The Silver Lining for Tuesday, October 21, 2014: Will Muschamp, alma mater, Steve Spurrier

By Adam Silverstein
October 21, 2014

The Silver Lining will return to its regular Wednesday afternoon slot next week. With the only Florida Gators football media availability of the week set for Oct. 22, I felt it was best to bump this column up one day.

Will Muschamp’s Failure

I like Will Muschamp. I did not always feel that way, but I have for the last year-and-a-half. He is a disciplined and passionate man, especially when it comes to football. He wants nothing but the best for his players, fellow coaches and the kids he recruits.

His goal in returning to his hometown and taking the Florida job was to heal a fractured program and return it to glory, an admirable mission and one that, if we are being honest, he half-accomplished.

There is no discounting the change of culture in the Gators’ locker room. As much as Urban Meyer preached and delivered a family atmosphere, Muschamp had to instill a tough-love approach that has kept his players out of trouble and in good academic standing with the school as soon as he took over in 2011.

Three seasons later, after an injury-plagued 4-8 campaign that broke the team down the line of scrimmage, Muschamp had to find a way to bring the program together. The result? Florida’s players are adamant this season that they are closer than ever before, a testament to the effort made by Muschamp and the rest of his coaching staff.

Unfortunately for Muschamp, as uplifting as it is to know that the Gators’ are staying out of trouble, getting good grades and truly coming together as a single unit inside the locker room, what makes or breaks a football coach – especially at a program like Florida – are the results between the sidelines on the field.

And when you take into account the on-field results during the same aforementioned time period, the only determination that can be made is that Muschamp is simply not the right man to be head football coach at the University of Florida.


The statistics are staggering. In fact, one could argue that few head coaches at major college institutions have had such an extreme list of failures as Muschamp has during his time with the Gators. If you are prone to fainting, take a breath before continuing:

» 2013 Florida was the first Gators team to amass a losing record (4-8) since the program went winless (0-10-1) in 1979. The 1980 Florida team set an NCAA record for best turnaround in major college football history at the time when it rebounded to finish 8-4 the next season; UF appears to have no chance at replicating that feat.

» Muschamp’s 22-16 record through his first three seasons (2011-13) was the worst for a Gators coach in that span since Charley Pell went 15-19-1 from 1979-81.

» In the 38 years that Florida has featured a tight end on its roster, dating back to the 1966 season, 2013 was the least productive by players at the position. Gators tight ends combined for four receptions (fewest ever), 42 yards (fewest ever) and no touchdowns (sixth time).

» Muschamp has hired 18 different assistants – including three offensive coordinators and four wide receivers coaches, in just four seasons. Only two of his departed assistants – Charlie Weis (Kansas), Dan Quinn (Seattle Seahawks) – left the program for promotions. Only four members of Florida’s current nine-member coaching staff were on Muschamp’s original staff in 2011.

» Muschamp is 0-3 against Georgia, despite dropping those contests by an average of just 5.0 points per game.

» Muschamp is 1-2 against Florida State, only managing to score a total of 14 points in its two losses (seven each in 2011, 2013).

» UF snapped a 22-game winning streak against Vanderbilt after the Commodores defeated the Gators in The Swamp on homecoming to end the fourth-longest active winning streak against a single opponent in the nation and second-longest inter-SEC streak ever. Florida won those previous 22 games by an average of 21.5 points.

» Dropping a contest to Missouri on homecoming in 2014, the Gators have now lost consecutive homecoming games for the first time since 1946-47.

» Florida ended a 22-season consecutive bowl game streak when it failed to reach one in 2013. The Gators had not missed a bowl in consecutive seasons since 1985-86.

» UF did not sell out its student season tickets for the first time in at least two decades.

» The Gators, in 2013, lost to an FCS opponent for the first time in school history.

» Florida gave up 645 yards in a single game against Alabama this season, the most in school history.

» The Gators have dropped 10 of their last 13 games.

» Muschamp is 15-14 against SEC opponents.

» Florida has lost five-straight games against top 25 opponents and is now 4-13 against ranked opponents under Muschamp.

