The Silver Lining for Thursday, October 16, 2014: Will Muschamp, Dan Mullen, Florida State

By Adam Silverstein
October 16, 2014

The Silver Lining will return to its regular Wednesday afternoon slot next week. Extenuating circumstances, most recently the men’s basketball media day, have delayed this column the last two weeks. Thank you for your patience.

Will Muschamp’s Leash

What is it going to take for Will Muschamp to get fired as head coach of the Florida Gators? According to athletic director Jeremy Foley, there is neither a set number of games Muschamp needs to win nor particular set of goals he must achieve this season.

I used to believe Foley. I believed Foley was being honest when he made that statement before the season. Now, I cannot see how he could possibly maintain that mindset five games into the 2014 campaign.

Foley had to expect better than this. He may have believed Florida would be 4-2 now (adding in the canceled Idaho game), but there is no way he thought the Gators’ offense would have made this little progress or their defense taken as deep of a step backward.


As of today, Muschamp is 25-18 (.581) at Florida, 7-11 (.389) over his last 18 games, and 4-13 (.235) against ranked opponents during his tenure (five-straight losses). His Gators have also gone 3-3 against their last six unranked opponents (2-2 in SEC play).

Under Muschamp, Florida only has a winning record against one of its four traditional rivals (Tennessee, 4-0). Overall, UF is 6-9 against UT, Florida State (1-2), Georgia (0-3), LSU (1-3) and Miami (0-1) with losing records against those opponents in 2011 (1-3) and 2013 (1-4). Florida went 3-1 against those teams in 2012 and is currently 1-1 through two of those four games in 2014…with the best two ahead on its schedule.

Though Muschamp, admirably, does not make excuses for his failures and puts the praise on his players for the Gators’ successes, he’s had his share of understandable reasons for coming up short in 2011 (took over a broken team without an identity) and 2013 (15 season-ending injuries [two quarterbacks, three tackles], 10 to starters including his most important players on offense and defense).

Florida also struggled on offense those years, in stark contrast to how Muschamp’s Gators have performed on defense – one of the five best units in the country over the last three years.

The problem this season is that while Florida’s offense is indeed scoring more points and may still be limited by redshirt junior starting quarterback Jeff Driskel, Muschamp’s defense – his calling card – is putting the Gators in no-win situations.

Ranked in the top 15 each of the last three seasons, Florida’s defense is now approximately the 40th best unit in the country – and that’s due in large part to a shutout against one opponent (Eastern Michigan) and only surrendering nine points on three field goals to another (Tennessee). Against its other three opponents, teams which are supposed to be UF’s peers, Florida has allowed an average of 34 points per game.

So, what is an athletic director to do?

For one, keep a close eye on what transpires on Saturday.

I’ve long believed that Muschamp needed to do one of two things to keep his job this season: win eight games or beat multiple rivals. However, the way this year has started, the former appears more achievable than the latter…though that possibility is now slipping away, too.

A schedule that was expected to include five ranked opponents (at the time Florida faced them) now consists of just three with two remaining – Georgia and Florida State.

Prior to the LSU game, I told some UF alums that I thought the Gators needed to finish the season with a 2-3 record in their five remaining “tests” (while giving Florida the benefit of the doubt that it would go 2-0 against Vanderbilt and Eastern Kentucky). After a loss to the Tigers, the Gators are down to just four of those games – UGA, FSU, Missouri, South Carolina – and another Tigers defeat, from those wearing Mizzou jerseys, may just be too much for Foley to take heading into the bye week.

If Muschamp cannot prove that his team is capable of beating Missouri – a team that lost at home to Indiana and was shutout 34-0 by Georgia last week – at night, at home in The Swamp, why would Foley believe the Gators could take down the No. 10 Bulldogs, Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks and/or the No. 2 Seminoles?

The natives are restless and Foley, whether he wants to admit it or not, is on his way to joining them. Despite remaining Muschamp’s most ardent supporter, one who will do his absolute best to give the coach every possible chance to succeed and keep his job, Foley, like anyone else, has his breaking point.

The Pursuit of Dan Mullen

Seven years ago, this is indicative of how many Florida fans felt about Dan Mullen:

Seven years later, after helping coach the Gators to their second national championship in three seasons and with his Mississippi State team ranked No. 1 in the country following three-straight victories over top-10 teams, Gator Nation wants him back.

Two websites have already been created by fans in hopes of convincing Foley to hire Mullen. (Let me jump in real quick and make sure you all realize can that Foley will not be making his hiring decision based off of fan suggestions or a website built in five minutes.)

