Monday, November 25, 2013

Low times in Gainesville!

From the beginning of the Muschamp era I have been less than impressed. I didn’t think it was the right hire then and I am even more convinced of it today. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t think the Texas program was heading in the right direction at the time, so why should we get the guy who was second in command of a dying program to continue the success at Florida? Or maybe it was the fact that he played at Georgia. Or maybe the fact that he hadn’t been a head coach and I didn’t think Florida is a good place to get your feet wet as a head football coach. But let’s be honest, Jeremy Foley has a pretty good track record for hiring successful coaches. So I was in the minority of those who didn’t like the hire at the time.

Three years and a lot of “firsts” later and Foley is apparently still sticking by Muschamp. That is after the first losing record since 1979. The first year of missing a bowl game in 22 seasons. The first loss to a FCS team since the end of World War II. The first time we have lost 6 games in a row since who knows when. Heck, even the 0-10-1 team didn’t do that! The losing streak is hard on everyone I know. I have only been around the Gators since 1987, so I am a spoiled fan. I need to get a grip right coach!

I can understand a couple of 8-4 seasons with the schedule we face every year. It’s hard to be in the top 5 every year now with the reduction of scholarships. But let me ask you a question if you are a Gator fan. How many times since Will took over the program have you felt good about the results of a Gator game? How many times even after a win in the Swamp have you felt like this team had a legitimate chance at winning the SEC East? Even during last year’s run to the Sugar Bowl, I kept telling people outside the orange and blue nation that we were doing it with smoke and mirrors. We won 4 games that we could have just as easily lost. This year’s team is only 4 plays away from last year’s team and the team before that one!

Some of you will say that is why he deserves another year as the head coach. But do you really want a team that is that close to mediocrity each year? Don’t you want a team that dominates the teams they should and has a better than average shot at winning every game? Remember when you used to go to the Swamp and the question wasn’t “if” we win but the margin of victory. That’s why I am not in favor of keeping Muschamp as coach. But I don’t get a vote and apparently neither do the 25000 or so that stayed away from Saturday’s game. And it will be worse this week. There will be more fans from the clown college than orange and blue for Saturday’s noon kickoff. Noon, are you serious, this is UF and FSU! We’re prime time material baby! Oh, my bad, I forget how far we have fallen.

But if you are going to keep the Head Coach, then please keep the Coordinators and the other coaches too. I have always hated how a head coach blames the assistants when things are going badly. Hey, you are the head coach, if you don’t like the offense or the defense, change it! Tell the OC to do something different, throw it more, run it more, or change the scheme, whatever!  But don’t sit there the entire year praising the way we do it and then the last game roll them under the bus because you lose to Georgia Southern. The offense has been ranked lower than 100 in each year under Muschamp and there have been two different OCs. Both of them had the reputations as creative play callers and running high octane offenses. What happened when they got to Florida? They got under a coach that doesn’t want to take chances. Keep things tight, don’t turn the ball over, shorten the game and let the defense do the work. That style just doesn’t work anymore against teams with equal talent and apparently not even against FCS schools. Apparently there a number of FCS programs with better talent and better coaches since they figured ways to stop the option and outscore mighty GSU this year. Enough of them did that GSU didn’t even make the playoffs!

Maybe the Gators can right the ship and pull the upset over FSU this weekend. Maybe the staff was holding back everything the last few weeks so they wouldn’t have good tape on our new offensive strategy. Maybe Gator fans will fill the swamp this week and make it the home field advantage the Gators need to pull one of the greatest upsets in the historic series. And maybe every turkey in America will survive this Thursday. The odds are about the same. I will be there until the end either way and cheering for the Orange and Blue.

And for my Nole friends, and this is not meant as a slight because I think you win either way, would you rather have the news break now that Famous is charged so you can get a game under your belt without him or have him charged next week right before the ACC championship game or sometime before the BCS game if you win them both? I am sure the answer for Nole fans is never! I feel sorry for the girl involved and for Jameis. I hope he’s not guilty but if he is then I won’t feel any sympathy for him. The whole thing has been poorly handled by the TPD and the State Attorney’s office. This should have been resolved months ago either way.

The first question I have for Saturday’s game is whether the Noles will score more than 45 points and break the record for points scored in the swamp by an opponent or score 63 and break the all-time record of points given up by the Gators. A second question is will the Gators be able to score and keep their consecutive non-shutout streak alive. Time will tell, but while it is always great to be a Florida Gator, some weeks it’s tougher than others and this week promises to be a real challenge. Enjoy it Noles, you have had to work for over a decade to experience it, but you are the better team this week. Let’s just hope you pull a Nole and lose a game you really have no business losing. So there is always hope!

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