10/18: Florida-Missouri post-game report: Muschamp’s hot seat bursts into flames

By Adam Silverstein
October 18, 2014

A devastating 42-13 loss at the hands of the unranked Missouri Tigers (5-2, 2-1 SEC) has sent the Florida Gators (3-3, 2-3 SEC) reeling and set head coach Will Muschamp‘s hot seat ablaze.

Muschamp met with the media after Saturday’s homecoming game to discuss the team’s second-straight loss to an unranked Southeastern Conference opponent at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida trails in its all-time series with Missouri 1-3 and has lost consecutive games to its new SEC East rivals.
» In addition to losing five-straight games against top 25 opponents and being 4-13 against ranked opponents under Muschamp, the Gators have now lost consecutive games to unranked SEC opponents, falling to 12-4 in such games. Saturday was Muschamp’s sixth loss to an unranked team.
» Florida is opening a season 3-3 through six games for just the second time in the last 28 years. UF’s opening game against Idaho was canceled.
» The Gators lost on homecoming in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1947-48. UF fell 34-17 to Vanderbilt last year.
» Florida, which allowed just five sacks in its first five games, gave up six on Saturday.
» The Gators were +8 in turnover margin two weeks ago and entered Saturday’s game +5; Florida finished -5 in turnover margin and is now even on the season.
» Florida’s defense gave up just 13 of Missouri’s 42 points on the evening. The Tigers scored 24 points off turnovers.


OPENING STATEMENT

“You’re not going to give yourself a chance to win. You turn the ball over six times, you get two special teams touchdowns. … Six sacks, you don’t protect the quarterback, changes the game and how you gotta play. Going into the second half there, just offensively just abysmal. We didn’t have any rhythm. We gotta figure out what we can do to try and move the football.

“But six turnovers, I mean, that’s hard to overcome. You get a quarterback-running back exchange [fumble], trying to pull it for the pop pass down the middle; running back clamps the ball. We have an issue there; they don’t get any points off that. But a fumble recovery for a touchdown, an interception for a touchdown, to start the game, the kickoff return for the touchdown. Ball’s not kicked where it’s supposed to be kicked; guy’s supposed to kick it deep left, he kicks it right down the middle, they bring the return back down the field [and] it stretches the coverage. Punt return you don’t tackle a guy. … At the end of the day, you’re not going to win many games turning the ball over six times, giving them 14 points on special teams.

“Defensively, I thought our kids played well enough to win the game, bottom line. They didn’t have to do much and they figured that out pretty quickly after it got to be about 28-0. They weren’t going to have to do much in the game.

“Very disappointed in the performance. It falls on my shoulders; nobody is looking around right now. We just got to get back and get our guys dialed back in. I know we all want to drop back and throw it, but there’s a reason why we can’t and you saw it tonight. When we got into the drop back game, we struggled – tremendously – to protect, to hold the edges. We got to be able to put it in a situation right now where we got to protect the quarterback and protect that position.”

SNOWBALL EFFECT

It started with the 96-yard touchdown return, continued with multiple Florida turnovers and received an exclamation point with an 82-yard punt return; the Gators played bad and got worse as the game went on.

Muschamp explained how a bevy of mistakes resulted in Florida getting into a 28-0 hole that it had very little chance of climbing out of during the contest.

“The kickoff return, our kickoff coverage has been outstanding all season. We never had any issues. We felt good going in the game. [Marcus] Murphy’s a good player, but we felt like we could’ve covered better. When you don’t kick the ball where we squeezed the field in the right place, it creates issues. Austin [Hardin] kicked the ball right down the middle. That’s always an issue. They brought the return back through the field and did a nice job of executing and we didn’t. That’s where it starts,” Muschamp began.

“We felt like we were moving the ball offensively. We had a vertical route to the tight end, which was wide open on the exchange that should’ve been pulled. The running back clamped the ball, probably. I would fault both guys in that situation as far as the exchange was concerned. But then we come back and get an interception. Kids on defense playing well. Get the interception there, get a little momentum, hopefully try to get going back our way.

“Then the punt return was a dagger for us. That hurt in essence from the standpoint in which it changed the game. … We didn’t protect as well as we have, and a little bit of that has to do with we’ve been protecting ourselves a lot offensively because we’ve had to. That’s just calling it like it is. That’s real. We’ve put ourselves in a situation right now that’s not good for that type of game.”

Muschamp said the Gators will meet Sunday at 3 p.m. The message? Florida’s players must look themselves in the mirror and figure out what they must do in order to improve and save the season.

