Notebook: ‘Underdeveloped’ Stephens has skill set to be ‘excellent’

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Florida tight end Moral Stephens (82) celebrates with teammates after catching a touchdown pass in the second quarter Saturday against LSU at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]

Had Dan Mullen and his offensive staff come along sooner, there’s no telling where tight end Moral Stephens might be today. Maybe already in the NFL.

As it is, the redshirt senior has quickly gone from little-used player to playmaker in Mullen’s offense. He caught the winning touchdown pass against Mississippi State two weeks ago and his second-quarter TD catch gave the Gators the halftime lead against LSU. He has emerged as a key player in the passing game. He’s also become a more effective blocker.

He’s a much different player than when Mullen first arrived in December.

“He was just underdeveloped,” Mullen said. “I looked at his numbers, his testing numbers in the weight room and I’m like, ‘What have you done for the last couple of years?’

“He benched about the same as I did, and I don’t lift as much anymore. So he started training, and you’re starting to see now. It’s a tragedy that we don’t have him for longer, where he can get a real offseason to let his body develop. He might have a future even beyond this year if he decides to work at it. I think he’s just scratching the surface for what his development could have been.”

Mullen said Stephens has all the tools to be an excellent, and complete, tight end.

“He’s got really good hands, really good ball skills and really athletic,” he said. “He just didn’t train to the level he needed to be successful and be physical enough to play tight end.”

Although Stephens is still listed third on the depth chart behind C’yontai Lewis and Kemore Gamble, the former high school wide receiver has been the Gators’ most productive tight end, catching six passes for 76 yards. He’s tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions with three.

He’s clearly benefited from the coaching change.

“Coach Mullen has put him in a great position to be successful, and it’s finally showing,” junior wide receiver Josh Hammond said. “The work he is putting in is paying off. Just happy for him just seeing he’s making the plays he wants to make.”

Safeties shining

Safety was a big question mark heading into the season for the Gators. But those two spots are emerging as a potential team strength thanks to the recent productive play of true sophomores Donovan Stiner and Brad Stewart Jr.

Stewart had the pick-six to help secure the win over LSU, while Stiner made the game-ending stop in the past two games — the interception against the Tigers and the sack of Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald.

“I think, first of all, Ron (English) has done a good job of developing those guys because you see them getting better each week and understanding our system and concepts and how to play, understanding leverages,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “They’re talented guys that are just young. It’s like anything, when you get young players if you can let them continue to embrace coaching, show them on tape the things you have to get better at and they continue to do that, the product shows up on Saturdays.”

Like Grantham, Mullen gives a lot of the credit to English, the safeties coach, who has been a head coach at Eastern Michigan and a defensive coordinator at Michigan and Louisville.

“Ron English is big time,” Mullen said. “We’re pretty fortunate to have a guy like him on staff. A guy who has been a head coach and coordinator at a lot of major schools. He’s an excellent football coach in preparing to get those guys for those situations, to be where you’re supposed to be and when you’re supposed to be in those situations and knowing the plays.”

O-line a work in progress

The Gators rushed for more than 200 yards and did not give up a sack in the win over LSU. But the offensive line still has a ways to go, Mullen said.

“They were solid. I still think inconsistency,” Mullen said. “You look at protection. You go to the interception, as Feleipe’s getting hit. There’s another pass where we had Tre Grimes open. He’s trying to throw a slant, and he couldn’t even get his foot in the ground to get the ball out.

“On some of those where we had guys potentially open, where we’re getting hit as we’re getting the ball out, which unfortunately could be explosive plays that weren’t. I have pretty high standards of what I expect for execution (on the offensive line).”

57 COMMENTS

        • GATRART. Muschamp was one of the hottest names to become a head football coach when Foley hired him. He was “all that” then. He wasn’t ready to be a head coach. But hiring him looked good at the time. And McElwain won championships as an OC at Bama and revived a struggling Colorado State football program. He was also a hot coach at the time. But who knew he was so incompetent at running all aspects of a Power 5 football program? And he was. Lesson learned from Foley’s hiring mistakes with Muschamp and McElwain? A program like Florida should never settle for an unproven head football coach with many years of success leading a solid Power 5 program elsewhere.

