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November 13, 2013

Foley reiterates commitment to Muschamp



Florida (4-5, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) is en route to its worst season since 1979, and the powers that be have decided it is time to break their silence and publicly pronounce their commitment to coach Will Muschamp.

In an official statement released by UF Wednesday afternoon, athletic director Jeremy Foley spoke publicly about Muschamp for the first time since his introductory press conference in December 2010.

"As athletic director, I'm a thousand percent convinced that Will Muschamp is the guy to lead this football program," Foley said in the statement. "Nothing has changed in what we feel about Will Muschamp from the day we hired him. Everyone around here wants the same thing. We want to do what is right for the University of Florida. We understand that this football season has not gone the way any of us wanted it to go, certainly not the way our fans wanted it to go, and most of all, not the way Will Muschamp wanted it to go."

"We have a history of being successful, we have a history of fixing things when they need to be fixed, and that is what is going to happen here, and Coach Muschamp is the one that will fix it."

After going 7-6 in his first season as Florida's coach, Muschamp rebounded thanks to the nation's No. 5 defense in 2012 and led the Gators to an 11-1 regular season record and an appearance in the Sugar Bowl.

Since then, nothing has gone according to plan. Florida has suffered 10 season-ending injuries that include the loss of seven starters highlighted by star defensive tackle Dominique Easley and quarterback Jeff Driskel. Florida lost to Vanderbilt for the first time since 1988 and will require wins against either No. 12 South Carolina or No. 2 Florida State to avoid missing a bowl game for the first time in a non-probation year since 1979's 0-10-1 season, assuming the Gators defeat FCS Georgia Southern.

Florida is on track to finish with a bottom-20 offense for the third time in three years under Muschamp and the second time in two years under offensive coordinator Brent Pease.

The most recent loss came in front of a UF homecoming crowd that booed the on-field product at times and began filing out of the stadium at the start of the fourth quarter, when the Gators trailed the Commodores by 21.

"I understand the passion and the disappointment,'' Foley said. "But at the end of the day, we've got great fans, they love the Gators and their passion makes this place special. They are hurting, they want the program to be successful and we feel that hurt."

Foley was not the only Florida official to comment in support of Muschamp. UF president Bernie Machen issued an official statement as well.

"I want the Gator Nation to know that I have full confidence in Coach Muschamp and his leadership of the football program,'' Machen said.

Finally, Foley concluded his statement by summarizing the reason for it.

"We will get better under Will Muschamp's leadership,'' Foley said. "This is not the quote-unquote dreaded 'vote of confidence.' This is just how we all feel around here. We have a strong faith and a strong belief in his capabilities, in his leadership skills, in his ability to evaluate what needs to be fixed."

"Go back to a year ago: we're 11-1 and beat four teams in the Top 10 and he was SEC Coach of the Year. I don't think that was a fluke. I think coaching had a lot to do with that. We'll stay the course here. We'll get it right. We're not going to let Gator fans down. We want the same thing they want."


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