Have at it, guys.
- Scarbinsky mocks Nick Saban’s concern about football becoming a “continuous game”.
- Arthur Lynch be preppin’ for the NFL. It’s always interesting when players find new motivation (read: $$) to take better care of their bodies than they did in college.
- Dan Jenkins has a memoir coming out today. That should be a semi-great read.
- Ed Aschoff says Jeff Driskel, who’s important enough to the Florida program that Boom pushed back the spring practice schedule to accommodate his recovery, “has every reason to be bitter”. Hmm.
- CFN‘s “unsolicited advice” to Georgia for spring practice is to work on turnover margin. Dang, I bet Mark Richt wishes he’d have thought of that.
- Miami joins the ranks of programs hiring high-profile high school coaches in an advisory position.
- Weiszer notes a comment made by a 2015 Georgia commit: “They’re switching to a 4-3 defense and I think that will give me an opportunity to come in and play as a true defensive end…” Jeremy Pruitt, all things to all men.
Some mid-day nourishment for you.
Now, while we’ve come to love the hire of Agent Muschamp, you do have to wonder what Jeremy Foley was thinking, because it cut against the grain of what’s been successful at Florida.
While it’s easy to criticize with the benefit of hindsight, the hiring of Muschamp really never fit the image of Florida football in the first place. Florida made its name as an innovative program among major colleges, with the Fun ‘n’ Gun and spread option giving the program a defined identity. In between Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer, Florida failed by hiring Ron Zook, a defensive coach and accomplished recruiter who has flamed out as a gameday coach, and now, for the last three years, the reins have been in the hands of Muschamp, the former Texas defensive coordinator who probably would have fit best a Woody Hayes staff. A good head coach is a good head coach, and a good defensive coach could succeed at Florida, in theory. Still, it’s an odd shift in direction, given that the fan base came of age with Florida on the cutting edge of offensive football. It just makes it easier for fans to grow disenchanted with the direction of the program, sooner rather than later.
At this point, Florida’s pinning its hopes on the hire of another Duke offensive guru in Roper. The catch is that while Spurrier was his own man, Roper was managing the Blue Devils offense under the direction of David Cutcliffe, a top-notch offensive mind in his own right. Who’s to say Roper’s ready for what he’s taking on at Florida? It’s not like the Gators haven’t talked a good game before about opening up the offense.
There was a revealing moment in last season’s Florida-Tennessee game, when the one-loss Gators still had delusions of grandeur. Driskel had just been knocked out, and inexperienced Tyler Murphy (who will suit up for Boston College next season) took over. In the midst of one of the season’s sloppiest games, Florida hurried to the line, and CBS play-by-play man Verne Lundquist took note, saying, “Here’s a little bit of that hurry-up,” adding that Florida had said it would use it against the Vols. The next thing he said was that there were five seconds left on the play clock.
It’s one thing to say a philosophy is changing, quite another to put it into practice.
If Roper isn’t the man, let’s hope Foley doesn’t learn from history.
I’m not sure if the three-game winning streak in Jacksonville has sunk into our collective subconscious as fully as it deserves to. Every once in a while I run into stories that help bring it into perspective, though, like this one about Florida receiver Solomon Patton, for whom things were going so well in 2012. Until…
Then it all came crashing down in the biggest game of the season against hated rival Georgia.
Patton was dragged down from behind, broke his arm when he hit the ground and just like that his season was done. In the blink of an eye Patton’s firs real opportunity to be an impact player was taken away. Suddenly that sad, lonely, empty feeling he felt as a freshman paled in comparison to what he felt as a junior.
“My mindset [after the injury] was that I was done. I felt like I had just finally got my chance and then I just hit rock bottom having my arm broken,” he said. “That was the saddest time. I was sad every day, all day. My parents, everybody just tried to keep me encouraged but that was real hard. I had finally got my shot and I felt like I was doing my best to take advantage of it and it was all over. It was pretty hard.”
This is ordinarily the kind of story we used to read about some hapless kid suiting up in the red and black. Except it’s not.
Sadly, the article left out my favorite Patton moment – the senior getting baited by Leonard Floyd, of all people, into committing a personal foul that pushed his team back just far enough to lead to a whiffed field goal attempt in a game that Florida lost by three. Again, that’s the kind of knuckleheaded moment you’d expect from our side. Except it wasn’t.
You need to savor this stuff, people.
You know, it won’t surprise me in the least if a year from now if Boom cans his entire offensive staff and brings in Rhett Lashlee to run a version of Malzahn’s offense because the Gators ”… needed more tempo, we needed to create more snaps, we needed to create more space plays…”
Cutting edge, bitchez.
Agent Muschamp’s latest move should ring a bell with us.
