Muschamp not happy with altercation

Will Muschamp hasn’t been in a single training camp that didn’t include some kind of physical altercation between players. Thursday night sealed that this wouldn’t be the first one, but that doesn’t mean the Florida coach wants it to be viewed as acceptable.

Thursday’s situation broke out during wide receiver and defensive back drills. Muschamp said it involved a freshman “who got a little excited” that started the skirmish, and before long, both position groups were trying to break up an altercation.

“I don’t want them fighting on the field,” Muschamp said. “If you fight in the game, you get kicked out. I addressed it after practice. In those situations, you’ve got a bunch of guys trying to separate the situation. That’s not something we tolerate.”

And if it happens again?

“I just kick ‘em out of practice and move forward,” Muschamp said.

It isn’t meant to take the competitiveness away from the Florida players. The Gators are only in the first week of fall practice, and as the players continue to face off with each other every day until the August 30 opener, frustrations can continue to grow.

The goal is to harness it into what happens on the field.

“We have a lot of competition at a lot of positions, so there's a side of it that's a good thing,” Muschamp said. “You want your guys to be aggressive. You want your guys to play with toughness, but you also want your guys to play smart and disciplined.”

When the skirmish was over, Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III limped out of the pile and fell to the ground. The trainers taped ice to his left knee in the medical tent, and he was taken off the field in a cart.

Despite the injury, Muschamp was never concerned. He was told that the knee was stable and that it was simply a bone bruise while the Gators were still on the field practicing. The bone bruise originally occurred during one-on-ones earlier in practice but was reaggravated in the incident. They got an MRI to be safe, and it confirmed the original diagnosis.

INJURY REPORT: Hargreaves remains day-to-day. Freshman defensive tackle Thomas Holley had a sports hernia surgery while coming out of high school, and he’s dealing with a build up of scar tissue. Freshman tight end C’yontai Lewis is dealing with a thigh contusion.

DRISKEL PROGRESS: Jeff Driskel was noticeably more comfortable in the offense on Thursday night during the open practice, and Muschamp said he has looked that way throughout the offseason. The redshirt junior quarterback has completed 70 percent of his passes through the first four fall practices, and that number could be as high as 75 percent if not for some drops in the first week, according to Muschamp.

“I just think he does a good job making decisions from the gun,” Muschamp said. “Very pleased with his progress. Timing has been very good. He’s thrown the ball well. He’s making very good decisions in the run and pass game.”

Driskel and Andre Debose will both miss Saturday’s practice as they walk at graduation.

A CHANGE AT NICKEL: Brian Poole filled the nickel position in the secondary, but that will likely change this fall. Muschamp said Marcus Maye has “really distanced himself” at the nickel position.

“We’re over 70 percent nickel and dime, so nickel is a starting position for us,” Muschamp said.

That means Poole will be sliding outside to one of the cornerback positions. Even with the youth at the cornerback position, Poole could end up winning the starting job as he continues to have a strong fall.

“He’s had a really good camp,” Muschamp said. “He’s played extremely well. We felt like Brian could be very productive at nickel for us, which he was last year at times. But we needed to see what he could do at corner because last year with who we had, and Vernon coming along he strictly played nickel, so (Poole) didn’t have a bunch of turns and reps outside.

“Brian has been very productive at corner. We have some good wideouts, you’re talking in terms of Quinton (Dunbar) and Andre (Debose) and Demarcus (Robinson), some guys who can vertically stretch the field. He’s covered all of those guys well and he need to continue to.”


Fightin Gators Top Stories