Saturday afternoon isn’t only Senior Day for the Gator Football team. It’s also a homecoming of sorts for former Florida head coach Will Muschamp, who recruited and coached many of this Gator team’s juniors and seniors.
Will Muschamp coached key defensive players like Alex Anzalone and Jarrad Davis, who are both ruled out for this Saturday’s game.
Of course, there are some players from Muschamp’s time with the Gators who his South Carolina team will meet on the field. One of these players is defensive lineman Joey Ivie, who played two seasons under Muschamp and has played his last two with Jim McElwain.
The Muschamp Era
Joey Ivie played for Will Muschamp for two of Muschamp’s head coaching seasons in Florida. The freshman enrolled at Florida early in January of 2013, thanks to the encouragement from Florida’s coaching staff.
As a freshman, Ivie played in three games and recorded just as many tackles in the 2013 season. Florida ended with their worst record while under Muschamp, 4-8.
In the 2014 season, Ivie grew under Muschamp’s leadership. He played in all 12 games of the season, as well as in the team’s bowl game. The 2014 season also saw Joey Ivie record his first career sack in the game against Eastern Kentucky. The Gators ended the 2014 season 7-5, with Ivie having 24 tackles on the season.
Though it was an improvement from the 2013 season, Will Muschamp was let go with two games left in the regular season.
Muschamp left Florida with a 28-21 overall record in his tenure.
The McElwain Era
Under Jim McElwain, Joey Ivie saw even more improvement than his first two seasons.
The defensive lineman saw action in ten games of the 2015 season. He put up a career-high 27 tackles and recorded 3.5 sacks. Along with those tackles and sacks, Ivie forced a fumble in the team’s second game of the season against East Carolina. The Gators ended the season 10-4 and as the SEC East Champions.
In this 2016 season–his final season–Joey Ivie has 14 tackles so far from the six games he has played in.
Though Ivie continues to improve under Jim McElwain, the senior defensive lineman says that one of the most important things McElwain has brought to the team is a sense of true friendship between the players.
After last Saturday’s loss to Arkansas, the Gators lost a few players for Saturday’s game. With Anzalone and Davis both out, the defensive line really has to step up.
Ivie isn’t too worried, though, as with a week of practice he feels the younger players will be ready to step up for the defense.
As for his reunion with the man who recruited him to be a Gator, Joey Ivie says it will have to wait until after the game.