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No Vote Of Confidence From Florida AD For Muschamp Yet… But The Coach Deserves Another Year

will-muschamp-tight-faceApparently there will be no vote of confidence for Will Muschamp at Florida.  There will be no puff of “we’re going to keep him” white smoke from the chimney above Jeremy Foley’s office.  At least it doesn’t appear that one’s on the way.

According to The Miami Herald (with a hat tip to our friends at CollegeFootballTalk.com):

 

“Although Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has reportedly voiced his support for Muschamp privately, he has yet to do so publicly, and a humiliating loss to Vanderbilt has only further swelled speculation about the entire coaching staff’s job security.”

 

Plenty of Gator fans are angry enough to boot the third-year coach right now.  As in today.  Forget all the injuries (Florida lost another starter for the year on Saturday).  Muschamp could lose a full 85 men to the infirmary and fans would still be angry after losses.  Especially losses like the one to Vanderbilt.

But Muschamp won 11 games last season and was one close loss to Georgia away from playing for the SEC crown and possibly the BCS title.  Stop.  Re-read that sentence.  Now consider that Florida fans want the man canned and their program thrown asunder — again — after only three years.

We at MrSEC.com know all about Muschamp’s overall record and its similarity to Ron Zook’s.  But Zook never posted more than eight wins in a season during his three-year cup of coffee in Gainesville.  Muschamp has.

A look at the schedule (Georgia Southern, South Carolina, Florida State) suggests that Muschamp will probably finish the season with a three-year mark of 23-15.  Aside from the 11-win season that no one in the Sunshine State seemed to care about, the best thing going for Coach Boom is the fact that Foley hasn’t fared to well in his hires.

Zook: Gone in three years.

Urban Meyer: Two BCS titles but embarrassing off-field issues and a program in total disarray by the end of his six-year run.  Oh, and he also ditched Florida for health reas… sorry, he also ditched Florida for Ohio State.

Now Muschamp.  If Foley blows him up the next hire he makes — if it backfires — could be his last.  He’s viewed as a great AD, yes, but if money declines thanks to lackluster football, a drop in booster checks, and a decline in attendance, someone will be held responsible.  And Foley can only keep hiring short-timers for so long.

The temperature of Muschamp’s seat only emphasizes how much the game has changed.  Coaches do not get time to build anymore.  Just forget it.  It doesn’t happen.

If the Gators’ current coach does finish the year at 23-15, he’ll have a winning mark of 60% in his first three years.

Bear Bryant wasn’t much of a fast starter, either.  From 1946 through ’48 he won 64.5% of his games at Kentucky (20-9-2).  From ’54 through ’56 he won 56.6% of his games at Texas A&M (17-11-2).  At Alabama, he started 20-7-5 from ’58 through ’60 (62.5%).  He also wound up coaching in Tuscaloosa for 25 seasons in and won six consensus national titles.

There are other coaches from past eras who started slowly only to build big winners.  Tom Osborne, John McKay, Vince Dooley.  Dooley had a winning percentage of just 64% after his first seven seasons in Athens.  He’s third all-time in SEC victories in case you didn’t know.

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UF O-Coordinator Pease Interested In The UK Job? Muschamp Would Be OK With That

Brent Pease hasn’t had the best of years leading Florida’s offense for the first time this season.  The Gators have lost only one game in 2012, but UF’s defense deserves the largest share of credit for that achievement.  After Saturday’s 14-7 win over Missouri, Will Muschamp even promised fans that a more explosive offense is still to come somewhere down the line.

But according to Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports and a story we linked you to yesterday, Pease would still like to be considered for the head coaching slot now open at Kentucky, where he served as offensive coordinator in 2001 and 2002 (much to ex-Cat quarterback Jared Lorenzen’s chagrin).

In September, Pease had some flattering things to say about Lexington.  Asked if he would be supportive of his first-year coordinator moving to UK if offered, Muschamp said yesterday:

 

“Brent is certainly an outstanding football coach.  Any opportunity he has as a head coach I know that I will fully endorse that as well as Jeremy Foley our athletic director, and our president.  He is a really good football coach and that goes for any of our coaches.  If they have an opportunity to be a head coach, I am all for it.”