» The Gators have lost consecutive games to unranked SEC foes, falling to 12-4 in such games. Overall, Muschamp has six losses to unranked teams in four seasons.

» Florida has opened the 2014 season with a 3-3 record through six games for just the second time in the last 28 years. UF’s opening game against Idaho was canceled.

» Muschamp is the only coach in the last 10 years to lose a game when only giving up 120 yards or fewer to an opponent. The overall national record is 147-2 in such situations, with Muschamp’s Florida teams responsible for both of those losses.

Even though I just did, there was no need for me to lay out the case against Muschamp, especially when you consider that his issues reach into both talent acquisition and development. The players on the field now are not inherited but rather Muschamp-recruited and Muschamp-developed. Or Muschamp-under-developed.

Barring an unforeseen turn of events – let’s say five-straight wins to end the season including blowouts of No. 9 Georgia and No. 2 Florida State – Muschamp is finished at Florida. He knows it. I know it. You know it.

But despite Muschamp’s fate being sealed, the fan unrest remains intense. Too intense for my taste, in fact. Fans will be fans, and I understand that. But as the owner of a Florida-centric website and Twitter account, some of the vitriol I have seen has been disgusting. This is still sports. As much as you may dislike Muschamp as a coach, he is still a human being and deserves a modicum of respect.

Ron Zook was despised but got cheered out the door. He was fired in the middle of the season yet had the intestinal fortitude to stay on and finish the 2004 campaign, even earning an upset road victory over No. 10 Florida State. Just 10 years and nine days later, Muschamp will have a nearly analogous opportunity, though this time with the potential added bonus of knocking FSU out of the national title picture.

Muschamp was kept on this week, through the Georgia game, because of the need to show publicly that the football program is stable while coaches are out recruiting.

Once that contest is over and the Bulldogs have (likely) wiped the turf with the Gators, athletic director Jeremy Foley needs to put Muschamp in the exact same position Zook was a decade ago – cut loose with an option to stick it out and prove that he deserves another Power 5 head coaching opportunity.

Florida needs to give Muschamp a chance to go out on the same high note as Zook, because no matter how bad the Gators may have played on the field, he did enough for the program off of it to warrant a respectful exit.

“Our Love Shall Never Fail”

Much was made of the above photo, snapped after Florida’s embarrassing 42-13 homecoming loss to Missouri on Saturday.

Just as much was made of a similar shot, taken after the Gators’ similarly-disastrous 33-23 defeat at the hands of Louisville in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.

As someone who was present for Urban Meyer’s introductory pep rally, which was held at the Reitz Union, I remember he and his wife stating matter-of-factly to the crowd that there were a number of traditions he wanted to start at Florida. Chief among them were (1) every student learning the fight song, and (2) the team signing the alma mater with the band and crowd after victories in The Swamp.

Despite my quite-clear recollection of this statement from Meyer, it seems that many Gators fans – primarily on Twitter and in the comments section here on OnlyGators.com – believed that Florida’s players were supposed to sing the alma mater win or lose. That struck me as odd and somewhat revisionist history, so I investigated.

Throughout the day and into the night Monday, I spoke with 10 former Gators that played for Meyer. When asked under what circumstances the alma mater was supposed to be sung after games, the majority (four) were sure it was “win or lose.” Three others believed that it was only after victories, and the three remaining players could not say one way or another. Most, either on their own or at my prompting, noted that Florida did not lose much at home under Meyer, so it is easy to forget such a detail.

What this makes clear to me is that most players at that time followed the leader after games. When the coaches and other players started heading to the band, they followed and didn’t pay it another thought.

Update: Late Tuesday, reader Malik G. pointed me to an official Florida release ahead of the 2005 Orange & Blue Debut spring football game. In it, a number of Meyer’s initiatives are laid out. Check out the truncated passage, in blockquotes below..

Just as he did at Bowling Green and Utah, Coach Meyer has made it a priority to establish a relationship between the team and the general student body on campus. …

“For us to achieve the goal of our student body having complete ownership of the team, our players must respect the fact that they are part of the student body. It is important to emphasize that there is not a divide between student-athletes and students, we must all work together.”

Coach Meyer has already met with the UF Director of Bands and has asked for a copy of the school fight song.

