GAINESVILLE, FLA. (AP) - Given his background as a defensive coach and relentless recruiter, Will Muschamp’s most important hire at Florida will be on the other side of the ball.
It’s the position Florida fans have been grumbling about all season.
“It has to be fixed,” said outgoing coach Urban Meyer, who resigned Wednesday for the second time in less than a year. “It’s broke a little bit right now.”
The problems have become evident.
Quarterback John Brantley looked like a misfit in the spread offense, struggling to read defenses, missing open receivers and holding the ball too long. And with running back Jeff Demps injured most of the year, and backups Emmanuel Moody and Mike Gillislee unprepared to pick up the slack, the Gators were left without many options.
Florida experimented with tight end Jordan Reed and versatile H-back Trey Burton at quarterback, but neither proved to be a long-term solution.
The Gators also were plagued by turnovers, dropped passes, sacks, missed field goals and poor execution in the red zone. All the issues resulted in some of the program’s worst offensive performances since before Steve Spurrier took over in 1990.
The season opener, a 34-12 win over Miami (Ohio), set the tone. The Gators had bad snaps, drops and just 212 yards of offense. Things got worse, too.
Florida was blown out by Alabama, South Carolina and Florida State. The last loss may have been the worst, with Meyer declaring after the game the start of a rebuilding project.
Meyer resigned a little more than a week later. He stepped down because of health concerns, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Meyer has a recurring burning sensation in his chest that doctors told him last week would raise cardiovascular risk factors if he continued to coach, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Meyer’s health issues are confidential.
Meyer wants to stick around the Florida program in some capacity. His offensive assistants probably won’t have that option.
The Gators seemingly saved considerable money by hiring Muschamp, a longtime assistant who has no head coaching experience, so they should have extra cash to lure some of the nation’s top names.
Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen would be an obvious choice, but he’s also been mentioned as a potential replacement for Dave Wannstedt at Pittsburgh. Holgorsen also coached at Texas Tech and Houston, and his offenses have scored at every stop.
There’s also Auburn’s Guz Malzahn. But would he be willing to make a lateral move to Gainesville?