Notebook: NFL departures handled it well

Florida is dealing with the loss of three players to the NFL after the 2013 season. BUCK linebacker Ronald Powell joins cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson as the trio that will leave Gainesville early despite having one year of eligibility left. Florida coach Will Muschamp said on Monday that he's happy with how the trio handled themselves facing a difficult choice.

Loucheiz Purifoy didn't waste any time with his decisions, announcing his intentions the week after the Gators lost to Florida State to end their season. It was a more difficult choice for Ronald Powell and Marcus Roberson, but both ultimately decided it would be best for them to leave school early.

The decisions weren't made until multiple conversations with the coaching staff happened, and that's the main reason Muschamp was happy for the players. They took the information the coaching staff presented before them and made a decision that was thought out.

"All three of those guys, in my opinion, did things the right way on how they handled it," Muschamp said. "They took all the information in, evaluated their situation. This is a personal decision. It's a family decision they make. I support it 100% because they did it the right way."

When Muschamp spoke with the three players, he was quick to point out that the information the Florida coaches gave to the previous players dealing with the decision after the 2012 season proved to be correct. The information those players were given turned out to be right around the actual place they were selected by their NFL team.

"I appreciate those guys, and they way that they handled the situation there," Muschamp said. "I appreciate their contributions to Florida."

NO CHANGES TO STRENGTH PROGRAM: After focusing the offense on a pro style set in the first three years under Muschamp, things will change as the Gators showcase an up-tempo offense during the 2014 season. While that will be a change for the program, the strength and conditioning program will remain the same.

Muschamp also came to Monday's press conference with statistics about the Florida program. Even with the injury issues that plagued the Gators last season, Muschamp said that soft-tissue injuries have decreased.

In 2011, Florida had 15 players miss time with hamstring injuries while only three did in 2013. Muschamp said there were six or seven quad injuries in 2011 compared to zero in 2013. There were seven sports hernia injuries in 2011 compared to zero this year.

"A lot of that goes to training," Muschamp said.

RECRUITING AREAS: With three new additions to the Florida staff, Muschamp recently decided the new recruiting areas for the state.

Offensive line coach Mike Summers will recruit the Florida panhandle, the same area he did in his time at Arkansas and Louisville. Defensive line coach Brad Lawing will handle Gainesville and most of north central Florida. Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper will split Jacksonville with Travaris Robinson. Robinson will continue to handle Broward and Dade Counties.

Joker Phillips will take Palm Beach County through south of Orlando. Coleman Hutzler will cover the Space Coast area to Duval County. D.J. Durkin will take southwest Florida from Fort Myers to south Pinellas County. Derek Lewis will stay in Polk and Hillsborough Counties. Brian White will take central Florida to north Pinellas County.

MORE FROM HARGREAVES: With the early departures of Purifoy and Roberson, the only known quantity at cornerback is Vernon Hargreaves. After an All-American season as a freshman, the Gators will lean on Hargreaves to anchor a youthful secondary in 2014.

"I was certainly pleased with how he played his freshman year," Muschamp said. "He was a very productive player, a very dependable guy. I think he'll continue to do so. He's a really good football player, but that's why he was successful as a freshman. He's very mature, he understands the things he needs to work on to get better, which we all have things to work on. He'll approach it the right way, he's a very mature young man."

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