Reports: Muschamp returning as Gators coach in 2014 but changes to UF coaching staff ahead

The 1,000 percent confidence athletic director Jeremy Foley claimed to have in head coach Will Muschamp two weeks ago apparently remains unchanged despite the Florida Gators suffering the worst loss in program history on Saturday after falling 26-20 to Georgia Southern, the first FCS school to ever defeat Florida.

RELATED Column: Foley sticks neck out for Muschamp, puts legacy on line

On Sunday, citing a “source close to the program,” the Orlando Sentinel reported that Muschamp’s job was safe even though “significant changes to [his] coaching staff are expected after Saturday’s season finale against Florida State.”

Those substantial adjustments will likely be made to the offensive side of the ball with offensive coordinator Brent Pease the main assistant on the hot seat.

Muschamp on Saturday strongly criticized the Gators’ performance on offense both in that loss and over the last few weeks.

Continue Reading » Reports: Muschamp returning as Gators coach in 2014 but changes to UF coaching staff ahead

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Friday Final: Florida focused on defending triple option, Gators desperate for a win, fan support

Florida Gators coaches and players spoke this week ahead of Saturday’s contest against the Georgia Southern Eagles, which is scheduled to kick off at 2:00 p.m. from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, and air live on pay-per-view.

Below are some stories, notes and quotes that either broke towards the end of the week or fell through the cracks and did not make it into one of the six posts already published here on (see links below).

Monday: Will Muschamp previews Georgia Southern, updates injuries, more
Tuesday: Brent Pease talks offensive line, running game | Florida’s freshmen wideouts still works in progress
Wednesday: Two Gators ruled out for Saturday | QB Tyler Murphy not ruled out, but Skyler Mornhinweg in line to start


Florida on Saturday will be tasked with defending Georgia Southern’s triple option. One of a dwindling number of teams that still uses the offense, GSU expertly runs it and has since Paul Johnson took over the program in 1997. Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, who along with the other defensive caches has been preparing for this since the summer, discussed UF’s defensive plan and how it has been communicated.

“It’s something different than what our guys see week to week. Usually you go from one opponent to the next you have a different game plan but you build off certain concepts that you normally carry and work on, there’s carryover. This week there’s not as much carryover. It’s kind of a whole different game plan of how you play it,” he explained.

“It’s just responsibility football; it’s everyone doing their job. Everyone has an assignment on each snap and they gotta do their job and not worry about the guy next to him and try to guess and do what he’s doing. Option football, that’s what they make you do, they’re gonna make sure everyone’s doing their job and if not they’re gonna make you pay. They’re good enough at it, they do enough of it, they can read the right way and if someone’s not where they’re supposed to be, it’ll show.”

Redshirt junior linebacker Michael Taylor said he has experience facing the triple option in high school and noted that defending it all starts with stopping the dive.

“If you’ve never seen it, you can be like, ‘God, this is tricky.’ But most of us have seen it before. This is a pretty high-tech level of triple option,” he said. “They’re probably the best to do it; them and Georgia Tech. We have a lot to prepare for. It’s just going to be a good week of preparation and hopefully have a good Saturday.”

Redshirt junior defensive tackle Leon Orr expects the triple option to be “something of a challenge” but has confidence that the Gators will be able to defend it well.

“It’s a total technique change,” he said. “It’s all about focus, when it comes down to it. It’s something our defense [has to] hone in on and be able to focus on your role and not trying to do too much and going out there and doing your job like the coaches always preach.”

Continue Reading » Friday Final: Florida focused on defending triple option, Gators desperate for a win, fan support

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11/18: Muschamp previews Georgia Southern; Murphy improving but not yet cleared

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 19-14 loss to the No. 10/11 South Carolina Gamecocks and upcoming home game against the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday, Nov. 23. The game will kick off at 2:00 p.m. and air live only on pay-per-view.


It is not known whether redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy (shoulder) will be available to play on Saturday against Georgia Southern, and it is not expected that a decision will be made until later in the week.

Muschamp said that Murphy “threw lightly” on Sunday and felt more comfortable than he had in a while. But he has not yet been cleared to practice in full and the team currently preparing for redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg to be the starter.

Murphy called himself “day-to-day” and noted that he felt much better than last week. He estimated that he played at 60-70 percent against Missouri and was even healthier than that two weeks later when taking on Georgia. However, he reinjured the shoulder during the Vanderbilt game, which is why he was unable to play last Saturday.

“It’s getting better. After the game last week I really couldn’t move it, but now I’m able to move it and rotate and stuff like that. I got range of motion and stuff like that. It’s a lot better, getting better,” Murphy said.

Now estimating his health at 70-75 percent, Murphy hopes to get back on the field Saturday but cautioned that it will be a mutual decision between himself and the trainers.

