The Silver Lining for Thursday, October 30, 2014: Gators confident, debunking Foley-Meyer myths

By Adam Silverstein
October 30, 2014

Yes, The Silver Lining is once again out on Thursday. It will return to its regular Wednesday afternoon slot…eventually.

Gators won’t stop believin’

This time last year, Florida was down in the dumps, sporting a 4-3 record after consecutive road losses to LSU (17-6) and Missouri (36-17). The Gators have one fewer win (due to the canceled Idaho game) but those same losses to the two groups of Tigers (30-27 and 42-13, respectively), despite the fact that UF was supposed to be improved in 2014 and played both of those contests at home.

Nevertheless, facing it’s last possible chance to salvage the season and somehow remain in the SEC East race, Florida is putting on a strong, confident face entering its rivalry game against the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs.

Numerous Gators expressed pure determination while meeting with the media this week. While they obviously chose not to guarantee a win against a program that has beat them three-straight years and proved to be the better team at the season’s halfway point, there were no heads down or shoulders slouched.

Here’s what a number of players had to say about the team’s current mindset…


» Sophomore wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood: “We’ve taken some devastating losses the past two times we went out – the heartbreaking LSU loss and then Missouri – but I wouldn’t say it’s like last year. Last year I felt like we were defeated before we ever got on the field. This year, we’re still fighting. We’re just trying to win the rest of these games. … It’s a real big opportunity. Georgia is a very good squad and we believe we can beat them. We believe we can do what we need to do to get the W.”

» Sophomore linebacker Jarrad Davis: “I feel like we’re still hungry. I said that a couple weeks ago. We’re a hungry team and we still are. I don’t feel like that’s changed at all. Last year, I feel like it was later in the season when everybody knew it was actually over. I feel like that’s when that sense of giving up came in, but I don’t feel that will ever come in this season. We know what we need to do and I feel like we go after that at practice every day with that in mind. We try to harp on things and focus on those things as we practice and try to get better. We never want to look at anything and dwell on it. We keep moving on to the next one every time.”

» Junior left tackle D.J. Humphries:”[We must] get a ‘W’ by all cost. Anything we can figure out to win we’re going to get it. … Everybody is still optimistic. Nobody is getting into a slump and feeling like the season is over. Everybody is still trying to go out and win out pretty much.”

» Redshirt senior right tackle Chaz Green: “I know it hasn’t gone as planned, but when you watch these games, we have never lost our fight in these games. We didn’t quit. … We just got to sure up some things and make sure we take care of the ball, that’s huge, don’t turn the ball over. But we don’t quit. We got a lot of tough guys, which is a great starting point. We just got to play a lot smarter across the board. … I feel like the team is confident. … As a team, I feel like the team is confident. Yesterday we had a great practice. Guys were out there flying around, busting their behinds. We were talking trash; we were having fun still. I think we’re still confident as a team. We just got to get this next win and go from there, take it one week at a time like we’ve been doing.”

» Redshirt senior LB Neiron Ball: “We know we’re good. The last game wasn’t so pretty, but against LSU, that game was questionable, I felt like we could’ve won that game, but we lost. I feel like we’re a great team but we just got to come out with the win. I think just as a team, defensively, special teams, offensively, we all just got to play well together. I think we can, I really do. The only way to improve it is to do it. We can’t just say it, we got to go out there and do it.”

» Sophomore safety Keanu Neal: “We know the talent that we have on the team. The execution, it wasn’t there the past few games, but that can be fixed. And we’re working on that during practice and everything. But as far as talent, we know we can compete with anyone. … We got to bring Florida back. The old Florida football.”

» Junior defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.: “Mentally, we’re just ready to get back on the field and play for us and the Gator Nation and just win from here on out. Because we’re all we got and we’re all we need. That’s how it’s been from day one and we got to keep it going like that.”

» Sophomore running back Kelvin Taylor: “You know, we’ve just got to go in there and play hard. After that, we’re just gonna keep working hard and really just trying to go in there and get a win. … I believe a win this week would mean a whole lot for Gator Nation, period. We really owe our fans. We have great fans and we owe them a win. We have to play hard, play for our coaches and play for each other. Everything else will turn out fine.”

While Florida as a whole may not be executing on the field any better than it did a year ago, there is no doubt that the Gators’ locker room has taken a turn for the better over the last 10 months.

Players and coaches discussed time and again this offseason the team truly coming together as a single unit with everyone involved with the program having each other’s backs and facing adversity as a team rather than a group of individuals. It is apparent now more than ever as Florida is on the verge of a season-defining game that will either allow the Gators to continue marching to the only goal they have left or see major changes coming to the program as a whole.

Stop it

Right now, stop it. You are making fools of yourselves.

Oh, I guess I did not make it clear who I am addressing here. Let me clarify. Anyone who is calling for Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley to be fired because he hired Will Muschamp as head coach and has stuck by his side through some major struggles over the last two seasons, shut up.

The main argument being presented for Foley’s ouster following the Muschamp hire is the fact that, while Foley is arguably the best athletic director in the country and has made some of the bravest yet most-spectacular hires during his tenure at Florida, his inability to hit with Muschamp makes him 0-2 when choosing someone to lead the football program (the other loss in this record, of course, being Ron Zook).

