Muschamp: Positive scrimmage


Florida coach Will Muschamp says he's pleased after the team's first scrimmage Saturday. (Photo courtesy of UF Communications)

Published: Monday, August 13, 2012 at 4:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 13, 2012 at 9:14 p.m.

Two days after putting his team through its first preseason scrimmage, Florida coach Will Muschamp had plenty of positive things to say about the Gators on Monday.

Quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel both created some explosive plays and efficiently managed the offense.

Mack Brown had his best scrimmage since he's been at UF and he and fellow tailbacks Mike Gillislee and Matt Jones ran the ball “extremely well.”

The defense produced four turnovers, three coming on interceptions by Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy and true freshman safety Brian Poole.

The defensive front four generated a strong pass rush.

True freshman wide receiver Raphael Andrades made some plays and “he's a guy we need to give more reps to,” Muschamp said.

Overall, lots of positive stuff.

“We had a good scrimmage,” Muschamp said. “For a first scrimmage, I'm very pleased.”

But at the end of his 20-minute session with the media Monday, Muschamp tossed a dose of reality into the positive mix.

The Gators still have a long, long way to go, he said.

“I'm very pleased after 10 practices where we are — the commitment level, the toughness and the things that we identified that were major issues for our football team a year ago,” Muschamp said. “I'm very pleased where we are, but we still have miles to travel.”

When Muschamp was asked which position he is most concerned about, his answer was somewhat surprising.

“Obviously, the quarterback (position), I'd like to be a little more settled, you know,” he said. “Again, my confidence level is overly high in both guys. I'd just like to settle in where we are as far as that's concerned.

“I worry about everything, I guess. I don't know if there is one thing I could say. How much time you got? There's a lot of things going through my mind and there's a lot to be concerned about at this point.

“We have an awful lot of work to do. I mean a lot with the things we have to cover and go over. Situational things as far as the games are concerned.”

Through the first of three scrimmages, nothing has changed at quarterback. Muschamp said Brissett and Driskel are pretty much even statistically through camp, and both are showing they can manage and move the offense.

In other words, the coaching staff is no closer to naming a starter than it was at the start of camp.

“Both quarterbacks were pretty even through explosive plays and how they played (in the scrimmage),” Muschamp said. “They're both completing, throughout camp, right at between 63 and 65 percent of their passes. They're about dead on statistically in terms of attempts, completions, everything.

“I thought they managed our football team really well. We didn't have a lot of procedure issues, alignment issues offensively, in and out of the huddle. We had a good tempo and those are things to me that were very pleasing, especially in a first scrimmage.”

Muschamp said the coaches took the red, non-contact jerseys off the quarterbacks Sunday and will keep them off to see how the quarterbacks react to live pressure.

“We went to a tempo yesterday where we thud a little bit on them, made them a little live,” Muschamp said. “We didn't take them to the ground, but I think it's important for them to feel the presence of the pocket.

“We want them to get a feeling of the pocket collapsing, getting rid of the football and not taking a negative play. Both need to work on that. Both are very good athletes, both can escape the pocket. Jeff has a real good feel for that.”

Along with the quarterbacks, Muschamp said the three tailbacks (Gillislee, Jones and Brown) also had a productive scrimmage, especially Brown.

“Mack Brown had his best scrimmage since he's been here,” Muschamp said. “All three ran the ball extremely well. I'm very pleased with those guys getting the ball north and south and running what we did up front.

“(Brown) ran the ball extremely well, protected well. He didn't do a lot of dancing. He stuck his foot in the ground and got north and south, which is something he can do very well. He's a strong guy, he's got a strong lower body. That was very pleasing.”

Muschamp also singled out Andrades, a late addition to the 2012 recruiting class who was not highly rated by the recruiting services.

“Raphael Andrades had a good day,” Muschamp said. “He caught a bubble screen and made a couple guys miss. He caught a ball down field, a 50-50 jump ball.

“I know he's only a two-star guy and he's not supposed to be a good player. We had the guy in camp. He's got great ball skills, judges the ball well, catches the ball well. He's a guy we need to give more reps to.”

Overall, it was a promising first scrimmage, but Muschamp pointed out that it wasn't all positive.

The offense turned the ball over four times and the offensive line protection was spotty at times.

“Disappointed with ball security,” Muschamp said. “We can't afford that to happen. Three interceptions. Those are turnovers we can't afford to have.

“We need to work on some things up front in protection. But for a first scrimmage, very pleased.”

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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