I was working behind the bar Saturday night as I have the last five years. This Saturday evening the bar was packed with party-goers. The owner was celebrating a birthday. The band began playing Tom Petty, their cover of his “Runnin’ Down a Dream” spot on. I glanced up at the television to see how another Gainesville product was doing. This performance was not nearly as good. In fact, it was abysmal.
The Gators had just gone down 42-0 to the Missouri Tigers on homecoming weekend. It was to be their second consecutive homecoming loss. So much for scheduling patsies for the alumni’s pilgrimage home; Saturday night, Florida was the patsy.
Although busy with work, I checked my phone when I could to find an endless string of angry text messages, most of them echoing what millions who went to school there have thought for some time. The Will Muschamp experiment has failed and it’s time to start anew.
Driskel, Harris, Driskel, Harris, Indecision. Just when Gator fans thought last season was one to forget, the nightmare continues.
Newsflash: The Gators have won three of their last thirteen games. Again, thank goodness I work weekends.
I didn’t watch this game. I didn’t watch the loss to LSU either. But I don’t need to watch the games to see what everyone else does: players’ reactions, heads hung low, unresponsiveness and a coach who has bitten off more than he can chew. Had his players given up Saturday night or could they really be that bad? Either answer is unacceptable for a program of Florida’s magnitude.
After the game, Will Muschamp took to the media room. Long gone are the cheery, post-game press conferences of a cocky, charismatic Steve Spurrier. Gone too are the rather stoic but at least victorious speeches of Urban Meyer. Heck, at least Ron Zook’s post-game press conferences were energetic. When Will Muschamp stepped to the podium after Saturday’s debacle, you could hear a pin drop. I’ve attended livelier wakes. There wasn’t a reporter in the room who didn’t think this would be Muschamp’s last.
These Florida Gators are so inept that they are incapable of performing the most routine tasks on a football field. Catching the ball or even handing it off have become as difficult as winning football games. Ultimately that boils down to coaching.
There can’t be a person residing in Gainesville whose last name isn’t Muschamp – or Foley – who thinks this coach shouldn’t be replaced. Athletic Director Jeremy Foley has continued to have Muschamp’s back, however inexplicably. With each loss that position becomes harder to justify. Perhaps losing by a hundred points next game will elicit a reaction.
Muschamp is now 15-14 in conference play in his four years in Gainesville. He has lost three times to the University of Georgia. To put things in their proper perspective, in a combined 18 years of coaching at the University of Florida, Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer lost to Georgia only twice. Muschamp’s Gators play Georgia next. We’ll see if they’re still Muschamp’s Gators by the time that game rolls around.
I’m not here to call for Muschamp’s head (I write, clenching my teeth and absolutely disgusted with what my alma mater’s football program has become). Clearly, if the powers that be choose to fire Muschamp, a capable replacement must be found to finish the season, not that Muschamp has in any way proven himself capable of doing anything other than losing. Firing Muschamp is not my job. There’s a reason Jeremy Foley is one of the highest paid athletic directors in the nation. Surely there must be a back-up plan, some way to stop the bleeding.
At least we hope so.
While closing the bar after a successful night for my establishment, yet not so successful for Gator Nation, I tuned in to ESPN’s College Football Final. Mark May and Sylvester the Holtz were questioning Florida fans’ dedication after cameras showed them leaving the stadium early, once again only after the Tigers had gone up by SIX touchdowns. Both May and Holtz criticized Gator fans for their commitment to the program.
Hold your horses, boys.
I had the opportunity to travel to Gainesville last week to see the Gators play LSU. I had some good friends in town that I hadn’t seen in years. While taking off work would have been difficult, I’m sure my powers that be would have given me a well-deserved night off.
I chose not to go. I chose not to support a program that was headed in a direction with which I didn’t agree. That doesn’t mean I don’t support the program. My two degrees and undying passion for all things Florida are unmatched. I am however, not happy with the state of affairs and it is my right, just as it is everyone else’s who bleeds for that University, to express their opinions. And if that means chanting “Fire Muschamp!” at the top of their lungs as his team is getting slaughtered 42-0, something few Gators fans have EVER seen in that building, then so be it.
Muschamp won’t make it past this year if he makes it past this week. The writing is on the wall and the ink has long since dried.
