GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Looking back on the tenures of former Florida coaches Jim McElwain and Will Muschamp, you can pick your poison when putting a finger on where and how their programs took downward spirals in Year 3.
The nutshell answer is injuries, bad breaks and just bad football, but that perfect storm could have been quelled by good quarterback play. It’s called the most important position in the game for a reason.
Florida State was a popular CFB playoff pick in the preseason, only to be 2-5 at the end of October. That’s what happens when you lose your starting quarterback unexpectedly and turn to a freshman QB.
Unfortunately for McElwain and Muschamp, they found themselves in that exact predicament in four of their seven seasons with the Gators. Their combined records those years was 20-22, counting 2017.
They went 30-9 in the other three seasons (2012, 2015, 2016). McElwain dealt with QB changes in his first two years as well, but had a backup with college experience to make it to Atlanta.
Muschamp and McElwain started quarterbacks they inherited during their first seasons, but neither player made it through the entire year. When it came time to start their QB recruits, that’s when the wheels started falling off for both coaches.
I never judge a head coach and/or offensive coordinator on their offense until there’s a quarterback under center that they evaluated, offered and recruited as a prep prospect after deeming said QB a fit for their system.
And the bottom line is that Muschamp and McElwain missed on Jeff Driskel and Feliepe Franks. They hitched their wagons to those two quarterbacks in the recruiting process, and it’s hard to fault them.
Driskel was a 5-star recruit on ESPN and the No. 1 QB in the country, while Franks was ranked the No. 5 QB and No. 57 nationally in the 247Sports Composite.
In the final Florida games for McElwain (UGA loss) and Muschamp (South Carolina loss), Franks threw for 30 yards and Driskel was on the sidelines, benched weeks earlier after 50 passing yards and 4 turnovers in the 2014 homecoming loss to Missouri.
Driskel revived his career at Louisiana Tech and is now in the NFL. Maybe Franks can do the same with another coaching staff and/or another school.
But neither of them got the job done at Florida, and that’s a big reason why Muschamp and McElwain lost theirs.
The post QB recruiting misses doomed Jim McElwain, Will Muschamp at Florida appeared first on SEC Country.
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