Notebook: Dooley vs. Muschamp
Published: Monday, September 12, 2011 at 11:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 12, 2011 at 11:24 p.m.
GAINESVILLE — Earlier this year, Derek Dooley said he and good friend Will Muschamp talked almost every week last season.
On the Monday before they meet for the first time as opponents, Muschamp was asked if he still talks with the Tennessee coach now that he's the head coach at Florida.
“Not much now,” he said.
The two will put friendship aside on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., in The Swamp.
“He is going to want to whip me pretty good, and I'm going to want to whip him pretty good,” Dooley said Monday to the Tennessee media. “That's how it goes.”
It's a subplot Muschamp doesn't seem to want to talk about. But Dooley went into more detail.
“Will is a Georgia guy like me,” Dooley said. “We had a lot of mutual friends even before he and I became friends, and of course our first time working together was in 2001 at LSU and we had a lot of success there the four years we were there together. ... We had a good run there and went to the Dolphins together. Like any assistant coaches, we were both coming up through the ranks as young coaches at that time so we had a lot in common and developed a relationship.
“He left a year early to go to Auburn, he left Miami and that was the extent of it. We stayed in touch and we talked quite a bit when he was at Texas and I was at Louisiana Tech, and even last year we stayed in touch.”
Muschamp's competitive side will rule the day when the two old chums meet again.
“You'd rather not (play against a friend),” he said. “The bottom line on Saturday is that he's going to do the best job he can for his team, and I am for mine.”
Fans who watched the Florida-UAB broadcast on FSN may have caught an irate Muschamp in an interview before he left the field for halftime. He was asked about his team's plethora of penalties.
“Well, we're gonna talk to the them in here,” he said Saturday. “We've got too much running our mouth. We need to start playing football. That makes me sick.”
A calmer Muschamp explained what happened on Monday.
“Well again, you see some things obviously that you don't like,” he said. “Then the official comes and says we got a lot of chatter going on. So that's my job to handle that. So I walked in at halftime and told them, ‘Do the talking with your helmet. Shut up. Play the game.' That's really all it is. Guys that want to run their mouth all the time generally aren't playing very good, in my opinion.”
Injury, roster updates
Muschamp said the team would be “trying to get A.C. Leonard back” for some work in practice on Monday. The true freshman tight end was second on the depth chart before tearing the meniscus in his left knee early in fall camp. When he had arthroscopic surgery on Aug. 10, the prognosis was for a 6-8 week recovery.
Cornerback Jeremy Brown continues to be questionable-to-probable with a knee injury suffered in mid-August. “The injury obviously is much more severe than we had first thought,” Muschamp said. “He worked extremely hard through the week, and we feel like he could give it a go this weekend.”
Muschamp also said running back Jeff Demps (shoulder) and tight end Jordan Reed (ankle), who were hurt in the UAB game, “should be fine.”
The head coach also revealed that wide receiver Stephen Alli missed the UAB game with a hamstring injury. He said defensive end Lynden Trail did not dress last Saturday because he “just needs to play better.”
The Southeastern Conference gave offensive player of the week honors to Tennessee sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray, who was 34-of-41 passing for a career-high 405 yards in a 45-23 home win over Cincinnati last Saturday. Florida running back Chris Rainey (162 yards of total offense) and place-kicker Caleb Sturgis (3-for-3 on field goals, 4-for-4 on extra points) were also recognized by the league for outstanding performances in UF's 39-0 home win over UAB.
Muschamp announced team awards for: Rainey (offensive player of the week), Lerentee McCray (defensive player of the game), Darren Kitchen (special teams player of the game), Dan Wenger (Scrap Iron award, his second straight), Andre Debose (Big Play award), Mike Gillislee (Extra Effort award) and Matt Elam, Jabari Gorman and Marcus Roberson (Ball Hawk awards). The Scout team players of the week were: Tim Clark (offense), Jason Traylor (defense) and Loucheiz Purifoy (special teams).
Florida has a six-game winning streak against Tennessee, the longest for UF in the series. In each of those six games, the Gators have held the Vols to 20 or fewer points. ... CBS will televise UF-UT for the 16th year in a row. The broadcast crew will consist of Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (color commentary) and Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter). ... Florida's honorary team captain will be former All-American defensive lineman Jack Youngblood (1968-70), who is in the Gators' ring of honor as well as the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Contact Jeff Barlis at (352) 374-5066 or firstname.lastname@example.org and follow at http://Twitter.com/JeffBarlis
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.