Gators Preparing for Florida State

This season hasn't provided many positives for Florida. The opportunity to add the biggest positive of the year is coming up this Saturday. Florida head coach Will Muschamp made it clear that a win over rival Florida State wouldn't erase the losses of this season, but it would go a long way to build a positive atmosphere for the team over the offseason.

"I don't know that it would override the losses," Will Muschamp said. "Ending on a positive note would be a shot in the arm emotionally going into a bowl game and heading into the offseason.

"Winning helps everything. It puts everybody in a better mood, and you become a better coach all of a sudden when you win a game. Everybody is a bit more happier and all that."

Although it's Muschamp's first game against Florida State since taking the job as the head coach at Florida, there is still familiarity. Plenty has bee made of the relationship between Muschamp and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. It started early.

They met when Muschamp was a graduate assistant on staff at Auburn while Fisher was the quarterbacks' coach. Muschamp moved on to a full time position on staff at Valdosta State when Fisher went to LSU with Nick Saban. The Tigers had an opening on their coaching staff, and Fisher recommended Muschamp as the new hire for Saban.

Muschamp clarified that the two "don't really talk a whole lot" now, but Fisher is the reason Muschamp got a job at LSU so early in his coaching career. They are both consumed by coaching their teams during the fall and don't speak often then, but they remain good friends.

"When you're in this profession, you have a bunker mentality," Muschamp said. "There are guys that are on the inside and then everybody else. When you coach with somebody, your families become close."

The tape Muschamp has seen on the Florida State offense early in the week has shown a balanced attack that Florida will face this weekend.

"(Florida State) does a real nice job mixing the run with the pass," Muschamp said. "E.J. Manuel is a guy that can run it and throw it. He has big time arm strength to get the ball down the field. They're very talented at the receiver position with some guys that can vertically challenge you down the field."

The defensive side of the ball is where the Seminoles have experienced plenty of success so far. Florida State is seventh in the country in total defense and has speed at every position.

"Defensively, they're ranked very high in all categories nationally," Muschamp said. "They're playing extremely well up front and very athletic. They're recruited well up front. They're deep, fast and physical. They can really rush off the edge."

The Gators will have plenty of recruits in the south end zone seats on Saturday night. It's important for Florida to get the recruits to Gainesville for another weekend and a bonus for them to see a rivalry game.

Muschamp doesn't think the outcome with have any impact on which schools the prospects choose.

"I don't feel like any young man makes a decision based on one game," Muschamp said. "They make decisions based on opportunity from education, football, playing time, coaching. I don't think three hours on Saturday makes a decision for a young man, and those that it does, I don't know if you want them in your program."

INJURY REPORT: Muschamp was upbeat about the team's injury situation on Monday. Dan Wenger (ankle), Lerentee McCray (shoulder), Jordan Reed (ankle), Xavier Nixon (ankle), Chaz Green (ankle), Matt Elam (groin) and Chris Rainey (ankle) are all expected to play Saturday.

WEEKLY AWARDS: John Brantley was the offensive player of the game. Kyle Koehne was the Scrap Iron recipient, going to the best offensive lineman. The big play award went to Andre Debose for his two long touchdown receptions. The extra effort award went to A.C. Leonard, who Muschamp praised for his recent performance.

Jelani Jenkins was named defensive player of the game. Ronald Powel got the hardhat award for some of his big hits. The ball hawk award went to Jelani Jenkins and Pop Saunders for their interceptions returned for touchdowns.

Darrin Kitchens was the special teams player of the game. The big play on special teams went to Dominique Easley for his punt block.

Scout team players of the week were Tevin Westbrook, Ja'Juan Story and Valdez Showers.

REVIEWING FURMAN: Muschamp was upbeat on Saturday that his team was able to get a win over Furman, but on Monday morning, his tone changed. The defense allowed 446 yards of offense to the Paladins.

"On defense, totally unacceptable," Muschamp said. "Tackling is poor, leveraging the ball and lack of communication in some areas. It's just totally unacceptable. We've got some young guys who think you can roll your hat out there and win games. That's not the way it works.

SENIOR DAY: This Saturday will also serve as senior day for the Gators. Muschamp talked about the nine scholarship seniors that will leave and said their accomplishments at Florida are impressive.

The seniors will each get a chance to address the team on Friday night at the team hotel.

"It's a great week for them," Muschamp said. "You look at their accomplishments, and coming to a place like Florida and getting to play here with all the tradition. Nine of them will be graduating in December. That's something you embrace."

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