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Free Fallin'

GAINESVILLE -- I’m pretty sure this is not what Tom Petty meant...

 

But make no mistake, the Gators -- now unranked (and probably a week too late) -- are in a dizzying tailspin with few solutions in sight. 

The rabid ramblers -- across message boards, Twitter and local radio programs -- have their pitchforks ready and want blood following UF’s 36-17 trashing at Missouri on Saturday.   

The 2013 season is lost for the (once) mighty Gators. There will be no trip to Atlanta -- but if you’d like to make plans for Shreveport I’ve heard it’s absolutely lovely around late December -- no BCS bowl game, no winning the state.

With so much uncertainty surrounding the program, the future and what Will Muschamp could possibly be eating for breakfast Monday morning, here are some muddled thoughts as the Gators enter a much-needed bye week.

* The dreaded vote of confidence. Muschamp isn’t going anywhere -- for now.

Screen shot 2013-10-20 at 11.41.31 PM

Jeremy Foley, UF’s athletic director, handpicked Muschamp back in 2011 and the two reportedly have a close and open relationship. The hot seat scuttlebutt may be Speakerboxxx-loud everywhere outside of the Heavener Complex, but Muschamp would be owed upwards of $8 million is he were fired at season’s end. Also, the Gators don't want to get into any sort of potential bidding war for coaches with Texas (possibly) and USC. 

* And yet Foley is in the unenviable position of juggling the past with the present and future. The track record of elite successful SEC coaches reaching (or not) Atlanta by their third season is well-documented, but does Foley err on the side of prudence and the big picture or history? Either way, no (drastic) changes are coming now even if the Gators are regressing.  

* “Lost time is never found again,” 2013 is full of what-ifs for the Gators. The Cocktail Party in two weeks will be more like a funeral for all the fallen comrades on both Georgia and Florida. But while the two teams have been decimated by injuries and their collective failures have been coupled together nationally, the situations are much different. The Bulldogs -- at their peak in mid-September -- showcased as one of the nation’s most dynamic offenses with a young (and shoddy) defense and one of the worst special teams in the country. But overall, the Bulldogs were a good team, and the college football world knew who Georgia was at (mostly) full strength. 

Florida??? We still don’t know, and that’s Foley’s scariest food for thought moving forward. The Gators, winners of 11 games in 2012, were ravaged by injuries before Boom even tried out a new whistle on the first day of training camp this summer. Jeff Driskel’s preseason appendectomy was like a bad omen from The Ring. From there, the injury situation only snowballed, as the Gators eventually lost five starters to season-ending injuries while another half dozen contributors (some starters) have missed a number games due to ailment(s) X.  But did the injuries cripple a potentially solid team or was Florida -- with its yearly dumpster fire offense -- destined for a major regression and similar results anyways? We don’t know. We’ll never know. And that probably terrifies Mr. Foley.

* About that offense… Following the Missouri disaster, Muschamp told reporters, “I want to spread it out like everyone else does. But we can’t block anybody.”

Jim-Halpert crushable.com
(Courtesy crushable.com) 

Shrewd, Muschamp. But no. I’ll let the brilliant (or something like that) Spencer Hall of Every Day Should Be Saturday sum up Florida’s offensive philosophy during Muschamp’s regime:

“The recipe for what Florida wants to do in total leaves so little room for error that missing just one or two ingredients destroys the whole dish, since smashmouth manball assumes the ability to dominate at the line of scrimmage, and does not treat it as a luxury on just one side of the ball, much less both. It likes points, but it likes them in the context of control, not as pressure applied throughout the game on the opposing defense. It is SEC football from the 1980s--the kind Steve Spurrier all but ended for good, and that Nick Saban explicitly schemed against when assembling his LSU teams.

… At this point Florida is Virginia Tech under Frank Beamer: an outstanding defense, good special teams, and indifferent by design to the notion of offense.” 

For 2+ seasons, Muschamp has spit incessant fire of "THE SEC IS A LINE OF SCRIMMAGE LEAGUE,” and his Gators -- with a meat-grinder approach -- pummeling those pansy spread offenses. No doubt, Muschamp wants to score more, but only in homage to Herman Boone.

 

The GatorNation probably needs another shot immediately. And six plays? There's no need for a joke here. 

* As Bryan Holt, of Rivals.com's Inside the Gators, correctly pointed out every offensive coach aside from Joker Phillips is likely on notice. Florida’s offensive ineptitude yesterday was best illustrated in its drive (yards) chart: 18, 6, 12, 6, -2, 9, 6, -2, 70, -1, -10, 3, 19. Guess which drive freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor piloted for 53 rushing yards on one series only to tally just a single carry the rest of the game? Offensive coordinator Brent Pease has been much-maligned, and now (offensive line coach) Tim Davis has joined the public's (wrath) party too.   

