Florida is injury-riddled and struggling under third-year coach Will Muschamp, and the 4-5 Gators are in danger of missing a bowl game for the first time in 23 seasons. Still, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley is throwing his support behind his football coach.
Foley told GatorZone.com he remains "a thousand percent convinced" that Muschamp will steer the program back to prominence.
“As athletic director, I’m a thousand percent convinced that Will Muschamp is the guy to lead this football program,’’ Foley said. “Nothing has changed in what we feel about Will Muschamp from the day we hired him.
“Everyone around here wants the same thing,’’ Foley continued. “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.
“We have a history of being successful, we have a history of fixing things when they need to be fixed, and that is what is going to happen here, and Coach Muschamp is the one that will fix it.”
Muschamp is 22-13 (13-10 SEC) since coming to Gainesville from Texas prior to the 2011 campaign. Muschamp went 11-1 during the 2012 regular season to claim a spot in the Sugar Bowl, where the Gators lost to Louisville 33-23.
This year has been a different story, however. Florida has lost quarterback Jeff Driskel, running back Matt Jones, defensive tackle Dominique Easley and linebacker Antonio Morrison, among many others, to season-ending injuries. After suffering its first home loss to Vanderbilt since 1945, the Gators need to win two of their final three games (at South Carolina, vs. Georgia Southern, vs. Florida State) to become bowl eligible. The offense, in particular, has been inept.
Despite the team's 2013 struggles, Foley said Muschamp proved he has the ability to turn things around.
“We will get better under Will Muschamp’s leadership,’’ Foley said. “This is not the quote-unquote dreaded ‘vote of confidence.’ 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.” “Go back to a year ago: we’re 11-1 and beat four teams in the Top 10 and he was SEC Coach of the Year. I don’t think that was a fluke. I think coaching had a lot to do with that. We’ll stay the course here. We’ll get it right. We’re not going to let Gator fans down. We want the same thing they want.”