Muschamp Enjoying the Competition

Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media Friday and discussed some things he wanted to see in the first big scrimmage of the year that took place Saturday. He likes where his team is headed and the competition that is there at almost every position. He is also ready to turn some loose from the comforts of a coach being on the field to see how much they have grasped.

Saturday's scrimmage at the Florida practice facility was to be a little of everything.

"We will scrimmage Saturday and the first groups need to go out and play," he said. "We have a collection of guys that need to go out and play on their own. Not to show them where to shift, where to motion, we need to get off the field and play. I am looking for a good crisp scrimmage. Our coaches will be in the box that will be in the box on game day I think it is important for us to be able to get in that function. We will also rep a ‘coming off of the goal line' situation. We are trying to rep the situations that will come up in the year along with all special teams situations… we are working them all."

Muschamp said there are highly spirited competitive races for several starting spots around the team right now.

"Quarterback is (competitive), the offensive line we have some positions that are being highly contested," he said. "Receiver, we have some guys there that are competing very well. We have a lot of competition at different positions."

As compared to a year ago, the quality of player and quantity at some positions has really allowed the staff to not have to cross train as much in positions they don't like to do that. It has created a lot more continuity at different positions and allowed a faster learning curve for all involved.

"We are putting guys in spots and letting them play and it has been really nice," he said. "From an instillation standpoint we are ahead of where we would be and it is really nice to get guys comfortable in a spot and not double train them. It helps them get comfortable."

The biggest race maybe in the entire SEC this year is the quarterback position at Florida. The battle is supposedly tight and Muschamp says that a decision isn't really in the near future.

"We feel that going into Saturday we will see how these guys manage this thing," he said. "I don't see a decision this week. I want to get two more good scrimmages past Saturday. We will get three good fall scrimmages, let them play, and we will go from there. When the time is right we will know. "

What is going to determine the guy for the job?

"Scoring points, moving the football team, taking care of the ball, those are key points," he said. "We have purposefully removed ourselves from the field and let them manage, because they need to manage the team. I think both guys have done a really nice job of that and have had good moments where they have shined and both had moments where they could be better. I am very pleased with their progress."

When hearing Muschamp talk, it appears that senior running back Mike Gillislee is light years ahead of the others at the position. But freshman Matt Jones is coming on hard and doing well.

"Mike Gillislee has looked really good," Muschamp said. "He is a guy that has done a nice job and I think we are really excited to see him play. I am pleased with what he has done protection wise and catching the football. Matt Jones is a guy that has shown some flashes. I am anxious to get off the field and see what he knows. He runs behind his pads. He is a one cut runner, runs north and south, and doesn't take a lot of direct hits. He has really good hands and is good in protection. Chris Johnson has done some nice things, he sprained his neck the other day, but he is good. Mack Brown has also done some nice things. All of those guys are rotating in and playing.

"In the one back situations, Hunter Joyer and Trey Burton are getting some shots at that as well and Hunter in short yardage. I am very pleased at how that position has progresses in seven practices so far."

It is the same names at receiver we have heard since the spring.

"We are rotating some guys through," he said of the position. "Frankie Hammond is having a solid camp and had a great night last night. Quinton Dunbar has done some really nice things. Andre Debose has been productive. Latroy Pittman would fall in the category of guys doing some nice things. We are also using Omarius Hines in the slot a lot and Jordan Reed in the slot a lot." Jordan Reed is far ahead of the others now at tight end, but Muschamp likes some things some of the others have done at the position.

"I think Clay Burton and Tevin Westbrook have both done a nice job," he said. "Within that role, Trey Burton and Omarius Hines are figuring into it as well. Whether it is in the backfield or slot or the C-area, on the line of scrimmage, those guys will all figure into that role."

With the nation's number one tight end from the class of 2012 on campus and competing, Muschamp isn't quite sure yet on how much and where Kent Taylor is going to be thrown into the mix. When asked if he was more like a receiver for the time being, Muschamp didn't quite go there.

"We play to the strength of our players and Kent is a really good athlete and catches the ball extremely well," the head coach said. "His opportunities will come in the slot as much as anything. It is really early in camp and so I am not willing to step out and say anything about playing time at this time."

The nation's second ranked tight end from the class of 2012 is also on campus, but limited and not working out as he recovers from injury. Muschamp really isn't into guessing what is going to happen with a guy he can't coach yet.

"You always go into the season preparing yourself for what you have on campus," he said. "When you start relying on the unknown, that isn't always a good thing."

The lines of scrimmage have seen some great battle so far in camp. Hopefully a sign of good things to come is the fact that the offensive line seems to be holding their own and even out playing what most perceive as a very talented defensive line that is however dealing with injuries.

Muschamp gives some credit to Brent Pease's offense and how it is able to catch the defense off guard a little bit. "It has been pretty even," Muschamp says of the line play on both sides. "Brent does a nice job of tying in the run game with the boots and the naked (bootlegs) and both quarterbacks move really well in the pocket. When you can do that and change the launch point for the defensive line it makes some issues.

"I thought they did a really nice job. I thought it was even and our offense did a nice job on the goal line and we have to do a better job on the defense."

Muschamp talked briefly about one player that is coming back from injury. Neiron Ball sat out the whole year last year while recovering from a serious medical condition in his head. Muschamp was still all smiles thinking about the possibilities of Ball and getting on the field and the speed he brings to the table.

"Neiron is off a little because of missing the fall with angles and stuff," he said. "A little of his issue is that he is very fast and has to slow himself down in some situations. (He is) doing very well."

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