* Florida’s problems run deeper than a rash of injuries. UF’s losses (on the lines of scrimmage) the last two weeks highlight Florida’s failure to recruit (just a total of six OL in ’10, ’11, ’12) and develop top-flight offensive linemen over the past several seasons. The Gators can’t run, can’t block, can’t pass, but damn they are consistent:

2011

Total offense: 105th

Total defense: 8th

2012

Total offense: 104th

Total defense: 5th

2013

Total offense: 106th

Total defense: 4th

* Florida -- despite three top-five recruiting classes in the last four years -- is the fourth best team in the state. Fun fact: Florida State, Miami and UCF have all developed a quarterback.

* Before the season, I listed linebacker, offensive line, turnover margin, kicker and rush defense as major question marks for Florida's 2013 team. 

Jonah-hill-moneyball-gif-87a84
(Courtesy moviespad.com)

* UF’s defense really, really misses defensive tackle Dominique Easley. The Gators miss Easley’s energy, infectious personality, constant motor, but most importantly, his sheer dominance inside. Easley best embodied Muschamp’s persona: tough, nasty and a little crazy. Without him though, UF’s run defense has been gashed for consecutive 100-yard rushers, as the Gators don't have anyone else who can consistently hold the point of attack. Florida allowed just a single tailback (UGA’s Todd Gurley) to go over the century mark in its previous 17 games before the LSU and Mizzou contests.

I'm sure I glossed over some things, but it's late. 

As always, the floor is yours.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Comments

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Thanks for the good reporting jesse....U just about said it all. Maybe the next story can be on the kicking unit?

Im surprised jlo and gatorlummy hasn't started attacking you yet. They may call you delusional or a douche or a virgin, but dont worry jesse, thats all the ammo they have and as long as you know its not true their words cant hurt you. Thats what i tell my 7 year old son when the first graders call each other names. at least we can probably beat USF.

Miami loses on the road to a bad North Carolina team, and that means Miami is a bad team. South Carolina loses on the road to a bad Tennessee team, and that shows the SEC's "toughness."

The ol' double-standard. Classic redneck hillbilly SEC garbage.

Got a new number for you Jlo. 500 - 151. That #2 defense was carved up by a redshirt freshman backu-up QB that no one else wanted.

Jesse, you're on fire brother! Love this piece. You hit the nail on the head, and then some. You're the best blogger this Gator Clause thing ever had. And I also dig all the extra snippets (Tom Petty, Denzel, etc.).

Personally, I believe that even without all the injuries, we would have stunk. We stunk last year (offensively), even though we only lost one regular season game. Louisville exposed what we knew (deep inside) all along. Against Toledo and Miami, we saw that not much had changed since the Sugar Bowl. UM saw us at full strength, and we were still inept offensively. Please, nobody bore me with statistics and time of possession. I'm well aware of that. All that matters is who won the game.

I think Gator Nation feels about Muschamp that way we do about Jeff Driskel: we like the guy and want him to succeed, but the results just aren't there. Unless the results are drastically different next year (which I doubt), Muschamp will probably be fired by the end of next season.

Missouri has had poorly ranked draft classes over the last few years (ranked in the high twenties, and even higher). Yet, armed with a plethora of two star and three star recruits, they are undefeated and they kicked our asses worse than anybody this year. How can Florida, with so many "studs" (supposedly), be so crappy?

I don't want to hear anymore about rivals.com and highly ranked recruits. I want coaches who develop players. If UCF beat Louisville, they can surely beat us.

Muschamp needs to recruit nothing but offensive lineman. For all we know, we have the best QB, RBs, TEs, and WRs in the world (hell, they were all highly coveted recruits), but none of them can do a darn thing because there is NO BLOCKING! Every defense that plays us comes out looking like the damn Steel Curtain or the 85 Bears.

No way can the offensive line coach survive this season. No freaking way.

It's all good though. Hey fellas, it's just a game. Don't take it too seriously. We're no longer in depression or anger mode, or even frustration mode, like we were after the loss to Miami. Personally, I am now in "laugh at the train wreck" mode.

If Muschamp can't fix this mess, somebody else will (eventually). Glad I'm not him.

Peace brothers. GO GATORS!

P.S. We'll be seriously lucky if we get another win this year (other than Georgia Southern). It'll take all we have to (maybe) beat Vandy for homecoming. Maybe. FSU is going embarrass us this year. At least first, I'll get to watch them embarrass UM.

SUICYCO, wow. That was the most honest post from a Gator fan in the post-Tebow era. From an outsider's perspective, the issue is really one that is summed up by the attitude of your cohort, jlo. Specifically, "all is well. We just reload. We are the Gators."

Unfortunately, that kind of thinking blinds you to the reality that UF is no different than any other program. Every top team goes through ups and downs and to think yours is immune is delusion. Did anyone hear from Alabama in the post-Stallings years? Texas currently? OU post-Switzer? Nebraska post-Osbourne?

You sensed this issue after the Sugar Bowl last year. That was 10 months ago. As recently as Friday, ol' jlo was barking about the SEC Championship game in Atlanta.

He is a dope.

Thank you Jim Gallo. I don't know jls personally, but he seems like a good guy who is a die hard Gator. Much respect to him. But by this time, even the most die hard Gators have to be wiping the orange and blue lenses.

