Notebook: Penalties, slow starts hurting

The same problems continue to be the ones that hurt Florida. With slow starts and undisciplined penalties continue to creep up and hurt the Gators, they're searching for ways to fix it. Florida head coach Will Muschamp just doesn't see one specific area that needs to improve for the Gators to get off to better starts in the future.

"You don't put your finger on one thing and say it's this," Will Muschamp said on Monday.

The first two drives were ugly for the Florida defense. The two drives combined for 10 plays and five of those plays went for at least nine yards. One of the five that was less than nine yards was Todd Gurley's five-yard touchdown run to start the scoring.

Gurley gashed Florida on the ground on the first drive, and it only took three plays on the second drive for the running back to hit another big play on a dump off pass from Aaron Murray, going 73 yards for a touchdown.

"We had an opportunity, exactly the look we want, everything we look for and what we wanted and didn't get it done," Muschamp said. "Those first two drives were just extremely disappointing. We've just got to go back and put our guys in better situations to play. And that's on us as coaches."

Muschamp said after the game that the Gators had the looks they wanted on most plays during the first two drives and just didn't make the plays on the field. On Monday, he talked about the coaches having to do a better job.

"We've got to put our guys in better situations to feel more comfortable and react as opposed to think in some situations," Muschamp said. "That's the best way I can summarize it because in every game it's been a little something different, whether it's on the front end getting cut out of a gap or the back end, not coverage in the right leverage, thinking about the Missouri game. We just need to coach better."

The penalties are also happening at a concerning level. Including the offsetting penalties on Saturday against Georgia, Florida was called for seven personal fouls. The Gators lead the Southeastern Conference after being called for 62 penalties this year and also lead the league with 62.1 penalty yards per game, over 10 yards more than the second most.

"It's something we coach it every day, obviously we're not doing a very god job," Muschamp said. "It's something we emphasize, something we talk about, we talked about this is an emotional game. There's gonna be some things that we gotta learn to walk away from those situations and it's something I'm going to address with the team again today."

LINEBACKER PLAY: Muschamp said on Monday that he doesn't have an issue with the way Antonio Morrison or Michael Taylor have played at linebacker this season. He blamed their struggles against Missouri on the defensive line not doing its part to keep the offensive linemen out from the second level. Against Georgia, Muschamp thought he played well.

While moving to middle linebacker this year, Muschamp admitted that Morrison struggled some on Saturday but expects improvement.

"I don't know that it's been a learning curve," Muschamp said. "I think he's done a decent job. He missed some tackle Saturday. That was uncharacteristic for him. I think Antonio has been steady. We put a lot on the Mike linebacker as far as directing our defense in front-wise and movement and things we do. He's got a lot on his plate."

Despite being OK with the play of Morrison and Taylor, Muschamp said the goal is to get freshman Jarrad Davis on the field "a little bit more." He also mentioned Alex Anzalone as a freshman that "keeps coming along." Anzalone got reps on the field to start the second quarter on Saturday with the defense.

STAFF RESIGNATION: Muschamp said on Monday that Director of Player Personnel Jon Haskins resigned from his position 10 days or two weeks ago.

"We have an opening right now," Muschamp said. "I'm busy coaching the team and don't have a whole lot of time."

Muschamp said there is no timetable for the position to be filled, but he doesn't expect it to impact recruiting.

"We'll be fine," Muschamp said. "He was in an administrative role. You can't evaluate tape and those sort of things. We'll be fine."

FULWOOD COMING ON: The play of freshman wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood continues to catch the eye of the Florida coaching staff. He caught two passes for 22 yards against the Bulldogs on an estimated 28-30 snaps from Muschamp. The head coach also predicted his freshman will continue to see more playing time as the season continues.

"He caught a nice slant the other day, went over the middle on a slant play," Muschamp said. "Had a couple other things dialed up for him. He's going to be a good football player. He's got to continue to play fast and block well on the perimeter. He did a nice job for us. He's going to be a really good player."


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