Will Muschamp’s Job Is On Life Support

There are a few things I feel I should clear up, before I start this post:

-Alabama is really, really good. It’s tough to beat them. It’s even tougher to beat them on their home field. That’s not why I’m writing this. It’s vastly unfair to call for a coach’s firing using a loss at Alabama as your reason.

-Jeff Driskel is obviously not the second coming of Tim Tebow the way we once thought he was, and the offense was bad on Saturday. Really bad.

-Believe it or not, the Gators have several other, more chronic big-picture problems than Jeff Driskel and the offense.

-Those problems that are more chronic and big-picture than Jeff Driskel and the offense are the fuel behind this article.

-This article is intended for any Gator fan. But regardless of whether you’ve called me out in the past or not, if you agree even somewhat with me right now, the shots I take at fans in this article are- and this requires bold italics- not directed at you. They’re solely intended for those fans who still vehemently defend Will Muschamp and still believe he’ll be Florida’s next great coach (which is admittedly a rapidly shrinking number).

-To sum up and restate all that: I acknowledge that Jeff Driskel was not very good Saturday, and I acknowledge that Florida lost to a very good team on the road. Neither of those are why I’m writing what I am.

Lots of fans love Will Muschamp because of his mix of good ole southern boy personality, and ability to light a fire under his team. Neither of those are necessarily incorrect, make no mistake. But in the aftermath of Florida’s 42-21 loss to Alabama on Saturday, Paul Finebaum sent this tweet:

There it is. The consensus among the few supporters Muschamp has left has spoken. They’ve admitted that he’s a dead man walking. I know, it was Alabama. They’re good. I want to reiterate: I’m not writing this because we lost; I’m writing this because of the way we lost. The self inflicted issues in a game that was far more lopsided than the score suggests has me convinced of one big thing: this job isn’t for him. Things that you’d expect to see from a first year coach’s team are happening in Muschamp’s fourth year, and worse, new problems that are even more disturbing- like a porous defense that surrendered the most yards in school history- are beginning to appear. He’s not done yet, but he should be- and will be- with the next Gator loss outside of a possible SEC Championship Game or high profile bowl. And unfortunately for him, the chances of avoiding that loss are less than slim. Go look at the Gators’ schedule.

Hence the title of his article. His job security is on life support. We all know my opinion on this topic. I first began to develop suspicions when his team played dead in the Sugar Bowl two years ago. Those suspicions intensified when he couldn’t get his team ready to play the final game of the dying Florida-Miami rivalry. Then I officially wanted him gone after Florida lost to Georgia for the third straight time (more on that later in the article), and lost any shyness about publicizing these feelings after losing to Georgia Southern.

Why, you may ask? Seems you called for his head a bit too early, you may claim. No. I saw wide spread issues of self destruction and told you that if they weren’t fixed by now, they never would be. And guess what happened on Saturday? Florida’s self destruction cost them a football game. You know, kind of, sort of, EXACTLY like I said it would last year. Guess what happened last Saturday? Florida was about .01 seconds away from their self destruction costing them that game, too. Muschamp isn’t getting this stuff fixed. Who are we trying to fool?

Don’t get me wrong. I like Muschamp. I think he’s a good dude off the field who ultimately cares about his program’s welfare, and when not overloaded with the responsibilities of being a head coach, I think he’d be an excellent defensive coordinator for Florida. Unfortunately, his decision making has proven to be less than stellar, the most obvious examples of which are his coaching hires (his first two offensive coordinators) and now his QB selection. And because he has an ego (what coach doesn’t?) and is way too slow in making changes, he’s ultimately going to lose his job unless the Gators either go undefeated in the regular season, or lose once to a really good team (not Georgia, though) in a much less infuriating manner.

I won’t even go into the defensive and QB issues. I know that Muschamp is a defense first coach, and his defense surrendered the most yards in program history. But generally speaking, his defenses at Florida have been very, very good. So citing one bad performance from his defense as a reason to fire him isn’t really fair. And his QB selection isn’t always the main factor in Florida losing games (though I’ll be honest, Driskel did not play well at all against Alabama, and the defense suddenly sucking is a legitimate cause for concern). I’m looking for trends here. I’m looking for things his teams have done since the day he got to UF that have killed them. Not sporadic issues, one time deals, or even occasional but repeated problems. I’m looking for patterns of botchery that have no place in a winning football program.

So what are they?