Why exactly is Mullen the talked-about name for Florida? Because he’s familiar, he’s recently successful, and there’s really not much else out there in the vein of hot, young coaches with experience leading a program.

Look, the Gators missed their opportunity to replace Meyer with a perfect successor when Foley hired Muschamp and seemingly failed to even consider Kevin Sumlin. Foley wanted to go with a disciplinarian, a guy who would clean up the program while shaping the Gators in his image, one molded in large part by the best coach in college football today, Nick Saban. And you know what? For non-football reasons, it was probably the right decision. In the end, however, he may have picked the wrong coach.

Mullen was not an option at that time, even coming off a 9-4 season at Mississippi State, the program’s best since 1999 (10-2). Whether he’s an option for Foley in 2014, should Muschamp be fired at some point, remains to be seen.

The Bulldogs bought into Mullen, ignoring calls from the fan base to terminate his contract while providing him significant institutional support. Mullen’s children were born in Starkville, Mississippi, and he has an opportunity to stay at State and potentially build a legacy…or flame out once Dak Prescott leaves the program.

Unless you think the Bulldogs go undefeated and/or win the league championship and/or capture the national title, how is Mississippi State’s 2014 season vastly different from Florida’s under Muschamp in 2012 to this point?

The Bulldogs are currently 6-0 with three wins over top 10 opponents (two at home); the Gators started 7-0 two years ago with two wins over top 10 opponents (both at home). Mississippi State is outscoring its opponents by 21.8 points per game and allowing them to score 20 points per game; Florida was winning with an 18-point-per-game margin and holding its opponents to 12.1 points per contest. MSU is now the No. 1 team in the country, while UF reached a No. 3 national ranking; both teams entered a bye after.

One difference is the Gators were tested immediately by a top-15 opponent in Georgia after that bye, while the Bulldogs seemingly have three more games until they face another such opponent in Alabama.

UF is 11-12 under Muschamp in the equivalent of two seasons since that 7-0 start. What happens to MSU this season under Mullen very much remains to be seen.

Barring a horrendous collapse, Mullen will be a hot name as larger, more established programs search for new head coaches this offseason. Whether he is anywhere near the top of Florida’s list, if it has an opening, is far from a certainty. And whether he considers leaving the Bulldogs, a program in a winning conference that will undoubtedly do its best to match whatever else is offered by another school (at least monetarily), is just as much of a question.

WHAT DOES MULLEN THINK ABOUT FLORIDA AND COACHING WEBSITES?

Via SuperTalk Mississippi Radio:

“I coached at Florida, and I remember coaching at Florida they wanted to fire Dan Mullen. I know there was a website here at Mississippi State to fire Dan Mullen last year. Now, there’s probably one to keep me here. All that? Here’s my take on it: One, let me start with this… Both my kids are born here. I love Mississippi State. I’ve love being here. I love the community. I love the state. I have a great administration. They’ve given us what we need to build a successful program. I think we’ve built that program; there’s a lot of stability. We love being here. So, that’s No. 1.

“Now for all this other stuff, and this isn’t just about me, this is me in general as I view this stuff. I know Will Muschamp – really good football coach. I know a lot of coaches on the staff – really good football coaches, and other places around the country. The shame of it is, for people, there are a lot of coaches that are making a lot of sacrifices. They don’t see their family at this time of year. They’re staying away, they’re working, giving their university everything that they have. There are a lot of players out there working on the field to give everybody [what] they have.

“I think it is really awful, in any way, that people do that, especially right now, when everybody’s working so hard to do the best they can. I think it’s really an insult to coaches and to players at institutions, whether they’re putting websites out to hire you or fire you or do all of these things out there. I don’t think that does any good for anybody.”

Mullen is not yet Urban Meyer (17-6 at Bowling Green, 22-2 at Utah) or Steve Spurrier (15-7-1 in his last two years at Duke). He’s a talented coach who has finally put a top-flight team together but has yet to show any staying power as the top man at a program. This is a guy who was 2-21 against top-25 opponents (15-straight losses) prior to this season.

If anything, he more closely resembles Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald (10-3 season in 2012 after going 40-36 through his six campaigns). Fitzgerald, as it turns out, is 8-10 since 2012. Muschamp (7-10) would be, too, if that Idaho game was played.

So are you convinced Mullen would come into Florida and turn the program around quicker than he did Mississippi State because of the talent on its roster and recruiting base? Could Muschamp be following a similar path to Mullen, who had three-straight seasons barely over .500 after his 9-4 campaign, on his way to bringing the Gators back?

