In my own humble opinion, I feel like I’ve been a pretty rational and reasonable person throughout the entire mess that we can now officially say is Will Muschamp’s tenure at Florida. I’ve stated facts and numbers to back up my opinions, radical as they may have been at the beginning (I first saw the warning signs after the Miami game last year), from the get go. And most of all, I was patient with those who opposed me about my disdain for Muschamp leading this team.
I’m done with that, all of it, because here we are well over a year later and nothing has changed.
So here we go: Jeremy Foley is selfish. He’s accomplished an incredible amount at the University of Florida, and he is among the best AD’s in the nation. But at the same time, he’s selfish. There, I said it. He’s selfish. And I’ll add this- 24 national titles in 22 years sort of gives him a pass to be. That does nothing to change that fact. All that success made him that much more sure of himself that he’d found the right man for Florida. But now, there’s nobody left to defend Muschamp. And so by refusing to fire him immediately after the game, like USC athletic director Pat Haden did with Lane Kiffin, he is proving that he is only keeping Muschamp on staff because of his pride.
But when he sits back in a rocking chair in the private of his living room, Jeremy Foley has to know at this point in time that Will Muschamp is not the right coach for the Florida Gators, not just going forward, but for the rest of the season. I mean, he’s just got to know by now. How can he not? What excuse is there to not realize that he messed up (big time) with this hire after what happened on Saturday? He hasn’t ever beaten Georgia; why should I believe he will this year? His teams constantly self destruct in big stages; why should I believe they won’t again this year? He simply can’t win big games, and with two left (Georgia and FSU) why should I believe that will change now?
At this point, there’s no other possible explanation for allowing Muschamp to continue to run this team (straight into the ground) for the rest of the season. Muschamp was supposed to be his home run hire, his Billy Donovan of football that he snatched up young so he could lead the Gators to decades of success. And again, I’ll concede that when you average more than a national championship per year, you sort of have the right to try something like this. It wasn’t a horrible idea. He wasn’t my first choice- or Ryan Moyer’s- but from his perspective, it was worth a shot.
But now that it didn’t work, Foley’s failure to remove him right now is beginning to set the program back. Who are we kidding? Recruits are laughing at this mess of a football program right now. The on field performance is killing recruiting far more than losing the head coach possibly could. Yet Foley is too proud- too stubborn, really- to admit that he made a mistake that I could have forgiven for had he admitted and corrected it far sooner than he has (and he still hasn’t officially fired Muschamp, which is why I’m writing this… but let’s face it, Muschamp isn’t coming back).
So. Do I want Jeremy Foley fired? No. I just want him to do his job. It’s a job that should have been done a year ago after losing to Vanderbilt, but better late than never (or in this case, better late than later, because again, Muschamp isn’t coming back in 2015). I understand that firing a coach that you were so sold on is tough, but I don’t care. It’s part of his job. He’s done that job remarkably well over the years, so it’s time to do it again.
The thing is, after what happened on Saturday, Muschamp has zero supporters left. Zero. Well, unless you count the Georgia fans jumping up and down with glee at how their little double agent has wrecked this football program. But among Gator fans, he’s out of support.
I knew something was wrong when Missouri returned the opening kick back for a touchdown. Florida’s special teams are supposed to be so staunch, but that was a huge red flag. I had a feeling things would just get worse- and they did. So, exactly what went wrong against Missouri? Well, I’m going to sounds like a broken record since I’ve been calling his teams out for the same damned things over and over again, but here we go.
The Gators self destructed. 6 turnovers is bad, really bad, even by Muschamp’s standards. That ties for the most this team has turned it over in one game, the other being the disgraceful performance in the Cocktail Party two years ago. But this time, there wasn’t just one culprit. The whole team was not doing what it as supposed to do. Marcus Murphy returned a kick and a punt for touchdowns, and in both I could count at least three Gator players who broke their lanes and thus gave Murphy a seam. And of course Jeff Driskel was his usual gift giving self- throwing two picks (one really bad one that Missouri linebacker Darvis Ruise took back for a touchdown) and fumbling once… which Markus Golden returned for a touchdown.
The offense was nonexistent. You know, again. The offensive line was abhorrent, missing various assignments and thus allowing constant pressure on both Jeff Driskel and Treon Harris. Three and a half years. Three offensive coordinators. Same paltry result. Another game in which Florida failed to accumulate 300 yards of total offense. No one person to blame- certainly not Roper, as each of Florida’s three highly touted offensive coordinators have failed at Florida- except for Muschamp, as the common denominator.
This was a big game, and the Gators played their worst. Another constant theme under Muschamp. Huge rivalry game against Georgia in 2012? Check. BCS Sugar Bowl against Louisville? Check. Final game of dying Miami rivalry? Check. Pretty much every game in 2013 down the stretch that Florida needed to win in order to stay in contention for the SEC East? Check. And then the last two weeks’ games, in which Florida had to win to remain alive for the SEC East? Check, and check. Sigh.
For once, Muschamp actually did the smart thing and let Harris play a lot of the game. I don’t expect him to be the next coming of Tim Tebow, but if somebody’s going to be throwing interceptions and overshooting his receivers by 10 yards, I’d rather it be Harris than Driskel. We all know Driskel has reached his ceiling as a Florida QB, so why not give the freshman the experience and let him learn? Harris’s ceiling as a playmaking QB may be Chris Leak, but you can win a national championship with Chris Leak and good coaching behind him- something Harris doesn’t have.
But it’s too late to be looking for positives under Muschamp. The time for trying to find signs of hope and a future with Will Muschamp has passed. The Gators’ chances at the SEC East may be gone, but we still have a chance to erase three years of frustration in Jacksonville against Georgia, and we still have a chance to wreck Florida State’s season. Neither will happen under Muschamp. We know all his teams do in big games is collapse. Why let it happen more? How much larger of a sample size does Jeremy Foley need to believe this? Or if he knows and is going to fire Muschamp at the end of the season- why wait? Do you enjoy losing to Georgia? Do you enjoy getting smacked around by FSU? Sure seems like it, because why else would you allow this clown to run his circus act for another day of practice, let lone another game?
I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face: no, we don’t know that Kurt Roper or DJ Durkin will lead this team on a magical five game winning streak to close the season. But we do know, from three and a half years of experience, that Muschamp will not. If it were me, I’d take “I don’t know what they can do” over “I know he is incompetent and will lead us to failure” any day of the week, and I think all of you reading would too.
Please, Foley. Do the right thing. I get on my knees, clasp my hands and beg of you, on behalf of Gator Nation, to remove this idiot from his job before this season turns into a complete disaster. It’s a forgettable one right now, but beating our two rivals will change that. I guarantee you that. But we will not beat either if Will Muschamp coaches the team, and if I am wrong, I will come back on here and publicly apologize.
Do not let your pride get in the way of what could still be a somewhat decent season.