Well, that’s stupid. And it’s plain wrong.

First, let’s address the Zook hire, which Foley was forced to make suddenly after Steve Spurrier unexpectedly left the program and jumped to the NFL. Foley was not prepared for Spurrier’s departure, for which he deserves some blame, but he still went out and got a coach who may not have been successful on the field (losses) or off it (the fraternity house confrontation which also led to his firing), but he was tremendous on the recruiting trail. Zook kept the Gators’ till filled with talent, so much that his successor went on to win a national title due in large part to what Zook had built from a depth chart perspective.

That successor, of course, was Urban Meyer, who the same people calling for Foley’s firing do not want to give the athletic director credit for hiring. The theory here is that then-new Florida president Bernie Machen, who joined the school from Utah, was so close with Meyer that he set the stage for Meyer’s arrival and all Foley had to do was say hello, drop off a contract and walk out of Meyer’s house to tons of acclaim.

That’s just not true.

According to The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley, Foley had 15 coaches on his list of candidates for the open position and created a search committee to help gauge interest with them during the regular season. He did not do this by contacting the coaches directly but rather making inquiries with parties somehow related to or in business with the coaches because he did not want to bother men leading college football programs while the regular seasons will still in progress. Some had a little, others had none because they were already at well-paying, high-profile jobs, but Meyer was absolutely interested.

Two days after the end of the regular season, according to Dooley, Foley – not Machen – got in touch with Meyer. Two days after that, he flew out to Utah and spent four hours meeting with Meyer. Four days after that, Foley reconnected with Meyer and had Billy and Christine Donovan reach out to Urban and Shelley Meyer, respectively, to talk up the athletic department and Gainesville, Florida. Through all of this, Machen had not yet spoken with Meyer.

Foley spoke with Meyer by phone multiple times after that. Foley (and assistant AD Greg McGarity) – not Machen – boarded a plane to Utah to meet with Meyer and formally offer him a contract while informing him that he was their choice to coach the Gators. Foley and McGarity stayed in town and waited while Meyer mulled staying at Utah, going to Florida or even heading to Notre Dame. Meyer then called Foley – not Machen – to set up a final meeting and accept the offer.

So did Machen have anything to do with Meyer being hired as the Gators’ coach? Absolutely. There is little to no doubt that they conversed – likely more than once – with Machen probably telling Meyer why he made the move to Florida and why Meyer should do the same. That’s part of the hiring process. Did Machen already being at UF potentially increase Meyer’s comfort level with the move because he had a familiar face at the university’s top spot? Absolutely.

But did Machen hire Meyer? Did he put in the work to fly across the country, pitch the job, connect the Meyers with the Donovans, fly back across the country, ease fears and calm concerns, and ultimately sign him to a contract?

No. That was Foley.

So if you want to accurately call Foley 1-2 in his head football coach hires, go ahead. His “1” won two national and conference titles. His “1” left the program despite being well-paid, treated like a king and under contract for the foreseeable future.

Foley was once again in a tight spot after Meyer left, but similar to the Zook-Meyer move and unlike the Spurrier-Zook situation, Foley was prepared. Did he make the wrong choice in Muschamp? Perhaps. But that happens. No one bats 1.000, though Foley is close.

Those so blindingly upset about Muschamp’s performance and Zook’s failures not only fail to credit Foley for hiring Meyer, they purposely overlook Donovan, Amanda O’Leary, Becky Burleigh, Mary Wise, Roland Thornqvist, Mike Holloway, Kevin O’Sullivan, Tim Walton and Rhonda Faehn. Those hires are not luck or happenstance. That’s talent and ability. That’s a track record.

What Foley has accomplished purely from an athletic department-wide, coach-hiring perspective is extraordinary. He is the best athletic director in school history, arguably the best active in the nation today.

And he’s not going anywhere, if you’re lucky.

Not Only Gators: Boardwalk Empire

Despite being one of the most-hyped shows I can remember upon its debut, Boardwalk Empire concluded Sunday night with little fanfare. Perhaps that it is because it went up against a huge Sunday Night Football game (Green Bay at New Orleans) and viewers decided either to DVR the show or watch it on demand at a later date, but the ending of one of HBO’s most ambitious programs appeared to largely go unnoticed.

Well, I caught it late Sunday (after the game) and came away impressed overall. You see, the series finale was a microcosm of the entire series itself. Boardwalk Empire as a whole was rarely an attention-drawer on a week-to-week basis. Rather, the sum of its parts was much greater than its individual episodes.

Each episode, season, and ultimately the series as a whole, was like an old television set. You turn it on, wait while it gets warmed up and then thoroughly enjoy the experience until it’s time to go to bed.

Boardwalk Empire will never be described as one of the greatest shows in the history of television, but it will be remembered for breaking ground in set and costume design, delivering enthralling story lines and never taking its audience for granted.

Each season was unique yet still fit together in the grander scheme of the show. Each character was thoughtfully developed and nearly all were well-acted by some of the best thespians in the business, including a number of stage actors that jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the series.

