Notebook: Finding answers up front

Will Muschamp wanted to find his five best offensive linemen during the bye week and move into November's portion of the schedule with that group. The process will continue through this week's practices as Florida tries to find more consistency at the line of scrimmage.

Two positions are locked up on the Florida offensive line. Muschamp said he's happy with the play of center Jonotthan Harrison and right guard Jon Halapio, who continues to play with a brace after suffering a partially torn pec in the offseason.

Muschamp also likes what he has seen from Max Garcia in his time at left guard, but Garcia is splitting time at left tackle with D.J. Humphries. Trenton Brown and Tyler Moore are both seeing reps at right tackle in practice. Kyle Koehne is spending his time at center and both guard positions.

Muschamp wasn't ready to name his starting five on Monday.

"I feel like those guys made some strides, hopefully, in the open week," Muschamp said. "Those guys need to continue to come on, but that's been the combination of guys we've looked at."

Brown hasn't seen the field much, but the 6-8, 361-pound offensive lineman is starting to settle in at right tackle. He could be a new addition to the lineup this weekend against Georgia. Brown struggled with the speed of edge rushers early in the fall.

Octavius Jackson could also make his debut on Saturday. The 6-4, 304-pound freshman was supposed to redshirt, but that could change if the Gators feel that he can help the team the rest of the year. Muschamp said he has spoken with Jackson, who wants to play this season and get on the field.

The coaches are also OK with burning the redshirt if it makes the unit better.

"We've got to do what we've got to do to be successful," Muschamp said. "Octavius (Jackson) is a young player who is ascending and is coming along and he may get an opportunity.

INJURY REPORT: Linebacker Ronald Powell ran last week at practice and did some change of direction exercises on Sunday. He won't practice on Monday but is expected back on the field Tuesday or Wednesday. Muschamp said his status is "still kind of up in the air" for Saturday's game.

Quarterback Tyler Murphy didn't throw last week while resting his sore shoulder. He will be full speed for practice on Tuesday. Defensive tackle Damien Jacobs is expected to be fine and will return to practice on Tuesday. Jacobs suffered a head injury against LSU when he was hit without his helmet on.

Linebacker Darrin Kitchens (shoulder) is doubtful for Saturday. Tight end Colin Thompson ran on Sunday but still had soreness in his foot. He's also doubtful for Saturday.

Jeremi Powell is expected to get his surgery done next week to repair the torn ACL suffered against Missouri.

IMPROVING ON OFFENSE: When Muschamp kept his assistant coaches off the recruiting trail early last week, they spent most of their time watching film and evaluating new ways to help move the ball on offense. They decided to simplify the offense.

The coaches didn't want to see the players on offense playing slow. Putting less on their mind prepares them to play at a higher speed on Saturday.

"Let's scale back and get our guys playing faster," Muschamp said. "To me, this game all comes down to execution. Go execute better than the other guys and that gives you a chance to be successful. If you don't execute, it really doesn't matter what you call. Let's quit thinking about plays and let's start thinking about our players. And that to me is the most important thing.

"I think if you can take more off their plate, they'll play faster. That's really what we need to do at this time. If you take more off their plate, they'll play faster. That's really what we need to do at this time."

MUSCHAMP STRUGGLES IN JACKSONVILLE: Muschamp is looking for his first win in Jacksonville on Saturday. He went 0-4 while playing for Georgia in the rivalry and lost the first two matchups of his time as Florida's head coach.

Despite that, he downplayed the importance of getting a win for himself on Saturday.

"For our players and for The Gator Nation, absolutely," Muschamp said about the importance of a win. "I hate to give you the boring answer, but I don't approach this one any different than the other ones. It's a critical game for us, obviously being a great rival with the University of Florida and a great rivalry game. It's one of the best college football games, year in, year out, to be a part of.

"There's no question of where we are in our season. It's an SEC East opponent and a great rival. It's a great game for us."

Muschamp said his two losses as a head coach in the rivalry are much more difficult to deal with than his four losses as a player.

"None of it is fun," Muschamp said, "but certainly being here at the University of Florida and understanding the importance of this game to us and our people, we need to get a win."


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