The buck stops with Will Muschamp

Fred A Canfil, then United States Marshall of the Western District of Missouri, was traveling through the Federal Reformatory at El Reno when he saw a sign that made him think of his friend, Former President of the United States, Harry S. Truman.

Truman was famously photographed in the Oval Office with the sign that read “The Buck Stops Here! ”The saying derives from the slang expression “pass the buck”, meaning to pass of responsibility to someone else.

That’s the attitude that Will Muschamp has taken as the head football coach at The University of Florida. Muschamp has repeatedly and vehemently taken responsibility for Florida’s shortcomings on both sides of the ball. It’s Muschamp’s propensity to take the blame for his football team that has raised concerns among fans that Muschamp is too controlling, specifically of the offensive play calling, something Muschamp denies.

Former offensive coordinator Brent Pease was adamant that he and Muschamp were on the same page and that it was Pease who called the shots on offense. Kurt Roper denies any talk of Muschamp interjecting into the play calling this season.

Two weeks ago at Alabama the Gators opted to run the ball and head into the locker room when they took over on their own 20 with 1:44 on the clock, down seven. Angry fans pointed to this as Muschamp controlling the offense, suffocating the creativity of another offensive coordinator and playing too conservatively. Not so fast, says Roper.

“I think we’re always on the same page,” he said. “Will and I work great together. And I was in 100 percent agreement with that and 100,000-seat stadium with — it wasn’t like we were being productive on offense at that point.”

Muschamp is letting Roper run the offense, his offense. As Tom Furland wrote for us last week, Roper’s offense is running just the way it should, they’re just not getting the kind of production out of the quarterback position that they need to. And that, is a decision that Roper says is not his to make.

“Will is the one that will have that conversation,” Roper responded when asked what the conversation would be before making a move at quarterback. “You know, it’s plain and simple his decision. But again, we have 100 percent confidence in Jeff right now and he’s the guy we feel like we’re going to win football games with.”

Driskel’s backup, freshman Treon Harris, enrolled late in the summer and is obviously behind in experience behind a redshirt junior quarterback. Harris was set to play early against Idaho before the game was cancelled due to weather. He played well against Eastern Michigan but hasn’t played since.

“His understanding is not where it needs to be, and that’s not because he doesn’t work hard at it or he’s not getting reps,” Roper said. “It’s just simply age and number of repetitions and practices he’s had. So when he goes in, we’re going to ask him to do things that we think that he’s mentally prepared for.”

Muschamp has said — and Roper has agreed — that opportunities to get Harris in the past two weeks didn’t transpire. The catch-22 is that if you don’t play the inexperienced quarterback he’s never going to get the experience both coaches said it was so important for Florida’s backup to have this season.

Muschamp is coaching for his job this season and a loss this week in Knoxville could send the Gators spiraling down a slippery slope that looks a lot like 2013. He’s attached himself to Jeff Driskel for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.

But what happens when “right now” turns into “used to”? Have the Gators done enough to get Harris ready to be a starting quarterback if it comes down to that?

The final decision is up to the head ball coach.

The buck stops on Muschamp’s desk.

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. I wonder, and it’s just speculation, if Roper WAS making the call, would Jeff Driskel be staring the game at Tennessee? Roper has been around enough successful quarterbacks to know what one looks like. Perhaps Jeff Driskel is truly a guy that looks great in the preseason and in practice the week of the game and is able to give the correct answers when tested on his game preparation. Roper is probably coming, if he hasn’t already, that what Driskel does before a game and what he does in a game are entirely different. It seems that Muschamp wasn’t being truthful when he said he would keep his hands off the offense and give Roper complete freedom, if he is still the one who decides who the quarterback is going to be. How much say does an offensive coordinator have if he doesn’t make the decision on the most important player, the quarterback? ” His understanding is not where it needs to be…’ is how Roper describes Harris, but doesn’t that also describe Jeff Driskel? I guess when it comes right down to it, nothing has really changed this year. There may be a new offensive coordinator, but it’s still Muschamp’s offense. He still thinks that the Gators would have been fine last year if Jeff Driskel hadn’t been injured. It’s really our fault for not taking him at his word, didn’t he tell us before the season that nothing is really changing, the Gators were still going to be a power running team that will speed up the tempo and use the shotgun? I know everyone hates a Hitler reference, but no one should have been surprised he did what he did. He wrote it all down in his book. Muschamp never said he was going to change, he adamantly told everyone who would listen that the “philosophy” on offense would remain the same.

    • Did Muschamp take you lunch money in school? You sure do have it bad for him. Did he steal your girlfriend?

    • I’m pretty sure if Roper WAS makng the call it would be the same outcome. He supports Driskel 100% he’ll tell you that. Football is a developmental sport which means repitition is key. Benching your qb who has more experience and playing time than any other one on your roster is assinine. Im tired of hearing this crap about how he’s been a UF long enough to have been developed. The light comes on at different times for different people. I guess all the hiesman trophy winners from the last 13 years in the nfl are developed as well considering theres probably 2 of them are actually starting right now. No one has any patience anymore for what reason I don’t know. It took Mullen 6 years to get to where they are and they aren’t that good. Our fan base is abosolutely horrible. Get a grip. Its football. Fans don’t get shit if a team wins the national championship other than the privilege to talk trash. If it doesnt work out Im sure Foley will do whats neccesary.