Another goal for Coach Meyer is to teach everyone on campus the fight song and have the players sing it after every home victory in The Swamp.

Nevertheless, what needs to be pointed out now – in 2014 – is that Meyer is not coach of the Gators. While traditions he established may have been beloved by fans, he is not the one running the program and directing the players what to do after games.

Muschamp is coaching Florida and one would have to guess at this point that his instructions are for the team to sing the alma mater with the band and crowd after victories only. Otherwise, he and the rest of the football staff would be leading them to the band’s corner after losses, and they would follow.

Perhaps you preferred Meyer’s version of the less-than-10-year-old tradition. That’s your prerogative. (As a side note, I think it’s great when players go sing the alma mater after wins and losses because it shows appreciation for the support of the band and fans in attendance.)

But that does not mean the (vast majority of) Gators who go into the locker rooms with their heads down, depressed after a devastating bowl loss (Louisville) or second-straight home defeat by an unranked SEC opponent (Missouri) deserve to be criticized. At least not if they were never directed to do any differently by those in charge.

Rather, you should appreciate guys like Darrin Kitchens, Kyle Christy and Trip Thurman went out of their way to show their support for their fellow students.

Not Only Gators: Steve Spurrier’s Future

Am I cheating by sneaking a Steve Spurrier piece into the “Not Only Gators” segment of this column? Of course I am. But today, Spurrier is head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks. In January? Well…

OK, I’m somewhat teasing you here, but I would be remiss not to mention that I have floated Spurrier as a potential Muschamp replacement to dozens of people since July…mostly as a way to break-up the monotony of the offseason and spark some fun discussion, but also with some seriousness. It is something I have been thinking and talking about for months offline, and while it may not be probable, it is absolutely plausible.

Let’s start with the most obvious: Spurrier is Florida football. He was Tim Tebow before Tebow, Meyer before Meyer. Hell, for one play he was Caleb Sturgis before Sturgis. Spurrier wore blue-and-white at one point and dons maroon-and-black now, but orange and blue is what courses through his veins.

Spurrier was honest about his departure from Gainesville. Not only was he tired of his accomplishments falling short of the fan base’s exceedingly high expectations, he also had a tremendous opportunity to take over one of the still-then-premier NFL franchises. He could neither pass up the opportunity nor the huge contract offered by owner Daniel Snyder.

His time in Washington going neither the way he nor Snyder hoped, Spurrier knew he was getting out at the end of the 2003 season and resigned with $15 million left on his NFL contract. Where the story goes from here is of great debate with few, outside of a small circle, knowing what exactly transpired between Spurrier and the Gators.

The general consensus is that Spurrier was interested in returning, but Florida was dead set on conducting a national search to find a candidate. Perhaps the Gators wanted it to include Spurrier, but he had no desire to wait around while Florida decided whether it wanted the program’s most successful coach ever to return.

Nevertheless, the end result was Meyer being hired by Florida, which beat out Notre Dame for the highly-coveted coach, while Spurrier got snagged by South Carolina. To this end, it has worked out for both parties involved, despite UF’s position right now.

But with the Gators job set to be open again after the 2014 campaign and 69-year-old Spurrier near the end of his career while coaching a team that has suffered severe talent losses over the last two seasons, another opportunity may present itself for Spurrier to find his way back to Gainesville.

How? Why? Well…

The expectations are gone. His return would be hailed and celebrated. He could potentially set up a succession plan for a young, up-and-coming head coach in waiting. He could come “home,” ending his career where it began and he became a legend as both a player and coach.

Whether there is still any tension between Spurrier and Foley is of no matter. But chances are, if it existed, it has waned in recent years as Spurrier has been honored over and over again by the school (Ring of Honor, Heisman statue) and both men have grown older and wiser.

If LeBron James can forgive Dan Gilbert and return home to Cleveland, surely Spurrier and Foley can patch things up for a reunion in Gainesville.

College football coaching insiders I have spoken with do not rule this out. While Spurrier may not say it publicly – and he chose to laugh off the question on Tuesday – it is undoubtedly an intriguing proposition for the legend.