  1. It is not that he did not work hard, it is the coaching staff ignored what he would need to be a success. Of course it is great when a player like say Tebow works and knows what to do, but it is the S and C coach who must develop the plan, make sure they follow through. Perhaps now we have such, that we ever were without that is a tragic thing for the players and of course for the Gators.

  2. Foley offered the job to two guys he knew wouldn’t say no. For some reason he was afraid to do a national search, offer the job to a proven HC and possibly hear the word no. He should clean out his office and allow Strickland the space to mold all the athletic programs as he see’s fit.

    • Jackah…during Foley’s tenure the Gator Football team won 3 National Titles and 7 SEC Championships, not to mention all the national titles won in other sports, men’s and women’s. He was a legendary AD, well respected in the world of college sports.. He spent most of his adult life working to bring UF sports into national prominence. You can criticize some of his coaching hires, and you can fault him for spreading the wealth while neglecting upgrades that would have benefitted the football program, but you are short sighted to call for him to pack up and leave. Besides, I doubt Strickland would have taken the job without being given full authority to run the athletic department.

      • I agree, he did a great overall job with our sports and we have some of the best coaches in the other sports. No one is 100% in their hires, its just too bad he was very poor at picking Football coaches. Zook , a great coach but a poor recruiter, won with someone elses recruits but couldnt get his own; the Meyer choice was clearly caused by UF president Bernie Machen so Foley doesnt get full credit there. Then comes Muschamp, a great DC but a terrible HC since he didnt know how to pick a good OC; McElwain, just totally out of his league, did not know how to coach at this level. So how could an AD so good at picking coaches in general be so bad at picking Football HC’s? I think a top school like UF can just offer a great coach in lesser sports and most always get their choice. In football on the other hand, there is a vicious competition for coaching talent at the HC level. I believe he felt he had to find a diamond in the rough to be successful. It seemed that he was afraid to go after established coaches at another school unless they were at a lower level. Lets face it, a great HC football coach is a RARE commodity. There arent really that many out there and established ones just arent going to leave for a lateral move! Do you really think a coach like Saban would leave Al. to come here? Yea, you say, of course not, whose talking about Saban. Saban merely represents a great HC at a top school that theres no way in blazes you could ever get him to come here. The point being, an AD pretty much has to catch a great coach between jobs or he’s going to have to project a HC from a lesser school to be successful at this level. We knew what Mullen had done here as OC but Foley couldnt hire him because there was some bad blood there from past comments made, so he had to project McElwain, or HC in waiting at Tx, Muschamp. Its a lot harder finding a great football HC than it is any other type of sport. Therefore the chances of success is much lower. Meyer was at a lesser program and we had an inside line on him thru Machen and had been highly successful everywhere he had been. Mullen was at a lesser program(no matter what MSU thinks- a backwater podunk town where you have to go elsewhere to do any decent shopping, this WASNT a lateral move) but a known commodity as an OC and a successful SEC HC. Spurrier had been a HC with the USFL and then at Duke(a much lesser school) and a known OC wiz even as HC and a Gator thru and thru. My point is even our most successful HC’s were gotten from lesser schools because its too hard to get an established HC from a top school. Foley tried to get Bronco’s HC Shanahan and then OK’s HC Bob Stoops (and DC at UF) before choosing Zook who had been DC and ST under Spurrier and DC in the NFL. Proving my point , its too hard to get a coach on a lateral move. All well and good to say you thought he should have gotten so and so but saying and doing is another thing. You say, well , he should only have gone after HC’s, Zook and Muschamp weren’t. McElwain was a successful HC, so what do you want? This is a tough business and I only hope Stricklin doesn’t have to choose another, so I don’t have to hear his crucifixion! Ala. had Bear Bryant and then went thru DECADES before getting Saban!!! THAT’S HOW IT GOES IN FOOTBALL! Just thank your lucky stars we only had to wait 9 years! SO QUIT YOUR CRYING!

