The Monday Morning Quarterback: Time For Gator Nation To Man Up


Mother always said “be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.”

To Gator Nation, those words ring loud and clear.

After screaming for Will Muschamp’s head for almost three months, Gator Nation got exactly what it wished for.

And as a consequence, exactly what The Monday Morning Quarterback predicted back in September is now happening.

Shortly after the dust settled on last years top ten recruiting class, most analysts penciled in the Gators for a top five class this year with the potential for a top rated class.

With the large amount of top talent in-state considering the Gators due to the strong relationships built by Muschamp and his staff, the Gators merely needed to have a good enough season to keep the staff intact to reel in a large haul of four and five star talents.

Of course, that didn’t happen. Heck the Gators barely got through the first week of the season before the “fire Muschamp” crowd was cranked up. And that was only because the first game was postponed and eventually cancelled due to extreme weather.

Here’s what The Monday Morning Quarterback wrote in September when fans first started clamoring on social media for Muschamp to be fired.

“… Fan’s clamoring for Muschamp’s head do nothing to instill confidence in recruits considering the Gators. In fact, it only helps spur the negative recruiting from other coaches. No matter how many times a recruit says they pledged to a school not a coach, that’s true only in a few small cases. The reality is recruiting is about relationships and that can’t be built in a month or two by a new coach on the fly.”

Now while The Monday Morning Quarterback was standing in defense of Muschamp at the time, let’s be clear there is no current argument that he should have been retained after considering the totality of circumstances over the last two seasons.

However, it must be noted that what was written then concerning recruiting and relationships is true regardless of whether or not one believes Muschamp should have been fired.

“His [new defensive line coach Terrell Williams] message was could I see myself playing for him at Florida,” five star defensive end Byron Cowart said in a Gatorcountry article by Andrew Spivey. “I don’t know if I could or not. I mean I know he coached in the NFL and that’s a good thing but I don’t know him really. I told him it wasn’t his fault that he was getting in so late but [Will] Muschamp, [Nick] Saban and Coach Tosh [Lopoi] have been recruiting me for years and I have a good relationship with those guys and Florida fired the guy I like, Coach Lawing, so yeah.”

The unintended consequence of coaching changes late in the season is there is no time to build recruiting relationships.

After CeCe Jefferson’s unofficial visit to Ole Miss this weekend, his father Leo raved in a article by Yancey Porter about their relationships with the Ole Miss and Auburn coaching staff’s, particularly Muschamp and ex-Gators defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson.

Asked about Florida he was more terse.

“I really don’t know. I have not met anybody from Florida yet. It’s a new staff. We just aren’t that familiar with them.”

Not exactly what you want to hear from the father of a five star prospect that for two years has been penciled in as a Gator with barely more than a week from signing day.

While The Monday Morning Quarterback was prescient in regards to the consequences of Muschamp’s firing on this recruiting class, no one cold have predicted that the situation would become immeasurably worse for Florida due to Muschamp’s hiring as Auburn’s defensive coordinator.

Not only are the coaches that built two and three year relationships with these guys for Florida no longer at Florida, the main guy, Muschamp, is now at an SEC competitor that many of these same recruits are considering as well.

Talk about negative recruiting becoming easy because of instability, guess what? Gator fans are livid at reports that Muschamp is negative recruiting against the Gators.

Oh yeah? Well tough titty said the kitty! Man up Gator Nation. You wanted him gone, and he’s moved on.

What, you thought he’d pull an Urban Meyer and sit out a year in broadcasting? You don’t know Will very well do you?

Did you expect him to go out west?

Did you expect him not to negative recruit after taking the Auburn job?

Did you expect him to stop recruiting Byron, CeCe, Martez, Holland, Ryan Davis, and Javarius Davis?

As a barely recruited high school player, Muschamp walked on at Georgia after being blown off by Spurrier at Florida and became an All SEC safety.

He doesn’t quit and he uses failure as motivation. As determined as Spurrier is to beat Georgia, you can pretty much expect the same determination by Muschamp to beat Florida… At everything.

Again, The Monday Morning Quarterback is not saying Muschamp should not have been fired, just that Gator Nation needs to stop crying and whining about this recruiting class. The only real hope for this class would have been if the staff had been fired after last season and a new staff had a full year to recruit.

It is what it is though and the chips will fall where they may. Just remember, regardless of how strong this staff might be as recruiters, and they’ve largely gotten high marks from pundits thus far, most of what they bring in this year will not pan out or be productive.

That’s the nature of transitional classes. Even the great Urban Meyer’s first class was largely unproductive and he had a lot more talent committed when he took over.

The real effect of this staff’s recruiting prowess won’t be realized for a year or two. Til then, once again, the Gators will be short on depth and top heavy on talent. Good young two-deep at most spots other than offensive line, which is barely one deep, and not much behind them.

This too was predicted by The Monday Morning Quarterback in September.

“If he’s fired, it’s not only some top talent they figure to lose. The last thing the program needs is more uncertainty after going through three different offensive coordinators in four years. A change in staff will only extend the process of getting back to the championship level to which Gator fans have become accustomed.”

While the change had to be made for the long term health of the Gators’ football program, fans and alumni need to be realistic and understand it sets back the process of getting back to championship levels of previous Gator coaching regimes.

So remember, Gator Nation got exactly what it wished for with the firing of Will Muschamp and company. As a result, however, this years recruiting class will be sacrificed.

So quit whining Gator Nation! Man up, get behind this staff, and give them time to prove their merit. They’ve got great young talent to showcase their coaching skills from the get go. They’re a blank yet talented canvas.

Muschamp was right when he said the next coach can’t say the cupboard is bare. Depth is scarce in some spots due to circumstances beyond the new staff’s control but there is talent to work with. Even on offense.

But as for the 2015 recruiting class which has a mere nine members and only one player, four star wide receiver Derrick Dillon, rated higher than three stars by the major recruiting services, it’s pretty much a lost cause.

The Gators will likely get a few four/five star players come signing day but no where close to what was predicted only one year ago. They very well could go 0-fer on top prospects as well.

Brace yourself Gator Nation, it gets worse before it gets better.

What’s more important in the short term is the staff coming into spring with a solid plan of execution in all three phases of the game.

This staff needs to prove it’s coaching chops before it will see recruiting dividends.

If they can do next year, particularly on offense, what Will Muschamp and company could not last season, you will see recruits clamoring to play for them and the four and five stars will return along with top rated recruiting classes.

For now, though, The Monday Morning Quarterback says relax!

Quit trolling high school recruits on social media.

We are Gator Nation!

Keep calm and chomp on!

I’m The Monday Morning Quarterback and I’m out!


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