A predictable rant


You could almost see it coming, that mini-meltdown Florida coach Will Muschamp had after the Gators’ final preseason scrimmage Wednesday.

This is what happens at the end of camp, when a coach feels the need to get the attention of a team that has pretty much been hearing nothing but good things about it for weeks. Nothing like a little buzz kill to get everyone refocused and back to reality with the season about to start.

When Steve Spurrier was at Florida, he used to get on the media boys occasionally if he felt there were too many positive stories coming out about the Gators. He feared his players would believe everything they were reading and grow complacent. He said that had been a big problem at UF in the past, when the great expectations were never reached, including when Spurrier was playing for the Gators.

I think this is where Muschamp was at heading into that final scrimmage. Up until that point, almost all camp headlines were positive (as were most of the quotes from Muschamp). John Brantley is on fire, the offense is clicking, the defensive line is dominant, the offensive line has come around, the offense is game ready … and on and on and on.

I think Mushcamp was starting to sense that the players were starting to almost feel too good about themselves and might lose their edge, their focus. Maybe he felt it was time to grab the Gators by the shoulder pads and shake some sense into them — which he apparently did with his post-scrimmage comments Wednesday night.

Here’s another thing that I think irked Muschamp a little bit: information leaking that he did not want out there, like the revelation last week that Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps and Trey Burton were lining up at quarterback in the Wildcat formation.

Muschamp said before the start of camp that UF football would have one voice — his. That voice spoke loud and clear Wednesday night, telling the Gators it’s time to get serious, time to get focused, time to stoke the competitive fire because the season is here now.


  1. I think this article is way off. If he had come out ranting about their performance as a whole, I think this theory may have held water. However, he specifically said the vast majority of the guys did what they were supposed to do and it was a select few players he was upset with. I think he was genuinely upset at the lack of effort of a few players.

  2. The coaches should have told all the player exactly what they are allowed to say and not allowed to say about what they are doing in practice. If a player said they were in the wildcat, it’s the coaches fault for not telling them to keep it a secret.

  3. DeNiro-

    I think if you’ve been a football player at a powerhouse school for more than 30 seconds, you already probably know that talking about trick plays with the press and what goes on in a closed practice is off limits.

    Nobody’s ever specifically told me I couldn’t defecate in our conference room at my office during a meeting, but common sense tells me it’s a bad idea.

  4. I was wondering when something like this going to come out. From everything I have read so far, I forgot we were a 8-5 team last year and thought we were returning a veteran team. I realize that coach was talking about some players and not the majority, however we really wont know what we have until we play Tenn. I am more excited about this season than when Urb took over in 2005. Its going to be a good year and we will win some games that the so called “experts” expect us to fall.

  5. We are all just getting a little testy arent we? I mean we are the Gator Nation tht just experienced an incrediblr 6 year run!!! 2 National Championships and almost a 3rd in 6 years!!!!!!! Tim Tebow etc…
    Got to put this in perspective……This is ” practice….not a game….practice!
    I mean Practice, not a game….practice!!!
    Practice……Lets see how we feel after game one!!!
    Prediction…No snaps over JB’s head the whole game, No having the QB almost getting crushed while falling on the ball over his head…
    In addition…we will be able to kick field goals…..because we have a kicker and C Rainey is back in the lineup….
    I think this is going to be an explosive offense that is going to be fun to watch by game 3, and the D is going to be really there!
    In summary I like a coash with High expections because he knows what Great looks like and that is what he is shooting for……
    Prediction…..10-3 and we win the close ones this year..
    Go Gators…
    Gator Bob in Jupiter, Florida
    Its practice!!!

  6. Unless I am mistaken the issue is mental not related to effort etc. Waking up the team is the idea here and I hope that it works quickly. Team leadership will be important here especially at the QB and linebacker positions.

  7. I can understand coaches like Muschamp saying they want to be the only voice for their team.

    What I can’t understand is why sportswriters go ahead anyway and get comments from players and put them out in the media and cause the coaches to get upset at their players.

  8. i believe this is Muschamp’s way of getting his team’s attention as they prepare for their first game. He probably doesn’t want any letdowns. First game is against FAU. Also I think he’s instilling the right attitude. Some of the guys from last year’s team talked about how people thought they could just put on the uni and expect to be great. When the Gators lost Tebow, they lost a guy who brought that championship attitude to everything. Now this group has to learn what it takes to be a good team. They obviously lost some of that edge last season. Time for Muschamp to teach it to them again.

