UF football

Florida Gators players voice support for Will Muschamp

 

The Gators will fall short of their goals this season and fans are growing frustrated, but Florida players are standing by their coach.

 
Florida head coach Will Muschamp, right, leads his team out on the field against Georgia during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp, right, leads his team out on the field against Georgia during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013.
John Raoux / AP

Miami Herald Writer

Despite growing frustration by Florida fans with the football program, Gators players are standing by coach Will Muschamp.

Team leaders — senior safety Jaylen Watkins, redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy and junior linebacker Michael Taylor — all expressed adulation for Muschamp, who is 22-12 in three seasons at Florida.

“To see somebody who really has our backs means a lot,” Murphy said. “We try to put it all on the field for a coach like that.”

Said Watkins: “He fights for us, no matter what. He takes all the blame, and we’re the ones out there playing. A lot of times, he puts us in the right position, we know he’s got the right scheme for us. We’re just, a lot of times, out of place or something. We definitely love the support he gives us, and we’re gonna support him right back.”

Taylor echoed the comments of his teammates, adding players must “believe” and “trust” in Muschamp’s vision.

Although a sizable segment of the Gator Nation on a number of pro-UF message boards seems to be souring on Muschamp, players say they have mostly ignored the fans’ festering frustrations.

“I really don’t pay much attention to it,” Watkins said. “I try to focus on my teammates, and those are the ones that really matter right now at this point.

“Of course, we love the fan support, but we have to keep each other up.”

UF players insist they won’t quit on the season — something Muschamp highlighted Monday — despite all their main goals being undeniably unattainable.

The locker room, according to Murphy, will not cave in.

“Guys are just pointing fingers at themselves,” he said. “Nobody is really pointing fingers at other people.

“Everybody is looking at themselves in the mirror and trying to fix what they’re doing wrong. There’s no finger-pointing other than people are pointing it back at themselves.”

Florida, losers of three in a row for the second time in three seasons, hosts Vanderbilt (noon, ESPN3) on homecoming Saturday, and although Murphy acknowledged potential cynicism by fans, he believes the Gator Nation has not given up on the team. “Not 100 percent sure,” said Murphy, on the fans’ possible reaction and attendance Saturday.

“But just talking to fans that I know personally, they’re still supporting us and they’re still very encouraging. I’m sure we’ll have a good show and people will still come support us. We can’t really focus on that. We have to focus on beating Vandy, whether there’s nobody in the crowd or all 90,000.”

Read more UF stories from the Miami Herald

  • UF notebook

    Florida Gators face tough decision on whether to run QB Jeff Driskel

    It’s a hot debate in Florida staff meetings: to run or not to run quarterback Jeff Driskel.

  •  
Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel passes under pressure from Miami's David Gilbert in the fourth quarter at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013.

    UF PREVIEW

    Florida Gators’ chance to rebound rests with QB Jeff Driskel

    Aside from embattled head coach Will Muschamp, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel remains the most polarizing figure in Gainesville.

  • SEC PREVIEW

    A preview of SEC football teams

    Alabama is the odds-on favorite to win the Southeastern Conference for the second time in three seasons — although the media has correctly picked the league champion just six times since 1992. The South Carolina Gamecocks narrowly edged the Georgia Bulldogs as the Eastern Division favorites. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, Georgia tailback Todd Gurley and Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon were the preeminent picks for SEC Player of the Year.

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category