I just wanted to add, that watching FSU destroy and dominate Clemson (and everybody else) reminds me of what UF used to look like, particularly during the Tebow years. Our athletes were just as highly recruited as FSU's athletes. That's what WE should look like. Did we look like that last year, when we were so highly ranked? Hell no. We know what a good, championship caliber team looks like. Let's not delude ourselves.

Crazy as it sounds, I'm actually happy for the Noles. Am I the only one who is sick of Alabama (and Oregon)?

Peace fellas.

Florida's only chance to salvage the season lies squarely on the shoulders of the seniors. They are the only group that can keep the team from completely splintering. The Coaches can only do so much. Players being held accountable by other players is the only way to keep the team together. I'm not a Gator fan, but all teams have the same problems when things are blowing up. It's up to the seniors.

If there was any doubt that all fans are the same, just read some comments by Gator fans from the Gainesville Sun. To a person, they are:

- calling for Muschamp's head;
- calling for Pease and Durkin's heads;
- expecting to lose every game except Georgia Southern;
- calling for Foley to be fired;
- calling this the beginning of a long period of Gator football mediocrity.

Fan is short for "Fanatic".

Fire Zook!! Oops..I mean Muschamp!! They seem like one in the same to me!

Jim, I only attack when being attacked, which is usually what Sid is doing. Let's not forget, this is a GATOR blog and we only react to what is being written. Don't act like cane fans are innocent victims and all we do is attack people. You cant make any kind of comment what-so-ever without a cane fan, 2 in particular, that make some stupid comment about everything you say. If you don't want a reaction out of us, then move on with your lives and quit eliciting a reaction.

I dont attack....i only point out facts. If u cant handle it dont respond.

Ncaa can do whatever they want to us tomorrow but u still wont be ranked! Fact! Even with another bowl ban, which i doubt, U will still be 4th in the state. Fact!

Yeah right sid. You've been on here since Joe Goodman was running things, talking trash and calling uf a diploma mill and talking about how stupid everyone is that went to uf or ufailure as you call it. You constantly criticize everything any gator fan comes on here and tries to talk about, using 50 different names. At least you're sticking with 21-16 more than most. Like I told Jim before, I can respect him, because he actually has insightful things to say, and doesn't criticize and say stupid things all the time like you do. You've said it yourself, you're going to act like a 12 year old and dish it out 10 times worse than a few loser gator fans did that have trolled cane blogs in the past. You may speak the truth, but that truth is only real in your own twisted head.


I don't play them games. When you try to take it personal like that, I don't have any great humbling things to say. So he can take his a-- back to St. Louis and watch the f------ film, 'cause I don't play them games. And if I see him on the street, I'm going to bust him in the f------ mouth.


-- Panthers WR Steve Smith to
Rams CB Janoris Jenkins

GatorAlum you didn't notice when you replied to "Jim Gallo", 21- 16 answered. Those are two of the many names sid The Moron cane uses. Don't let the same idiot bait you into thinking you are talking to a different person, it's the same Moron.

SUICYCO, I know how you feel and I'm also past the getting upset stage and laughing at the ineptitude instead.
I understand the need to recruit more O line men, but our glaring deficit is at QB. A real good QB will make up for and cover up most problems with the O line.
I had posted before after the Mizzou loss about this but somehow my post got deleted.
At least Muschamp is out in the open saying that changes need to be made regarding the offense, 3 losses too late, but better now than never. Remember after the Um game all he talked about was how the D needed to play better.
The most obvious change is the need to start Kelvin Taylor at RB. I cannot fathom why he only got one carry after the series where he scored the TD. More than that I cannot understand why he did not play before that series. Also Murph should get some running plays as well. He did very well in the UT and UK games running the ball. Besides that it's a question of schemes and coaching philosophy at this stage of the season.
I understand we will not be playing in Atlanta any more this year but I am not ready to concede "every game except Ga southern".
I expect Muschamp to make some changes during the bye week and have a better offensive showing in Jacksonville. Kelvin Taylor must be our starting RB at a minimum.

sid The Moron cane you are not fooling anyone, praise Jesse all you want with your multiple IDs and turn around and spew your crap at the same time.
You even try to praise SUICYCO when he posts something you agree with and will attack him later under a different name like you do to GatorAlum.
I will keep exposing you for who you are, a little POS.

Jesse not sure why my last post was erased, keep up the good reporting. This blog is doing very well under your guidance, much better than your predecesor as well as better than the cane blog writers.

It's always great to be a Florida Gator

JLO, you have finally seen the light that Driskel is not a Heisman Candidate as you said. You will forever be a little worm that squirms and throws barbs and then hides and makes excuses, by the way I am not sidcane you delusional fool.

Moron, I never said Driskel was a Heisman candidate. On the other hand several of you imbeciles are on record before the season began saying that Morris and Duke were Heisman candidates. Stop projecting. Stop infecting our blog with your filthy presence.

Jlo, really, you never said Driskel was a Heisman candidate, really. You are the delusional one, I am sure many on this sight would back my statement. The only delusional one is you, right (D)

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