Early wake up for Gators


Florida Head Football Coach Will Muschamp during practice at Sanders Football Practice Field on the University of Florida campus Monday, August 19, 2013.

Doug Finger
Published: Friday, August 30, 2013 at 12:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 30, 2013 at 12:59 p.m.

Despite some concerns about replacing last year’s starters, Florida coach Will Muschamp is pleased with where his team is at entering the 2013 season.

And he can’t wait to wake his players up for game day.

“We’ll get them going early Saturday morning, I can assure you of that,” Muschamp said during his Thursday night radio show. “There’ll be some blow horns going in the hotel. I’m excited.”

The Gators open their season against Toledo on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. in The Swamp. Muschamp was pleased with his team’s preparation this week, particularly in Thursday’s practice.

“Monday is an introduction day for us,” he said. “Tuesday and Wednesday are huge work days, full gear, working on (game) situations.

“Thursday is a culmination of all that. Our players ought to have a really good idea leaving the field about the game and where we are. That’s really when it all comes to together. We had a really good practice (Thursday), very pleased with our progress.”

Muschamp did, however, express concerns about having to replace the offensive and defensive starters from 2012.

“At the running back position,” he said, “we’ve got guys that I think are talented enough but maybe haven’t done it as much. At the safety position, we’ve got two new guys playing there. At the nickel position, Matt Elam was a great player for us last year. We’re going to have some new faces playing there.

“Depth at linebacker is a concern, and obviously losing Caleb Sturgis. So we have our issues, we have some unknowns. You don’t like those going into your first game. But I do like our work ethic and our talent level where it is right now.”

Muschamp believes some of the additions from his 2013 recruiting class will be able to contribute this season.

He said the freshmen who will definitely see action in the opener are receivers Ahmad Fulwood, Demarcus Robinson and Chris Thompson, linebackers Alex Anzalone, Jarrad Davis and Daniel McMillian, and defensive backs Vernon Hargreaves III, Keanu Neal and Nick Washington.

Muschamp hasn’t made a decision on playing time for running backs Adam Lane and Kelvin Taylor. And other than junior college transfers Trenton Brown and Darious Cummings, all of the incoming offensive and defensive linemen are expected to redshirt.

“Those are the guys going into the first ball game that we’re willing to play,” Muschamp said. “We’ve got some good young football players. We’ll see how they’ll respond when they run out of that tunnel. It’s a little different than practice.”

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