Muschamp not concerned with statistics
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 6:41 p.m.
Back in his defensive coordinator days, Will Muschamp was a big numbers guy, a big stat guy. He judged each defensive performance on yards gained, points allowed, third downs converted.
Those days are gone.
Now that Muschamp is a head coach, he doesn't spend much time poring over the statistics and judging performances by the numbers. The only stat he cares about is ...
“Winning,” he said earlier this week. “Winning.”
That's why Muschamp is in such a good mood these days. The Gators are 7-0. And that's why he's not alarmed or stressing out over the Gators' dwindling offensive numbers, especially in the passing game.
“Everybody complains that we have (29) yards in the first half (against South Carolina), but we have 21 points,” Muschamp said. “We started a drive on the 2 and the 3. We also started a drive on our 10-yard line. That changed your calls as an offensive coordinator in that type of game.
“We're not going to do anything outlandish on our 10-yard line and cost ourselves an issue. Every game is different. Every week is different. Every opponent is different. It's about what we need to do to win the game.”
The quarterback isn't complaining — even though he's thrown for less than 100 yards in each of the last three games.
The offensive coordinator isn't complaining, either — even though he came from Boise State with a reputation for his wide-open offense and voluminous stats.
“It's come down to winning games, and that's what we've been doing,” sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel said. “We got the ball with great field position and we took advantage of our opportunities. We were pretty good on third down. That's what we want to do, score points. Forty-four points with our defense is going to win us every game.
“We have some big-time players. We just have to get the ball in their hands a little more and take some more shots (down the field). We took more shots against South Carolina than we have all year. There was an unfortunate penalty that got a big play called back. Omarius (Hines) made a great play (on a 41-yard TD catch). We just have to hit some of the shots we take.”
The Gators did hit their shots in the red zone last week, scoring touchdowns on six of their seven trips there. UF also converted critical third-down plays to keep drives alive. Those crucial stats, along with 21 points coming off turnovers, helped UF pile up 44 points despite producing only 183 yards of offense.
Some fans (and many in the media) seem to be obsessing over the low yardage output.
“If you come into this thing every week asking about yards, I mean, I'm not really concerned about that,” offensive coordinator Brent Pease said. “I'm concerned about winning, efficiency in the red zone, third-down conversions, ball security. You've got to go that route first.
“I'm not worried about yards. We're not going to win any statistical awards this year. I don't think we're trying to. We're not set up that way yet. We're definitely not going to be like West Virginia and those teams that are going to be throwing for all these yards. We're not saying we can't, but (that will happen) down the road.
“You've got to be built a little differently, and that's just our deal. It's all a flow, a game flow of special teams, where you get the ball and you're playing off your defense sometimes.”
At the moment, the Gators are not playing off their passing game. In the past three games, Driskel has combined to throw for only 231 yards — 61 against LSU, 77 against Vanderbilt and 93 against South Carolina.
“I think some of it is development and game plan in situations,” Pease said. “Let me just say this, we could have had more (passing yardage) if you look back through games.
“We've missed some. Rolled a snap back when the routes were there. There's some things that it just came down to our execution, and we didn't get it done.”
While the passing numbers have diminished since the win at Tennessee, one positive has not changed. Pease and the offensive staff have continued to make halftime adjustments that have kick-started the offense and helped to win games.
“Sometimes your idea of what it's going to take can certainly change,” Muschamp said. “One thing that is really good about our staff is we adapt very well when the circumstances do change.”
If Muschamp were still a stat guy, he might be miserable right now. But he's a record guy now — and the Gators are 7-0, so he's one happy head coach.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.