Muschamp’s Intensity Highlights Gators’ Keys For Success

Will Muschamp, despite what our boy Jurgensen believes, is no idiot. He knows when to admit he doesn’t know something, which is every bit as important as knowing the amount that he does. And in case you hadn’t heard, Charlie Weis has been hired as our co-head coach.

There, I said it.

Charlie Weis and Will Muschamp are co-head coaches.

Weis is in charge of 50%- the offense- and Muschamp is in charge of the other 50% (the defense).

Now, let’s get you sidetracked a little bit and go off topis for a minute.

When Muschamp took the job, after everybody got over the shock, three main questions were asked: What will your offense be, what will your defense be, and how much energy will you show.

We know what’s happened with the first two.

The third question- enthusiasm- is tricky. While it’s never a bad thing to have energy, to pump your fist, to jump around, etc, it can get out of hand and then you are labeled a psycho. Not a horrible reputation to have, but then think about this: what happens the second you’re accused of attacking a player? Accused of cursing at opposing fans?

Will Muschamp Coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators takes the field before the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2010 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

The nanosecond the accusation is made, you’re dead- because everybody has tagged you with the stigma “nutcase”. Doesn’t matter if a thousand people back you up, because in all likelihood they’re your friends and will do anything to keep you out of trouble. All an angry Georgia fan has to do is say “Muschamp spit on me on his way to the stadium” and Muschamp is in trouble before you can say BOOM.

There are other potential issues, too- namely health issues. What happens if Muschamp does the Gator Chomp so hard he breaks a bone in his hand? What if it’s slick outside and while preparing for a chest bump, he slips and tears an ACL? What if he turns an ankle? etc… etc… etc…

These were some of the concerns about having the intensity that he does, and they are legitimate.

But as an assistant, he could afford to be like this. Get injured, and hand the defense over to a DB coach for the week, or maybe even the head coach. Attack a player, or a fan, and while it’s embarrassing for the school, they’ll recover. Get suspended, and once again, have a position coach run the D. Assistants, even young and promising ones, are not just replacable, they’re a dime a dozen. Look how fast Mack Brown snatched Manny Diaz.

So, anyway, the people that asked this question have a point: should Muschamp continue to act like a residential nut on the sideline?

While he promised to cut down on it, he’ll still be a little crazy. Guaranteed.

Will Muschamp Coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis of the Florida Gators direct play during the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2010 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

But now let’s connect everything. Since Weis and Muschamp are technically co-head coaches on the field, he’s got a little leeway with his insanity.

This segues right into our keys for 2011, in no specific order after the first one.

1) Muschamp must play “Tim Tebow cheerleader” role

John Brantley is no Tebow, except for one thing- his throwing arm. He’s got exactly zero other traits in common. Even his footwork could improve, despite him always being a pro-style guy. Anyway, the point is, until he proves otherwise, John Brantley is NOT a leader. If the QB is not a leader, the head coach better be. Weis will lead Brantley with x’s and o’s; and Muschamp will lead by “let’s go!!!” It won’t help much with the x’s and o’s but it may get his guys to closely follow those x’s and o’s, go beyond their limits and win. I want to see Muschamp going nuts after every play until the game is already won. He can call it a day if Florida is up 59-3 with a minute and a half left.

2) Jordan Reed must get some meaningful snaps

Obviously, Weis was not brought along to work with Reed. But look around the SEC, hell, the NFL. 65% of every team in existence has some form of the Wildcat implemented into their offense. Florida essentially ran the Wildcat with Tebow for four years, and look what it got them. But here’s what Charlie Weis had to say about Reed and his throwing ability:

“Can he sling it? You betcha.”

That’s too obvious of a clue that Reed won’t do anything as a QB. It will likely be its own little package- I doubt he will run the same pro-style attack as Brantley- but no different than other teams. Except for one thing- he can throw. Besides, Brantley’s confidence is clearly shot, and though he may regain it throughout our first four games, he may lose it again against the Crimson Tide. So Reed can take some pressure off of him by getting a snap or two a game and reeling off a big gainer.

Chris Rainey Running back Chris Rainey #3 of the Florida Gators runs upfield during the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2010 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

3) Andre Debose must step up

To call Debose’s freshman season a bust is reasonable, accurate- and 100% thanks to Steve Addazio. How he failed to realize the talent of this gifted freshman is beyond me. Maybe he thought Debose was the team chaplain after hearing all about people referring to him as a god. For whatever reason, he did the bulk of his damage on kick returns. That’s all well and good, but he’s got to do more.