While it is plausible that Mullen could wind up being Foley’s choice and eventually ends up as Muschamp’s successor at UF, six games does not make a coach, and it certainly does not get one a job offer at Florida.

Not Only Gators: Jameis Winston

Though it is all being conveniently grouped together to paint a picture of a troubled college football player who cannot get out of his own way, lost among the cola-sneaking, BB gun-shooting, crab leg-stealing, profane phrase-yelling and autograph-selling hoopla surrounding Jameis Winston is the fact that his most heinous alleged crime of all, sexual battery of a young woman, has been one of the worst stories I have seen play out in the media in recent college football history.

With Winston (supposedly) finally set to face a disciplinary hearing over the accusations about his alleged sexual assault – 21 months after the incident and 20 months after the accuser named Winston as her attacker – his lawyer is doing whatever he can to delay the proceedings. This, of course, when he’s not disparaging the victim and shaming her to the public, something Florida State fans have picked up on and taken to a disgusting level. Head coach Jimbo Fisher, who prefers to keep his head in the sand on the matter, even went so far as to recently call Winston himself a victim and state matter-of-factly that “there was no crime.”

While this is a topic I feel passionately about and could discuss at length, there is no need for me to do so because some excellent reporting and opining has been published over the past week on this very issue. Mixing damning investigative pieces and spot-on editorials, I highly suggest you read this assortment of posts on the Winston case, Tallahassee police and the abhorrent failures at Florida State. Afterward, you’ll most likely need to take a shower.

New York Times (April 16, 2014) – A Star Player Accused, and a Flawed Rape Investigation
“Investigators showed little interest in finding out what happened. They delayed talking to witnesses, interviewing Mr. Winston and collecting his DNA.”

FOX Sports (October 10, 2014) – Documents: Police, FSU hampered Jameis Winston investigation
“Florida State University officials and Tallahassee police took steps to both hide, and then hinder, the criminal investigation into a rape allegation against the school’s Heisman-trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston last fall, a FOX Sports investigation has found.”

New York Times (October 10, 2014) – At Florida State, Football Clouds Justice
“New information has recently emerged, as part of The Times’s continuing examination of the case, indicating that it was Florida State’s athletic department that decided the allegation did not merit a university investigation. Normally, university officials outside the department handle such matters.”

USA Today’s Christine Brennan (October 15, 2014) – Florida State gives way to ‘Jameis State’
“The embarrassment continues unabated at Florida State, a school that has put the need to win football games above all else, including an alleged rape, a Title IX violation and, pending an investigation, an NCAA rule that some schools still actually follow.”

Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel (October 16, 2014) – Ugly treatment of Jameis Winston’s accuser only serves to discourage future victims
“Any defense of Winston or FSU that relies on attacking the woman, or belittling victimhood, or calling her an extortionist, or claiming the facts show it was all made up, or brushing it all aside as supposedly one big lie is wrong in every imaginable way.”

After you’re done, remember this: Winston has never been arrested and was suspended just one football game…for lying about yelling a profane phrase in a student union.

This Week’s Movie Trailer

A Merry Friggin’ Christmas:

The Top 5 List
From the home office in Wahoo, Nebraska…

Best Super Nintendo (SNES) games:
1. Super Mario World
2. Street Fighter II Turbo
3. Super Mario Cart
4. NBA Jam
5. Donkey Kong Country
Honorable Mentions: F-Zero, NHL ’94

Thanks for reading. Leave your comments below.

78 Comments

  1. Gator John says:

    I’ve said it before, I really don’t think there is much of a chance Mullen leaves MSU. Not right now. If he makes it to the playoffs, and wins? No chance at all. Can he win consistently there? Time will tell, but probably not. So the question is, if. Foley gets rid of Muschamp this year, and Mullen is out of the equation….who’s next in line? Adam, you brought up the lack of hot young coaches who become sexy names to us fans when our teams are slumping…so Foley will have to lure an established coach from a successful program…but who? Adam, what say you?

    • I would love to tell you I have all the answers, but if Foley gets rid of Muschamp, I have absolutely no idea who he would hire. And that’s part of the reason Muschamp’s leash is so long, in my opinion.

    • Dave Massey says:

      I am not one of those that favor Mullen based on a half of year of success. But Mullen probably would leave Mississippi State for Florida if offered the job. MSU spends the least of any school in the conference on football. Florida spends almost three times as much. I can’t imagine that MSU is going to be able to offer Mullen as much money as Florida, and money is money, it does factor in to these coaches decisions. There is still a lot of football left and they still have to play Bama and Ole Miss, then SEC championship, then playoffs. That is a lot of tough games. I like the guy personally and think he has done a tremendous job so far this year, so congrats to him.

