The Ephesians Bartley Report: A bunch of questions

One of my strong suits professionally is that I see the big picture, devise a plan, organize around the plan and control the assets needed. My weakness is that I’m a bull in a china shop. I’m not the guy to walk in and ignore the elephant or the 300 pound go-rilla just chilling in the corner. I’m the guy in the meeting when everyone’s talking about “opportunities” asking, “Ya’ll  gonna deal with this big ass pachyderm and  monkey limiting the operation or we gonna keep singing ‘Kum Ba Ya’ (Unfortunate but true story)?” I know, I need tact but it’s why I work for myself or as a hired gun.  Yet, here we go.

The elephant, i.e., Alabama, reference refers to the simple question:  Is Muschamp the guy to return the Gators to Alabama-like dominance of the SEC East? As a Muschamp supporter and absolute lover of his defenses I honestly can’t answer yes. Some of the things he has done from a player management perspective, offensive philosophy/winning formula and obfuscation of clear issues are troubling, to say the least. Also, I despise his Nick Saban mimicry and stubborn adherence to a style that was utterly dismantled when and by Stephen Orr Spurrier when he entered he entered the league in 1990. Hell, Alabama’s offensive balance makes his paradigm look early 1800’s pre-pass. Alabama is Alabama. THIS IS FLORIDA! We have a different recruiting base and the UAA has Ethics. All that said, I think it’s way too early for the Fire Muschamp parade. The guy deserves patience as circumstances beyond his control have left him at a disadvantage such as injuries and a development lag from a program that needed mending. Florida also recruits itself but he’s proven to be a hard working and effective recruiter and has placed us back on firm footing and solid foundation. We just have “opportunities” that need to be addressed.

The “opportunities,” i.e., monkey/ go-rilla are why can’t he fix the cracks or bad blocks he is putting on that foundation. We all see them. I’m not a coach, but I have been yelled at enough by coaches to see that we have some issues originating from scheme, techniques and an obvious inability by some assistants to teach. Sorry, it’s what I see and some of it is simply unacceptable. That’s wrong. All of it is unacceptable. Here is the general list I have assembled from friends emails and text:

  • Why at mid season do we not have ANY offensive functional freshmen?  So many teams have freshmen in prominent roles achieving at high levels and we have supposedly recruited better; well at least on paper.
  • Can we not teach the art of pass blocking? Xavier Nixon is on an NFL roster. Hmmmmm: lack of talent or inability of someone to teach?
  • Why do we have a tackle struggling? Do we not provide assistance? A back chipping or simply lining up tight end to slow down speed rushers?
  • Why is Trey Burton still running the wildcat, taking valuable reps from inexperienced quarterbacks and interrupting game flow?
  • Why after two-and-a-half years are our defensive backs’ ball skills regressing or is it the concentration on holding and grabbing limiting their development?
  • Why don’t our quarterbacks release the ball with anticipation? Jeff Driskel and Tyler Murphy both wait until the receivers are coming out their breaks to throw instead of as they anticipating the break? This changes the entire location or erases throwing windows (where the receiver can and should catch the ball against a particular coverage). Is the head coach’s distain for interceptions causing this ineptitude? Growth requires time and experience both good and bad. Learning to anticipate those windows does mean occasional failures. I guess running the ball down Po Dunk State throats instead of developing this skill in real time is better for long-term offensive development? Look, we ran up such and such yards but can’t master the forward pass when needed?
  • Why after Louisville exposed our issues with middle and underneath coverage are we still rotating safeties down? Even converted corners have burn marks.
  • Did we take the three-step/90 game out of the playbook? Can we get our quarterback going and protect the O-line with easy cut blocks and throw slants, fades, turns and outs to help everyone?
  • Why do you have a freshman lining up wrong, yet your leading, best  and red hot hand is on the bench after just leading your only competent drive? Really? Really? Really?
  • Why does Muschamp keep bringing up superfluous issues/obfuscating when asked direct questions? Coach-speak or not, the issues  are seldom addressed post game or even on Monday after he’s had a chance to watch the film and grade it.




I could sit here with you rant, piss and moan but that won’t help anything.  It’s one of those losses where you have to really take everything in and evaluate your expectations with all the injuries vs. reality. OK, I’m done. No way on God’s green earth should we give up 500 yards to a backup QB and look this bad on offense.  Champ’s right.  The arrows are coming and they should. He is paid millions to take every last one of them.

Defensive evaluation:

We got our asses kicked.

Defensive line:

No interior push or presence. Decimated by injuries inside and out. Great effort by Dante Fowler but no help from Ronald Powel on the opposite side because he was out with an injury.