For one, his team has got to cut the costly penalties out of their repertoire. And I’m not talking about late hits, pass interferences or anything else that stems from hustle. I’m talking about delay of games, false starts, offsides, grabbing face masks when you’re right there and have plenty of other (better) options to go about tackling the runner. These types of penalties drive me absolutely insane. I don’t doubt that Darious Cummings gives 100% effort every day in practice and on game day, but he averages about one unnecessary face mask penalty per game. Against Kentucky last week, the Gators were called for delay of game penalties twice when they were about to punt and pin the Cats as far back as they could. Getting snaps off in time didn’t cost Florida the game, per se, but it almost did: Jeff Driskel’s touchdown pass in the first overtime came after taking the snap with maybe a hundredth of a second left on the play clock.

Then there are the turnovers. The Gators committed three really bad ones against Alabama, including Jeff Driskel and Matt Jones forgetting that when you let go of a solid object, like a football, for example, it tends to fall to the ground a lot of the time. Thanks to the great field position, Alabama was in the end zone six plays later, and Florida never had the lead again. Driskel also overshot his receiver by about 20 feet once (well, several times, but more on that later) and was picked off by JaBriel Washington deep in Alabama territory. You cannot commit these kinds of turnovers if you want to win. You just can’t.

But again. This is nothing new. It’s not a surprise. I’ve been saying the same thing since 2011, when the Gators messed around against FAU to the tune of nine penalties and three turnovers. At the time, I ultimately gave Muschamp a pass for it because Florida crushed FAU (and it was the first game), but did warn people that these issues could not continue if Florida wanted to win. Well, guess what? They’ve continued, and gotten worse. It’s year four now. Again, who are we kidding? These things aren’t going away.

To all those who still criticize me (and my viewpoint): go ahead, bring up Alabama. They turned it over more times and were penalized more times on Saturday than Florida. Let’s fire Saban, say my smartass critics. OK, I’ll play along. You know why Saban won’t get fired? Because his teams do something that you, my critics, are not familiar with. It’s called… ready? …WINNING BIG GAMES.

Let’s tick off Muschamp’s stats: 0-3 against Georgia, 1-2 against FSU, 0-1 against Miami and Auburn each (two of Florida’s dead rivalries- since they’re never played anymore, you’d think a coach would get his team up and ready to play their best game), 0-1 in BCS Bowl games, and 4-12 against ranked teams. Muschamp couldn’t care less who the opponent is; he treats all games the same. By contrast, Urban Meyer treated games that meant more differently. His 17-2 record against Florida’s four biggest rivals (Georgia, Miami, FSU and a Tennessee program that was far better than the one Muschamp has beat up on is), 3-0 BCS bowl record and 19-10 record against ranked teams are proof of that. Hell, even Ron Zook did better than Muschamp in big games. Zook went 2-1 against Georgia and beat Auburn in the final game of that yearly rivalry. He also went 6-11 against ranked teams- not fantastic, but certainly better than 4-12, and exponentially more so when you realize that five of those wins were against top ten teams.

But let’s go deeper. I invite those of you who do not believe me to do some research. Go year by year through Florida football, and combine the coaches’ records against Florida’s rivals, big bowl games and against ranked teams. Use whatever source you want. Hell, you can use Wikipedia for all I care. Done? Good. So let’s agree that Will Muschamp is the worst coach since Raymond Wolf- who coached in the 40’s- at winning big games. Each coach since Wolf (Bob Woodruff, Ray Graves, Doug Dickey, Charlie Pell, Galen Hall, and then you know the rest- Spurrier, Zook and Meyer) all did at least one of those things significantly better than Muschamp. Woodruff was 6-4 against Georgia, Graves was 6-3-1 against Georgia and 7-2-1 against FSU, Dickey was 7-2 against FSU and 7-2 against Miami (the Canes were Florida’s big in state rivalry at the time), Pell was 6-9 against ranked teams, and Hall was 11-13 against ranked teams.

You can’t please fans, and your school’s AD, if you don’t win games that they want to win most. Muschamp’s failure to understand that some games mean more than others will ultimately be what dooms him.

Which leads me right to the thesis of this article. Florida’s got a big game, really big, against Tennessee in two weeks. I have not hesitated to let him- and everybody else who may still be wondering- know that:

Thus, the phrase “life support”. You don’t get off life support with one break, or one win. But the plug can- and will- be unceremoniously yanked out of the wall with the next loss (again, unless the nest loss is in the SEC Championship or a big stage bowl game, or MAYBE to FSU if they turn out to be really good in the end. But they have not been impressive in their first three games). That loss could be next Saturday to Tennessee, it could be at home to an LSU team that’s been exposed as one of Les Miles’ weakest teams with a 34-29 loss that was far worse than the score indicated to an unranked Mississippi State team at home, or it could be to Georgia in Jacksonville for the fourth straight time.