“My next move is to Crescent Beach, Florida,” he said Tuesday during a media availability, referring to his offseason home.

Here’s a translation of that statement: “No comment.”

What does this all mean in the end? Not much. The chances of Spurrier reconnecting with the Gators are slim when you consider Foley’s history of wanting to go with young, up-and-coming coaches with flare. But with there no sure-fire candidates out there and Florida in drastic need of a boost both in offense and morale, perhaps the Head Ball Coach could find his way back to Gainesville for one more tour of duty.

This Week’s Movie Trailer

St. Vincent (opens Friday):

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

Coen brothers’ films:
1. The Big Lebowski
2. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
T-3. No Country for Old Men
T-3. Fargo
5. The Hudsucker Proxy

Thanks for reading. Leave your comments below.

69 Comments

  1. 5wideU says:

    Great article Adam. Agree 100% on your thoughts about Muschamp. Sorry people feel so angry they have to kick someone who is down but obviously tried his best. He’s clearly on his way out so show some class and let it play out.

  2. Christine Gregory says:

    I appreciate the players who came over for the alma mater. As a fan I always stay till the end. Yet I do understand that after a loss, the players would prefer to go to the locker room. I don’t blame them. I think that the fans who stay support the team, win or lose. Go Gators!

  3. Jon says:

    I too like Spurrier Adam. And I also think there is a non-zero chance of bringing him back home. At least, I hope.

    Assuming that Muschamp stays on as coach for the rest of the season, and we actually finish the season with a winning record….do you think it’s possible that Spurrier keeps Muschamp as Def coordinator? I know it’s not what people want to hear, but I still believe that Muschamp is a good coordinator.

    • That would be something, wouldn’t it?

      Doubtful, as I think Muschamp winds up getting another college head coaching job and succeeds somewhere with lower expectations.

      • gatorboi352 says:

        “as I think Muschamp winds up getting another college head coaching job”

        LOLOLOLOL

        • Michael Jones says:

          He’ll get work. Don’t know whether he has the make-up for all of the hats that a HC has to wear, but he’s probably a pretty good defensive coordinator, especially if that’s all he has to worry about.

        • Dave Massey says:

          Somebody will probably give him another shot, probably won’t be a major program though.

  4. Joe says:

    “…some of the vitriol I have seen has been disgusting. This is still sports. As much as you may dislike Muschamp as a coach, he is still a human being and deserves a modicum of respect.”

    Simply put, THANK YOU!

  5. g8ter27 says:

    Wow, that was a great article and I agree with just about everything that was written. My only concern is what are the coaches selling right now during their recruiting trips? We all know most of them are gone, so do the recruits. I guess it makes no difference since if Muschamp was fired Monday morning we would still be in that position, but it saddens me to think we are going to lose a whole year of recruiting which will set us back another 2 years at least barring a super hire.

    • Michael J. says:

      Why worry about recruiting? What are you talking about when you worry about recruiting? Where has the supposed great recruiting classes gotten Florida except to a dumpster fire? How have the highly rated offensive players panned out? All the quarterbacks since Tebow have sucked, same for the receivers and offensive line, and the running backs have been average at best. The only five star that has been worth a damn this year on the entire team is Hargreaves, and even he has not been a great player this year. Hargreaves used to be UF’s best tackler. He may still be, but he misses a lot more tackles this year than he did as a freshman. So what if Martez Ivey doesn’t come? The last can’t miss lineman, D.J. Humphries is awful. Jefferson and Cowart? The last dynamic duo, Bullard and Fowler, aren’t even as good as the guys Missouri trots out every year that are probably three stars. I reiterate, being high in the recruiting rankings has been meaningless lately, so why worry about it now?

  6. NYC Gator says:

    Great article as always, but are you already chalking up the Georgia game as a loss or was the 0-4 remark an oversight?

    I feel like just about all of us would LOVE a Steve Spurrier swan song to end his career. I mean Bill Snyder did it with KSU so it’s not unprecedented. This is where he belongs and it makes me a little sad to think Spurrier would end up coaching at South Carolina longer than Florida if he finishes out his contract there. We don’t need him to win championships, we just need him to right the ship and prepare his successor to take the reins. I would take this over Dan Mullen any day of the week.

