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

    The Will Muschamp era of Florida football comes to an end at Doak Campbell Stadium on November, 29, 2014. / Gator Country photo by David Bowie

Will Muschamp’s
Florida Gators legacy

Written by Nick de la Torre, November 28, 2014, 6 Comments,
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On December 11, 2010 the head coach in waiting at Texas was given his first head-coaching gig at the University of Florida.

Will Muschamp spent 1,460 days as the head coach of the Florida Gators compiling a 28-20 (17-15 SEC) record heading into the final game of the 2014 season against No. 1 Florida State.

The first season he took over a locker room and a program that his predecessor deemed “broken” and the Gators’ first 8-4 season under Muschamp was — while frustrating losing four straight SEC games — deemed a success with a bowl victory over Ohio State in the Gator Bowl.

The next season brought even more success with the Gators finishing 11-2 after earing a spot in the Sugar Bowl.

The Muschamp roller coaster dipped low in 2013 before coming to a rocky and abrupt end in 2014.

 

Five biggest wins

1. Florida State, 2012

The Seminoles have won 27-consecutive games with their last loss coming to the Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium in 2012. This was Muschamp’s first win over his friend Jimbo Fisher and the Gators’ first win over Florida State since 2009.

This win also kept the 10-1 Gators alive and in the hunt for a national championship. Florida wouldn’t get into the championship game but this win over Florida State was big for the program and the coach.

 

2. Georgia, 2014

Muschamp walked into he press conference following a 38-20 victory over Georgia and took the monkey off of his back. As a player, Muschamp was 0-4 against Florida and prior to this win he was 0-3 as a head coach.

Coming into this game the Gators had lost their two previous contests, including a 42-13 homecoming loss to Missouri. The win not only ended a personal losing streak to Georgia for Muschamp and the Gators but it also kept them in the hunt in the SEC.

 

3. LSU, 2012

This was Will Muschamp football at its finest. The Gators ran the ball 28-consecutive times to end the game and held on to win 14-6 at home. Florida went into the locker room down 6-0 but turned to senior Mike Gillislee in the second half to secure the win. Gillislee scored twice in the half on his way to 146 rushing yards.

 

4. FAU, 2011

It wasn’t the flashiest win or even the best in the Muschamp era but it was the first. Chris Rainey scored a touchdown three different ways (rushing, receiving, returning) and Florida rolled to a 41-3 victory in Muschamp’s head coaching debut.

 

5. Texas A&M, 2012

A hurricane had derailed Johnny Manziel and the Aggies true opening game of the season so their season opener would come against Muschamp and he Gators.

Florida entered this game 0-5 under Muschamp when trailing at halftime. The Gators went into the break down 17-10. However, in the second half today the Gators began controlling the line of scrimmage and played more disciplined on their way to a 20-17 win in College Station.

This win set the tone for the 2012 season and propelled the Gators the rest of the way.

Worst losses

1. Georgia Southern, 2013

This was the low point of the Will Muschamp era and of a 2013 season that is regrettably unforgettable. Injuries had long scarred the Gators by the time the Eagles flew in to town but were no excuse for a program like Florida to lose a game like this. In the end, this will be the one game that Muschamp cannot hide from or get over and will stain his legacy at Florida.

 

2 . Vanderbilt, 2013

The Commodores hadn’t beaten Florida since 1986 and hadn’t won in Gainesville since 1945. There was no excuse for the Gators to show up flat for homecoming but they did and James Franklin and Vanderbilt took it to the Gators.

 

3. Missouri, 2014

42-0 at halftime and the crowd was chanting “Fire Muschamp” before the game was over. More damning than the cheer itself is where it came from. Not from the rowdy student section that could overreact, missing the big picture, but from the alumni section — the pocketbook of the program.

 

4. Miami, 2013

This will likely be the last tie Florida and Miami play in the regular season — at least for the foreseeable future. The Gators continually shot themselves in the foot in a 21-16 turnover ridden loss. This was the turning point in the perception of Muschamp and quarterback Jeff Driskel for many fans.

 

5. Louisville, 2013

Gator fans were upset and the team was let down as well. Florida had been perfect in 2012 — a hiccup in Jacksonville and a loss to the Dawgs aside. A win over Florida State to end the season kept the Gators in title contention but the loss to Georgia kept them out of the SEC Championship game and a Notre Dame win over USC vaulted the Irish into the championship game over the Gators.