“That’s what some of our guys need to do is look in the mirror. They need to play better in some situations. That’s what we’re going to do,” he said.

“We’re fine. Our guys, we have a prideful bunch. We had a tough loss last week and came out [Saturday night] and just didn’t do a good enough job.”

IT’S GETTING HOT IN GAINESVILLE

Thought he seasons are changing and a cool breeze could be felt at times Saturday night, Muschamp’s position with the team and its fan base is roasting. Nevertheless, he dismissed concerns about his job security after the game.

“I’m really worried about this football team right now and getting back at 3 o’clock in the team meeting, sitting down with them and making sure they understand the things we need to do to improve and get better. That’s really what I’m worried about. I’m not going to get concerned into things that I don’t have any control of other than this team. I think that’s the most important thing right now.”

TWO QUARTERBACKS, NO SOLUTIONS

Combining for three interceptions and three fumbles (one on an exchange with junior running back Matt Jones), Florida’s signal callers coughed the ball and achieved little production on Saturday.

Particularly bad was redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel, who had an interception and fumble each returned for a touchdown as part of his four turnovers on the evening. Muschamp explained that, while Driskel played poorly, two of his turnovers were not completely his fault.

“It’s tough but Jeff’s a tough kid. He’s been through some tough times before. But certainly got his arm hit on the one interception where we had a double move down the right sideline to [Demarcus Robinson]. He gets clipped on the elbow. Again, we’ll go back and figure out how we can restore our confidence – not just Jeff but our entire offense right now because it’s not very good,” he said.

Despite the mutual sharing of fault with Jones and the Gators’ offensive line, Driskel was bad on Saturday, completing just 7-of-19 passes for 50 yards. Freshman Treon Harris, who played two series early in the game and much of the fourth quarter, was significantly better even with the Tigers’ defense playing containment.

“I thought he did some nice things. We’re a little limited in the throwing game as far as change of protections and typical freshman quarterback things. When they show an overload, you like to be able to change the protection to the other side. There’s some things that he hasn’t been exposed to as much as far as the drop back passing game,” Muschamp said.

“That’s why we came back in the second half and started the second half with Jeff. We felt like we were going to have to start throwing the football down the field more to create some plays for us. They we playing tight, especially with their safeties, tried to get them off of us a little bit. Jeff’s a little farther along in those things. But I thought when he went in the game and did the things we asked him to do, he did a nice job. He’s a good football player.”

Driskel left the game before halftime after being sacked and appearing to fall badly on his shoulder Muschamp explained after the contest that Driskel actually did not hurt an extremity.

“He just got the breath knocked out of him. He had a pretty good shot from the last ballgame on his back and it flared up a little bit on him but that was it,” Muschamp said.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On why freshman running back Brandon Powell did not get touches early in the game: “We weren’t getting much of anything going there. … I don’t think that would’ve been the answer, quite frankly, we had a lot more issues other than who was playing at the running back position.”

» On whether there were any issues with the team’s preparation during practice this week: “I thought we had good preparation throughout the week. You turn it over six times, you’re not going to win. It wasn’t from a lack of effort. It wasn’t from a lack of trying. It was a lack of ball security, protection at times. Those are things we got to clean up.”

» On whether he thought the Gators were hanging their heads: “No, I don’t think so. I always look at the entire team, and I think our defense played their butts off. Offensively, to go down and score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter says a lot about our kids and they’re working and they’re trying. We just need to narrow down to some things that we do well. Now, it’s not much, so we’ll figure it out.”

» On whether the defense was frustrated that they played so well and it meant nothing: “[Missouri] didn’t really stress them very much. They get to a point where, the score, they don’t have to stress themselves very much with what they’re trying to do offensively, so that’s two fold. It’s a team game and we could’ve created some turnovers on defense. We had some opportunities. Marcus [Maye] made a nice play on the interception. Strip the ball off somebody, make a play. That’s our mentality. We don’t get into the pointing fingers stuff. We’re not going to do that.”

» On what his message is to Florida fans: “Our fans have been great, and I really appreciate the support. Last night, at Gator Growl, it was outstanding. Our fans to start the game were outstanding. We need to play better. Just keep hanging with us, we’re going to go over in Jacksonville and get this thing fixed. That’s what we plan on doing.”

» Sophomore safety Keanu Neal on the loss: “It’s frustrating. We’re disappointed. This is the time to come together and get tighter, get stronger within ourselves. We really got to focus on us and focus on the team. … Once you have your mind set on something and you’re determined to do it, it’s hard to get off track.”

