Commentary | Florida AD Jeremy Foley continues to show faith in Muschamp despite dismal season

adell@bradenton.comDecember 1, 2013 

One of the most dull, mundane Florida-FSU football games is in the books, and nothing has changed.

The biggest concern for FSU is whether state attorney Willie Meggs presses sexual assault charges against Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston.

The biggest fear for Florida fans is that Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley will continue to display public support for embattled head coach Will Muschamp.

The legal problems concerning Winston are more serious if for no other reason that there is a possible victim, though a number of FSU fans would have you believe otherwise.

But the most baffling thing to come out of FSU's 37-7 victory Saturday at the Gatorless Swamp is why Foley continues to be so demonstrative in his support of Muschamp.

Foley went as far as holding an impromptu meeting with the media before the game to reiterate his support for Muschamp.

Unfortunately, the coach wasn't able to add any credibility to the AD's support; his offense continued to boycott the Swamp.

The Gators finish at 4-8 for the program's worst season since that 0-10-1 record in 1979.

"I've heard it's my ego speaking. No it's my belief. My name is not on the front door down there. I don't own the franchise," Foley said. "It's my job to make sure it's going in the right direction, and I believe with Will it's going in that direction."

If Foley is to be believed, he sees things that have eluded the eyes of the Florida fan base.

Muschamp is overseeing the most embarrassing season in Florida football history. He continues to cite injuries as his defense, noting Trey Burton getting knocked out early ruined a package of things the Gators wanted to use.

No doubt it hurt, but this offense was already in ruins.

"We had a highlight video for our players last night, and a lot of the highlights were from our game last year with Florida State. There were some really good seniors, but there were a bunch of other guys in that video that didn't play for us today because they were on the sidelines in street clothes," Muschamp said. "So, we have good football players, and we have a good setup. We just have to get back healthy and continue to move forward. I'm not going to use an excuse -- it's real."

Remember, before the injuries there was the Urban Meyer excuse, how the man who won two national championships left the cupboard bare.

If Muschamp was as ingenious with his offensive game plan as he is in citing excuses, the Gators wouldn't be ranked 111th the country in scoring and 110th in total offense.

The offense is unimaginative, non-threatening and boring.

Florida fans have good memories. It will be the reason Muschamp's chance of surviving next season will no longer rest in the good graces of Foley, who has been hit or miss with his football hires.

Foley slammed a home run when he brought in Steve Spurrier, struck out with Ron Zook, was very fortunate stealing Urban Meyer from Notre Dame and whiffed with Muschamp.

Florida football is not the blue-collar offense that Muschamp is trying so hard to sell. It's fun and gun, it's spread you out, it's speed and finesse. Florida kids are fast, quick and athletic. The type of player Muschamp likes is better suited for the Big Ten or a football factory like Alabama.

Stop the injury cry.

The Gators' offensive problems were evident last year in the Sugar Bowl, when Louisville embarrassed them.

They were not winning big games when quarterback Jeff Driskel got hurt. He wasn't very inspiring and didn't show much with his arm and field vision. He could run and that is apparently all Muschamp can see.

His offenses are not fun to watch, especially for Florida fans who are used to caviar and not raw steak being shoved down their throats.

Next year could be like a ticking time bomb.

Every loss, every close win (if they are any) will be like the seconds running down on a time bomb.

Muschamp seems to want it or apparently can't see the trees min the forest.

"You've got to find a way to manufacture more points and there is no question moving forward that we need to do that," Muschamp said. "It's a great lesson to be humbled in life sometimes -- as a coach, as a staff and as players. There's nothing wrong with that. That's good for us."

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reachedat 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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