Jeremy Foley has been in this situation before, or at least that's what public opinion insinuates. In 2004, Florida fell on hard times and coaching controversy before firing Ron Zook before season's end. That year was similar to 2013 in public opinion only, apparently.
Before Saturday's game against No. 2 Florida State, Foley held an impromptu meeting with reporters and reiterated his belief that Will Muschamp is the right coach for the Gators and will remain the coach regardless of the outcome of the annual rivalry game.
"I have total confidence in Coach Muschamp and have made that clear. We've got to fix some things," Foley said. "You don't panic. You don't put orange and blue glasses on. It's not acceptable, it's not who we are and it's not what we're about. Confident we can fix it. I don't say that, I've heard that it's my ego speaking. No, it's my belief. Like I told my staff the other day, my name's not on the front door down there. I don't own this franchise. It's my job to make sure it's going in the right direction and I believe with Will it's going in that direction."
"If I didn't, then obviously we've made tough decisions before. I don't waver on that, despite the difficulty of the year. We've got to get some things fixed. Obviously, at the end of the day, we've got to win some football games."
"I'm not being disrespectful to anybody. Zooker and I are friends, but it's just not apples-to-apples. It's my job to evaluate and see where the program is headed. At that point in time, I didn't think it was headed where we wanted it to be. This time, I think it's headed where we want it to be."
The Gators are 4-7 and No. 112 nationally in total offense. They are headed for their third consecutive year as one of the 20-worst offenses in FBS. The number of course coincides with Muschamp's time as coach.
Much has been made regarding assumptions of UF offensive coordinator Brent Pease, the second offensive coordinator in Muschamp's three years, being fired after Saturday's game along with other offensive assistants.
Foley would not go into specifics but repeatedly addressed the ineptitude of the Gators' offense.
"Will will tell you, we've got to fix that side of the ball," Foley said. "You look at some of the games we've lost, we haven't scored many points. This year or last year or what have you, that has to get fixed. And that's going to be Will's responsibility as the head football coach. I'll help him, support him, advise him, whatever have you. I will tell you if you ask him today, it's his biggest concern. We've got to fix that side of the ball."
This is the second public sign of support by Foley during what has been a traumatic year for a proud fan base. After losing to Vanderbilt, Foley and UF president Bernie Machen came out in "1,000 percent" support of Muschamp and the direction of the program. After losing to FCS Georgia Southern, the statement felt like it needed reassurance. Saturday, it got just that.
"We look at ourselves and how we get better. Not just sit here and say, 'Yeah we've got a bunch of injuries, we'll be fine.' That better not be our attitude," Foley said. "It better be our attitude to reevaluate every single facet of what we're doing and get this thing fixed. Yeah it stinks. It stinks for every Gator fan. This season has been no fun because we care."