Florida Gators Press Conference: Will Muschamp announced as head football coach

High-energy and ready to get to work, Will Muschamp was introduced Tuesday evening as the Florida Gators‘ 23rd head football coach. He began his press conference with an obvious clear understanding of the job he has to do and a promise to perform his responsibilities to the best of his ability.

“I am certainly honored and proud to be the head football coach of the University of Florida. It’s a great day certainly for my family and Florida. The expectations at Florida are winning championships. And believe me, I understand that, and I understand what you’ve got to do to be successful in that situation.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT BEING “THE RIGHT FIT”

Athletic director Jeremy Foley explained after head coach Urban Meyer resigned that the man he would hire to replace him would have to be the right fit – not necessarily the most experienced candidate. He expanded on those comments Tuesday.

“The more and more you researched [Muschamp], it was obvious he was the guy we wanted to go after. And we went after him,” Foley said. “It was very, very clear early on that this was the guy that we wanted to bring to Gainesville to lead our football program and build on the wonderful foundation that’s been left here by Urban Meyer.”

Muschamp understands some might be concerned about his lack of head coaching experiences but promises it will not be an issue. “I know there will be criticism about maybe not hiring a guy with head coaching experience. I certainly understand that,” he said. “But I do think, if you look at it, you can really look at all the examples across the board of guys who had no head coaching experience and did an outstanding job because they were the right fit for the right job at the right time.

“I feel like I’m the right fit for Jeremy. [Looks at Foley] I can certainly tell you, you’re not going to regret [hiring me].”

BECOME A BETTER PERSON, THEN BECOME A BETTER FOOTBALL PLAYER

Like Meyer before him, Muschamp plans to put a special emphasis on his players being successful off the field before they step foot on it. This effort begins in the classroom, translates to programs he will create and eventually comes to fruition on the gridiron.

“I want all of our student-athletes to come into our program to be a better person for having been at Florida. And I’m not just talking about from a football standpoint, from a strength standpoint. I’m talking about the off-the-field things,” he said. “Academically is obviously very important to me. We’re going to have programs set for our players that are going to help with leadership development, character development and the mental conditioning it takes to be successful. It’s all about making good choices and good decisions nowadays.

“There’s a lot of distractions out there. There’s a lot of things that can go wrong when you make a poor choice or decision. There’s nothing more frustrating to me then to see a young man make a poor choice and somebody said, ‘He must be a bad kid.’ He’s not a bad kid. He made a poor choice and decision. So we need to do a great job of conditioning our players to make good choices and decisions.

“You got to get a degree. I’m going to emphasize it. If our kids don’t want to get their degree, they don’t need to be here. If they’re not going to go to class and act the right way, they don’t need to be here. There’s a certain thing that I’m going to refer to as ‘The Florida Way,’ and that’s the way they need to act and that’s the way they need to represent our university.”

STAFF RETENTION AND HIRING COACHES

Muschamp made a concerted effort Wednesday to explain that he was the sole decision-maker and source when it comes to coaching hires and indicated quite clearly that nothing of the sort had been worked out yet – and may not be for quite some time. “The thing you need to trust – a little blind faith on my part – I’m going to make the best decisions for Florida. I’ve got zero timetable on hiring a staff,” he said. “It’s not about doing the easiest thing, it’s not about doing the quickest thing, it’s about making the best decision – and that’s what we need to do for the University of Florida right now. There has been no one offered a job in the coaching right now by the University of Florida to work on our football staff, regardless of what you read. There’s one source in this football program, and that’s me. And there’s one guy hiring coaches, and that’s me. So nobody’s been offered a job. Let me make sure everybody understands that before we walk out of here tonight.”

That being said, Muschamp did announce the retention of one staff member – strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti. “We’ve got to do a great job in our weight room. I’m really excited that Mickey is going to stay on and be a Gator. He’s outstanding; he’s as good a strength coach as there is in the country,” he said. “My first visit was to our weight room to visit with him and make sure he understood that he and I are on the same page with what we want for our athletes. I think he’s phenomenal.”

As for everyone else? They have to wait. “Nothing’s going to be done, in my opinion, right now before the bowl game as far as coaches that are going to be hired, retained, whatever. Right now, I’ve got absolutely no timetable with that,” Muschamp repeated.

“We’re going to work through the bowl game. Urban Meyer is the head football coach through the Outback Bowl. I’m strictly a spectator. I’m going to evaluate the players and make the best decisions for Florida as far as our staff is concerned. There’s some outstanding coaches on this staff and I’m just getting some input from people who are around the country and in talking to Urban.”

“…URBAN MEYER IS GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN THIS PROGRAM”

After Meyer stepped down exactly one week ago, Foley mentioned that he could very well remain a part of the Gators as long as the head coach they hired to replace him was amenable to that concept. Muschamp recounted a conversation he had with Meyer on Saturday – just before he decided to come to Florida – and how it affected him.

