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The Decline of Florida Football

 

The University of Florida is known as a very prestigious institution. Whether in athletics, academics, or reputation. The school is by no means in a decline, but it sure seems like it. To the common sports fan, a college is one thing; a football team. Based off football alone, The gators seem to be on a downward spiral.

It all started in 2010. The Tebow era had just ended and Urban Meyer’s team was in a rebuilding phase. Fans however, were not worried. They had a seemingly great replacement in John Brantley, who was the #1 QB in high school just a few years earlier. The intrigue and curiosity of the fans soon turned to sadness and anger when the team took a turn for the worst.

As the team slid, they dropped out of the rankings, dropped out of prominence, lost their coach, and the only consolation was winning the Outback bowl. This 7-5 squad had a stout defense, but an inconsistent and turnover prone offense. Urban Meyer was considered a savior of Florida football, and he seemed to be starting a dynasty at the university. His resignation shocked the fans and the college football world, and was a sign of the teams shaky future.

The hiring of Will Muschamp was considered a great one by Athletic Director Jeremy Foley. He was a stud defensive coordinator, who learned from Nick Saban and Mack Brown. Fans were optimistic and excited, but Muschamp’s entire tenure has been disappointing. His one good 11-1 season was capped off with maybe the Gators most embarrassing Bowl loss, to the Louisville Cardinals.

All the blame can’t be placed on just the head coach however; a complete lack of offensive talent is also a reason for Florida’s terrible play. The first two years were John Brantley’s mediocrity. The next year was the team completely leaning on Mike Gilislee. Once he left, it was an an injury plagued year where the Gators barely even had a pass offense.They started the season with Driskel, then when to Tyler Murphy, and then played Skyler Mornhinwheg. And then there is this season:

Many people said that it would be a bang or bust for the coach; either he would have a great season or he would get fired. They started off the season looking good, with 3 quality wins, including a close come from behind victory over Tennessee. Fans were happy, morale was high, but the team had a dilemma; What to do about Jeff Driskel.

Photo via Bruce Lipsky/The Times-Union
Photo via Bruce Lipsky/The Times-Union

 

It seems like everyone in the world wanted Treon Harris to play over him… except Coach Muschamp. A suspension to Harris didn’t give the Coach a chance to make the decision, so Driskel played, and lost the game at the end, with a dumb throw, which was picked off.

And then, 3-2, still in the SEC east hunt, the gators had an embarrassingly terrible loss to the Missouri Tigers. They had just lost to the Georgia Bulldogs 34-0 and seemed very beatable, but Muschamp’s decision was to play both QB’s. Even though neither QB had a good game, Jeff Driskel threw for only 50 had 2 interceptions and a fumble! Harris never had time to get into a rhythm, and didn’t start playing well until it no longer mattered. With 3 SEC losses, the season is already over, half way through.

I started out as a very pro-Muschamp guy, but he has never proven to anyone that he is or will ever be a good head coach. He is an average recruiter, and obviously has clouded judgement. His decision was to live or die by Jeff Driskel. I think its safe to say that UF Athletic Director Jeremy Foley will be terminating his contract very soon. It pains me to say this, because a new coach means that many recruits will go elsewhere, and the state of Florida has one of its best classes ever. In any case, its more important to get a new coach,who has winning as his first priority. A culture change is needed in UF’s locker room, one that sees Offense and Defense as equal parts to a winning equation. Who that new coach is, only time will tell.

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