Nothing Else Matters…

Coach Muschamp, you’ve just beaten Vanderbilt to go 6-0 and become bowl eligible, how do you feel about that?

It was a great win, but right now we’re focused on South Carolina and nothing else matters.

Speaking of South Carolina, what would a win against Spurrier mean to you?

“The job he did as a coach here is pretty amazing,” but it would be just a win and nothing else matters.

Coach the first BCS rankings came out yesterday and Florida starts at number two, what does that mean to you and the players?

Well, that’s great for the fans but right now it doesn’t mean anything to us, we’re focused on beating South Carolina and nothing else matters.

Ok that’s a fictional question and answer other than the quote about Spurrier but you get the point.  Nothing else matters but what is coming up next.  Listening to Will Muschamp answer media questions reminds me of listening to Nick Saban and his famous “it’s one game” mantra.  Coachspeak can be maddening at times as coaches spend much of their time answering questions by not answering questions.  It’s almost as if, when coaches are hired, they are given a list of cliches to recite week after week.  Writers could literally skip the q&a sessions and write their own stories it’s so predictable.

Will Muschamp having a “friendly” conversation with a referee during the second half against Vanderbilt (Matt Stamey/Gainesville Sun staff photographer)

In Will Muschamp’s case, as in the case of his mentor Nick Saban, they are not so much cliches as a way of life.  He’s not trying to deflect questions, he’s preaching to the choir “one day at a time sweet jesus”.  He’s not trying to mislead his next opponent away from his gameplan or injury report, he’s trying to control the mindset of his players.  His “man down, man up” mantra can be shortened to NEXT.  Guy goes down, NEXT!  Forget about the past, focus on the next game, the next play, the next practice.  NEXT’!   Focus on NEXT and nothing else matters.

His players have bought into that mentality and that is a big part of how they got to 6-0.  They’ve been behind, they’ve had penalties, they’ve given up big plays, dropped passes, fumbled, they’ve had a season’s worth of adversity in the first six games, yet they continue focusing on the next play, the next drive, NEXT!

Football is a game of momentum, negative as well as positive. If you get down or dwell on bad plays or bad situations it multiplies exponentially.  Against Vanderbilt, when they had just scored to get within 7 in the fourth quarter, no one on the sideline from Muschamp on down looked concerned, they immediately were working on the next play.  On the long td by Driskel as the team was taking the field you saw Jeff excited, extolling his teammates with encouragement.  The confidence he exuded in focusing on the next drive, the next play was obvious and it certainly rubbed off on his teammates as the blocking and execution on that play right down to Gillislee’s fake was perfect and was the reason he was able to take it to the house from 70 yards out untouched.

NEXT up for the Gators is Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks fresh off their tough road loss to LSU and you can bet on one thing:  Gator players and coaches are focused on beating South Carolina only and nothing else matters.

Go Gators!

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