Will Muschamp intro: “The open week we got some guys back. Marcus Roberson will be able to play this weekend, he was a little gimpy yesterday, but he should be okay. Tyler Moore the same. Jon Halapio and Jeff Driskel have looked really good. We should be healthy for the game.”
Q. How has the injury affected Jeff Driskel’s preparation for the game?
Muschamp: “With an older player you can get more done with film. Watching the film he understands where to take the ball and what he needs to do. We did work in the red zone with him a lot yesterday. It is a point of emphasis since training camp and that is what is a little frustrating. We have worked through those situations and hopefully have learned from them.
Q. What do you think of the offensive explosions around the league and what will it take for defenses to catch up?
Muschamp: “I look at the number of quarterbacks in our league. South Carolina, Georgia, A&M, Alabama, they have returning starters and guys that have played a lot of football. When I was in the Big-12, with the really prolific offenses, it was because of the quarterback position. I don’t know if it is catching up as much. A lot of people are going to some high tempo offense, getting on the ball and taking more snaps and their defense is taking those snaps too. I think the style of play has created more snaps and the more snaps the more points you will see.
Q. How is Driskel a better quarterback than a year ago?
Muschamp: “He has more command of what we are doing on offense in year two of our scheme and system here. As much as anything the game has slowed down for him. He made a couple of forced throws in the last ballgame, but has made some really nice throws down the field and some really nice things as far as the run and pass game is concerned.
“His command, anticipation, and confidence of the guys around him. Not just what he needs to do but all 11 guys.”
Q. How have the wide outs emerged this year?
Muschamp: “We had 19 receptions at the wide out position in the last game. Quinton Dunbar and Solomon Patton have done some nice things. Trey Burton has been really good in the slot. We use him in a lot of different ways. We have some young guys coming along that I am really excited about. I am pleased with the position.”
Q. Are you preparing for different quarterbacks and different styles?
Muschamp: “We’ve really only seen Worley and Peterman on film. You have to prepare for what you’ve seen. Butch did an outstanding job at Cincinnati and had a similar style quarterback in terms of what they do in the run game. We will make adjustments on game day. That is what it comes down to.”
Q. Can you talk about the play of Ronald Powell?
Muschamp: “He has been very productive for us. He’s done a good job rushing the passer and playing in some run-down situations. As we continue to move forward I believe his confidence will continue to grow.”
Q. Will you talk about the running back situation?
“Muschamp: “I think Matt Jones is a guy that continues to come on. He missed all of camp with an illness but is a very good football player. Mack Brown has done a really nice job as far as when he’s had his opportunities. I am very, very excited about some young guys that are coming along. Kelvin Taylor is a young guy that we will continue to try and get involved in the offense. Mark Herndon is a walk-on that we put on scholarship and is a good football player.
“Hunter Joyer is a guy that can be in some one-back situations and is a very good fullback. We are pleased with the job that Gideon Ajagbe has done at the position as well.”
Q. Is this defense as good as last year, or does it remain to be seen?
Muschamp: “We have a lot of football to play. We have done some nice things at times but we aren’t as consistent as we need to be. We’ve given up too many big plays that we aren’t used to around here. We need to continue to improve and the kids see that too. That is what is important… as long as they see what you’re seeing and understand what it takes to be successful.”
Q. I think you have to be pleased with the third down defense (right now giving up two first downs in 24 attempts)?
Muschamp: “We’ve done a nice job so far. We can cover well, we can mix man and zone, we can rush four guys. It isn’t all about sacking the quarterback it is about affecting the quarterback, getting the quarterback off of the spot, getting the ball out of his hands.
“We’ve been able to do that with four guys rushing, which is good. People change against us because of pressure. They get in more timing situations as far as getting the ball out on time. That is just part of the deal.”
Q. What is Joker Phillips impact on the receivers?
Muschamp: “It’s just experience. He is a coordinator that has been a head coach. He has coached the position for 25 years and knows the ins and outs and understands what it takes to be successful. He has coached great players. He brings credibility in the meeting room. They understand that if they listen to him they will be better players. When you bring that credibility with where you’ve been and what you’ve accomplished certainly helps in this day and age.
“He is a good football coach and every good football coach I have been around is very demanding.”
Q. Can you update on the freshmen and the ones you intend to redshirt right now?
Muschamp: “From the first two games,. We will continue to rep kelvin at running back. Ahmad Fulwood, Chris Thompson and Demarcus Robinson will continue to play at the receiver position. We don’t anticipate unless there are more injuries on the offensive line, of any freshman helping us. Octavius Jackson is taking some reps in practice at left guard for any issue that may arise for our guys.
“Defensively, Jay-nard Bostwick continues to rep with us as a possible fifth inside player if we needed to go that route. Antonio Riles and Caleb Brantley are guys that have repped with us in practice, but have worked on scout teams as well. Jarrad Davis, Alex Anzalone, and Daniel McMillian continue to rep at linebacker and all three are playing special teams for us. Vernon Hargreaves is considered a starter for us at this time based on how he is playing, performing, and producing.
“Nick Washington had surgery Monday so he will get a medical (redshirt) this year. Keanu will continue to help on special teams. Marcell Harris is still having some issue with his knee from high school. He hasn’t has progressed as quickly as we had hoped to. Johnny Townsend we will redshirt at the punter position.”