The Silver Lining: McElwain’s staff decisions, comments from Muschamp and Mullen

You’re getting what you wanted

Over the last two seasons – and a little before that as well – my inbox, the @OnlyGators Twitter account and the comments section here on OnlyGators.com have each been inundated with requests and demands for Will Muschamp to lose his job. And while it may have taken longer than many of you have wished, it happened. Muschamp was fired, athletic director Jeremy Foley hired a new head coach Jim McElwain and – though some of you were not pleased with that replacement – the program is headed in a different direction.

Well, you know what happens when one head coach gets fired and another is hired in his place? The coaching staff changes, too. That’s the name of the game. It’s how this process works and thinking otherwise is absolutely foolish.

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Silver Lining: McElwain’s unanswered questions

Questions went unanswered in Jim McElwain’s press conference for good reason

When the Gators hired Will Muschamp four years ago, he had no problem whatsoever laying out specifics about what Florida football would look like under his leadership. He declared that the Gators would be a pro-style, blue-collar, lunch pail-toting team from their first practice through his last day, and while he saw most of that through, obviously the offense underwent radical changes with similarly lacking results throughout his four seasons.

New head coach Jim McElwain took a completely different approach during his introductory press conference. Granted, he was asked fewer questions about his football philosophies than Muschamp when he was behind the podium, but McElwain responded to the questions by refusing to provide specifics and diverting the subject in one way or another.

Asked what style of offense the Gators will run in 2015, McElwain said, “Whatever works. I’ve seen some pretty good stuff that’s worked here in the past. We’ll get that going.” Was he referring to a return of the fun-and-gun under Steve Spurrier? “I don’t know what you call it, but it will be a blast,” he said. “How about the Humane Society?”

A man who obviously likes to share his sense of humor (Muschamp has one too, though it took him four years to get comfortable in his own skin), McElwain’s “Humane Society” reference was a call back to one of his non-answers earlier in the press conference, when he was asked about who has influenced him offensively throughout his career.

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Florida Gators press conference: Jim McElwain introduced as head football coach

Final update added at 6 p.m.

Affable and entertaining, Jim McElwain was introduced Saturday as the 24th head football coach in the history of the Florida Gators.

McElwain came right out of the gate and detailed his high level of appreciation for the opportunity to coach Florida, calling the Gators job something special and one of very few at the highest level in college football. He went on to discuss some of his philosophies, his upcoming agenda and how he plans to move forward over the next month, all of which has been captured and broken down here on OnlyGators.com.

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Report: Florida RB Matt Jones to enter NFL Draft

Florida Gators junior running back Matt Jones will forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the 2015 NFL Draft, according to a report from Nick de la Torre of Gator Country.

“Always Bleed Orange And Blue!!,” Jones wrote Monday via his Twitter account.

Jones is the third Gators underclassman to declare for the draft, joining junior defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (a potential first-round pick) and redshirt junior offensive lineman Tyler Moore. Other players with a year of eligibility remaining may follow the trio, namely junior defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard and left tackle D.J. Humphries.

Jones, a two-year starter who suffered from a serious viral infection and devastating knee injury that cut his 2013 campaign short, was Florida’s leading rusher this season with 817 yards and six touchdowns on 166 carries. He also caught 11 passes for 65 yards and added a receiving score. In five games last season, Jones gained 339 yards on 79 carries, scoring just twice.

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Will Muschamp exits Florida Gators job: ‘I hold my head up walking out of here’

Saturday’s loss to Florida State was a microcosm of the Florida Gators over the last four years under head coach Will Muschamp.

Florida committed undisciplined penalties, was unable to take advantage of opponent miscues and could not find the end zone even with a short field, which it had often. The Gators were also plagued by uneven coaching and questionable decision-making, especially deep in the red zone and on their last offensive series when the passing game was for some reason suddenly preferred over the running game.

Similarly, Muschamp’s post-game press conference incorporated all of his maxims. In fact, many of them were thrown into a single five-sentence reply after he was asked about Florida once again having a chance to win a game but failing to take advantage of its opportunities.

“We’ve had our opportunities. You look at two other games where we had the game in hand and had our opportunities to get it done. We didn’t get it done,” he said. “It falls on my shoulders. And that’s why they’re going to be looking for a coach.”

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11/29: Florida-FSU post-game report – it’s over; bowl game up next for Gators

The Florida Gators (6-5) failed to get it done on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida, falling 24-19 to the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (12-0) despite being given plenty of opportunities to win throughout the contest.

Florida’s loss also marked the last game of head coach Will Muschamp‘s tenure with the program. The Gators will now wait at least a month until they play in a yet-to-be determined bowl game, the team’s first since 2012.

OPENING STATEMENT

“We had our opportunities, certainly early in the game, especially. The start of the game, [we played] extremely well defensively. [We] had a hard time generating much run game, especially early in the game. In those situations when you get the turnovers early in the game, you got to capitalize on them. You can’t kick field goals. We had to kick field goals in those situations. [We] had a hard time getting the ball down the field in some situations. But extremely proud of how we played defensively. …

“You give up 17 points to an offense like that – give Jimbo [Fisher] and those guys credit, they do a great job – you deserve to be in a situation to win the game. I was proud of how we played on third down. The turnovers were outstanding. Offensively, we hit some explosives. We hit [Demarcus Robinson] down the sideline, we hit Brandon Powell early in the game on the stutter in the slot. Silly penalty there with Latroy [Pittman], knocked us out of field goal range. …

“Our guys, that was a good football team, fought hard, we had our opportunities, and we didn’t get it done. You credit that other football team. They did the things they needed to do to win the game and that’s why they’re sitting where they are.”

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Twitter Chatter: Former Gators comment as Florida blows it against Florida State

In a new feature here on OnlyGators.com, we take a look at what former and current Florida Gators players had to say on social media during and after the game.

Florida (6-5) had every chance to win on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida, as miscues, turnovers and coaching mistakes doomed the Gators into a 24-19 loss at the hands of the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles. The contest was also head coach Will Muschamp‘s final game at Florida.

Check out all of the tweets…after the break!

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Gameday: Florida Gators at No. 3 Florida State Seminoles – UF juiced for Will Muschamp’s finale

Location: Doak Campbell Stadium – Tallahassee, Florida [Capacity: 82,300]
Weather: 65°F (feels like 65°F), sunny, winds SW at 2 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)

Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 84 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS No. 3 FSU SEMINOLES
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher
Record: 6-4 Record: 11-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Coast

Odds: Florida +7 | O/U 53

KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS

Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you forgot to check out via the links below!

Notebook: Will Muschamp on Florida’s preparations for FSU, end of his tenure
Story: Upsets rare in recent Gators-Noles series history

Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators at No. 3 Florida State Seminoles – UF juiced for Will Muschamp’s finale

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