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  • Will Muschamp, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida

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Florida Gators: Criticisms
heard by Muschamp family

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Written by Nick de la Torre, October 27, 2014, 9 Comments,
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The chants began slowly but by the time the Missouri Tigers had built a 42-0 lead over the Florida Gators, the homecoming crowd grew restless.

“Fire Muschamp!” could be heard so audibly in the stands that even television cameras picked it up and fans watching at home were treated to it as well. The chant resonated from an unlikely place. It wasn’t the student section — which was clearing out of the stands and making their way to the bars across the street — but from the alumni section. Thousands of alumni had made their way to Gainesville for homecoming and for a second consecutive year were treated to a drubbing of their alma mater.

Following the game — and in the moment — Will Muschamp maintained that he wasn’t aware of the chants coming down from the alumni section of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. He thanked the fans for their showing at Gator Growl the night before and, like so many times before, promised to get things fixed.

“Our fans have been great. I really appreciate the support. Last night the Gator Growl was outstanding. Our fans to start the game were outstanding,” he said. “We need to play better. Just keep hanging with us. We need to go to Jacksonville to get this thing fixed. That’s what we plan on doing.”

Muschamp’s relationship with Florida fans has been tumultuous, to say the least. They loved him when he came to the program as a young coach who was the head coach in waiting at Texas. His defensive style and the defenses that he put on the field allowed fans to puff their chest and point towards something to brag about in the office and to friends. They loved his passion when Florida went 11-2 in 2012 but then things turned. As the losses started piling up Muschamp told some fans they “need to get a grip” and even got into a shouting match with a fan as he left EverBank Field following a third-consecutive loss to Georgia.

Following a triple-overtime win against Kentucky and less than inspiring performances against Alabama, Tennessee, LSU and Kentucky the fans have come for blood. They want change and don’t want to wait for it to “get fixed.”

On Monday, following a bye week, Muschamp acknowledged that he has heard the disappointment of the fans being expressed. He understands that his football team is not performing on the field, that they haven’t done so in two seasons and that the product he’s putting on the field is no longer fun to watch — if watchable at all.

He’s a man and he can take the fans on social media calling for his job. He’s seen the websites pop up already talking about who will replace him. He knows how you feel but it isn’t affecting him and how he goes about his day-to-day.

“Every week is the same during the season. It’s groundhog day as far as hours, time, time spent watching film,” he said. “I’m hardly ever in my office, I’m in the staff room constantly you know constantly helping them get ready for a game. Complete bunker mentality during the season. As far as what we need to do to be successful.”

Muschamp signed up for this. He knew the expectations of the fan base. The expectations that were conceived in the 90’s when Steve Spurrier’s Fun-N-Gun changed the way football was played in the SEC. The expectations that Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow raised by winning two BCS National Championships in three seasons. He signed on the dotted line knowing full well that if he didn’t live up to those lofty expectations that this visceral reaction would rain down on him.

He explained to his team after their loss to Missouri that fans but tickets and have a right to boo; that’s their choice.

“They buy the ticket they can come boo and chant and holler and scream and start a website and all that stuff.’ If that’s what they want to do, that’s certainly their prerogative,” he said. “As a coach or a player when you come to the University of Florida or a place like this, that’s something you’ve got to accept. That’s part of it.”

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida

Carol, Jackson and Whit Muschamp look on from the field as the Gators take on Florida Atlantic in 2011. / Gator Country photo by Tim Casey

It doesn’t, however, help having to go home to your family, who hears all of those things as well. Muschamp’s wife Carol and his two sons, Jackson and Whit also hear the negativity focused at their husband and father. As the wife of a coach, Carol knows that this is part of the territory. Fans will love you when you’re winning but when you’re not; they’re going to let you hear about it. His sons, however, didn’t sign up for it and going home and explaining the things that they’re hearing about their dad may be the toughest part of the job.

“Well, you’ve got to get home and explain to your 9-year-old why they’re chanting to fire your dad,” Muschamp said.

Many believe that the writing is on the wall for Muschamp, that his fate is sealed. He’s not focusing on that, he doesn’t have the time to.

Muschamp was 0-4 as a Georgia player against Florida and he’s 0-3 against Georgia as the head coach at Florida. This week he’s trying to help his senior class — his first recruiting class at Florida — to stave off the same fate he suffered, going winless in the Florida Georgia rivalry.

A win may not quiet the fans that want him gone but a loss would be catastrophic to the team and the program. He may never be beloved in Gainesville like many thought he would be when he was announced as the head coach four years ago but he always knew that was a possibility.

“There’s some great things that come along with this job and there’s some tough deals you’ve got to deal with,” Muschamp said. “I don’t complain about any of that stuff. That’s part of the job when you come here.”

