HOOVER, Ala. — Will Muschamp has a solution for the Gators’ problems: Winning a lot of football games in 2014.
“There will be a lot of chatter about hot seat business and that’s part of it,” Muschamp said. “The way you combat that is by having a winning football team and winning football games, which is what we’re going to do.”
Muschamp touched on the new offense Florida will debut on August 30 when they host Idaho and also boasted confidence in his 2014 team. “I think we’re going to have an outstanding year, I really do,” Muschamp said. “I’m very confident in this football team and this staff. I think it’s the most complete team we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Muschamp attributed much of last year’s misery to the broken leg QB Jeff Driskel suffered early in the third game of the season against Tennessee. But in point of fact, the quarterback has been substandard in any of his 20 collegiate games. Only twice in Driskel’s career has he thrown more than a single touchdown pass in a game (Tennessee and South Carolina, both in 2012) and only once has he passed for more than 219 yards in a game (Miami last year).
New Offensive Coordinator Kurt Roper’s spread attack should give Driskel a better chance to maximize his mobility – but if the biggest reason Florida’s season sank was Driskel’s injury last year, the spread system comes with an inherent risk. Once again lacking a proven backup, Driskel’s health is of great importance.
“We have to figure out how to use his legs in certain games, and how to protect him in certain games,” Muschamp said.
The race to win the SEC Eastern Division seems wide open at this point and Florida is the only school in the East to have an experienced veteran QB, which is a huge advantage to the Gators.
An SEC East title would almost certainly grant Muschamp more time on the job. Anything less than that and 8-4 looks like a realistic scenario, could be left open to interpretation, conjecture and debate.
Muschamp realizes that.
“You want to be the head coach at Florida, you better be ready for the criticism that comes with it,” Muschamp said. “Nobody held a gun to my head and forced me to take the job.”
Muschamp is boasting major confidence. But at this point skepticism is appropriate. Muschamp just needs to win football games and everything else will figure itself out.