» Redshirt senior center Max Garcia, who was injured in the game, on where to go from here: “I feel like this locker room is totally different. You can see the hurt and the pain in these guys’ eyes. … I feel the pain, everyone else feels the pain. We’re taking this on us. Everyone is looking themselves sin the mirror to see how they can improve, how we can better prepare to play this game.

39 Comments

  1. Bull1 says:

    He’s got to go. No need to keep him make Roper interim and start looking for a replacement for next year. Plain and simple. He’s Done and so am I until It’s finalized

    • senuod says:

      Yup. I love what Muschamp has done as a disciplinarian, but it’s not enough. Time to let him go. He can take a nice vacation and he’ll get another job.

      We need better. The regression on offense for the first 3 quarters was horrible.

    • apprentice says:

      I would actually be very interested in seeing how Roper does as the interim. I guess it’s possible that all OC’s Will Muschamp has hired suck, but I think the most plausible explanation is that Will Muschamp’s philosophy is still the main force behind this team and that philosophy is made for losing. With that philosophy gone, maybe Roper could get something out of these kids. Although, to be truthful, Roper has also made some pretty weird decisions.

  2. uf_84 says:

    I left the game at halftime and was made it home to Jacksonville before it even ended. When the decision was made to keep Muschamp for another year, even though I didn’t agree with it, I decided to be silent and non critical for the first half of the year, try to support the coach and the team, and hope for a good season. Now that it has become obvious that’s not going to happen all I can say is: “Muschamp, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Goodbye and good riddance.”

    I’ve been following Gator football since the mid seventies and I’ve seen a lot of really bad HBC’s in that time. Muschamp ranks right up there with the worst of them. IMO he is the worst because he had far better talent to work with than those others had. He has done less with more than any coach I can remember at UF and it’s way past time for him to go. He has single handedly set this once elite and proud football program back to the late eighties, made us an SEC bottom feeder, and is a hero to Gator haters everywhere.

    Our AD made a big mistake with this hire but he made an even bigger one in not firing him last year. This is what happens when you have an ego too big to admit you made a mistake and refuse to cut your losses and move on.

    I personally don’t think he deserves to coach the rest of the year, I think he should be fired immediately. For those of you who say what good would it do to let him go now, I would say that it would be the start of ridding ourselves of the stench of this Muschamp debacle. And that’s something that needs to begin right away. It really doesn’t matter who we hire next, no one could possibly be this bad.

    I am a season ticket holder, but I refuse to go back to the stadium formally known as the Swamp (It’s no longer the Swamp. A swamp is somewhere others dread going so the name doesn’t apply anymore.) until this clown is gone.

    Do the right thing Foley and show this bum the door. Let’s get started trying to fix this mess because God only knows how long it’s going to take.

  3. Michael Jones says:

    Look at the bright spot. At least we didn’t hire Kevin Sumlin.

  4. Gatorgrad79 says:

    “We’re going to get this cleaned up” . SERIOUSLY!! THE ONLY WAY TO CLEAN UP THIS MESS IS A CLEAN SWEEP. we are projected to have the 12th worst recruiting class in the SEC and not higher than 50Th in the nation. This has got to stop.

  5. W2 says:

    It’s time. Pls listen. And he continues to play Driskel. Aweful

  6. Tony says:

    Why is it that Muschamp always says the blame is on his shoulders, yet he then blames the players in the post game press conference?

    Just heard a stat that teams that hold opponents to under 120 yard of offense are 142-2 over the last ten years. The two losses, Fla teams coached by muschamp.

    • DC says:

      Because failed coaches blame everyone else for losses and take credit for wins. I will not attend anymore games with this clown as head coach. We demand and deserve better.

  7. Ken (CA) says:

    “We felt like we were moving the ball offensively.”

    Yea, 66 total yards at half time and 0 offensive points for the 3rd time in 4 games at halftime is extremely offensive.

  8. USA says:

    Regardless of what happened with Alabama today, Sumlin is a way better coach than Muschamp! With Sumlin we’d be 5-1 right now. Because the East is that weak and we’d score points. On don’t give me that crap about our defense would be bad because its been bad with Muschamp. Foley has to fire Muschamp tomorrow. The athletic program is losing a ton of money and the entire school and community is getting robbed of their joy of watching good Gator football.

