Zach’s Mail Stack 10/16

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My Mail Stack has been getting lighter and lighter each week, as many of you seemingly don’t have much to ask about recruiting and/or you have more questions and concerns about the future of this coaching staff and football team.

And that’s totally understandable.

Nearly every comment section turns into a debate about something other than the subject of the story. As one fan told me this week, it’s hard to care about recruiting when it’s uncertain who Florida’s coach will be next season.

Several of you asked me about Will Muschamp’s fate, coaching candidates and who recruits would want if a change is made. I’m not going to cross that bridge with you all until the time comes.

As bad as things feel right now, UF is still in contention for the SEC East title and recruits haven’t lost interest in the Gators and Muschamp … yet.

I will say this: Florida, in my opinion, needs to win the next five games. The Gators get two struggling teams at home in Missouri and South Carolina as well as what should be easy wins against Vanderbilt and Eastern Kentucky. A fourth straight loss to Georgia might be the nail in Muschamp’s coffin, but it’s looking like Todd Gurley will be suspended for that game.

For UF to beat UGA and the other aforementioned teams, personnel changes will have to be made (it’s already happening at quarterback) and players at a few positions need to step up.

But the next five games are all winnable, and for the sake of Muschamp’s job, his team’s psyche and the 2015 class, I don’t think UF can afford to have another loss before Florida State (and let’s just assume the Seminoles aren’t going to sit Jameis Winston and they beat Florida).

If, and at this point it’s a big but possible if, the Gators can finish 8-3 with the losses coming to an LSU team they almost beat and on the road at Alabama and FSU, that’s the best way for Muschamp to survive this year.

I know some of you are hoping that doesn’t happen and Florida falls flat on its face so a new coach can come in. Others are hoping for the best. No matter what side of the fence you’re on, just be patient and (try to) enjoy the football season. Everything will work itself out.

On to the questions!

How big of a hit did recruiting take last week? — @vinnyg18

After interviewing several big-name recruits Saturday night, I didn’t sense any negative repercussions from that loss.

The game actually put the Gators in better standing with a lot of kids.

If you read the five post-visit stories already on my blog and a couple more that are still to come, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

The atmosphere couldn’t have been better in The Swamp, and although several aspects of Florida’s play frustrated fans, most recruits saw a team that was more competitive against LSU than it was in 2013.

Linebacker Adonis Thomas, Florida’s shakiest commit, tweeted this Wednesday.

IF a coaching change happens, which commits/prospects would be impacted the most? — @ryanponczek

Other than the out-of-state offensive line commits, the class members who aren’t from the state of Florida could be potential decommitments.

As far as targets still on the board, Byron Cowart, Ryan Davis, Jalen Merrick, Kendrick Norton and Roquan Smith are all recruits who would be impacted by a coaching change.

The Gators could probably get Jeff Holland, Martez Ivey and CeCe Jefferson regardless of who the coach is, and they’ll have a chance with any South Florida kid as long as Travaris Robinson is on staff.

Which recruits are must-haves and what are the chances of landing them? — @realbradglover

The priorities for UF in this recruiting cycle are linebacker, offensive guard and defensive end, and two of those three have been met.

Defensive end hasn’t been addressed, but Florida has five-star recruits Cowart and Jefferson waiting in the wings. Win and they’re in.

The Gators still need one or two more linebackers in addition to Jerome Baker and Thomas, but they’re in good shape with Te’Von Coney, Derrick Graham, Holland and Smith.

Outside of those positions, UF needs to land Ivey and pick up at least one more slot receiver to go along with Derrick Dillon. Antonio Callaway, Javarius Davis and Ryan Davis are the top remaining targets.

I see a lot of recruits say how much they want to play with Treon Harris. How much of an impact would be gained with him starting?@DevinLamarr

Treon Harris is certainly is a player that recruits look up to and want to play with. It’s amazing that a quarterback who’s only thrown six passes in two collegiate games can be so popular, but he’s somewhat of a legend in South Florida.

