Posted November 09, 2013

Florida’s nightmare season continues with first loss to Vanderbilt since 1988

Florida Gators, SEC, Will Muschamp
Will Muschamp

Following Saturday’s loss to Vanderbilt, Will Muschamp is 22-13 in his tenure at Florida. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Heading into this weekend, Florida had very little margin for error in its quest to make its 23rd consecutive bowl game. But errors have been the story of the Gators’ season, and the horror show continued on Saturday against Vanderbilt. The Commodores beat Florida 34-17 in a game they controlled from the outset.

The Gators (4-5) have suffered more than their share of injuries to date, with stars like quarterback Jeff Driskel, defensive tackle Dominique Easley, running back Matt Jones and, most recently, offensive tackle Tyler Moore lost for the year. But at some point, injuries can no longer be used as a blanket excuse, especially when the team continues to make the same mistakes time and again, akin to some sort of bizarre unpublished Franz Kafka story.

With the metamorphosis from a top-10 team in 2012 to DEFCON 1 fully complete, natural questions have emerged about the future of third-year head coach Will Muschamp. Muschamp’s philosophy seems so devoid of innovation and explosiveness that it requires disciplined perfection to work. When the Gators haven’t executed (and have lost crucial components to fluke scooter incidents), they have appeared overmatched and bewildered.

Sure, the injuries are brutal. They severely hampered Florida’s hopes of reaching a second straight BCS bowl. But injuries don’t call option plays on the goal line, punt inside opposing territory, get called for targeting or throw interceptions in the red zone.

The Gators turned the ball over four times and lost by 17 points on Saturday despite outgaining the ‘Dores 344 yards to 183. Florida also committed 10 penalties for 84 yards.

With the loss to Vanderbilt — the Gators’ first defeat to the Commodores since 1988, and Vandy’s first win in Gainesville since 1945 — Florida now needs to win two of its final three games against South Carolina (Nov. 16), Georgia Southern (Nov. 23) and Florida State (Nov. 30) to even get to 6-6, which seems awfully far-fetched at this point.

Without a bowl berth, the backlash against Muschamp will likely continue to grow, a notion that’s a bit stunning considering just how raucous and vitriolic things are getting already.

While it’s never entirely apples to apples when comparing two coaches’ tenures, a look at the records of Ron Zook and Muschamp proves fascinating. In three years with the Gators, Zook was 23-14 (16-8 in SEC play). Muschamp is currently 22-13 (13-10).

The situation might be different if the Gators showed any signs of life down the stretch, but outside of a quarter-plus rally against Georgia last week, they’ve basically been the subjects of a modern-day Howl, crying “Moloch!” and wondering:

What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!

We saw how Zook’s tenure at Florida ended in 2004. Unless something changes quickly, Muschamp might have more time to take up a hobby such as water skiing or beat poetry in the near future.

27 comments
doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

Interesting comparison with Zook and Muschamp. They canned Zook after a similae reocrd, just sayin'...


theboneman21
theboneman21

He's gotta go.

Things were never THIS bad under Zook. Under Zook, they simply failed to live up to the expectations set by Spurrier. This is actually bad. 

One look at the 2010 Texas Longhorns team that Muschump had authority over is all one needs to know about how brutal he is.

As for him being a great d coord - please. He coached at LSU, Auburn and Texas. Places able to attract top tier talent. He worked under Saban, Tuberville and Mack Brown. Once upon a time, Brown and Tuberville were excellent coaches and great recruiters. All Muschump had to do was NOT call a goalline d on 3rd and longs and he would get good stats. 


WM is so brutal one can't help but think he is tanking them on purpose; in an industry of retreads he will get a second chance. But he had the chance to destroy the team who:


A. Stood him up.


B. Passed him over.


C. Lit him up


Now, I don't actually believe he is tanking them on purpose.


