Open date: Gators to work


Florida head coach Will Mushcamp after the Gators 38-0 win over Kentucky at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, September 22, 2012.

Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012 at 7:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 23, 2012 at 7:51 p.m.

The Florida Gators certainly are happy about their perfect start to the season, but they do not sound content. That's why it's expected to be a busy bye week for this 4-0 team that has already secured three SEC victories.

Facts

Up next:

Who: No. 3 LSU (4-0) at No. 11 Florida (4-0)
When: Oct. 6, time TBA
TV/radio: TBA/WRUF

After taking today off, the Gators will go back to work on the practice field Tuesday. The focus will not be on LSU, it will be on Florida.

“We're going to work on Florida, No. 1,” UF coach Will Muschamp said on his Sunday television show. “That's the first thing we need to do. We need to improve ourselves. The players will be off (today) and the coaches will be recruiting.

“Tuesday and Wednesday will be strictly on the things we've got to improve. Third down. Red Zone. Short yardage. Really look and study ourselves just like the opponents do.

“You really want to do what I call quality control self-scout of what you are right now, what tendencies do you have offensively, defensively and special teams. Then, LSU will be our first day on Thursday.”

Perhaps one of the best things to come out of Saturday's 38-0 victory over Kentucky is the fact the Gators were far from flawless and now will have things to work on during the bye week.

UF was sporadic at times on offense Saturday, and once again, the Gators hurt themselves with penalties.

“We've got a lot of things we need to correct as far as penalties, and I know we've been saying that for two years it seems like,” Muschamp said. “There are a lot of things we have to tie up with our football team.

“We are improved. It's good to be 4-0. The best thing about it is you have a chance to be 5-0.”

Muschamp said after Saturday's victory that this is a different 4-0 than last year's 4-0 team that then went winless in October.

One of the biggest differences, Muschamp said, is the Gators have much better depth than last season. That was evident Saturday.

Despite missing four starters and starting two true freshmen (end Jonathan Bullard and linebacker Antonio Morrison), the defense pitched UF's first SEC shutout since 2001.

On offense, the Gators were able to overcome the loss of one of its biggest playmakers. Fullback/slot receiver Trey Burton experienced back spasms and could not play Saturday. With Burton out, quarterback Jeff Driskel spread the workload, completing passes to 10 different receivers.

“We had some guys step up,” Muschamp said. “We've got a saying around here,' Man down, man up.' We had some guys step up and play well. We're a deeper team than we were a year ago.

“A huge part of being successful in this league is having depth and developing your roster. We've been able to do that short term. We need to continue to do that.”

Muschamp also said Florida is a better team than last season, but that the Gators still have a long way to go, especially with the tough October schedule coming up (LSU, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Georgia).

“We're excited about where we are, but let's be realistic, we have a lot of improvement to do with our football team in all three phases,” he said. “The great thing is our guys have worked. Our guys understand what it takes to be successful. They realize we have some work to do.”

Muschamp said he expects Burton to “be fine” and return this week. There's also a chance that linebacker Jelani Jenkins (thumb) and offensive tackle Chaz Green (ankle) will return for the Oct. 6 LSU game.

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

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