Notebook: Avoiding ‘stupid' penalties

The frustration boiled over at multiple times last season for Florida head coach Will Muschamp. Penalties are a part of the game -- and he's quick to point out that some of Florida's most successful teams have been heavily penalized -- but there are some that shouldn't happen. It's the ones where Florida players don't think or lose their temper that upset Muschamp the most.

The personal fouls and offside penalties are what set him over the edge. The Gators had plenty of them last season. Other penalties are going to happen. A lineman will hold, a defensive back will interfere with a receiver before the ball gets to him -- those can be dealt with. They're aggressive penalties, and Will Muschamp doesn't want to slow the energy on the field.

The other penalties will be closely monitored this fall.

"I'm more concerned with the selfish and stupid penalties we've had the last two seasons," Muschamp said. "It's something we did not improve on. All the things we wanted to work on and improve as a football team, last year we did except for that."

There's incentive to improve this season. Muschamp likes the depth on the Florida roster. That wasn't the case last season, so when a player committed a stupid penalty, there wasn't always a player to go in behind him without a production drop off. The depth is better this year, and the head coach won't be afraid to make a substitution.

"As I've told our football team, we've recruited well the last two years, and we're in a situation where you can come be selfish on the sideline because we're not going to tolerate those guys," Muschamp said. "We've got a deep enough roster, and we're deep enough in most positions. We just go to the next guy."

STAFF ADDITIONS: The Gators add wide receivers coach Joker Phillips, defensive line coach Brad Lawing and outside linebackers coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Choate to the staff this year, but they aren't the only additions. Florida recently announced that former players Chris Leak and Duke Lemmens were accepted into grad school and will be on staff this year as graduate assistants.

"Duke Lemmens got into grad school, and he'll be working with the defensive line," Muschamp said. "Chris Leak originally was going to be quality control and worked on defense, but he decided to go to graduate school, so he'll be on the field and he'll work with the offense and work with the quarterbacks."

Former Florida and NFL linebacker Mike Peterson will also work with the team this year as he returns to finish school.

"In the short time I've been around him, he's a first-class guy, really smart," Muschamp said. "You talk to all the NFL guys that coached him, and he's kind of a coach on the field guy. I think it will be really beneficial for some of our young players and all of our players really. He's a guy that had a great 14-year career and certainly glad to have him back finishing up his degree."

CHANGING THE PLAN WITHOUT STURGIS: Whenever the Gators passed midfield last season, the coaching staff felt like it was playing with house money. Kicker Caleb Sturgis was so good that they rarely sent him to the field without expecting three points in return.

The kicker position is now up in the air between Austin Hardin and Brad Phillips.

It could force the Florida offense to be more aggressive and take more shots at the end zone once crossing midfield.

"Austin Hardin and Brad Phillips both have the ability to do the job, but they've never done it in the situations they're going to be put into," Muschamp said. "When you had Caleb (Sturgis), you knew you had three points in your hand. That may change a little bit as we've talked in the off-season."

Hardin is a redshirt freshman this year

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