  9. Matt—
    You are talking common sense. And some of these knuckleheads have none of that. They need to be told that they are not to talk about any plays to the media.

    I also think coaches do a bad job of coaching punt blocks. If you block a punt, your players should be taught to NEVER just jump on the ball and ALWAYS try to pick it up and run. Because even if the OTHER team jumps on it, you still get the ball right there. So there is NO reason to jump on the ball, it’s not like a fumble. Yet over and over you see it happen, most recently Arkansas/Ohio State…and it would have won the game for Arkansas.

    I wish I was employed as a common sense coach to teach the things that the coaches don’t seem to think about.

  10. We have to keep in mind, this is a very young team. So, Muschamp has to keep the focused and one of the best ways to do that is threaten to sit them down, especially when they are a progressing and starting to feel like they have things figured out! Young players have a tendacy to think the hard part is over, once camp ends and they often lose their intensity! I like the fire I see in Muschamp! One of the most effective ways to get your troops to fight hard, in war, is to scare the hell out of them, with a dose of reality! It fires up the ole Adrenal Glands whe one becomes afraid! Cant wait for 9/3! Just have to remember, we wont see much! I suspect they will concentrate on fundamentals, finding out which one of our receivers has game, and just running a lot of basic plays, even against Tenn.!

  11. I love the Gatas as much as anyone one. But wake up our team is pretty much brandnew. And we don’t have depth on the O-line. No chance we do anything big this year and I don’t think next year either. But if Weiss stays with his son for 4 years watch out for Back to Back Champs in 2013-2014

  12. if theres any worries on the team its the secondary….the offense will be fine….brantley will do alot better then last year…..its going to be exciting to see how florida comes out and plays the first game…..but we all know the season really doesnt start til SEC play starts…and that is 9-17-11…if florida loses to tennessee in the swamp…it will be a very long year for the gator nation….GO GATORS..ITS TIME

  13. Brantley beats all other QBs in practice….IN PRACTICE !! He beats freshmen
    newbies Driskal & Brisset. In any real play the onrushers are trying to smash
    the QB & he must think fast & rely on his ad-lib athleticism= 10%…20%….
    … 30% … etc. None of that can come from Brantley …. better plays are not
    just “allowed” by the opposing defenses. Therefore, real plays will come from our 2 freshmen …. unless coaches suffer more paralysis with yanking JB.

    Can the OL spring Demps & Rainey ? Can DL stuff the run ? Can DL sack or hurry QB ? These are things best gator teams have done.

  14. I’m glad to hear that Muschamp is setting the bar high for the Gators when it comes to preparation and effort. Their young and they need discipline. The national sportswriters are trying to throw this team under the bus this year. I think Gators are going to be a lot better than most think. It comes down to whether Brantley can be the man at QB. You know the defense is solid, but the offense needs balance and Brantley needs to be consistant. This years offense is much better suited for Brantley’s skills and as long as they stay healthy on offense they’ll make some noise in the SEC this year. There’s still a ton of talent in Gainesville.

  15. IF they stay focused and healthy, they will win the SEC and a national championship. I know the talking heads think it’s insane. But if you go over the last 4 years recruiting (according to any of the big three ranking services), the Gators are the most talented team in CFB. Take a look for yourself!

  16. I am an alumni who was a journalism student at Florida during Steve Spurrier’s final two playing years. Please let me make some observations about this story:

    1. We went 9-2 in 1966 and it had nothing to do with good press clippings.

    2. We lost to Georgia — we got clobbered — because the offensive line could not protect Spurrier. We lost to Miami because of a linebacker for the Hurricanes by the name of Ted Hendricks.

    3. Harmon Wages could have neutralized the great Georgia rush by playing in the backfield with Spurrier. But he was a selfish SOB and insisted on being a quarterback. Ray Graves did not have balls enough to not let the Jacsonville alumni dictate his lineup.

    4. Spurrier himself got a lot of those clipping he later protested so much about. He beat out a quarterback from Purdue by the name of Bob Griese for the Heisman Trophy.

  17. Let’s see…Rainey, Demps, and Burton in the backfield at various times. The wildcat formation uses running backs as quarterbacks. Any opposing coach with any vision would plan for a wildcat with these guys.
    What would really be cool would be if Burton took the snap with Rainey or Demps beside him…lot of options there! The first time Florida runs the wildcat it would be open knowledge anyway! I don’t see the big deal except that Muschamp should be the mouthpiece for the team.
    The big scoop is a great temptation for writers everywhere and is to be expected