All the talk the last few days has been about coaching replacements for Will Muschamp, not IF he gets fired, but WHEN he gets fired. What has been lost in all of it is how this team will respond to what seems to be another lost season on the brink of becoming a train wreck.
We thought it could not get any worse than 2013. We thought with the health and the new offense, this was the “redemption season”. We thought that Muschamp would correct his mistakes (just like any good coach would). But we all thought wrong.
With Muschamp all but being carried to the stake to be burned by the villagers with shovels and pitchforks, he somehow has one last shot to make a case. For most it will not even matter. But for the powers that are in charge, it will matter. Jeremy Foley is not ready to move on just yet, President Machen already has one foot out the door towards retirement, and the boosters seem to be silent in all of this.
I did notice one interesting thing on Saturday night as I was preparing to vacate the premises of a nearly empty Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. I looked up at the Bull Gator Deck, which resides just underneath the press boxes and suites. I could count the people that were still in their seats on two hands. That amount of silence is surely deafening. The area of the stadium where the money comes during an SEC East matchup at night looked as empty as it does during the Gators annual Orange and Blue Spring game. THAT is not a good sign.
With all that being said, we must ask ourselves one question… Will this team fold up their tents and pack it in the remainder of the season like last year?
We will know the answer to that question around 3:50pm on November 1st. We will know by the body language of the players in the early parts of the game. Will Coach Muschamp be punching chalkboards or get into arguments with fans again? Will the play calling be as bland as saltine crackers again?
Teams in this situation go one of two ways, north or south. Last years team was so disorganized and depressed, they went south in a hurry. This years team has a chance to show that it has the mental makeup to overcome the adversities it has faced once again this season. This game will show if there is any Gator Pride left in the hearts of this team. The old saying, “a team takes on the character of its head coach” is very true. And right now Will Muschamp looks like he is mentally defeated on every level. Jeff Driskel looks like he just went 12 rounds with Ivan Drago and the trainers won’t throw in the towel to save him. Surprisingly, the defense still has some life. It’s really the only bright spot on this team currently, and they are pulling the entire bus and everyone inside.
Florida has a chance to salvage a season on the brink of destruction, save their head coach from punching chalkboards, and save their pride. Oh yeah, and in the process, ruin Georgia’s bid for a SEC Championship. This team needs to cancel the noise, stand up, wipe the tears away and go take care of business. They need to have the “backs against the wall” mentality. They need to believe everyone in the world is against them. They need to understand that the disrespect they have been getting has been deserved based on their performance on the field, and that the only way to erase it is to just go out and play their best game. This is no longer a season about getting to Atlanta. This a one-game season. Each week is your season. Your goal should not be winning 8 games anymore. Your goal needs to be beating Georgia and showing the world, and yourselves that you will not go away quietly. Florida is still Florida. Bad or good, this team is still a premier program with talent at every position.
Will Muschamp is a stubborn man. He clearly doesn’t like listening to advice from other people. But he needs to. And if there was one piece of advice I could give him on this day, it would be this: go win a damn game. Say, next weekend maybe? Against your alma mater, perhaps? The team that you’re 0-3 against?
Yeah, that one works. Go win that one.