          • tunaboat. You exaggerated what he posted. I know, I posted something very similar. But it is easy to attack people on her that post original thoughts and go out there with predictions that have qualified support or that prediction. And both Daz and I stated clearly that we wanted our emotions (Gators winning) to win over our mental evaluation of the information available at the time about both teams. And, if they played again, I would pick LSU again. And if you have not noticed, LSU is still ranked higher than Florida even though the Gators beat the Bayou Tigers. So a lot of people have similar thought processes that are not controlled by emotion.

        • Actually Daz you’ve got it twisted with Zook. He was a great recruiter but couldn’t coach. Meyer doesn’t win his first title without Zook’s players. His first class ranked #10, his second class was #1, and his final class was #5. That #1 class in 2003 had 6-5* players in Andre Caldwell, Chris Leak, Jarvis Moss, Joe Cohen, Chad Jackson and Dee Web. Add on players like Reggie Nelson, Marcus Thomas, Earl Everett, and Reynaldo Hill and that class was ridiculous! That’s before adding guys like Derrick Harvey, Brandon Siler, Kyle Jackson, Cornelius Ingram, Tate Casey, Phil Trautwein, Toney Joiner, Jim Tart and Jermey Mincey in his next class. Look was one of the best recruiters we’ve had.

  3. The Moral Stephens story is truly a tragedy for that young man. He trusted the coaches who recruited him, to make him a player and he was totally let down. Yea, you could say he had some responsibility in it, but these are young men who dont know alot and dont know what it truly takes, and they trust a recruiter to take them and teach them what they have to do to be great. Most have only gotten here on talent, being better than their peers in high school, for few HS programs have much in teaching and moulding.
    Wow, what a great coach, i just like listening to him. I supported his hire because i knew what he had done here, knew he called his own plays and knew he had been a Gator fan since he was a boy and Spurrier was coach, so he bled Orange and Blue. What I didn’t know was just how good a coach he is. I am learning that because he is so honest with the media and doesn’t mind telling them like it is. It is so refreshing to hear. I love his analysis of each part of the program. He praises, but doesn’t mind calling a spade a spade! In other words its not all roses; he tells the good and the bad.

  4. daz

    Zook , a great coach but a poor recruiter, won with someone elses recruits but couldnt get his own;

    i remember zook as being able to recruit and not coach. The talent level was good enough for meyer to win a NC in his second year. Happy to have CDM running the show in 2018

    • TA. True, but Franks needs to do his job better when the OL has break downs. Like check down to a RB (Scarlett) breaking wide open to his right for an easy TD and Franks not even looking at what should have been an immediate check down with such a rush. THINK AHEAD. SEE THE FIELD BEFORE AND JUST AFTER THE SNAP. REACT IMMEDIATELY TO WHAT YOU ARE SEEING (TRUST YOUR EYES). EXECUTE WITH QUICK PROGRESSIONS WITH CONSISTENCY AND ACCURACY. Sorry to shout, but all that not being consistently done by Franks is keeping him from being a really good QB in the SEC. Watch Tua at Bama. He is true soph, and he executes all that almost 100 percent of the time. He is exceptionally skilled and talented, but he is already great (Aaron Rogers great like) because of the innate QB skills he exhibits before and after each snap.

      • Watch the play again… Franks had zero time and if you are a QB staring at what the OL is doing right after the snap instead of making reads you are dead meat anyway. In a perfect world he eats it or throws it into the fifth row of the NEZ but he could not get anything on it.
        Let me know how often Alabama’s interior OL completely whiffs on guys. The coaching Tua received in HS and last year is far more advanced than what Franks received in the same timeframe. Franks about to play game seven in this system. Is he perfect? Of course not. Is he improving? Yes. Some great UF QBs have had growing pains in their soph years. It is all a process.

