Don’t Expect Much From Florida On Signing Day, Don’t Worry, Either

I believe it is far more important to put together a top coaching staff than try to save one recruiting class.

Will Muschamp has done that. And it should benefit the Gators greatly.

In 2012.

Which is not this year.

Plus, it’s not like Florida is having a horrible year on the recruiting trail. They’ve locked up the top QB prospect, a top 10 running back, a top 10 receiver and a top 10 safety, along with two other top 150 in the country.

A little off, for Florida, but nothing eye-popping.

Oh, yeah, and Florida is still ranked #5 in ESPN’s most recent rankings.

Just relax, though, Florida isn’t going to move up any come signing day.

At least, not if you listen to rivals.

“It took Muschamp a long time to put a staff together,” Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said. “His offensive and defensive coordinators were both in the [NFL] playoffs, so he had to wait for them to be done and I think that affected this class. It was mid-January before the staff was complete.”

“The state of Florida was raided pretty good by the time Muschamp got going,” Farrell added. “There weren’t that many elite uncommitted players from the state remaining, which is really unusual. In most years, more top players play it up for the big finale.”

“I don’t think they are going to close all that well. There’s a small group they are targeting, and I don’t see guys flipping to Florida.”

Honestly, I don’t see that happening either.

Once upon a time, the Gators were in the race for Kelvin Benjamin, Mike Bellamy, Ray Drew, Nick Waisome, Ryan Shazier… it’s head spinningly annoying.

But maybe there’s a reason they didn’t come to Florida, aside from the coaching change. Maybe they didn’t want to play in a pro style offense.

Which might be a huge plus for Florida.

Obviously, there’s nothing else really good about losing those talented players, but think of it like this: they weren’t Muschamp’s type.

Now, let’s go completely off topic so I can explain that.

What kind of offense did Steve Spurrier run?

Assuming “Fun n’ Gun”, “pass happy” or “deep bomb on every play” aren’t options, how would you describe it?

Pro style.

How well did Spurrier do?

Pretty well, wouldn’t you say?

A fair argument for somebody who enjoys playing devil’s advocate would be, “Spurrier won one National Championship, Meyer won two, Meyer ran a gimmick offense and did it in 6 years to Spurrier’s 12.”

OK. I get it.

The difference between Spurrier and Meyer’s teams was that Spurrier’s Gators were in the hunt for the National Championship every single year. Meyer’s Gators were all over the place. Half his teams went 13-1, and the other half averaged 4 losses a season.

I’ll tell you something else, too: defenses were figuring Meyer and his triple option out.

Kirby Smart completely killed the triple option. So now everybody who loved watching it, yell out, “thanks Kirby, you SOB.”

In the 2009 SEC Championship game, Smart put one defender on Aaron Hernandez, and told him to follow Hernandez to the Middle East if he had to. But what made this so effective was that he switched the guy. On the first drive it was Kareem Jackson. But on the second drive, Jackson slid over just before the snap and there was Javier Arenas, right on Hernandez.

Same with the tailback.

He put three guys (rotating) on Tebow.

Four other guys (rotating) were supposed to try to crash the line of scrimmage and blow up the play before it started.

Two other guys wer back deep, on the 2% chance that Addazio called for a deep throw.

And lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened.

But there was just one problem.

By the time Steve Addazio realized that he needed to throw, the game was already fading out of reach. Plus, Tebow had been throwing short screens out of 5 wide out formations for a quarter and a half alread (the brilliant halftime adjustment by Addazio).

And lookie here! There was Arenas covering Hernandez like glue, interception in the end zone, game over.

In 2010, even when Jordan Reed ran the option, it wasn’t effective. But that wasn’t why the offense was so ineffective. Rather, it was because Addazio refused to change strategy and go pro style. The option itself was ineffective because ever since Smart exposed how to stop it, other teams quickly taught themselves how to stop it on their own.

But it isn’t just the triple option.

Take the Wildcat.

The Miami Dolphins rode it to fame and a stunningly successful season, but then teams figured out that by loading the box with 9 guys, the play wasn’t going anywhere.

