Florida’s administrators turned the heat way down on Will Muschamp’s seat on Wednesday when the embattled Gators coach received an unwavering and unsolicited vote of confidence.
While it’s unlikely to make any difference in the outcome of Saturday night’s game in Williams-Brice Stadium, the news probably isn’t good for South Carolina as the Gators players can now focus completely on the Gamecocks and not on what might be with their coach.
“As athletic director, I'm a thousand percent convinced that Will Muschamp is the guy to lead this football program,” athletics director Jeremy Foley told Gatorzone.com, the school’s website. “Nothing has changed in what we feel about Will Muschamp from the day we hired him. Everyone around here wants the same thing. We want to do what is right for the University of Florida. We understand that this football season has not gone the way any of us wanted it to go, certainly not the way our fans wanted it to go, and most of all, not the way Will Muschamp wanted it to go.”
The fact that the school released this statement on the school website is interesting for two reasons, one of which is only interesting to sportswriters probably, that being that the school bypassed the traditional media and addressed the biggest news of the day directly on its own platform. The bigger deal is that the school felt the need to release the statement without being asked by someone from the traditional media. Clearly the flames that were under Muschamp’s seat were warming up the A.D.’s office as well.
“This is not the quote-unquote 'dreaded vote of confidence,' ” Foley told the website. “This is just how we all feel around here. We have a strong faith and a strong belief in his capabilities, in his leadership skills, in his ability to evaluate what needs to be fixed.”
Around the SEC:
You want to talk about numbers that could affect Mack Brown’s tenure at Texas? How about this one: a poll recently this week indicates that Texas A&M has passed the state’s flagship university in popularity. The Aggies have made a splash recently with their entry into the SEC, the hiring of Kevin Sumlin and the Heisman Trophy won by quarterback Johnny Manziel.
The powers-that-be in Austin can’t be happy that 22 percent of Texans now identify themselves as Aggies while only 20 percent call themselves Longhorns.
I thought it was very interesting that Georgia coach Mark Richt said this Wednesday about Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson: "He's outstanding. There's a reason Auburn is playing so much better on defense. And really, he's got a long history of going to different places and then within the very first season turning that thing around statistically in a big way, and he's done it again here at Auburn."
Why is that so interesting? The guy who was coordinating the Tigers defense last year was Brian VanGorder, who was Richt’s first defensive coordinator in Athens and had tons of success with the Bulldogs.