I have a little bit of advice for Gator fans everywhere. Calm down and just enjoy each game for what it is. I know you are frustrated but, truth be told, the LSU game was a great game to watch. It was a back and forth game that came down to the final play of the game. Technically it came down to the second to the last play of the game, but it was an exciting game to watch. It is tough to lose any game and all fans want their team to go undefeated but this is not a championship caliber team. It just isn’t.
I have heard all of the vitriol about this being head coach Will Muschamp’s fourth season and the Gators should be a contender by this point. Personally, I agree with that sentiment, but the simple truth is that Florida is not there at this point and nothing is going to change that in the next few weeks. The debate over whether to keep this staff in place for next season is something that can wait until the season is over or at least close to over. There is nothing to be gained by attacking the program during the season.
Florida has multiple opportunities for big wins left this season. Wins over Missouri, Georgia, South Carolina or FSU would be wonderful for all fans or at least that should be the case. The more the fan base turns on the coaching staff and the team itself, the harder those victories become. The players absolutely know what is going on with the fan base. Why do anything to make the season worse than it has to be?
There is a lot that fans can look forward to and enjoy in 2014. It should be fun to watch Treon Harris gain valuable experience. Kurt Roper should be able to incorporate more and more of his offense as each week passes. Positive improvement down the stretch should and would buy this staff another season, especially with a stellar recruiting class available with some success on the field and some evidence that these coaches will remain at Florida. Young players will have the opportunity to emerge and make a name for themselves for next season. These include Harris, Gerald Willis, Jalen Tabor and Brandon Powell. My advice would be to just relax and enjoy the show.
I would also caution Gator fans to try to be objective. Watch for improvement and development of the team. Signs of both will be required to keep the program intact and moving toward better days ahead. While a collapse down the stretch and the turmoil that would result by yet another coaching change is possible, it is not a forgone conclusion. I have said so before and I stand by my statement that the best thing for the Gator program would be a successful second half of the season and some continuity in the coaching staff for a change. Florida needs to win games. Right now that is all that matters.
Losing is always frustrating. It is supposed to be frustrating. Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser. I get just as aggravated as everyone else when my team loses. But, that doesn’t mean fans need to make matters worse. And make no mistake about it, screaming over and over that the coaches are gone at the end of the season does make matters worse. These players are young. They cannot help but get caught up in the emotion surrounding the program. The “noise in the system” bleeds down to them and eventually causes issues within the locker room. I know, I know, every team has fans are like this. Maybe, but that doesn’t change the fact that too much noise DOES affect the team. It just isn’t that difficult to support the team while the season is still under way.
That begins with this week and Missouri. The Tigers are not a great football team. Florida can win this game, especially if the two quarterback game plan ignites the offense. Contrary to what some fans seem to feel, winning would be a good thing. It would keep the Gators hopes alive in the East but much more importantly it would give the team some confidence going into the always critical Georgia game in Jacksonville. A win over the Bulldogs would be huge this season and I believe it is still possible. A win over Missouri this week would certainly help. Going into the bye week earlier his season after a devastating loss was no fun at all. I have to believe the two week wait would be much easier to bear coming off of a win.
So I will watch this game hoping to see the offense become more efficient and effective regardless of who is taking the snaps. I look forward to (hopefully) seeing Treon get some more extensive playing time against an SEC opponent. I would like to see Brandon Powell get the ball several times in the open field where he can take advantage of his big play ability. Finding a way to get Andre Debose the ball in the open wouldn’t hurt either. I look forward to seeing some of the young defensive talent get more opportunities and hopefully cure some of the defensive woes. I guess what I am saying is that I still look forward to this game and I think there is a lot to be optimistic about. It is just too early to throw in the towel on 2014. Stay calm and watch football.