Muschamp recaps Toledo, previews Miami

Florida head coach Will Muschamp got exactly what he wanted out of Saturday's season opener against Toledo. The Gators ran the ball with success, showed some big plays on the ground, but most importantly, controlled the clock to keep their defense from playing too many snaps. It was a perfect game to prepare Florida for a quality Miami team this Saturday.

"I thought it was a very good team win," Will Muschamp said about the Toledo game.

After watching the film, Muschamp found nine explosive plays -- consisting of 20+-yard pass plays and 16+-yard running plays -- for the Florida offense while just two for Toledo. He called the +7 an "outstanding" outcome for the Gators. Muschamp was also pleased with his offense averaging 5.5 yards per carry and converting on 6-of-12 third-down opportunities.

The offensive player of the game was Mack Brown, who carried 25 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start.

"Mack ran extremely hard in the game, and he's a guy that really played well," Muschamp said.

Brown ran hard on Saturday

The scrap iron award, given to the best blocker every week, went to guard Max Garcia, center Jonotthan Harrison and right tackle Tyler Moore.

"I thought all three of those guys played really well," Muschamp said. "We're really building some continuity with those guys up front. Tyler and Max have been two really good additions for us."

The preparation for the Florida defense throughout the week was to be ready for tempo. They were ready, with SAM linebacker Ronald Powell even saying after the game that Toledo's tempo wasn't close to as fast as the tempo the scout team ran during the week. The Florida defense only played 60 snaps -- an impressive feat against a tempo-based offense.

"That's outstanding for a team that normally wants to snap the ball about 80 times in a game," Muschamp said.

The key to the defense was on third down. Toledo converted on just 1-of-13 third-down opportunities. The 7.7% allowed on third downs by the Florida defense was the best by a Southeastern Conference defense during the first weekend of the season.

The Gators were also able to get to the quarterback without having to blitz much. Florida earned three sacks, but the coaching staff credited 15 pressures by pass rushers. Toledo threw the ball only 38 times.

"To me a pressure is an incomplete pass affected by pressure," Muschamp said. "Really affected the quarterback and did it with four guys rushing. As the game wore on, we felt like he was affected in the game. We had a good pressure plan going in and when we pressured, we were very effective."

The defensive player of the game honors were split by defensive linemen Jonathan Bullard, Bryan Cox, Dominique Easley, Dante Fowler, Damien Jacobs, Leon Orr and Ronald Powell.

"All of those guys played well to contain him in the pocket, be able to rush four effectively throughout the game, affect the quarterback and stopping the run," Muschamp said. "I was really proud of those guys' efforts."

The ball hawk award, given to a player that creates a turnover, went to freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves. Muschamp also gave the award to Michael Taylor, Easley, Orr and Powell, who were all near the quarterback to create an errant throw.

Hargreaves had an interception in his first game

The hardhat award, given to the player for big hits and solid play, went to Neiron Ball. His move to WILL linebacker has been a perfect fit since the beginning of fall camp.

"I thought Neiron played really well," Muschamp said. "A guy that's really helped us and a huge step forward defensively for us. For him to be able to play off the ball, which since I've been here he has not done, shows really good instincts in the run game and an active, active playmaker. He's been a huge addition for us."

The special teams player of the game was Mark Herndon, who continues to help the team in multiple areas. Muschamp also credited freshman linebacker Jarrad Davis for his effort on special teams.

Cornerback and punt returner Marcus Roberson was given the special teams big play award for his impact in the return game. The Gators are very happy with him returning punts so far.

"A guy that flipped the field for us a couple times with a couple big punt returns," Muschamp said.

Jeremi Powell was offensive scout team player of the week. Ryan Parrish and Chris Thompson were special teams scout team players of the week.

MIAMI PREPARATION: The Gators are trying to replicate the atmosphere of a rivalry week in the football facility this week, even though it isn't an annual rivalry.

Florida has one player on its roster that has played against Miami -- redshirt senior cornerback Jeremy Brown. The players aren't familiar with the rivalry since Saturday will be just the third game since 2003, but the coaches are going to educate the Florida team this week.

"We're very well aware of each other and have great respect for their program, as I'm sure they do for us as well," Muschamp said. "I don't know that the history is as much (of a factor in the rivalry) as the carry over of knowing players on the other team and developing, whether you played with them in high school or against them in high school, going on about them and having respect about them."

The rivalry gives the game importance, but Muschamp spoke to the players on Monday to begin pounding into their heads the importance of keeping their cool on Saturday. The emotions can cause undisciplined plays and penalties, something the Gators can't afford on Saturday.

"You've got to keep your composure," Muschamp said. "It's going to be a very emotional game, there's going to be some ups and downs in the game. You've got to play for 60 minutes. It's going to be an emotional game any time you play a rival or play somebody you know a lot about. Certainly you need to make sure you keep your composure within the game and play through the situations."

The Miami offense is led by quarterback Stephen Morris, who threw for 3,345 yards, 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season. Muschamp knows they'll have to get to him with the pass rush to force him into bad decisions.

"He's very accurate with the football," Muschamp said. "I think he takes the ball to the right spots. He gets the ball to the playmakers' hands. He makes really good decisions about where to take the ball, and he makes quick decisions. He's got a very quick mental makeup as far as where to take the football. I think he's one of the better quarterbacks in college football."

Running back Duke Johnson leads the nation in rushing after his 186-yard performance against Florida Atlantic last week. The Gators heavily recruited him, but he ended up staying close to home. His big-play ability will have to be slowed by the Florida defense.

"Duke Johnson is an outstanding player," Muschamp said. "We recruited him here. The guy's got a great competitive nature to himself. He's very similar to a Chris Rainey, but a bigger version of that. A guy that can full speed one cut and get the ball vertical and make people miss in space. He runs hard, runs tough and is an outstanding receiver out of the backfield. He is an outstanding football player."

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