  9. Ken (CA) says:

    His comments on Gator Growl I find interesting, the announcers said there were about 14-17k there. What a disappointment. It must have really gone downhill in recent years. When I was a student in the 80s, it was “The” place to be, especially for stand up comics. Performing at Gator Growl was the mark of how significant you were and we had 40-50k (south end zone seats were blocked off for the stage)

    • senuod says:

      Gator Growl was already losing it’s prominence back in 2004 when I was in school there. It hadn’t been a place for the best of the best comics since before my time.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        How sad for such a great tradition. I believe at some point it was even in the Guinness book of world records for largest pep rally

  10. Ken (CA) says:

    Here is a staggering stat that I just heard on the SEC channel. In the past 10 years, 96 teams have had fewer than 120 yards in total offense. Of those 96 teams 2 have won. Both beat Florida in the WM era.

  11. N. Stalker says:

    Two words. Muschamp. GOOD BYE

  12. nygator says:

    I challenge anyone to identify a worse Swamp experience than the one we went through last night. That feeling is supposed to belong to visiting teams! That FLA team didn’t just lose, they gave up- on their coaching staff and on themselves. For everyone who bleeds O&B, that was rock bottom. Foley is a class act and it’s hard to argue not giving WM another shot after all the 2013 injuries , but enough is enough. Forget the fans and program, the players deserve better.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Have to agree with you on the worst experience ever.

      The thing that concerned me most about last year was that I felt the players ‘quit’. We were all hoping that was just a result of the injuries. Now, it is apparent that is not the case. These players have more ‘quit’ in them than any football team I have seen at any level.

      If Muschamp loved the University of Florida as much as he says and had any class at all, he would just immediately resign. I’m sure they will still revere him in Athens, maybe even give him a job as safeties coach.

      • Mike The Red says:

        +1

        For once we agree.

      • uf_84 says:

        Actually I hear they are considering erecting a statue of Muschamp in Athens. It’s going to be one real ugly cocktail party this year.

      • Michael J. says:

        I know some would disagree, but Muschamp is not dumb. He’s not going to resign, he has two more years on his contract. Florida is going to pay him, if they want to fire him, fine, he’ll cry all the way to the bank.

        • Ken (CA) says:

          You have heard of separation agreements? can be a mutual separation and he still gets paid quite a lot. Even with firing depending on the terms of the contract there may or may not be a significant amount guaranteed.

          • Michael Jones says:

            Ken, “Michael J.” is a Nole. Like all of our rivals, he naturally wants us to keep Muschamp.

        • G2 says:

          Guess that was another bonehead move by Foley to extend his contract in 2012. Now its going to cost a fortune to buy him out.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      Day 2 of the WM watch is about to begin seeing as no announcement today.

      What really offended me was Final Judgement on College Gameday Final last night. Talking about how if we were”loyal” fans we would continue to show up at the stadium and support the team.

      I feel sorry for the kids on the team, but that sends the exact wrong message. If we just go with business as usual, then it becomes ok to put an inferior product on the field. That should always be unacceptable and have consequences. My support stuck with sitting through 3 1/2 hours of misery and not flipping to FSU game on TV even though I was cringing through it all. what a sad state we have sunk to.

      • G2 says:

        Feels similar to the Zook years, especially the MSU game when he got the ax. At least Zook recruited well and left Meyer talent to go on and win a NC.

        Think Mushchamp is given too much credit for recruiting well, look at the product on the field. Its either that or he’s not developing the talent he has, or both. This is a huge cluster you know what. After a big loss to the poodles in Jax, the stands will be half full for home games that are left. We’ll become like Miami soon enough, worst of all Jameis just keeps winning somehow (man I’m sick of that guy!)

      • Dave Massey says:

        I sat through every game in ’79 when we went 0-10-1. I never have and never will boo my own team and will always root them on. The time for change has come but I will NEVER stop being a loyal Gator fan.

        • Michael Jones says:

          I agree. Booing 18-22 year old amateur athletes who play for our school is unacceptable and never the appropriate thing to do.

          • G2 says:

            I agree with that. I felt terrible for Driskel on the sidelines Saturday night. Seems like a great kid who has given his all for UF! Not all his fault of course, since he has graduated maybe he needs to pull a Tyler Murphy for his last year. Don’t see any way for him to be successful under the dark cloud of Muschamp.

  13. Mike The Red says:

    I want a job where I make $3M per year and not get fired after repeated poor performances.

  14. DJ Chemist says:

    The offensive line was so poor last night. Sad to see great talent like Kelvin Taylor struggle to find a running lane.

