Gator Fans: Panic? Nah…Nervous? You Bet

Posted: January 11, 2012 in Florida Gators
Tags: , , ,

Now that the 2011 college football season has ended, it’s time to look ahead. I’ll start with the Florida Gators.

Will Muschamp makes me nervous.

One of his catchphrases these days is, “We’re building a program, not a team.” The Gators’ football coach leaves you with the impression he’s at Vanderbilt, not Florida. He makes it sound as if he inherited jalopy instead of a Rolls-Royce when he was hired 13 months ago.

Florida’s football program doesn’t need to be built. It is one of the top 10 programs in the nation and has been for a couple of decades. Clearly it needs tweaking. A 15-11 record over the last two seasons is, as Muschamp says, “unacceptable”.

The Gators’ main problem for the last two years has been coaching and a lack of stability. The whole Urban Meyer fiasco – resigning, then a change of heart and then resigning again in a matter 11 months – created a 15-11 record, not a broken program.

Getting the Gators back among the elite is not a daunting task. Top recruits still regard Florida as a one of the top destinations. Playing in the SEC is more attractive than ever.

The biggest question about the Florida program is whether or not Muschamp was the right hire. His credentials as a defensive coordinator and recruiter are outstanding, but his one year as a head coach raises concerns.

What concerns me the most is how the Gator team that won the Gator Bowl, beating Ohio State 24-17, looked like the same Gator team I saw throughout the 6-6 regular season. The offense was anemic with rotating quarterbacks (again), inconsistent running and invisible receivers. The defense was solid. The special teams were outstanding.

A sign of good coaching is teams improve as the season progresses. Weaknesses are identified and changes are made. Muschamp complained about the team’s lack of toughness. Doesn’t that problem rest at the feet of the coaches?

My advice to Muschamp is not to worry about the program, but to do some serious self evaluation of his performance and the performance of his staff. The departure of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis necessitates changes in the staff. That can only be a good thing considering how poorly the Gators played offense.

There’s no reason for panic in Gator Nation, but being a bit nervous is certainly understandable.



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