5:24 PM EDT, October 24, 2013
Will Muschamp is a good football coach – a very good football coach.
But he has a bad offense – a very bad offense.
And if he doesn't get it fixed soon, a good football coach will soon be an unemployed football coach.
There is nothing more job-threatening in today's world of exciting, high-powered offensive football than a losing football team with a bad, boring offense.
Muschamp isn't on the hot seat yet, but Gator fans are flocking to Publix right now to get the charcoal lighter. Barely half-a-season after winning 11 games, Muschamp almost certainly will be coaching for his job next season. This is unfortunate because I think Muschamp is a defensive mastermind and will be a great head coach if given time. But Gator Nation has about as much patience as a toddler at a toy store. They want their Big Hugs Elmo and they want it now!
Ask Ron Zook. He was fired after 2 1/2 seasons at UF with a 20-13 record, 14-7 in the SEC. Muschamp, after 2 1/2 seasons, is 22-11, 13-8 in the SEC.
The Gators conceivably could finish 6-6 or – gulp! – 5-7 this year. Can you imagine the outcry if UF finishes with its first losing record since the 0-10-1 season 34 years ago? Zook used to refer to fan unrest as "noise in the system." If Florida State pounds Florida in The Swamp to cap off a UF losing season, the noise in the system will be louder than a Motorhead concert.
The wins last year made it easier for Gator fans to accept an offense that has been brutal since Muschamp took over. It's one thing when Muschamp can win games despite a lackluster offense; it's quite another when the Gators start losing games because the offense is – in Muschamp's own words – "inept."
In Muschamp's first year, Charlie Weis was the offensive coordinator, and the Gator offense ranked an abysmal 105th out of 120 teams in the country. When Weis left to become the head coach at Kansas, Muschamp hired Brent Pease from Boise State, who promptly came in and orchestrated an offense as lackluster as Weis's. The Gators ranked No. 103 out of 120 teams in total offense last season.
With Pease at the helm again this year, Florida's offense is ranked 106th nationally. FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden has long been the standard for coaching pedestrian offenses in this state. Guess what? He never had an offense even close to as bad as UF has had the past three years. In six years at FSU, the worst offense Bowden ever had ranked 70th.
UF's offensive numbers are inexcusable for a team located in a talent-rich state filled with speed and agility. FSU's offense is high-powered. Miami's offense is high-powered. UCF's offense is high-powered. And Florida's offense clangs like a dryer-load of quarters.
Yes, the Gators have been decimated by injuries this year, but the Gators' offense has been awful for three seasons now. And let's not forget, Missouri lost its starting quarterback James Franklin to injury last week and still ran up 500 yards against the vaunted UF defense with freshman QB Maty Mauk starting his first game. The Gators countered with 151 yards – the lowest offensive output in 14 years.
Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley told the Gainesville Sun a few days ago that Muschamp's job is safe and "he's not going anywhere."
But Muschamp better quickly liven up his offense or Florida Field will be like a morgue next season. Many Gator fans weren't enamored with Muschamp's style even when he was winning games. The already-dwindling season-ticket base will shrivel up even more if the Gators continue to lose. And, let's face it, when the customers stop buying your product in any business, people start losing their jobs.
In today's economic climate, fans aren't going to invest thousands of dollars to show up at a stadium and watch a bad, boring offense. In this era of offensive football, fans not only want to win, they want to be entertained.
Right now, the Gators aren't winning and they aren't entertaining.
This is a lethal combination for a football coach.
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