Written By: Richard Johnson
Bill Parcells said it best: “You are what you record says you are.” It’s an old adage that speaks volumes about the current state of football affairs at the University of Florida. The numbers are staggering in their scope of explanation as to the ineptitude surrounding the program, but on Monday there was only one number that defined where the Gators are as a program: four. UF head coach Will Muschamp echoed Parcells’ sentiments in his first media availability since the team’s last game of the season, a 37-7 loss to bitter rival Florida State.
“You are what your record is,” Muschamp said. “I’m a 4-8 coach and we’ve got a 4-8 ball club. We need to work hard to get better and improve in every facet.”
That record got two people dismissed and a third coach elected to leave. Offensive line coach Tim Davis and offensive coordinator Brent Pease were axed and first year special teams coordinator Jeff Choate elected to rejoin Pease and Chris Peterson at Washington. Muschamp promised a more uptempo, shotgun-oriented offensive system and an open competition for any and every position on the field. The message is clear — when you don’t perform, heads roll and on Monday the embattled head man of Florida’s football program introduced the men that will attempt to aid him in putting humpty dumpty back together again.
Coleman Hutzler, the new special teams coach who will also share responsibilities as outside linebackers coach. Veteran Mike Summers, will try to work with Florida’s hodge-podge of an offensive line and try to make it the road grading unit that paves the way to success. The final and probably most important introduction on the schedule was for Kurt Roper, Florida’s newest offensive coordinator — and Muschamp’s third in four years.
“This is a great university with a history and a lot of championships,” Roper said. “The year before they went to the Sugar Bowl, so obviously there’s a lot of good football players on this team. I think it’s a chance to come and compete for championships.”
The sentiment was something shared by all three new initiates to the Florida coaching staff. Summers, a native of Lexington, Kentucky said he dreamed of being “on the correct sideline” during his many visits to The Swamp as an opposing coach. He says he’s seen enough in his short tenure as a Florida coach to believe things will get on the right track soon.
Hutzler also agreed. For him, this is a bit of a homecoming. He was on Florida’s staff in 2010 and 2011 working under current defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin.
“Very excited to be back, very excited to be back part of the Gator nation and to be apart of this great university,” Hutzler said.
Optimism. That was the general mood and the prevalent theme of the day, optimism about moving forward out of the shadow of the 2013 campaign. Optimism about adding new coaches to the fold that bring fresh ideas and a much-needed jump-start to a program mired in a tailspin.