Muschamp Surprised by Furman Offense

As Furman marched up and down the field in the first quarter, the Florida defensive staff was scrambling. The Paladins showed a different offensive scheme from the first snap that they hadn't used in any game this season. The offense the Gators spent all week preparing for wasn't anywhere to be found, forcing adjustments to be made in a hurry.

"They've been a pro-style team all season," Will Muschamp said after . They've been a two-back team, but they went and jumped into the double slot option and had not shown a snap all season. The first series, we were completely scrambling on defense trying to adjust to it. That's happened maybe one other time in my coaching career, but it happened today.

"Once we identified what they were doing offensively, we played a little better. They hadn't shown anything on film."

On the tape, Furman wasn't an offense that tried any tricks. They were a pro-style unit that was balanced between the run and the pass. That held true on Saturday as Furman ran for 233 yards and passed for 256, but it came from an unexpected offensive formation.

"They're blocking certain angles," Muschamp said about the Furman offense. "You've got pressures designed for man coverage and slot guys going in motion before the ball is snapped. It's a very difficult thing to deal with if you haven't practiced it, and we hadn't practiced it because they hadn't had one snap of it the entire season."

Muschamp was complimentary of Furman head coach Bruce Fowler, the former defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt, for deciding to switch up the way the team looked. When the two shook hands after the game, Fowler told Muschamp that his team was trying to find something that gave them an advantage.

Furman even used some trick plays to make it happen. The Paladins took a 22-7 lead in the first quarter when quarterback Chris Forcier threw a lateral pass to tight end Colin Anderson, who then launched a 47-yard touchdown pass downfield to Sederrik Cunningham.

"The safety was supposed to be up top, and he didn't do that," Muschamp said. "He bent down on the bubble pass, and we had a guy run right past us."

After Furman took a 22-7 lead, the Florida defense showed signs of improvement. However, in the second half, Jerodis Williams broke off a 77-yard touchdown run to close Florida's lead to 37-32 and bring Furman right back in the game.

Muschamp was upset with the defensive play call.

"We shouldn't be in a man pressure in that situation," Muschamp said. "You zone the ball when you're up 12 in the fourth quarter. We need to do a better job of letting our kids execute in that situation."

INJURY REPORT: Tight end Jordan Reed injured his ankle and trainers expect him to be out a few days but fine for next Saturday. Lerentee McCray's shoulder didn't respond to treatment this week and he was held out.

Chaz Green and Dan Wenger were also held out from playing. Xavier Nixon got "banged up" during the game, and Florida slide Kyle Koehne into left tackle and James Wilson in at left guard.

It was announced before the game that Josh Shaw wasn't with the team because he flew back to California early Saturday to be with his ailing grandfather.

"Knowing the situation like I do, I felt like it was best for him to go home," Muschamp said. "He needed to be with his family this week. That was the most important thing, not this football game."

DEBOSE PROVIDES A SPARK: Andre Debose has shown flashes of dominance this season, but the consistency hasn't been there for the receiver. His speed can stretch the field and give the Gators a deep threat that has been missing.

He had an 80-yard touchdown in the first half that cut Furman's lead to 22-20, and Debose came back with a 64-yard touchdown in the second half 37-25.

"When we're able to gain single coverage outside, Andre is a guy who can do some things down the field," Muschamp said. "He has done that all season when given the opportunity. I always challenge him on mental intensity and it has to be an every day thing. That's where his biggest challenge is, to go out every day and play hard and focus. He's extremely talented, but if you don't bring the other part, that's all that'll happen for you."

MEYER RUMORS: Muschamp was asked after the game about his thoughts on Urban Meyer being rumored to take a head coaching job next season.

"It would (be a surprise)," Muschamp said. That would be great for college football because Urban is an outstanding college football coach and does it the right way. With his deteriorating health and his family as important as it is to him, I wouldn't think he would."


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