Published October 12, 2011 - 4:21pm
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Upon entering his first SEC game, Florida coach Will Muschamp was asked by several reporters to define his approach for preparing his team to face a hated rival.
“I don’t like to treat any game different from one another,” Muschamp said. “It’s the next one and therefore it’s the most important.”
He told his players to prepare for each Saturday as if they were facing a “nameless, faceless” opponent.
Former mentor Nick Saban’s “nameless” Alabama team throttled the Gators 38-10.
“Faceless” LSU embarrassed their former defensive coordinator’s team 41-11.
The Gator Nation isn’t used to these tactics. We long for the days of Steve Spurrier poking fun at Phil Fulmer and “hanging half a hundred” on Georgia. We ache for a coach, like Urban Meyer, who would butt heads with the likes of Lane Kiffin and who would devote seven entire days to filling his players’ locker rooms, and minds for that matter, with SEC propaganda.
As you may or may not know, coach Muschamp spent two successful seasons running the Auburn Tiger defense. His 2006 squad ranked 7th in scoring defense, holding opponents to 13.9 points a game; they also handed Urban Meyer’s BCS Champion squad their only loss of the season. The 2007 Tigers ranked 6th in total defense (297.9 ypg), passing defense (173.2 ypg), and scoring defense (16.9 pts./game). It was here at Auburn where the legends of “Coach Boom” began to grow.
After being humbled by LSU, one would have to imagine that Muschamp would be dying to get back out there to defend his honor against another former employer. We know how loud, fiery, and dare I say, scary, he can be when he’s out on the field. Unfortunately, his team hasn’t shown that same fire.
So as October’s “Will Muschamp Coming Home Reunion Tour” rolls into Auburn, the question must be asked; do these Florida players and coaches need to start putting names and faces on these opponents?
It may be time for coach Muschamp to abandon his “treat every game the same” mentality and treat teams like Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, FSU, and UGA for what they are: Florida’s rivals.
As Saturday looms, Florida has the rare opportunity to shake off a two-game losing streak and get right back into the SEC East race. A win would give coach Muschamp his first victory over a former team and would help him do something not even Urban Meyer could do, beat Auburn at Jordan-Hare stadium.