Muschamp Challenges His Team

With the Gators eliminated from SEC contention and fighting for bowl eligibility, Will Muschamp is doing everything he can to not to lose his team. He met with the team on Monday morning to regain focus and turn their attention to the homecoming game against Vanderbilt. Muschamp's message was about unity and continuing a hardworking approach.

"I told them that we're going to saddle-up, continue to work, continue to press forward and be technical in our approach about the things we did well and didn't do well," Muschamp said. "We need to understand and learn from the film, and continue to move forward. As a staff, we have an experienced group that has gone through tough times before and understand that part of it. It's our job to bring a young team through this, and that's what we're doing right now. You need to stay upbeat, be technical about the situation of what you are and aren't doing well."

Muschamp won't handle the situation any differently than his team will this week. They'll watch film together and analyze where the team goes from here, but Muschamp was quick to say that the analysis begins with him.

"The first person you look at is yourself," Muschamp said. "Too many people in our society want to point a finger at someone else, and blame somebody else for why something happened. I tell the players that when we play well, it's because you guys did a good job of preparing yourself, and if you didn't that's my fault. That's the way we do things around here.

"You just have to learn that in this league you just better move to the next week. You have another quality opponent on the horizon, so you move on with it. When the season's over you sit down and take a look back, but you don't ever get over a loss. I don't."

INJURY REPORT: Muschamp said for the second week in a row that cornerback Jeremy Brown is the only player out for Saturday's game. Chaz Green is expected to be back at practice on Wednesday after he was held out of the Georgia game with an injury. Mike Gillislee and Caleb Sturgis are expected to be at full speed for Wednesday's practice. Lerentee McCray is "questionable to probable" for the Vanderbilt game.

Muschamp said that John Brantley "seems to be fine" and is better than the staff expected after the game. They are hoping to use him under center more against Vanderbilt.

A.C. Leonard didn't travel to Jacksonville for the game because of a personal issue he had to handle, but Muschamp said he's "good to go."

OFFENSIVE LINE STRUGGLES: The offensive line was already regressing after they allowed just two sacks through the first four games of the year. The Georgia game was the unit's worst performance yet. Brantley was sacked six times in his return to action.

His inability to move made him an easier target for the defense, but the offensive line struggled to keep Brantley from taking hits. Muschamp wasn't ready to give the offensive line the full blame.

"We held the ball one time too long at the quarterback position, we have to get open better down the field," Muschamp said. "We have to do more to help those guys out as far as protection is concerned, formations and different looks. We get into a situation when you're empty – you spread the defense out which is good, but you also create two short edges. We have to continue to help those guys and put them in situations to be successful."

The pass-heavy Florida offense was forced because of Brantley's ankle, but the Gators were unable to get a run game going for the fourth straight game. In four October losses, the Gators ran for just 175 yards. When it was obvious the ground game wasn't working, Florida went another route and relied heavily on the pass.

"It's not about what you want to do; it's about what you can do," Muschamp said. "We need to do a better job of figuring out what we can do, and we haven't done a very good job of that in the last couple of weeks."

ANALYZING THE QUARTERBACKS: Brantley wasn't completely healthy, but Muschamp decided he would start because he gave the team the best opportunity to win. The senior went 12-for-24 for 245 yards and one touchdown. The offense recorded just one first down in the second half, but Muschamp didn't put that on the quarterback.

"Sometimes when you have been inactive, rehabbing an ankle, having an injury before and you come out and you're on it for 60 minutes in a ball game – sometimes you would expect some lingering effects from it," Muschamp said. "We didn't feel like we had any. This is from the evaluation from our medical staff."

The expectation is that Brantley will be healthy enough to start on Saturday, but if not, Jacoby Brissett will serve as the backup again.

"We'll continue to move forward with that," Muschamp said. "We create situations within practice where they are all getting reps. We'll continue to evaluate that. It's no different than any other position. The guy that plays the best and performs the best at practice deserves the opportunity to play. Jeff is a part of that."

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