“It is what it is.”

Nick de la Torre

About Nick de la Torre

A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC

  1. oleg8rOctober 27, 2014, 4:50 pm

    I don’t exactly know what you are trying to say. Sounds like you believe that because it is UF, and Muschamp took the job it is acceptable for fans to act like asses. Is that it?

    I got news for you. Despite all the decades of mostly falling short of expectations, UF fans did not act like jerks. They did not boo the coach, and call for his immediate firing–or worse. There were plenty of times when disappointment was the mood of the day, and plenty of coaches have been fired for not meeting expectations. But, the over the top sense of entitlement that apparently gives fans, in their own fevered minds, the license to publicly rain abuse on the coach is a new phenomenon.

    Much of it is fed by the internet culture; including internet reporters.

    It is not anything to be proud of.

    • Nick de la Torre
      Nick de la TorreOctober 27, 2014, 4:53 pm

      Just providing a human element for all of the vitriol that is spewed his way. Thanks for reading.

    • Andrew Spivey
      Andrew SpiveyOctober 27, 2014, 6:21 pm

      Nick’s story has nothing to do with the internet reporters or anything else honestly. He was simply writing a story based off of what Will Muschamp said today. Please leave the cursing elsewhere.

  2. EDGATOROctober 27, 2014, 5:10 pm

    He was simply writing a story that shows how it affects a coach when he and his family are going through something like this. Like he mentioned…a human element. Nick wasn’t trying to justify anything. Do you really think people booing in a game represents all Gator fans? Nothing wrong with this article

  3. gatorbob78October 27, 2014, 7:42 pm

    Good story! I don’t boo our kids, and don’t criticize our coach during the game. Gators should be unified behind both on the field. Write the AD, write your paper, leave quietly if your mental health demands, but be a Gator while you are in the stadium!

  4. theo1918October 27, 2014, 8:31 pm

    What else can the poor guy say? Its awful that he would even have to defend this to his family, but this is the day and age we live in. listening to Gerri Spurrier say it on the doc about SOS, how Gator fans just weren’t happy with “a 2 loss season and an Orange Bowl berth” is just beyond comprehension. we wore him out and bolted the first chance he got.

    Gator fans need to remember one thing: these kids read and listen to just about everything that is out there. not just the kids we have playing here, but potential recruits as well. does anyone think an 17 or 18 year old kid wants to come play for a school where fans turn on the team? I know i wouldn’t and who can blame them?

    Is Champ in over his head? most definitely. is he gone after this season? almost certain. but the fact remains that this program will live to see another day and the more we can stand behind them, the quicker we can get this thing turned around.

    say what you want about the guy as a coach, but he has cleaned up a program that was fractured from the Meyer regime and has the kids representing the school in a way we all can be proud, regardless of the play on the field. I think he has a lot to learn as a coach, but as a person, you can’t ask for someone that done the right thing and stood by his word that he was going to do things the right way.

    look at our friends to the west and see how they are one Jameis Winston meltdown from coming apart at the seams. they are treading on thin ice and it will catch up with them. no doubt their play on the field has been impressive, but at what cost? i would be embarrassed to be a FSU fan right now.

    lets give this guy a break, get behind this team and go surprise someone. this team is not that far off, and other than the Mizzou game, have competed their hearts out on the field. they get ANY kind of offensive rhythm, i think we can sneak up on a few teams.

  5. milehighgatorOctober 28, 2014, 12:16 am

    Theo, the program has had off the field issues under this coach.. You are incorrect about that. Nick, most fans were not convinced when we went 11-2 that this was the answer long term. Dan Quinn ran the defense with Meyer’s great recruits.. Muschamp was and still is controlling the offense. An offense that has been unwatchable for 3 1/2 years.. He has now run off 3 off. Coordinators, 4+ QB’s, and many other players who have transferred. When is this nightmare going to end.. Probably in a few days. Still don’t know the reason why it’s taking this long. Seems like a real good guy, just in over his head running a major Div 1 football program..

  6. ctreshOctober 28, 2014, 9:30 am

    I hate the the guy has to go home and explain to his kids why our fans boo him at games. That has to be tough, but it’s also hard for me to feel too bad for the guy when he’ll walk away with a cool $6M if he gets fire this year. He really has not done a very good job with this team, but I do appreciate the fact that he cleaned up our program. I do feel better about our team than the one in Tally.

    Things probably will not work out for Muschamp at Florida, but him and his family will be very well off, much more so than myself, and he will certainly find another coaching job very soon. And for those of you who think the money doesn’t matter because it can’t buy happiness, uh do you live in America? Because it buys a WaveRunner. Have you ever seen a sad person on a WaveRunner? –Daniel Tosh

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/gator-walk-florida-gators-florida-football-october-12-2014-lsu-tigers-florida-gators-head-coach-will-muschamp-150x150.jpg Nick de la Torre FeatureFootball ,,,
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The chants began slowly but by the time the Missouri Tigers had built a 42-0 lead over the Florida Gators, the homecoming crowd grew restless.

