Muschamp understands fan frustration
Published: Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 6:16 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 6:16 p.m.
Florida coach Will Muschamp said he understands why fans are frustrated.
Gator fans booed following a handful of plays during UF’s 34-17 loss Saturday to Vanderbilt at Florida Field. The loss snapped Florida’s 10-game winning streak at The Swamp and was Florida’s first loss at home against Vanderbilt since 1945.
Asked about the boos on homecoming, Muschamp also offered an apology for his verbal confrontation with a Florida fan in Jacksonville following the Georgia game.
“That doesn’t bother me,” Muschamp said. “I made a mistake last week. I made a real mistake about a very, very passionate Florida fan that was telling me his opinion of me. You know what, that’s fine. They pay their tickets, they can boo all they want. It’s not going to help the program, but that’s fine.”
The boo-birds started when Tyler Murphy threw his first interception and continued when Florida attempted an option-play to the short side on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line late in the second quarter. The play lost five yards, and Florida had to settle for a field goal that cut Vanderbilt’s lead to 17-3 at halftime.
“You can’t really control how the fans are going to feel,” Murphy said. “We just have to keep playing hard and doing our best and we can try to make plays to give them something to cheer for. We just have to keep fighting, keep executing, keep trying to get better.”
Florida senior offensive lineman Jon Halapio said he tends to tune fans out during the course of the game.
“I just try to play the game,” Halapio said.
Murphy checks into goal-line option
Murphy took the blame for Florida’s short-side option play near the goal line. The redshirt junior quarterback said he checked into the play after getting a different call from the sidelines.
“(Vanderbilt) showed a bear look,” Murphy said. “It was a miscommunication between me and the offensive line, and once again we shot ourselves in the foot in the red zone. We got a field goal instead of a touchdown.”
Murphy said the initial play was supposed to be a run to the left side.
“We tried to go outside to the left and it was just the wrong call,” Murphy said. “That’s just something I’ve got to correct and make sure I see the right look before the play starts.”
Redshirt junior Ian Silberman made his first career start at left guard on UF’s makeshift starting offensive line.
Max Garcia moved to start at left tackle, replacing injured left tackle Tyler Moore. Jonotthan Harrison started at center, with Jon Halapio at right guard and Trenton Brown at right tackle.
Moore suffered a compound fracture in his elbow during a scooter accident earlier this week for UF’s third major injury on the offensive line this season. Starting left tackle D.J. Humphries missed his second straight start with a knee sprain, and starting right tackle Chaz Green is out for the season with a torn labrum.
“(Moore’s injury) shook things up, but we practiced this week. We prepared for Vanderbilt like they prepared for us,” Halapio said. “There’s no excuses about the injuries.”
Driskel on sidelines
Injured Florida starting quarterback Jeff Driskel ran out of the tunnel with the team and was on the sidelines during the game. Driskel had the cast removed from his broken leg earlier this week.
Muschamp said it’s “too early to tell” at this point whether Driskel could return for spring drills.
“I would say no right now based on what I was told by our trainer,” Muschamp said.
Muschamp made it a point earlier in the week to talk to his team about penalties. But it was more of the same for the Gators. Florida was flagged 11 times for 84 yards. Linebacker Michael Taylor and offensive lineman Trip Thurman were flagged for 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalties.
“I’m going to have to talk about it with them again this week,” Muschamp said.
Muschamp said he felt the most critical penalty was receiver Solomon Patton jumping offside on fourth down on a Vanderbilt punt in the second quarter. The play wound up costing Florida 36 yards in field position. On the following punt, Florida freshman Vernon Hargreaves III returned the ball 15 yards to the 40-yard line. But a holding penalty moved the Gators back to the 15-yard line, 10 yards from where Hargreaves fielded the ball.
Muschamp was asked following the game if any staff changes could be forthcoming at the end of the season. Florida entered the game ranked 110th in the nation in offense and scored just 17 points against a Vanderbilt team that ranked 12th in the SEC in scoring defense (30.3 points allowed per game).
“You evaluate everything at the end of the season,” Muschamp said. “That’s what I certainly will do. I’ve done that my first two years and I’ll do it again this year. I’m not worried about it.”
Representatives from the Chick-Fil-A, Gator and Advocare V100 Bowl attended the game. … Florida’s 2012 SEC volleyball championship team was honored during the third quarter. … The announced crowd was 88,004, though there were patches of empty sections in the student section at kickoff. … Both of UF’s touchdowns were scored by true freshmen — Kelvin Taylor scored his second TD of season on a 4-yard run and receiver Ahmad Fulwood had his first career TD catch on an 11-yard TD pass from Tyler Murphy. It was Murphy’s first TD pass since Oct. 5 vs. Arkansas. … True freshman receiver Chris Thompson, a Gainesville High alum, made his first two career catches and finished with 13 yards on two receptions. … North Marion’s Latroy Pittman also had his first catch of the season and finished with one catch for 8 yards.