Foley still backs Muschamp

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley first voiced his support for Will Muschamp this season after the Gators dropped a home game to Vanderbilt. Two losses later, including an embarrassing home loss to Georgia Southern, Foley still supports Muschamp and will have him back as the program's head coach next season.

"I have total confidence in Coach Muschamp and have made that clear," Jeremy Foley said in an impromptu press conference before Florida's home game against Florida State on Saturday. "We've got to fix some things. When you have seasons like this, that's what you do – you evaluate, you analyze and you fix things. You don't panic. You don't put orange and blue glasses on. It's not acceptable, it's not who we are and it's not what we're about."

Foley came out with his vocal support of the Florida head coach after the loss to Vanderbilt, saying he was "1,000 percent" behind the head coach. After Florida lost to FCS opponent Georgia Southern last weekend in The Swamp, the noise started to grow about Muschamp's job security.

At the conclusion of Saturday's game, the Florida staff will have over two months to recruit and trying to hold the 2014 recruiting class together after a down season. The goal of Foley was to remove any doubt around Muschamp's security heading into the offseason.

"I don't have my head in the sand," Foley said. "No question there's a lot of noise out there, and I get that. But we wanted to make sure Will knew where we stood. That's important to Will, it's important to recruiting and it's important to our organization. It's important for our coaches to understand that things are tough and we're going to be there for him.

"The guy was 11-1 a year ago and SEC Coach of the Year. We felt strongly (weeks ago) -- we feel just as strongly today. We've had some difficult circumstances today, and that hasn't changed."

This is Foley's 22nd year as the athletic director at Florida and his 38th total year on staff in Gainesville. He has admitted to mistakes – like the Ron Zook hire – before, but he doesn't feel like the Muschamp hire is one. He has heard plenty in the last few weeks about his ego and not wanting to get rid of Muschamp because it would be admitting a mistakes, but he claims that isn't the case.

"I've heard that it's my ego speaking," Foley said. "No, it's my belief. Like I told my staff the other day, my name's not on the front door down there. I don't own this franchise. It's my job to make sure it's going in the right direction and I believe with Will it's going in that direction. If I didn't, then obviously we've made tough decisions before."

Foley fired Zook during the second half of the 2004 season with less than three years under his belt. Muschamp and Zook didn't have head coaching experience heading into the Florida job, so the comparisons have continued between the two.

Muschamp will end his third season with a worse record in Southeastern Conference games than Zook did, but Foley sees it as a different situation.

"I don't think it's apples-to-apples," Foley said. "I'm not being disrespectful to anybody. Zooker and I are friends, but it's just not apples-to-apples. It's my job to evaluate and see where the program is headed. At that point in time, I didn't think it was headed where we wanted it to be. This time, I think it's headed where we want it to be. The proof is going to be in the pudding, but I don't think it's apples-to-apples."

In the end, it comes down to winning games. If that doesn't happen, Muschamp's tenure at Florida won't last much longer. The improvement has to come on the offensive side of the ball. Foley was asked about staff changes on the offensive side and said the UF administration and staff will "begin going into it" on Sunday and Monday.

"We've got to fix that side of the ball," Foley said. "I'm not being disrespectful to anybody, but you look at some of the games we've lost, we haven't scored many points. This year or last year or what have you, that has to get fixed. And that's going to be Will's responsibility as the head football coach.

"I'll help him, support him, advise him, whatever have you. I will tell you if you ask him today, it's his biggest concern. We've got to fix that side of the ball."

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