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November 23, 2013

Notebook: Talent negated in ugly loss



There were times Saturday when it seemed like the talent level between Georgia Southern, an average FCS team, and Florida, a team one year removed from the Sugar Bowl, wasn't too different.

Sure, the Gators were injured, but the Eagles might have been - if possible - in worse shape. GSU entered the game missing 19 scholarship players, three more than were absent for Florida.

That didn't stop them from running the triple-option to perfection.

"That's what the option does. It takes talent out of the game," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "You don't have to block Dante Fowler Jr. now. You option off Dante Fowler. You don't have to account for him anymore in the blocking. That's why the service academies run it, that's why they run it, that's why a lot of these schools run it, because it takes talent out of the equation."

Muschamp also pointed to chop-blocking as something that continuously frustrated the Gators defense. He stood by Florida's discipline on defense and tackling, pointing elsewhere for the faults of Saturday's game.

"Talent's negated in that situation. It doesn't really matter because you don't have to block a lot of the guys," Muschamp said. "That's why those teams run that. That's what it is."

-- HALAPIO TELLS IT LIKE IT IS --

Credit Jon Halapio. Four players stuck around after Saturday's game long enough to talk to reporters. Of them, Halapio was by far the most blunt and honest.

"We didn't play as a team today. We didn't communicate. We didn't block together. We didn't run the ball as efficient," the redshirt senior right guard said. "That's something that we preached early on in the week, to not take this group of men lightly. They came out here and played their tails off. This was their ballgame. They had nothing to lose. We took them lightly, and we got outworked, outplayed. You call it, it happened."

"The morale on this team is at an all-time low. We have a lack of leadership. We just really need to tighten up as a team. It's very tough. We've been hit with so much adversity this year, but it's not an excuse for losing to these people. We just didn't play well at all today."

-- SUSPENSION AND INJURIES --

Florida has had no in-season arrests this fall, but that has not kept players out of the doghouse for a long list of "violating team rules." Freshman wide receiver Demarcus Robinson was suspended for the second time this season and will remain suspended for next week's game against Florida State. His suspension is the eight of the season, all but one for a "violation of team rules."

Muschamp's only response when asked what he expects from Robinson moving forward: "Acting right."

Junior linebacker Michael Taylor suffered an MCL injury in his right knee during the first half and is expected to miss the Florida State game. Freshman linebacker Alex Anzalone dislocated his right shoulder, and his immediate future is uncertain. Defensive end Jonathan Bullard did not play Saturday because of swelling on his knee.

-- PASSING GAME STRUGGLES CONTINUE --

Skyler Mornhinweg completed 14 of 25 for 122 yards and two touchdowns in his second career start. Then again, those numbers were inflated late by completions against a prevent defense. Mornhinweg was 6 of 13 for 14 yards and one touchdown entering the fourth quarter. His forays past the line of scrimmage had mostly resulted in near interceptions or puzzling incompletions.

"We don't throw it very good, bottom line," Muschamp said. He pointed to a number of factors, highlighting pass protection.

Mornhinweg took blame.

"100 percent. I got to do a better job," he said. "The receivers were running through routes and I just got to put the ball in their hands and make some plays."


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