For the first time since the Tim Tebow era, the Florida Gators are relevant again. The fifth-ranked Gators are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 14-6 victory over the previously fourth-ranked LSU Tigers, and now find themselves in the spotlight as a legitimate SEC East title contender.
There is still another half of the season that has to be played but it is hard to ignore the Gators’ 5-0 record in Will Muschamp‘s second year as head coach. Tough games against SEC stalwarts South Carolina and Georgia remain for the Gators but this is a team that has a bright future. With players such as running back Mike Gillislee and quarterback Jeff Driskel leading the way, the Gators may continue to enjoy success as the 2012 season rolls on.
Coach Muschamp met with the media Monday to discuss his team’s success of late, a possible Heisman trophy winner, and their upcoming game against the Vanderbilt Commodores.
On the victory against LSU
“Just to recap LSU, I want to thank our fans. We had an electric atmosphere out there and an outstanding atmosphere to play in and I really appreciate their support. They caused some communication issues for the other team and that’s always an advantage playing here in the swamp. As a team, I thought we played hard, played very physical, it was very evident on film as you watched the tape in all three phases, so very pleased with the effort.”
“Player of the game was Mike Gillislee. He played an outstanding game, ran hard, a guy that’s just having an outstanding senior season and a great example for our football team. He’s the type of young man you want on your team.”
On Gillislee possibly winning the Heisman
“We’re in the 5th game of the year, next question.”
On how team will handle recent success
“We’ll see Saturday night. To this point, very well, as far as understanding approaching each game the same. We’re not going to put any more hours in as coaches this week than we did a week ago, we’re not going put any less either. We’re going to prepare very similar to what we’ve done thus far in the season, as far as what we’ve got to do to be successful and that’s winning the football game.”
On how the Gators need to run the ball
“We’ve got to continue to do so, that’s going to be the challenge. When you have success doing something, the first thing, as a defensive coordinator, you look at the tape and say ‘you better stop the run.’ So that’s why we need to create more balance within what we do. Generally, in my experience, when you’re able to run the ball offensively, that means defensively you’re probably pretty good at stopping the run. Not always, but for the most part, because you are good at what you’re used to seeing because your kids have a better feel and understanding of how to play those blocks and what to do in those situations.”
On what he expects to see from Vanderbilt
“They’ll do anything from four open receivers, to empty, to two-backs, and three-backs and some wildcat looks. They pick their packages each week based on what they think is going to be successful in the game and we’ve got to be ready for all of those things. James (Franklin) has got a very multiple background offensively, little west coast feel at times, and a lot of the two back and one back stuff as well.”
Chris Lionetti covers SEC Football for Rant Sports.
Follow him on Twitter for the latest happenings in the SEC at: @ChrisLionetti