With head coach Will Muschamp‘s job secure and the Florida Gators in desperate need of improvement heading into the 2014 season, it is no secret that changes to to the team’s offensive staff are on the horizon after Saturday’s game against Florida State.
Muschamp made a point to hammer the offense’s lack of production after Florida’s loss to Georgia Southern, a move that appeared to make the unit and its coaches a scapegoat for the Gators’ overall struggles.
Though Florida’s defense has struggled in recent weeks, it has been overly impressive during Muschamp’s three years with the Gators. It has finished in the top 10 each of the last two years and is likely headed for a top 25 finish this season.
The team’s offense, on the other hand, has consistently been one of the worst in the nation. UF is currently ranked 110th in scoring offense and 111th in total offense, averaging just 19.9 points and 327.9 yards per game.
Offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who took the reins for that side of the ball in 2012, has failed to improve on the numbers of his his predecessor Charlie Weis. And the Gators’ offensive line, which was supposed to be much improved in 2013 in its second year under position coach Tim Davis, has struggled to find any consistency even before massive injuries struck the unit.
When jobs are lost and changes are made in the offseason – an inevitability at this point – it appears likely that Pease and Davis will be the first two looking for new forms of employment. CBSSports.com‘s Bruce Feldman, citing a source, reported Sunday that outsting Pease and Davis is already a done deal.
The Orlando Sentinel first confirmed Sunday, also citing a source, that changes to the offensive staff were ahead. A source close to the team told OnlyGators.com on Monday that changes would indeed be made on the offensive side of the ball but perhaps elsewhere in the program as well after the season.
Though it is usually best to wait until positions are vacant to begin discussing potential new hires, Sports Illustrated‘s Pete Thamel – in a column he wrote piggybacking off of one first published here on OnlyGators.com two weeks ago – notes that Jacksonville head coach Kerwin Bell, a former Florida quarterback, is a “big name to take over at offensive coordinator.” He also reports that Western Kentucky offensive line coach Neil Callaway is a “strong candidate” to replace Davis.
A source close to Bell told OnlyGators.com on Monday that there is “not much to share” at this time regarding the coach and any potential offer or interest from Florida.
Muschamp interviewed Bell for the Gators’ vacant offensive coordinator position in Dec. 2011, one of approximately a dozen candidates he spoke with either by phone or in person about the job. Florida played Ohio State in the 2012 Gator Bowl and Muschamp met with Bell while his team was preparing for the game in Jacksonville, FL.
“Kerwin is an outstanding football coach. He’s done an outstanding job at Jacksonville. We had a great meeting,” he said at the time. “He’s a Gator and he’s a guy that I’ve got a lot of respect for in this profession and is certainly qualified for this job.”
Muschamp ultimately chose to hire Pease, who picked UF over a similar offer from Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Current Gators running backs coach Brian White would have been tabbed as coordinator had Pease taken Saban’s offer.