Any time there's a coaching change, players are going to leave—even at Florida.
New systems, style and philosophies suit some players better than others, and attrition should be expected.
But this much attrition?
Since the end of the season and former offensive coordinator Brent Pease was let go, seven Gators have decided to transfer—quarterbacks Tyler Murphy and Max Staver, tight end Kent Taylor, fullback Rhaheim Ledbetter and offensive linemen Quinteze Williams, Trevon Young and Ian Silberman, according to Jeff Barlis of ESPN.com.
Some of those transfers have been clean, but others—like reserve quarterback Murphy's—haven't. According to Barlis, Murphy's family is upset with the Florida coaching staff for keeping him out there despite having a shoulder injury that prevented him from performing at a competitive level.
It was initially reported that Florida would block Murphy from transferring to Louisville or Boston College, which GatorZone.com's Scott Carter later reported to be false.
If you see tweets that say #Gators QB Tyler Murphy has transfer restrictions, they are false. Murphy can transfer to school of his choice.— Scott Carter (@GatorZoneScott) December 16, 2013
Is the mass exodus something to be concerned about?
Head coach Will Muschamp has already stated that he plans on making a philosophical change and will bring in a coordinator after bowl games who uses an up-tempo offense. If players who are primarily backups see the writing on the wall and would rather explore a fresh start elsewhere rather than sticking around, good for them.
As CSS Sports' Brady Ackerman notes, most of the players who transferred won't make much of an impact on the 2014 season.
Florida has had transfers, but none who can help UF win big next year.I like Murphy a lot, but Driskel gives them the best chance.#gators— brady ackerman (@bradyack) December 17, 2013
Make no mistake, Jeff Driskel will be the quarterback in Gainesville next season.
Fitting his skills into a pro-style offense was always a case of a square peg fitting into a round hole. He isn't the most mobile quarterback in the world but certainly can be effective in a system that lets him use his dual-threat ability more than Pease's did.
This isn't a case of players jumping off the sinking ship, although it's easy to make that assumption.
This is a case of Florida's coaching staff and players hitting the reset button. Everyone involved knows what's at stake next season, and if players don't want to or feel they cannot compete going forward, Florida is better off if they do transfer.
Gator defensive tackle Leon Orr, who apparently is sticking around for his senior season, said it best.
Everybody jumping like we got a sunken ship .... put it on my mama we gone take off next fall with no mercy for anyone!— Loyalty's Everything (@Lrgeezus) December 16, 2013
If you're a coach, you want that kind of spirit in a player, regardless of your own job status.
There's no need to freak out over the wave of sudden departures from Gainesville just yet. Now, if a new coordinator is brought in and starters start to bail, then we'll talk.