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Will Muschamp Official Countdown to Firing Thread


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I am an alumnus of the University of Florida (and also the University of Oklahoma, but I digress). Before I get to my main premise, a little background. Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley is good at a lot of things, but hiring football coaches isn't one of them. When Steve Spurrier abruptly left in 2002, Foley went on one of his patented "searches", during which only his opinion matters. The three people he talked to were Mike Shanahan (then firmly entrenched as head coach of the Denver Broncos), Bobby Stoops (former Gators' defensive coordinator who had just won a national title at Oklahoma and resurrected the program after several awful seasons under Gary Gibbs and John Blake), and Ron Zook, who had been demoted as the Gators' defensive coordinator years earlier and by all accounts was about to be fired as DC of the New Orleans Saints after his unit's collapse in the last four games cost the Saints an almost certain playoff spot in 2001. The former two were listening as a courtesy and they weren't about to leave their current situations, which left only Zook. When Zook was UF's DC, their defense got worse statistically every year he coached them, which led to his demotion - not exactly the kind of guy you later hire to head the program. Zook never lost fewer than five games in a season during his entire stay, and despite this, Foley extended him after the second year.

 

"But what about Urban Meyer?", you ask. Fortunately for the University of Florida, their President at that time was Bernard Machen, who was President of the University of Utah when Meyer was brought in from Bowling Green. Machen knew first hand what Meyer was capable of, and what he had done for a stagnant program at Utah. Foley was not free to use his short list, and the Gators won two crystal footballs, one with Tim Tebow and one without.

 

For various reasons Meyer began to unravel after Tebow and his class left. Foley once again went on a search with his "short list", hiring Will Muschamp from Texas, who was supposedly the Longhorns' choice to succeed Mack Brown - although there was no stated timetable and no salary acceleration clause in Muschamp's contract. It became clear pretty early on that this wasn't a great hire. A 7-6 regular season was followed by an 11-2 season, when the Gators appeared to justify the hire - at least on the surface. Those of us who follow the team more closely (I have seen pretty much every play of every game since 2004, except for two games that weren't televised), already knew that there were serious problems lurking beneath the surface. First, all of the team leaders (save maybe one or two) were Meyer recruits who would be leaving at the end of the season. Virtually every meaningful break went the Gators' way. They led South Carolina 21-3 at the end of a half in which they had gained 29 yards on offense, and a blocked punt for a touchdown on the final play against Louisiana-Lafayette kept the game from going into overtime, a game that ULL led virtually from the beginning. Louisville exposed the 11-1 record for the fraud that it was in the Sugar Bowl. Beneath all this was possibly the most damning statistic of all: The Gators, from the flagship university of a state with possibly more offensive skill players than anywhere else in the country, were ranked below #100 nationally in total offense in the first two years of the Muschamp regime. Bluntly put, this team was all defense and special teams, and a lot of those guys were leaving.

 

Then came the disastrous 2013 season. Muschamp's good luck ran out, and the losses piled up. Seven of them in a row to end the season. These included the first home loss to Vanderbilt since 1945 (at Homecoming, with Vandy starting a backup QB and still winning by 17), then possibly the most humiliating defeat in school history, a 26-20 loss at home to FCS Georgia Southern, a 6-4 team who had lost to Wofford and lost by 24 points to 4-8 Appalachian State. GSU did not complete a pass in the entire game, yet they rushed for over 450 yards. Muschamp had clearly lost the team, and they quit on him. Muschamp just HAD to be fired. Instead, AD Foley, who in typical fashion had rushed to extend Muschamp's contract at the first sign of success after 2012, had made it economically unfeasible to cut him loose. After three straight years with an offense below #100 in the country, now they are trying to prop him up with our third offensive coordinator in four years, Kurt Roper hired away from Duke.

 

Muschamp's temper has also been an issue. He broke his hand in the locker room punching a bulletin board, and after one game last season he challenged a Florida fan to a fist fight. He also told Gator fans that we needed to "get a grip" since we weren't thrilled with his 4-8 season, our first losing record since 1979. Three straight losses to Georgia (for the first time since 1987-'89) and our most lopsided loss to Florida State since 1988 haven't helped either. Players clearly don't like playing for Muschamp. Whenever a new head coach comes in you expect that a few guys will transfer out. This program has hemorrhaged players ever since Muschamp arrived in town, and it continues to this day. As of December 2013, 16 scholarship players had transferred out of the program, and two recruits decided not to play college football rather than honor their commitment to Muschamp. There were three or four more defections this spring.

 

If Muschamp isn't fired by the end of this season, I am probably going to need psychological counseling, AA or both. Right now I hope that Jeremy Foley hits the door along with him, because frankly I don't trust him to hire the next head football coach at UF.

 

Thanks for listening, since I know that most of you couldn't care less about the SEC or any of its teams. For alumni it's a bit different. For therapy I once served as a moderator at FireRonZook.com, and I have now converted my own Gator message board to Fire Will Muschamp. I am not one who is quick to want to fire coaches and I want to give them a reasonable chance. That said, I cannot understand how one of the top programs in the country keeps hiring so many bad ones.

Edited by Vegas Halo Fan
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I honestly had no idea that they lost 7 straight games. How was the recruiting class this year?

 

Not great. There was a tremendous need on the offensive side of the ball, especially skill position players. There was one running back and three wide receivers in the incoming class, and none is considered to be an impact player. The offense has been so bad for so long that any skill players of consequence go elsewhere. With the resurgence of Florida State, gradual improvement at Miami and the emergence of Central Florida, Florida picked a really bad time to go in the tank.

