A little bird tells me what offense Will Muschamp will run next year to try and save his job as the head coach of the Florida Gators.
That little bird is called common sense.
And common sense says Muschamp has one year to flip the field and make UF a championship-contending program once again. Muschamp and UF Athletic Director Jeremy Foley make a combined $4 million annually and are paid handsomely to fix UF's woebegone program, but I'm still willing to give them some sound advice free of charge.
There is only way to quickly fix Florida's abysmal offense: Put starting quarterback Jeff Driskel in the spread and let him do what made him a star at Hagerty High School in Oviedo. And while they're at it, the Gators should at least offer Tim Tebow the job of quarterback coach. Driskel was recruited by Urban Meyer to become the next Tim Tebow. Why wouldn't Muschamp try to hire the original Tim Tebow, perhaps the most decorated spread quarterback ever, to mentor Driskel?
Another suggestion as a potential hire: How about former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer as the new offensive line coach? Someone who knows Fulmer tells me he is "bored senseless" and would love to get back into coaching in some capacity. Many Florida fans remember Fulmer as the highly successful head coach at Tennessee, but even before that he was recognized as one of the premier offensive line coaches in SEC history.
But, mainly, what Muschamp needs to do is get Driskel in the spread. Muschamp admitted after the Gators were pounded 37-7 by Florida State to close out a historically bad 4-8 season that, "We need to take a look at ourselves schematically.''
Translation: The most important position on the team — quarterback — must be comfortable in the scheme. In high school, Driskel was a dual-threat running-passing machine. During his senior season, he threw for 1,819 yards and 15 touchdowns and ran for 1,333 yards and 20 TDs.
For two years, the Gators, under former offensive coordinator Brent Pease, have "misused Jeff," according to one member of his high school coaching staff. "They tried to force him into being a drop-back quarterback when that's not really his skill set. Jeff is the type of quarterback who you need to turn loose and let him do what he does."
Ironically, Muschamp and Pease were always worried Driskel would get hurt if he ran too much. Guess what? Driskel broke his ankle last season while standing in the pocket.
Moreover, Florida's backup quarterback Tyler Murphy, another dual-threat athlete, is also more suited to the spread. Which makes Florida's previous offensive schemes under Muschamp even more baffling. Why would you run the Nick Saban offense when your talent was recruited to run the Urban Meyer offense?
That's why the Gators need to go out and hire a spread guru to choreograph the offense. How about newly fired Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen, who ran the spread as the offensive coordinator at Missouri and turned Chase Daniel – yes, Chase Daniel! — into an NFL quarterback. Or how about Bob Stitt, the head coach of Division II Colorado School of Mines, whose offensive concepts have been borrowed by the likes of Texas A&M, West Virginia and Cincinnati? Sometimes, the best offensive coaches come from the most unlikely places.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn spent more than a decade as a high school coach in Arkansas before he got his chance to move to college. Chip Kelly spent a dozen years choreographing his high-powered, fast-break attack in New Hampshire before he was hired at Oregon. Or how about Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, who was a high school coach in Texas five years ago?
Honestly, I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that Muschamp could turn the Gators into SEC Championship contenders in one season (see Auburn's and Missouri's record last year). I believe this was a horrendously star-crossed, injury-plagued aberration of a season.
When you lose a dozen starters to season-ending injuries, including your top two quarterbacks, it's going to decimate your team. If you don't think an injury to a quarterback can make a difference as to whether a team is good or bad, ask the Green Bay Packers, who are 0-4-1 since Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone
It all starts with the quarterback.
If Will Muschamp puts Jeff Driskel in the spread offense, he will save his job.
If he doesn't, he won't.
The little bird has spoken.
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