The new head coach of the University of Florida won’t have a cupboard bare. He WILL have a fan base that is aching to welcome back the winning ways we knew not long ago.
That change can’t happen soon enough.
My personal favorite text Saturday evening came from Mother of SportsChump who wrote simply: “The Gators suck so bad – it even hurts me.”
Dan Mullen ain’t coming through those doors anytime soon .
I’m not so sure Mullen is the answer, Al.
I’d have to look at all the potential applicants.
Can anyone get a solid Jim Harbaugh rumor started?
Sorry. …..but you can’t have my coach back!!!
That’s okay, DB. You can have him. #sloppyseconds
Mullen has said he’s not interested , so it now leaves Jeremy Foley wondering how he can sell an under-achieving program .
The sooner they fire him the sooner the Help Wanted sign becomes official and the chances they get their man increase significantly. Don’t wait for another high profile school to start putting out feelers they want a new HC. Make the call now. That was a fiasco especially after watching Mizzou in their last game. Sad state of affairs in Gainesville. Hoops anyone?
Should actually be an easy sell, Al.
They have all the access they need to the top recruits in the nation, have the finest facilities, a top tradition and Wil Grier, one of the top young freshmen to lead the team over the next four years.
I mean, how difficult can that be?
Plus the basketball team will start relatively anew this season as they lost four key seniors.
Look, there will be plenty of coaching openings this off-season. I don’t think I’m biased when I say the Gators should have their pick of the litter.
Find the best fit for the program and let’s get this party started already. At this point, there’s only one way to go and that’s up.
Kerwin Bell. Former walk-on. Holds NFL record for highest percentage of QB. Is a CURRENT HEAD COACH, lots of ties to the GATORS and to the area. HE SHOULD be the next HC
Being the head coach of the university of Florida is a top 5 job in the nation. How we hired a coach with no head coaching experience is beyond me!!!
I’m not so sure Bell’s the answer either.
I know he’s a product of the program. Heck, he was the quarterback there when I enrolled at the university.
I’m just not entirely convinced he’s ready for a role like that. The University of Florida is a wee bit different than JU.
At this point, I’m almost ashamed to admit when news of the hiring came about, I wasn’t all that opposed. Heck, I think you and I were sitting at the bar when news of the hire came across the airwaves.
The guy’s been a DC at a number of major programs and was going to bring, what we thought was, an intensity that we needed after the bailing of the faint of heart.
Yea, wish we could have the last few years back.
Hello Triple SC…. We surprised my 11yr old son with his first gator football game Saturday, thanks to Yaz. I’ve taken him to Rays games, TB Lightning, Gator baseball, Gator softball, Jax Suns and he hangs in there for a bit, but after awhile he will pull out the Nintendo game. Now cut me some slack, I’m there to watch the games, so yes, I let him pack it!
We tailgated with fried chicken, took him to the Gator Walk (he was so excited) and fan fair. Then the gruesome game where my son kept telling me to stop yelling inappropriate words!!!
I learned 3 things last Saturday…1. My boy has been listening to his sports crazed Mama! You wouldn’t believe the knowledge my boy has. I’d explain something and he either already knew it or expanded on it. I was a proud mama! 2. Cheering makes us feel better! Benjamin was into the game the entire time! Yelling out ” Get your head into the game” or “Never quit guys!” Or..”Don’t give up gators!” That’s my boy! And 3. Gators need leadership!! Better coaching!! They need to catch the freaking ass ball, throw with accuracy, make tackles, BE A TEAM and depend on each other.
Although it was the WORST game I’ve ever been to, here my son is STILL telling me that it was HIS BEST DAY EVER!!!! I can’t wallow in misery with Benjamin’s perspective, just HOPE for the future. Sorry for so long; I had to share….
I appreciate it as always, Dee, and it was a great picture you sent.
It’s a good thing he enjoyed the game because I don’t know of anyone else who did.
It’s a sad state of affairs in Gator Nation.
I think the only football coach that is more surprising to still have a head gig is Rex Ryan. That dude has been living on football food stamps for two years.
At least Rex Ryan has personality.
Jets fans don’t despise him with every inch of their body when they watch him give a press conference.
The same cannot be said for Will Muschamp.