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January 1, 2013NEW ORLEANS - A common talking point this week in New Orleans has been whether Florida, No. 3 in the nation and a snap or two away from the national title game, respects Louisville, their foe in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl.
The Gators have said all the right things during this week of preparation in the Crescent City, but some believe they won't take the Cardinals seriously.
Florida coach Will Muschamp says the Gators have a healthy respect for Louisville.
"I think the first thing that jumps out is Teddy Bridgewater," Muschamp said. "He's an outstanding player. He's accurate. They put a lot on him at the line of scrimmage as far as the run and pass game. He's very accurate. I think he makes very good decisions. He creates a lot of off rhythm, plays with his legs and he scrambles with the throw. He's not scrambling to run as much as you think. I think just a really good decision-maker is what I see."
Muschamp noted that Bridgewater wasn't the only playmaker out there for Louisville.
"A really talented receiving corps," Muschamp said. "You look at (DeVante) Parker and (RB Jeremy) Wright and Copeland, all three guys that can make plays in space. Parker, a guy that had nine touchdown receptions this year. Jeremy Wright has done a nice job filling in at running back position."
Muschamp also said he has a healthy respect for Louisville's coaching staff.
"And Shawn Watson is a guy I have a lot of respect for, offensive coordinator, a little and Bill Callahan, as far as his regular personnel, what we call 12 personnel,
but also being able to spread the field to get his best athletes on the field," Muschamp said. "And I think defensively Charlie's background speaks for itself. I think they only had one senior starting, (CB Adrian) Bushell."
"They have a very young defense, very athletic, running extremely well. Marcus Smith is a guy, a pass
rusher that we need to account for as far as protection is concerned. A team that's played very well. You win ten games, you win your league, you've obviously accomplished a lot... You see Charlie's handprints all over their football team as far as how they play the
physicality they play with."
Earlier in the week DB Matt Elam said Bridgewater is the best quarterback the Gators will have faced this season. That is remarkable given the Gators game earlier this season with Texas A&M and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel.
"That's the respect we have for Teddy," Muschamp said. "We think he's a really good football player. And I think that there's no question, the films speak for itself. Guy threw over 3,000 yards, 28 touchdown throws and only six interceptions. He makes great decisions with the ball."