Critics and viewers expected Boardwalk Empire to be HBO’s next The Sopranos, but it was not made to replace such an iconic series. And looking deeper at the programs, they were nothing alike. The Sopranos was a completely fictional story about two families dealing with mafia business in one present-day location. Boardwalk Empire weaved larger-than-yet-still-real-life persons with delicately-crafted characters and set the whole thing during the Prohibition era of the United States in the 1920s. The lines were blurred in such a way that it appeared to be a tremendous retelling of historical record rather than simply a show made to entertain the masses.

In the end, Boardwalk Empire succeeded in its charge, and it’s finale put a bow on a successful series. Final episodes get a lot of grief these days, so give this show credit for coming to the only conclusion it could but doing so in an artful and profound manner.

Not Only Gators: The Judge

I went on a little longer than I expected at Boardwalk Empire, so here are some quick thoughts on The Judge.

» Robert Duvall was a supporting actor in this flick, but his star was bright. This role – a hard-ass, small-town judge simultaneously in legal trouble while suffering from an advanced illness – is his best since The Apostle. And when you consider that Duvall has made 23 films since that one came out in 1997, that’s saying something. Expect multiple award-season nominations.

» Like Duvall, Robert Downey Jr. was made for his role of a fast-talking, high-powered, big-city attorney and estranged son who returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral but winds up staying to defend his father. Since starring as Tony Stark in Iron Man in 2008, Downey’s film choices have been almost-exclusively comedy and action (other Marvel movies, Tropic Thunder, Sherlock Holmes, Due Date, Chef). This is his first deep part since The Soloist, and in my opinion, one of his best parts.

» While the movie bordered on great, it was about 15-20 minutes too long, which is a criticism I rarely, if ever, state – I usually wish films were 15-20 minutes longer.

» The film was well-directed (David Dobkin) and tremendously-acted (Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong also star) with a solid script and high production value. There were some issues with the cinematography, which varied greatly at times during the picture, but it is definitely a must-watch film whether in the theater or otherwise.

This Week’s Movie Trailer

Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (extended):

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

“TGIF” Shows:
1. Full House
2. Boy Meets World
3. Family Matters
4. Step By Step
5. Perfect Strangers

Honorable mention: Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
Other shows considered: Just the Ten of Us; Sabrina, the Teenage Witch

Thanks for reading. Leave your comments below.

67 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    Thank you again for bringing perspective to the situation. I feel that these last two SL’s regarding our program, coach and AD are right on the money! I’d rather not waste my breath but when it comes from you folks listen.

  2. Aligator says:

    1-3 would actually be .333. In baseball that is not too bad, in football you lose your job. Foley is however and AD and one of the best there is. I hope that after all that he has been through over the last however many years, he hires a solid offensive minded coach who can succeed and compete for championships. He did that in Meyer. That did not happen with Zook or Muschamp as they are both defensive coaches and they had too much of a learning curve to be successful as a first time HC.

    Thanks for all you do for us Adam!

      • Michael J. says:

        Yes, what is 12-2? I don’t recall that record for UF recently.
        By the way, no one cares about all the other coaches you listed. Football is, and will always be the only sport that matters. At least I would hope so. I would not like to see UF become Kentucky, a basketball school. With the second straight losing season looming, that isn’t impossible now, especially if Foley strikes out again choosing the new football coach. If UF loses to Georgia, it will have many looking forward to basketball season before the football one is even over. Is that the kind of success you want? A football program that’s irrelevant playing second fiddle to a championship-class basketball program?i

        • I was throwing something out there indicating that Foley has hit on so many coaches, you don’t just define him on 1-2 for football coaches but every hire he’s made. 12-2 wasn’t specific to anything.

        • Ken (CA) says:

          No one cares about the other coaches? Florida is far more than just a football school, I for one regularly watch Soccer, Softball, Basketball (M and W when I can), occasionally Tennis, Lacrosse when they show it (still trying to understand the rules!)

          You are saying Florida should be a one-sport school just like UK is a one-sport school, whether it is football or basketball is irrelevant. Your argument makes no sense. It isn’t even a valid discussion. It is just that, an argument. And the way you phrased it, I am surprised Adam even bothered to reply

          • Ken (CA) says:

            And I should point out, if you don’t watch the ladies playing softball you are missing out on a heck of a lot of fun and energy.

            I missed Volleyball as well, that is hyper fun to watch

            • Michael J. says:

              Yes, I could care less about watching women’s sports or men’s lacrosse, etc. They are about as boring to me as watching golf. To each his own, more power to you if that kind of stuff interests you. Not there is a reason that they are not revenue producing sports. It’s because the majority of people are just like me, they could care less about them. Football is the cash cow, it’s what makes all the other sports possible and to see it sink to this level is alarming.

            • Land Locked Gator says:

              I concur on the volleyball Ken! Took our daughter and some of her HS volleyball teammates who are also Gator fans to see the Florida-Georgia game last Wednesday in Athens. Was a lot of fun seeing these athletes in action, in person. Watching them destroy UGA was a great feeling. Not expecting the same outcome in Jax, but I’m sure hopeful!

              GO GATORS!

        • Oldflyer says:

          Michael J you are very bold to put your limitations out there for the world to see. Regardless of how you feel, there are a multitude of meaningful sports that represent the UofF. Not only that there–are many people who care about them.

          It is interesting to see Universities beat their proverbial breasts and proclaim the the graduation rate for athletes exceeds that of the student body as a whole. I got news. They are not talking about the football and basketball teams. We know that it is news when a student athlete is found among those groups.

