Posted November 13, 2013

Florida AD Jeremy Foley voices support of Gators head coach Will Muschamp

Florida Gators, Will Muschamp
Will Muschamp

Florida AD Jeremy Foley voiced his support for coach Will Muschamp on Wednesday. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Florida is injury-riddled and struggling under third-year coach Will Muschamp, and the 4-5 Gators are in danger of missing a bowl game for the first time in 23 seasons. Still, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley is throwing his support behind his football coach.

Foley told GatorZone.com he remains “a thousand percent convinced” that Muschamp will steer the program back to prominence.

“As athletic director, I’m a thousand percent convinced that Will Muschamp is the guy to lead this football program,’’ Foley said. “Nothing has changed in what we feel about Will Muschamp from the day we hired him.

“Everyone around here wants the same thing,’’ Foley continued. “We want to do what is right for the University of Florida. We understand that this football season has not gone the way any of us wanted it to go, certainly not the way our fans wanted it to go, and most of all, not the way Will Muschamp wanted it to go.

“We have a history of being successful, we have a history of fixing things when they need to be fixed, and that is what is going to happen here, and Coach Muschamp is the one that will fix it.”

Muschamp is 22-13 (13-10 SEC) since coming to Gainesville from Texas prior to the 2011 campaign. Muschamp went 11-1 during the 2012 regular season to claim a spot in the Sugar Bowl, where the Gators lost to Louisville 33-23.

This year has been a different story, however. Florida has lost quarterback Jeff Driskel, running back Matt Jones, defensive tackle Dominique Easley and linebacker Antonio Morrison, among many others, to season-ending injuries. After suffering its first home loss to Vanderbilt since 1945, the Gators need to win two of their final three games (at South Carolina, vs. Georgia Southern, vs. Florida State) to become bowl eligible. The offense, in particular, has been inept.

Despite the team’s 2013 struggles, Foley said Muschamp proved he has the ability to turn things around.

“We will get better under Will Muschamp’s leadership,’’ Foley said. “This is not the quote-unquote dreaded ‘vote of confidence.’ This is just how we all feel around here. We have a strong faith and a strong belief in his capabilities, in his leadership skills, in his ability to evaluate what needs to be fixed.”

“Go back to a year ago: we’re 11-1 and beat four teams in the Top 10 and he was SEC Coach of the Year. I don’t think that was a fluke. I think coaching had a lot to do with that. We’ll stay the course here. We’ll get it right. We’re not going to let Gator fans down. We want the same thing they want.”

20 comments
Cool
Cool

When alumni stop giving money to the program and corp sponsors start dropping, business will dictate that this AD changes his tune or face his own firing.

RazorRex
RazorRex

It's tough to judge this year as with all the injuries, but we lost to Georgia for the third year in a row.  And a loss to Vanderbilt at home in the swamp.. Something that hasn't been done in over 60 years.  Florida's second and third string players are on par if not more highly recruited than Vanderbilt's first string.. Yet we still got stomped.  I feel that it is a failing of the coach, if not Pease should be fired.  

j7apple
j7apple

What have you done for me lately?

BobRayTalbot
BobRayTalbot

Muschamp is a great coach. That will become apparent to either Florida or whoever hires him next.  He will be successful. Of this I have no doubt.


davidhudsonone
davidhudsonone

I can understand why he would be willing to write off this season. No one in the top ten, fifteen, twenty ect... could survive losing 10 of their best players to injury. Just ask Georgia. Georgia is just a shadow of the team that started the season. Where would Bama be if AJ CJ and eight other guys went down. Just maybe they'd still be in the top twenty five. LSU lost half of their team to the NFL draft before the season began and they are struggling badly on defense which lost eight players. Losing the play makers however you lose them can and does dramatically change the landscape of college football year in and year out. Not making excuses for Muschamp but losing ten guys to injury does absolve him at least enough to try to right the ship one more season. 

mountainbrook417
mountainbrook417

Ah yes....the dreaded vote of full confidence. Ask Lane Kiffin how that turns out.

biasedsportsfan
biasedsportsfan

@RazorRex I've heard that said about the second/third-string players but the simple fact is that Vanderbilt's first-team players are game-tested and experienced in a way that many of the players now seen on the field for the Florida squad simply are not. Certainly the talent is there, and all things being equal it would probably be no contest, but there's a lot to be said for the advantages that experience brings versus raw talent.

Adolfis
Adolfis

@Ol' Time Gator I remember the same thing happening when Zook was there. Wonder if Muschump can remember this as well.

GTT
GTT

@davidhudsonone Exactly, it's beyond by comprehension that anyone can even suggest firing a coach who was 11-2 last year when the team is gutted by injuries this season and not doing well. How could it? That's not close to reasonable.

Adolfis
Adolfis

@biasedsportsfan @RazorRex Well, how many yards did Vandy gain for the whole game compared to UF? Something needs to change in the Swamp. This team, especially the offense, seems very off and not well prepared. Why the heck does the head coach still allow the guard to tap the centers thigh right before the snap? Dont you think the defense can see this and just tee off each snap?

Pease and his offensive scheme is, well, very offensive and way to vanilla! It seems he lost his magic when he came to U.F..

Adolfis
Adolfis

@biasedsportsfan @Adolfis @mountainbrook417 He did say Zook had his support. He said there was no timetable for Zook at U.F.. You should research more before you spout. Foley gave a interview to the AP and spoke at several Booster meetings where he said Zook had his full support.  Florida really need to get rid of Foley as well because his record at Florida isnt that good either

biasedsportsfan
biasedsportsfan

@Adolfis @biasedsportsfan @mountainbrook417 Actually, Zook is a perfect example because the day after the Miss St. game Foley decided to fire Zook, and then immediately did. They aren't really similar examples, despite their records in 2 1/2 years. My point is that Foley is not one to linger on the decision to let a coach go if he thinks it's what needs to happen. Had Foley, instead of firing Zook, said something like "This sucks but Ron Zook is the answer" then you might have a point.

biasedsportsfan
biasedsportsfan

@Adolfis @ApolloOne @biasedsportsfan @mountainbrook417 I do not, nor could I find any mention of it in headlines from the time. I read from the end of Zook's 2nd season where Foley is supportive, but nothing like this in the middle of the season or immediately (or even close to) before Zook got fired. So no, unless you have information I don't, I don't see them being the same thing