So where exactly am I headed?

By now, the game of football has been around long enough that pretty much everything is set and uncovered.

There’s no new scheme that will forever be successful. Anything from here on out- or actually, from about 50 years ago- that is invented will work for a little while, until defenses figure them out.

But the forward pass has been around for as long as football (as we know it today) itself.

So Spurrier’s pro style, wacky, machine gun type offense worked for 12 magical years in Gainesville, and would have worked for as long as he stayed and as long as Florida kept reeling in top recruits.

Meyer’s offense failed, and although I love him dearly for everything he’s done for Gator football, it’s for the best. We all saw that even Jordan Reed couldn’t execute the offense as well as Tim Tebow. And of course, there’s only one Tim Tebow, so maybe that’s for the best, too. That offense and Tim Tebow were a match made in heaven.

But when one goes, the other must go, too, no matter how hard it is to say goodbye.

Actually, it’s very easy.

Charlie Weis is similar to Spurrier in a lot of ways in terms of ordering pass plays, and look at the success Weis had as an offensive coordinator in prior seasons.

And the recruits that left on the defensive side of the ball most likely left for the same reason- the new defense under Muschamp.

Does anybody really think that they left because Muschamp isn’t a good enough defensive coach?

If that’s the case with even one player, then they aren’t tough enough to play at Florida. Because there’s no way any defensive recruit can honestly think that and be recruited by Florida in the first place.

Or maybe they’re afraid of getting kicked off the team for doing something stupid.

So let’s tie this all together.

The recruits that ditched Florida either wouldn’t have been a fit under the new scheme, are too stupid or too crime-bound.

Florida’s “new” system that’s scared some offensive recruits off has worked before, under Spurrier, for 12 straight years.

The Gators got a top notch coaching staff together in lieu of a top notch recruiting class. You get recruits for 3-4 years. You get coaches for at least 2 and as many as 30 years.

Oh and by the way, Muschamp did a fantastic job keeping most of the highest touted guys committed to UF.

So yes, this class- one that contains the top QB in the nation, 5 other top 150 players in the nation and 3 other top 10’s at their position- may not be up to normal Florida standards, but it’s fine.

Even if Florida gains nothing on signing day.

It’s going to be just fine.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Expect Much From Florida On Signing Day, Don’t Worry, Either

  1. I agree with you completely coaches are more important than one recruiting class. Are recruiting class is fine as well. If any other team (Besides the teams with better classes than us) had our recruiting class they would be tickled to death. So we are definately not short on talent in this class. Especially with Driskel coming in.

  2. Yep, getting great coaches are definitely more important than getting great players. Plus the class that’s coming in is damn good already (at least to ESPN that is) and we still have almost everybody back from last year’s #1 recruiting class. I think we’ll be fine.:)
    But I will say that if we could get at least one more recruit I hope its Curtis Grant. I’ve seen this guy play and I can tell you that he is an absolute [b]MONSTER![/b]

  3. Grant is a beast…. I think we will close strong well at least I hope so. The coaches we have are amazing and mixing that with the talent we have is going to be something special. Im also drooling thinking about next years class! Florida is back after 1 bad year not many programs can do that, that’s why its great to be a Gator!

  4. You’re overlooking some important factors.

    1. Spurrier was a lazy recruiter.

    2. When Spurrier left, the SEC wasn’t the power it is today. What you’re seeing at SC is about what he’d be at Florida today.

    3. Coaching. Look at the coaching giants Meyer went against. Spurrier toughest opponent was always Bowden

    4. Kirby Smart didn’t solve the option. He “solved” Steve Adazzio. If he solved the option, then Auburn wouldn’t be BCS title holders.

    5. Let’s not fall into the trap of calling Charlie Weis’ offense “Pro Style” because he coached in the pros and the suits with mouths call it that. Charlie Weis’ offense is closer to Mike a mixture of the Mikes, Martz (the Air Coryell philosophy) and Leach (Air Raid) Weis’ offense is called “pro style” because he won SBs with the Pats, but his offense was once a gimmick offense too.

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