Gators handling adversity better

October, 1, 2012
10/01/12
2:10
PM ET
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Will Muschamp talks about maturity, better depth, and more experience as big reasons why the Gators are better in 2012 than they were after four games in 2011.

But there’s another reason: UF is able to overcome the bad things that happen during games.

Especially on offense. Penalties, plays that don’t work, turnovers and injuries were all things that pretty much derailed the Gators (4-0, 3-0 SEC) last season.

"I think we handle adversity a lot better," Muschamp said. "And when you play games like this, there's going to be some adversity in the game. I think anybody that was a part of watching us and being a part of our organization last year and this year will notice a night-and-day difference between our football team."

Florida’s time of possession is up six minutes per game from a year ago. While that’s can be a misleading stat, it is significant for the Gators because of the kind of offense Muschamp wants: ball control, power run. UF also is averaging 79 yards more per game than it did last season, when the Gators finished 105th nationally in total offense.

Because of the injury to starting quarterback John Brantley and the inexperience of freshman backups Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel, the Gators struggled to overcome false start or holding penalties last season. They’ve been able to weather penalties much better this season, thanks to Driskel’s improved play and the solid running game led by Mike Gillislee (402 yards).

"I think we've made tremendous improvement in a short period of time," Muschamp said. "I think we've addressed issues in our program that we need to shore up. Are we where we want to be at? Absolutely not. I'm not trying to say that we've arrived in any stretch of the imagination. But I do think we've improved."

Injury update
RB/FB Trey Burton (back), TE Jordan Reed (head), DT Sharrif Floyd (shoulder), OT Chaz Green (ankle) and DT Dominique Easley (knee) will play against LSU. LB Jelani Jenkins’ status will be updated last this week, but Muschamp said last week Jenkins could play against LSU with a cast on his fractured right thumb.

DB Cody Riggs (foot) and OT Matt Patchan (shoulder) are still out.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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