Muschamp made it clear from the beginning of the press conference that he wouldn’t answer questions about Treon Harris after he was accused of sexual assault, stating that it was “a very serious charge.” He said there has been no change in the status of the freshman quarterback.
The Florida coach's normal Monday press conference was cancelled less than an hour before it was supposed to start. The news of sexual assault allegations against Treon Harris broke on Monday afternoon, postponing all media availability until Wednesday.
Muschamp also said he didn’t feel it was appropriate to have a press conference and talk about football on Monday, and he still felt the same way about having the press conference on Wednesday. He is confident in how the team has handled the situation, and they’re doing their best to move on without letting it become a distraction.
“You handle things in life and you move forward,” Will Muschamp said. “That’s what we’re going to do.”
ESPN spoke with Huntley Johnson, Harris' attorney, who confirmed that he will not play on Saturday against LSU.
INJURY REPORT: Running back Matt Jones is dealing with some swelling in his knee, the same one he tore his meniscus in last season. He didn’t practice on Monday or Tuesday, but he is expected to practice on Wednesday. Muschamp said he “fully expects” Jones to play on Saturday.
Defensive tackle Leon Orr (knee) is questionable for Saturday’s game. He was held out last weekend against Tennessee. Linebacker Michael Taylor’s knee is fine. He went through warmups at Tennessee but didn’t play, but he is currently battling the flu. He is still expected to play.
Running back Brandon Powell (hamstring) looks “great” in practice and has moved well. He will play on Saturday and could see time in the slot, a position Florida is searching to get more production out of. Quarterback Will Grier (back spasms) returned to practice on Monday and is battling to serve as the backup this weekend.
Wide receiver Valdez Showers (high ankle sprain) is out but is expected to be ready against Missouri on October 18. Wide receiver C.J. Worton (broken hand) is back and will play on Saturday. Muschamp even said he could battle to start against LSU.
FRESHMAN SECONDARY PASSES FIRST TEST: The Gators went into the bye week searching for answers in a secondary torched for the second most passing yards ever allowed in school history. The answer they found was putting more freshmen on the field.
Jalen Tabor started at cornerback and Duke Dawson started at safety, pushing Brian Poole into the nickel position. The coaches put a premium on production in practice, and they were much better in practice during the bye week.
“One of the hardest things for a young player to understand is the importance of practice,” Muschamp said. “You have to build confidence and trust in your coaches that when you put them in the game.”
That was especially the case for Dawson. He was so much better than anyone else on the field during practice at Dixie County High School that he didn’t need to develop great practice habits. He enrolled early and went through spring practice, showing that he could make an impact as a freshman.
“In Duke’s case especially, he has practiced better,” Muschamp said. “He has come out and had consistently good practices to build confidence to put himself in that situation, and I thought he played well. He did some nice things. There’s some things we need to clean up, but for a first start on the road in that environment against a pretty good throwing football team, I was proud of him.”
Tabor was named co-SEC Freshman of the Week. He celebrated his first career start with five tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup. He was solid in coverage and gave the Florida staff confidence he can handle the outside cornerback position opposite of Vernon Hargreaves III.
“He played the deep ball well,” Muschamp said. “We outnumbered them in the box and they took a shot at the end zone in the red zone. I thought he made a really nice play against a very good player and a very good throw. He had a couple opportunities to defend balls. The first third down I thought was a very good play, outstanding coverage.
“I think he’s a guy who just continues to improve. That’s the natural progression of a young player. I want to see improvement week-to-week, really day-to-day. And that’s where I think I see him headed.”
NEW OFFENSIVE PLAYERS INVOLVED: When LSU comes to Gainesville this weekend, the Tigers could see some different parts to the Florida offense that haven’t been on film in recent weeks.
Ahmad Fulwood looked like the best receiver on the team in fall camp. He made plays down the field and showed body control to attack the ball in the air. His 6-4 frame could provide a much-needed downfield threat for the Florida offense. He has just six catches for 37 yards this season, and the longest gain was nine yards.
“We need to get Ahmad more involved,” Muschamp admitted. “We certainly do. Right now, taking an upwards of 70-80 snaps in a game, he needs to be more involved.”
Worton returned to practice on Monday and picked up where he left off when he broke his hand. The coaches think he can make plays out of the slot receiver position and potentially even earn the starting job.
“C.J. will be more involved in the slot this week,” Muschamp said. “He's a good football player and it's good to get him back. He will play Saturday."
There was also a plan to get Brandon Powell more involved in the offense during the bye week, but his hamstring injury kept him out of practice.TAILGATER Wooden Ice Chest Giveaway
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