  7. Mike the Red says:

    Tebow for interim head coach.

    Tebow, Tebow

  8. Mike the Red says:

    Adam, I am more concerned about the players than Muschamp. He makes 3M per year. Is keeping him until the end of the season the right thing for them?

  9. Mike says:

    On Gator Hotline Coach Meyer was asked after a loss why the team didn’t sing with the band and his response was ” we sing when we win.”

  10. CeeThree says:

    always great stuff, just curious (I like Will personally too) why you didn’t like him the first 2 years?

    • It’s a bit difficult to put a finger on. I felt he was standoffish, took a while to fully grasp the position, a bit green, just a bunch of little things. “I’m not going to tell you anything but just trust im doing things right.” Now he’s much more comfortable in his own skin among other things. I never disliked him. It just took a while for me to stop being indifferent.

      • gatorboi352 says:

        “I felt he was standoffish, took a while to fully grasp the position, a bit green, just a bunch of little things. “I’m not going to tell you anything but just trust im doing things right.””

        I’d argue he never stopped doing this. And this year, it appears even more so.

  11. Oldflyer says:

    Balanced article. Nice to see for a change.

    I have mentioned elsewhere that I started following the Gators in ’49; enrolled at UF in ’53. There have been a great many disappointing seasons over that span, but I have seldom seen the vitriol directed at a Gator Coach that I have seen this year. Nor at a Gator QB for that matter. It seems that some have actually convinced themselves that they are deliberately undermining the Gators. In fact I still see the idiotic comment that labels Muschamp a “Dawg” agent.

    Well, when speaking of Gator coaches who seemed to be hated, there was Ron Zook, another good man, a very good man, who worked himself to a nub but could not satisfy the Gator “faithful” during his relatively brief tenure–the faithful label applied TIC.

    I don’t know what has gone wrong this year. Last year it was painfully obvious. . We know that he can coach. Maybe he will be a career DC, much in demand and much respected in that role. Still, I suspect that he has he has learned the lessons that a HC must absorb, and will ultimately be successful–somewhere. I know that I am an anachronism in today’s world, especially the world of the sports fan; but, I remember too many instances of great programs that took a few years to build; and great coaches who need a little time to put it together. Maybe the Gators can always bypass the hard process; but, maybe not.

    Someone above commented on the lack of return from highly ranked recruiting classes–three of Mushcamp’s and one of Urban’s unbalanced ones. People who feel that way simply ignore Urban’s own comment as the door hit him in the ass; (paraphrasing) “The Gator program is broken”. So, how many recruiting classes does it take to repair a broken program? How many to build the kind of offensive line talent and depth you need in the SEC? Same for LB? How many quality RBs do the Gators field compared to a Bama or a UGA? How do you replace QBs who unexpectedly bail on the program–for whatever reason? Muschamp has been working those issues. I suspect that like Urban with Zook, some other coach will benefit from his hard work.

    On the other issue, I have no idea what all the factors were that motivated Spurrier to leave. They were complex for sure. I do remember him declaring in his own words that he did not intend to coach into his mid-60s. So, I am a little confused as to why people are still lusting for his return as he approaches his 70th year. If he did return, you would have to believe that it would only be a short stay.

  12. Oldflyer says:

    Just an addendum on the Spurrier issue. Having put my ’70s in my rear view mirror, I can say that it is a rare individual who has the stamina to maintain the pace required of a major college football coach. Sure, there is the exception, the very rare exception, but it would be a risk to bet on someone of that age to take on what everyone sees as a major rebuilding effort. It would not be the same as maintaining continuity in a program you have built, with a fairly stable staff to back you up.

    Personally, I think it foolish to believe that Jeremy Foley, who people already have proclaimed a serial failure when hiring coaches, would take that risk. Foley, of all people, needs a long term coach. If Foley goes to the SEC, or elsewhere, his successor will certainly be looking for the safe hire to establish his–or her–tenure.

  13. Josh says:

    Great article and I love the idea of bringing spurrier back home for a few years. Just imagine if he brought in kerwin bell to be offensive coordinator /eventual successor.

