Muschamp speaks on recruiting, Weis, Brantley

New Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp was a guest of Joe Rose on 560 WQAM in Miami, FL on Thursday and spent time with the former Miami Dolphins tight end discussing a number of topics that fans have been waiting to hear him discuss.

Like Urban Meyer before him, Muschamp was likely informed of the importance of having a presence in the South Florida media as the area is a recruiting hotbed and Rose’s show is arguably the most notable sports talk show in the mornings. He frequently talks about high school football and picked Muschamp’s brain on recruiting in the area.

“There’s a lot of young men that are going to sign out of each state. The key is evaluation and taking the right guy,” he said. “There’s a lot of really good football players in South Florida – tremendous. You take Palm [Beach], Broward and Dade County – there’s phenomenal football players. I’d say probably over 200 kids out of those three counties are going to sign Division I scholarships. [You have to] take the right guy that’s going to do a nice job academically for you, is going to represent your university in a first-class manner and play well on the football field.”

He was also asked to describe any notable differences between the recruiting process in the state of Texas and region of South Florida.

“It’s not different. We have an evaluation process that we’re going to go through with each young man. From on and off the field, different critical factors at each position that we look at that we decide that this is a type player we want to have at the University of Florida,” Muschamp said. “Just like I did when I was defensive coordinator at Texas when I ran the defensive [recruiting] board. We’ve got certain things that we’re looking for at each position. It’s about evaluation. It’s about taking the right guy. Not necessarily taking the best player at that position; he might not be the right fit for your football team or your university. That’s a huge part of what we do as coaches, is evaluating and taking the right players because there are a lot of good football players out there.

“I’m not worried about the guys that don’t sign at Florida, I’m worried about the ones that sign at Florida. We need to do a great job of developing those players. A lot of these young men that go other places, I’m going to see them once a year. So I’m not as worried about them as I am the ones we are going to have on our campus.”

Rose noted that Muschamp must be excited about having current Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis as the biggest name on his staff, something the new head coach felt comfortable enough to open up about.

“Charlie’s very close with his family. It’s a situation where his daughter Hannah – they need to move back to South Bend, she’s a special needs child. He and his wife Maura are going to move back to South Bend to a more comfortable place for them where she can go to school,” he explained. “His son Charlie, Jr. is going to college and they were choosing colleges and they looked at the University of Florida and really liked Florida. I kind of heard that through a third party and said this might be an interesting thing to see if we can check out.

“I called Kansas City and asked for permission to talk to him and got him on the phone there. All of a sudden we had a lot of interest on his end, a lot of interest on our end. At the end of the day, it’s still Florida. It’s a great place to be, it’s a great place to coach. You’re going to coach at a high level. You’re coaching with an administration that’s willing to do what they have to do to be successful and doing it the right way.

“Charlie had a great interest in coming to Florida. At the end of the day it worked out for everybody involved, and I’m excited to have a guy as accomplished as he is as a playcaller and in developing quarterbacks. He’s wearing four Super Bowl rings. We’re going to put two on each finger when he’s recruiting.

“I’m really excited about him coming to town. It says a lot about Charlie as far as how close he is with his family. It says an awful lot about him as a person. Charlie took a pay cut to come here. A lot of people won’t know that, and he won’t say that, but I will. That says a lot about him as a family man. The more I talked to Charlie, the more I liked him, and the more I saw philosophically we believe the same things.”

Part of that philosophy is the belief that it is best to fit schemes to players and not the other way around. Muschamp explains how the Gators will recruit from this point forward.

“Coach Meyer got a lot of really good football players committed. We’re honoring all those commitments, and I’ve watched all the film and I’m excited they’re all going to be Gators. I can tell you that. There are some really good football players in this class coming in,” he said. “But when you have some changes, you tailor a little bit more to recruit to what you want to be offensively. What I really like about Charlie, and he and I philosophically believe the same thing, you can’t take a scheme and throw it on your players. You have to evaluate your team, you have to evaluate your players and decide what you can do.

“We’re not on a five-year plan. We need to win here immediately. That’s what’s expected and that’s what we’re expecting. We got to figure out right now what we can do to be successful offensively with the players we have on our campus.”

One of those players is redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, who is currently in the process of deciding whether or not he wishes to transfer away from Florida. Muschamp was asked if he has spoken to Brantley and whether or not the pro-style offense will be a better fit for him.

“I’ve talked to John. We want guys who want to be Gators. John’s been a good Gator and [is part of] a Gator family – the Brantley family,” he said. “We’re excited about all of our players returning. And we’re going to move forward with the guys we have.”

Muschamp also spoke on a variety of other topics:

On being the Gators new head coach: “I’m excited. I lived about nine years here in Gainesville growing up, walking to Gator games every Saturday. It’s a little surreal just kind of walking in here and being part of the program. [I’m] very excited. I appreciate Jeremy Foley, our athletic director, giving me this opportunity – and Dr. [Bernie] Machen – I’m really excited to get cranked up. We’ve been recruiting and it’s gong well. Putting the staff together has been exciting. [I’m] looking forward to being the head coach here at Florida.”