      Adam, how much is Mullen currently being paid?

      Can’t believe the administration at Florida State is allowing this to continue, then again it doesn’t surprise me with them, they have never put the institution above football.

      • Same as Muschamp, about $3 million per year.

      • Gator John says:

        True, Dave, there is a lot of football left to play. And a lot of things can happen between now and December.

        As for FSU and Winston, we can only hope karma bites em hard. Go Gators!

        • Dave Massey says:

          It will eventually, and that is a dish all Gator fans will be happy to serve ice cold.

          Can’t imagine why any recruit would want to go to this school unless they want to be involved in this kind of behavior.

  2. cline says:

    My thoughts on Dan Mullen are pretty much the same as presented here in the article. If I was him I would never consider Florida. Hopefully when the time comes we get the right coach.

    GO GATORS!

  3. 5wideU says:

    Don’t know if Mullen would consider us or not (not sure why he wouldn’t with the budget we have compared to Miss. St. and fruitful recruiting ground) but I’m not convinced he’s the right guy based on one apparent special season with a special QB … all of which Adam pointed out.

  4. Rakkasan says:

    I’m sure there are plenty of coaches out there that could turn UF football around, so let’s deep six that idea. I think Foley’s mistake was that in his two failed coaching picks, Zook and Muschamp, neither had ever been a head coach before. I believe UF is a top five program in the country deserving of an experienced head coach, and is no place for a rookie trying out the deep end of the pool.

    As for who I would pick I have no idea, but I do believe Foley has feelers out looking for coaches who might consider coming to Florida. I’m hopeful some of them will have some experience.

    • AnObfuscator says:

      I don’t think “head coaching experience” is required. Bob Stoops had no head coaching experience, while Brady Hoke had plenty.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I think the Zooker was a special case and an intential hire. I think Foley hired him knowing he would be fired after a very short tenure. The coach was, after all, demoted by Steve Spurrier for not being a very good coach.

      I believe Zook was hired as a stop-gap scapegoat. How do you follow a legend? You get someone to put a couple of years between him and the next coach so the person following Spurrier isn’t expected to come in and win 10 games a year every year.

      People blame Foley for a terrible hire, but personally, I think it was very intentional and a masterstroke. Even the top coaches out there, who would want to come in and immediately fill the shoes of the greatest football player/coach/alum in school history?

  5. adamsbombs says:

    Adam,

    I agree with your caution on Mullen, and would add the following:

    1) I know we all want UF to go back to winning, but do we really want UF to go back to a spread offense? The painful transition from the spread under Meyer/Mullen to (an attempt at) a more pro-style offense under everyone else after Meyer exposed how limited the type of O-line personnel who had been recruited for the spread were (too light for pass protection, for example). Moreover, to your point about Mullen’s future at MSU post-Prescott, Florida fans expect a tam that can win year-in and year-out, and the spread seems like a system that goes great guns when you have a freak QB to lead it, but gets exposed once that QB moves on – i.e., not a system well-suited for sustained success in the SEC.

    2) Can he recruit 5-star guys? He seems to have done an enviable job getting a lot out of his recruits, but recruiting 5-stars – vital to sustained success in the SEC – is a different conversation.

    In my view, the question isn’t ‘would Mullen come back to Florida’ nor ‘would Mullen leave MSU’. If I were Mullen I would be acutely aware that I’d caught lightening in a bottle this season, and I would sell high in a heartbeat to the biggest program with the deepest pockets. And if I were Foley I’d sit out the bidding.

    In the category of coaching hires that Foley missed out on post-Meyer, I think I’d rate Charlie Strong as a bigger whiff than Sumlin.

    Unfortunately, I also agree that the pool of standout options for Foley as of now is really underwhelming.

    Adam

    • I mentioned Sumlin because I was speaking specifically about an Urban Meyer-like successor for Meyer. Certainly Charlie Strong may have been a better option than Muschamp, but they are similar in a lot of ways.

      • SW FL Joe says:

        When Muschamp was hired, Charlie had been a Louisville 1 year. He said he wasn’t leaving so soon because he wanted to be loyal to the school that gave him his first head coaching job. I believe that if Foley had any idea that Charlie would be itching to leave last year, he would have canned Muschamp after Ga Southern game and offered Charlie on the spot. Strong to Texas caught him and just about everybody else totally off guard.

        • Dave Massey says:

          Strong going to Texas didn’t catch me by surprise. It was only a matter of time before a major program was going to hire him.

          That program would never have been Florida. There are too many hard feelings between Strong and Florida. Foley had told Strong he was not ready to lead the Florida program. That and several other factors would never have created the situation for Strong to be hired.

