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Friday, January 27, 2023

Forget waiting until Sept. 3. Those eager to see Coach Boom in action need only look to Wednesday night’s press conference.

Will Muschamp ended a team scrimmage early because, he said, his team was lethargic in situational drills, leading to an impassioned display in front of reporters and TV cameras.

But practice is closed. It has been since spring. The only people who know what’s going on aren’t talking about it, or aren’t allowed to.

How do we know if practice was really that bad?

Here’s what Muschamp had to say:

“We did not execute very well. Mental toughness was not there. Very immature football team at this point. Not consistently performing at the level we need to perform at.

“Overall, pretty displeased. Not what we were looking for tonight, that’s for sure.”

He went on to add:

“It’s just a lack of focus on what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to do it. We’re in (a two-minute drill); we have guys walking around. We have no sense of urgency about what we do and how we do it and how we approach it. Very frustrating.”

When asked, Muschamp wouldn’t call the scrimmage — the same one he said would cost potential starters their jobs — a step backward, but he did say, “It dang sure wasn’t a step forward.”

Sure, coach. Whatever you say.

“One Voice,” right?

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In reality, Muschamp and his staff must have realized that the spewing overload of positive spin coming from the program throughout the entirety of fall camp was just too much.

Who’s starting?

“Nobody, we’re all starters.” “It’s a rotation, everyone is good.”

How’s Johnny look?

“Great.” “Amazing.” “Heisman candidate.”

The program had to realize that people were starting to expect, at the least, a very competitive football team this fall. Muschamp’s verbal beatdown was merely a tempering of expectations and a motivational ploy.

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley confirmed the latter Thursday.

“He just wants us to know that we’re not who we’re supposed to be yet,” he said.

Easley said Wednesday’s scrimmage wasn’t actually that bad. In fact, it was an improvement over the previous two.

“From my perspective, everything went good,” Easley said.

“Obviously some things went bad. Every team, certain things go bad. But the way I look at it everything went good. He seemed a little upset because some plays went wrong, some people didn’t do what they were supposed to be doing, but that happens everywhere.”

The fact is this team isn’t where Muschamp, or the rabid fans of the Gator Nation, expect it to be.

There is minimal senior presence, and most of the more-talented players on the roster are underclassmen.

Add to the mix a brand new coaching staff and a complicated pro-style scheme on both sides of the ball, and what you get is a mentally confused, young football team.

There will be growing pains this fall.

There aren’t many guarantees around this team, but that much you can count on. Just ask Jeff Demps.

“If we played tonight, I couldn’t even tell you [what would happen],” Demps said Thursday.

“I’m pretty sure guys would go out and compete and play as hard as they can, but as far as just mentally being there, I’m not sure.”

Contact Matt Watts at

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