Muschamp Optimistic About Practice Time

Florida isn't used to fighting for bowl eligibility. When the Gators secured that with a win over Furman in mid-November, the excitement from head coach Will Muschamp about playing in the game equaled his optimism about gaining extra practices. That excitement didn't change when Florida accepted its invitation to the Gator Bowl against Ohio State.

For a young team, the extra time on the practice field is important. The Gators struggled with penalties, some undisciplined, throughout the course of the year. The extra practice period gives them a chance to eliminate those.

For a young team, the extra time on the practice field is important. The Gators struggled with penalties, some undisciplined, throughout the course of the year. The extra practice period gives them a chance to eliminate those.

Will Muschamp estimated that the roster is over 70% freshmen and sophomores, and after their first season under a new coaching staff, the extra bowl practices will also give them a chance to become more comfortable with the schemes on both side of the ball before next season.

"As much as anything, you get another spring practice," Muschamp said. "The reps start to take over. The 300th rep is better than the 200th. That's where we're getting with our football team. We need to improve on the offensive side of the ball, get better on special teams and play more consistent defensively.

"The more practice time you get, the better you're going to get and the more you'll improve. We need to get stronger, and we need to get more mentally tough."

INJURY UPDATE: Sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley will have ACL surgery on Wednesday and miss the Gator Bowl. Muschamp called the injury unfortunate, but "he'll be back and ready to go for us."

Muschamp also said that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will have hip surgery after the bowl game.

MAROTTI GONE: Muschamp also announced on Sunday night that strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti has left the program to join Urban Meyer at Ohio State. He also noted that the Florida coaching staff has remained in tact outside of Marotti, despite some assistants having other opportunities.

Muschamp was out recruiting when he joined the Gator Bowl teleconference on Sunday night, so he hasn't had much time to look into replacing Marotti.

"I'm going to take my time on that," Marotti said. "That's a critical hire. Mickey did a great job at the University of Florida. We need to get stronger and more physically and mentally tough. It starts in the weight room. That's a critical hire for me."

RECRUITING: Florida coaches have been on the road seeing prospects since the end of the Florida State game. Muschamp isn't allowed to speak about specific prospects until they sign in February, but he is optimistic with how recruiting is going so far.

"It's going great," Muschamp said. "Recruiting is going outstanding. First of all, you're recruiting to the University of Florida. It's a great school, campus and tradition. It's a great, hard working staff. Players can very easily see where we're heading with this."


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