At his weekly news conference earlier this week, Florida coach Will Muschamp insisted the Gators hoped Todd Gurley would be playing for Georgia on Saturday because they “want to play a team at its best.” After learning Wednesday that Gurley’s suspension will extended two more weeks, he said is team is disappointed.
“I think our guys were genuine in saying that,” Muschamp said during the SEC coaches’ teleconference call on Wednesday. “Todd’s an outstanding player. As a competitor you want to play against guys like him.”
That said, Muschamp doesn’t expect a significant drop-off with Nick Chubb as the primary ball-carrier. The freshman from Cedartown has rushed for 345 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ last two games, wins over Missouri (34-0) and Arkansas (45-32).
“Nick Chubb’s a pretty good player, too,” Muschamp said. “Turn on the tape and see what he’s done the last couple weeks. We recruited him here at Florida, too. He’s an outstanding player.”
Muschamp said knowing they won’t face Gurley won’t alter the Gators’ preparations.
“They’ve got a stable of backs that are very talented,” Muschamp said. “It’s a shame. Todd’s an outstanding player, a great competitor. But it does not affect our preparation.”
Muschamp said Gurley’s situation draws attention to the need for FBS programs to be able to provide more assistance to student-athletes.
“With the amount of money we’re making in college football and all of college athletics, we have the ability to give them a little money on the side,” Muschamp said. “There’s no question that hopefully we’ll be able to move forward in being able to pay players.”