          Sure, football and basketball are historically the quentessential American sports–and continue for now. Don’t give odds that that will continue too much longer. As the level of thuggery rises, and people come to realize that there are other sports in which actual student athletes compete fiercely and with skill, the pendulum may swing. It isn’t just losing teams that have empty seats in the stands. How much longer will people identify with the product?

          A football and basketball fan all my life–and at one time a player–I feel my interest waning with every story of felonious, or near felonious, behavior; and every suspension for “violation of team rules”. I sense that these sports hardly represent the two Universities that I love–other than creating revenue. On the other hand, I have learned to love lacrosse. I love to watch cross country runners laying it all on the line, because I see dedicated athletes who are good citizens, and serious students. I am even learning the nuances of soccer. Don’t think I am alone.

          College football and basketball are in danger of killing the golden goose.

      • Aligator says:

        Adam, I agree with you wholeheartedly about Foley and how great of an Athletic Director he is, I said that in my original statement here, I was referring to his football hires. They have not been that great in Zook or Muschamp. That is all I was saying. Yes Meyer was a great hire and he won us some championship. All I was saying is that I hope he finds another coach who knows what they are doing on offense and has some experience as a HC and doesn’t need time to figure out what they are doing OJT.

  3. kaveman says:

    Yeah and no one wants to credit Foley with the Donovan hire. Who has turned into one of THE best college basketball hires. (I’m thinking winning and integrity).

  4. Mike The Red says:

    Let’s speak candidly about Foley.

    Pros: UF’s athletic programs have become power houses. Multiple national championships. However, is that because of Foley, UF’s natural appeal, or the state’s recruiting base?

    Cons:
    (1) 1-2 or 0-2 hiring football coaches, which ultimately funds the rest of UAA.
    (2) Football tickets have become so prohibitively expensive that many alumni dropped their season tickets.
    (3) The Summer athletic camps used to be run by people who loved teaching sports to kids. It seems to be a recruiting tool now, run by a UAA that does not want to be bothered by kids.

    Foley has turn the UAA into a corporate money making machine. Despite his success, I am not sure that I like what UAA has become. If he is going to hang his hat on his success, he better be ready to take some arrows when something goes wrong.

  5. Luke says:

    Excellent post. Especially the piece about the garbage “reasoning” of some fans regarding Foley, Meyer and Muschamp. Spot on…

    • Steven says:

      Not anywhere near as garbage as saying this

      “Did he make the wrong choice in Muschamp? Perhaps”

      Perhaps??? What is perhaps about it?
      Muschamp has taken this program to lows we have never seen before.
      Yes, we are lower now then we were over 30 years ago considering how the landscape has changed since then.
      This is easily a Top 10 job and I think most would have it ranked in the Top 5. We aren’t even going to bowl games anymore.
      “Perhaps” it was an atrocious hire.

      I can live with the hire more than I can live with Foley’s decision making after it.
      Re-upping Muschamp and then not firing after last year.

      That’s 3 huge mistakes he made(hiring, re-signing, giving him a 4th year).

      I’m not ready to jump fully on the fire Foley bandwagon yet, but if the next HC is a miss as well then I definitely will be.

      • OK so let me get this straight…

        You read this entire, long column and you are nit-picking on one word, “perhaps.”

        I suppose you would have preferred me use “no,” is that correct?

        Not that you asked (which you PERHAPS should have before criticizing) but the reason I used that word in particular was because I do believe that Muschamp has what it takes to be a good head coach…at some point. He’s in his early 40s and still has at least two more decades in this profession in one way or another. PERHAPS Muschamp is a good coach but this was too big of a job for him to take over as his first head coaching job. PERHAPS Muschamp would have succeeded at Florida if things were not such a train-wreck when he took over and he did not lost 10 starters to injury last season. PERHAPS this year would’ve been better if Brissett AND Murphy AND Riggs hadn’t transferred.

        It doesn’t hurt to sometimes not be 100 percent resolute in calling something a failure. There is a necessity for perspective in these situations. So my using “perhaps” instead of “no” was a way to try and indicate there should be perspective here rather than droning on about it.

        • Dave Massey says:

          Adam,

          We do so love your passion for fair journalism and for the Gators! Thanks.

        • Steven says:

          Who’s fault is it they transferred? Who’s fault is it they haven’t been able to bring in barely any impact recruits?
          If he is going to be a good head coach he has a loooooong way to go.

          He inherited a train wreck???
          He inherited more talent in Meyers final class than he has brought in over 4 years cumulatively.
          Now the next coach will be inheriting a train wreck. I will agree with you on that.

          • Fault? Kids make decisions. Brissett chose not to stick it out. Murphy, in his last season, wanted a guaranteed role as a starter. Riggs just left Florida high and dry.

            Muschamp did inherit a train wreck in terms of the locker room and off the field stuff, absolutely. If you’re ignoring that, that’s your head in the sand, not mine.