You also don’t just wind up on college football coaching life support in a split second. It has to be a gradual decline over a long enough period of time to determine that things will never get better. I’d say that the slow deterioration from a yearly SEC East contender under Urban Meyer to a 4-8 team that lost at home to a Georgia Southern team that was even more banged up than we were qualifies as that “gradual decline”.

And I’ll say it again to beat it into my critics’ heads: on a personal level, I like Muschamp. I really do. He knows defense, despite what happened on Saturday, and I think he’s a fantastic personality to have as the face of your team’s program. But once we lost to Georgia Southern, I knew he was done. I wasn’t sure if it would get rid of him immediately or if it was the introduction to a longer, slower death to his coaching career at UF. But since he wasn’t fired on the spot, he’s been put in the position of having to do more than he’s capable of doing. He’s been forced to make the Gators a national title contender with one of the most brutal schedules in the nation.

I said before the year that Florida had to either go 10-2 with a win over Georgia or 11-1 with a loss to keep his job. Sound unreasonably tough? Sure it is. But guess what? That’s the mess that 4-8 causes. Welcome to the University of Florida, where losing more games than winning is not acceptable.

I’ll save the official calls to fire Muschamp until Florida actually loses another game. Let’s be fair here, his team only has one loss so far. But one more loss to a team that’s not ranked in the top 10 or so, and he should be gone.

The time for fixing the turnover/penalty issue is now. More importantly, the time for winning is now. At this point, the Gators can play a completely clean game and still lose to Tennessee, and it’s going to cost Muschamp his job. I’ve long cited weekly self destruction as my reason for wanting Muschamp gone, and of course, there were some people who (almost smugly) pointed out after losing to Georgia Southern that Florida didn’t turn it over once and only committed two penalties. But in a way, that’s even worse. You’re telling me that a banged up FCS team was simply better than us? On the same note, if we lose to Tennessee without self destructing, that’s going to imply that Tennessee is better than Florida. With the way we’ve recruited over the last decade or so, is that something you’re willing to accept?

But then again, the time for delving into the X’s and O’s to explain why Florida loses games is over. I don’t particularly care about how it happens, he’s one loss away from being done.

Muschamp has dug his grave and written his epitaph. The next loss will pull the plug from the wall.

37 thoughts on “Will Muschamp’s Job Is On Life Support

  1. I have been, and still am to a certain degree, a Muschamp supporter. However, my opinion is beginning to shift on the issue. I wonder if you’re glossing over the injury-riddled disaster that was last year. I ultimately want whats best for UF, but my primary concern is staff continuity and recruiting will be negatively affected by his firing. It seems that with one more year of a solid recruiting class, things will finally fall into place. Or am I being too generous? I just worry that we’ll set ourselves back even farther in the short term, which will make our ascendance even harder in the long term.

    1. THIS is how you articulate disagreement. Not like a few of the clowns over at AA.

      I take the injuries into account, but that team’s record was still worse than it should have been. There are two games that I point to for this argument: Miami and Georgia Southern. We were about 85-90% healthy for Miami, which should have been enough to defeat a Miami team that was really worse than their 9-4 record would suggest (but then they play in the ACC, so that’s up for debate). But 5 turnovers cost us that game. As for Georgia Southern, they could only dress 46 players for the Florida game because they were even more banged up than we were. Also, our practice squad should beat their starters. Our second and third team lost to their second and third team.

      So did injuries hurt us? Yeah, sure they did. With the players getting hurt the way they did (and when they did), I could have handled going 6-6 with wins over those two teams. It’s much easier to defend the coach of a 6-6 team than it is a 4-8 team, you know? Because then you could at least say that they got to a bowl game despite all those injuries.

      As for recruiting, you’re not wrong, but you have to balance the pros and cons of the recruiting class with a new coach versus the same coach but the team losing. Remember, this is how we lost Kelvin Benjamin to FSU. He was so disgusted with Steve Addazio’s offense that it directly led him to go to FSU, where he became a first round NFL Draft pick. Are we willing to lose another recruit of that caliber again by keeping Muschamp? At least if we hire a new coach, we have a chance of that new coach bringing some of the guys he got to commit to his old school with him to UF. By keeping the same coach, and continuing to lose, you don’t get that possibility of bringing in new top recruits to balance out losing the old ones.

      Again, I appreciate your candor. Not all those who oppose me are like that. I guess having a coach on the hot seat brings out the worst in everybody.

      1. Re: losing KB because of Assazio,

        This is a great point. Big time offensive players DO NOT want to play for muschamp – and that’s a real problem. This time last year Campbell was a lock to UF. Now he’s committed to FSU. This time 2 years ago Cook and Lane were both 100% gator locks. Both now play for us.