On how he felt when Foley extended the offer: “Florida’s Florida. There’s only about three or four [programs] in the country that are like this. You have all the resources available to you. You have an outstanding recruiting base. You play in the best conference in the country. It’s an outstanding school. Very similar to Texas in what the expectation level is to win. Win championships, do it the right way at a fine academic school. All of that was very exciting. When I got the call, it takes you back a little bit that they have an interest level in you. But it also excites you. When Jeremy extended me the offer, he didn’t get it out of his mouth very long before I said, ‘Yes!’”

On his family being pumped, too: “I got two boys 5 and 9, and they’re very excited about being Gators.”

On coaching against friends Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher and Derek Dooley: “Three guys I have a lot of respect for in this profession. We had an outstanding staff when we were all together at LSU. We won a lot of football games for a reason; we had a lot of good players, but we did a good job coaching and developing those players. I have a lot of respect for those guys, but I’m glad I’m a Gator.”

Photo Credit: Erica Brough/Gainesville Sun

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11 Responses to “Muschamp speaks on recruiting, Weis, Brantley”

  1. dlatham says:

    I can’t wait to see what the offense looks like! Ill be heading down to spring practice to get a good look.

  2. npgator says:

    You got to love his fire! I expect BIG things from this staff.

  3. snooker says:

    I believe we will “NOT miss a beat next year. I am exited to have a staff that has this much impact on young players. If Brantly goes, he misses out, on some great coaching, from one of the best (Charlie Weis). Go Gators !!

  4. g8ter27 says:

    IDK, sounds like Brantley is on his way out to me. I can see no upside to it unless he was told he would not be the starter which I doubt bc i think every position is open now.

  5. zooker says:

    Florida will be 10 x’s better next year, just without the mere presence of Addazio.

  6. Jesse C says:

    This year will be different… with a new regime comes the
    chance for a fresh start for everyone. There are no starters, no
    one is entrenched at their position. During spring and fall
    practices, the cream will rise to the top. I can’t wait. Go
    Gators!

  7. Wingtee says:

    Hope we give him a chance . We are looking at 6 losses in
    the mirror with our schedule in the 1st year

  8. Ken says:

    Coach Boom is saying all the right things, hope he is able
    to walk the walk. Kind of sounds like Brantley is on the way out
    here too, but not due to Muschamp. Weis on offense should make him
    as draftable as possible, heck he got Quinn drafted, and he is dumb
    as a stump and bad qb(have a friend who knows him personally). I
    hope Brantley stays, i think he will be very successful under Weis,
    and would like to see Driskel redshirt or at least not need to be
    counted on immediately. I am a bit confused about his comments
    about his special needs daughter needing to be in South Bend
    though, maybe I misread it, but sounds like she is going to need to
    stay there while he comes to UF to be with his son.

  9. SC Gator says:

    The charity that Charlie and his wife setup is located on
    40 acres in South Bend and provides housing and education for
    special needs children and (I think) adults as well. From what I
    have heard they have been commuting back and forth between KC and
    South Bend as it as while Charlie has been there. Jumping back to
    football, I think we are better off with Brantley coming back then
    going. I am impressed with Driskel, both on the field and off – he
    mentioned in his post-UA game interview that (like Burton last
    year) his reaction to Meyer leaving was to start texting other
    commits and telling them to calm down and not make any rash
    decisions – but it’s rare that you can throw a raw freshman QB into
    the starting job and not have issues. Had Leak decided to leave
    after his Jr year for some reason, no way do we win the MNC in 2006
    and Tebow is about as good a Frosh QB as you would ever have seen.
    If Brantley struggles then I’d expect him pulled and replaced but
    if he can manage even the first half of the season then it gives
    Driskel that much more time to learn the offense. And there is
    still the chance that Charlie molds him into a great QB. Never
    underestimate the power of a top notch OC to make a bad QB much
    better. Look at Auburn last year… Malzan took Chris Todd and
    turned him into a QB with 22 TD’s to 6 INT’s despite having a OL
    that was only slightly better at providing protection then a bunch
    of tackling dummies would have been. Even Kiffeykins managed to
    mold Crompton from the laughing stock of the SEC into a 5th round
    draft pick,

  10. Tim says:

    SC Gator…Auburn finished 8-5 (3-5 SEC) last year and didn’t not play nearly the schedule we have to next year. Kiffin finished 7-6 (4-4 SEC) they were a little closer to what our schedule is next year. I’m not sure I’d use those comparisons as what you aspire the offensive turnaround to be with a new OC or by “training up” Brantley.

    I don’t dissagree with your larger point of having Brantley come back so that this Driskel kid has someone to watch and learn from. Regardless of anyone’s personal feelings about J.B. it’s always easier to do a job and learn a job when you see someone else doing it. If he leaves, there really would be no one to mentor him. The better quarterback will win out under the new coaching staff because I don’t think they’ll feel they “owe” anyone loyalty.

    More than a new O.C. I think it would serve J.B. well to know that he is competing for a starting job if he stays here. Maybe it will pull the best from him.

  11. tony smith says:

    That was not a ringing endorsement of Brantley. Bring on
    Driskel. I know I have tried to beat down the hype surrounding him.
    Ultimately, I don’t think it is fair to treat such a young guy that
    way. It’s too much pressure. But he has to be better than
    Brantley.