Muschamp disappointed after subpar UF scrimmage
Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 8:50 a.m.
From Day 1 up until Wednesday night, preseason camp has been all positive. The player quotes. The stories. The head coach's comments. The vibes.
Seemingly out of nowhere, it all turned negative for Florida football Wednesday night.
The Gators stunk up The Swamp in their final preseason scrimmage, according to UF coach Will Muschamp, whose post-scrimmage frustration was palpable.
Muschamp went so far as to say that no one's starting job is safe at the moment, with the start of the season a little more than a week away.
“Ain't no doubt,” Muschamp said when asked if some starters could lose their jobs. “We're going to figure it out tonight. We're going to look at the tape and get the guys who want to compete and play hard. The ones that don't … we're going to go to the next guy.”
Muschamp expressed disappointment in the lack of focus and effort of some of his players. He was so discouraged by the situational scrimmage that he said he and the coaches would be staying in the coaches' offices possibly late into the night to try and figure things out.
“It was not a lack of effort,” he said. “It was a lack of focus on what you're supposed to do and how you're supposed to do it. During the two-minute drills guys were walking around. There was no sense of urgency about what we were doing and how we do it and how we approach it.
“Very frustrating. It's not everybody. We got a bunch of guys that do it the right way, but not enough. There were not collectively enough guys doing it right.
“I told the coaches we're going to stay here tonight, we're going to figure it out and we're going to stay here as long as it takes to figure the guys who are going to play hard for the Gators and the ones that don't. We're going to weed them out and go to the next guy.”
Muschamp said there was no excuse for the lack of effort and focus exhibited by some players.
“If you're a competitor and want to line up in that situation and play and play hard and play fast and play physical, you do it regardless of the situation, regardless of the opponent,” he said. “It doesn't matter, you line up and compete.
“We have guys that do that. I hate to get upset about a select few. We just need some different guys in different spots.”
Muschamp said his football team is “very immature” at this point.
He was asked if anyone played well in the scrimmage.
“We had some guys that flashed here or there,” Muschamp said. “(Defensive tackle) Dominique Easley played hard inside. (Defensive tackle) Sharrif (Floyd) plays hard. They showed up to me.
“(Wide receiver) Andre Debose made a nice play over the middle. I hate to single anyone out (who played well). It's hard at this point.
“I hate to paint the brush that there were a lot of guys (that performed poorly). There were a select few. We had a bunch of guys compete and play hard. But you see things as a coach you don't want to see.”
One thing the coaches didn't see much of was starting quarterback John Brantley, who sat out Saturday's scrimmage with a sore back. Brantley took some reps early in Wednesday's scrimmage, but then sat out the rest of it.
“He's still a little sore,” Muschamp said. “He had a good day Tuesday. We repped him a little bit early and had the other guys rep in there. He's still a little sore, but he'll be fine. He was fine Tuesday and fine today up to a point.”
Two other players also missed the scrimmage with injuries — wide receiver Omarius Hines (hamstring) and cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee). Hines is questionable for the opener, while Muschamp said he expects Brown back by Sunday at the latest.
True freshman tight end A.C. Leonard, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery the first week of camp, remains out for the next four or five weeks.
The injured guys may have been the lucky ones Wednesday night. They were not part of the downer of a scrimmage.
“It's not what we were looking for tonight, that's for sure,” Muschamp said. “It dang sure wasn't a step forward. We've just got to get on the film and have a good practice (today) and Friday and come back Sunday night and get after it again. All we can do is coach better and do better.
“Players need to lead. It's their football team, not mine. I wasn't questioning leadership tonight. We just didn't have enough guys mentally tough enough to battle through and play smart enough football.”
It looks like the Gators will be paying for their poor performance when they return to the practice field today.
“We're going to be in full gear and we're going to strap it up and we're going to get after it,” Muschamp said. “It's going to be a lot of fun. I cannot wait for practice tomorrow.”
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.