The year before he came to Florida as the offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis called the shots for the most productive offense in the National Football League with a quarterback (Matt Cassell) who never started a game in college.
The year before he came to Florida as the offensive coordinator, Brent Pease ripped and shredded defenses including Georgia’s at Boise State, which went 12-1 and averaged 44.2 points per game in a 12-1 season.
The year before he came to Florida as the offensive coordinator, Kurt Roper directed a Duke offense that scored at least five offensive touchdowns in nine games and produced 28 rushing touchdowns and 26 passing touchdowns.
Then they came to Florida, a place where offensive minds come to turn to mush and their former brilliance was all but forgotten.
You can point at Kansas and Notre Dame and say Charlie Weis can’t coach and you’d be right to a certain extent. He’s not head coach material. That’s obvious. But put the man in the booth where he can see the entire field and give him a free hand to call plays the way he sees fit and good things happen. Just ask Bill Bellichick. Bill won three Super Bowls with Charlie calling the plays. He hasn’t won one since.
Pease had control of the Boise offense only one year and it wasn’t his offense the Broncos were running nor was it Chris Peterson’s. It was the same offense that Dirk Koetter brought with him from Oregon in 1998. That’s the offense we expected to see at Florida, but it bore a strong resemblance to the one that Charlie Weis ran. The offense Charlie ran didn’t look anything like the one he ran in the pros.
And now there is Roper, who must be wondering what the hell he was thinking when he left Duke for Florida. Oh, the Gators do some tempo and run almost exclusively out of the shotgun, but the play calls don’t seem much different than they were the previous three years.
If there is a reason why buzzards are circling on Gale Lemerand Drive and Will Muschamp’s few remaining supporters are holding prayer vigils that his job will be spared at least until the morning after the FSU game in November, it is the fact that good offensive minds either forget everything they’ve learned when they come to Gainesville or the head ball coach micromanages everything to the point that they can’t do their job. Did these otherwise brilliant offensive minds go brain dead? Or does Muschamp have such a strong thumb on everything that the creativity in the minds of his offensive coordinators has all the oxygen squeezed out?
From a defensive standpoint, Muschamp is the real deal, but it seems that he a textbook example of The Peter Principle: promoted beyond his capabilities.
Muschamp can be brilliant as a defensive coordinator but is he head coach material? His three and a half years at Florida would make you think not. Is Muschamp like Charlie Weis in that respect: brilliant when given an offense or defense to run but incapable of orchestrating all phases of the game?
Although the Missouri loss sinks the Gators to new lows, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Florida football has been trending downward for the last season and a half and has never produced anything close to a competent offense. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We’ve had three different offensive coordinators and three different offensive line coaches in Gainesville the last three years. You can change coordinators and line coaches but the results stay the same.
All of them try to run an offense that barely resembles what they ran at their previous place of employment. All of fail miserably. The same thing is run over and over again. We hope for different results but nothing ever changes.
Call it what it is: insanity.
The expectation is that Will Muschamp will ride out the storm through the FSU game and then he will be given a nice severance package that will pad his bank account by several million dollars. Jeremy Foley has said publicly that he won’t make a coaching change until the season is over and he’s had a chance to evaluate the direction in which Muschamp has the program going.
All things considered, it would seem there is only one chance and one chance only that Muschamp can convince Foley that the program is going in the right direction and that is by cutting the umbilical cord that keeps him connected to the offense and concentrating on the defense while telling Kurt Roper to coach like his hair is on fire. Give Roper the keys and tell him to drive like a crazy man. It might work so it’s worth a shot.
But even that might not be enough to save Muschamp’s job. We might be past the point of no return. Still, it would be worth a try because it might be a good enough audition to help some athletic director decide at a future date if Muschamp’s head coaching career can be salvaged. That might be as good as it gets for whatever is left of the Will Muschamp era at Florida.
1. (Tie) Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 SEC): Another first for the Bulldogs. Last week was their first ever as #1 nationally. This is the first week they’ve ever been #1 two straight weeks. The streak will stretch to three this week at Kentucky, another pad the Heisman stats game for Dak Prescott.
1. (Tie) Ole Miss (7-0, 4-0 SEC): The Ole Miss defense is the best in the country and as long as Bo Wallace is throwing the ball to the people whose shirts are the same color as his, the Rebels are going to win games. They travel to LSU Saturday night.
3. Alabama (7-0, 3-1 SEC): You see what happens when you piss off Nick Saban? A week after everyone questioned Nick and all things Bama, the Crimson Tide took Texas A&M behind the woodshed and gave a merciful, 59-0 beating. Merciful because it could have been worse if Nick hadn’t called off the dogs midway through the third quarter. Tennessee is next.
