UF has NCAA's toughest slate


Florida coach Will Muschamp sings with the team after the 27-20 win against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.

Elizabeth Hamilton/Sun correspondent
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 12, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.

Florida has the nation's toughest schedule, according to the NCAA, and is one of two teams in the country (LSU being the other) that have played four teams in the Top 10 of the latest BCS standings.

However, the Gators have two 9-1 teams ranked ahead of them and aren't considered elite by many college football analysts.

Is UF not getting the respect it deserves?

“I don't really worry about the perception of what might be out there,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “Unfortunately, in our profession, sometimes perception becomes reality. I don't apologize for being 3-1 (against opponents in the BCS Top 10) and the only team that has that record and a better record than anyone else and has a tougher schedule than anyone else in the country. So, I don't know what else you need to do.”

Muschamp said he learned last year to only care about what you can control and not get frustrated with the things you can't, such as perception. He wants his players paying attention to the task at hand.

“As far as our players are concerned, we continue to focus on Florida and what we need to do to be successful,” Muschamp said. “That's preparation for Jacksonville State this weekend. You look at our record, you look at our schedule and what we've accomplished this year, we've had a hell of a year.”

Motivation

Despite hosting an outmatched FCS opponent in Jacksonville State, Muschamp doesn't believe his players will have a problem getting motivated for the game.

With a victory against the Gamecocks, UF will be just the third team in school history to go 7-0 at home and the seventh to start a season winning 10 of its first 11 games.

“You don't have many opportunities to run out there and accomplish what we've accomplished,” Muschamp said. “You look at the history of this program and the great tradition, you can be one of three teams that have accomplished an undefeated, 7-0 season at home. I think that's a lot of motivation.”

Haden returns

Speaking of motivation, former Gator cornerback Joe Haden (2007-2009) returned to Gainesville for Homecoming.

Haden was selected No. 7 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft and is now a starter for the Cleveland Browns, who had a bye Sunday. He spoke to the team Friday and was on the sidelines for Florida's 27-20 win over Louisiana-Lafayette.

“The one thing he said that's always resonated with me is … it'll be over before you know it,” Muschamp said. “When pro guys come back, wherever I've been, that's always the one thing they all say. And then the No. 2 thing is you never will have the friendships that you have right now in the NFL because it's a business.

“They don't understand that. It's easy to say it, but the more they hear it, the more they listen. And the more they hear it from guys like Joe, they'll listen even more seriously. Enjoy the relationships you have because they will never happen again.”

SEC honors Purifoy

Florida sophomore defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy was named SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Week by the league office Monday.

Purifoy blocked a punt with two seconds left against Louisiana-Lafayette that led to a touchdown and a 27-20 Florida victory. Purifoy's block was returned by Jelani Jenkins 36 yards for the game-winning score. He had five tackles and a pass deflection against ULL. The blocked punt was the second of the year for Purifoy.

“He's really fun to watch play,” Muschamp said. “He plays with relentless effort all the time. He's got great ball skills, he's got a knack for making plays and (I'm) just proud of the year he's having.”

FSU kickoff set

Florida plays at Florida State at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 24, the SEC announced Monday. The game will be televised on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, with the network to be announced following this weekend's action.

If the Seminoles win this weekend at Maryland, they will be the fifth team in the Top 10 of the BCS standings UF has faced.

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.

▲ Return to Top