“It’s all about if the ball’s coming out efficiently. If I can’t make the throws in practice, it’s not going to happen in the game,” he said. “Sitting out not practicing doesn’t help. It’s just kind of something we’re trying to figure out what’s best for the team and how we can be successful.”


Junior cornerback Marcus Roberson was suspended for the South Carolina game but would not have been cleared to play anyway due to an ankle injury he suffered against Vanderbilt. Muschamp said Roberson “ran well” on Sunday and will hopefully return to practice during the week. As long as he’s cleared medically, he can play on Saturday as his suspension as just a one-week punishment.

Additionally, Gators sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries (MCL) remains doubtful despite moving around on Sunday. The team hopes to have an update mid-week. Freshman wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood, who took a hard hit late in the fourth quarter against the Gamecocks and looked to be shaken up, did not suffer a concussion but rather hurt his shoulder. He will be good to go this week.

Continue Reading » 11/18: Muschamp previews Georgia Southern; Murphy improving but not yet cleared

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11/16: Florida at South Carolina post-game report; frustrated Muschamp tells fans to “get a grip”

The Florida Gators (4-6, 3-5 SEC) lost their fifth-straight game on Saturday, dropping five in a row in a single season for the first time since 1979, by falling 19-14 to the No. 10/11 South Carolina Gamecocks (8-2, 6-2 SEC) on the road at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC. Following his team’s loss, Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media to provide some of his thoughts on the defeat.


“Very proud of our guys’ effort. We followed the script of what we felt like we needed to do to win the game and that was ball possession, field position, eat the clock, play good defense – which we did for the most part through the night against a very good offensive football team. Extremely proud of our players and the way they’ve continued to fight in the game.

“A lot of negativity out there and these guys pulled together and showed you a little something what those guys are about. We need to make some plays in those situations to win the game. The bottom line is winning and we didn’t do it. We did not get the job done. So that’s on me. We’ll go back and continue to work hard and get these last two. We’re looking forward to that. …

“I’m extremely proud of our staff and our players of pulling together, trying to put ourselves in a position to win the game on the road against a very good football team. We just got to come up with a couple of those plays here and there. … We have our opportunities we got to make the plays and that’s on me. We got to keep working.”


Suffice to say, Muschamp was fired up at halftime Florida took a 14-6 advantage into the locker room. Asked after the game while his hand was all bloody and taped up, Muschamp explained, “I hit a chalkboard. Dumb.”

Following the loss, Muschamp was asked about his team’s grit and toughness while going up against a ranked team with a third-string quarterback and a number of other replacement players due to injuries suffered by the Gators throughout the season.

“It’s not excuses. It’s real. It really is,” he said. “You can say what you want to say and you can write whatever the hell you want to write. It’s real. It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for that locker room. To hell with me. I worry about the kids. These kids have fought their butts off.

“There’s a lot of negativity out there and some of our fans need to get a grip. They really do. They got a bunch of kids in that locker room fighting their butt off. They can criticize me all you want, I’m great with that, they pay me enough money to deal with that. But those kids don’t, they really don’t. And they’ve fought their butts off. And they’ve continued to fight and play hard.

“Nobody’s ever questioned their efforts. I’m just extremely proud of them and the resolve and the fight and pulling together like Florida Gators do. Extremely proud of them. We just didn’t get it done. That’s on me, that’s my fault, nobody else’s.”


On Wednesday, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley and president Bernie Machen released statements of unequivocal support for Muschamp and the job he is currently doing with the Gators football program. Given the opportunity to respond in kind, Muschamp did just that publicly.

Continue Reading » 11/16: Florida at South Carolina post-game report; frustrated Muschamp tells fans to “get a grip”

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The Silver Lining: Foley puts legacy on the line by sticking his neck out for Muschamp

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley is right.

The statement he released Wednesday – crafted into a story for the Gators’ official website – was “not the quote-unquote dreaded ‘vote of confidence.’”

It was much more than that.

It was arguably the best athletic director in the country putting his unequivocal support behind a first-time head coach in Will Muschamp, one who currently possesses a 22-13 record in less than three full seasons at his school.

Foley said he was “a thousand percent convinced” that Muschamp was his man when he hired him and is still the right person to lead Florida going forward. “Nothing has changed in what we feel about Will Muschamp from the day we hired him.”

Simply put, that’s not how a growing number of fans feel.

Some Gators understandably questioned Foley’s hiring of Muschamp from the get-go.

Replacing offensive-minded Urban Meyer, he of two national championships and three BCS bowl game victories, with a first-time head coach who earned his chops on being a premier defensive coordinator and outstanding recruiter made Muschamp resemble Foley’s first-ever head football coach hire, Ron Zook, a bit too much.

But Muschamp had other qualities of which to boast. He was the quote-unquote “coach-in-waiting” at Texas and a quote-unquote “son of Gainesville” in that he and his brothers were raised just miles from Florida Field. Muschamp certainly had to fight an up-hill battle to win the affections of the fan base, but he went a long way to overcoming that obstacle with an 11-2 record in just his second season.