Florida needs to find a homegrown person or someone who doesn't have ambitions beyond Florida. Someone who won't leave in a few years for another school. And when they get him, NOT force him to take someone's kid who wants to pretend to be a QB. Yeah, I am looking at you Florida boosters, who made Urban Meyer take Brantley over Cam Newton then trumped up Newton's transgressions because he was winning the Heisman while Brantley was wiping tear-boogers from his nose every time a pass rusher came after him.

Cam Newton was about to be kicked off for cheating. Yeah, ok. With what we know about Percy harvin and especially Aaron Hernandez, does anyone really honestly believe Newton was going to be kicked off the team for buying a stolen laptop and cheating on a test ? No, an alum's kid wanted to be QB so they sent Newton packing. of course, I am sure there are other more sinister reasons why Newton was sent packing and Brantley was retained, but that is a different story. 

Bring in a coach, an offensive innovator and get out of his way and let him do hiss thing so you don't have him wanting to leave after 5 years.

And please get someone with HC experience because your last two first timers have been blunders. They could have had Sumlin......but most likely the same forces that passed over Charlie Strong, forced out Newton and were forever down on Chris Leak probably kept him away.



hyphenite
hyphenite

Wait a minute, at 4-4 they had a shot at a bowl?  Oh, right, it's Florida.

Cool
Cool

Good news is that the Texas team seems to be getting better, bad news is that there are still many in Texas who want Brown gone at the end of the year.... good news is that Muschamp was once the "coach in waiting" at Texas.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Why all the negativity? They'll SMEAR Georgia Southern.

Adolfis
Adolfis

Think about this, Bridgewater goes to the NFL........


                                                                                               Charlie comes back to UF!............


Then the universe slowly goes back to normal when the right personnel come together to motivate this team. At least with a loosing season the few NFL prospects that UF has, have slowly dropped out of the 1st round in all of the mock NFL drafts. Hopefully some of the talent will stick around for the next ball coach that comes in.

otherworld
otherworld

Doesn't look good for him. He does not seem to have the bearing of a head coach. No doubt a great defensive coordinator but perhaps not head coach material. 

j7apple
j7apple

No bowl game? Muschamp gone for sure.

Roy1
Roy1

That SEC East is tough, whew-eee.  I can smell it from here.

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

If, as expected, Florida goes 1 and 3 in their remaining 3 games, Muschamp will be 23 & 15 overall and 13 & 11 in conference games.

BOTH marks would be worse than Ron Zook's.  We all know how today things are tougher and programs demand winning even more so than in yrs gone by.  So, if many yrs ago a record better than this got a coach fired, then this coach should be let go too...

Mel
Mel

@hyphenite 6 wins makes EVERY team eligible for a bowl game dumbass.

BADeMonte
BADeMonte

@Cool   Wish they would have left him waiting in Texas.

Adolfis
Adolfis

@Rickapolis Ha! As a Gator fan I am not holding my breath right now on that one!

SteveRowFla
SteveRowFla

@Adolfis Charlie doesn't want anything to do with FU's dumpster fire and ridiculous fan base.

Adolfis
Adolfis

@otherworld  Great defensive co(*)ordinator I think not!  


The offense that Pease has run all year is so flat and vanilla and not creative at all. Very questionable play calling all year long. 

When the head coach continues to allow the guard to smack the centers leg...... Any defense, even a good High School defense would light up the offensive line. Its easy to guess the snap count when you can watch the guard and know when the ball is going to be snapped everytime........


Muschump and Pease must go.


Sure am missing Charlie Strong right now. Mayer sure screwed over UF on that one.

brad1943
brad1943

@Sportsfan18 Don't know how they could go 1-3 in their last 3 games.  Never been done before!

Dustin3
Dustin3

@BADeMonte @Vinny Cordoba Well, 13-1 in 09' & 8-5 in 10' (his last 2 years) are better than 5-7, the Gators likely record this season. Oh yeah, the 2 Nattys in 06' and 08' weren't too bad either.