            • Gatoralum88 says:

              Adam, I enjoy reading your weekly SL & usually completely agree (like I agree Foley is the best AD in the country). But when I read “perhaps” after questioning whether Foley’s choice of Muschamp was wrong or not my first thought wasn’t that it’s how you truly feel but that “he’s doing what he has to do” & that “he won’t write YES until Foley finally fires him” (BTW, I sure hope you weren’t debating between “perhaps” & “no”). So I don’t think Steven was nit-picking because as a regular on this site it jumped out to me also (& if we’re “keeping it real”, inheriting an 8-5 team with a roster of top-5 recruiting classes including the consensus #1 class in 2010 isn’t a “train-wreck”. In fact, other than Jimbo’s, I can’t think of another situation that was better for a first year head coach. Mullen’s certainly wasn’t nor was Strong’s at Louisville or UT). In hindsight, it’s obvious this was too big a job for him to take over as his first head coaching job.

              Personally, I don’t think he has what it takes to be a good head coach at some point because in his 4th year here he’s still showing that he can’t “act like a head coach”. In 2011, after his lengthy f-bomb laced tirade following a bad call in the Auburn game we were saying “Calm down & move on coach” but gave him a pass for being a rookie head coach. Yet this month, after fortunately beating UT thanks to a delay of game no call which made their fans chant “FU Florida” he couldn’t let it go and was immature in his immediate post-game interview there. He couldn’t act like a head coach then & he still can’t now. Also, I don’t buy that his players “love” him because I’ve heard too many stories contrary to that. We’ve seen him time & time again get in players faces nose-to-nose & yell at them. There’s no need for that but good luck getting him to stop because it’s part of his DNA. Besides, games like Vandy & GSU last year & Mizzou this year wouldn’t happen if they “love” him. They’d play with more heart & focus.

              Also, I live in Gainesville so I know about “the firm” (UAA…the masters of bunker mentality) & know you need access to coaches & players. So, of course, local media members like you, Dooley, Vettel, etc. need to walk more of a fine line than national media members who are already saying Foley should fire him. A few weeks ago following the Mizzou massacre your “Muschamp’s hot seat bursts into flames” line made me laugh. So, I think many of us regulars know how you really feel. If I remember correctly, just last week in your SL one of his last supporters got mad at you for listing his ever growing list of failures which wasn’t the first time you had done so. You’re just stating facts! So, keep doing what you’re doing & I’m sure shortly after the inevitable happens December 1st we’ll read your true feelings on whether Foley made the wrong choice with Muschamp or not. Only then do I expect to read an emphatic YES. Go Gators!

              • I explained why I used the word “perhaps.” I choose my words carefully and used it for the specific reason I mentioned above.

                As far as your last paragraph…I’m not walking any line. The UAA doesn’t give me a shred of access to the program (that’s a whole ‘nother rant I could go on), so I have no reason to veil my opinions about the program. However, I like to look at things from an even-handed perspective. I’m not going to call for a coach’s firing because that’s not a journalist’s job, and I’m not going to post a list of candidates until he is no longer in that position.

                “Perhaps” was used for the reasons I previously stated.

                If you’re separately asking whether Muschamp has done a good job on the football field and deserves to keep his job, the answer to THAT is NO.

            • Steven says:

              Having a “good locker room” is a ridiculous media cliche.
              Plenty of bad teams have great locker rooms and plenty of great teams have bad locker rooms.
              Talent and coaching wins game not some feel good everyone gets along BS.
              That is why we won his first 2 years. He had Meyers talent.
              He has not been able to bring in talent anywhere near what he should be bringing in and his poor offensive strategies have only sunken us lower.

              Talent and Coaching.
              2 things we don’t have right now and both of them are Muschamps fault.

              • Call it a cliche if you want. If you knew what was going on, which I did, Muschamp did more than you think to change the culture.

                No one is arguing that Muschamp has been a good football coach. You’re just going off on me using a single word “perhaps,” for which I already explained the reasoning. I’m not continuing this conversation with you. It’s absurd.

  6. Rakkasan says:

    Well, the players are saying the right things about being hungry for a win and such. I guess we’ll see on Saturday.

  7. gatormiami says:

    It’s hard to give Foley so much credit for Meyer when his tenure ended so tragically. Addazio’s enemic offense thwarted a Gator return to championship form in 2009 with Tebow et al. Then there was the 2010 prelude to disaster which Foley should have avoided. Then he hires a hyped, but totally unproven DC to lead our once majestic program. And as with Meyer, Foley refuses to pull the plug on Muschamp, even after a season that set all records in futility at our great school. Now we’re looking at another, nearly as bad & we’re hearing the same tired excuses. TIME TO ACT! DUMP THE CHUMP & hire an offensive genius responsible for 2 or possibly 3 national championships. Yes, the coach Foley should have hired in Muschamp’s stead…. a coach who with 2 & 3 star athletes is #1 in the country. HIRE DAN MULLEN!

    • Not sure why the hiring of Meyer should be impacted by him leaving on his own accord. The only thing that thwarted Florida winning the title (or the SEC Championship at least) in 2009 was Alabama. Certainly Addazio’s offense didn’t help, but Florida fans were not thrilled with Mullen either when he was offensive coordinator – wanting him fired in 2007, if you remember.

    • Steven says:

      Could you be more short sighted.

  8. gatormiami says:

    Where do you think the Gators would be today if Mullen had been hired instead of Muschamp? Honestly!

