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Muschamp shuts scrimmage down early: Truly frustrated or motivational ploy?

Apparently, Florida coach Will Muschamp wasn't pleased with his team's effort in a team scrimmage Wednesday. It was cut short by more than 30 minutes, leading to Muschamp's scheduled press conference being pushed up. 

"We did not execute very well," a seemingly frustrated Muschamp said. "Mental toughness was not there. Very immature football team at this point not consistently performing at the level we need to perform at.

"[There were] some procedural issues we should not be having at this point. [On] defense [there were] some mental mistakes we should not be having at this point. Overall, pretty displeased. Not what we were looking for tonight, that's for sure."

“It’s just a lack of focus on what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to do it,” he said of why the practice ended early. “We’re in (a two-minute drill); we have guys walking around. We have no sense of urgency about what we do and how we do it and how we approach it. Very frustrating.”

While Muschamp wouldn't call the scrimmage — the same one he said would cost potential starters their jobs — a step backward, he did have this gem: “It dang sure wasn’t a step forward.”

But, coming from Muschamp, can we really believe anything he says at this point? Who knows if practice was bad? Practice is closed. It has been since spring. The only people that know what's going on aren't talking about it. Players are coached up on what to say, and what not to say.

To that end, it's this writer's opinion that Muschamp and his staff realized that the spewing overload of positive spin coming from the program was just too much.

Florida realized that people were starting to expect, at the very least, a very competitive football team this fall. Last night's verbal beatdown by Muschamp was merely a tempering of expectations and a motivational ploy for some camp-lethargic players. 

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley confirmed that sentiment Thursday.

"He just wants us to know that we’re not who we’re supposed to be yet," he said. 

Easley said Wednesday's scrimmage wasn't actually that bad. In fact, it was an improvement over the previous two. 

"From my perspective, everything went good," Easley said. "Obviously some things went bad. Every team, certain things go bad. But the way I look at it everything went good. He seemed a little upset because some plays went wrong, some people didn’t do what they were supposed to be doing, but that happens every where."

The fact is this team isn't where Muschamp, or the rabid fans of Gator Nation, expect it to be. There is a minimal senior presence, and a lot of the more-talented players on the roster are underclassmen. Add a brand new coaching staff and a complicated pro-style scheme on both sides of the ball to the mix and what you get is a mentally confused, young football team. 

There will be growing pains this fall. There aren't many guarantees around this team, but that much you can count on.

Just ask Jeff Demps.

"If we played tonight, I couldn’t even tell you [what would happen]," Demps said. "I’m pretty sure guys would go out and compete and play as hard as they can, but as far as just mentally being there, I’m not sure."


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