    • Michael J. says:

      Bad idea. Competitors would use Spurrier’s age against him. That was the case with Bowden. It’d be the same with Spurrier. No, UF doesn’t need a long term interim coach, which is what Spurrier would be. UF needs to hire a coach for the long haul and just hope they pick the right one.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Ha ha. . yeah, I bet you Noles would hate for us to bring Spurrier back. Those spankings still fresh in your mind?

        The fact that you are against him is all the more reason that Gator Nation should be for him.

      • Dave Massey says:

        GATORBAIT, GATORBAIT, GATORBAIT!!!

  14. Michael J. says:

    The exodus has begun. Jerome baker, Florida’s highest rated recruit, has flipped to Ohio State. The sharks smell the massive amount of blood in the water, there will be more to come.

  15. CBoyd says:

    For the record, I remember about an hour before “The Promise” questioning why the players didn’t go sing after the ole miss loss. I was in 12 17 3-6

  16. Josh says:

    Bowden and Spurrier are so different though, Spurrier is way more in tune than Bowden was at this age.

    Id rather have spurrier for 4 years then risk another 4 years of zook/muschamp.

  17. Mat C. says:

    Not that it matters much (because I don’t think it does at this point), as a member of the band from 2008-2010, I can state with certainty that the team didn’t join the band in singing the alma mater after loses. There were a select few, who would come regardless of the outcome, but the majority only came when the team won. I think the general public assumes it was a rule, no matter win or lose, as stated in the article, because there were so few loses under Urban.

  18. Kettle says:

    Hey Pot, I agree…but find it ironic you admonish fans vitriol towards the man immediately after posting an admittedly unnecessary list of his extreme failures. What do you expect? Is it not equally as distasteful to publicly discuss a man’s replacement before he has actually been fired?

    • Looking at facts is not vitriol. And I was only referring to the list as unnecessary because most people are aware of many of those failures. But it was worth including to juxtapose all the positive things he’s done. I do not think it’s cruel or bitter to list those things or discuss a replacement. That’s the definition of vitriol. I’m referring to the incredibly harsh and unnecessary personal things being said about him. Completely different things. It is my job to take an even-handed look at Muschamp, which I did. I feel your comment was made purely as an attempt to criticize without considering the circumstances or to which I was specifically referring.

  19. SW FL Joe says:

    While it’s true that the Gators didn’t go to bowl games in 85 and 86, it was because of NCAA probation. The last time the Gators didn’t go to back to back bowls because the didn’t win enough games to qualify was 1978 and 1979. The last time the Gators had back to back losing conference records was 1958 and 1959.

  20. Mike Brandes says:

    Coen Brothers’ movies better than “The Hudsucker Proxy” imo

    1. Burn After Reading
    2. Raising Arizona
    3. True Grit.

    Embrace Debate.

  21. scroud says:

    I know I am in the minority in thinking that Muschamp still has a shot but it would require virtually winning out. In fact, watching the Missouri game brought back flashes of the MSU game we were favored to win by 28 and lost, sealing Zook’s fate.
    My hesitancy to fire Muschamp is that I feel that he is a good defensive coach, not excepting this year’s breakdowns, the body of work there is strong. Plus, he has shown, perhaps too late, a willingness to change his schemes, e.g. bringing in Roper and throwing downfield more.
    That doesn’t explain all the losing, but I remember that Belichick kind of sucked when he coached Cleveland.
    My biggest fear is the devil we know may be better than the devil we don’t know. No way is Spurrier coming back in my opinion, and I’m not sold on Mullen. Let’s say next year we get a new head coach and all the assistants too. We could have another down year and then that would affect recruiting going forward. We could end up like Miami, fading into irrelevance, or the long years in the wilderness FSU had at the end of Bowden’s tenure.
    My final thought is that if we beat Georgia and FSU and yes, I still believe in the team, give him another year. Who knows, with Harris starting, maybe things will start to click on offense? With another year of Roper, the offense should be much better next year and the defense will be solid too.
    We lose either game though and I say we have to move on.
    Keepin’ the faith.