“Fire Muschamp!” could be heard so audibly in the stands that even television cameras picked it up and fans watching at home were treated to it as well. The chant resonated from an unlikely place. It wasn’t the student section — which was clearing out of the stands and making their way to the bars across the street — but from the alumni section. Thousands of alumni had made their way to Gainesville for homecoming and for a second consecutive year were treated to a drubbing of their alma mater.

Following the game — and in the moment — Will Muschamp maintained that he wasn’t aware of the chants coming down from the alumni section of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. He thanked the fans for their showing at Gator Growl the night before and, like so many times before, promised to get things fixed.

“Our fans have been great. I really appreciate the support. Last night the Gator Growl was outstanding. Our fans to start the game were outstanding,” he said. “We need to play better. Just keep hanging with us. We need to go to Jacksonville to get this thing fixed. That’s what we plan on doing.”

Muschamp’s relationship with Florida fans has been tumultuous, to say the least. They loved him when he came to the program as a young coach who was the head coach in waiting at Texas. His defensive style and the defenses that he put on the field allowed fans to puff their chest and point towards something to brag about in the office and to friends. They loved his passion when Florida went 11-2 in 2012 but then things turned. As the losses started piling up Muschamp told some fans they “need to get a grip” and even got into a shouting match with a fan as he left EverBank Field following a third-consecutive loss to Georgia.

Following a triple-overtime win against Kentucky and less than inspiring performances against Alabama, Tennessee, LSU and Kentucky the fans have come for blood. They want change and don’t want to wait for it to “get fixed.”

On Monday, following a bye week, Muschamp acknowledged that he has heard the disappointment of the fans being expressed. He understands that his football team is not performing on the field, that they haven’t done so in two seasons and that the product he’s putting on the field is no longer fun to watch — if watchable at all.

He’s a man and he can take the fans on social media calling for his job. He’s seen the websites pop up already talking about who will replace him. He knows how you feel but it isn’t affecting him and how he goes about his day-to-day.

“Every week is the same during the season. It’s groundhog day as far as hours, time, time spent watching film,” he said. “I’m hardly ever in my office, I’m in the staff room constantly you know constantly helping them get ready for a game. Complete bunker mentality during the season. As far as what we need to do to be successful.”

Muschamp signed up for this. He knew the expectations of the fan base. The expectations that were conceived in the 90’s when Steve Spurrier’s Fun-N-Gun changed the way football was played in the SEC. The expectations that Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow raised by winning two BCS National Championships in three seasons. He signed on the dotted line knowing full well that if he didn’t live up to those lofty expectations that this visceral reaction would rain down on him.

He explained to his team after their loss to Missouri that fans but tickets and have a right to boo; that’s their choice.

“They buy the ticket they can come boo and chant and holler and scream and start a website and all that stuff.’ If that’s what they want to do, that’s certainly their prerogative,” he said. “As a coach or a player when you come to the University of Florida or a place like this, that’s something you’ve got to accept. That’s part of it.”

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida

Carol, Jackson and Whit Muschamp look on from the field as the Gators take on Florida Atlantic in 2011. / Gator Country photo by Tim Casey

It doesn’t, however, help having to go home to your family, who hears all of those things as well. Muschamp’s wife Carol and his two sons, Jackson and Whit also hear the negativity focused at their husband and father. As the wife of a coach, Carol knows that this is part of the territory. Fans will love you when you’re winning but when you’re not; they’re going to let you hear about it. His sons, however, didn’t sign up for it and going home and explaining the things that they’re hearing about their dad may be the toughest part of the job.

“Well, you’ve got to get home and explain to your 9-year-old why they’re chanting to fire your dad,” Muschamp said.

Many believe that the writing is on the wall for Muschamp, that his fate is sealed. He’s not focusing on that, he doesn’t have the time to.

Muschamp was 0-4 as a Georgia player against Florida and he’s 0-3 against Georgia as the head coach at Florida. This week he’s trying to help his senior class — his first recruiting class at Florida — to stave off the same fate he suffered, going winless in the Florida Georgia rivalry.

A win may not quiet the fans that want him gone but a loss would be catastrophic to the team and the program. He may never be beloved in Gainesville like many thought he would be when he was announced as the head coach four years ago but he always knew that was a possibility.

“There’s some great things that come along with this job and there’s some tough deals you’ve got to deal with,” Muschamp said. “I don’t complain about any of that stuff. That’s part of the job when you come here.”

“It is what it is.”

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