        There are a lot of big time football players who grew up Gator fans, and remember Tebow and the 2 Championships. They want to be gators, but when they become seniors and Everyone is recruiting them they begin watching film of multiple teams and comparing styles. And I really believe these guys see Muschamp’s dinosaur offense and are scared away. This year they have a spread…. but it doesn’t work well. And I am willing to bet its scaring off top offensive talent.

        muschamp will always be able to bring in elite defensive players. But at some point you have to score points.

        1. Was that misspelling of Addazio’s name intentional? 😉

          And you are right. Florida has had a grand total of four offensive players get selected in the NFL Draft since Muschamp came along. One of those was Chris Rainey, who played three years for Urban and one for Muschamp. So discount him. And two others, Jordan Reed and Mike Gillislee, were recruited by Meyer and signed to play for Meyer. As for the fourth? That would be Jon Halapio, a lineman, who was taken in the fifth round. Hardly a big time offensive player.

          The style of football he brings is ugly as fuck. I’m tired of grinding out 14-6 type wins. Let’s win 44-6 every now and then, huh?

  2. While we’re on the subject of chronic problems under Muschamp, why not mention the offense? It’s been horrible since the guy came here. We haven’t been inside the top 100 in the country one fucking time with him as HC. And considering that there’s only 125 or so teams that play at our level, that’s ABOMINABLE. OK so the dude is a defensive coach but he’s also the one who hired the guys who led our offense into the ground.

    Fuck Muschamp. FUCK HIM. I bust my ass at work for six days a week, and on my one off day I demand a football program that’s fun to watch. No that doesn’t mean win every game every year, but at least let’s look good and be fun to watch. He’s turned my day of relaxation into three hours of stressful, beer flinging and frustrating football.

    Way I see it, he’s killed every bragging right we had: ownage of Georgia and FSU, always being ranked, always making bowls and usually winning them. Why give this fucker the chance to kill another (dominance of Tennessee)? Fire him now.

    1. I don’t really disagree, but you can’t fire a coach three games into a season. That kills recruiting. I know we’re going to have to fire him eventually, but do it later, when our recruits have less chance to waver and look at other schools.

          1. Fair enough. But we did it and we survived in terms of recruiting, didn’t we? I mean, we still won the SEC the next year and had a decent 1986 season. Recruiting didn’t totally fall off because we sold the kids on a future that would be better than the past. Why can’t we sell our current commits and other uncommitted players on a future that’s better than the past with a new head coach?

            1. I mean, I guess?

              But Jeremy Foley is not firing Muschamp this early in the season. Generally speaking, that never happens in college football unless the coach beats up a fan or commits serious NCAA violations. You know my feelings on Muschamp, so don’t tell me I sound like a Muschamp defender. You know I wanted him gone after Georgia 2013. I’m just saying it’s not going to happen.

      1. Fire him mid-season with a PLAN for someone to replace him. Look what happened when the bucknuts hired urban liar mid-season – their recruiting improved! Players knew what next year would bring. Knowing he is on the way out without knowing who will replace him is the only problem with mid- season firing, IMO. Honest to God, if Foley isn’t already in the air going to interview people, he should be packing, too!!

    2. Perfectly said. I agree 100%. I am sick of going into to every game versus a ranked opponent with a zero chance of winning. At least with Zook we felt we could win every game we played. Fire him now!!!

  3. Ehhh, give him one more loss before you start to say “one more loss and he’s gone”. Let’s face it, if he goes 9-2, even if he loses to Georgia, he probably stays. Of course, that fourth loss to Georgia would really piss me off, but going 9-2 means he wins at FSU. I’m close to the edge, but let him stay for now.

    1. Who the freak do you think we can beat to go freaking 9-2!! Tenn – 50/50, LSU – NO, Mizzou – NO, Ga – NO, Vandy – Maybe, S Car – NO, Eastern Ky – hmmmmm (how did that work out for us last year?), half-ass u – NO. You are freaking hallucinating if you think this team is going 9-2! (I reserve the right to alter some of those predictions if driskell sits and Treon starts, but he is still a freshman with no SEC experience).

      1. No one. I don’t think it will happen. I’m just waiting until the Gators fuck up again to call for his head. Then there’s really no reason to keep him.

      2. I was just thinking the same thing…theres NO WAY IN HELL…were pulling off wins against LSU, SC, GA,MO and FS (pew).Theres 5 right tn there, throw in the Bama debacle and thats 6. The two tossups(UT, Vandy)could go either way. Even if Driskell were pulled (doubtful, cause Muschump is ignorant donkey) for Treon, he lacks the experience in reading the defenses effectively, thus he’ll be running for his life. Spare us the agony and cut ties with the Chumpster while theres still a fan base left in G’ville.

