Florida lost to a FCS team for the first time in school history Saturday, but coach Will Muschamp remains confident he can fix the Gators’ endless issues without a lengthy rebuilding process.
“I don't think it's sitting there and hitting a reset button,” Muschamp said Monday as Florida is in the midst of its first losing season since 1979.
“It takes work. I don't believe we're that far off. Regardless of the results Saturday afternoon, which is all disappointing for everyone, starting with me, I just don't feel like we're that far off. I think there's some key components for our football team that aren't playing for us right now.”
Muschamp — unequivocally — said he “absolutely” expects to be Florida’s coach in 2014. The third-year coach, now 22-15 at UF, believes the Gators can compete for championships — in Atlanta and beyond — immediately next season.
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UF, mired in a six-game losing streak, is 4-7 and faces a daunting proposition this weekend as No. 2 Florida State travels to Gainesville for the Sunshine State Showdown.
Muschamp reiterated his vow to “fix the problems,” but Florida’s coach also distanced himself from total culpability by acknowledging potential offensive staff changes and citing the team’s injury-plagued season.
“It is what it is. I'm not making excuses, that's just the facts, and it's real,” Muschamp said regarding the team’s 10 season-ending surgeries. “And again, I think we've got a good staff and I think that we've got a really good football team going into — they're fighting their butt off this Saturday, first of all, and heading into spring. And I'm excited about that. I'm excited about this Saturday and our guys getting out and competing again.”
Muschamp hinted at potential offensive staff changes without delving into specifics, saying, “I'm not ready to make any statement on that at this point. We're still playing out the season and those guys are going to coach their butts off. I’ll make that decision when I think it's right.”
Muschamp also commented on the locker room’s steadfast support for the embattled coach.
“Obviously, I think that they understand where we are and where we’re headed with the program,” he explained. “They’ve got total confidence in my opinion of where we’re heading. I think they understand the plan and what we need to do offensively, defensively and special teams moving forward.”