Florida Needs An Offensive Identity To Right The Ship
By Dan Harralson
The Florida Gators are coming off their worst season since 1979, finishing 4-8 last fall, including a seven-game losing streak down the stretch. It was their first losing season in 33 years. So, what does this mean for head coach Will Muschamp and the Florida program going forward?
An explanation is probably needed for last season's digression, and for the program's uncertainty. This season's uncertainty is the first regarding the Florida program since 1989 — the year before Steve Spurrier arrived in Gainesville and took the Gators football program to unchartered heights. Not even former head coach and highly scrutinized Ron Zook had this much uncertainty. Zook recruited well and he also won eight games in two of his three seasons for the Gators. Eight wins for Muschamp will be enough to save his job this season, even though eight-win seasons for Zook in 2002 and 2003, followd by a seven-win 2004 campaign, wasn't good enough for Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley.
Is this hypocritical? Probably, but it doesn't make the hot seat any cooler for Muschamp this year.
"You control the hot seat talk by having a good team and winning games," Muschamp told reporters at SEC Media Days on Monday.
If Muschamp wants to have any chance of surviving at Florida, he needs to be able to answer one question: What is Florida's offensive identity?
Muschamp brought in former Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper to try and steer the Gators' offensive ship.
"I felt like our guys really lost confidence over the course of last season, it was time for a change," Muschamp said. "(Roper's) development at the quarterback position speaks for itself. You can't be one-dimensional in this league, we've been too one-dimensional. The offense will be better in shotgun than last year. Kurt Roper is a great hire."
Fans of any school expect an identity — and Florida is known for offense. The Florida fans are accustomed to the high-octane offenses of Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer, not running the ball and playing defense. So, it's still a wait-and-see approach, but Muschamp needs to prove that his philosophies match the identity of the school
It just does not seem like it's a good fit for Muchamp at Florida.
2014 Projected Florida Schedule Breakdown
Wins: Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Eastern Kentucky
Losses: Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, Tennessee