Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Colleges

Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp says don't expect pretty wins

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — If you're not a fan of the grind-it-out, three-point victories such as Saturday's 20-17 win over Texas A&M, Florida coach Will Muschamp says you better get used to it.

That's the way it's going to be — at least for awhile.

"That's just who we are," Muschamp said. "We're going to grind it out. We're going to win. That's kind of what we are as a mentality, as a football team, as we continue to grow and mature through the year."

BITTER DISAPPOINTMENT: After months of anticipation, Texas A&M fans and players entered their first game as a member of the SEC expecting great things. The largest season-opening crowd in school history was in attendance (87,114). But the loss left the Aggies bitterly disappointed.

"I felt like myself, the team as a whole, we let down Kyle Field and all of those fans," senior WR Ryan Swope said. "It was so electric in the stadium, I don't think anyone sat down the entire game. It was tough going in that locker room (after the game) knowing how many people we let down. We let down this university and each other. The good thing is we've got a lot of football left."

Muschamp said the game was tougher for the Gators because the Aggies were trying to create a positive memory for the history books.

"With all of our hospitality in the SEC, we're trying to make everybody happy," he said. "Everybody wanted the glory story here with A&M, and they didn't get it. I'm very proud of our team to come in here, do what they needed to do to win the game."

BRIGHT FUTURE: SEC commissioner Mike Slive attended the game to commemorate the Aggies' first SEC game. He tossed the coin before the game then left to take a private plane to Missouri for its inaugural league game, against Georgia.

Slive said he took great pride in finally seeing both teams take the field as members of the SEC.

"When we decided to have A&M and Missouri join the league, it wasn't about (Saturday's) game," Slive said. "It wasn't about how well they were going to do. To me, it was a 10-, 20-, 30-year horizon, saying to ourselves how can we make sure that we remain a preeminent conference in the years ahead? And we felt the additions of A&M and Missouri would position us to do that long term."

INJURY REPORT: Florida didn't leave College Station unscathed. Junior LB Jelani Jenkins injured his right thumb, which had to be put in a cast, and DB Cody Riggs sprained a foot. Their status is unknown. DB Josh Evans (shoulder) and OL Chaz Green (severe cramps) are expected to return next week. The Gators struggled badly with cramps on Saturday, which Muschamp said he was at a loss to explain.

STILL STRUGGLING: The Gators continue to struggle on third-down conversions, going 3-of-12 on Saturday. Muschamp said it will continue to be a point of emphasis.

The Gators did improve on penalties, finishing with just three for 21 yards. A&M had nine for 78, which coach Kevin Sumlin said was costly.

"What we failed to do was penalties," he said. "We talked about it last week; penalties and turnovers making a difference. It set us back offensively, and we couldn't get moving."

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