Battered Gators get rest

Florida Gators running back Trey Burton (8) catches a snap against the Auburn Tigers during the first half at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011. The Tigers defeated the Gators 17-6.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 4:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 4:11 p.m.

The open date on the schedule will serve its purpose this week for a young and battered Florida football team reeling after three consecutive defeats to teams ranked in the top 25.


Up next

Who: Florida (4-3) vs. Georgia (5-2)
When: 3:30 p.m. Oct. 29
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville

“The open week is coming at a good time,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said on his television show Sunday, the day after the Gators fell to 4-3 with a 17-6 loss at No. 24 Auburn. “We are a banged-up football team right now. We are short on both lines of scrimmage. We need to get some guys back.

“But we need to improve fundamentally, search for a little more of an identity offensively, continue to make improvements on defense.”

Before the game Saturday night, Florida had starting quarterback John Brantley (high ankle sprain), starting running back Jeff Demps (ankle) and starting defensive end Ronald Powell (reported neck issue) sitting out with injuries. Starting guard Dan Wenger (lower leg), kick returner/receiver Andre Debose (unknown) and kicker Caleb Sturgis (strained leg) joined the injury list during the game.

Florida coaches will be out recruiting Monday, Muschamp said, then the team begins preparations Tuesday for the Oct. 29 game in Jacksonville against Georgia.

“We hope to get John back for the game, but if not, we'll move forward with Jeff (Driskel) and Jacoby (Brissett) and we'll play better on offense and play better around those guys,” Muschamp said. “We have to continue to make improvements defensively and get the type of effort we got at Auburn. We just have to win the football game.”

While the defense improved it's play after losses to Alabama and LSU, the Gators again couldn't generate much offensively, totalling just 194 yards against the lowly rated Auburn defense and failing to reach 100 rushing yards for the third straight game.

“We have to find ways to run the football,” Muschamp said. “When you become a one-dimensional team it's hard to move the ball in this league.”

The UF defense limited Auburn to 1 of 13 on third down and held running back Michael Dyer, who entered averaging 113 yards per game, to 73 yards on 23 carries.

“We didn't win the game, so it wasn't good enough,” Muschamp said of his defense. “We need to play better. We scored six -- we needed to hold them to five.

“There are no moral victories at Florida. We expect to win the football game, we expect to win championships, and, that is my expectation level as well.”

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