The Florida Gators finally broke their four game losing streak, outlasting the game Vanderbilt Commodores 26-21. The Gators extended their win streak over Vandy to 21 straight games and improved to 5-4 (3-4 in the SEC).
Have the Gators solved their problems or is there still storm clouds on the horizon?
Let's take a look at 5 things we think we learned from Saturday's victory.
1. Barely hanging on against Vandy definitely counts, but feels dirty.
Yes, I know, dear reader. A win is a win is a win. It doesn't matter what the score is as long as you have one more than the other guys at the end of the day. With that said, there's something unsettling at having to hold on for dear life against the Commodores.
Granted, this Vandy team is a bit better than some of the wretched teams the Gators have faced over the years and let's admit it - Florida isn't exactly competing for a title. Still, to be fighting for your lives against Vanderbilt in GAINESVILLE?
For me, it makes me feel a bit queasy.
2. Still Waiting for the great Will Muschamp defense to show up.
Florida surrendered 377 yards of offense against Vandy on Saturday and I don't think there was a soul in the Swamp that wanted to see the defense take the field again in the final minutes.
The Gators certainly aren't without talent, they had one of the top recruiting defensive classes over the past few years. Yet fundamental breakdowns still seem to occur. There's also a lack of physicality at the point of attack that gives the impression that the Florida defensive line can simply be pushed all over the field by whomever they face.
3. Still waiting for that juggernaut Charlie Weis offense to show up.
Florida put up 26 points on a bad Vanderbilt defense yet settled for too many field goals and couldn't put the Commodores away.
After John Brantley left the ball game, Florida relied heavily on it's running game, sitting on their big lead and giving Vandy the opportunity to crawl back into it.
At least the Florida running game made a re-appearance as Jeff Demps went off for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns on 22 carries.
4. We're not sure what to make of Jacoby Brissett
Brissett came in to finish out the game for the re-injured John Brantley. I like the kid. I like his arm, I like his mobility but his inaccuracy and decision making scare me. Perhaps that's just Freshman jitters, after all, its difficult to imagine a True Freshman QB dominating in the SEC (there's been some, for sure, but most struggle mightily).
At this point though, I'd like to see more of Brissett than Jeff Driskell.
5. The Fire Muschamp noise is nonsense.
You've probably heard it as we have...Gator fans beginning to ponder whether the team should dump Will Muschamp after one season.
Look, I know Florida fans have been spoiled into expecting a trip to the SEC Championship game every year. Certainly, after the monumental coaching jobs of Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer, there's a new standard set for Gator success.
Florida certainly shouldn't be in a situation where they are pondering whether or not they can become bowl eligible. This school has gone beyond that stratosphere.
We all knew coming in that this would be a transition year for the Gators. I don't believe anyone thought it would be this bad but we certainly understand where this is coming from.
Charlie Weis runs an offense very different from Urb's. Will Muschamp's defense has always been regarded as one of the best in the country - its hard to imagine he suddenly forgot what he was doing on D.
They need time to bring in their players that fit the system they're coaching. Certainly, AD Jeremy Foley could have easily found another spread coach and someone who coaches the defense similar to Charlie Strong.
Maybe he could have gone harder to pry Dan Mullin away from Miss. State.
But he didn't. He went for who he thought would be the best fit for the University not just for this season but going forward.
Maybe the Gators are on their way to 6-6 this year. Perhaps this is their down year. Muschamp was known as a tenacious recruiter and a great defensive coordinator. We don't know yet if he has the makings of a great coach.
Its hard to judge him on a single season. Had Alabama done that, Nick Saban would have been sent packing a long time ago. His first season the Tide finished 7-6 including a loss to Louisiana Tech - that's right - LA TECH.
So Muschamp deserves the opportunity to bring in his guys. If after two more years the Gators are still flirting with mediocrity then you can consider finding another answer.
For now, Muschamp deserves a chance to grow with his young club.