Florida’s embarrassing 42-13 homecoming loss to Missouri over the weekend looked like it could’ve been the final straw. Sitting at 3-3 with three conference games left and matchups against top 10 teams like Georgia and Florida State still left on the schedule, Muschamp’s firing seems inevitable to some.
Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley isn’t one of those. At least not yet. Foley issues a statement on Monday saying that he continues to monitor the football program’s season "as it plays out.” The Gators are technically still alive in the SEC East, but a loss next weekend to Georgia would make Muschamp 0-4 against the Bulldogs and make it more difficult for him to keep his job.
“We need to win some games,” Muschamp said. “That's the bottom line and we look forward to our preparation this week and next week getting ready for Georgia."
The statement from Foley calmed rumors of Muschamp potentially being fired this week, and the staff hit the road on Monday to continue recruiting. Muschamp said he appreciated Foley’s statement and that Florida’s athletic director also sees the improvements they’ve made to the program off the field.
“I think Jeremy sees a lot of the things that are going on in our program, and certainly a huge part of that is winning games, and that's not what we've done,” Muschamp said. “But academically, socially, all the things we've done within our program in changing the culture have been outstanding."
The on field results aren’t as good. Muschamp is 25-19 as the head coach at Florida and 15-14 in conference games. After sputtering through a 4-8 season last year that was blamed on injuries, this year’s 3-3 start comes at a bad time for Muschamp to keep his job.
The team met on Sunday afternoon to watch film and try to figure out how to correct the multiple problems that showed against Missouri.
“We went over the things we need to do to try and improve ourselves,” Will Muschamp said. “The guys are a bunch of prideful guys that certainly understand that was an embarrassing performance, coaching-wise and playing-wise. We look to improve.”
The atmosphere in The Swamp on Saturday turned the heat up on the coaching staff and team even more. Chants of “Fire Muschamp” were easy to hear throughout the second half, and the boos from the crowd showed up as early as the first quarter. For a fanbase that loves offensive excitement, Muschamp’s teams haven’t provided that in his four years.
The Florida coaches talked to the players on Sunday about handling the negativity. They want them to continue working hard and controlling what they can this week in practice. The team is spending Tuesday and Wednesday working on itself before turning some of the focus to Georgia on Thursday.
“We need to play better, that’s the bottom line,” Muschamp said. “We need to coach better. Those are the things we need to focus on: improving ourselves and finding an identity offensively in what we can do and what we can do well. And block out as much as you can. You’re going to hear it, that’s part of it playing at a place like the University of Florida. Our players understand that and we’ve just got to continue to try and improve.”
When some of the staff was back on the recruiting trail on Monday, the response from high school prospects was still positive.
“It was good,” Muschamp said. “It’s still the University of Florida. It’s a great education. We’re moving in the recruiting trail very well and signing date is in February."TAILGATER Wooden Ice Chest Giveaway