Time will tell if Florida fans can crucify Will Muschamp over the lack of success Matt Jones enjoyed as a Gator, but Jones seems confident it will get to that point.
The former Gator running back and newest Washington Redskin spoke with DC media about his potential in the NFL, and Jones did everything but mention Muschamp’s name in explaining why he didn’t have the college career he wanted. In short, Jones insinuated that he was well worth a third round pick, and would have gone even higher if he’d gotten to do what he’d come to Florida to do at Florida. Or in his words: “I didn’t have the college career I wanted”.
On a general scale, Jones said that “I’ve got a chip on my shoulder,” and that “My college career wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I really want to have a successful career in the NFL, so that’s why I’m going even harder because I didn’t have the college career I wanted.”
And when asked why he didn’t have the college career he wanted, Jones simply replied, “the offense I was in.”
Wait a minute. That offense at Florida that Matt Jones is saying kept him from having a successful college career as a running back ran the ball on over 70% of the plays the last two years. In fact, on some drives, that’s all they did; Muschamp and his various offensive coordinators played with seven or eight linemen in different goal line packages- and ran these “God’s plays” even when they were nowhere near the goal line. Running the ball is all Muschamp’s offenses did- even to the point where it hurt. Supremely talented receivers such as Valdez Showers, Andre Debose, Quinton Dunbar and until this past year, DeMarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood, got to sit on the bench and watch the run-heavy offense struggle game after game. And now you’re saying that this offense wasn’t friendly for running backs, either?
No, Matt. The offense you were in was not responsible for why you didn’t have the career you wanted. It was made for you. You just didn’t get to run the ball much your first two years because Muschamp insisted on burying you behind Mack Brown in 2013 and letting Jeff Driskel run around like a chicken with its head cut off in 2012 in an attempt to hide the fact that he couldn’t throw very well. In fact, Driskel carried the ball more than twice as much as Jones did in 2012 (118 to 52), and Brown carried it nearly twice as much as Jones in 2013 (148 to 79). You know why you didn’t have the career you wanted? Because Muschamp didn’t let you. And I think somewhere deep down, he knows that.
Not that I expect Jones to come out and say that, of course. As a former player, he needs to remain in good standing with his college coach if he ever messes up and he needs somebody to back him up. But he didn’t even need to. He’s made his point.
What Matt Jones has done is tell everybody that Will Muschamp was such a horrendous head coach that the 2014 team’s leader in the method in which his offenses were supposed to move the ball was extremely dissatisfied with his college career. But that’s not even all.
Jones caught 19 passes in three years at Florida despite having solid hands, and despite a general lack of production from the receiver corps throughout Muschamp’s tenure. And predictably, Jones isn’t happy about that, either: “I didn’t really catch the ball at Florida a lot. They always knew I could catch the ball but we just didn’t do it a lot at Florida.” Redskins coach Jay Gruden only needed a couple of rookie minicamp sessions to agree: “The thing about Matt is you think of him as a big power-type back, but really Matt has done some things out in space that have been very, very impressive- making moves on the second level, getting to the second level. In the passing game, running some option routes on linebackers. He has done some good things. He has got natural hands, so we’ve been very impressed.”
The fact that Muschamp is a moron who mismanages talent is nothing new, but to see such a strong hint of this from a former player is more telling than anything we’ve ever seen before. I don’t blast Muschamp anymore because he’s gone and there’s no need to, but to see one of his former players directly criticize his offenses just validates what I’ve been saying since Florida lost to Georgia Southern two years ago.
I have no desire to continue to attack Muschamp as long as he keeps his mouth shut about Florida. But while I always root for former Gators to succeed later in life, I will be rooting for Jones to succeed that much more now.