A common theme emerged during Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp’s weekly press conference on Monday when the man in charge was asked about his feelings on coaches potentially leaving for other jobs and juniors on his team considering departing early to play professionally in the NFL.
His stance? Do it – if it advances your career.
Already having replaced two coaches in his second year on the job, Muschamp is not afraid of staff turnover and said Monday that he is certainly prepared should that occur despite the fact that he does not anticipate anyone leaving at this point in time.
“This is a great place to work and we’ve got a good, young football team, and we’re going to be good for a long time,” he said.
“I always tell our staff this: ‘If you have an opportunity for a promotion … I support you 1,000 percent.’ That says what kind of job we’re doing here at Florida.”
Muschamp was sure to make a distinction between coaches leaving to advance their careers – a position coach becoming a coordinator, a coordinator becoming a head coach – and others who are perhaps more impatient and would move on only changing their polo shirt and not their job title.
“Guys that want to make parallel moves and they’re always looking for the next job, they don’t need to be here anyway. We’ll go find a good coach. There’s a bunch of people that want to coach here. There’s a long list…right on my desk,” he quipped.
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The one position for which he expects to utilize that list is wide receiver coach, which was vacated when Aubrey Hill resigned before the season. Muschamp promoted graduate assistant Bush Hamdan to an interim role but said he will be looking at other candidates in the offseason.
“I’m going to talk to some receiver coaches at this point. Bush and I met [Sunday]. He’s done a fantastic job this year. How we move forward and the timetable, I have none right now,” he said.
Muschamp also believes that juniors with a rare opportunity to be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft should leave school early and take advantage of their talents. In a similar vein to his stance on coaches leaving for a parallel job, he cautions that players who are not projected to go that high would be better off staying put and trying to improve.
“Anyone that has the opportunity to apply for an evaluation from the NFL office, I encourage those players to do that. I encourage the players to submit those papers, number one. Then is it down with them and give them the input I’ve gotten from NFL people. Some agent isn’t going to give you the right information, I can assure you of that,” he said.
“We have a good process here, just being very honest and open with our players. If a guy is going to be a first-round draft pick, I’m going to probably tell him to go to the NFL. That’s just my policy. If he’s not and he can improve himself, then I suggest he comes back. The statistics speak for themselves in the guys that come back and graduate play longer in the National Football League. That’s the bottom line.
“Again, that’s all a personal decision. It’s a family decision. It’s not [my decision]. It’s my job to get them the right information, which a lot of times, there is not the right information out there. That’s important for me to give them the right information.”
Those NFL conversations have already begun between Muschamp and his players. The coach noted that he spoke to a few Gators on Sunday and Monday and will continue to do so though decisions certainly will not be made until after the bowl game.
Muschamp proved a lot of people wrong in his second year at Florida, turning around what he called a “soft” program in 2011 into arguably the toughest team in the nation all while bringing the Gators back from mediocrity to the nationally relevant power than they were for so long.
He has already proven that he can handle obstacles quite well. Replacing a few coaches or players could very well be just as easy as he makes it sound.