    • 5wideU says:

      You mean the same Dan Mullen that was 2-25 against top 25 teams before this year ?? With fans like you, he’d been out the door before Muschamp ! Luckily for him, the administration there had some patience and gave him 7 years to get to this point. I’m not saying we should give Muschamp more time but giving him a 4th year was the right thing to do regardless of how this year turns out and will pay benefits in the long run.

      • Steven says:

        1.)Mississippi State isn’t Florida. They have never won. You can’t compare the two programs.
        Much tougher to beat top 25 teams their than it should be here. 2-25 vs the Top 25 shouldn’t be tolerated at Florida.

        2.)This is exactly why we shouldn’t want Dan Mullen. This season is much more of a fluke than the norm.
        In this what have you done for me lately world people are over influenced by the most recent impression, but if you look at the whole body of work he doesn’t deserve to be here.
        Hiring Mullen at Florida would be something a bad AD would do. I sure hope Jeremy proves me wrong.

        • Dave Massey says:

          Not to nitpick but this is Mullen’s sixth year and I believe he was 3-21 versus ranked teams going in to this year and 0 for the last 15. The MSU faithful has been howling for his firing for a while before this year. Go look at his record overall.

          I would agree with you that this year is a fluke more than the norm. Auburn completely imploded in that game. Gave it away but I give them credit for winning. LSU also almost came back after a big lead but they did win. Their defense has actually been pretty bad but for some reason has done very well in the red zone. Smoke and mirror defense that I think will catch up to them soon. They could lose to Arkansas, Alabama, and Ole Miss and then they will be right back where they always have been, average.

          I want a coach at Florida who has long term, sustained success and agree that right now Mullen’s doesn’t fit that description.

          And Michael Jones, we all know that you don’t agree with this before you even start to pontificate.

        • Daniel M. says:

          Actually, you can compare the two programs. Both play similar tough SEC schedules. It’s a fair comparison.

          • Steven says:

            I’m sorry, but you really can’t compare Miss St and Florida.
            Mullen would be long gone by now if he did what he did at Miss St here.
            Hell even Miss St fans wanted him gone.

            Someone has to say it.
            Anyone who wants Mullen to be the next HC of Florida just isn’t very bright.
            You know what dumb people do. They only look at the most recent thing instead of looking at the whole body of work. They look at small sample sizes and try to make conclusions.
            If Foley hires Mullen then he should be fired because he is as incompetent as the rest of you.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Ha ha. . classic example of abuse of statistics. Once again: he stepped into a losing Miss St program and turned it around. It took a few years. Muschamp stepped into a winning UF program and turned it around. That took a few years too . . .

        Let me ask you this: which program is going (or “trending” for all you cybergeeks) up? And which one is going down?

        So, yeah, THAT Mullen, the one who at sad no-tradition no-recruiting Miss St is the head coach of the #1 team in the nation right now.

        One thing is obvious, whatever this bias that some of you have against Mullen, and wherever it comes from, reason and logic will not work to turn it around. You anti-Mullen people have your head buried in the sand.

        And now, as Adam says on occasion, I am done going back and forth. Your mind is made up, and so is mine. But do yourself a favor, get out in the real world every now and then and see how normal people feel about it.

  9. The football program is a total trainwreck!!! The entire Gator Nation is fractured! Tousands of empty seats in the stadium. Its all in coaching or lack thereof! Look what Malzahn has done at Auburn.

    • Steven says:

      A college football coach is literally everything to a program.
      A lot of times they are the program.
      And if you aren’t winning there is no one to blame, but yourself.

      If the talent isn’t there, then you haven’t recruited well enough or developed well enough.
      Obviously if the coaching isn’t there that is a bad sign.
      I would say Muschamp is 0-3 in those things.
      Hell even Zook was 2-3.

  10. Dave Massey says:

    It sure is good to see that the team has the right attitude going into this weeks game, it would be great to get a win in this game.

    Great point on Foley. I agree that he is one of the best AD’s if not the best in the country. We are very lucky to have him. Not everything he has done has been perfect but I don’t know of any other AD that makes a perfect hire every time. We have the top athletic program in the country overall. That’s right, number 1! I am sick and tired of people acting like only football matters because it is the revenue generating sport. By the way folks, men’s basketball seems to bring in a lot of money too. Every single program at Florida means a lot to me. I have really been enjoying watching the Lady Gators on the SEC playing volleyball, soccer, etc. I watch every Gator athletic event that is on TV. Bet that SEC Network deal is bringing revenue into the UAA too.

    One of the main responsibilities of the UAA is to raise revenue so I don’t understand why someone would have an issue with that. And Florida may have natural appeal and a great recruiting base but they didn’t do a whole lot with it before Foley came along. What he has accomplished really is truly amazing, I hope he stays at Florida for a long time to come.

    Meyer was a good hire for the program and he did a lot of winning and won championships but my issue with him has always been the off the field issues and my opinion that he left a black eye on the program, but Foley got it right when he hired him. Also think Muschamp was a good hire at the time. Zook, not so good.

    Don’t often go to the movies but after seeing the trailer on “The Judge” went to see it at the movies, outstanding flick.

    • Mike The Red says:

      UF’s modern day success began with Spurrier and Mary Wise. Both were here before Foley became AD.

      For that matter, Galen Hall actually led us to our first SEC Championship in football. I could name others as well.

