Florida Gators head football coach Will Muschamp was asked during his Friday practice update about having LSU and Alabama on next season’s schedule which was recently released to the media and without batting an eye he responded,
“At the University of Florida we embrace whoever we play and whatever happens.’
Yes the 2014 football schedule is out and once again the Gators get the short end of the stick in the eastern divsion with west powerhouses Alabama and LSU on the schedule to go along with east rivals Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. Neither western division opponent is on the schedule of Georgia or South Carolina, a seemingly unfair lot but one that Muschamp embraces.
“A season ago we were asked to go to College Station, we embraced it, and welcomed the Agg’s to the SEC (a 20-17 come from behind Gator road victory),” Muschamp said. “We’ve been asked to be kicked off at noon August 31st, September 1st every year and we embrace it. Then asked to play a cross division opponent with LSU, we don’t gripe and complain about it, we embrace it. So, we embrace things at Florida.”
When it comes to head coaches or leaders of any kind, that is exactly what you want to hear.The Monday Morning Quarterback is impressed. Too often you hear coaches complain about scheduling or the BCS or whatever, but Muschamp’s a standup guy. He sets the tone for his players. It’s the old adage “to be the best, you got to beat the best”. Last season his players took on that personality as they attacked the Gators annual top ten strength of schedule and came within an uncharacteristic high turnover game against Georgia of playing Bama in the SEC championship game.
With Muschamp, what you see is what you get. Heading into his third season at the helm of the Gator football team one thing is obvious: Will Muschamp fears no obstacles and welcomes all comers. Heading into the Georgia game last season, Muschamp was criticized by many including the Monday Morning Quarterback for approaching the Gator’s biggest rival just like any other game. Downplaying the importance of winning this rivalry game didn’t sit well with many Gator fans, particularly older ones like the Monday Morning Quarterback who remember the annual heartbreak in Jacksonville at the hand’s of the hated Bulldogs. After the Gators gave up six turnovers and barely lost the game ending hopes of an eastern division title, many fans were exceptionally critical of his approach, feeling like the team played flat and emotionless. In hind sight, the previous week’s thrashing of new east powerhouse and rival South Carolina coached by former Gator head man Steve Spurrier may have had more of an effect than many Gator fans were willing to admit. It’s always tough to get up in consecutive weeks for big games.
Nonetheless, Will Muschamp has shown a steady confidence which belies his normally fiery sideline behavior and it can best be summed up in his statement,
“We embrace things at Florida.”
Muschamp went on to say,
“Whatever our league asks us to do we certainly will do that and look forward to it. At the end of the day no one wants to say it, but it comes down to matchups. People want to see the Gators play. They want to see Florida and Alabama play. And I know that’s not the company line, but that’s the bottom line.”
“We look forward to it,” Muschamp added.
Look forward to an unfair seemingly made for tv football schedule cooked up by the SEC gods. Because people want to see it. Look forward to opening the season in the 90+ degree heat and 90% humidity of a noon kickoff in Gainesville, because people want to see the Gators. Look forward to a road trip to Bryant-Denny stadium because people want to see Florida play Bama. Look forward to an annual contest with cross division rival LSU when other east teams get Ole Miss, Arkansas, or Mississippi State. Why? You guessed it, because people want to see it.
Yes, love them or hate them, and the Gator’s detractors are many, people want to see the Gators. And you know what?
“At the University of Florida…. We embrace things!”
I’m the Monday Morning Quarterback, and I’m out!