 

Pease came to Florida from Boise State this past offseason.

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UF Sources Say They’re Not So Keen On Killing LSU Rivalry

For the past few months, more than a few LSU and Florida fans have made it clear on this website and others that they would have zero problem dumping their schools’ permanent cross-divisional rivalry.

Why?  Because everyone wants a namby-pamby, wussed-out, cakewalk of a schedule these days.

Earlier this week, LSU AD Joe Alleva told The Baton Rouge Advocate that both his school and Florida “are interested in ending that scheduling staple,” as the Advocate’s Scott Rabalais put it.  Alleva made that comment following a meeting of the SEC’s ADs in Nashville on Wednesday.  In other words, he was in a room with UF athletic director Jeremy Foley for several hours.

But Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com wrote last evening that “Florida sources told CBSSports.com that the Gators have given no indication they want their series to end with LSU.”  McMurphy stated that Foley could not be reached for comment, which begs two questions:

Who from Florida did McMurphy talk to?

and…

Why would Alleva say the Gators are interested in dumping the LSU-UF game if Foley had told him anything to the contrary?

Best guess?  McMuphy’s sources are either a) wrong or b) putting a little PR spin to things.

We’ll go with option b.

Florida probably doesn’t want to appear to be cowardly.  So if the SEC as a whole decides to nix permanent cross-divisional games like UF-LSU, the school might wholeheartedly support such a move in private… while sharing a “we’re not trying to end that rivalry” message publicly.

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Meyer Looking At Two Aides From UF

WKMG-TV in Orlando reported before Urban Meyer’s acceptance of the Ohio State job that he would make a run at two Florida staff members once he finally admitted he was taking the job.  The station said strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti and linebackers coach DJ Durkin would be at the top of the list.

Today The Columbus Dispatch says Meyer is indeed eyeballing two UF aides, but it lists receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill as a Meyer target along with Marotti, not Durkin. 

Hill is an interesting choice for Meyer.  Taking over a program that’s currently awaiting NCAA sentencing on two fronts, one might think he would steer clear of anyone with any smudge of trouble on his resume.  But Hill was named in Yahoo! Sports’ report on Miami booster Nevin Shapiro earlier this year.  Florida backed him in full and Shapiro’s allegations could be poppycock, but it’s worth noting just the same.

UF athletic director Jeremy Foley told The Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi on WYGM-AM 740 earlier this week that he didn’t think Meyer would take any Gator assistants to Columbus.

“I don’t think so.  He and I talked the other day and he didn’t mention that,” Foley said.  “He and I talked the morning before his press conference and I wished him well, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”

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Meyer Changes Direction With Move To Ohio State

A tip of the cap to Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel today for digging up the following quote from Urban Meyer, given during the 24-hour period of his first “retirement” from Florida in December of 2009:


“I made this clear to Jeremy Foley, if I am able to go coach, I want to coach at one place, the University of Florida.  It would be a travesty, it would be ridiculous to all of a sudden come back and get the feeling back, get the health back, feel good again and then all of a sudden go throw some other colors on my shirt and go coach.  I don’t want to do that.  I have too much love for this university and these players and for what we’ve built.”


Uh, well, er, uh…

Florida officials like Foley continue to say the right things regarding the ex-Gator coach.  And even a prominent UF booster — who is still friends with Meyer — says the coach appears to be in good health again.  He also said that he believes Meyer “has always acted up front.”

Maybe so.  But it’s going to be a bit odd this fall when Meyer throws some other colors on his shirt and goes back to coaching.

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UGA Alum Muschamp Says He’s Loyal To UF Now

First-year Florida coach Will Muschamp says the Georgia game is no big deal to him, even though he once wore the red and black:


“This profession is different than a lot of professions.  You do your job for the school that you’re working for.  It’s my job to do a great job for the University of Florida, and that’s what I’m trying to do.  Again, I talked about it earlier, I don’t mean disrespect to anybody, but I’m loyal to people, not places.  I work for Jeremy Foley and Dr. Bernie Machen, and those are the peole I need to do a good job for and this football team and staff.  That’s how I view things.  I’ve worked at Auburn, LSU and Texas — I’ve worked a lot of different places, and this isn’t the first time I’ve played against Georgia.”