“Urban Meyer – what a phenomenal job he’s done. When Jeremy sat with me in my living room on Saturday and we talked about the job at Florida, we continued to talk [and] were having great discussions about everything as far as philosophically, what we believed in the program, what we believed was important,” Muschamp recounted. “As we kept talking, I felt like I needed to talk to Urban Meyer. And I said, ‘Do you mind if I call him?’ He threw the phone at me and said, ‘Here he is right here.’

“The more I talked to him, the more I liked him. And I can tell you this right now: As long as Will Muschamp is the head coach of the University of Florida, Urban Meyer is going to be involved in this program. And I’ve invited him to the weight room, I’ve invited him to the practice field, I’ve invited him to the meetings and whatever he wants to do. He will be a great sounding board for me, number one. And he needs to be involved in this program for our players – because he’s the one that recruited them all, and he’s still helping us in the recruiting class we’ve got going this year. And he’s a great sounding board for me and a part of this great tradition of Florida football. “

Admitting that allowing Meyer so much access to the team may be viewed as either weak or dangerous, Muschamp dismissed anyone else’s opinions of the situation bothering him even the least bit. “The perception can be whatever it is out there. I deal in real world; I deal in reality. I’ve got no ego. My agenda is the players and the University of Florida. And it’s about winning. That’s where the fun is. It’s about winning football games and doing it the right way,” he said.

COACHING PHILOSOPHIES

“We’re going to be a pro-style attack offensively and defensively,” Muschamp made clear from the start. “As far as special teams is concerned, I feel like our players will be exposed to cutting-edge schemes to make sure that they show their abilities. If they want to play on the next level, they certainly can have those opportunities.”

That being said, Muschamp realizes that defense is his specialty and plans on hiring a knowledgeable offensive coordinator to support him. “I want to hire an experienced play caller. I would like for him to have a background in both college and pro football. I think it’s important that we have some pro-style systems to what we want to do,” he said. “But I think the best coaches out there, they look at their roster and they evaluate who they are at this time. And then they recruit to who they want to be. […] Will there be more pro-style ideas in our offense? There certainly will be. We want to be balanced in what we do, regardless of who we hire. [That] will obviously be a big hire for me, me being a defensive coach. […] Hiring an offensive coordinator is a critical hire for me.”

Defensively, Muschamp has not decided whether or not he will hire a coordinator to call the plays or help him out in the role of an assistant. “There will be components of the 3-4, the 4-3. We like to be a man-pressure team,” he said of the defense. “But the big thing you got to do defensively nowadays, you got to be multiple in what you do. You got to be able to change week-to-week. […] Defense is my strength. I have not decided yet whether or not I will call the defenses or not. That will be decided based on who we hire and who we’re able to bring in.”

Regardless of how the offense and defense are formulated, the team as a whole will have some standard philosophies instilled in it from the get-go. “Our program is going to be based in a family atmosphere with three basic things: trust, respect and communication. Those are all two-way streets; it takes two to do it,” Muschamp said. “As a football team, I want to be known as a blue-collar, overachieving unit. We’re going to recruit good players here, but they need to take the talent they have – what God’s blessed them with – and stretch it to the potential that they’ve got. […] We will be a physically tough football team. And it’s not something you talk about; it’s something you live your life with.”

QUOTES (After the break…)

On recruiting thus far: “We got a great reception.”

On his basic goal with Florida: “The most important thing – when you talk about football – it’s a great team game. The University of Florida is about winning championships. That’s what I understand the expectation is, and that’s what I’m here to do. We need to understand the process it takes in order to do that. The hard work, the dedication, the common purpose attitude and the all-in attitude it’s going to take in order to do that.”

On helping players after they graduate: “Once our young men graduate, once they finish playing, we need the Gator Nation to come together and help them launch their careers – by the NCAA rules. We need to make sure that we help these young men that came to Florida, graduated, did it the right way finish their playing days and we help them launch their careers. The University of Florida is a powerful place; it’s the flagship university in this state.”

On how to win in the SEC: “The SEC is a line-of-scrimmage league. The difference between the SEC and all of the other leagues is simply this: the defensive line. Top-to-bottom, you’ve got to keep them off balanced. You’re not facing just one or two good defensive lines through the season; you’re facing a bunch of good ones.”

On players participating on special teams: “If you’re not a quarterback or you’re not an offensive lineman, and you don’t play on special teams, you’re a selfish football player. […] Our best players will play on special teams. You’ve got to control the vertical field position in the game, and special teams is certainly a way to do that.”

On statistics: “I’m not a big stat guy. There’s one stat and it’s winning football games. There is no ugly win. You either win or you lose.”

On playing at Georgia and sharing a beach house with Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher: “I suffered some temporary insanity there for a while.”

On who his starting quarterback will be: “I haven’t even looked at our roster to be honest with you. I’ve had a cell phone growing out of my ear the last three days working on recruits.”

