Muschamp Calls Gators Soft

Will Muschamp cut to the heart of the issue Saturday night, and he didn't waste much time doing it at his post game press conference. He delivered a simple message to his team after the game. It's one they've heard for a while. Muschamp voiced publicly his belief that the Florida team is soft and being dominated on both lines of scrimmage.

"We're a soft football team," a noticeably irritated Will Muschamp said. "That's the bottom line. I told our guys we're not a physically tough team, and we're not a mentally tough team. Self-evaluation is tough sometimes, but that's the facts. It's hard to say it. I've been called a lot of things in my life, but soft is not one of them."

The issues with the offensive line didn't come as a surprise. It has happened all year. The Florida offensive line got blown off the ball from the first snap of the game and was unable to create any running lanes.

The Gators tried running outside the tackles early with Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps, but it didn't work. The focus then turned to the middle, trying to return between the tackles. That didn't work either.

"At the end of the day, when you're not able to run the football, you're going to have a tough time winning games against good defenses," Muschamp said. "When you're a lateral running team and can't run the ball vertically at people, you're going to struggle."

The Gators rushed for 54 yards, with 23 of those coming on one run from freshman fullback Hunter Joyer. Rainey carried the ball 15 times for 42 yards before leaving with what Muschamp thought was a hip injury. Demps carried the ball four times for -8 yards. All four of Demps' carries went for negative yards.

Muschamp doesn't believe the lack of a running game has been caused by an inability to be creative.

"We've got to find some better answers," Muschamp said. "We've gone to the wildcat, Trey's package, the I, the pistol and a lot of different stuff. We're trying."

Through the first four games of the season, the Gators weren't having much trouble running the football. They Demps and Rainey had combined for 731 rushing yards in the first four games of the season, but Muschamp now acknowledged how deceptive that was.

"In our first four games, we were a perimeter run team," Muschamp said. "We played against some teams that we had more speed, and we were able to gain the edges. We were new, and it doesn't take long for people to adjust to what you do and how you do it. You can't run laterally in this league. The defenses are too good."

INJURY REPORT: Quarterback John Brantley was knocked out of the game last in the second quarter. Muschamp said he was hit "pretty good" but didn't have an update. Darrin Kitchens was motionless on the field after the opening kickoff of the second half, but Muschamp said it "looks like he will be fine."

Dominique Easley twisted his knee during the game but "should be okay." Kyle Koehne exited the game with a knee injury. A.C. Leonard was injured during the game but Muschamp said he was walking around the locker room and looked fine after the game.

Tight end Jordan Reed tried to go in practice on Thursday, but the ankle didn't respond well enough for him to play.

YOUTH AN ISSUE: In the 12th game of the season, youth shouldn't be a problem for the Gators anymore. However, Muschamp said he thinks inexperience is still hurting this team.

When looking at the roster and the future of the Florida program, that does serve as a positive for Muschamp.

"We've got good young talent," Muschamp said. "We have 15 freshmen and sophomores starting in our top 22, more than anybody in the SEC. Over 70% of our roster is freshmen and sophomores.

"Those are the guys that are playing and making most of the plays. We've got to gain depth and have more people involved. You've got to create competition in practice."

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