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

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…

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

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Muschamp, Gators adopting ‘bunker mentality’ as Florida players support embattled coach

Shielding themselves from falling bombs of criticism and ear-piercing chants for the ouster of a starting quarterback and head coach, Will Muschamp said Monday that he hand the Florida Gators have adopted a “bunker mentality” that he hopes will serve the team well through the remainder of the season.

With redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel benched for freshman Treon Harris after Driskel turned the ball over 12 times in his last four games, one part of the call from Florida fans has been answered.

However, Muschamp still remains coach of the Gators (3-3, 2-3 SEC) after their devastating 42-13 blowout loss to Missouri on homecoming, and fans continue to let it be known that they want athletic director Jeremy Foley to make a change and fast.

Muschamp accepts the fervor and heavy criticism because it comes with the position of head coach, explaining that he is singularly focused on Florida’s next opponent – the SEC East-leading, No. 9-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) – and not what fans think about his job status.

Continue Reading » Muschamp, Gators adopting ‘bunker mentality’ as Florida players support embattled coach

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Billy Donovan offers support for Florida’s football coach, again: ‘I am a huge Will Muschamp fan’

For the second time in 10 days, Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan went out of his way to openly praise Will Muschamp, standing behind Florida’s embattled football coach as Muschamp faces a likely dismissal following his team’s poor start to the 2014 season.

Last Wednesday, Donovan said he had an “enormous amount of respect” for Muschamp, noting that he took over a challenging situation in 2011 and dealt with an insane number of injuries in 2013. Donovan even revealed that he had Muschamp speak with the basketball team this past summer in order to enlighten players on how quickly success can turn into struggle.

During an appearance on an ESPN.com college basketball podcast that was published on Friday, Donovan went even further in his support of Muschamp.

“I will tell you this: I am a huge Will Muschamp fan,” he said.

Continue Reading » Billy Donovan offers support for Florida’s football coach, again: ‘I am a huge Will Muschamp fan’

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Florida QB Treon Harris will start vs. Georgia

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp announced Wednesday that freshman quarterback Treon Harris will start for the team when it takes on the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, Florida, on Nov. 1.

“Treon, you saw what he did late in the game [against Missouri]. He has a knack for making plays and making some good things happen for our football team,” Muschamp said. “We’ve struggled with production at the quarterback position and that’s been an issue for us – along with some other [positions] – but that’s been a huge issue for us. He’s a guy that has a knack for making plays.”

Harris will have two weeks getting first-team repetitions ahead of the Gators’ showdown with the Bulldogs.

“He has a much better understanding [of the offense] as we continue to move forward,” Muschamp added. “We got an open week now where he’s getting a bunch of reps.”

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

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.

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

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Florida AD Jeremy Foley on Will Muschamp: We will ‘evaluate the season as it plays out’

Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley on Monday cautioned fans that he does not plan to make any substantial decisions about the team’s head coach until following the 2014 season, as he initially stated before the campaign began.

“At the beginning of the season we said we would evaluate the season as it plays out,” he said in a statement released by the school. “We will continue to do so. Our sole focus right now is supporting our coaching staff as they prepare for Georgia.”

Facing similar questions about head coach Will Muschamp last season as the Gators first slid out of the top 25 and then bowl contention, Foley issued what he refused to refer to as a “vote of confidence,” claiming he and the administration were “a thousand percent convinced” Muschamp was the right man for the job.

Certainly this season’s statement is not nearly as supportive.

“We will get better under Will Muschamp’s leadership,” Foley proclaimed last November. “This is not the quote-unquote dreaded ‘vote of confidence.’ This is just how we all feel around here. We have a strong faith and a strong belief in his capabilities, his leadership skills, in his ability to evaluate what needs to be fixed.”

RELATED: Foley puts legacy on the line by sticking his neck out for Muschamp

The Gators have fallen to 3-3 (2-3 SEC) after losing consecutive home games to unranked league foes. Late miscues saw Florida drop a 30-27 contest to LSU on Oct. 11, but UF was completely outmatched by an offensively-hapless Missouri team, which scored four touchdowns en route to a 42-13 rout of its hosts on homecoming.

Florida is currently on its second off week of the season. It will begin preparation for its annual rivalry game against the No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs, which is slated for Nov. 1 at 3:30 p.m. The Gators have lost six-straight games to ranked opponents.

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Snell’s Slant: Florida Gators on a path to nowhere under Will Muschamp’s leadership

By Shannon Snell – OnlyGators.com Featured Columnist

I had hope. I had faith. Unfortunately, when it comes to the 2014 Florida Gators, both of those are now gone. As an alumnus and former Florida player, I ultimately believed the Gators’ ills would be corrected, the program would get turned this year. At this point, there is no kidding myself anymore. Florida will go nowhere under the continued leadership of Will Muschamp.

You have heard Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer say this before but there is a rule of thumb that if a team plays well in all three phases of the game – offense, defense, special teams – the percentage chance that team wins said game is very high. Play poorly in one of these areas, your chance of winning goes down drastically but is not eliminated. Screw up in two phases, you have almost no chance to survive…and that is exactly what happened Saturday night.

Defensively, the Gators were great on Saturday. Hell, they were plain out dominant. Allowing only 119 yards is great for a Pop Warner football game, let alone in a big-time college conference like the SEC. But as usual, Florida’s offense failed; in a surprising new twist, special teams was equally as awful, not just giving up two return touchdowns but also seeing a significant regression at punter. You cannot win a football game when you fail in so many ways.

Muschamp’s entire career has been based off the age-old premise of “defense wins championships.” Well, the former – and potentially future – defensive coordinator has learned some hard lessons over the last few years, namely that a teams must be three-dimensional, not one-dimensional.

Continue Reading » Snell’s Slant: Florida Gators on a path to nowhere under Will Muschamp’s leadership

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

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

Will Muschamp’s Leash

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

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

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

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

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