Muschamp: Defense can improve


Will Muschamp talks with safety Cody Riggs on Saturday in Miami.

Rob C. Witzel/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 9, 2013 at 12:08 a.m.

MIAMI GARDENS — One of the bright spots Saturday in Florida's 21-16 loss to Miami was the play of its defense.

The Gators held the 'Canes to 212 yards of total offense, allowed them to run just six plays in the second quarter, forced four straight three-and-outs during one stretch, limited them to 1-for-11 on third downs and to just 50 yards rushing on 28 carries (1.8-yard average).

However, UF coach Will Muschamp was still critical of the unit in his post-game news conference.

“We gave them way too much momentum and belief early in the game defensively,” Muschamp said. “We gave them what they needed. That's on our defense. We didn't play worth a dang to start the game.”

UM scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and never lost the lead. Muschamp was particularly frustrated with the 52-yard TD pass.

“The big play should not have been there,” he said. “We should have made that play. Something we repped over and over again. Certainly prepared for it. So that was disappointing.

“I thought we should have played much better. Alignment, communication, assignment — you name it. We didn't do it very well. Just got very discombobulated, in my opinion, defensively.”

After those scoring drives, however, the Gators shut down Miami's offense for the most part. Florida's fumble deep in its own territory led to UM's third touchdown late in the game.

“That's their job,” Muschamp said of the defensive stands after the first quarter. “Regardless of the situation, they need to play well. We expect that.

“I thought we rebounded and came back and played through some adversity. But you have to create an opportunity for your team and we didn't do it well enough.”

Redshirt junior linebacker Mike Taylor wasn't satisfied with the defense's performance, either.

“If they don't score, they don't win. Simple as that,” Taylor said. “If we've got to hold them to zero, we've got to hold them to zero.

“We just didn't execute. Execution was very poor today. We didn't make plays at the right times to come out with a victory today.”

Taylor refused to cast any blame on the offense for its five turnovers.

“If you point one finger, you've got three fingers pointing right back at you,” he said. “So before you point fingers at somebody else, you've got to point fingers at yourself.

“We're a team. We don't go out there and play as individuals. We as a team wake up and run. As a team, we lift. As a team we do everything. As a team we will win. As a team will lose. As we won last week as a team, we will lose this week as a team.”

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