  6. bdown says:

    richrod…..helluva offensive mind…recruited the heck out of South Florida when he was at WVU…forget the Michigan fiasco…dial up RichRod and put some excitement back in Florida Football….he would need to hire a good D Coordinator (i.e. not DJ Durkin)

    • Forget the Michigan fiasco? Why?

      • bdown says:

        Did he get a fair shake at Michigan? The Alumni never wanted him and did everyting they could to run him off from day 1…..look at the Michigan fiasco now….is that a RichRod continuation? Nope, and look at Arizona….competive with less resources, facilitaties, and talent pool (he get’s 5 or 6 pick out of Cali)…..

        • Michael Jones says:

          Agreed. Rich Rod never got a fair shake at Mich. He wasn’t considered a “Michigan man” and that put him on a short leash from the start.

            • bdown says:

              That article is correct, but haven’t most of those issues been addressed by the new contact hour rules during the off season for coaches? Muschamp even stated the extra time helped put that offense in quicker…..imagine if they had full access how explosive that offense could be! RichRods record at Michigan was horrible, but it was square peg round hole syndrome….his WVU days are more indicative of his coaching abilities and the way he has molded Arizona speak volumes of his ability to coach. Michigan is still a train wreck, as is Florida…..Whoever we hire….RichRod, Dan Mullen, (the kliff kingsbury suggestions are ridiculous….he’s an offensive coordinator and not ready for a major program), whoever the next UF coach is better bring a fire truck, because he will need to put out a dumpster fire that dates back to a disengaged/disinterested Urban Meyer……But Adam, you got any better suggestions? Art Briles….is a Texas guy, he didn’t leave Baylor for Texas, why leave for Florida? Kevin Sumlin….he’s got the new flagship in Texas…..where do we go, the next, next Will Muschamp…..somebody said Dan Quinn….for real? He’s an NFL guy with a Super Bowl pedigree….he’s going the Gus Bradley route. I think RichRod is a great coach and he makes just as much sense as these other suggestions….but your point on his Michigan past well received…..I just tend to believe that was a bad fit and he’s rebounded nicely.

              • bdown says:

                and i know Kingsbury is a head coach. But he, like Muschamp, have proven they are coordinators…….not head coaches

              • I do not have better suggestions. And that’s the problem.

              • Dave Massey says:

                Without getting into the debate of Rodriguez’s coaching ability there is no way Florida and Foley are going to hire a coach who was directly involved in committing major violations and claimed it was a misinterpretation of the rules. Florida can’t afford to take a chance like that with this hire

                I suggested Dan Quinn because he coached at Florida not that long ago and nobody has hired him as an NFL head coach yet. It couldn’t hurt to make the contact and see if he is interested. Recruits would be attracted to a guy with his NFL experience. The downside is that if he were to be successful at Florida as a head coach it probably wouldn’t be long before an NFL team would look to hire him away.

    • Dave Massey says:

      If a half ass u player showed up covered in blood he could just say it’s war paint, the cops would believe him because he sounded believable and the story was plausible.

  7. G8trATL says:

    Great perceptive and thoughts backed-up by real facts.
    My question is what makes everyone think that Foley will find the “right guy” if Muschamp gets fired? My concern is that Muschamp and Zook whom were both hired by Foley (we know Foley didn’t hire Urban) have allot of similarities with the energy level, recruiting etc. Fair or not Foley needs to be held more accountable for a program that brings a large amount of revenue to the rest of the sports.
    What would be interesting is to look at did Foley hire the Swim, Soccer, Volleyball, and Golf coaches just to name a few VERY successful and “clean” programs?
    How many “passes” does Foley get for hiring Billy D?
    Guess what I’m saying is some of this anger from the Gator Nation for Muschamp, should be in some way directed towards Foley for perhaps being 0-2 for a program that funds many other sports at UF.
    Do you agree Adam?

    • I don’t completely agree. Foley hired Urban. Foley hired Billy. Foley hired Burleigh and Amanda O’Leary and Roland Thornqvist and Rhonda Faehn and…

      But Foley did fail with Zook (he was put in a tough spot) and does not look to be succeeding with Muschamp, which would make him 1-2 in football coaching hires.

      • G8trATL says:

        I could have sworn I read (so its true right) that Foley was not given the choice to hire Myer that it came from the President. That was my basis for saying Foley is 0-2. My daughter dreams of swimming some day for UF, and my wife covered baseball and volleyball when she was there in the early 90’s so I know 1st hand how great overall UF athletics are. However in the SEC football is the face of the school whether we like it or not and seems that Foley has not done well and held to a higher level of accountability for the football program.

