Monday, January 22, 2018
Colleges

UF's Muschamp would trade defensive pride for win

GAINESVILLE

With his fondness for defense, you might think Florida coach Will Muschamp would lose his mind over the thought of being in an offensive shootout like Georgia, South Carolina, LSU, Alabama and Texas A&M have found themselves in this season.

Think again.

When the No. 17 Gators play at No. 10 LSU on Saturday, Muschamp said as long as Florida emerges victorious, he couldn't care less how the game plays out.

"As long as we win, I don't care," he said. "Honestly. I got real caught up in all that stuff when I was a coordinator. When I'm a head coach, I want to win. If it takes 51-50, let's go. … We'd watch the film on Sunday and figure out what we need to do to get better, but I can tell you right now, I used to grab those stat sheets when I was a coordinator. Not anymore. There's one stat that matters and that's winning. Do what you got to do to win games."

UF players aren't sure they believe that.

"I mean, he'll be happy if we won," sophomore DT Dante Fowler said. "(But) you wouldn't want to walk in on Sunday after giving up 50. I don't know how he would physically handle it. I honestly don't know what would happen."

Added DL Darious Cummings: "Muschamp, he don't care if he wins by one point or two points, a win is a win. …(but) we're going to get chewed out about the 50 points."

Florida is ranked No. 2 nationally in total defense, while LSU is ranked No. 3 in total offense in the SEC with 45.5 points per game.

"They look a lot better than 17 (Associated Press ranking)," LSU coach Les Miles said. "They're the No. 1 team defensively in the league. They're allowing 12 points, 217 yards, 65 yards rushing and 152 yards passing. They lead in all major defensive categories. Again, a very sound scheme. They don't give up big plays. Will Muschamp does a great job with that defense."

PURIFOY HONORED: Junior CB Loucheiz Purifoy was honored multiple times for his performance in Saturday's 30-10 win against Arkansas. On Monday, Purifoy was named SEC defensive player of the week, adding to the Walter Camp national defensive player of the week, and one of four players named to this week's Paul Hornung Award National Honor Roll. Purifoy had his first career interception, which he returned 42 yards for a touchdown. He also had his first sack, four tackles, three pass breakups and a forced fumble.

ADVANTAGE, LSU: Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge is always among the toughest places to play in the SEC, and Gators starting QB Tyler Murphy will be making his first start in the most hostile environment he has faced. Murphy traveled with the team in 2011, so the redshirt junior has some idea what he's in for.

"I think it'll be a great experience," he said. "Baton Rouge is a very lively place. It'll be a very hostile environment. As a team, we'll have to focus on ourselves and not get caught up in the hype and all that stuff. Just treat it as another game, have a good week of practice and try to continue to get better and execute like we've been doing."

Miles likes the fact that he'll get the Gators at home. "We look forward to welcoming Florida to Tiger Stadium, and we expect that it will be a loud, very, very home-team friendly crowd," Miles said.

CHAMPIONS REUNION: LSU will honor its 2003 national championship this weekend, and a key member of the staff from that team will be on the other sideline. Muschamp was the Tigers' defensive coordinator from 2002-2004 and that 2003 team led the nation in defense that season.

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @TBTimes_Gators.

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