Chris Rainey, while explosive, is one player. If he’s double teamed, there goes his production. But unveil a second dual threat and the D simply runs out of defenders. You cannot double team two guys, because that’s either going to require a safety to abondon his position, freeing up a deep receiver, or it allows a dump off to Demps, who’s now got only one man to juke out and he’s gone- the defender that Rainey/Debose doesn’t block. You could also put a linebacker on them, but that’s even worse. The LB better have some wheels or else he’ll be alerting the local police of suspicious paranormal activity- how could such an ordinary human being disappear?

The bottom line is, if Debose is dangerous, then Rainey is free. And while defenses spend all day frantically trying to stop them, Florida’s point total is rapidy increasing by increments of 7.

4) Win the turnover battle

There’s nothing that sets the tone of a game better than a bone jarring hit. Not even an opening kickoff TD- all that does is fire the team up. It shows the special teams is ready to go. A big hit can fire the team up, and send a message to the opponent: we’re ready for you, bring it on. Aside from the energy boost, it also carries a possibility of a turnover.

Winning the turnover battle almost guarantees a victory, unless yours go for 85 yards the other way and theirs go 5 yards. Take care of the football is a phrase that every coach is bored of, it seems so boilerplate. Maybe it is. But it’s so crucial a concept that it’s got to be drilled into kids’ heads by the time they’re in Pop Warner.

Emmanuel Moody Jai Eugene #4 and Tyrann Mathieu #14 of the Louisiana State University Tigers force a fumble of Emmanuel Moody #21 of the Florida Gators during the game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida.

As we saw last year, the only reason Florida scored any points at all was because of their defense. The first four games in particular stand out. Florida was 4-0, and- yes, it’s true- John Brantley threw a lone interception during that time. That’s it, just one. And it came in a blowout of Kentucky. Meanwhile, our defense was leading the nation by a few miles in most picks until we ran into Alabama. In that game, Florida lost two easy touchdowns because of turnovers inside Alabama’s 1 yard line. Alabama gained two easy touchdowns because of a pick 6 and a drive that started at Florida’s 16- thanks to a pick.

Take those away, and the score is 20-17 Florida. Am I saying Florida would have automatically won? No. But you can see what a difference turnovers make.

5) Score touchdowns in the red zone 90% of the time

Because of all the (well earned) bad reputation Addazio had, people blamed him for this, and that, and then those. But many people were so focused on attacking the glaring weaknesses, they missed some other normally obvious errors with our offense.

One of those things was our red zone offense. We were horrible in 2009, with Tebow, in the red zone. For some teams, it is understandable. There are confined spaces, meaning your playbook is confined. But for an option oriented attack that thrives in those confined spaces, with Tebow no less, scoring touchdowns less than 90% of the time is an abomination. It’s simply not acceptable.

This would be the place for Jordan Reed most of the time. There are fewer plays available for use inside opponent’s 20, but more opportunity for Reed to shine. That’s not to suggest using him on every play, but to mix it up. Maybe even an improved version of Addazio’s 3 QB rotation that we saw against Georgia.

Trey Burton Quarterback Trey Burton #13 of the Florida Gators is tackled by Mike Johns #94 of the Miami University RedHawks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida. Florida beat Miami 34-12.

But whatever we do, we’ve got to- GOT to- score touchdowns in the red zone. Aside from getting a kick blocked, this is the situation that drives me most completely insane. And if we are gifted with field position inside the 20 thanks to  kickoff return, a blocked punt or a turnover, we need to score 6 every time.

Yes, every single time.

If we’re going to be a great team, we must capitalize on every gift we receive.


Now, let’s just wait and see how many of these we can check off.

4 thoughts on “Muschamp’s Intensity Highlights Gators’ Keys For Success

  1. Lets hope we can check all those… I would love to see Burton play wildcat QB but what do you guys think of Murphy or Driskel getting a few snaps at the wildcat? This year could be alot of fun especially when Dumbazzio is gone.

  2. “When Muschamp took the job, after everybody got over the shock”


    Thank you for tacitly conceding it was a terrible hire. Everyone expected a seasoned head coach. Instead we got Ron Zook redux: an inexperienced cheerleader from Nowheresville.

  3. The word “tacit” now wants to go bury itself forever after seeing you butcher it. It was a surprising hire, granted, but it was never a bad one. Let’s go through this again.

    He put together great defenses as a DC. His job is different in name only at Florida. He’ll still be running his defense, and somebody else will be running the offense.

    I do not concede anything, except for the possibility that you may, just may, in fact be retarded.

  4. Again with the Ron Zook thing.

    We’ve covered this. Zook was a retread in every conceivable way. His forte was recruiting; as a coach he had no credentials. Zero.

    Muschamp, on the other hand, has credentials coming out the yin yang.

    This is the same nonsense we heard with the mid major Meyer and his gimmick offense trying to work in the SEC.

    How’d that turn out ?

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