        • Plenty of people have written that Machen was the leader of that charge, but I do not believe that for a second. I certainly think Machen helped recruit Meyer, but Foley made the hire – and it was not a tough choice.

          • Mike Salet says:

            0-2 on football coach hires. It’s my understanding that Dr. Machen made sure we hired Urban.

          • G8trATL says:

            SO whom did not want Spurrier back? Rumor has it Foley was the reason.

            • Dave Massey says:

              Spurrier was unemployed at the time and he did call Foley saying he was interested in the job. I would have to say Foley didn’t want him back. Don’t know if there was hard feelings, he wanted somebody younger, or possibly he just felt Meyer was better for the job.

              • 1974Gator says:

                Spurrier would not have been a good choice second time around. He had taken us to the promised land (NC) and, I feel, was getting tired of the high expectations we all had after. Spurrier likes the challenge of turning things around, likes riding into town on the white horse and the excitement of achieving “firsts”. SC still has a lot of challenges left. He also gets playing rights at Augusta National until he leaves.
                I would love to have a topnotch HBC that stays with our program for 20+ years (like Donavan is doing). Unfortunately, I don’t think we fans can love anyone for that long without alienating them when they run into what we consider to be too much misfortune. The best coach would be one of our own who has proven themselves to be an exceptionally gifted ball coach…..maybe even one who is in the high school ranks and can grow into the CEO of our football corporation.

              • According to?

                Meyer was the better choice than Spurrier at the time, either way.

              • Dave Massey says:

                ESPN reported that Spurrier called Foley, whether that was true or not I don’t know. I had no problem at the time and still don’t with choosing Meyer over Spurrier. I thought when Spurrier left Florida and still do now that he lost some of his ‘gusto’ for the college game. Not to say he isn’t still a great coach.

            • G2 says:

              I definitely was not a fan of having Spurrier back, he kind of hung us out to dry the way he left (aka Zooker), thinking Foley felt the same way? Meyer was the right choice at the time, no question. Problem was he left a dumpster fire for Muschamp.

              • Ken (CA) says:

                When Spurrier left, the story was that he and Foley had words and that Foley basically pushed him out, didn’t want him back. Whether that is true or not, who knows. Water under the bridge at this point.

      • Dave Massey says:

        There are many Gator fans, me included, despite the Urbanator winning a lot of games and championships, would say it is 0-3.

  8. senuod says:

    The FSU/Jameis situation is insanely messy and I’m glad you posted all of those articles. I’d previously read a couple of them. I honestly used to have a lot of respect for FSU because I grew up in Tallahassee, but this situation is killing a lot of that respect for the current administration and coach.

    I think it’s understood that star players are protected to a degree at most colleges/universities with large sports programs, but this seems to go above and beyond the scope of typical protections.

    The fans, of which I know far too many, are surprisingly a huge part of how wrong this situation has gone and is going. I can’t understand how you can read any of these articles and think your school did the right thing. AND to top it all off, beyond the harassment of the supposed victim, is the ridiculous #blamejameis hashtag that is being attached to memes, etc. It insanely trivializes the responsibility Jameis has to simply stay out of trouble and maybe, just maybe, do the right thing. It trivializes the ridiculous way the University and the local law enforcement hindered an investigation that should have been so much simpler.

    The entire situation astounds me. A lot of the fans and their ignorance (mostly on the internet) astounds me deeply as well.

  9. Joaqui says:

    I have my trust in Foley. I will admit that when Muschamp was hire I was part of the excited UF fans. Last year I was so mad that I would have loved to seen him go, but luckily I’m not the AD so I do not make those decisions. This year , I can say that if muschamp comes back, I would be ok with the decision, considering it would give roper another year with the offense. Even though we have been horrible, muschamp has been able to lure in talent ( on the defense). Roper proved he could identify talent by recruiting Treon and Powell, so I would think that more time for him to recruit the offense should do us well.

    NOW, if he does get sacked, then I am fine with that too considering all of his blunders. I do not think we should go after Mullen for the same reasons already stated but I really don’t know who else would be suitable. I do think that as a top destination we should be able to get what ever coach we want.

    Kinsbury from Texas Tech?
    Art Briles, Baylor?

    I would be ok with any of those guys. Luckily I am not the AD so I do not have to make those decisions, bc I may be completely wrong.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Agree 100%, maybe Dan Quinn?

    • senuod says:

      I’d prefer for Muschamp to turn the season around and give Roper another year with the offense, but we’ll see what happens.