He won two consecutive state championships at Miami Booker T. Washington and led his team to the No. 1 ranking nationally. His high school success is still fresh in the minds of many recruits who watched him play last year or competed against him.

The prospects in this recruiting cycle are mostly excited about what he’ll do at Florida in the coming years, but the sooner he plays the more of an impact he’ll have.

That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.

36 COMMENTS

  1. Zach-great comments, my man! I think that with wins over the remaining teams will solidify the coach’s job. I read an article online today that actually supported keeping Coach Muschamp because it would give him one more year with the current recruits as well as the incoming ones. After reading the article it made sense and I’m now hoping for the best for my Gators. It’s been a MISERABLE week here in the Red Stick as the tigah fans are in full throat after their Houdini like escape from the clutches of defeat. They’ll go down at the hands of UK on Saturday & will not win another game till 2015. GO GATORS!!!

  2. Zach, was wondering if you were able to speak with Johnny Frasier when he was in town last week? If Jacques Patrick ends up picking FSU, as predicted, do you think Frasier may rethink going FSU? Would that help Florida’s odds at landing him? Im really hoping that we can get a big, fast, dynamic back this cycle like Frasier, Patrick or Harris. Their highlight reels are sick! Keep up the good work!

  3. Zach, great job as usual. Really enjoy your columns. Question: There are a number of high profile Offensive Line recruits from Florida (Tunsil comes to mind) and elsewhere that have gotten away. We do have a couple 4 or 5 star guys sprinkled in, but what is the secret to piecing together consecutive years of solid OL recruits? Bama seems to be able to do it…

  4. It’s not just your Mail Stack that’s been getting lighter. I have been visiting at least 3 Gator forum sites everyday this season and I’m amazed at the lack of traffic and comments these last 2 weeks. It seems that a lot of folks are starting to lose interest in this season. It’s a shame how dead the energy level seems to be getting about the team and it’s coaching staff issues.

  5. It’s becoming harder and harder to care about Gator football.

    This is five years running of dreadful watching (and yes, even the Sugar Bowl season was a terrible watch).

    I’m a 40 year old grad with disposable income, and my interest is waning. This is the first year I can remember that I won’t attend at least one game.

    I think Muschamp is a stand up guy, but he’s an awful head coach and he has sucked the fun right out of my fall Saturday’s.

    I just don’t care anymore!

  6. How are we going to win the East when we barely beat Ky, barely beat a bad Tenn team, got crushed by Bama as usual, and found a way to lose to the worst LSU team in 15 years at home??
    Were not gonna beat USC or UGA (with or without Gurley man), Vandy should be a lock though.

    The only way this can happen is if Treon is as good as he looked at Tenn. Otherwise we suck. Growing tired of the whole deal, Champs gotta go away before any further damage.

  7. South Carolina has already started to court Muschamp for their Defensive Coordinator position. Spurrier will probably land him, if he leaves UF. I am quite sure that several of the defensive recruits that we need will follow Muschamp to USCe and it wouldn’t shock me if several of our current players transfer to USCe. It will be a good way for Muschamp to poke a finger in the eye of Gator fans who turned on him as soon as we hit some tough times. What do you think, Zach? If Muschamp goes to work for Spurrier, does he take many of our recruits and current players?

  8. We have become a second tier team, face the facts. Its gonna be a struggle to beat a bad Mizzu team unless of course Treon gets some substantial playing time. He and he alone can save Muschamps job, at this point I’m not sure thats whats best for Gator Nation!

  9. I value every football season and every Gator team . You only so many seasons in your lifetime to enjoy. There’s plenty to respect about the young men on our current team and the aforementioned stand -up guy at the helm. No one knows how this season will play out. Maybe our guys will lose two-three more times, or maybe they ‘ll go on a roll and finish 8-3. Writing off 105 kids and their coaches after five games may say more about the defeatist spirit of fair-weather @fans” than it does about these Gators. If you have a crystal ball that says to wallow I despair go get a new one. Savor every season, no matter what, because you truly don’t know the outcome or how many seasons lie before you. Go Gators!

  10. It’s amazing. No one is talking to Muschamp about being the defensive coordinator at South Carolina. Yes, there is a waning interest in UF football but that can be expected after losing. It was always unrealistic to expect a 4-8 team yo be a great team the next year. Auburn was an anomaly, there are probably a couple of teams that have turned it around this year as well, but a good predictor of a team’s level of success is the previous year and we have seen that Will Muschamp’s mantra of losing Jeff Driskel last year was meaningless. UF fans drank the Kool-Aid and started believing the things that were said in the preseason, forgetting that it was just talk. Some were crowing about how great the running backs were, it turns out the running backs are what they’ve always been, average at best. Unrealistic expectations have made the season seem worse than it is. Florida is a 7-5 team under Will Muschamp, that’s the average record under him. It is what it is, accept it and you won’t be let down and disappointed. Another sign of the disenchantment with Florida football is that the majority of sports gear on the clearance racks now has Florida’s logo. On the bright side, it’s almost basketball season, maybe UF is becoming a basketball school.

  11. aux2, ouch!! Sad but you may be correct in your assessment, especially about the koolaid. During spring and summer camps all of these flowery statement about how we have improved and this player is doing this and we are using the “NEW” offensive system and the kids are catching on to the system. BUNCH of BULL…. I don’t think Muschamp can Bull… his way through another year. That koolaid has been thrown up and once you throw up something, you will not drink again. You know what affect it had on you the last time. I’m finished with believing anything Muschamp says. I lost that with the Brisset deal, which is even more clear now. GO GATORS!!!!

  12. Re: Brisset, who plays in my city… great talent, lots of poise and courage under the rush. Was dominating most, but not all the time, against Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, South Florida and Presbyterian College, a four- pack (no pun intended) that’s about equivalent to Eastern Michigan and Eastern Kentucky. A great half against FSU, then a disastrous outing with 4 completions and multiple interceptions against a less talented ACC foe. Got seriously outplayed by Tyler Murphy. Meantime, our team has struggled, without question. But Jacoby wasn’t better than Driskel while in Gainesville. He chose to leave and is thriving now against soft competition. I like him a lot though his departure from UF to me is meaningless re: Driskel.

  13. aux and creek gator,

    Th kool-aid is still flowing if you read the posts on here. It is amazing to me that many will actually defend this staff when they are not even ranked. Think about that – the Gators not even being in the top 25. Ridiculous. And it has now been accepted as part of the norm. Muschamp is lost as a head coach. Very risky hire by Foley that failed. Hopefully he has his short listed ready to go…

  14. Read an article about Mullin on ESPN and doubt seriously he will even consider coming here. Some consider it one of the best jobs in college football but one has to wonder with the Fireronzook and firemuschamp websites from their respective day 1 on the job if any coach in his right mind would come here. I think the lunatic fringe fan base of UF fans make it a much less desirable job than what it was when Spurdog was our coach. I do not like the way Muschamp is stubborn and refuses to turn his offense totally to the O-coordinator but hold out hope that he will come to his senses. If he does not turn this thing around before the end of this season and is fired, we will end up with poor recruiting class and be set back for years.

  15. A large majority of the posts on here are laughable. And some want a certain coach from Mississippi State and can’t even spell his name correctly, and those wanting Mullen do not even remember how unpopular he was as the OC under Meyer. GO GATORS. Beat Missouri.

  16. Excellent assessment of the program’s current status! If Muschamp finally becomes a good coach as the season goes on, it should be great for the stability and continuity of the program; if not, I won’t too worry about losing recruits due to a change of coach, as long as Foley can find a right person. When Zook was let go, he said his recruiting class that year could be the best EVER. Then came Meyer…

  17. Zach, the Gator WRs and TEs seem to have stone hands. Recruits often says that lack of productivity at these positions gives them an opportunity to get on the field early. But after a number of highly ranked recruits at these positions not panning out, is the lack of development of these players starting to turn off WR and TE recruits?

  18. These are JMOHO’s of course….

    Accuation – Academic Fraud.
    Shameous – I didn’t do it, I’d never cheat, how can you believe that I would?

    Accusation – BB gun war, dozens of broken windows.
    Shameous – I didn’t do it. And besides, windows don’t cost that much.

    Accuastion – Date drug/alcohol Rape.
    Shameous – I did it, she was unconscious but I know that she wanted it.

    Accuastion – Blatantly stealing Crabs+ from Publix.
    Shameous – I did it, but I just forgot to pay as I hurried directly out the door. (wink-wink)

    Accusation – Standing on a table to scream out vulgar obscenities against women.
    Shameous – But I thought that it was funny and that nobody would notice or care.

    Accusation – Thousands of $igned autographs on the web site.
    Shameous – Yeah, I did it, but it was all for free, cause I’m such a giving guy.

    Jimblow – BUT YAWL DON’T KNOW ALL OF THE FACTS!!!! (idiot or liar?)

    JF, I hope that Shameous Jameous stays there forever. He looks like the PERFECT EXAMPLE of what it means to be a Criminole at Clown-U. And with his 2,000+ $ignatures, he might also help FSUcks back onto NCAA Probation, where they rightly belong. (bet Jimblow is feeling pretty stupid about now — LOL!!!)

  19. Zach, despite UF’s big spending on facilities (e.g. Meyer’s Heavener complex and other upgrades), the Gators’ facilities seem to fall short of the sheer opulence of other big time programs (e.g. quality and design of players’ recreation, locker, and rehab areas, source: online pictures). Even after the upgrades ESPN had UF’s facilities ranked 6th in the SEC. Now, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Auburn, etc. seem to be trying to emulate the crown jewel-like facilities at Oregon and Oklahoma State. Should UF spend more to emulate the advancement of the facilities at other programs to keep up in the recruiting arms race rather than relying on selling recruits on program history/strength?

  20. I think a lot of current head coaches would think carefully before coming to UF. You’re right about the angry, lunatic fringe. At their standard, any future Florida team should cancel any season at the point the Gators lose a second game. Any player’s injury should be blamed on the coach. Any loss should become potential grounds for job review and immediate dismissal without cause. I’m neither pleased with how our team has struggled nor filled with venom over it. Either our guys put it together and transition our program back to elite status under Coach Muschamp or another coach will take us there. You hope these angry souls don’t conduct everything else in their lives with such passion to find someone to blame.

  21. Positives, so far: We saved two games we might have lost and have the same number of losses forecast in the preseason. We remain in contention in the SEC East and almost entirely control our destiny. We’ve seen the emergence of Demarcus Robinson, Brandon Powell, Rod Johnson, Caleb Brantley, Brian Cox, Alex McAlister and Jalen Tabor. We’ve see the upbeat return to form of Antonio Morrison, Chaz Green, DJ Humphries and Kyle Christy. We don’t play another SEC West team until Atlanta. We’ve algal imposed the high potential of Kelvin Taylor, Duke Dawson, Quincy Wilson, Keanu Neal and Treon Harris. Jamie’s Winston and Jimbo Fisher are NOT connected to our school or program. The sun will come up tomorrow.

  22. @ Gator Mac,you referenced all those attributes about Brissett, and said he was not as good as Jeff when he was here. well, I don’t personally know and I doubt very seriously if you personally know, but do you see any of those traits in Jeff? Yes Jacoby is playing lesser talented conference, but do you think NCS would trade UF even swap? Jacoby at least has an “UP SIDE”, no one see’s that in Driskell. Mac, listen I read all your post and I respect your opinion. I don’t see what you see and my opinions are just that “MY” opinions. If you read my post again I was mentioning the (in MY opinion) how Muschamp SAID he would give both equal opportunity. I (again my opinion) didn’t think it went down as stated. I was not comparing abilities. Even though I believe Jacoby is a better QB and with the Florida team we have not if he was at the helm we would probably undefeated. “JUST MY OPINION”. GO GATORS!!!!

  23. That should have read”If Jacoby was the QB with this current team at UF we would be undefeated” Your last post is spot on we have some great talent, they have not been coached up well enough in my opinion. I had unrealistic expectations for this team THIS year. With “ROPER” running the offense i thought “this is the final piece of the puzzle. Well I don’t see any difference in the Offense except the O-LINE is much better and I think that credit should go to Coach SUMMER. we have better players but the performances are lacking and I have to blame that on coaching. These are the same players that ALL of the other SEC schools were after, and many with lesser talent are performing amazing feats, HENCE:Mississippi State. GO GATORS!!!!

  24. The key question to be asking, IMO, I simply this: is Florida football better off since Chump took over? In other words, is Florida football headed in a positive direction?

    All I see are negatives: lack of competitiveness, lack of offense, poor coaching, poor won-loss records, lack of fan interest, waning attendance, losing too many recruits.

    The UF Head Coaching position is one of the top-5 in the country, if not #1. Why wouldn’t any established Head Coach want it? Why wouldn’t any up-and-coming coach want it?

  25. Please don’t get any idea that I’m impressed by Driskel ‘a performance or Muschamp’s coaching. Our program consistently underwhelms and, though Jeff plays with admirable passion and effort, he appears in over his head as a starting QB. For evaluative purposes, I consider 2014 Muschamp’s third season. I’ll grant that 2013 was a poor basis for assessing anyone. I would argue that as Gators we have lots of positives with plenty of talent emerging on this team and that we ALL need to pull for ALL these guys. They aren’t the head coach. We can appreciate their effort and zeal…

  26. Re: coaching, in his fourth year and on his third OC and QB coach, third OL coach and fourth WR coach, Muschamp’s offense resembles what we all grew accustomed to seeing from perennial bottom dwellers’ teams such as Vandy, Kentucky and Mississippi State. I think given 2013’s injury-riddled debacle that Jeremy Foley was entirely fair to give our young HC this year to determine if he can produce. So far it looks as though we’ve seen Muschamp’s coaching ceiling. But let’s agree that the man has six games left to show Jeremy Foley something different. And if he ‘s fired, which is the likely outcome, our next coach will take over a loaded roster. Brighter days are just ahead either way, so hang in there, Gator fans!

  27. Zach,

    The implication from Merrick and several other top recruits is that they would commit if they new this staff was safe. In other words, they want to play for Muschamp. It seems to suggest that regardless of the win/loss record, these big recruits believe in the staff and program right?

  28. Zach, Imoho, playing more of the roster in the games will aid the recruiting above anything else that they can do in a game. What do you think is the most important thing to do on game day? Also, why is the starting QB the only one that can go to the bench? Missed blocks, many dropped balls, repeated botched coverage’s????? And anyone claiming that Muschamp can’t coach up the players needs to explain project Alex McCalister to me. He’s a 3 Star DE that Will brought in at 210 pounds but now is tied with Fowler for team TFL while he leads the team with 4 sacks. Mac is just one of the many improvements in players.

    How GOOD was Harris at Tenn? A little reality please….
    Passing – 2 of 4 (50%) for 17 yards, (4.3 ypa) 0 TD’s.
    Rushing – 4 for 24 yds, 6.0 ypc, 0 TD’s – (advantage of late game Tn D tired/slowed)

    Driskel at Tenn?
    Passing – 11 of 23 (48%) for 59 yds, (2.6 ypa) 0 TD’s
    Rushing – 14 for 30 yds, 2.1 ypc, 0 TD’s (includes OL/WR created sacks and fresh D)
    Season Passing – 90 of 164 (55%) for 878 yds, (5.4 ypa) 6 TD’s, 8 Ints, 20+ DROPS.
    * The QB-OL-WR’s combine for completions and for the interceptions.

    And ‘factual reasons’ are not excuses.

    Sorry, but S Keanu Neal’s Int giving the Gators the ball at the Tn 30 yard line, RB Matt Jones’ running and TD, along with K Austin Harden 49 yard FG won that game, not QB Treon Harris. It also wasn’t a Driskel mistake that made Harris miss the LSU game, and at least Jeff has remained eligible through his 3 1/2 years at UF. I’m not against Treon, I just want to show some FAIRNESS during this discussion. And speaking of fairness, where is Will Grier? HS Poy with 38 Gms, 195 TD’s to 27 Ints. And don’t even try to play the race card, because I rightly defended Leak when Tebow first arrived. Fairness doesn’t involve colors in my world.