And what if Muschamp did have feelings for UGA on Saturday?  Would he be more emotional on the sideline?  I understand why this is an ongoing story, but I don’t see how it could manifest itself during the game in such a way that it would impact the game.

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Writer: Muschamp Will Feel Pressure Due To “Underachieving” Football Program

At Florida, winning isn’t the only thing.  Winning championships is the only thing.  And that’s going to up the pressure on new football coach Will Muschamp according to at least one writer.

Gene Frenette of The Florida Times-Union says that UF’s football program is now behind other Gator programs that are competing for national titles.  While titles in smaller sports might now wow football fans, Frenette says, “they carry immense weight for UF athletic director Jeremy Foley, who happens to be Muschamp’s boss.”


“Foley might be the greediest college administrator in America.  The man wants every SEC title, every NCAA trophy, every All-anything that his teams can lay a hand on.

The downside, of course, is Foley’s patience for those not contending for conference or national titles runs out pretty quickly.  In Foley’s house, coaches either acquire goodwill chips by consistently getting in some kind of championship hunt or they’re sent packing.”


Muschamp then draws the dreaded Ron Zook comparison and it’s pointed out that five-loss season this year is not outside the realm of possibility.  And UF coaches under Foley don’t get too many five-loss seasons.

While we think it’s rather silly for “hot seat/feeling pressure” stories to be popping up regarding Muschamp before he’s even coached a game, the fact that this column was penned shows exactly where the expectation levels in Gainesville are these days.

You win big every year and right off the bat or else someone will start to speculate about your job security.  Amazing.

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Ex-NSCU QB Wilson To Visit Wisconsin; Potential SEC Rule Change Could Impact Him

For weeks there has been speculation that former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson — last year’s total offense leader in the ACC — might wind up as Cam Newton’s replacement at Auburn.  But word emerged today that Wilson is planning to visit Wisconsin next week, one of at least 12 schools pursuing him.  It has been reported that he’s already visited The Plains.

That said, the SEC’s presidents are deciding today whether to extend or rescind an exception which allows graduates from other schools to enter the SEC with less than two years of eligibility.

“It’s not a Jeremiah Masoli rule” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said.  “His name hasn’t even been mentioned.  It’s an academic-based rule. … The issue is one-year transfers.  I know how my president feels, but I’m not going to disclose that.

Without the exception, Masoli would not have been allowed to transfer to Ole Miss last season.  Without the exception, Wilson might not be allowed to transfer to Auburn — or any other SEC school — this fall.

Stay tuned.

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SEC Headlines – 5/2/11 Part Two

1.  Safety Ahmad Black will only have to go from Gainesville to Tampa Bay to begin his pro career.

2.  Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley helped prevent legislation in his state that would have made student-athletes even easier targets for unscrupulous sports agents.  Kudos.

3.  Here’s a look at where some Georgia footballers might go in next year’s NFL draft.

4.  Kentucky’s broadcasting rights have changed hands… but Cat fans won’t experience any changes in the broadcasts or stations.

5.  Which Tennessee players might be drafted into the NFL next year?

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UF In Top 5 Of Elite LB

Florida is “definitely going to be in my top five.”  So says top linebacker prospect Noor Davis of Ocala, Florida who visited Gainesville last Saturday.

“They treated me outstanding.  Not only did I meet with all of the coaches, but I met with the president of the university, Bernie Machen, and the athletic director, Jeremy Foley.  So ti was a great trip just because they organized it so well.  They just expressed how much interest they have in me.”

Davis is 6-4, 225 pounds and sports a 4.3 GPA.

He also happens to be the nephew of Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett.  So as a Pats fan, here’s hoping Davis winds up at Florida or at least somewhere in the SEC.

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