Multiple sources have told Gator Country that former Texas offensive line and assistant head coach Stacey Searels has accepted an offer to become Florida’s offensive line coach. Searels, who served on the staff with Florida head coach Will Muschamp at LSU, is expected to be announced either Sunday or Monday.
The Georgia part of his resume is presented in interesting fashion.
At Georgia, Searels’ offensive lines gave up only 42 sacks in the 39 games from 2007-09. Dealing with injuries and a freshman quarterback in 2010, the Georgia O-line gave up 25 sacks but the Bulldogs did produce a 3,000-yard passer and an 800-yard rusher despite numerous injuries both on the O-line and the backfield.
From my selfish perspective, 2010 is when the bloom came off the rose. As Tim Tucker put it when Searels left for Texas, “Georgia’s offensive line was expected to be a pillar of the 2010 team but drew much criticism as the Bulldogs struggled to run the ball effectively. Georgia finished 10th in the SEC in rushing.” I sensed that Richt wanted Searels to stay, but I wasn’t exactly torn up over his departure.
The article notes that Searels has been an effective recruiter at Texas. If so, that would be a change from his time in Athens. (Something you’ll note the article glosses over entirely.)
One thing Boom should like about the move, assuming Searels is as taciturn as ever – if he and Roper don’t hit it off, we’ll never hear about it in the media.
It turns out you can put a price on desperation.
And perhaps we need to give Agent Muschamp some credit here.
Muschamp and Gators receivers coach Joker Phillips are familiar with Roper’s credentials. Muschamp faced Roper’s Ole Miss offense when he was defensive coordinator at LSU and Auburn, and Phillips was Kentucky’s offensive coordinator in 2005 when Roper was the Wildcats’ quarterbacks coach.
Pease coached at Kentucky, too. Boom’s obviously got a Wildcat fetish. Maybe he’s got a secret plan to turn Florida into a basketball school.
Sounds like Boom’s found his guy to
rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic resurrect the moribund Florida offense.
Roper has served as Duke’s offensive coordinator since 2008. This year, the Blue Devils ranked 68th nationally in total offense, averaging 408.1 yards per game. The Blue Devils averaged 31.6 points per game.
In 2012, Roper helped direct the Blue Devils to a school single-season record of 410 points and 31.5 points per game, the fifth-highest total in school history.
Roper has extensive history in the SEC. He got his coaching start at Tennessee while serving as a graduate assistant from 1996-98 and then followed current Duke head coach David Cutcliffe to Ole Miss, where he spent six years coaching quarterbacks and was the passing game coordinator during his final three seasons.
In 2005, Roper served as Kentucky’s quarterbacks coach before serving as running backs coach at Tennessee in 2006 and 2007.
Tennessee, Ole Miss, Kentucky and Duke may not sound like much, until you consider they all look a long way up from this:
Pease’s dismissal came on the heels of an injury-riddled season in which Florida ranked last in the SEC in total offense (316.7 yards per game) and scoring (18.8) during a 4-8 season. It was the first time since 1979 that the Gators suffered a losing season and the first time in 22 years that they failed to make a bowl game.
Florida scored 30 or more points just twice during the 2013 season, tying for 112th nationally in scoring offense. The Gators also ranked 113th nationally in total offense.
What do you figure the over/under is on the number of years Roper has guaranteed on his contract?
With any luck, they won’t hire a new offensive coordinator in Gainesville until the week of the Orange and Blue game.
It’s hard to believe Boom can’t land somebody with a sales pitch like this:
With Florida’s base of talent and deep pockets, the OC job remains attractive. After all, before Pease, Florida’s three previous offensive coordinators — Dan Mullen, Steve Addazio and Charlie Weis — left for head coaching jobs.
So, Tyler Murphy joins the exodus from Gainesville, leaving Boom in something of a pickle for next season.
With freshman Max Staver also transferring, Florida will now have just two scholarship QBs on its roster. It does expect to sign top recruit Will Grier, ESPN’s No. 2 QB prospect in the nation, in January.
The Gators’ other returning quarterback, redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg, started the final three games of the season when Murphy aggravated a sprain in his throwing shoulder. Murphy first hurt his shoulder against LSU on Oct. 12. The Gators lost that game and the final six on their schedule.
Once again, it’s Jeff Driskel and a cast of
thousands hundreds tens two.
Muschamp insisted the job would “be an open competition” in 2014, but many believe it will be Driskel’s to lose. Muschamp has made it clear that he is tweaking the offense — he’s adding hurry-up aspects and might use more spread concepts — to better fit Driskel’s skill set. Of course, those changes also would seemingly fit Murphy.
The school did not make Muschamp available for comment or release a statement, an indication that the coach wasn’t on board with Murphy’s choice.
I can’t imagine how much fun Boom’s gonna have making the booster club rounds this offseason.