Gators focused on limiting Shaw in win

The defensive success for Florida was a product of discipline. The Gators went into the game focused on staying disciplined and eliminating the scramble lanes to keep South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw in the pocket. It slowed down the possible pass rush, but it forced Shaw to stay in the pocket and beat the Gators with his arm. He couldn't do it. It's exactly the way Florida drew it up.

While the Gators zeroed in on Shaw and the rest of the South Carolina rushing attack, they trusted the secondary members to play well against the receivers. They delivered a solid performance in the defensive backfield.

"We had a very solid effort and really executed the plan for what we needed to do, and that was stop the run," Will Muschamp said on Monday. "We needed to control the line of scrimmage, stop the run and eliminate scramble lanes, which, a lot of times for a defensive linemen, it's a real unselfish act. Generally, those guys want to run up the field and create opportunities for sacks.

"A lot of guys I've been around have a hard time not wanting to do that. For our guys to go out and execute the plan the way we asked them to do it, really proud of that group. Really did a good job."

The Florida coaches named Dominique Easley the defensive player of the game, but that might have been a surprise if only looking at the stat sheet. Easley had just one tackle, coming on a second-half sack of backup quarterback Dylan Thompson. The game was already in hand when the play happened, but the Florida coaches saw plenty of production early in the game from Easley that earned him the recognition.

"Thought he did a really nice job," Muschamp said. "On the first play of the game they were throwing a check-down to the back and he did a really nice job of power rushing the tackle, which knocked the back off, forced the quarterback to hold the ball a little longer and Loucheiz (Purifoy) had an opportunity to get the ball from him."

The offensive picture wasn't as rosy. The Gators managed to put up 44 points with less than 200 yards of offense thanks to short field position set up by the defense. While the Florida offense has taken some heat nationally for its lack of production, Muschamp was clear to point out on Monday morning that it isn't his team's fault.

It's the hand they were dealt because of the production of the defense and special teams unit. And as long as it keeps producing points, Muschamp will continue to be happy.

"Everybody complains that we have 32 yards in the first half, but we have 21 points," Muschamp said. "We started a drive on the two and the three. We also started a drive on our 10-yard line. That changed your calls as an offensive coordinator in that type of game. We're not going to go do anything outlandish on our 10-yard line and cost ourselves an issue. Every game is different. Every week is different."

Trey Burton was named the offensive player of the game for his production out of the wildcat formation. When the Florida offense was struggling in the first half to sustain lengthy drives, Burton jumped into his normal wildcat package and moved the ball with success.

That caught the eye of the coaching staff, but it didn't come as a surprise. They trust the junior with a set of plays every week and will continue to do so. The wildcat struggled in 2011, but it's an important package for the Florida offense this season.

"Trey does a lot of things for our football team offensively," Muschamp said. "Special teams, really a lot of things go through him. We have a package for him (on offense) in every game, and we certainly were able to use it Saturday and it was very efficient."

The Florida offensive line also showed some necessary improvement on tape. It's tough to come out of a game with Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor coming off the edge for South Carolina and not show some weaknesses in pass rush.

"When you go against good rushers, you have to account for them and we need to do a better job of that and clean some things up in the run game," Muschamp said. "Give South Carolina credit, they did a really nice job of moving some things around in the defensive front. But certainly some things we can correct."

The Florida coaches split the special teams player of the week honors between gunner Loucheiz Purifoy and punter Kyle Christy, who set a school record with his average of 54 yards per punt.

Purifoy has dominated as a gunner this year

"He's a been a guy that's flipped the field, created momentum, hung some punts up there and our coverage was outstanding again in the whole coverage units, whether it was kickoff or punt – phenomenal," Muschamp said.

The scout team players of the week were Alex McCalister, Quinteze Williams and Mark Herndon.

INJURY REPORT: Defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (hamstring) won't practice Monday, but he is expected to be back at practice on Tuesday. Muschamp listed him as probable for Saturday's game against Georgia.

Wide receiver Latroy Pittman (ankle) practiced Monday and the coaches will continue to monitor his progress this week before deciding.

Cornerback Cody Riggs (foot) and offensive tackle Matt Patchan (pec) will be out this weekend.

Muschamp also said that offensive tackle Chaz Green has been dealing with an ankle injury but will be fine. The coach added that Green played "one of his better games" against South Carolina.

FOCUSING ON GEORGIA: The coaches and players had the same mentality on Monday. Saturday is just another game. That's not exactly the case, with the winner all but locking up the SEC East and their spot in the SEC Championship game.

The Bulldogs present a challenge on the offensive side of the ball, where reigning SEC offensive player of the week Aaron Murray is in his third year as the starting quarterback.

"Aaron Murray is an outstanding player," Muschamp said. "Started since his true freshman year or I guess his redshirt freshman year out of Plant High School in Tampa. Accurate with the football. Really good athlete. He's got legs. He can make all the throws."

As well as Florida played to eliminate Shaw's scrambling ability on Saturday, they'll have to do it again against Murray. The Georgia quarterback doesn't run as much as Shaw—just 58 positive rushing yards compared to Shaw's 388—but the threat is always there.

When a play breaks down, Murray has the athleticism to tuck the ball and run.

"You've got to be very disciplined in your pass rush," Muschamp said. "You can't just run up the field and then get bend inside and create a lane for him to step up and escape. It's hard sometimes for the defensive linemen. It's hard to get to the quarterback, so when they see a tackle set up high they want to take off running up the field and beat them on the edge.

"Now that may be the best for the player but not the best for our team. So it was very pleasing to watch the tape and see that about on every snap we did what we were supposed to do (against Shaw)."

The focal point of the Georgia defense is outside linebacker Jarvis Jones. The USC transfer entered the elite stage of college football with a four-sack performance against the Gators last year. Jones missed last week's game at Kentucky with a sprained ankle, but head coach Mark Richt expects him back this week.

Jones torched Florida last year

Either way, the Gators will prepare for Jones off the edge.

"Jarvis Jones is an outstanding player we saw last season," Muschamp said. "He has 19 career sacks. This is a guy you have to account for in protection."

Through the week of preparation, nothing has changed for Muschamp. It's all about the next game.

"We're not working any longer, harder, practice — it's all the same," Muschamp said. "We don't approach things differently based on the situation. Because next week's important, too."


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