  22. gatorboi352 says:

    How is the program any less broken now than it was before Muschamp took over? Closer locker room? Skyler and Willis and their shoegate fight say “hello”. Also, I don’t know how a tight-knit group of guys that are supposedly buddy buddy and banded together roll out the kind of performance we saw against Mizzou, and follow it up with the post game alma mater crap,

    People like to dramatize and blow out of proportion the Urban Meyer regime of this program as the worst state it has ever been in towards the end of it while simultaneously dismissing the Muschamp tenure as “just not the right fit”, “just didn’t work out”.

    No, Muschamp has been the single worst thing to happen to Florida football in the last 25 years. Period. Nothing else comes remotely close.

    • Different situations. It’s not just locker room – which IS much better now – but what’s happening off the field with the program. And as far as the fight, that happens all the time. Usually inside the locker room.

  23. Rob H says:

    » Muschamp has hired 18 different assistants – including three offensive coordinators and four wide receivers coaches, in just four seasons. Only two of his departed assistants – Charlie Weis (Kansas), Dan Quinn (Seattle Seahawks) – left the program for promotions. Only four members of Florida’s current nine-member coaching staff were on Muschamp’s original staff in 2011.

    I this this is the source of a lot of the other issues, and Muschamp’s biggest issue as a HBC. You have to be able to hire the right people, which he hasn’t done.

  24. Todd says:

    Steve Spurrier was the coach who began the tradition of the players staying after the game to sing the alma mater, win or lose. They faced the South Endzone scoreboard because most of the players didn’t know the words. Memorable pic of the team doing just that after the 1997 win over FSU and Spurrier grabbing at the goalpost like he wanted to tear it down, afterwwards.

    When Urban Meyer came, the team added singing Orange and Blue, and began crowding in front of the band.

    • Don’t remember that under Zook. The point, nevertheless, is that it’s up to the coach to dictate post-game policy. If Muschamp doesn’t have that as his policy – and isn’t standing there with the players – then there is no reason to criticize the players who don’t do it after losses.

      • Todd says:

        Let’s just remember the most important point.

        All that rah rah shit……well, in college football, it wins Championships!

  25. mjGator says:

    Adam, very well written, informative and entertaining article. Well done.
    With that said, I believe that Foley needs to make a definitive statement about Muschamp, or fire him immediately. There is no upside to keeping him as a lame-duck head coach. Everyone and every recruit knows he will not be here next year. How in the world can Muschamp deal with that when attempting to recruit a young man who is evaluating his college future? Foley is a steward of the program, not Will Muschamp’s feelings. The most illustrative stats are that the Gators have lost 10 of the last 13 games, and lost all 5 of their recent games played against ranked opponents. That isn’t even acceptable for those with the lowest of standards. If we are being honest, the Gators are not even competitive anymore in this conference. The fan, alumni and student support is waning. The home field advantage is gone. We are losing players and recruits. A change for the sake of change may not make a difference on the field, but it will give hope to an otherwise hopeless program.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Good stuff, mjGator, but I’m not opposed to Adam’s suggestion. Firing him but giving him the opportunity to finish off the season may give us the best of both worlds. The firing would take some of the tension out of the room and the weight of the world off of Muschamp’s shoulders, while letting him coach out the final string of games, with the pressure off and a loosey goosey nothing-to-lose 2nd string QB approach, combined with emotional players wanting to send him out on a high note, could yield some interesting results.

      How funny and marvelous would it be for Muschamp to spank the Noles right out of the playoff picture as his parting gift to the UF faithful???? Ha ha ha ha ha . . . . love it.

      • mjGator says:

        My comment said that “Foley needs to make a definitive statement about Muschamp, or fire him immediately.” I think firing him now would be a definitive statement, for sure. If Muschamp wanted to hang around and coach this team through the rest of the season, that would be fine with me, so long as he was definitively gone after the FSU game.

        As far as Muschamp coaching this Gator team to a victory in Tallahassee this year: I don’t see it happening. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE it, but I don’t see it happening. We’ve lost 10 of our last 13 games, and those three victories were against E. Michigan, Kentucky in triple overtime, and Tenn by making a 49 yard field goal. I think we can all agree that those three victories rate far below beating FSU in Tally.