Florida looked like a team that was unfocused and upset that they didn’t get into the national championship when they took on Charlie Strong and the Louisville Cardinals. Teddy Bridgewater carved up the Florida secondary in a 33-23 Louisville victory.

 

Did the highs outweigh the lows or were the losses during the Muschamp era too much for any amount of winning to over come? How will you look back on the Muschamp era in 10 years? Let us know in the comment section below and on the message board.

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. scooterpNovember 28, 2014, 9:30 am

    Nick, I hate to say it but the highs weren’t that really high. In 2012 we were winning ugly football games. I don’t want to say that we were lucky, but we certainly weren’t a balanced football team. So yes, I think it’s safe to say the losses outweighed the wins. I do feel bad for WM and desperately wanted it to work out, but you can’t have winnable games like LSU and USCe slip away like that at the end…or just not show up for homecoming against Mizzou in a make or break season. One of your writers said it best when they stated that…God just doesn’t want Muschamp to be the HBC of the Florida Gators. The ball just never bounced his way. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is. He’ll get a good gig somewhere and learn from the experience and may possibly be a good HBC down the road, it just wasn’t meant to happen here.

  2. pcolagatorNovember 28, 2014, 10:53 am

    I’ll look back at Boom’s era with frustration…frustration at playing not to lose instead of playing to win. All to often, particularly in losses, the margin for error is razor-thin when you play not to lose. I really, really like Boom, but ultimately cannot abide by an attitude of fear of losing instead of confidence in winning. I wish it had worked out differently and maybe someday he can return home when he’s figured out what it takes to be a winning coach instead of merely adequate (which is what we got during his initial head coaching experience).

  3. malscottNovember 28, 2014, 11:08 am

    Yes, indeed. The lows were way too low. And even the wins (except for Georgia 2014) particularly in 2012, were not monumental. That year almost everyone we beat was having a suspect year. What this story doesn’t tell, other than the homecoming debacles are the records he broke. Statistically, it’s downright embarrassing. Even he knows that! And if he doesn’t, it proves that cleared off desk was the right move. Great guy. Great family, good heart. Antiquated offensive philosophy, questionable head coaching acumen-great defensive mind. I bet even he wants to be a DC about now. I hope he has one more signature win. Then it’s alright with me if they erect a bronze statue next to Tebow and the boys, a nice one with him yelling at a ref and pointing! :) Go Gators…

  4. StrangeGatorNovember 28, 2014, 12:25 pm

    I don’t disagree with the article or the previous comments. I just want to add that Will has done something for this program that absolutely needed to be done. The program was broken, mainly because of the poor discipline that started with Zook and continued with Meyer who also infected the program with favoritism to certain players and a great deal of friction between players. Muschamp is a high character individual and the ultimate players’ coach. The players got it, bought it and will carry it on to the next season with the new coach. No question Muschamp had to go, but he was no Ron Zook and a better human being than Urban Meyer. If only he had half the offensive mind that Meyer had. Maybe he’ll figure that out one day or maybe he’ll regain his reputation as the best DC in the country and spend the rest of his career as a defensive guru. I hope he doesn’t get a job in the SEC, unless it’s in the west, excluding of course LSU. Good luck Champ. I hope your next gig allows you to live up to your nick name. Take those seminoles to the woodshed tomorrow and maybe we’ll name something after you. I like the sound of Zook/Muschamp field, but Ron Zook was no Will Muschamp. Muschamp Field sounds good enough.

  5. gatortruth133November 28, 2014, 5:57 pm

    We were not 8-4 in Mushamp’s first year. We were a loss in a bowl game to OSU away from being 6-7. A lot of people did not believe in Driskel in 2012 before the 2013 Miami game. We also were not down 42-0 at the half. Other than those minor errors, this was a pretty good article. Muschamp’s affinity for being around a .500 team or worse (3 out of 4 years) is what did him in. 7-6 4-8 and quite possibly 6-5 or 6-6 if we lose a bowl that he won’t be coaching. Sure it’d be 7 wins if not for Idaho, but that means we are needing cupcakes and not doing well enough in the SEC.

    • gatortruth133November 28, 2014, 5:58 pm

      The half against Mizzou…my bad for not finishing that sentence.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/florida-gators-florida-football-eastern-michigan-the-swamp-quick-upload048-150x150.jpg Nick de la Torre FeatureFootball ,,,,,
Print Friendly

On December 11, 2010 the head coach in waiting at Texas was given his first head-coaching gig at the University of Florida.

