Editor’s note: this was Rylan’s “application” article to write for the site, and it was so good that I decided to make it its own post. We’ll formally introduce him later; welcome him warmly!
When I stand up and lock arms with 90,000 Gator faithful after the clock strikes zero in the third quarter to sing “We Are The Boys”, I truly mean it when I sing the words “in all kinds of weather”. However, after Saturday’s loss (or self destruction) against LSU, the category five hurricane looming over Gainesville just pushed me over the edge. Up until this loss, I was one of the few who still thought Muschamp could somehow bring Florida football back to the standard required by the Gator Nation. I was wrong. Muschamp has to go. Watching him blow yet another double digit lead to lose at home against LSU did the trick.
Before this loss, I was “that guy” defending Muschamp by placing some of the blame on the refs, an inept receiving corps, and Jeff Driskel’s unacceptable performance. No more. Losing this game opened up the floodgates and really epitomized all of Muschamp’s faults over the last four years. All of them.
- 3-5 record in the SEC (First time Florida had a losing record in the SEC since 1979)
- Ranked 98th in the FBS for total offense*
- Ranked 83rd in the FBS for passing offense*
- Ranked 5th in the FBS for penalties*
- Losses against five rivals (LSU, Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina, FSU)
- Loss in final series game against rival Auburn
- Virtually no top tier offensive talent recruited in the offseason (besides two O-linemen)
- Rocky 27-14 win vs. first game cupcake team (Bowling Green)
- Ranked 97th in the FBS for total offense*
- Ranked 116th in the FBS for passing offense*
- Ranked 3rd in the FBS for penalties*
- SIX turnovers in loss against rival Georgia
- Almost losing to Louisiana-Lafayatte in the Swamp
- Embarrassing loss to Louisville in Sugar Bowl
- First losing record since 1979
- Ranked 114th in the FBS for total offense*
- Ranked 107th in the FBS for passing offense*
- Ranked 18th in the FBS for penalties*
- Loss in final series game against rival Miami
- Seven game losing streak (LSU, Missouri, UGA, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, GSU, FSU)
- Homecoming loss to Vanderbilt (First loss since 1988, First home loss since 1945)
- Home loss to FCS team Georgia Southern (First FCS loss in Florida Football history)
- Loss to Georgia Southern
- Did I mention we lost AT HOME to Georgia Southern?
- No bowl game for the first time since 1990
*124 teams in the FBS
The list of Muschamp’s faults is long enough without including the laundry list of poor coaching decisions this season. With a total win/loss record of 25-18 (a percentage of 58.1%, which is well worse than Ron Zook’s percentage of 62.2%), Muschamp has brought embarrassment to Florida football and the University of Florida as a whole. There is absolutely no excuse for having a team consistently ranking in the top of the FBS for penalties. That is poor coaching. There is no other way around it. On the same note, having a team that has never ranked better than 97th in the FBS for total offense is disgusting. This is not Florida football.
Five games into the 2014 season, Muschamp has continued to bring down the Gator football team, and let down the Gator Nation. Aside from the 65-0 demolishing of Eastern Michigan, Florida has looked awful all year. Against Kentucky, Muschamp’s pride and joy -his defense- blew multiple coverages and assignments, allowing a number of long pass plays (most of which were the same go-route to the right sideline), including two wide open touchdowns that brought Kentucky back into the game.
During the spanking we received at Alabama, the offense looked atrocious once again while the defense allowed two 75+ yard touchdown passes and a conversion on third and 23 that made me want to gouge my eyes out. When it was all said and done, the defense gave up a school record of 645 total yards. The defense’s performance, however, wasn’t Muschamp’s worst coaching of the game. With the Gators trailing 21-14 with 1:44 left in the second quarter and three timeouts, Muschamp elected to run the clock out. Are you kidding me? How can a coach just give up a possible game-tying drive like that? Worst case scenario, the drive fails and the game goes to halftime. At least try! Take the 2013 Oregon team, for example, their average scoring drive took only 1:50. Granted, we aren’t 2013 Oregon, but we have just as much talent, if not more. So why doesn’t Muschamp give the team a shot? With the breakout speed of Andre Debose, the sure hands of Quinton Dunbar, and the downfield vision of Kelvin Taylor, the tools for running a two minute drill offense are all there. Imagine how the offense felt when their own coach wouldn’t let them try and tie up the game.
The Tennessee game was an embarrassment as well. The offense got shut out until Muschamp finally took his head out of his rear end and put Treon Harris in the game after three quarters of dismal play from Driskel. On top of that, the defense looked as confused as an FSU student in a third grade math class. Multiple times throughout the game, the defensive corps was seen frantically moving around on the line, not knowing their assignment. Luckily, the talent of the defense allowed them to avoid many big plays… that time. Muschamp and the Gators didn’t deserve that win, but they got away with that one. They weren’t so lucky in this Saturday’s game against LSU, though. Florida blew a double digit lead by committing multiple avoidable penalties, dropping passes, and turning the ball over in crucial situations. The simple fact of the matter is, ALL of these issues can be fixed with proper coaching. Every single one of them.
The effect of Muschamp’s poor coaching goes further than the game as well. After the horrific 2013 season, seven players on the offensive side of the ball chose to transfer schools in search of better opportunities. These players included tight end Kent Taylor, defensive back and fullback Rhaheim Ledbetter, offensive lineman Quinteze Williams, quarterback Max Staver, offensive lineman Trevon Young, offensive lineman Ian Silberman, and quarterback Tyler Murphy. Let’s not forget stud quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s transfer in 2012. All of these players could have been a game changer this year, but chose to transfer to less renowned schools simply because Muschamp doesn’t care about the offense or the well being of the team (per Florida’s offensive ranking among FBS schools since his arrival). What does Mr.Will have to say about all of this? “These young men felt it was in their best interest to look for an opportunity to play somewhere else” Can you blame them? To make a horrible situation even more unbearable, Kelvin Taylor is possibly flirting with the idea of transfer, apparent through his retweet of (@JRob_T), which reads “Kelvin Taylor gonna mess around and transfer, and I wouldn’t be able to blame him”. He later undid the retweet, but not before the frightening message was sent to the Gator faithful.
Jeremy Foley, are you blind?
Normally, I am completely against firing a coach in the middle of a season. It brings down the spirits of a team and leaves them without a real head coach to look up to. This is different, though. This needs to happen before any more harm is done to the program. Let’s say we fire Muschamp right now. Worst case scenario, we lose out and finish with a record of 3-8. Okay, we had another season we want to erase from history, but we can at least hang our hats on the fact that we removed the cause of the issue, Will Muschamp. Don’t get me wrong, I like Muschamp as a person, but not as a head coach. His four years in Gainesville have shown us, and the rest of the college football world, that he is not head coach material.
Foley, do us all a favor and give Muschamp the boot now.