 

An ESPN analyst, in breaking down how bad the Florida offense has been, mentioned this statistic from last season: Of all of UF's off-tackle running plays (and those who have watched this team knows that this has been the bulk of our offense under Muschamp, along with screens and hitch patterns), 40 percent of them went for one yard or less. Our leading receiver and leading rusher from last season (with the former graduating after 2013) averaged 93 yards per game - between them.

 

I don't understand the number of analysts picking them to win eight games or more in 2014. Our top receiver from 2013 graduated, our top running back from 2013 averaged 45 yards per game, and our only all-SEC player on offense is an offensive tackle - who made the third team. With games against Florida State, Alabama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, a quickly improving Tennessee, a much better Vanderbilt and a building Kentucky team whose incoming class laid waste to ours, where are these eight wins going to come from? It makes me believe that they are voting on reputation alone - a reputation that left with Urban Meyer. This is a team that averaged less than 19 points per game a year ago. That is a lot to put on your defense and special teams. Simply put, if we ever fall behind by 14 points, it's game over. Ten might even do it.

 

Another thing that hasn't gotten much press is the number of players who have left the program since Muschamp has been head coach to transfer elsewhere. You generally expect a few players to leave whenever a new coach comes in. This has been more like a steady exodus. Players don't like playing for Muschamp or dealing with his out-of-control temper, so after getting a dose of reality they leave.

 

Much has been made of the number of injuries this team had a year ago. A major portion of them happened in practice, which makes me wonder how practices are being run. One thing that is eminently clear is that Muschamp bases playing time on how a player practices, regardless of what he does in a game. My opinion is that this makes players go so hard during the week that they have nothing left on Saturday, and it increases the chances of injury. Our best running back (who was not our leading rusher, because Muschamp didn't play him until enough people got hurt to push him to the front of the line) is Kelvin Taylor, Fred Taylor's kid. Kelvin probably only went to UF because his dad did, and I'm sure that there have been times when he has regretted the decision.

 

 

and Roll Tide

 

I have no doubt that they will. The Florida-Alabama game, on September 20 in Tuscaloosa, has the potential to be one of the worst beatdowns this program has gotten in decades. The game should essentially be over by halftime.

 

 

Can't stand Florida and don't mind seeing their demise - sorry, Vegas.

O-H!

 

It's all good, Tank. Not all of us were born to be Gators. Just a privileged few. :)

 

When I was in school there was a bumper sticker sold in the student store that read:

 

Floridian by Birth, Gator by the Grace of God

 

I believe that I still have one tucked away somewhere.

Edited by Vegas Halo Fan
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Tristan Payton just decommited from Florida. He's a WR from Jacksonville. Likely ends up at USC

Mus hasn't been able to develop anything offense as you pointed out. It's a mess on that side of the ball. Their offense was unwatchable.

Going to be a interesting season in Gainesville.

Edited by nando714
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I wish this same thing would happen to Florida State.

 

This we agree on. My favorite FSU team of all time is the 1973 Seminoles, who finished off an 0-11 season with a 49-0 loss in Gainesville. They were so bad that they got their initial first down about halfway through the third quarter, getting a standing ovation from the Florida crowd.

 

It was douchebagetes, to be accurate.

 

Hiring on at Ohio State confirms this diagnosis.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Urban has burned a lot of bridges at UF. He turned the school in to the NCAA for two minor infractions of recruiting rules that turned out not to be violations at all. He badmouthed the program to two recruits who UF and OSU were both pursuing (according to the recruits). There was also a recent article with an interview of Meyer's wife Shelley in which she says that they "never felt at home" at Florida and that the Gator fans were "mean" the last year Meyer was at UF. (Incidentally, there was a job created for Shelley in the UF School of Nursing at the same time her husband was knocking down millions coaching the football team.) Honestly, I don't remember much noise on the fan boards that year. Winning two national titles and having an undefeated regular season in a third year buys you a lot of capital without people calling for your head at the first sign of difficulty.

 

My response to Shelley Meyer is, ask Kirk Herbstreit what happens when you run afoul of Ohio State fans - and he is one of their own. Herbstreit had to move his family from Ohio to Tennessee because of fan backlash when he suggested that some of the allegations about wrongdoing in the OSU program under Jim Tressel were true. History has proven Herbstreit right, but that hardly matters in Columbus.

 

It also didn't help the attitudes of Florida fans toward Meyer when he duped the university into giving him a $1M bonus upon his departure so that he could spend more time with his family, then he turned up as head coach at Ohio State just a few months later.

 

My belief is that Meyer would have eventually righted the program, but he has such a delicate ego that the loss of reverence when the team fell to earth the year after Tim Tebow and his class left was more than he could deal with.

Edited by Vegas Halo Fan
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  • 1 month later...

This is where the program goes into its season-ending nosedive. Muschamp is sticking doggedly to Jeff Driskel at quarterback, despite his historically bad production. The Gators scored zero points in three quarters at Tennessee, and they would likely have lost 9-0 had freshman Treon Harris not come off the bench and led them to ten points in the fourth quarter.

 

Muschamp is nothing if not a creature of habit. We will continue to hand off on first and second down, almost none of our passes will exceed five yards and Jeff Driskel will be the quarterback as long as he is still upright.

 

This horribly failed experiment cannot be over soon enough.

Edited by Vegas Halo Fan
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