I remember calling a good friend 10 years ago on October 24, 2004 and after the Florida Gators lost to an SEC winless Mississippi State team and telling that friend that I thought it was over for Zook as the head coach at Florida. I was told by that friend that had some significant connection to the situation that it was indeed bleak but that things were made clear late the week before. None of that mattered, my instincts were right and Zook was let go on the Monday following that game.
Ten years later it appears the same thing will or should happen.
I came into the season saying the same thing that Will Muschamp has said since the end of the last season. He and they have to prove it this year. He knows what would come if they didn’t, they know what would come if they didn’t, we all knew what we could come if they didn’t improve a great deal in year four.
We are a little more than halfway through the football season and the things that have gone wrong for this team in year one through three are the same things that are going wrong in year four.
We know that Will Muschamp is a good to great defensive coordinator, and despite the fact that his defense has had some crazy screw ups in this young season, they have made adjustments to cure those. His defenses have been top ten every year to finish the season before this one. Defense isn’t the problem, we know that.
My thought process all along with this hire and going through the ridiculously bad offensive play for three and a half years is that one side of the ball would be handled, and even special teams for most of the three years before this one was good. If he just had an offense that could do something and allowed his coordinator to do it, that there might be the makings of something.
Think back to Zook, he was a defensive guy and brought in Charlie Strong, a well-respected coordinator at the time and now the head coach at Texas. But with him it was the offense that was the star, actually finishing tops in the SEC the year that Zook was fired. Mainly because he had a defense that just kept losing games for him.
So this is indeed different and Athletic Director Jeremy Foley has done everything to allow Muschamp enough slack to try and get this offense in gear. Three different coordinators were brought in, all with their own accolades, and to this point, midway through the fourth season, none of it has helped.
I don’t know if they have any answers, the problem is they don’t know of any answers.
And that is why we are here. Ten years later. With the score 32-0 with six minutes left in the third quarter and the crowd chanting “Fire Muschamp”. With the final score of 42-13 ad the offense still in shambles.
I have remained even keel on this thing through the 4-8 season, through the loss to Georgia Southern a year ago, and through the terrible start to this season.
I have been an ambassador for the 11-2 season and as I said earlier that I like the fact that Muschamp is a coach with a high degree of specialty on one side of the ball or the other.
That being said, something needs to be done now.
Even if a miracle happens and they win out against a schedule that should be winnable, the “noise in the system” as Zook used to call it, is and will be too great for this group to endure. No need looking for this miracle… this team just has no substance on offense to be consistent enough to win five games left on the schedule. With two top 10 teams among them… that would be all but impossible. All of this will be made that much more difficult as the fan base and the media continue to scrutinize every move and every play they make.
So, it appears we have finally reached the point of no return. I don’t know exactly how Foley should handle the situation, but I expect him to handle it. He said earlier in the year he isn’t in favor of in-season firings, but I don’t think he ever imagined things going quite like they have over the last couple of weeks. Indeed these Gators were favored by five points coming into this game and they lose by a final score of 42-13.
They really have nothing to point to this year either. Their two conference wins were almost losses and against teams that really aren’t good, but are getting better.
Tough decisions have to be made, who knows what timely is. Foley has to consider the welfare of the current team. This loss tonight wasn’t about effort, they lost on sloppy kick coverage and turnovers that killed them. The defense played strong, the offense had nothing to show for it. Will this team stay together without knowing and the constant heat that will be applied with a coach that the fans don’t want to be their coach any more.
These are tough times, but the Florida football program is better and bigger than this. Something has to be done.
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