Will Muschamp spent 1,460 days as the head coach of the Florida Gators compiling a 28-20 (17-15 SEC) record heading into the final game of the 2014 season against No. 1 Florida State.

The first season he took over a locker room and a program that his predecessor deemed “broken” and the Gators’ first 8-4 season under Muschamp was — while frustrating losing four straight SEC games — deemed a success with a bowl victory over Ohio State in the Gator Bowl.

The next season brought even more success with the Gators finishing 11-2 after earing a spot in the Sugar Bowl.

The Muschamp roller coaster dipped low in 2013 before coming to a rocky and abrupt end in 2014.

 

Five biggest wins

1. Florida State, 2012

The Seminoles have won 27-consecutive games with their last loss coming to the Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium in 2012. This was Muschamp’s first win over his friend Jimbo Fisher and the Gators’ first win over Florida State since 2009.

This win also kept the 10-1 Gators alive and in the hunt for a national championship. Florida wouldn’t get into the championship game but this win over Florida State was big for the program and the coach.

 

2. Georgia, 2014

Muschamp walked into he press conference following a 38-20 victory over Georgia and took the monkey off of his back. As a player, Muschamp was 0-4 against Florida and prior to this win he was 0-3 as a head coach.

Coming into this game the Gators had lost their two previous contests, including a 42-13 homecoming loss to Missouri. The win not only ended a personal losing streak to Georgia for Muschamp and the Gators but it also kept them in the hunt in the SEC.

 

3. LSU, 2012

This was Will Muschamp football at its finest. The Gators ran the ball 28-consecutive times to end the game and held on to win 14-6 at home. Florida went into the locker room down 6-0 but turned to senior Mike Gillislee in the second half to secure the win. Gillislee scored twice in the half on his way to 146 rushing yards.

 

4. FAU, 2011

It wasn’t the flashiest win or even the best in the Muschamp era but it was the first. Chris Rainey scored a touchdown three different ways (rushing, receiving, returning) and Florida rolled to a 41-3 victory in Muschamp’s head coaching debut.

 

5. Texas A&M, 2012

A hurricane had derailed Johnny Manziel and the Aggies true opening game of the season so their season opener would come against Muschamp and he Gators.

Florida entered this game 0-5 under Muschamp when trailing at halftime. The Gators went into the break down 17-10. However, in the second half today the Gators began controlling the line of scrimmage and played more disciplined on their way to a 20-17 win in College Station.

This win set the tone for the 2012 season and propelled the Gators the rest of the way.

Worst losses

1. Georgia Southern, 2013

This was the low point of the Will Muschamp era and of a 2013 season that is regrettably unforgettable. Injuries had long scarred the Gators by the time the Eagles flew in to town but were no excuse for a program like Florida to lose a game like this. In the end, this will be the one game that Muschamp cannot hide from or get over and will stain his legacy at Florida.

 

2 . Vanderbilt, 2013

The Commodores hadn’t beaten Florida since 1986 and hadn’t won in Gainesville since 1945. There was no excuse for the Gators to show up flat for homecoming but they did and James Franklin and Vanderbilt took it to the Gators.

 

3. Missouri, 2014

42-0 at halftime and the crowd was chanting “Fire Muschamp” before the game was over. More damning than the cheer itself is where it came from. Not from the rowdy student section that could overreact, missing the big picture, but from the alumni section — the pocketbook of the program.

 

4. Miami, 2013

This will likely be the last tie Florida and Miami play in the regular season — at least for the foreseeable future. The Gators continually shot themselves in the foot in a 21-16 turnover ridden loss. This was the turning point in the perception of Muschamp and quarterback Jeff Driskel for many fans.

 

5. Louisville, 2013

Gator fans were upset and the team was let down as well. Florida had been perfect in 2012 — a hiccup in Jacksonville and a loss to the Dawgs aside. A win over Florida State to end the season kept the Gators in title contention but the loss to Georgia kept them out of the SEC Championship game and a Notre Dame win over USC vaulted the Irish into the championship game over the Gators.

Florida looked like a team that was unfocused and upset that they didn’t get into the national championship when they took on Charlie Strong and the Louisville Cardinals. Teddy Bridgewater carved up the Florida secondary in a 33-23 Louisville victory.

 

Did the highs outweigh the lows or were the losses during the Muschamp era too much for any amount of winning to over come? How will you look back on the Muschamp era in 10 years? Let us know in the comment section below and on the message board.

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