GAINESVILLE -- Florida will not be a very good football team next season, and its flawed roster is a major reason why.
The transitional era under new coach Jim McElwain will undoubtably take time, so Florida’s next program-builder is already tempering expectations with some not-so-veiled comments aimed at former coach Will Muschamp.
“You’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt,” McElwain said on the team’s lack of depth.
“And right now, quite honestly, the hand we’re dealt is really insufficient at some of the areas.”
McElwain inherited a dangerously thin roster, as UF has struggled to practice this spring with just seven healthy scholarship offensive linemen, four linebackers and only a handful of tailbacks.
This is not the foundation of a championship team.
But five months ago, Muschamp painted a different picture during his farewell press conference.
“They’ve got a deep and talented roster, so don’t let that new guy tell you he ain’t got any players,” he said.
“I can tell you right now, there are some good football players in that locker room.”
There are some good football players in UF’s locker room.
They all play the same in the same two units (secondary, defensive line), but still! Some good players!
Muschamp’s comments ring hollow, but you can understand why he would say such a thing.
There’s no downside for him. Either he’s praised like Ron Zook for leaving the next coach with a deep coffer of talent, or he continues to be blamed for everything this side of the sun anyways.
Florida is no longer “a broken program,” and Muschamp deserves credit for changing the program's culture, but the irony is he left McElwain a roster similar to the one he inherited.
Urban Meyer ignored the offensive line too, leaving Muschamp with minimal numbers up front (on both lines of scrimmage actually) and few playmakers.
Now, the program is again in its current state because Muschamp didn’t practice what he preached.
Muschamp famously railed against “stars” and “recruiting rankings” -- his own veiled shots at his predecessor -- yet UF’s roster is inherently flawed because Muschamp ignored signing offensive linemen in favor of hoarding stars in the secondary or front-seven.
Muschamp’s final three classes ranked in the top-9 nationally, but on the surface those “rankings” tell as much as Xaro Xhan Daxos’ sealed vault.
The truth lies in what’s actually inside.
“There’s nothing we can do about it [now],” McElwain said.
“It’s no excuse. It’s what we have.”
And right now, Florida doesn't have a whole lot.
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