Muschamp SEC Teleconference Q&A

Florida head coach Will Muschamp has his team poised to clinch the SEC Eastern Division this weekend if his Gators can win Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs. Muschamp took questions from the national media Wednesday as he does every week about his team, their journey, and the big game this weekend. Here is what he had to say.

Q. What do you think of the way Georgia pieced together their rushing game after losing some guys?
Will Muschamp: "Both guys are really talented. Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall… we recruited both guys and are very familiar with both. Both have top end speed. Todd is a little heavier at about 218 and Keith is about 215 or 210.

"They are both talented guys and have done a nice job as far as using the inside running game and getting the ball to the perimeter. They've been very dangerous. In every game they've played they have broken big runs. They lost some big guys from last year and have done a good job with that."

Q. Is Georgia a little more versatile than most in the running game?
Muschamp: "Everyone is a little different. They have traditional two-back runs and traditional one-back runs. They do a nice job with the one back game with the pullers and the power game, the lead and the toss. I guess everyone does what they feel like they can do the best. "

Q. You have been on both sides of the rivalry. Do you do anything special for this game, or go out of your way to make sure it is like any other game?
Muschamp: "We approach all games the same. No one wants to hear that. When you consistently approach things the same way, you promote consistent performance from you players and don't get a lot of peaks and valleys in their approach. If Coach Muschamp thinks this the most important game, the next week won't be as important.

"We know what to expect. When we got on the practice field this Monday our guys were excited. We don't need a bunch of pep talks to get them going. They will be excited to play.

"I do think and have been critical of myself as an assistant of guys peaking too early in the week. We need them to play well at 3:39 on Saturday. That is when we need them to go, not on Tuesday or Wednesday. Sometimes I feel like you lost the game early in the week with the amount of energy you go on the field with. "

Q. How much more comfortable are you than a year ago?
Muschamp: "I think it is a combination of things. You know your players better and they know you better. They understand the staff and the expectations. You have a better understanding of each other. Any time you are in a relationship in a program or a football team or whatever I think the understanding is critical.

"I also have better anticipation of things that will come across my desk as opposed to a year ago."

"I think those are the two things that are the reasons."

Q. What about players that learned from last year that were in the locker room?
Muschamp: "I think if you do the same things you get the same results. We needed to tweak some things here and there… how we worked and practiced. We lacked some depth and numbers. We had some youth and needed to continue to work. The things we didn't need to tweak were our core values in the program and what we believe and want to be as a football program. It is one thing to change something, but it is something else to change something for the sake of change. "We never wavered and I never wavered on the path of the program and where we were headed."

Q. What about Omar Hunter's progression this year?
Muschamp: "He has really played well. He is another guy that took to coaching in the off-season. We evaluated his tape and he needed to be stronger at the point of attack, do a better job of disengaging on blocks. He is having an outstanding senior season. He is really playing his best football in our two years here and since he has been here. "A lot of it goes back to the off-season program. He accepted the challenges and has capitalized."

Q. What has punter Kyle Christy done for you this year, how valuable has he been? Muschamp: "Because of where we are as a team, we better have good specialists and better be able to flip the field. We put a lot of time and effort on special teams. Our entire staff, starting with myself, spends a lot of time coaching on special teams.

"Our players understand the importance of special teams and to have really good special teams you have to have really good specialists. I wouldn't trade Kyle or Caleb (Sturgis) for anybody in the country. They are outstanding, they are dependable, and they work hard. They are guys our players have tremendous confidence in. Our best players are on special teams to give us our best opportunity to win football games. "The job that Kyle did this past Saturday, I've never been around anything like that. Seven punts over 50 (yards) and to set a Florida record with a 54 yard average was absolutely amazing."

Q. How tough is it to stick with the run when things aren't going well?
Muschamp: "It goes back to what your core values and beliefs about who you are and identifying who you are. Just because it doesn't work early doesn't mean that you should quit doing it. That is something I credit Brent (Pease) with especially, because a lot of offensive coordinators are impatient. When it doesn't work early you get frustrated and start changing who you are and what you are. That is the worst thing you can do.

"You need to stick to your game plan, especially early in the game. It is a 60 minute game. Play if you are in one score or a two score game if you are down and win it in the fourth quarter. That has been our philosophy this year.

Q. Do you think there is a bit of luck involved in the take-aways?
Muschamp: "I think there are opportunities that occur… think about the number of interceptions we dropped a year ago. There are still some, but we have made more of those plays this year.

"The ball bounces a funny way and it goes to you instead of them. There is no question getting some breaks in those questions and being at the right spot, but you have to also credit hustle and guys getting around the football. That is a credit to our players.

Q. Were you not having the luck last year and are getting it this year?
Muschamp: "We are a better football team than a year ago there is no doubt about that, but there is no question that in order to have a special season, you need to have some breaks.

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