Will Muschamp and the Florida Gators are in the midst of a season to forget. For a lot of Florida fans, it’s the worst year of football they’ve ever witnessed.
The team currently sits at 4-5, and is coming off a loss to Vanderbilt. It’s been 22 years since the Gators fell to the Commodores. Even worse, Florida hadn’t dropped a home game to Vandy since 1945. Add in the fact that it was on Homecoming, and you’ve got the recipe for an angry fan base.
But is the current state of Florida football enough to place Muschamp firmly on the hot seat?
That question is harder to answer than it appears, mainly because of the roller coaster ride Florida football is currently on.
An 11-1 regular season and Sugar Bowl appearance made 2012-13 one of the best seasons in UF history. That success should afford Muschamp some breathing room. However, the regression in player development this year has been troubling.
There have been injuries – more than most teams in the country. Despite those injuries, however, Florida looks lost on the field. They enter each game with less and less of an identity.
Perhaps more maddening than the defeats is the way in which Florida loses. The offense cannot buy a touchdown, while penalties seem to stall any positive momentum.
The real question may come down to whether or not Muschamp has enough time to fix the issues. In all reality, he won’t be shown the door this year. He is a brilliant football mind. If he can fix the offense and learn how to discipline the team, the sky is the limit. Muschamp wants to win, he understands the traditions, and he is relentless on the recruiting trail.
Next season marks Year Four of the Muschamp era. Florida fans expect the Gators to compete for championships. With that much time at the helm, anything short of a run at Atlanta will be a disappointment.
Compounding the grumbling among Gator Nation is the success of Florida’s rivals. Jimbo Fisher is currently building a monster at Florida State, while Georgia has finally figured out the recipe to defeat the Gators. It’s a perfect storm for Muschamp and Florida.
Is Muschamp on the proverbial hot seat? Yes. Every coach at a big-time program is constantly on the hot seat from day one. Fans and boosters want results, and eventually a coach has to produce.
Is the animosity among Gator Nation towards Muschamp warranted? Yes and no. The discipline, regression, and lack of offensive identity are all inexplicable. On the other hand, injuries have greatly hampered this year’s team.
It’s Muschamp’s responsibility to bring in the right offensive mind to build the program. However, he hasn’t been able to properly pick that talent as of yet – Brent Pease’s coaching at times is questionable, whereas the Charlie Weis experiment was a failure. There is talent on the offensive roster. After all, this is Florida. Look no further than Auburn and LSU’s turnarounds to see the difference an effective offensive coordinator can make.
Even if the Gators miss a bowl, and end the season with losses to Florida State and South Carolina, it’s hard to see athletic director Jeremy Foley pulling the plug one year removed from a Sugar Bowl appearance. Muschamp will likely be given one more season to prove he has what it takes to fix the issues – as he claims to know how.