See above. With no interior protection, they were vulnerable and exposed (literally) and showed inability to get off blocks effectively. All I could hear in my head was Jim Vicharelli from the Philadelphia Eagles screaming PUNCH, THROW and GO watching Antonio Morrison.


Challenged and attacked. There comes a time when a team just does not care if you’re supposed to be an NFL first rounder. In fact, at this point in the year the players look forward to the challenge and relish taking you down a round or two.  Missouri started attacking early and often. We just didn’t make the plays covering or tackling. I can’t stand Cody Riggs’ ejection but it was an obvious result of leading with his helmet and that’s what they want out of football. With the new changes it’s actually better to go low than hit high. It results in painful and disastrous consequences but keeps you in the game.

Hats off to Missouri for making the plays to win. Despite the score we were not out of this game until late when the wheels came off of the wagons. This was a total program loss of COACHING SCHEMES and PLAYERS MAKING PLAYS. I don’t wanna hear about circling the wagons. We want them lined up, stripped down and fixed. We have a good young coach and team. I hope and expect — as you do —  for them to stick together, work hard and continue to compete. It ain’t over until the Dogs are neutered and FSU is crying about what could have been.

Being a Gator is always GREAT but no one ever said it would or should expect it to be easy. We’re down now and we’ve been down before but we always get up.

Thank you for your time.

Ephesians Bartley

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Ephesians Bartley
Former Gator linebacker Ephesians “Fee” Bartley defined the 1990 season for the Florida defense when he laid out LSU wide receiver Todd Kinchen near midfield on the West sideline of Florida Field. The entire crowd stood silent as Kinchen lay motionless on the turf. It wasn’t until someone shouted, “He’s alive! I can see the spit bubbles in the corner of his mouth!” that the crowd breathed a sigh of relief. An All-SEC linebacker in 1991 who spent a year in the NFL and a few more in the CFL, Bartley runs a business and tax consulting firm in Jacksonville but he’s never lost his passion for Florida football.


  1. Can’t argue. Except I still don’t see “leading with the helmet”. I saw leading with the face–which is the way it was taught since I was a Pup, and there were no face masks (unless you were playing with a broken nose, or loose teeth). The TV people, who were obviously Mizzou Grads, finally said, “Well he launched himself”. Don’t think that is part of the rule.

    Champ’s development as a HC may have actually been stalled, or retarded, by last year’s success. We will see if he can evaluate the situation, including his own part, and make the necessary adjustments.

    • I think the call sucked and struggle to find meaning or definition in it. Kid was caught in bind. I also struggle to see how helmets are not going to collide nor what your suppose to do in that situation.

      I agree that last years success might have been the worst thing for his professional development. It cemented a belief in a paradigm that’s stuck in the 60’s of cloud, dusk and limited to no vertical passing.

  2. The wildcat has been used all season with no play gaining more than inches. The total yards gained are surely in the minus. The play is used a lot near the goal line which makes the loss deflating to the players that had advanced the ball that far. Obviuously Burton is not going to throw the ball. The opponent’s defense doesn’t only rush to fill gaps, they rush to block any oputside running.
    Seriously, why do they keep running the wildcat ?

    • Not only that, it took the ball out of a warming up Taylor whom by far is the best down hill back on the Team I have seen. champ talks a big game about explosive runs yet the main guy delivering on it constantly gets yanked from the game. -Just Confused

  3. Thanks for the responses.

    I have tried to be positive about BP, but it became a real chore after that effective drive with the ball in KT’s hands, to see the ball taken out of his hands. The kinds of runs he made are also exactly what is needed to help the passing game; that and a few basic oline plays.

    I do hope that the staff realizes that there is one legitimate SEC running back, with another journeyman back who can spell him if need be. I will say that I have not given up on Jones, because I do not know if he is back to normal. In either case KT is the man to have the ball as often as he can hnadle.

  4. I’ve competed for the Gators, follow the Gators and Love the Gators and and will always love the Gators, so here’s my two cents… The first and foremost responsibility of a coach is to take a player and make him a better player, plain and simple or in this case not so simple. Now take each coach and go by each player assigned to them to see if that has been accomplished to give you a percentage of accomplishment or a POA. I understand that seems very mechanical and takes the Love of the Game out of it, but I’ve always believed with things get tough, do the math. It breaks my heart to witness what’s going on in Hog town and we will recover from this, but now we have to limit the number of causalities and believe me the injured players are just a handful of causalities there are many underlining casualties that meets the eyes. My eyes have water in them and plenty of it. NOW COME ON GATORS TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR STRIDE.