      Point being, UF was well on its way to being a powerhouse by the time that Foley got here. It was not like he undertook a major turn-around.

  11. Ken (CA) says:

    Nice to see them talking the talk. It would be nice if they would walk the walk. I am really tired of the University getting embarrassed on the field week in and week out.

    • That’s a line that I actually had in there but deleted before publishing. It is time for Florida to back up its talk, absolutely.

    • gatorboi352 says:

      And the reason they’re talking the talk still, especially this week? Treon Harris and Kurt Roper. Guys are excited to play FOR Roper and play WITH Harris. And regarding Harris, the offense is absolutely giddy to be going out there with him as the starter.

      As far as the defensive guys? Well, they’re always playing good (Bama game not withstanding)(seriously look up the yards they’ve given up in the 3 contests after Bama).

      • Dave Massey says:

        Florida players say they love Muschamp too.

        Notwithstanding the game that Florida gave up the most yards in any game in their history? Come on. And let’s not talk about the UK game defense either. The DB’s should be wearing asbestos gloves.

        The Missouri game yards given up would be a very misleading statistic. They didn’t need to gain many yards when their special teams score two touchdowns and so does their defense. The game was a blowout. Might want to look at that turnover statistic.

        LSU had almost two hundred yards rushing, 3-0 advantage turnover margin and ran 15 more plays than Florida. Florida couldn’t stop them on important plays both running and throwing.

        Tennessee just isn’t a very good team so I don’t know how much bragging should be done there.

        The defense is playing better than the offense but not exactly playing stellar. And just about every defense in the country could outplay the offenses performance so far.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Easy, Gatorboi. We might be putting too much on the kid. It’s not going to be easy sledding out there this Saturday, especially against a UGA team still in the hunt for all the marbles. He’s still a true freshman and Roper still works under the ultra-conservative, scared-of-my-own-shadow offensive philosophy of Will Muschamp.

        These guys talk a good game about never quitting, but to me they look like they’ll lay down at the first taste of adversity. I saw’em quit plenty last year. But I hope I’m wrong about that.

        • gatorboi352 says:

          I’ve said it all along, Jones: Harris simply has to be better than Driskel; adequate. Shouldn’t be that hard to achieve. Still, he is just a freshman. But look at what that true freshman QB down in Miami is doing this year. Impressive stuff for an 18 year old.

  12. lee says:

    Us as fans are so unrealistic that we ran 2 coaches out of town… Spurrier and Meyer. Don’t believe me… go back and look at this same bulletin board in Meyers last year or Tebows 7-5 year. Both SOS and UM have stated for the record that fan expectations are unrealistic. Hopefully all our whining doesnt drive Foley out (which it won’t since it part of the job description). One (maybe 2) losing seasons since ’79. I’ll sign up for another 35. Go Foley, Go Gators.

    • Steven says:

      Now this is a garbage argument.
      Our expectations aren’t higher than any other major programs.
      Actually I would say that we have been more than patient with Muschamp.
      Even after a 4 win season most fans were willing to give him a 4th year.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Since when did UF go 7-5 when Tebow was here. We won the NC in 06 and 08 and finished 13-1 in 09 after our only loss was to eventual NC Alabama. They were 9-4 in his Heisman year. Florida fans do place heavy expectations on head coaches, but so does USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma…do I need to go on? Florida plays the hardest schedule in the nation year in and year out overall, that is what makes coaching at Florida so difficult.

    • apprentice says:

      “Hopefully all our whining doesnt drive Foley out (which it won’t since it part of the job description).”

      So let me get this straight. Part of the job description for AD is handling criticism. Is that not part of the job description for the head coach as well? Our “unrealistic expectations” drove out two head coaches but they probably won’t drive out the AD because “that’s part of the job description”?

      The football head coach at a big football school like UF is the most public figure of all sports. This person NEEDS to be able to handle constant criticism and big expectations, even more so than the AD.

  13. Frank says:

    So I have this pepper plant, a gift from my son. Its first crop was good, but we wanted to help it along by adding fertilizer. Problem was we used concentrate and you guessed it, every leaf fell off. The plant looked dead but I chose to keep watering it for weeks. What happened? New growth started sprouting and eventually we had a healthy plant and multiple bumper crops. My point is this: Sometimes what looks dead is really a part of a process- call it a natural pruning of sorts- that leads to great growth and production. It’s an analogy for Coach Muschamp. I understand the four-year thing as a standard, but sometimes it just takes more time. Along with all the calls for a firing, why doesn’t someone research coaches who struggled even beyond the four year mark, but eventually became successful. Coach is a good man and I believe a good coach. In spite of his record, I think he’s learning to adapt and change. He’s cleaned up the program. in spite of the criticism and a disappointing past few games, I just still believe we’re not that far from something good. Hope it starts this Saturday! Go Gators!!! Beat uga!!!

    • Mike The Red says:

      “The Zen of Dead Pepper Plants” Now if that doesn’t have best seller written all over it, nothing does.

      It is pretty difficult to kill pepper plants. It really takes a special person to do so. Sort of like our football program. Someone please tell Muschamp, “Less fertilizer. More water.”

      If you could convince me that Muschamp was learning, I would agree. Do you think that he is?