        • TA. Watch the final play of last year’s national championship game. Or many of plays in that game. Georgia put tremendous pressure on the Bama QBs the entire game. Notice how the original QB responded to pressure and how the second QB responded to pressure (quick releases to first and secondary reads before receivers were even open and to them when they did break open on their routes). It is called receivers running precise routes (which the Florida receivers did on that play) and a QB anticipating and throwing to a spot. A QB should go to the line and, after making pre-snap reads, know exactly what to immediately do if pressured as Franks was on that play. Scarlett knew what to do and did it. Franks did not see or check to him. And I did watch that play many times. And Franks had the opportunity to check to Scarlett before he ever threw the ball down the middle for the INT. But a sack or throw away would have been a good decision there, too, because Franks did not have time to set his feet and make a down the field throw he made. But a little flip to Scarlett would have been ideal, and it looked like Scarlett would have picked up 10 or so yards for sure and would have likely scored due to his open field running talents and brut strength.

          • And TA. Franks is making progress. But that progress is very slow. This is his third year on campus. Tebow was a Heisman Trophy winner already. Not saying Franks is a Tebow, but he remains a work-in-progress QB. But as I posted on another page, I think Franks will be a top QB in the SEC as a junior and senior. If he plays as a senior, he might even be in consideration for big time QB awards. He has that kind of physical skill. It the innate skills catch up, and I think they eventually will now, he could become an elite type QB on the college level under Mullen and Johnson.

          • UGA rushed four on the final play. Tua just had to step up to make the throw after looking the near safety away (cover two). Luckily for us it was a disaster for UGA.
            Anyway, I get your point – just know that in their soph years, the Gator Greats at QB were making similar mistakes. Scarlett was simply running out the play action and then turned around… he had no idea the RG whiffed. We are also watching replays and not in the heat of the moment. Easy for us to second guess from the stands, I suppose.
            I’m happy with Franks’s progress. He is obviously still learning. I might have different expectations at this point though.

  5. I was reading an LSU board the other day and there was constant chatter about how they got out-coached in the game. Even arguing about why didn’t they hire Mullen when they had the chance, and ended up with Orgeron. It was a funny read! Great to be on the good side of the coaching bubble for once.

    • That is beyond a doubt the SEC’s most fickle fan base, if not all of college football’s. They’ve got a good coach and a jackass for an AD, couple that with a fan base looking for somebody’s head at the first sign of a less than perfect result? Priceless.

      As much as I love cajuns and peeps from La……..they didn’t deserve Dan Mullen.

      • It is interesting how some people come on here and take their personal frustrations and limitations out on other people by posting personal insults and attacks. And not referring to anyone in particular, I do recall a fan base of LSU coming to the defense of Les “the grass eater” Miles to save his job for a while with tremendous fan support and giving him a standing ovation after his last game. And I would put the LSU fan base up there with most SEC programs. In fact, I had dinner after the LSU game in Gainesville at a restaurant filled with LSU fans and spoke to some of them. Great people and none said a bad word about their coach, AD, or program. But they did say they admired the way Florida played, the way Mullen coached, and the amazing atmosphere in The Swamp. Really nice and dedicated people.

    • tunaboat. Not doubt, blog posts after a team’s loss totally reflect the valid views of all the members of any college football team’s fan base. And none of them are emotional reactions to an upset loss by their beloved team.

  6. There was a comment from up above about Foley hiring practices. Make any excuses you want for him, I don’t care. But at the end of the day, I believe Mullen would have left MSU after 2 years and come back to UF. But he wasn’t asked. “Bad blood, you say”. Who cares? Real men would have put that aside to hire the best coach period. He should have had UF’S interest ahead of his own. He had seen the offense Mullen had under Meyer and he had seen the offense digress in 2009-10. I don’t know what happened between Foley and Mullen and furthermore, I don’t care. But what I do know is we have suffered through mediocrity for 8 years under marginal coaching hires. That should have NEVER happened. A DC hire who had never had HC experience? I don’t care what Texas thought of him. Let Texas figure him out. And then a chance in 2015 to ask Mullen again! Naw, let’s put my feelings ahead of a decent hire. A HC hire from CSU? CSU is from a different a conference than the SEC as black is from white. So there is my take on all this but we finally got him. He was my first choice over Kelly and Frost. Take care of him, Gator Nation.