5. LSU (6-2, 2-2 SEC): All that young talent is starting to figure out how to play in the SEC. That isn’t going to get the Tigers into the playoffs this year, but it’s a shot across the bow to the rest of the league that paybacks will be hell next year. The Tigers are bowl-eligible and play host to third-ranked Ole Miss Saturday night.
6. Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC): Georgia is good enough to win most of the games remaining on the schedule as long as it wins the turnover battle. Arkansas paid a price for four turnovers. Georgia can pretty much wrap up the SEC East by beating Florida in two weeks.
7. Texas A&M (5-3, 2-3 SEC): Life after Johnny Football is proving to be a real bitch for the Aggies, who got skunked to the tune of 59-0 by Alabama. Kenny Hill can throw the ball like Johnny Football, but he can’t run it and that has plenty to do with the Aggies’ downturn in fortunes. They get an off week before they play non-conference Louisiana-Monroe.
8. Arkansas (3-4, 0-4 SEC): The Hogs have lost 16 straight SEC games over three years and three in a row this year. They get a break this week with non-conference UAB, which will put them within two games of a bowl bid.
9. Missouri (5-2, 2-1 SEC): Missouri’s offense is more dreadful than Florida’s but the Tigers are 5-2 and they only have one SEC loss. Go figure. Maty Mauk is making a case for worst quarterback in the SEC.
10. Kentucky (5-2, 2-2 SEC): The Wildcats got some comeuppance at Tiger Stadium Saturday night when they discovered their young guys aren’t as good as LSU’s young guys. Things get worse this week. Mississippi State comes to town.
11. Florida (3-3, 2-3 SEC): Jeremy Foley has said he won’t make any changes at the top of the Florida program until the season is over. If he chooses to amend that decision, this would be the perfect time. It’s an off week for the highly dysfunctional Gators.
12. South Carolina (4-3, 2-3 SEC): The Gamecocks broke their two-game losing streak by beating D1AA Furman, which ran for 211 yards against what has to be the worst defense in the SEC. Steve Spurrier needs a new defensive coordinator. There is a distinct possibility that Will Muschamp will be available.
13. Tennessee (3-4, 0-3 SEC): The Vols ran for ZERO yards against Ole Miss. They might get less than that this week when Alabama comes to town. After that there are four games against the SEC East to pad the stat line.
14. Vanderbilt (2-5, 0-4 SEC): Vanderbilt’s only wins are against dreadful UMass and a one-point squeaker over D1AA Charleston Southern. Their one-game winning streak will come to an end this week at Missouri.
3. Big Ten
4. Big 12
5. Notre Dame
The in crowd:
1. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State: He had an off week to rest up for Kentucky on the road. He is the most productive player in the country to this point of the season with 1,478 passing yards for 14 touchdowns and 576 rushing yards for another eight.
2. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin: Gordon and Wisconsin had the week off. You can almost pencil him in for 200 yards against Maryland Saturday. For the season he’s averaging 7.9 yards per carry with 1,046 yards and 13 touchdowns with at least 140 yards in five of Wisconsin’s six games.
3. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Against Washington, Mariota threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns. His season stats are 1,957 passing yards with 19 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He has also carried the ball for 289 yards and five touchdowns.
4. Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss: He got off to a shaky start against Tennessee, then caught fire and torched the Vols the rest of the way Saturday night, throwing for 199 yards, two touchdowns and without a pick. For the season he has 17 touchdown passes and 1,899 passing yards. He’s gone three straight games without throwing the ball to the other guys.
5. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: His Heisman chances are at the mercy of Blake Sims. If Sims throws the ball his way, he will catch it and make plays. For the season he has 62 catches for 907 yards and seven touchdowns, 8-140 and two touchdowns against the Aggies Saturday.
The out crowd:
(1) Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia (still suspended); (2) Jameis Winston, QB Florida State (brain jammed in neutral); (3) Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn; (4) Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska; (5) Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor.
Should Jeremy Foley go ahead and make a coaching change now or should he allow the season to play out, giving Will Muschamp five games to redeem himself?
Joe Bonamassa is one of the world’s most prolific blues artists. Only 37 years old, he’s already produced 24 albums, 11 in the studio, 11 live and two collaborations. His music is more in tune with John Mayall, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton than the blues from the Mississippi Delta, but as you can hear in today’s music from his 2013 album “Tour de Force: Live from the Shepherd’s Bush Empire” he does a brilliant rendition of the B.B. King classic “Chains and Things.” Bonamassa will be playing in Florida in December: Orlando (12/16); Jacksonville (12/17); Hollywood (12/18) and Fort Myers (12/20). If you’re close by it’s a show you don’t want to miss.