      • Frank says:

        Just finished my rough draft 😉 Mike, all I know is that: 1) He really seems to know the game, 2) Has actually developed an amiable personality with the press and has become more “human” and humble, 3) Has, whether by choice or force, made adjustments to offensive philosophy. I meant to add, concerning the four-year standard, that with such a disrupted year due to injuries last year, should Coach be given a “redshirt” fifth year and see what could happen with Harris or Grier along with some really good young guys waiting in the wings? Just a thought…”Zen of the Dead Pepper Plant”…Love it. Go Gators!!! Beat uga!!!

  14. Michael Jones says:

    Foley has done a nice job university wide, but UF is a great school, in a great town, with a lot of money generated by its football program, and it draws athletic and coaching talent. He doesn’t deserve to be fired (and I have seen very few comments suggesting that he does), but he’s far from being immune from criticism.

    Hiring Muschamp was questionable under the circumstances. What had he ever done? Why wasn’t Mullen considered? And after Muschamp went 4-8 and has had a discernible decline in recruiting every year that he’s been here (currently last in the SEC and 70th in the country. . unheard of and unprecedented lows at UF), why is he still here?

    The bizarre way in which Zook was hired was questionable. Foley’s methodology for conducting a “coaching search” (if he even has one) seems to be questionable.

    Why didn’t we look at Spurrier again after Meyer? Why are there rumors of personality conflicts with Foley that supposedly remove Spurrier and Mullen from consideration? And is it true or not that either Foley and/or Machen asked Spurrier to fill out an application or submit a resume or something to that effect?

    I decline to join in the Foley love-fest. He doesn’t need to be fired, but he’s not bigger than the institution nor the program, and he has to answer for his mistakes just like everybody else who works for a living. We’ll see if he’s the greatest ever after it’s all over. UF is in the SEC and the most football-talent-rich state in the country. That’s a nice place to start for any AD.

    • To be fair, you don’t see my inbox and Twitter account.

      Everyone needs to get off of Mullen, seriously.

      • Michael Jones says:

        True. I don’t see your inbox or Twitter account.

        But why do you say that everyone needs to get off of Mullen?

        • He wasn’t the answer a few years ago and he’s not the answer for Florida now. One good quarterback does not a good head coach make.

          Forget the records, if you’ve watched his teams there the last six seasons, outside of a few standout performances, they’ve just been bad. There is a reason his entire fan base wanted him gone each of the last two offseasons.

          Credit to MSU for sticking by him…but Florida fans appear to be demanding an established, experienced and successful coach. Mullen may be experienced but he has not been successful just just because they’ve won a few games early (even if some were upsets). Kentucky started 6-1 in 2007 with wins over No. 9 Louisville and No. 1 LSU. Then they lost four of their last five regular-season games. This MSU team is way better than that UK team. I’m just saying. There’s a ways to go.

    • Mike The Red says:

      “I decline to join in the Foley love-fest. He doesn’t need to be fired, but he’s not bigger than the institution nor the program, and he has to answer for his mistakes just like everybody else who works for a living.”

      +1

  15. Don Tagner says:

    Hey Frank… I agree. Adam, I truly enjoy your writing. Thank you.

  16. N. Stalker says:

    I heard rumor Gators or looking at Al Golden has anyone else heard that rumor ?

  17. Just Want A Change says:

    Adam you are awesome! I know football generates a lot of money, but it’s amazing how many think Foley should be judged solely on those two hires. Do people forget Muschamp was the coach in waiting at Texas? Yeah, things haven’t worked out, but Foley wasn’t and isn’t the only one that saw and sees something in Muschamp. Things just have not worked out. I do not believe that makes him a bad coach, but it just simply hasn’t worked. I love the guy too death because I think he does things the right way, but like he says it’s a bottom line business and the bottom line is that Florida football hasn’t won. Personally, I don’t see how the vile negativity helps anyone.

    Just thought “We are all strong for old Florida Down where the old Gators play In all kinds of weather
    We’ll all stick together
    for F-L-O-R-I-D-A”

  18. KB says:

    Yeah the fire Foley talk is crazy. As for Muschamp, well that situation is going to take care of itself so there is nothing anyone who is not in the decision making process can do but let it play out. We all know he has not completely done the job he has been hired to do and it’s Foley’s job to pull the trigger. Speculation on the next coach or whom you would like to see coach UF football is fun and gives fans hope for the better. If Will continues not to take care of business then the business will take care of him. Loved the movie review as I just finished watching it today. Glad the writers made the decision to make the young girl in the bar his niece instead of his daughter… hahaha. You should review “This is where I leave you” also if you have seen it.

  19. Kaput says:

    He needs to get the next hire right, though.

    I agree that he’s the best AD going right now, and is in the conversation for best ever. That’s said, football is FAR more important to this university than any other sport. Heck, is far more important than the rest of the sports combined.

    Failing at football at UF is completely unacceptable, and that where UF finds itself right now. Empty stadiums, fan disinterest and a general feeling of numbness towards the program from those with the most passion (which is wide spread) are cancers on the program.

    I have faith that he’ll use the best possible selection process and come up with a solid leader, just perhaps not the grand slam that’s needed to inject enthusiasm back in Gainesville .

  20. G2 says:

    If the Gators are confident they must have actually gotten things “fixed” in the off-week this time! Ha!!

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