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By Ben Troupe
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Former Florida All-American Ben Troupe gives his thoughts on the departure of Gators head coach Will Muschamp.

What’s going on, college football fans? Welcome to the most dangerous blog on the planet, “Troupe Talk”, where we dive into the biggest topics surrounding all things sports, especially college football and the NFL. It is my unique pleasure to provide you with quality content that provokes thought and dialogue through my uncommon lens. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Will Muschamp, head coach of the Florida Gators, will be stepping down after the season due to a lack of productivity during his time in charge. The decision was made public Sunday so that the football team would know what was happening with Muschamp moving forward, and so that the team understood and had a clear understanding that they were moving in a different direction.

Muschamp was a peculiar case, in my opinion, because I felt that he could coach; he just lacked scheme, approach, and focus, which showed every Saturday during the fall when the Gators took the field.

Look, while I like Muschamp as a motivator, teacher, mentor, and leader of young men, he was not fit to be a head coach. While there are a lot of coaches whose resumes definitely warranted this type of coaching opportunity, Muschamp was not one of those guys. Yes, he played at UGA and understood the SEC and how fierce the completion is. But, in my opinion, he had been separated from it for so long, he had simply lost touch with how much it took to be successful and compete on that level.

The 2013 season he was almost given a pass due to the number of injuries, but under no circumstanced should he had ever lost to Georgia Southern. No offense, by the way, but he should have never lost. Yet still, Jeremy Foley, who was loyal to Muschamp to a fault, stood by this man hoping that he would turn the corner and get over this hump.

That never happened, and from 2013 on into this season, Florida has sunken to mediocrity and become average. And it’s not by the talent that they possess, which is second to no one in the nation, but by being strangled by the coaching methods and decisions made by soon-to-be former head coach Muschamp.

Muschamp was hired to keep Florida In contention every year to win the SEC Championship and compete for National Championships, and he did neither. Muschamp has proven to be good at one thing, and that is being consistent at being inconsistent. He could never put two good games together. The Florida defense has played lights out since he has been there, yet the offense has gotten noticeably worse each year during his tenure.

The Florida offense has ranked amongst the worst in the NCAA since Muschamp has been in Gainesville. Like I stated before, Florida does not lack players or talent, but coaching. Muschamp never made the hard but necessary decisions as it pertains to benching players. He never had his team mentally focused to play four quarters in all three phases of the game. He did not provide the right offensive scheme to utilize the talent he went out and recruited. Lastly, he just did not do his job. His job was to put those young men in a position to go out and compete at the highest level for their team to be successful, and he did not do that.

Muschamp showed flashes of brilliance at times, but never anything consistent. While other teams found ways to win, Florida found ways to lose. While other teams played situational football and played through bad moments during the game, Florida seemed to dig holes for itself that it never could get out of, all of which falls back on the head coach.

Bottom line is this: The University of Florida is one of the best coaching destinations in all of sports, not just college football. Therefore, the person who is hired for that position should uphold the standard for which that position calls. Muschamp, while a great guy that did the best he could, in this case, his best just wasn’t good enough.

Muschamp said in a statement that he just did not win enough games. That could be true, but understand this, though: as a former player and alum of the University of Florida, it is much bigger than that. While losing is hard to swallow, we, meaning Florida Nation, could live with that. But not being competitive, not showing any improvement on offense, no team identity, lack of focus, and no attention to detail? That is what could never be accepted.

Florida is one of the best universities in the country, and before its reputation becomes below-average, a change has to be made. When people think of Florida football, they think of a winning tradition with one of the best sporting venues and hardest places to play in the country. That reputation has taken a big hit over the years, and it is now one that is in much need of a makeover. Or, in this case, a do over.

Trust me, we are going to get back to what we once were. Florida is not just another team in college; it is one of the driving forces that makes college football what it is, and that is why people watch and cheer us on. Florida has set the bar, and that bar can only be raised. Therefore, as the head coach, you have been given the daunting task of meeting and exceeding that standard. Nothing less can be tolerated or accepted.

Final thought: Will Muschamp will be forever known as the head coach at the University of Florida who couldn’t get it done and underachieved, but he will also be known as a coach who never quit on his players and was always optimistic that they would be successful. The only problem is that Muschamp’s optimism never became a reality, and, thus, here we are moving on and wishing Will nothing but the best in all his future endeavors. While his efforts could be appreciated, his job was based off results.

I had a coach once tell me something that sums up Will Muschamp’s coaching career at Florida. He said, “It’s not the X’s and the O’s, but the yeses and the nos.” What will you say yes to, and what will you say no to? Will never said yes, and steered clear of saying no. He simply waited for it to happen. Unfortunately, until you make a decision to go for it, it will never happen. And for Muschamp, it never did.

Thanks for taking the time to check out the most dangerous blog on the planet, “Troupe Talk”. Be sure to check back frequently with Southern Pigskin, which is all about the fans. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish. So be prepared for the big moment and, above all, believe it. Keep God first through infinity and be persistent at being consistent. Be Uncommon. Two fingers.

Ben Troupe – Troupe played tight end for the Florida Gators from 2000-2003, and earned first-team All-SEC recognition and first-team All-American honors from ESPN, Rivals and Sports Illustrated as a senior. After a standout college career, Troupe was selected 40th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft, the first pick of the Tennessee Titans that spring. Currently, Troupe is a representative for the NFL Ambassadors via the College Outreach Program and the USA Football Youth and High School Program while also serving as an assistant master trainer for Head’s Up coaching initiative. Troupe can be heard on ESPN Coastal’s “Three & Out” with B.J. Bennett and Kevin Thomas.

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