  26. Michael Jones says:

    I have a problem with going too crazy personally against coaches or players. If I’ve done it myself, then I was wrong to do it. I have no problem with Muschamp personally. I will say that players going to class and not getting arrested should be a baseline bare minimum requirement, and not necessarily something that should be hailed as a great accomplishment. Shows how low the bar has gotten in regards to expectations of player conduct.

    Love the idea of Spurrier winding down his career here. One last ride and maybe take another Nat Champ and an SEC title or two out the door with him? Also love the idea of him grooming a coach-in-waiting a la Bowden with Fisher. Everything about that sounds and feels right, but I’m a romantic.

    The Coen brothers stuff brought a smile, including the movies suggested by Mike Brandes (I’d have to include “Raising Arizona” in my top 5). Had no idea they did “True Grit.” Wow. Serious serious talent.

    • Yeah, I forgot about True Grit. But Raising Arizona is overrated, IMO.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Everybody told me how great Raising Arizona was at the time, rented it and couldn’t even watch the whole thing.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Geez! lol. If you like the Coen brothers, then “Raising Arizona” is classically their surreal, bizarre, off the wall humor with lots of great truths about human interactions and human behavior mixed in and told in a satirical way that only the Coen brothers can pull off. I also thought the acting and the secondary characters were brilliant.

        I understand that reasonable minds can differ as to whether it was one of their better works (especially since they have so many classics), but unwatchable?

  27. MOD8 says:

    I ordered some gator gear the other day from fanatics.com. When the package arrived it had my gear with a “mistake” thrown in; a todlers South Carolina triple weight t-shirt. Thats what I call a good omen my friends.

  28. MOD8 says:

    Yes. And I am keeping the shirt at least until Spurrier comes back.

  29. Dave Massey says:

    Gator Nation is hurt and bleeding, hopefully the healing process begins soon. I agree Muschamp should go, I personally like his abilities but it just didn’t transfer into success on the field. He knows the offense is a problem and I will at least give him credit for trying by hiring three different OC’s. Everybody needs to make their opinion known like adults not like children.

    Even though we are all bleeding, let’s bleed orange and blue, and remember, either you’re a Gator or your Gatorbait!!!

    • Michael Jones says:

      You’re right, Dave.

      Here’s a snapshot of the kind of thing that drives me crazy about our offense. You remember the jet sweep that Debose ran against LSU for, what, 15-20 yards or something? Have you ever seen that play called again? Against anybody? Why not? You run it until they stop it, right? It still hasn’t been stopped.

      I can remember seeing Omarius Hines score from 35 yards out on a similar play and then get sent to the bench for the rest of the game. More than once. Yet we would run that slow developing pull-the-entire-student-body dive play over and over. Drives me up the wall, especially for a team that needs offense from wherever they can find it.

      But God bless Will and his family. At this point it’s just piling on, and I don’t want to do that. UF has made him a millionaire and hopefully he’ll be a better man and a better coach for the things he’s learned here. Nobody can ever say that he didn’t try.

      GO GATORS!!!

      • Dave Massey says:

        It does seem to me that the jet sweep has been open on a lot of occasions. I don’t like to second guess play calling too much though because it is always easy to say what play should have been run after the play is over. The hard part is knowing which play will be successful before the play is run.

        Will Muschamp is hurt and bleeding just like the rest of us Gators. Those who infer otherwise…never mind. He will always be a Gator lover and he is bleeding orange and blue like the rest of us. Hope he heals like we all will.

        GO GATORS!!!

  30. Fatback says:

    Adam, I meant no criticism in my Kettle comment. I agree the personal attacks on Muschamp are too far… the point I was trying to make is that with all the negative articles, not necessarily yours, it’s hard not to focus your ire on him. Expecting all fans to keep it classy is expecting too much. I will say though you do remain more objective than most. I enjoy your articles…and will try to refrain from future smart ass comments

  31. Susan Dambrell says:

    Thank you for this articke about Muschamp. I was beginning to think you had gone over to the dark side where he was concerned. The horrible words thrown at both him and Driskel on Twitter made me sick. Keep soldiering on with objectivity and integrity.

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