Players say they have Muschamp’s back


Florida coach Will Muschamp and Gators get ready to take to the field against Georgia at EverBank Field in Jacksonville on Saturday.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, November 4, 2013 at 3:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 4, 2013 at 3:37 p.m.

There may be a lot of grumbling and grousing going on in Gator Nation over the job Will Muschamp is doing this season, but the Florida players are standing by their coach.

“He’s a high-energy guy. He always has our backs,” quarterback Tyler Murphy said Monday. “He takes a lot of the blame for things. As players, when somebody takes the blame for everything, you want to work hard because we’re the ones out there playing.

“To see somebody like that who really has our backs means a lot. We try to put it all on the field for a coach like that.”

Senior defensive back Jaylen Watkins said the players have Muschamp’s back.

“Just because the way he fights for us, no matter what,” Watkins said. “He takes all the blame, and we're the ones out there playing. A lot of times, he puts in the right (place), we know he's got the right scheme for us. We're just, a lot of times, out of place or something. We definitely love the support he gives us, and we're going to support him right back."

It doesn’t sound like Muschamp is in danger of losing this team, something that has been speculated about among disgruntled fans on the Internet.

“Guys are just pointing fingers at themselves,” Murphy said. “Nobody is really pointing fingers at other people. Everybody is looking at themselves in the mirror and trying to fix what they’re doing wrong. There’s no finger-pointing other than people are pointing it back at themselves.”

Murphy said he feels the fans have not given up on this team.

“Just talking to fans that I know personally, they're still supporting us and they're still very encouraging,” he said. “I'm sure we'll have a good show out and people will still come support us (Saturday against Vanderbilt). But we can't really focus on that. We have to focus on beating Vandy, whether there's nobody in the crowd or all 90,000."

Humphries will sit again

Starting left tackle D.J. Humphries will miss his second consecutive game with a sprained knee, Muschamp said. Humphries injured his knee during practice last week.

“D.J. Humphries will be out this week, but other than that we should be fine,” Muschamp said.

For perhaps the first time this season, the Gators are coming out of a game without any new injuries.

Flags keep on flying

As has happened in all three of his seasons at UF, Muschamp continues to be questioned about all the penalties his team is committing. The Gators were penalized seven times for 70 yards in the Georgia loss.

“It’s something we coach every day,” he said. “Obviously, we’re not doing a very good job. It’s something we emphasize, something we talk about.

“We talked about this being an emotional game. There’s going to be some things that we’ve got to learn to walk away from in those situations. It’s something I’m going to address with the team again today.”

Two young LBs coming on

Muschamp said he does not anticipate any lineup changes at linebacker, but that true freshmen Jarrad Davis and Alex Anzalone likely will see more playing time down the stretch.

“Jarrad Davis is a guy we need to play a little bit more,” Muschamp said. “Right now, I think that Antonio (Morris) and Mike (Taylor) have been solid. We’ll get Darrin (Kitchens) back in there and get him more reps inside.

“Alex Anzalone is a guy that keeps coming along. We’ve got to continue to press him to get more (playing time). Neiron Ball has been playing on the outside. He’s a guy that plays inside in sub situations. That combination of guys, and play Jarrad Davis more.”

Thumbs up for Brown, OL

Muschamp said he was pleased with the performance of the offensive line in the Georgia game and the play of offensive tackle Trenton Brown, who was making his first start.

“Well, I thought we improved and I thought Trenton did some nice things,” Muschamp said. “He’s a big man. He’s a large body. It’s hard to get on the edges on him. I thought he protected. They had him one time on the hold, which was a good call.

“But again, for a first start and going in that environment, I thought he played well.”

Fulwood a factor

True freshman wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood is starting to emerge as a factor in the passing game. He caught two passes for 22 yards in the Georgia game and now has six receptions on the season.

“He's going to be a good football player,” Muschamp said. “He's got to continue to play fast and block well on the perimeter. He did a nice job for us. He's going to be a really good player.

“I think he played 28, 30 snaps the other day. So he’s continuing to get more snaps as we move forward.”

Kickoff time at South Carolina

CBS is using its six-day window for Nov. 16 games. The network will decide this weekend between the Georgia-Auburn or the Florida at South Carolina game for the 3:30 p.m. slot.

If the Gators don’t play at 3:30, the game will be played at 7 p.m. (ESPN2) or 7:45 p.m. (ESPN).

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