      If not…

      I’ve heard Art Briles would be hard to pull away from Baylor, but who knows. I like Kinsbury, but I’m not sure if he’s the answer. Being as young as he is would probably help with recruiting, but I can’t imagine it being great when it comes to being a disciplinarian. On top of that, Texas tech hasn’t been horrible since he became the head coach, but I can’t say they’ve been great either. He may be an option, but definitely not the obvious one.

  10. SW FL Joe says:

    I think Foley is headed to Birmingham when Slive steps down. While he may not end up as SEC Commissioner, he will be the number 2 or 3 guy there next year. Therefore, I think he retains Muschamp at the end of this season so the next AD will be able to hire whoever he wants and is not stuck with Muschamp’s replacement for the next 3-5 years.

    • Mike The Red says:

      I agree with this assessment. Unlless Muschamp gets fired mid-season, we may get stuck with him for a while. Let us hope he gets this turned around.

  11. Michael Jones says:

    “How is Mississippi State’s 2014 season vastly different from Florida’s under Muschamp in 2012 to this point?” Mullen did what he did at Mississippi State and with his recruits. Muschamp did what he did at UF and with somebody else’s recruits.

    Your analysis of Mullen doesn’t and never has taken into account the gross recruiting disparity between Miss St and UF. You write as though all things are even in regards to what Mullen and Muschamp have to work with, a level playing field, although we know that is not the case. Miss St to UF will never be apples-to-apples.

    I am sorry that you conclude your analysis of Mullen with a sentence that minimizes and relegates everything that he has done at Mississippi State to just the 6 games this season. That is not really a fair or legitimate characterization of his success there. You could throw out this season in its entirety and Mullen would still be considered to have done a terrific job with what he’s had to work with there.

    Furthermore, Mullen didn’t only recently become a favorite choice of Gator fans. Many of us thought he was as much the obvious choice from the start as you felt like Sumlin (who is finding life difficult without Johnny Football despite having the state of Texas to recruit from) was the obvious choice from the start.

    Though subtle in some ways, your article seems to more of an argument against Mullen than a genuine even handed consideration of him as a candidate. One way that is illustrated is in the picking and choosing of which statistics are mentioned or emphasized, and which ones are’t mentioned. We will obviously always disagree on this issue.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Kevin Sumlin is 50 years old. Dan Mullen is 42. 42 is still, I believe, young by SEC head coach standards.

      Muschamp is 43.

    • Players still have to be coached.

      When you say “never has taken into account,” how many times have I opined about Mullen at length? This is my first. I did mention the difference in recruiting base, near the end.

      Mullen would still be considered terrific at Mississippi State without this season? I’m guessing you haven’t been privy to the strong calls for his firing each of the last 3 offseasons there.

      Yes, he did recently become the *passionate* choice. I do this for a living and get tons of tweets and e-mails from Florida fans every day/week/year. People have discussed him previously, wondering how he’s doing, wondering if Foley considered him instead of Muschamp, but there has NEVER been a groundswell wanting him until now.

      My section on Mullen stands on its own. I regret nothing I wrote and would not change any of it. I did not pick and choose statistics…it’s not like I looked up some others and threw them away. I researched things that I believed were important when evaluating a coach and provided those as evidence to support my opinion. What statistics do you think I threw out? That’s a rhetorical question.

      I will not be going back-and-forth on this with you considering most of the things you said in your comment are so absurd that I do not wish to address them more than once.

      Thanks for reading.

  12. Gatoralum88 says:

    Dan Wetzel’s column is brilliant. If the girl ever pursues a civil case her attorney should read it as his opening statement. It’s compelling & gripping & a MUST read for anyone who enjoys reading something well written. That a school of higher learning can take such blind eyes to every indiscretion Winston is accused of is disgraceful enough but with regard to the rape case it’s even more disgusting & dispicable. How can any female employee or student on campus stand being there considering their lackluster stance on such issues?

    The TPD is as corrupt as it gets. Reading the other columns makes it clear it’s not just Winston but much of the team that seem to be running roughshod. The inmates are not only running the asylum they’re running that city.

  13. GatorNsc says:

    Ken Griffey Jr’s Baseball should have an honorable mention too. Still play and love that game. And yes, i agree, Mario Kart def deserves a top 5.

  14. Todd says:

    Agree, the lack of a quality replacement is why he has such a long leash.

    I think it also has to do with his high marks for keeping a good handle on off the field issues, and in the classroom.

  15. Mike the Red says:

    Adam,

    You present your points well. I agree in part.

    You are right that Mullen probably does not want to come to UF. However, I think you understate the magnitude of his accomplishment at MSU.

