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Everything Eric Musselman said after Arkansas’ loss at Florida

Eric Musselman has grown increasingly quieter after each of Arkansas’ last three games.

That happens over the five stages of grief.

At this point, Musselman is on the acceptance stage. His Razorbacks basketball team fell, 90-68, at Florida on Saturday in a game that the Gators owned within the first five minutes.

Musselman’s press conference after the loss was not the angry one that occurred after Arkansas’ first SEC loss to Auburn. It was not the disappointed, but encouraging one that occurred after Arkansas’ second SEC loss at Georgia.

This one was muted with moments of passive-aggressiveness. The coach is fully aware his team can’t even think about the NCAA Tournament right now. Everything right now is about survival.

Check out what Musselman had to say below.

Overall outlook

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

We’re through SEC games, we’re not playing, we’ve been here four years. We’ve been a team that’s been super tough-minded. Been a team that competes. Been a team that battles. Been a team that has grit. We have not done that this year at all.

Zone

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Hadn’t played zone at all since I’ve been in college. We’re not guarding anybody one-on-one, so the thought process was to put a zone in yesterday, try to help us with dribble-drives. Did help for a little bit as a change of pace. But just as any zone and man, you’ve got to be able to guard the guy in your area or the guy you’re assigned to. Our inability to play defense, to take away the 3, it doesn’t matter. … We went zone tonight and gave up nine threes. We need to play like our past teams have. This group just does not grasp the concept whether it’s man or you’re putting in the zone. Really happy with the play of Layden Blocker and Joseph Pinion. I just thought they played hard. I thought they played the right way and their numbers are indicitive of that. That’s why their plus-minus is what it is. It’s not like they played insignificant minutes. Proud of our two young guys on how they battled.

Pinion and Blocker

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

I think we’ve changed up a lot of things a lot. We’ve tried different things. Certainly those two young men toinight, because they played hard, we’ll probably look to go to them earlier than we have in these past games. Younger players, when you’re not playing like you hope, that’s the next thing you’re going to to turn to after you’ve gone through 15 other alternatives. We’re trying everything. The one constant with Layden Blocker has been that he plays relaly hard. And the one constant with Joseph Pinion that he’s exhibited through two years is he will try. … He’s got heart. He’s got character. He’s a guy that tries and plays up to his ability.

Tough inside offensively

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know if I can improve it. Did we do drills because we knew they go vertical really well? Absolutely we did. … Having said that, I don’t have the lay-up stats, but Joseph took it in there. He might have missed one or two. So did everybody else. I thought they went in there with authority. I thought they tried to get into the body of the second defender. … Much respect to those guys to absorb contact and not try to avoid contact.

More on the inside

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

I can’t teach making dunks and lay-ups. There’s a lot of stuff I’ve got to do a better job with this group. … At some point, you’ve got to finish in there. We’ll continue to try to drill it. We’ll continue to try to show it on film. We’ll continue to try to develop some of our younger guys, as well.

Florida's game

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Riley (Kugel) played great. Super talented young man. Todd Golden, I’ve said it over and over, I think he’s one of the best coaches in the country. I think it was a great hire by Florida. … Much respect to Florida’s administration to make a hire with somebody that is for sure outside the box in the SEC. He’s going to prove over time he’s one of the best coaches in the league.

Navigate this now, realist?

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

This group does not have the characteristics of the past four years. You can see that. We have a lot of holes in a lot of different areas. Our job as a staff is to continue to do what we can, try to provide teaching points, continue to try to give scouting reports that are effective…Try to get guys better and get the collective whole better.

 

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire