Zach’s Mail Stack 10/30

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This weekend will either be the final nail in Will Muschamp’s coffin or possibly breathe new life into his dying football program.

The former is what most people expect to happen, but Saturday’s game against Georgia will still be intriguing for Florida.

The Gators will give Treon Harris his first career start, which is what fans and recruits have wanted for weeks. They’ll also get to see how UF looks after a much needed bye week.

Coming off a lopsided loss and a few extra practices, Harris may not be the only (young) player getting more action than in previous games. That will be a welcomed site for Gator Nation.

Win or lose, Saturday could signal a changing of the guard for Florida’s personnel, particularly on offense, and seeing some new faces on that side of the ball could potentially excite the recruiting base.

On to the questions!

Are there any big Miami targets who could be favorably impacted by Treon Harris having success?@BransonSmith, @Bigro94

Five recruits from two high schools in the city of Miami will be much more likely to attend Florida if Harris permanently takes over the quarterback position this season.

Three of those UF targets are from Harris’ high school, Booker T. Washington. Tight end Devonaire Clarington, wide receiver Antonio Callaway and cornerback Da’Vante Davis have all visited Gainesville and list the Gators among their favorites.

The emergence of Harris could put Florida over the top in their recruitments. Clarington, ESPN’s top-ranked tight end, told The Sun after the LSU game that seeing Harris play would help Florida’s chances with him because of their friendship.

Two other Miami recruits who might be impacted by Harris are running back Jordan Cronkrite and safety Tim Irvin. The teammates from Westminster Christian attended the Kentucky game and plan to return to UF.

Irvin, a Rivals100 member, told The Sun he thought Harris should be the starter after watching him lead the Gators to a comeback win at Tennessee.

Do you think we still have a shot at Javarius Davis? Or has that ship sailed? — @justiwood 

Florida is definitely still in the running for Davis, but his recruitment is starting to pick up.

Georgia, Miami and Oregon offered him last week, and he previously held offers from the likes Ohio State, Ole Miss and Southern Cal.

The ’Dogs appear to have emerged as one of his top teams, but the Gators are going to be in it until the end.

They’re chances will likely hinge on what happens with Florida’s coaching staff, although that is the case with most kids.

Davis is another recruit who could be affected by Harris.

“I love Treon,” Davis said after the Tennessee game. “He just has that swag, man. He’s a big playmaker, and that’s what you need on offense. He’s going to help in recruiting. Guys want to play with him just like I do. If I went there with him as the quarterback, we would have a very explosive offense.”

What’s next year’s QB situation going to be with Sheriron Jones coming in from Cali? — @official_bhill

There’s a good chance that Jeff Driskel and Skyler Mornhinweg won’t return to UF next year based on how their seasons have played out.

That would leave the Gators with a QB depth chart of Harris, Will Grier and Sheriron Jones, who will probably redshirt. Those are young but quality players for the position, and there shouldn’t be any drop off between Harris and Grier.

Florida is also trying to flip Louisville commit Lamar Jackson for the 2015 class.

Who of the current verbal commitments is most likely to decommit if Florida does not finish strong? Of the two decommits, do you see either recommitting if Florida finishes strong this season — @RCarmichael601, @dolphe1

Wide receiver Derrick Dillon and offensive lineman Mike Horton are two commits who could jump ship if a coaching change is made and they aren’t crazy about the hire. Jones might also look around, but UF is his best offer and the top West Coast schools already have a QB commit.

Jerome Baker is long gone, in my opinion. I wouldn’t be surprised if Adonis Thomas rejoined the class, but Muschamp would need to win out or Thomas would have to love the new staff. Otherwise, I believe he’s Bama bound.

Out of the recruits we’re currently pursuing, who will still commit even if we hit rock bottom? ryan_grimaldi

Outside of Dillon, Horton and maybe Jones, I don’t foresee any of Florida’s other commits switching schools. Guys like Kalif Jackson and Tyler Jordan couldn’t be more solid to the Gators.

Of the targets remaining on the board, Jeff Holland, Martez Ivey, CeCe Jefferson and Jeremy McDuffie are four prospects who could commit regardless of what happens with the coaches or the rest of the games this season.

I’m not saying they’re ‘locks’ to Florida, because no one is. But they seem to like the school enough that if the football program hits rock bottom, it won’t keep them from coming.

Are we better off from a recruiting standpoint if Muschamp finishes out the year or is terminated immediately?— @vinnyg18, @burtcannon

Personally, I don’t think much will be gained in recruiting by firing him now. UF is not going to gain any more commitments until the coaching situation is settled.

Letting Muschamp go during the season would obviously let recruits know that he won’t be back next year, but that’s only part of the process for them. They will still want to see who gets hired, talk to the new coach on the phone and meet him in person.

Those three things aren’t going to happen until mid-December at the earliest, so canning Muschamp next week or soon after won’t make much of a difference.

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

28 COMMENTS

  1. Harris has such a magnetic pull on recruits and seems to raise his teammates’ confidence and execution. No Gators outside the locker room expect our guys to win Saturday, but we’re ALL going to have our eyes riveted on Treon. I believe whether this team so turns things around and Muschamp stays or, far more likely, we’re greeting a new coach in several weeks, this recruiting class will finish strong and end of being a respectable group. The two running backs in North Carolina sure do like the Gators.

  2. I can see Harris leading the Gators for the next few years, but if Driskel isn’t willing to change positions (maybe TE), I believe he will be gone along with Mornhinweg. But people seem to think Will Grier is going to stay; I think he will also leave if he is not the starter. Why would he want to sit for 2 or 3 years behind Harris when he can go somewhere else and start? I think our QB situation will be hurting after this season when it comes to depth. I wish Foley would tell WM to let Roper run the offense and back completely off. Then lets see what happens.

  3. Zach, why does it seem like QB Player of the Year in high school is the high school equivalent of the Heisman as predictors of success at the next level? Heisman trophy winners often, but not always, fail to live up to hype as NFL players just as High School QB Players of the Year seem to fail especially at Florida and in general? Is it because they produce stats against bad competition and/or don’t win? Shouldn’t premium on winning, accuracy, decision making be higher than physical skills? See Jeff Driskel, John Brantley, hopefully not Will Grier, Mitch Mustain, Brock Berlin, Jimmy Clausen, Todd Marinovich, Ron Powlus, Ryan Perrilloux, Garrett Gilbert, Max Browne. Chris Leak seem to be exception for Florida, there are few others.

  4. Zach-you know I love you like a play cousin but I think you’ve got the Derrick Dillon thing wrong. I’ve heard absoultely nothing to suggest wavering or that he even has been to other schools. I know its stil early but he seems extremely solid to UF. You forgot to mention Big George Brown, who seems to be taking over the title as class spokesman. He’s maintained his pledge to the Gators & is about as rock solid as Quincy Wilson & VHIII were when they were being recruited. He’s working hard on Byron Cowart, Cece Jefferson, and Jefferey Holland. Let’s hope his hard work pays off but I still think if Treon plays well this weekend you’ll see some guys switching or at least changing their tunes. GO GATORS!!!

  5. Thanks for the info Zach, its appreciated. I haven’t heard anything about Adam Lane? Is he hurt or what; he did pretty good in Spring ball and looked like he could get some playing time. Second item, the current staff will be recruiting for a spread offense, but what happens if we get a Coach with a different system?
    Thank again,
    Bob

  6. Great read Zack. A couple quick questions:

    1) Didn’t Mike Farrell say that he always thinks that termination would be better for recruiting purposes in your interview a couple weeks ago?

    2) How effective is it to have Muschamp going and recruiting when the presumption is that he is a dead man walking and there are rumors he will reunite with one of our chief rivals as a DC, most notably Jimbo? Is it really a good idea to be putting him in front of recruits if that’s the case?

    3) UF’s class is currently #69 on Rivals. Has a class been this lowly regarded in the modern day history of the program?

  7. YSC- I’m guessing you are talking about just qbs? (as your post lists all qbs). Only a handful of non qbs habe won the heisman in the past 15 years so not really accurate to compare the high school AA qb flops to hesiman flops. But with qbs in general ..That is not surprising. The nfl has the same problem but it’s not just heisman trophy winners – the majority of high caliber qbs coming out of college don’t become successful/winning qbs in the nfl. And the nfl has no restrictions on scouting time or have any issues with budgets – unlike college coaches. So, if the nfl cannot scout and draft qbs very well it’s not surprising colleges do a poor job as well.

  8. MSGator Don’t believe rumors on the internet. There is zero chance that anyone, including Fisher, has talked to Muschamp about going anywhere. First of all, Muschamp would not take the job, even if offered, secondly, it would not be offered. You don’t hire the former head coach of your biggest rival, it doesn’t happen. An assistant, yes. FSU did hire Mickey Andrews, who was an assistant at Florida, but that’s as far as you would go. Don’t believe something someone at a bar said, which is about as credible as the report of Muschamp being the defensive coordinator at FSU gets. Muschamp hasn’t even been fired yet. Let’s at least wait until then.

  9. Uh, that’s why I said it was a rumor. For kicks and giggles though here’s another similar one that was published:

    http://www.fitsnews.com/2014/09/24/sources-gamecocks-eyeing-will-muschamp/

    What would possibly make anybody believe he won’t take the best DC job offer he can get regardless of where it is? The made up Gator roots? Let’s see, he played at UGA, coached at LSU, coached for Saban, coached at Auburn, and was head coach in waiting at Texas. So, yeah I think he will take the best offer out there based on his history.

    Now, anybody care to put down the Kool-Aid long enough to address the other two substantiated points I raised? The head of the most respected recruiting service in the country said he should be let go sooner than later for recruiting purposes and we are #69 in the country in recruiting. Those aren’t debatable, and they aren’t good.

  10. Dustin, Until there is a new coach, UF is going to get killed in recruiting. Things can change fairly quickly though. Guys like Fisher at FSU and Jones at Tennessee have proven that you can sell a dream without having great results on the field. That can only go so far, if Jones doesn’t start winning next year his sales pitch will grow stale. Fisher on the other hand has been prophetic in telling kids to take a chance on FSU. Muschamp lacks credibility right now, hence to dreadful recruiting relative to what’s expected at UF.
    The good news is that FSU is not getting everyone, even if it seems like it. There are still great players waiting and hoping UF gives them a reason to choose them. FSU is filling up, they can’t take everyone, so it’s not too late. As seen last night with true freshmen Dalvin Cook, Ermon Lane, and Travis Rudolph, the right players can quickly turn around UF’s prospects. It’s not time yet to throw in the towel.

  11. Fair enough aux, I’m far from throwing in the towel, I have confidence that this can be turned around, probably fairly quickly, but I am a Gator fan, not to be confused with a Will Muschamp fan. That distinction has a tendency to get lost for some reason.

    I think the right thing for the Gators is to let him go now, make Durkin the interim guy, send him and Trob out (two of our top recruiters) under the theory that they are likely to be retained given how good they are at recruiting and since their unit(s) have been as good as we’ve got. I’d probably send Sommers out too since Ivey is probably our most crucial target and he is the prime recruiter. Plus he has been an improvement over Davis. IF memory serves that is a pretty reasonable facsimile of what we did with Strong post-Zook. That seemed to be Farrell’s take too, and I was wondering what Zack’s was.

    I am also legitimately curious as to whether a UF class has EVER been ranked 69th in the country. I don’t like the growing trend of pretending that this stuff isn’t happening/putting lipstick on the pig. That’s how a top 5 program drops into obscurity. I’ve seen it theorized that the season would look different if we had stopped LSU on 3rd and 25. Well it would also look different if delay of game was called against UK or Tennessee. You can make the argument that we have on untainted win in our last 13 games against the worst FBS team in the country. It is preposterous that Gator Nation is okay with that.

  12. I’m sure Coach Boom was throwing up in his mouth at the site of Cook running thru the Cards defense, Rudolph catching long TD passes, Gerald Christian catching touchdowns, and Lane also catching a TD pass. ALL former strong Gator leans, commits, or players (Christian) at one point but playing for felon state. Just hope that is some of the guys decide to come to UF that they can be part of the resurgence of the program. GO GATORS!

  13. You don’t send anyone out. All the coaches should be fired, they have been part of developing a losing culture at UF. Also, no coach worth having is going to come if he’s told that he needs to keep anyone on the present staff. Let him choose his own staff. The present staff should be fired as quickly as possible so they can prepare a new job search. Maybe the new coach has a connection with someone from the old staff and will hire him. This is not like when Bobby Bowden was eased out at FSU, there was a coach in waiting on the staff. get rid of them all, they all are to blame for the wretched state of UF’s program.

  14. ntcrze: They WILL all be let go in due time(although I don’t think they’re ALL incompetent), but you don’t fire them ALL with a month to go in the season. Who’s gonna coach the team, a bunch of chemistry professors?
    I AM in favor of firing Will Monday if the GA game is another debacle, just to quiet down the noise. The asst. coaches remaining(you hope) can still be ambassadors for the school on the recruiting trail, knowing UF is still paying them, and that they have at least a chance of being retained by the new coach. You appoint Durkin(probably, due to seniority) or Roper interim HC and play out the rest of this disastrous season. The new guy will clean house or retain as he sees fit.

  15. After seeing this offense regress and reading the quotes, I cannot see giving Roper the interim job. Give it to Durkin, just like they did with Strong for the bowl game in 2004. Doubt he will keep the DC job but he can say with a straight face that he deserves a look.

  16. Roper’s offense at Duke involved a lot of motion and fast pace. Obviously, Florida players as a group have struggled picking up all the plays and responsibilities that is involved. If a few players are missing assignments, this will throw a wrench in the works. I believe this is happening and therefore, there is no fast pace offense involved. Remember, the majority of these players are not Roper’s recruits. If a decoy (2nd or 3rd option isn’t selling his route or a RB doesn’t pick up a rusher, then the play often blows up. I hope that the change in QB will improve things. I hope Harris knows better to throw the ball away as oppose to running out of bounds and take a 5 yard loss.(like Driskel) 2nd and 10 is obviously more manageable than 2nd and 15. I wouldn’t put too much stock in the stars of these recruits–I believe having more intelligence in the huddle as oppose to physical gifts is every bit as important. Duke didn’t have many 4 or 5 star football athletes but were very successful just the same.

  17. Very successful run game (very surprised UGA didn’t overload the box on EVERY down)…obviously we won’t be able to do that week after week. Nonetheless, it’s GREAT to see our guys smiling and having fun! LUV UF!

  18. Aux2 I completely agree with your post! We will get our share as there are great recruits waiting for a reason to choose UF (including some not known to be on our radar at the moment)…I believe the coaching change will bring forth several who would like to see new life injected into the program by way of a offensive minded general with a proven system. I have wanted and still want Bobby Petrino. Foley liked him before, he knows the SEC and has enjoyed success in it, recruits well in Florida, great talent evaluator and developer (especially QBs), keeps a great defense, and most importantly, there is a very high probability the team would become relevant again in his 1st season. I know many can’t stand to forgive an imperfect person but I do not have that problem. You want a home run hire…there he is. LUV UF!

  19. Treon seems to have a calming and confident nature around him. If he can develop and grow in SEC skills, take care of the ball. Things could change here at UF. Lets see how he progresses next week. Teams have been known to turn things around when they have a good leader.
    -GG

  20. Now that the gators have finally performed up to the expectations of the preseason, it will be interesting to see if any of the big names, Ivey, Cowart, Jefferson, etc., will finally say yes now and not wait any longer. UF should be favored in all it’s games except FSU and there’s a chance that Missouri could lose acouple of more SEC games. I mean, absolutely no one expected UF to beat Georgia, much less pound them. I think UF could even beat FSU, but I don’t see anyone beating Winston,so that’s probably a pipe dream.
    I wouldn’t say 7-4 is a lock yet, after all the team that beat Georgia didn’t exist before, but if UF finishes 7-4 that leaves a dilemma for Foley. Foley loves Muschamp and beating Georgia is huge, but is 7-4 and again t winning the East enough to retain Muschamp? I’m sure recruits are wondering the same thing, but it’d sure be a great thing if even one of the big boys on the board went ahead and said yes to UF now.

  21. Not here to say “I told you so”, just to remind you that this kid Treon Harris’s appearance in the line up changes the mentality of his teammates. The gators are a different Team when he is in the game. for those of you who would say he didn’t do anything to change the game (on the field), well you are making my point. His mere presents is the game changer, His teammates see him as a winner. Driskell had lot the confidence of his Team. If you don’t think so, look at the fact that Driskell could have handed the ball off 50 – 60 times but would the results have been the same. Not let us not be fooled that we can Win the remainder of the games “JUST” handing the ball off, now you really have to turn the KID loose on Vandy and South
    Carolina and get ready to take out those SEMI HOSE. GO GATORS!!!!

  22. To claim that you ‘know’ what made the difference in how they played is just that, your claim. Reality could well be very different from your claim.
    And if your claim is true, does that mean that the ugly head of racism controls who goes on the field? Or that the inmates are now running the asylum? Neither would be good for the team, so I’ll choose to not buy into your claim.
    The ‘TEAM’ should practice and play just as hard, no matter who the QB is. IF receivers drop balls and the OL fails to do their jobs on purpose to lose games and therefore to force a QB change, then the program is certainly doomed IMOHO.
    I’m just not going to buy into that kind of crap…..