Notebook: Florida vs. Miami game a sellout

The Miami Hurricanes football team warms up to face opponent Georgia Tech last season on Oct. 22 at Sun Life Stadium. UM typically draws less than 50,000 fans to Sun Life Stadium (76,854). But the 'Canes usually sell out home games against UF and Florida State. Saturday's game is a sellout. (The Associated Press)

Published: Monday, September 2, 2013 at 5:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 2, 2013 at 5:21 p.m.

With a large Florida alumni base in south Florida, the Gators will get plenty of support when they make the trip to Miami this weekend. But the coaches and players may have a hard time seeing and hearing their fans at Saturday's game.

That's because of where the UF fans will be sitting.

Miami allotted UF 12,500 tickets for Saturday's game. But of that number, only 800 are located in the lower bowl of Sun Life Stadium.

So, unless a significant number of Gator fans bought their tickets through the UM ticket office, the Gators are going to have to look up high in the stadium to see their fans.

UM typically draws less than 50,000 fans to Sun Life Stadium (76,854). But the 'Canes usually sell out home games against UF and Florida State. Saturday's game is a sellout.

Happy the way it is

Because it is Miami week, Will Muschamp, of course, was asked if he'd like to see Miami become a regular opponent on UF's schedule.

“I think our schedule is what it is,” Muschamp said. “You guys keep wanting to add the Packers and everybody else. I'm kind of happy where it is right now.

“It's been so unsettled just because I know (UF athletic director) Jeremy (Foley) and the guys have been dealing with the SEC schedules moving forward whether we are staying (with eight league games or going to nine). I don't know that all those things have been defined as of yet.”

Experience in the rivalry

As a young kid, growing up in Gainesville a huge Gator fan, Muschamp has experienced the UF-UM rivalry firsthand.

He said Monday he went to several UF-UM games and was sitting in the north end zone in 1982 when fullback James Jones made his now legendary one-handed touchdown catch to give the Gators a come-from-behind 17-14 win over the 'Canes.

“That was a game that when it was in Miami, I remember watching or listening on the radio, and then obviously when it was here in Gainesville I was trying to get in the stadium somehow,” he said.

More Taylor to come

True freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor had a successful debut late in Saturday's win over Toledo, exciting the crowd with his 43 yards rushing in the Gators' final drive. Muschamp said Taylor's role likely will grow over the course of the season.

“I think his role will continue to develop through the season. We'll see how much as we move forward,” Muschamp said. “He's a natural runner, he has really good vision. He has to continue to do some of the other things you have to do at the position. But he's a guy we're excited about, no question.”

Muschamp said Taylor has already made strides in improving the other aspects of his game.

“Since spring to now, night and day. Absolutely,” Muschamp said. “No question, you continue to see the improvement. I kind of look at Matt Jones last year. He was a guy early in the year did some nice things for us, then he hit a little bit of a freshman lull.

“When I asked him last week in front of the whole team for the freshmen and the young players, 'What was the difference in you playing more later in the year and being more productive?,' he just laughed.

“He said, 'I was able to stay awake in the meetings. I practiced better. I knew what to do at practice. I executed my assignments and gave the coaches confidence to play me.' It was totally him. I just asked him. Like Matt in those situations, he says the exact same thing you want him to say.”

Muschamp said the point is the young players have shown the coaches in practice that they can carry out their assignments and be trusted in games.

“If you don't know what to do and struggle to know your assignments and if you don't give us confidence on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, you'll never play,” Muschamp said. “You've never seen them do it on that stage.

“Some of the older players, I can deal with them busting an assignment on Tuesday because I've seen them do it on Saturday afternoon. Some of those young guys, I've never seen them do it before. I am young, but I am old-fashioned. You will play like you practice, I do believe that. And you do have to practice here now. That's part of the deal.”

Driskel's ball security

Quarterback Jeff Driskel fumbled the ball both times he was sacked in Saturday's win over Toledo. He lost the first fumble. The second was recovered by offensive tackle D.J. Humphries.

Driskel said Monday he needs to be more aware and take better care of the ball.

“There's gonna be some pressures during the season when we play some good pass rushers,” he said. “We're going to miss a block here and there. But I do have to take care of the ball.

“I don't think I was lazy with the ball, but I do have to make a point to hang on to that ball because two times they were in there and two times I fumbled. Miami's definitely going to be going after that in this game. I put it on film that I put the ball on the ground, so I'll work on that this week and clean it up.”

This and that

Muschamp announced the team awards from Saturday's victory over Toledo. Offensive Player of the Game: Mack Brown; Scrap Iron: Center Jon Harrison, guard Max Garcia and tackle Tyler Moore; Big Play: Brown, wide receiver Trey Burton and tailback Valdez Showers; Defensive Player of the Game: The defensive front of Dominique Easley, Leon Orr, Bryan Cox Jr., Jon Bullard, Damien Jacobs, Dante Fowler Jr. and Ronald Powell; Ball Hawks: Vernon Hargreaves III, Michael Taylor, Easley, Orr and Powell; Special Teams Player of the Week: Mark Herndon; Big Play (special teams): Marcus Roberson; Scout Team Player of the Week: Linebacker Jeremi Powell. Scout Team Special Teams Player of the Week: Ryan Parrish and Chris Thompson.

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