Everybody deals with pressure differently. Some take deep breaths, pick up a few yoga lessons or go for a late night stroll along the beach to help calm those nerves. Others are able to go on vacation for a week or so, completely removing themselves from the stressful situation.
Unfortunately, there are no days off and there is no offseason in college football, which has forced Florida head coach Will Muschamp to handle his stressful situation by pretending it doesn’t even exist. In an SEC spring meeting earlier this week, Muschamp said he’s not feeling any pressure heading into his fourth season as Florida’s coach, according to David Jones of Florida Today.
I don't feel any different pressure at all. We didn't have a good year and it was very unfortunate in what happened but I have complete confidence in where we are heading. No. 1, we are as deep and talented at running back and receiver as we've been. Jeff Driskel is going to have an outstanding year. I feel very comfortable in the first five to seven offensive linemen and I think we have the ingredients on defense to be really good. Our kick game, I think we have two punters that have NFL legs. … So I feel real good about our football team heading into the fall.
Confident? Every coach has to be in order to be successful. Expecting a better season than last year? Well, there’s only one way to go after last year’s four-win season. Pretending you can’t feel the steam seeping through your khakis from sitting on a hot seat? If you believe that, I have an igloo in sunny Miami to sell you.
Florida hasn’t had to do much firing over the last few decades, but like any prestigious program, it won’t hesitate to show you the door once enough becomes enough. Just ask Ron Zook, the only Florida head coach who was fired since Galen Hall in the late 1980s. Zook was fired with a 23-14 record in three seasons. Muschamp is 22-16 in three seasons.
If that wasn’t enough to raise some eyebrows, 12 of Zook’s 14 losses came against ranked teams. Muschamp lost eight games last season, and one of them came against an FCS team. There’s an eerie pattern going on here that doesn’t exactly favor the current Florida head coach.
So, what has to be done to save Muschamp's job?
In the words of the late, great Al Davis: Just win, baby.
Since Muschamp admitted he’s comfortable with pretty much his entire roster, that shouldn’t be difficult. Problem is, the schedule is no cakewalk. I have the Gators winning nine games this season if everything goes well. In other words, assuming the offense is able to move the ball further than the length of a loveseat. Certainly that would be good enough to keep Muschamp around for another year.
But some may say that’s a stretch given the way the Gators performed last season and the difficulty of the schedule. After all, not every team can make an Auburn-like run from worst to one of the better teams in the conference in one short season.
If that’s the case and Florida can’t make the big boy jump, Muschamp must satisfy Gator fans with a bowl win and at least one victory over a rival. If there’s anything less attractive than his overall record, it’s his 1-5 record against Georgia and Florida State. Some things make mediocre seasons easier to swallow, and bragging rights over teams the fanbase can’t stand is one of those few things.
Muschamp must deliver some key victories this season or he'll have plenty of free time for walks on the beach and yoga lessons.