    Having said that, I was completely unimpressed with Mullen’s comments. He makes more money in a year than the vast majority of his fans make in a career. I am not exactly sympathetic to the sacrifices made by a HC.

    • I’m not underestimating his accomplishment. What I’m saying is, it’s six games in one season. Let’s see how this season finishes and if he is able to show any type of sustained success.

  16. Ken (CA) says:

    I just had a thought last night that there is a very good coach out there right now that isn’t currently employed (and no I am not talking Jon Gruden).

    Greg Sciano did a great job with nothing at Rutgers, ran a very clean program with no NCAA issues, just didn’t do well in Tampa Bay where coaches tend to go to take a paycheck for 2 years then get fired. That would definitely be an interesting consideration.

    There are probably quite a few names out there that we aren’t really thinking about just because they haven’t made a huge splash recently or have just been flying under the radar even while running clean, solid programs.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Assuming that Muschamp is fired, that is probably a name that will be on the list. I would think that without clear cut choices out there that Foley is going to make a long list. A lot probably won’t be interested and those will be eliminated first. Then I would expect the list to slowly be pared down and they will get to a list of names that the pros and cons will be looked at and finally a candidate chosen and there probably won’t be any clear cut choices on that final list, barring a surprise interest by an exceptional coach.

      One name I haven’t heard mentioned on here is Lane Kiffin, aka lame kitten. Now that would be an interesting choice. Okay, before anybody freaks out, I’m just kidding, roflmao.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        Yes, on the assumption that WM is fired, but a few names had been thrown out there and points made that not a lot of great candidates right now, and I just happened to have thought of Schiano last night and how that actually might be a really decent fit, except I don’t know what kind of contacts he has in the Florida area

  17. BillyBob says:

    UF does not need a defensive-minded pro-style head coach. Sciano and Charlie Strong are both that, which is very similar to Muschamp. The culture of UF has always been high-powered scoring offenses during their successful years with Spurrier and Meyer. And I think that is what the Gator Nation wants to see and rightfully so. This is not rocket science guys, the next head coach should be an offensive-minded guy. And that is why I think “offensive-minded” coaches like Mullen, Briles, and Rodriquez should be strong candidates if Muschamp is fired. Florida is a fertile recruiting state, producing top players in the country yearly, and that alone should be able to get UF just about any coach they want. I’m not even going to mention the great facilities, money, and great fan support at UF. Now, a guy that no one has talked about as a possible Muschamp replacement is “Chip Kelly”. I don’t know if he has any violations pending from his days at Oregon but he would be an excellent hire. He’s a proven winning college coach, who can land the 5-star recruits, score points, and the kids love playing for him. I don’t know if he’s ready to leave Philadelphia yet but I think he’d listen to any offers from UF if contacted. Chip Kelly is a heck of a coach and an offensive genius! He’s the kind of guy the next head coach at UF should be.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I can’t imagine Foley hiring or Machen approving any coach with major NCAA violations in his record. That would just be looking for a problem where we have too much of a history with them.

      There is nothing wrong with a defensive minded coach if the defensive minded coach leaves the offense to an offensive minded person. Strong wouldn’t come at this point, just starting at UT, but I have no doubt he would be welcomed with open arms here. Did pretty well on offense at Louisville for a “defensive minded” coach.

  18. Frank says:

    Question Adam- Why is the four year mark so crucial for Coach? Four recruiting classes? I guess what I struggle with is this- Coach seems to have a good handle on the program. It just seems like there’s been so many other factors working against him, be it the injuries last year or just plain bad luck this year. I’m just not ready to join the masses calling for his head. I believe he needs another year. I really do. GO Gators!!!

    • Four years is ample time to see what you can do when you not only take over a program but your second recruiting class is in its junior year.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      What “bad luck” has he had this year? Poor Execution? That is on the coaches. Bad play calling? That is on the coaches. Defense getting ripped? That is on the coaches. You make your own luck, that is why you constantly drill repetitively in practice so execution becomes an automated response, something you don’t have to think about you just react. That is what allows the game to “speed up” at the next level.

      If you just want to attribute everything to “bad luck”, Galen Hall would still be our head coach…. No such thing as a bad coach, just bad luck?

      • Frank says:

        Thanks Ken for your insights. I guess it really doesn’t matter now. He’s gone after last night. Got any ideas on a replacement???

  19. USA says:

    John Harbaugh from 49ers. Defensive minded coach that runs a pretty good offense. Successful nfl coach. :

  20. USA says:

    Harbaugh hasn’t been getting along with folks in the 49ers front office, that is why.

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