Muschamp notebook: Locker room improved

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Last year, Florida coach Will Muschamp would've hoped for the best in the locker room. The Gators lacked leadership and were undisciplined, forcing the Florida head coach to wonder how his team would handle success. Now that the Gators are going through extended success, Muschamp doesn't worry. The improved leadership has the coach expecting Florida to continue handling success.

"Some of my stuff falls on dead ears, and that's where we're a different organization as opposed to a year ago," Will Muschamp said after the 31-17 win over Vanderbilt. "I feel very comfortable with how our locker room is going to be handled now. I didn't feel that way last year. The further you get along, you start to understand what it's going to take to be successful."

The post game comments from Muschamp were similar to the ones from every game this season. Whether it was an ugly win over Bowling Green in the season opener or the upset win over No. 4 LSU, Muschamp has been grounded after all the games.

He realizes the process. While fans and media nationally get caught up in the current No. 3 ranking and No. 2 in the BCS released on Sunday night, Muschamp continues to downplay the process.

"We've got a long season to go with some tough opponents—starting next week with South Carolina," Muschamp said. "I'm very pleased with where we are. Have we arrived? Absolutely not. I mean we have some serious issues we need to work on within our team. I'm talking about personnel, schematic… a lot of things we need to improve on."

The positive for Muschamp after the Vanderbilt win is that he has film to show his players for improvement. He saw after the LSU game that the same opportunities presented itself, and Muschamp felt like the players were attentive to the changes that needed to be made.

Saturday wasn't the cleanest game Florida has played all year, but it showed signs of improvement the Gators will need to clean up by the time the Gamecocks come to town.

"The good thing about our guys is they will work," Muschamp said. "We need to work a little smarter in some situations and be a little more situational in awareness of third down and end of game—not playing soft in coverage and doing some things we have habits of doing. That goes back to coaching, too."

Because it's the next one… it's the biggest one of the year."

OFFENSIVE LINE INJURIES: The Gators got through the game at Vanderbilt with a win after the offensive line got banged up. Left guard James Wilson (eye) didn't travel, while center Jonotthan Harrison (arm) and left tackle Xavier Nixon (upper body) were knocked out in the first half. It gave the backups a chance to get more time on the field.

"We're a little bit of a MASH unit on the offensive line," Muschamp said. "I was really proud of the guys, with as many looks as Vanderbilt give us, to be able to rush for (326) yards."

Ian Silberman earned his first career start at left guard during the game. When Harrison came out, it was Sam Robey that filled in. Freshman D.J. Humphries filled in at left tackle with Nixon out.

The optimism from Muschamp about the offensive line had to do with the running game. The Gators still ran for 326 yards with a banged up unit.

"Extremely pleased to be able to rush for that many yards and have three starting linemen down," Muschamp said. "It says a lot about our guys stepping up. Man down and man up.

"Our center to left side was all new guys. When you run for 300+ yards, we've done something right. Very pleased with those guys stepping up and doing a nice job for us."

Fightin Gators Top Stories