    • Mullen needed time at a program like MSU to sharpen his coaching skills and learn how to run a successful program without the pressure of instant success hovering over him. The UF job was too big for him after only 2 years of head coaching experience. I don’t think he succeeds if he takes the job that soon. The better argument would be he should’ve been offered the job instead of Mac. But the past is the past and we can all be happy he has the job now as a seasoned SEC coach who knows full well how to run a successful program.

      • That is a good point, Joe, and you may be right. Look at Smart, though. Either you got it or you don’t. Some say we would have won an SEC title with Champ had we kept him. I don’t see that happening. Some say we should have kept Mac for another run, but I don’t see that either. Even with Mullen with OJT, it would have been better than what we suffered through.

    • Ron. The relationship between Foley and Mullen was unworkable due to the personalities at the time (Stricklin has even stated that Mullen was difficult to work with when he first took the AD job at MSU). I think now, due to how Mullen has matured personality wide, Mullen and Foley would have worked well together. Mullen after two years at MSU and Mullen now are not the same Mullens (as some people still call him). And Foley clearly wanted his own man, not a perceived retread of Meyer at the time because of the way Meyer left town. You would not date the sister of a neighborhood jerk who just treated you very badly no matter how wonderful but still immature his sister is. But once that sister is out of the neighborhood and you meet her years later (with no jerk around), you would more than reconsider not dating her if she suddenly became available.

      • Foley made some amazing hires, save for the women’s basketball program. In retrospect, Muschamp was young, defensive minded, and had a strong S&C program. The olympic lifting transformed a lot of players, but they always seemed very season ending injury prone. He was smart enough to hire Dan Quinn, but was saddled with trying to make a splashy hire for OC and, on paper, Charlie Weis ticked a lot of boxes. But Weis was a fraud.

        Articles at the time talked about how Muschamp was pretty hands off of the offense, probably why Weis took the job, to run the offense the way he saw fit. But Weis was just sitting on his cooler, collecting paychecks and waiting for another HC job. Muschamp recruited well, but predominantly on the defensive side of the ball, he was fiery, but calmed down a bit as losing your cool with the refs trickled down in weird ways to the team.

        When Weis bolted, a lot of programs were after Brent Pease at Boise State, it was always questionable how much of that fun Boise State offense was the OC (Pease) or really the HC (Petersen). Again, this hire ticked a lot of boxes. A fun offense, that was supposed to constantly shift and confuse defenses. An attacking offense, matching the identity of Muschamp/Quinn’s defensive style. And we can argue that Pease was hamstrung by a conservative Muschamp, how much of that innovative Boise offense was really Petersen, or whether Pease really could find/develop players. Again, Muschamp being defensive minded, got another great recruiting class, heavy on the defense. And Boise State had a way of taking low star players, and getting the most out of them, whether that was really Pease or Petersen’s doing, was the question mark.

        2012 was a great year, and Muschamp made amazing second half adjustments (A&M). Apart from the Louisville bowl game, that was a strong team, and I don’t doubt that Charlie Strong had some edge in that game for not getting the UF job. Quinn leaving reduced the margin of error for the offense and Pease had a rough 2013. Which lead to Roper, who was turning heads at Duke.

        All this is to say is that, it even took Spurrier a bit to get an equal on the Defensive side of the ball (Stoops was brought on to fix the Nebraska nightmare). Spurrier always recruited well on the offensive side of things, and started letting athletes train both sides.