  4. Bye, Chump. I’ve seen enough. 4-8, Vandy and Georgia Southern are knockout punches for any argument about this.

  5. I think Neil makes a solid argument. Of course, miracles are possible, if not likely. Maybe the team will prove me wrong, get it together in this bye week, gel and fix their issues. I cannot believe Florida has become a team that is frightened to go play Tennessee, Georgia or South Carolina or whatever team is our schedule. Muschamp seemed to promise us hard-nosed, tough football when he arrived. I have seen too much ineptness. A few games in 2012 seemed to offer glimmers of hope for a bright future, including beating LSU (with zero offense) and FSU later that year. Then everything sort of cratered. I was totally embarrassed by the way our guys performed in the Sugar Bowl vs. Louisville. Yes, credit to them, etc., but we did not look like we were prepared at all. I wanted to hide.

    I just have little confidence in this coach at this point. He seems like the sort of person who was promoted above his level of competence. I think to be a head coach, you need to be an effective CEO, which requires recruitment, keen management and effective retention of personnel, etc. I am not sure he is a good manager in that respect.

  6. He’s just got too tough a job to do. At the end of the day, this is what it comes down to:

    “I said before the year that Florida had to either go 10-2 with a win over Georgia or 11-1 with a loss to keep his job. Sound unreasonably tough? Sure it is. But guess what? That’s the mess that 4-8 causes. Welcome to the University of Florida, where losing more games than winning is not acceptable.”

    100% agreed, my friend. That’s all you really need to say

  7. Ahh remember when I was calling for his head in season 1?

    People refused to acknowledge that Texas 2010 was on him.

    Why does Foley keep trying to find the next Billy Donovan instead of getting someone with a track record.

    They need to back the brinks truck up to Sumlin’s house now.

    1. Dude, I sent you an email a few months ago asking you about when you were gonna start posting as a writer. Since you evidently didn’t see it, here: I’d like you to start posting as a writer.

    2. T,
      Sumlin would be great, but why do you think he would leave A&M? Just for money? Seems like he is in a sweet spot….

  8. Dear Jeremy Foley : Hire a good football coach for once (you didn’t find Meyer). Open the checkbook for Jim Harbaugh (he’s not happy in San Francisco, btw) before someone else does.

  9. There is really no reason UF should put up with Muschamp.
    They have the money, location and prestige to compete at the highest level.

    FSU gave the boot to Bobby Bowden and his 10 million wins because he couldn’t keep with Meyer. Muschamp doesn’t have the decades of success to justify all the major suckatude he has forced on y’all. UF deserves better, and has the money to go get someone MUCH better.

    As an FSU fan I would love it if you guys would either fire him at the end of the season so Jimbo can hire him as a DC (they are super tight off the field). OR keep him FOREVER.

    1. This is validation!!! An FSU fan thinks Florida should get rid of him.

      I don’t care where he goes, honestly. He’s a good defensive coordinator. But I’d rather him be a good defensive coordinator for one of our rivals and possibly hurt us in small doses that way than continue to be our head coach and drive us straight into the ground. Play the pros and cons game, and the decision is really an easy one.

  10. Muschamp needs to bench driskel and start a freshman! Will Greer is crisp I love what I saw from him in the Spring game. If driskel gives us the best chance to win then all of the recruiting we are doing is futile and clearly no body up in Gainesville is doing their jobs (yes that includes Foley too).

    Never ever in my life, I am 37, has there been such a disrespect of our tradition. I knew from the beginning it was wrong to hire a bulldog to coach our team. Who cares if he is from Gainesville. Once a dawg always a dawg!!!

  11. very, very tough to hear but very, very true….I love the energy Muschamp gives, but I am finally convinced if we do not win out, he needs to go….hate that!

    1. Yup. Remember each and every one of them. Problem is, we waited too long and now we lost our chance at Briles. Even worse, I think at this point it’s too late to get Sumlin, too. Now I’m hoping for Mullen. Look what he’s done at the least prestigious program in the SEC West. Imagine what he could do at Florida, with 10X the prestige, far better facilities, and three national championships in the last 20 years to brag of to sell to recruits.

  12. Will Muschamp picked Jeff Driskel over this guy. Jacoby Brissett is completing 69.7 percent of his passes and has the Wolfpack off to a 4-0 start. 83/119 69.7% 1005 yards 10 TD 1 INT.

Comments are closed.