Also unlike Zook, Muschamp was forced to clean up an exceedingly messy situation inside the program, promising at his introductory press conference to run the Gators football program the quote-unquote “right way.” So far it appears to have lived up to that promise off the field, even if it has not been reflected in his composite record on it.

Continue Reading » The Silver Lining: Foley puts legacy on the line by sticking his neck out for Muschamp

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Florida Gators AD Jeremy Foley, President Bernie Machen support head coach Will Muschamp

The Florida Gators on Wednesday released a lengthy statement of support from the administration for head coach Will Muschamp, whose football program is currently standing at 4-5 (3-4 SEC) and facing its first losing season since 1979.

Below are Florida’s statements in full. will have more on this topic in the very near future, so stay tuned to this website.

Athletic director Jeremy Foley (unabridged):

“As athletic director, I’m a thousand percent convinced that Will Muschamp is the guy to lead this football program. Nothing has changed in what we feel about Will Muschamp from the day we hired him.

“Everyone around here wants the same thing. We want to do what is right for the University of Florida. We understand that this football season has not gone the way any of us wanted it to go, certainly not the way our fans wanted it to go, and most of all, not the way Will Muschamp wanted it to go.

“We have a history of being successful, we have a history of fixing things when they need to be fixed, and that is what is going to happen here, and Coach Muschamp is the one that will fix it.

“I understand the passion and the disappointment. But at the end of the day, we’ve got great fans, they love the Gators and their passion makes this place special. They are hurting, they want the program to be successful and we feel that hurt.

“We will get better under Will Muschamp’s leadership. 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, in his leadership skills, in his ability to evaluate what needs to be fixed.

“Go back to a year ago: we’re 11-1 and beat four teams in the Top 10 and he was SEC Coach of the Year. I don’t think that was a fluke. I think coaching had a lot to do with that. We’ll stay the course here. We’ll get it right. We’re not going to let Gator fans down. We want the same thing they want.”

President Bernie Machen (unabridged):

“I want the Gator Nation to know that I have full confidence in Coach Muschamp and his leadership of the football program.”

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Snell’s Slant: Muschamp is paid to fix the leaks

A three-year starter for the Florida Gators who played under Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, former guard Shannon Snell joined in 2012 as a football columnist to provide his unique perspective on the team. He has returned to continue sharing his musings through the 2013 season. Snell, who played in 46 games over four seasons and started 36 of those contests, was named a First Team All-American by Sporting News in 2003 and spent two seasons in the NFL.

I’m not known for beating around the bush. That’s never been me and is something that’s unlikely to change. A lot of times in the past I have said some things that were enraging and other times (though more rarely) plain stupid, but I’ve always tried to tell the truth and speak my mind. In the end, no matter who likes you or who doesn’t, people will respect you for doing so.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.” – Mark Twain

Here’s some truth: this Florida Gators football team is not good. Sure, that’s a statement straight out of Captain Obvious’s journal, but I have not seen anything like this dating back to the good ol’ days of Ron Zook.

The Gators are failing in every aspect of the game and there appears to be little hope in sight. There was a possibility that Florida could have or perhaps even should have beaten a decent Missouri team, but with so many injuries and an overall lack of identity, that thought became more and more fictitious as the clock counted down to zero.

I’m not going to beat a dead horse when it pertains to analyzing the Missouri game. That has already been done here on and elsewhere. You’ve read about the offensive line being atrocious, the defense playing uninspired, and the coaches making a number of mistakes throughout the game, starting with failing to give freshman running back Kelvin Taylor more carries.

Looking at things from my perspective, the biggest concern I have at this point is the relationship between the coaches and the players and whether division has already been created internally. Simply put, no one enjoys losing. Speaking as a former player, it can create a lack of trust towards the coaching staff from the players, especially when losses begin to pile up and adjustments are not made.

Continue Reading » Snell’s Slant: Muschamp is paid to fix the leaks

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FOUR BITS: Noah, Foley, Mizzou, Donovan

1 » You will be seeing plenty of center Joakim Noah on ESPN during the 2013-14 NBA season and not just because the Chicago Bulls are expected to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Noah was chosen to star in one of ESPN‘s comical NBA on ESPN tour bus television advertisements, which you can check out below.

Though Noah has recovered from the plantar fasciitis that forced him to miss large chunks of the last two seasons, he was recently shut down for the remainder of the preseason due to a groin injury. According to the Chicago Tribune, he is in “serious jeopardy” of not being available for the Bulls’ season opener, though the player is not concerned. “I want to be out there,” Noah said. “We’re looking good. But I have to be healthy. It sucks, especially this early in the season. … Of course I would rather be playing right now. But we have to do the right thing. This is the right thing to do. Just move forward and let it heal. I’ll be back in no time.”

Read three more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Noah, Foley, Mizzou, Donovan

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