        I make no apologies for Mcelwain. Hated him from the get go (though I liked the Geoff Collins DC hire). But I always think Champ misfired landing a “big name” that first year OC…and was reacting ever since…even his loyalty to Roper at SC proved a problem.

        With Machen we had the inside track on Meyer. With Stricklin, we had the inside track on Mullen. I actually think we benefit from Mullen’s time at MSU, even during the Mcelwain era, as Dak Prescott became a household name in the NFL and Fitzgerald looked like another Mullen groomed QB. Which, will help in recruiting on the offensive side.

        When reports of Taven getting outside weight training to be competitive and the overall softness of the Mcelwain era, it’s a travesty that kids like Stephens get lured in and aren’t adequately trained/coached.

  7. Rather than bash the previous UF coaches and even the previous AD, be thankful Mullen inherited a better situation than Frost and Kelly did at Nebraska and UCLA. Rather than pick one player’s alleged under development and draw sweeping conclusions about the previous staff, look at all the larger picture of all the players the previous staff developed and put in the NFL. How many of them were 3-star guys coming out of high school? Are Frost and Kelly all of sudden bad coaches because their teams have not won this year? Is Orgeron suddenly a great coach this year but not the previous years? Jimbo Fisher had an awful year last year even with all the talent he amassed. Does that make him a bad coach? Not to take away from the terrific job Mullen has done thus far but I think some fans are over the top in giving all the credit to Mullen. Mullen certainly is a good fit and a better fit than Kelly and Frost. He is a good coach and certainly a popular coach at this time. However, I’m not sure it’s fair to suggest that Frost, Kelly, Muschamp, and McElwain are bad coaches or Foley was a bad AD. There are many factors such luck, injuries, suspensions, and what was inherited.

    • Sly. I must say, I admire your undying support for McElwain. But he was incompetent in directing a Power 5 football program and was leading the Florida football program into a very dark cave that I am not sure they would have been able to come out of if he had coached UF for another year (clearly, Stricklin realized the same). So glad he is gone and coaching WRs at Michigan.

    • Sly you can look at it as you are, praising the previous coaches for all the players that were put in the NFL as under-rated guys, or you can look at it as wow look at all those great players we actually had and accomplished absolutely nothing with while they were here. I was a staunch supporter of Mac and thought as you do that he just had bad luck and wasn’t given a fair chance, but I really don’t know how anyone can support anything that man did now that we have all seen and heard how things were run while he was here. It’s blatantly obvious how bad of a coach he was simply by looking at the performance of the team this season. It’s basically the exact same team that won 4 games last season and were lucky to win that many. The same team that’s dominating 4th quarters instead of being gassed and manhandled all over the field. How any coach can accept the S&C program he had and still be respected by fans is mind-boggling. All those injuries suffered that last 2 years of his tenure were a direct result of that program. He was putting every player’s career in jeopardy by his stupidity. Most of the players lacked discipline and did whatever they wanted and that was a direct result of how he ran things. Yes he left some great players for Mullen to develop, but that’s clearly the only thing he did right. And no, Orgeron’s not a great coach and never will be. He had some luck playing overrated teams early, but the real Orgeron has appeared and will lose a few more games and be back on the hot seat soon. Kelly won’t have nearly the same success he did at Oregon cause the rest of the college football world has caught up to his offense that was once innovative and unexpected. The jury’s still out on Frost as a power 5 coach. We all know he can dominate at the group of 5 level, but the power 5 is a whole different animal. Just ask Mac.

      • McElwain only coached only about half a season before Stricklin pulled the rug out from under him and the team. No doubt it negatively affected their performance the rest of the season. Plus all the suspensions and injuries resulting in the lack of depth going into the 4th quarter didn’t help. Although most of the players returned this year (and has had another year of experience and physical development to improve), I don’t think it’s fair to compare last season to this season as it relates to the same players and a different coach.

        While the SC program is much better this year, I don’t think there’s been any data linking SC to the frequency of injuries.

