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Florida Gators' work ethic impresses coach Will Muschamp

Jeff Demps rushes for 105 yards against FAU, ending any talk that he jinxed himself by changing from No. 2 to No. 28.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Jeff Demps rushes for 105 yards against FAU, ending any talk that he jinxed himself by changing from No. 2 to No. 28.

GAINESVILLE — There are no players on the roster who draw media attention with every spoken word. The team is not ranked in the national Top 5. And its head football coach is down to earth and unpretentious, preferring his Chevy pickup in his reserved parking spot rather than his luxury company car.

The 2011 Gators are a blue-collar bunch, plain and simple. And coach Will Muschamp likes that label, personifying a hard-working, gritty team.

"They know how to work, compete, and go on the practice field every day and have a businesslike approach," Muschamp said about his team Monday. "I feel like they have bought in since Day One — some better than others — and the ones that haven't aren't here anymore. I feel very comfortable about where we are as far as the work ethic and the approach.

"We've got some young guys that have got to display that over a period of time. We're talking about one game at this time, and we have a long season ahead of us. That's the big challenge; you've got to do it consistently."

Muschamp credited former coach Urban Meyer and his staff for this team's work ethic.

INJURY UPDATE: WR/RB Trey Burton suffered a bruised side but is expected to play Saturday against UAB. WR Omarius Hines (hamstring) will return this week. CB Jeremy Brown (knee) and WR Robert Clark (hamstring) are questionable.

JAYE HOWARD HONORED: Florida senior DT Jaye Howard was named SEC co-defensive lineman of the week, his first weekly conference honor. Howard helped hold FAU to 137 total yards — 30 yards rushing on 30 attempts. He had four tackles and a sack.

PRAISE FOR JOYER: Muschamp said the staff liked what it saw Saturday from former Wesley Chapel standout RB Hunter Joyer, a freshman. "He has progressed well," Muschamp said. "For a first game, he was very productive with protections and blocking."

CHANGE FOR THE BETTER: Jeff Demps' decision to change his jersey number from No. 2 to No. 28 after three years with the Gators was a hot topic of conversation during the preseason, but after Saturday's performance, no one is wondering if Demps jinxed himself with the change.

"I just wanted to change it up, feel more like a running back," Demps said Saturday night. "With the new number change and the new pro-style offense, I definitely felt like a running back. Coach (Charlie) Weis wanted to come out fast and set the tone to show our fans that this is what we want to do the rest of the season."

With 105 rushing yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns against FAU, Demps has 2,006 rushing yards in 39 games and joins Ole Miss' Brandon Bolden (2,160) as the league's only active career 2,000-yard rushers.

FLOYD UPDATE: DT Sharrif Floyd remains ineligible, waiting to be reinstated by the NCAA. Florida declared him ineligible last week. "He's fine," Muschamp said. "I have no comment." Ron Cohen, Floyd's coach at George Washington High in Philadelphia, said UF officials questioned him about what went on during Floyd's senior year. Cohen suspects that Floyd's name came up in the ongoing NCAA investigation at North Carolina. "From what I understand, it had nothing to do with the University of Florida," Cohen said.

Information from the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report. Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

Florida Gators' work ethic impresses coach Will Muschamp 09/05/11 [Last modified: Monday, September 5, 2011 8:36pm]
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