Matt Jones, Tyler Murphy.
  • Ball Hawks: Darious Cummings, Dante Fowler, Loucheiz Purifoy, Mike Taylor
  • Hard Hat: Jarrad Davis

Beating Arkansas

  • The Gators won the turnover battle and had more explosive plays than the Razorbacks.
  • Arkansas came into the game with a SEC leading 15 sacks. Muschamp praised the offensive line for holding the Hogs to just two sacks on the night.

I thought we protected well. We did give up two sacks. One was on a shot play down the field and it was a long developing route so we put a lot on our guys in that situation, especially against that front, as well as they have rushed the passer coming into the game.”

  • Florida converted on all of their red zone attempts and is now 9-9 in the red zone with Murphy at quarterback.
  • Muschamp raved about Patton’s play on Saturday and throughout the season.

He’s a great young man, works extremely hard, and has really dedicated himself to developing himself as a receiver and certainly is getting great results.”

  • The Gators not only forced Arkansas into passing situations by getting a lead but the defense also did a good job on first down keeping the Hogs in second and long situations.


  • Cam Cameron has transformed the Tigers from a run-heavy team into a balanced offensive attack. Muschamp coached against Cameron when they were both coaching in the NFL but Florida’s head coach doesn’t see that as an advantage.
  • Muschamp praised Zach Mettenberger for being such and eficent, accurate passer.

Zach Mettenberger is playing at a very high level. What strikes you is he’s completing 70 percent of his passes, but he’s so efficient and effective throwing the vertical balls down the field. He’s very accurate with the ball down the field, and that’s the one thing that jumps out at you watching the tape.”

  • Florida has to stop Odell Beckham Jr., who is averaging more than 20 yards every time he touches the ball (receptions, punt & kick returns).
  • LSU has a talented stable of running backs including SEC rushing touchdown leader Jeremy Hill (9 TDs).
  • Muschamp said that the Gators will face a “typical” LSU offensive line.

Typical offensive line from LSU. They’re gonna get movement in the run game. They do a nice job in protection.”

  • Muschamp called the LSU defense young but talented.
  • Jaylen Watkins said that losing to LSU in 2011 was a low-point in his career and that it would motivate the team this weekend. Muschamp said that getting beat by 30 points would motivate any competitor and that he has a lot of competitors in his locker room.
  • LSU is throwing the ball much more this season but that doesn’t surprise Muschamp.

Good coaches [like Les Miles] do what it takes to win football games, and that’s what he’s doing right now. They’re doing what they have to do to win football games.”

  • Florida players and Muschamp called Tiger Stadium a “very hostile” environment. It will be a true test for the Gators this season.

Florida’s Defense

  • Some teams will have their first team offense and defense practice against the backups but the Gators have starters go up against starters. Muschamp said that “iron sharpens iron” and credits that practice regimen for some of the success on defense.
  • The Gators secondary will have to mix coverages a lot this week against Mettenberger and the talented LSU passing offense.

Defensive football is a lot like war. If you line up in the same spot, you’re going to get blown up.”

  • Muschamp had high praise for Dante Fowler, calling him a “joy to coach.”
  • Mike Taylor, who Muschamp says is tenacious and colorful, leads the team in fumble recoveries.
  • Darious Cummings has filled the void left by Dante Fowler and was singled out today by Muschamp.

He played very well, he really did. He played blocks extremely well. He stayed square on the line of scrimmage. He got good penetration inside. He probably played the best game of our inside guys.”


Offense Improving

  • The Gators have scored on every trip to the red zone since Tyler Murphy took over as the starting quarterback.

We’ve worked in there a bunch in training camp, so I can’t sit there and tell you we’ve spent more time in the red-zone. We’ve spent a bunch in training camp because that was a huge emphasis for us coming into the season. But I think more than anything just taking care of the football, making better decisions. So those would be some things that would jump out at me off the top of my head.”

  • Muschamp called Max Garcia the most complete offensive lineman this season.
  • Trey Burton has provided the kind of production Jordan Reed had last year.
  • Murphy continues to get praise for the way he handled himself while he was a backup.

He was always a guy that really understood what we were trying to do and was always very helpful to young players and Jeff and Jacoby and gave them assurance of what we were doing and confidence. He’s always been that way. That makes him a good player.”

  • Jeff Driskel has been in meeting rooms and was at the team hotel before the Arkansas game.
  • There has yet to be a decision made on if/when Driskel will travel with the team but if he does travel he would not count against the Gators’ road game roster limit.
  • Florida’s improved passing game should begin to open things up for the running game.
  • Muschamp said he needs to see more from the running game.

There wasn’t a whole lot of movement inside as far as what we were trying to do. We did bounce the ball on couple runs in some situations to get some success but more than anything it was just movement inside.”

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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