This is what we have been faced with for the last four years. In Gainesville and with this Gator program.
It isn’t as if this 2014 Gator squad has world beaters at every position on offense and anyone they flick the ball can house it for a touchdown, but there is enough talent to beat a very talented Georgia team like a drum. They have enough talent to beat a ranked LSU team save for a drop in the end zone in the final minute.
Saturday afternoon with just over four minutes left in the game, Gator freshman quarterback Treon Harris who almost single handedly won the game on offense mostly with his legs, ran over left tackle and to the sideline for what briefly appeared to be a touchdown and a 23-10 lead. A holding penalty called the play back and three plays later the Gators lined up for a field goal that was blocked. Gamecocks football on the own 41 yard line.
South Carolina gets a pass interference call and a first down, but the Gators hold after that forcing a 4th and 10 with 2:32 on the clock and an eventual incomplete pass.
Florida decides to run some clock, needing just one first down to run the entire clock out. Three and out and a punt. After almost having two blocked punts, South Carolina decided to rush 10 this time and they got there after the Gators didn’t have enough protectors. Gamecock ball at the Florida 34-yard line and we all knew where this was headed. They score with 12 seconds left in regulation and then pull it out in overtime.
At some point close isn’t enough and the fans deserve more. We have heard that from Florida head coach Will Muschamp, he knows that winning games is the bottom line. The problem is, his way of trying to win the games isn’t getting it done.
“You get two kicks blocked with 2:30 left in the game and it costs you a football game,” Muschamp said in his post-game press conference.
The problem is, we shouldn’t even be worrying about those two kicks at the end of the game. His defense played fine during the contest limiting the Gamecocks to 10 points for all but 12 seconds of the contest. South Carolina had one of the higher scoring offenses in the league, averaging 36 points. Muschamp’s defenses over the last four years have been the reason for most of the wins.
Instead, a Gator offense that worked some kind of voodoo magic on Georgia two weeks ago and then followed it up by a pretty strong performance against Vanderbilt, reverted back to its old ways of not doing enough and this time against the worst defense in the SEC.
It all comes back to a severely defensive minded coach that doesn’t want to risk turnovers for the chance to score touchdowns. He wants to rely on the side of the ball he knows and trusts to win the games, and he hasn’t seemed to learn it takes three facets of football to go well in order to win a lot of games and championships on a consistent basis.
Muschamp intimated after the game that Treon Harris hurt his hand early and maybe that had something to do with a couple of bad passes and then their mindset to continually run the ball to win it. But Harris made some big time throws after that and showed no ill effects from the injury in those throws.
It is Muschamp’s fourth year in and you have to play with the guy that is going to give you the best chance to win, if one guy is hurt, you have to have another ready. I think Harris was that guy and wasn’t allowed to go play the game, even with his 111 rushing yards.
Florida ran the ball okay versus Vanderbilt too, but it was when they turned to the throwing game that the points started showing up. Hey didn’t score through the air, but they did make the big plays that so often times allow you the momentum to poke into the end zone.
I have been a firm believer that Muschamp doesn’t have his hands all over the offense and keeps them down. I have doubted that belief at times, but at this point, even if he isn’t he should be demanding more of a wide open get in the end zone type of offense. It has been too long for that no to be the case.
I also believe Muschamp is one of the unluckiest coaches I’ve seen. The things that happened in this game, the Missouri game , the end zone drop in the LSU game, and a couple of Georgia games in the past are just some examples of things that went wrong and cost the game.
I am also a firm believer that you sometimes make your own luck. A more progressive approach to attacking on offense can lead to more scores and not relying on one play to cost the game.
“They made the plays they had to when they needed to,” Muschamp said of the Gamecocks after the game. They also threw the ball around a bit, even with a big time contingent of runners that ran well against Florida.
“We put ourselves in a position to win, but we didn’t get it done,” he said.
That is the problem with the thinking here. You don’t want to be in a position to win at the end of the game. You want to put yourself in a position to win every play, every series, and every drive in a game. Doing that, with an excellent defense, allows you to have a field goal blocked and a punt blocked at the end of the game, and still win the game.
I think Muschamp is going to be a terrific coach down the line. When that is, I don’t know. He has to be comfortable with an offense to be able to allow them to make plays. That offense has to in turn recruit players that will make those plays (a real issue he has had). When those things happen and wherever he is when it does happen, he will turn that corner. Right here and right now, he still isn’t ready to do that.
Off the field he has seemingly done nothing but great things for this program minus some lapses in offensive skill recruiting. On the field all he can do is what he does and that is coach up the team the best way he knows. He can’t worry about all of the ‘noise in the system’ out there.
He’s the coach at Florida for at least for two more games. The media and fans are going to flood the Internet and airwaves with talk of his dismissal and at this time it appears it is absolutely inevitable.
“I am going to coach this football team and move on to the next (game),” he said
And he likely won’t be able to say that much longer.