    Speaking of the LSU game, Driskel played well enough to win, it was 2-3 other players (a certain TE in particular) that cost UF that game. Blaming Jeff for everything, while touting Treon as an All World QB is patently unfair imo, and just plain silly to boot.

    IF everyone wants to really see the QB Treon Harris, then BENCH Jeff and play Treon from the get go. Then if he struggles and the Gators are losing in the 3rd quarter, then Jeff or Grier can come in and be the ‘flavor of the day’ savior….

    PS – the koolaid is still better tasting than the usual doomer-gloomer’s bitter dregs….
    ==================
    “Jacoby at least has an “UP SIDE”, no one see’s that in Driskell.” — Creak Gator
    Sorry Creek, but you don’t speak for me or many other Gators that I talk to.
    Replace your >No OneI don’t see<, and then go from there….
    "Jacoby at least has an “UP SIDE”, no one see’s that in Driskell." — Creek Gator
    Except when you claim to 'KNOW' what 'EVERYONE' else thinks about Jeff.
    Creek, IMO, with how the receivers & OL have played, Jacoby would be no better than Jeff.
    As to the OL, their play is better now, but they still suffer from inconsistency and missed assignments.
    When they get it right, they are very good, but they can still play below their talent level on plays.

    Cultivating patients is the surest sign of maturity that I know of….

  29. These are JMOHO’s of course…. (Update, I left out #3, sorry)
    What do the ND Goldbrick and Shameous have in common?
    Both have been caught in some form of Academic Fraud, but both are still in school. Clown-U and Neutered Lame, both in the same fraud (gold) colors too…. lol

    1) Accusation – Academic Fraud.
    Shameous – I didn’t do it, I’d never cheat, how can you believe that I would?

    2) Accusation – BB gun war, dozens of broken windows.
    Shameous – I didn’t do it. And besides, windows don’t cost that much.

    3) Accusation – Stealing Soda at Burger King.
    Shameous – Yeah, but I did bring my own cup to put it in over and over, what’s the big deal?

    4) Accuastion – Date (drug/alcohol?) Rape.
    Shameous – Yeah I did it, and yeah she was unconscious, but I KNOW she wanted it.

    5) Accuastion – Blatantly stealing Crabs+ from Publix.
    Shameous – I did it, but I just forgot to pay as I hurried directly out the front door. (wink-wink)

    6) Accusation – Standing on a table to scream out vulgar obscenities against women.
    Shameous – But I thought that it was funny and that nobody would notice or care.

    7) Accusation – THOUSANDS of $igned autographs on the authentication web site.
    Shameous – Yeah, I did it, but it was all for free, cause I’m such a charitable and giving guy.

    Jimblow – BUT YAWL DON’T KNOW ALL OF THE FACTS!!!! (idiot or liar?)
    FSU Admin – Why can’t we just talk about something else…… (R-U-chittin-me?)
    The phrase THREE-TIME LOSER, has NO meaning at tallacrappy Clown-U.
    But with their academics, maybe they just can’t count higher than 3…. lol

    JF, I hope that Shameous Jameous stays there forever. He looks like the PERFECT EXAMPLE of what it means to be a Criminole at Clown-U. And with his 2,000+ $ignatures, he might also help FSUcks back onto NCAA Probation, where they rightly belong. (bet Jimblow is feeling pretty stupid about now — LOL!!!)

    FSU beats over-rated ND, then the NCAA forfeits FSU, Gators everywhere celebrate with a lol party because they BOTH LOSE….

  30. Aux2, who said that USCe had talked to Muschamp about becoming their DC? There is a “courtship” of Muschamp by USCe Boosters – I know 3 of them very well and they plan to go after Muschamp, very hard. They have gotten word to Muschamp of thrir interest. As for our RB’s – we have very good backs. It’s hard to run the ball when the entire defense stacks the box, because they have no respect for our passing game.