Is Muschamp The Wrong Fit At Florida?
By Dan Harralson
The Florida-Georgia game is huge every year, but this year it seems bigger.
The teams are both 4-3, unranked and beat up with injuries. But this game is big for job security.
Georgia coach Mark Richt can probably escape with a loss, but Florida coach Will Muschamp needs this. Gators fans are not accustomed to losing seasons. Muschamp has dealt with his share of injuries, but even with a full deck, is he a good fit for a team with a strong offensive reputation?
Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer excelled offensively and they also fielded good defensive teams. Muschamp's style may not sit well with the Florida faithful if mediocre seasons continue.
Schools have identities. Alabama is known for running a traditional offense and playing defense - and their fan base supports it. When Nebraska experimented with Bill Callahan, it was a disaster. Fans were not accustomed to a pass-happy offense.
USC, searching for a replacement for Lane Kiffin, wants to keep its identity — a pro-style offense and tough defense — instilled with the new hire.
A loss to Georgia on Saturday will make Florida 4-4. The Gators will then need two more wins to avoid their first losing season since 1979.
The task includes games against Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, Georgia Southern, and Florida State. Muschamp should secure two wins and go bowling, but what does just getting to a bowl mean to the program? CBS Sports' Jerry Palm has projected the Gators in the SEC's lower tier BBVA Compass Bowl. Palm has Florida squared off against Cincinnati at Legion Field. These two programs have fallen tremendously since the 2010 Sugar Bowl.
Cincinnati has lost coaches Brian Kelly (Notre Dame) and Butch Jones (Tennessee). Florida has had Muschamp for three seasons and an equal amount of recruiting classes.
Granted, Florida has lost eight players to season-ending injuries, including its quarterback, running back and nose tackle. Left tackle D.J. Humphries sprained his left knee Monday during practice and will miss at least a couple weeks.
But whether it is Tyler Murphy, Jeff Driskel or John Brantley taking snaps, there has to be production at the quarterback position in this conference. Florida has not produced under center in three seasons under Muschamp.
There has to be a form of identity offensively, and Muschamp needs to find that to keep his fan base happy.