There’s been a lot of chatter ever since Florida’s 33-23 victory over Tennessee last Saturday that the Gators’ linemen may be illegally using their hands to create a gap for teammates to fly through and block punts.
Chris Rainey blocked the fifth punt of his career in the win over the Vols.
Florida coach Will Muschamp quickly shot down the notion Wednesday that anything outside the rules was going on with the Gators' punt block team.
“We just play hard and coach hard, and I’m real pleased,” Muschamp said. “They didn’t throw any flags on that play, did they?”
When told they didn't, Muschamp said, "OK."
He later added, “We just ran a guy through a gap.”
This whole thing was stirred up earlier this week when Kentucky coach Joker Phillips was asked about how the Gators have continued to be so successful in blocking punts.
Here's what Phillips said: "Speed, speed, you know, at which they come off. And their speed are big guys. Their linebackers and defensive ends are on their punt team. We’ve got receivers and DBs on our punt team to try and get that speed on the field. They’ve got big guys pulling this guy that way, and this guy that way and a little fast guy with world-class speed comes up the middle to block it. And you can’t get off the block. We’ve got to punch them in the mouth when they try to grab you and get their hands off of you and come off and block the little guy that tries to split the gap.”
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley wasn't about to be dragged into the debate.
"If we do our job the way we need to do it, we don’t even have that discussion," Dooley said. "I put that responsibility on us."
Dooley said there aren't a lot of guys out there like Rainey who have the speed and the knack for blocking punts.
"There are some special guys who can get through that seam and accelerate to the ball, and No. 1 has that," Dooley said.