Gators working through pressure
Published: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 1:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 1:29 p.m.
Losing four games in a row and falling to 4-5 on the season brings a lot of pressure to bear on UF coach Will Muschamp. But he said it has not taken a personal toll on him. Not yet.
* What: Florida (4-5, 3-4 SEC) and South Carolina (7-2, 5-2).
* When: 7 p.m. Saturday.
* Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.
* TV/Radio: ESPN2/WRUF.
* Information: Visit www.gatorsports.com.
"I'm fine. I'm a football coach," Muschamp said Monday. "I go to work every day trying to find ways to get this football team better and get them to improve on how we play. That's part of your job whether you're 9-1 or you're where we are.
"It's frustrating. It's very frustrating, but you work and people are dependent on you to do a good job. Do a good job for the players and do a good job for the university — that's my job."
Muschamp isn't the only coach under pressure and getting criticized by some in Gator Nation. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease is basically in the same line of fire.
But, he too, is holding up OK, according to quarterback Tyler Murphy.
"They're both great guys, they're both working very hard," Murphy said. "They put in a lot of hours. They've done a great job. Last year, we were one game away from a national championship, so things just aren't going well. But they are two guys that continue to work hard and coach their butts off.
"No, (Coach Pease) has not changed a bit. He's still working hard, still coaching hard. He still treats everyone the same. He's upset with how we're performing and that we're losing, but he's still working hard day in and day out."
Murphy said there is pressure on the players to make sure they stick together and don't let the team fracture during this tough time.
"We have to make sure we stay on top of each other and make sure nobody gives up on the season because we still have three games," Murphy said. "Things can get a lot worse if we do that stuff. We have to keep things going and try to find a way to pull out two of these next three so we can make a bowl game."
Murphy said the Gators seem to want to fight on.
"We feel confident that we can definitely go into South Carolina and win," he said. "But it's not going to be easy. We're going to have to have a great week of practice and show up on Saturday and execute and do the things we have struggled with throughout the season.
"We're going to have to have a lot of things come together and we're probably going to have to play our best game of the year. I'm going to make sure guys are focused and not giving up on the season."
The few, the proud
Muschamp said some team leaders have emerged during this trying season, and he's looking for more to step up.
"It's not really your voice, you need to do it with your actions," Muschamp said. "(Center) Jon Harrison and (offensive guard) Jon Halapio up front have done a nice job for us. Defensively, (tackle) Damien Jacobs has done a nice job.
"We just need for guys collectively as a group doing that right now. We need to show it instead of talk about it."
Injured wide receiver/kick returner Andre Debose is going to return for a sixth season in 2014, Muschamp said.
"Yeah, he's coming back," Muschamp said.
Debose, one of the SEC's top kick returners, was battling for a starting role at wide receiver before he went down with a torn ACL early in preseason camp. He is still recovering from surgery and might be available for spring practice.
Debose will have to petition the NCAA for a sixth year. The fifth-year senior qualifies because he also missed his true freshman season with a hamstring injury that required surgery.
White makes a move
Running backs coach Brian White has made the move from the press box to the sideline for games. He started doing that during the Missouri game.
"He moved down," Muschamp said. "Just with the youth at running back, we felt like he needed to be on the field to make sure we're getting the communication with those guys."
Robbie Andreu is a Gainesville Sun staff writer.
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