Muschamp On Gator Basketball And More

Coach Muschamp says he's impressed with Gator Basketball. He talks some football too, of course. Find out what he has to say about runningbacks, Ronald Powell and Gerald Christian...just to name a few.

"First of all I just want to give a congratulations to the Gator basketball team. That was a great game last night. It was a great example of competing and playing defense and coming together for a common purpose. That was exciting to watch and I'll certainly be pulling for them tomorrow," coach Muschamp said with a smile

He went on to update us on a couple of injuries that have surfaced during Spring ball.

"We had two other guys that have been out. Kedric Johnson sprained a knee and he probably will miss the rest of spring. Mike Gillislee right now has got a stress fracture in his foot but he's fine and we're going to probably hold him to a certain point. Those are the only injuries we have including Jaye Howard."

Muschamp says, while the injured guys aren't missing everything, they are certainly missing valuable reps in practice. He says getting evaluated by the coaching staff in the spring is crucial in his mind.

"It sets them back from the stand point of our evaluation process. I mean, you've got to get on film. You've got to play the game in order to improve. The spring is very important to me and our staff from the stand point of being in our first year and installing our schemes. You've got to get things installed. You've got to go through the installation process."

When asked how much Gillislee will be held out of practice, Muschamp responded with an answer that outlines the plan for an injured player in the spring. He says, if nothing else, the players that can't physically get out on the field will certainly be there mentally.

"They're getting all the meeting work and all the walk through work which we do a pretty extensive walk through before practice as far as mental reps are concerned. It's not a face-paced tempo. We've taken a lot of guys and put them back in the weight room and lifting. They're getting the film and seeing the film the next day. We want to continue to have guys progress from a strength stand point with other parts of their body if they do have some sort of injury. It's been kind of a case by case situation."

Ronald Powell has already shown the importance of spring ball with his new adjustment to the "Buck" linebacker position according to his head coach. Muschamp says Powell is making promising strides with his new freedom on defense.

"I mean it's a hybrid position from the stand point of being a defensive end and an outside linebacker. So, from the drop stand point he got a little bit of that last year...playing with your hand down and playing from a stand up position. It's something that I think comes very natural to him and I'm very pleased with his progress to this point."

Speaking of linebackers, there's a new face at the SAM linebacker spot. Still, Muschamp says Gerald Christian is spending an almost equal amount of time on both offense and defense.

"Gerald is playing both ways for us right now. He's playing tight end and linebacker. He can be a good player at the point at tight end and he's doing a nice job at linebacker. Again, he's going through a learning process as we all are right now from the stand point of we're all freshmen again. They're going through that learning curve right now."

Muschamp says they are pushing the limits of that learning curve with their players. Christian is the only player currently playing on both sides of the ball, but that doesn't mean other guys aren't learning positions similar to their own. Muschamp wants to make sure he's covered in all areas in case of injury.

"Again, as we continue to progress through spring, our job as a coaching staff is to get the best eleven on the field. You've got to look at different combinations. We're looking at Jon Harrison at center some. We've moved and shuffled some guys because at the end of the day, we're going to have injuries. That's part of your job as a coach. That's why we cross-train guys at different positions. Right now Gerald is the only guy playing on different sides of the ball."

With Mike Gillislee out, the run game has been focused on Trey Burton, Chris Rainey and Mack Brown in spring. Muschamp continues to sing Rainey's praises and says he is showing what being a talented senior is all about.

"I think Chris has had a phenomenal spring. Here's a guy that's a senior. He's played a lot of football, some really good football for the gators. He has really worked his tail off as far as day to day, going in and doing things you have to do to be successful. He really enjoys getting the ball deeper in the backfield to have a chance for his vision. He's got great cut-back ability. You've got to be very gap-sound defensively when he's carrying the football. He can take the ball all the way back. I'm very pleased with his progress."

Many wonder what Rainey's role will entail during his senior season. Will he run the ball most of the time? Will he have a chance to prove himself as a receiver in 2011? It looks like it may be a mixture of those options depending on what Florida sees from an opposing defense. Rainey will be a weapon used to exploit weakness in an opponent's D.

"Charlie Weis' whole philosophy is get the ball in playmakers' hands and create match ups. So, Chris will be spread all throughout the field as far as slot and outside. Depending on how people want to play us defensively, he presents issues. You match a linebacker up on him, well, you've got a match up problem. If you put a secondary guy on him generally we will gain a match up somewhere else. So, he makes you show your hand defensively."

How different will the run game look in a pro-style offense? Muschamp talks about some new looks you may see in 2011.

"You're getting the ball deeper at times when the quarterback's under center so there's a different angle hitting the line of scrimmage. It's more of a downhill running game. Protections are a little bit more as far as what we've put on them than what they've been used to. Those are the things that are really different."

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