Imagine that, Muschamp brings in better offense

14
1180
"It's all a confidence thing," South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley said. "Confidence in the game plan, confidence in what we're starting off with. You can definitely see that." [The Associated Press]

Like all opposing head coaches who enter the field at the start of the game, the one from South Carolina will be booed today. Heck, the guy they named this field after was even booed when he came out of the visiting locker room.

The boos may be a little louder today for Will Muschamp for all of the wrong reasons. There certainly are Florida fans who point to him as the beginning of this offensive malaise that is nearing a decade at UF.

They think of Muschamp and all they can see is Georgia Southern, one of the most embarrassing losses in school history. They see the end of the bowl streak, a 4-8 season they didn’t think was possible. Even in his best year, they see the numbing loss in the Sugar Bowl to Charlie Strong that spoiled it.

And so some will boo a little louder.

Forget that he grew up in Gainesville and played high school ball at Oak Hall. There were (and are) even conspiracy theorists who believe he was a Georgia mole sent to UF to bring the program down.

Ironically, he brings a team to Gainesville today that has it going on offensively. That should make you want to boo even louder.

In its last six quarters, South Carolina has scored 66 points in two wins. You remember those days.

“Early in the year, we were very inconsistent as a football team and we missed some opportunities down the field,” Muschamp said. “And for whatever reason we didn’t hit those.

“Last two games we have. It hasn’t always been pretty, but it’s always effective when you win.”

And Muschamp is winning at South Carolina, not big like his predecessor Steve Spurrier, but enough. I’ve said it before that he is in a perfect place.

The big story in Columbia, South Carolina is that a win in The Swamp on Saturday would make the Gamecocks bowl eligible for the third straight year, something only Spurrier has done at the school.

And a victory over the Gators would mean a second straight winning season in the SEC, something that has happened only a couple of times there.

See what I mean about a perfect fit?

Here’s the thing — I always thought he was a perfect fit here. It’s just that Florida is different and you don’t get a long leash. The disaster of 2013 had the wolves at the door a year after he was SEC coach of the year. It pained Jeremy Foley to fire Muschamp when the recruiting environment got too toxic.

As we know, Muschamp’s downfall was offense — more specifically hiring offensive coordinators. And he didn’t help things by putting a governor on each one.

At SEC Media Days in July, Muschamp said he finally understands that he is a good defensive coach and special teams coach and needs to leave the offense alone. At Florida, he too often protected his defense with conservative offensive calls (Florida’s average national offensive rank under Muschamp was 105th).

But let me get back to something I said earlier. Muschamp is not to blame for Florida’s quarterback drought. He signed Jeff Driskel, who is in the NFL. Jacoby Brissett, NFL. Will Grier, who will be in the NFL, and legend has it that if he had not been fired in 2014 he would have brought Lamar Jackson to Florida.

Just this week, Muschamp said that if Grier had not suffered a weightlifting injury as a freshman, he’d still be coaching at Florida.

(Asked about Florida’s quarterback issues, Muschamp responded, “I’m the head coach at South Carolina. Ask Dan. Next question. I got asked that question a lot. I hit my quota.”)

I guess the point of this is that the Muschamp who will be booed onto the field has grown as a head coach and might have done the same thing if he had been given more time at Florida.

But you can go crazy thinking about the what ifs.

Instead, today you get to experience the what is — Florida needing to slow down a potent Will Muschamp quarterback.

Who saw that coming?

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at pat.dooley@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

14 COMMENTS

  1. The “behind the scenes” at UF a complete dumpster fire when Muschamp was hired. It appeared to be a homerun bure when we stole him away from TX. Unfortunately for us, he hadn’t yet learned to delegate. Any time an assistant coach is hired you’re taking that gamble. Oh well, both parties have moved on and appear to have arrows pointing upwards. C’mon Gators…lets knock some feathers off those chickens today!!

  2. Foley’s coaching hiring downfall was always choosing coaches who didn’t have the personal skills to run a whole big league program. Zook, Muschamp and MacElwain all had been “around” big league programs, but were eternal lieutenants, not program generals. Foley himself had never been anywhere, being just from the UF ticket office, he didn’t possess big league hiring discernment! As a AD you have to be able to interview and discern what kind of fellow or lady your speaking to:
    (1) Zook, He had already been demoted by OHBC. I got to speak with him at a booster meeting right after he had been hired…on the way home, my wife asked “what do you think” and I replied “a very nice man with much enthusiasm, BUT he’s not a RE LEE Leader, so I don’t see him lasting”.
    (2) Muschamp, He’s full of enthusiasm…that’s all.
    (3) McElwain, Come on, he showed up in flip flops, that’s all I needed to know.
    All three were “nice guys”, full of enthusiasm, but had no management skills. That’s why many blame all of the root causes of our today issues on Foley. No body will ever believe that President Machen didn’t actual hire Meyer. The two were documented close.

    • Not including Urban Meyer, all these coaches were hired by Foley.

      Billy Donovan, basketball – 2 National Championships
      Rhonda Faehn, gymnastics – 3 National Championships
      Becky Burleigh, soccer – 1 National Championships
      Mike Holloway, track and field – 8 National Championships
      Kevin O’Sullivan, baseball – 1 National Championship
      Roland Thornqvist, women’s tennis – 4 National Championships
      Gregg Troy, swimming and diving – 1 National Championship
      Tim Walton, softball – 2 National Championships

      During his tenure at UF, 92 percent of student-athletes graduate. Enough said.

  3. Interesting comment about legend having it that Lamar Jackson would have been a Gator had Muschamp not been fired when he was.

    Which only begs the question, had that actually happened, would we be asking, “Lamar who?” right now?

  4. This article is so weird I feel like maybe it was written from the upside down world from Stranger Things. In fact, only a couple weeks ago those South Carolina fans who supposedly love MushyMush so much were booing him mercilessly after yet another inexplicable home loss to a team they expected to beat. That was the same game, I believe, where the TE for the other team mocked the invincible “Mushmaster” defense with the comment, “They had no idea what they were doing.”

    I will say MushyMush seemed to have learned one lesson. When he got booed here he tried to hide behind his little boy– “My son felt so bad when he heard people booing me” and if anything ever revealed his true character it was that. But in the article about the South Carolina fans– who love him so much– booing him, instead of hiding behind a little boy he just said, “It comes with the territory.” So, at least he finally realizes that when he does a terrible job, boos will be showered down on him. I am sure he can wipe his tears with hundred dollar bill from the “Foley Fund” he is still getting paid even though he doesn’t work here anymore.

    No doubt those South Carolina fans– who love him, remember?– will throw a parade and carry him through town on their shoulders after they get destroyed by Clemson again. Because in the world of the upside down, people love losing to their rivals!

  5. OK the newspaper feels like it has to write about a kid that is a below average head coach from gainesville. 22 times a year? let it go, please. In Sarasota, we have the FSU guy, taggart he is from palmetto, 10 miles away. but no one writes about him to this extent in the local newspaper. ne ran usf for a while, struggled, got better, unlike muschamp who peaked in 2007? as auburn’s defensive coordinator.

    Lets talk about the gators instead. will our defensive backs reclaim the title of dbu they gave away against Georgia? will the offensive line do better than 1.6 seconds per throw? do we need to go to a deep shotgun on passing downs? champs a nice guy and all that, but when you are being paid $675,000 a year for screwing up something, can we just drop the absurdity of praising someone 15 times for once or twice giving the local newspaper a scoop?