        Mullen has been lauded profusely by Gator fans while bashing McElwain. Mullen certainly deserves all the accolades he’s received. But let’s for a moment take McElwain out of the equation. Do you believe that our third choice for a coach could do better than the first two choices at UCLA and Nebraska this year if he was coaching at those schools? My point is that a winning season has to do a lot more than just the coach. Just to be clear, I’m not disrespecting Mullen or criticizing him or suggesting Mullen wasn’t the best choice for UF. While coaching is very important, there are many other factors contributing to the success or failure of a team. But pointing to the coach, either good or bad, fair or not, has always been the simplest way to explain a very complex formula.

  8. Remember Foley had nothing to do with hiring Spurrier, Meyer or Mullen … SOS, our greatest coach was pretty much rUn off by Foley IMHO….Meyer won us 2 titles, regardless of what one thinks of him? And Foley SHOULD have hired Mullen after Muschump….our Gator Boys have a coach again, watch out!!!

  9. Foley revealed what a clueless clown he was when he hired Ron Zook, who was a flaky and unstable person unfit to lead a major college football program. In addition, many fans already hated Zook even before the hire due to the fact that he sucked and failed as our Defensive Co-ordinator. Foley had met him and knew him, yet he thought this weird freak was the right choice? No competent person would have thought so.

    I remember Foley on Larry Vettel’s show defending the hire saying he asked a bunch of other ADs who he should hire and the name that kept coming up was Zook. That’s when I actually started to pity Foley because he actually thought those other ADs were his friends and wanted to help him. In fact, no doubt they were all laughing with glee when he announced the hire, knowing it would be a disaster. How could he be so naive as to think the other ADs wanted to help Florida continue to dominate the SEC?

    Some people blamed the fans for Zookie-pooh’s failure but please note he went to Illinois– with a glowing recommendation from Foley, of course, sucked and got fired. Since, no one has been dumb enough to hire him.

    Foley liked wimpy nice guy types. I assure you Spurrier ran the show, Meyer ran the show. Foley was basically just their assistant. Like most weak, insecure men, Foley was scared of them, resented them, and he went after flaky weirdos he thought he could control because he put his own comfort ahead of doing what was best for the team– and the players. At heart, Foley was never anything but a ticket boy and it showed when he hired freaks with deformed, yellow teeth instead of men.

    • Just wow to all that hate. I would love to see you walk up to Zook in a boxing ring and call him “wimpy”. I would pay to see that. Zook failed as a head coach, but he was a super nice guy to both players and fans, like Muschamp, who was simply in over his head (both were during their tenures at Florida). But you simply will not meet a nicer person than Ron Zook. And Zook was and is a super conditioned human being. As I said, I would pay to see the above.

      • If I were one of Zook’s players, he would be far more interested in trying to be my friend than anything else. This kind of neediness is why he is an assistant coach and not a head coach.

        Let me list three coaches no one ever called nice: Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Urban Meyer. They all have rings they earned as head coaches and not one of them is losing one second of sleep over the fact that no one thinks they are “nice.”

        Meanwhile, Foley’s “nice” guys have earned zero championships during their head coaching careers. Coincidence?

  10. Goes to show how pathetic Mac & co were and how they had no clue how to run a program or the work ethic to do so. If a senior tight end is just now being developed and crafted into an SEC caliber player how can we expect much from Franks who was under the same (or lack thereof) tutelage? QB is the most complicated and mentally demanding position in sports and Franks (a four star recruit) was playing for a coaching staff that couldn’t develop a tight end.

  11. Tampa…..there should be more people on this board that think like you when it comes to misinformation and unreasonable vicious personal attacks on a person’s personality and character. Guess the politics have spilled over once again. I like seeing fair people like you calling them out.

  12. I also knew Ron Zook as a great guy, a little hyper, and very knowledgeable. Great recruiter. Thought he would do a great job, but, I have to agree, he was in over his head. No need to continue disparaging him approx 20 years later.