Muschamp Not Focused on Statistics

Will Muschamp isn't a stats guy. He won't bury himself in numbers after a win or loss. He isn't going to tell the Florida defense they need to keep the opponent under a certain number of rushing yards or push the Florida offense to reach a certain number of yards through the air. There are two stats that he will continue to preach to his team, though.

They are turnover margin and big-play ratio. In Will Muschamp's mind, they're the only two stats he needs.

Turnover margin influences the way he coaches. The defense has focused on trying to record as many turnovers as possible. That's not uncommon from most teams in the country, but the coaching staff, especially those on the defensive side of the ball, has made a habit of pounding it into the player's heads.

It also affects the offense, as the coaches are preaching the importance of limiting turnovers.

"We have to take care of the ball offensively; we have to create and be what we call a ball-hawk defense," Muschamp said. "We've got to be able to get the ball back to our offense. It's a lot easier to score when the ball is in your hands.

"You look at Florida last year in 2010; in eight wins we gained 26 turnovers. We turned it over 13 times in those games. In five losses we only gained two turnovers. Obviously, you look at those stats, you flip that a little bit, you get a turnover here and there, create some momentum for your football team, put your offense in a great field position."

The big-play ratio isn't much different from the statistics Urban Meyer preached. He referred to them as "explosive plays," those going for 20+ yards.

"You are talking about game changing, field-position changing, vertical-field-position changing and gaining momentum in a game," Muschamp said. "We need to control big plays defensively and create some explosives. That's really statistics-wise over the years and the research we've done.

"When I was in the National Football League and since then being back in college, each year as you measure it, the teams that are winning and the teams that are playing in BCS games, turnover margin and big-play ratio are the two things."

INJURY UPDATE: Running back Mack Brown has been cleared to practice, and Muschamp said he "will be worked up to speed." He noted that they have to be careful with his endurance.

Offensive lineman Matt Patchan, now weighing 290 pounds, is also fully cleared to begin practice on Saturday. Offensive lineman William Steinmann suffered from a meniscus tear in the offseason and has been cleared for everything but contact. He will be cleared for contact on August 15.

Long snapper Chris Guido had hernia surgery and was cleared for everything but contact. He will be cleared for contact on August 10.

OFFENSIVE LINE CONCERNS: The health of the offensive line to start camp is important because of the depth issues. Injuries during spring practice caused multiple players to be cross-trained at other positions.

Muschamp said the movement of Ian Silberman to guard has been a natural fit. Jon Halapio at the other guard position "gives movement inside and brings an element of toughness to your football team." Muschamp also said Jonotthan Harrison has adjusted well to center.

Xavier Nixon has "changed his body" and is up to 290 pounds at the start of camp. Muschamp said Chaz Green "showed some flashes" but will be a productive player.

"We need to gel and we need to gel early," Muschamp said. "We need to get five guys playing well together. And you'd like to build that number to seven, eight, nine, ten guys if you can, but build depth on the offensive line of scrimmage.

"We just didn't have enough together to get all the snaps. And, I've said it before, but I really think there are two units on your football team that have to be tied together. And that's in the offensive line and the secondary. The communication, being on the same page with the run and the pass game, and having that gel is very important with those two positions."

DEFENSIVE BACK SEVEN A WORRY: The only sure things at linebacker are Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins. Muschamp trusts them because of their experience from last season, but the issues with the other candidates to play at linebacker is that they didn't see much of the field. Developing depth at the position behind Bostic and Jenkins is one of the main focuses of camp.

"After (Bostic and Jenkins) we haven't had guys that have played in our league and understand what it's going to take to be successful," Muschamp said.

Muschamp met with the secondary before his press conference at media day, and his message was positive and negative. He loves the group's athleticism, but their lack of experience leaves a hole.

"I really like our athleticism," Muschamp said, "but some of (the players) haven't played very much. You have to understand what it's going to take to be successful in this league. But I like starting with athleticism. I would rather start with that than experience if I had to start with one of the two. I feel good about what we've got in the room as far as that is concerned."

Muschamp is high on Matt Elam because of his experience and a strong spring. He mentioned Josh Shaw and Josh Evans as guys who have the physical skills to play safety. Jaylen Watkins also split time in the spring at safety and cornerback.

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