Notebook: Durkin likes Gators' morale


Florida head coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator DJ Durkin on the sidelines against Georgia during the first half in Jacksonville.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 6:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 6:14 p.m.

Even though the losses and the injuries continue to mount for the Gators, defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said the players are not hanging their heads or feeling sorry for themselves.

Enlarge

Florida head coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator DJ Durkin on the sidelines against Georgia during the first half in Jacksonville.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer

"Probably the best way to answer this is look how the guys responded in the second half (against Georgia) and how they played,” Durkin said. “I think our guys, we have great morale in our locker room. They continue to play hard and fight, and I expect them to do that this coming week and the weeks to come.

“I was really proud of our guys how they responded. Obviously, that first half was not the way we wanted it to go, but they came out and fought and put us right back in it and we had a chance to win the game. It's been one of those deals here, but I think our guys, that really spoke to what their character is and what the morale is of the team.”

’Dores have some talent

Offensive coordinator Brent Pease said the Vanderbilt team Florida faces Saturday is a lot different than the Vandy teams he coached against when he was an assistant at Kentucky in 2001-02.

"Most definitely,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of kids, kids that are recruited highly by all SEC schools, and they’ve got kids that are playing at a very high level.

“And the one thing you'll see, these guys, they play with a ton of effort and they play through the whistle. Good energy, and they get after you a little bit. I think they really are having fun and believing in what they're doing. Consequently, they're making plays."

Big play not on Morrison

Durkin said that middle linebacker Antonio Morrison is not the player who missed the assignment that led to UGA tailback Todd Gurley’s 73-yard touchdown on a screen pass last Saturday.

“That wasn’t Morrison. It was not,” Durkin said. “It was an error in coverage on it. That’s on all of us. Our defense, coaches, all of us all together. We didn’t get it done. We actually got the look we wanted, and it was looking good before the snap.

“We thought we were going to get what we wanted, and we didn’t execute. We talk about it with our guys in terms of executing. Especially executing early on in games. It seems like we’re more honed in, for whatever reason later in the game after we talk about it, adjust it, but early on we can’t do that."

Gators healthy on defense

Since losing star tackle Dominique Easley to a torn ACL the week of the Kentucky game, the Gators have managed to stay relatively healthy on defense, a stark contrast to what’s happened on offense.

“We're great,” Durkin said. “We've got the guys we've got, let's go suit up and play. Our guys have done a really good job of preparing and not worrying about who's out, who's not. We just practice with the guys we have and keep going. And we're actually getting some guys back on our side of the ball, so I think it'll be good."

More PT for freshman LBs

Durkin said true freshmen linebackers Jarrad Davis and Alex Anzalone, starters on special teams, will see more playing time on defense down the stretch.

“The future’s bright,” Durkin said. “Those guys are all talented guys, really physical, competitive guys. And they’re going to continue to play more and more, too.

“They’ve been guys that have been playing on special teams kind of here and there and in situations on defense, but they’ll continue to play more and more.

“And we got a great young cast of players that we feel really good about. Some of those guys aren’t playing right now. For every guy, it’s a different reason, you know. It might be the depth at his position, or just, you know, a guy we want to develop and get another year with.”

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