  15. boston_gator says:

    We gotta get better, y’ow. We don’t get into the pointing fingers game, y’ow, but kicker kicks down the middle of the field instead of the left it causes problems, y’ow. Running back squeezes the ball and you get a fumble y’ow. Offensive line doesn’t protect, we can’t get anything going, y’ow. Jeff did some great things, he’s a great football player, y’ow. Y’ow? ….apparently he doesn’t

  16. boston_gator says:

    Been watching Addazio and Tyler Murphy playing some decent football here at BC. I feel like I’m in some alternate universe.

  17. Tony says:

    The sure sign this team has quit. After the game was over only Kyle Christy and Trip Thurman came over to sing the alma mater with the band. It was sad. But the fans gave those two a great ovation for having the class to stand there.

  18. SadGator says:

    Let’s not forget where part of the blame lies here which is upon Mr Jeremy Foley. Muschamp is still the head football coach because he is a “yes” man. Just talk to coach Spurier for 10 minutes and you’ll get a real look into the inner workings of the arrogant UF AD. The AD that told coach Spurier to submit his resume when he expressed interest in returning when Urban Liar resigned. Now he’s knee deep in crappy football and has no one to blame but himself for hiring an unproven coach to lead what once was a top team in the SEC and the nation. As far as I’m concerned both of their heads belong on the chopping block. Gator fans are sick and tired of being sick and tired. No. More. Excuses.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Foley is one of the top five AD’s in the country. Football is not the only sport that figures in to that equation. Florida finishes too high every year in the overall ratings for this to even be considered, it is actually absurd.

      • Michael Jones says:

        It’s that attitude that fuels Foley’s arrogance and makes him think he’s untouchable. Yes, he has done a good job with the overall program, but his arrogance and his ego have been a problem with the football program. It’s the number one reason that we never got Spurrier back, and it will be the reason that we don’t get Dan Mullen if we don’t get Dan Mullen.

        Contrary to some of the comments on this site, Mullen has been a favorite choice of many Gators–including influential Gators–going back to the Muschamp hire. Foley never even considered him. That was a big mistake. Now the concern is that considering him at this point might be viewed as an admission that he made a mistake by not giving him a chance the first time around, and the possibility that he was wrong is not something that Foley seems to be able to choke down.

        I hope that he proves me wrong.

  19. Dave Massey says:

    Foley’s performance is what fuels my respect for him. Florida had the number one overall sports program in the nation last year.

    Don’t forget that it was Spurrier’s decision to leave in the first place. I don’t believe Spurrier showed any interest in returning to Florida after Meyer resigned. After Zook was fired yes, but he was already at SC when Meyer quit. As far as talking about arrogance and ego on Foley’s part, let’s not forget that Spurrier scores pretty high in those areas. Spurrier has won one east division and no SEC’s at SC. At the time Foley hired Meyer that was the best hire, yes he was a better choice than Spurrier.

    Muschamp was not an unproven coach. He was an unproven head coach the same as Mullen was. He was also the head coach in waiting at Texas. I don’t think at the time he was hired that it was a terrible decision. It just hasn’t worked out and it is time to move on. It’s real easy to second guess people after the fact, but the decision had to be made without hindsight.

    Michael, we are all aware of your blind love of Mullen. And although some Gator fans favor hiring him, I don’t believe that would have been a slam dunk hire and am not convinced it would be a slam dunk hire now. Up until this year Mullen was 3-21 against ranked teams and 0 for his last fifteen. There are tons of Mississippi State fans who would have gladly given him to us before this year. He has had one half of one good year. I know you are going to talk about the recruits he has and what he has done, blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, etc so save your breath. Let’s see how he does the rest of this year and on a consistent basis. I personally like the guy and wish him all the success in the world. I think somebody is probably going to hire him away no matter what. Somebody, like Michigan will probably offer him 5 mil and I don’t think MSU can win a bidding war with him. 5 mil would be one third of their football budget, but who knows. I’m not even sure he would accept the Florida job if it was offered to him.

    Foley has made a lot of great decisions when it comes to hiring coaches. I don’t believe his ego is going to affect who he hires for this job when it becomes open, which is almost a certainty at this point. Let him do a thorough search and we will probably find out in January what the decision is. Nobody is going to accept the job right now anyways unless they are currently not coaching. If it ends up being Mullen that is fine with me. I just don’t believe he is the only solution.

    And I am not going to keep going back and forth on this.

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