Nobody will come out and say it, but you know changes are coming.
Will Muschamp has always been behind his coaching staff 100-percent while at Florida. Well, until he threw his offensive coordinator under the bus after a home loss to Georgia Southern, a loss that may be the worst in school history.
“Where do you start?” Muschamp asked after the Gators lost to Georgia Southern, 26-20. “… from a protection standpoint in the running game, being able to consistently run the ball and move the front, but it’s been an occurrence for us really all season for the most part. We did a decent job in the first half against South Carolina. We have a hard time in protection. We hit the play-action pass and the quarterback got his chin splattered when we threw the ball too. It’s a combination of things, and it’s just hard right now. As many moving parts as we’ve had, it’s difficult.
“It becomes infectious. It’s hard. When you give up 17 points you hope you score 17. That’s hard right now. And you can look at where we’ve rolled since about the middle of the season to this point, that’s what’s happened to us.”
Muschamp backed off of those comments during the week leading up to the Florida State game and during the SEC teleconference said that offensive coordinator Brent Pease was a great coach and playcaller. He tried to gear the attention more towards injures and how they have affected what Pease is able to do with the offense, more so than Pease being limited as a coach.
Still, after a season where the team averaged an SEC low 18.8 points-per-game and finished with one of the worst offenses in the country for a third straight season change is needed.
Look at today as an example of the offense. Skyler Mornhinweg completed 20-of-25 passes today. That’s incredible, until you see that he threw for 115 yards. That’s just 5.75 per-completion. It’s not an anomaly. Tyler Murphy was averaging 6.6 yards-per-completion and Jeff Driskel was just above 7.5. This offense is yawn inspiring at best and it needs to go.
In his post game press conference Will Muschamp said he hadn’t made a decision on the future of his coaching staff and that there wasn’t a timetable for those decisions to be made. However, he did not rule out not only a coaching change but an entire philosophical change.
“We need to take a look at ourselves schematically with what we’re doing,” Muschamp said. “There have been some things that have happened that are very difficult to overcome, but schematically, there’s no question we need to take a look at ourselves.”
The offense hasn’t carried its weight since Tim Tebow quarterbacked the Gators and he’s been gone since 2009. The bland style of football that has become the University of Florida’s offense in the years since is starting to wear fans out and they’re showing the administration through attendance. Only 10 out of 20 home games under Will Muschamp have been announced as sellouts. When you have a cash cow like the football program, which funds the rest of your programs, empty seats in the football stadium tend to wake up people in the administration.
“Well I don’t think it’s any secret, and Will will tell you, we’ve got to fix that side of the ball,” Athletic director Jeremy Foley said of the offense prior to Saturday’s game. “I’m not being disrespectful to anybody, but you look at some of the games we’ve lost, we haven’t scored many points. This year or last year or what have you, that has to get fixed. And that’s going to be Will’s responsibility as the head football coach. I’ll help him, support him, advise him, whatever have you. I will tell you if you ask him today, it’s his biggest concern. We’ve got to fix that side of the ball.”
That’s the boss telling you to do what needs to be done. Bring a style of football that can get in the end zone, score points, entertain people and most importantly win games.
Don’t handcuff yourself to a sinking ship. The 11-2 season in 2012, which now seems like a miracle, bought Muschamp a get out of jail free card. That card was burned 1,000 times over this season. Now it’s time to wipe the slate clean. What you have on offense isn’t working and it’s time to overhaul it.
Neither Will Muschamp nor Jeremy Foley would come out publically and say that change is coming down the pipe but Brent Pease looked like a guy who already knew what was waiting for him when he met with the media last Tuesday.
“You look at the first year and some of the situations and knowing the body of work and not just one, a game-to-game basis and situations we’ve been under. I hope any evaluations are looked at that way,” Pease said. “But, you know, I understand things, too. It’s not like. .. I know you’ve got to win and have success. If it’s not meant to be… I came into this with friends, and I’m walking out of it with friends.”