On if he ever expected Foley to call him about the job: “First of all, I was worried about his health. That was the first thing that popped into my mind. Certainly didn’t feel like Jeremy Foley would call me, but I was certainly relieved and pleased that he did.”

On being wired and animated on the field: “I’m going to be me. I think the worst thing you can do in a leadership position is try and be something you’re not. I’m going to be me, I’m going to be Will Muschamp, and I’m going to be involved with the players. I think the players are a reflection of their coach and I hope they feed off the intensity that we try to bring to the game.”

On winning in the Outback Bowl: “We need to send Urban Meyer out the right way with a win over Penn State. This guy’s going to be a hall of fame football coach.”

On winning at UF: “I expect to win. We’re not on a five-year plan here.”

On players earning a spot: “First impression is so critical. “You guys got a chance for a first impression right now, and that’s in bowl practice.’”

On being a trustworthy person: “I’m a stand-up guy. You may not like what I have to tell you, but I’m going to be honest with you.”

Muschamp added that former Gators QB Tim Tebow called him on Saturday after he accepted the job. He said he spoke with former Florida head coach Steve Spurrier on Tuesday and plans to speak with UF’s other Heisman Trophy winner, QB Danny Wuerffel, soon.

Photo Credit: Erica Brough/Gainesville Sun

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32 Responses to “Florida Gators Press Conference: Will Muschamp announced as head football coach”

  1. TheBrave8842 says:

    thanks Adam!

  2. TheBrave8842 says:

    BOOM!

  3. SaraGator says:

    The man barely took a breath! Aight.

    Love his good ole boy SEC attitude. No wonder Foley offered him. I have a feeling Coach Will is going to take the Gator Nation on a wild ride.

  4. david says:

    Loves the “Florida Way.” I hope Brantley sticks around to run the more pro-style offense. Amazing press conference to watch!!!

  5. charlie says:

    I am a little sad to hear that Brantley is so discouraged after this year that he might transfer. I really think Addazio limited him too much and kinda messed his head up. I think our team could use Brantley next year, a guy who will work his tail off and set an example to everyone else. Plus, any other offense than Addazio’s dive-play-o-rama is better for Brantley.

  6. Basshole says:

    Welcome to UF, Coach Boom!

  7. notsoyounganymore says:

    Thanks, Adam!! Great job!

    Coach Muschamp got me so fired up my wife’s gonna make me sleep in another room tonight.

    I will wait to exhale, though, until I see reports that Addazio has taken a job somewhere ELSE.

    Man, it’s great to be a Florida Gator, and welcome back to Gainesville to coach Muschamp and his family.

  8. Escambia94 says:

    I’m fired up by this guy! I’m not worried about Brantley, Addazio, or the other coaches and players–that’s Muschamp’s job to worry about and I want to see what kind of decisions he makes.

  9. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Great job Adam! BOOM!

  10. John S says:

    Man he is high energy, there is a lot of change coming….hopefully for the better. It seemed like there was a lot of anxiety in that room.

    In Foley we trust, Go Gators.

  11. npgator says:

    There is no reason Brantley should transfer – CWM’s offensive philosophy falls right into Brantley’s skill set.

  12. Jesse C says:

    The more I read about this guy, the more I like him. So much for the reports about Smart… wonder where the media machine is getting its misinformation? Before this presser, I was anxious to hear who would be on his list for the coordinator positions. Based on his stated criteria, I am now comfortable that he will make the right hires and I will wait till he makes the announcement himself instead of eagerly chasing all the speculation.

  13. ziggy says:

    Adam, do you think that coach already has his coordinators picked out but just waiting until after bowl season out of respect for the other teams? Isn’t this crucial for our recruiting class? Seems to me he’s going to have to let some names slip to recruits and tell them to keep it quiet, like that’s going to happen.

  14. Gatorfan316 says:

    I like most everything he said EXCEPT…”I’ve got zero timetable on hiring a staff”. He should very well have a timetable because some recruits are going to want to know that before committing and the sooner the better IMO.

  15. Mr2Bits says:

    Everyone worrying about Brantley shouldn’t. If he transfers, then I hope the door doesn’t hit him in the ass on the way out. If he “is thinking about transferring” then I encourage him to go ASAP. Play calling aside, he showed no leadership, the inability to read defenses, poor decision making and ineffective arm strength. If he thinks his talents can be best used elsewhere, I’ll help him pack up his apartment this week.

    I know we blamed Dazz for the play calling but I really think his play calling was limited because of Brantley and company.

    As for Muschamp, I’ve always liked him. This dude gets me stoked to watch football. Will definitely pump our players up. Would have loved to see him and Tebow in the same locker room.

  16. npgator says:

    I am ready for the Jeff Driskel era to begin.

  17. Aligator says:

    Mr2Bits you are right on.

  18. NCGATOR says:

    I’ve learned to expect the unexpected from Jeremy Foley. I still have nightmares over the Zook hire. That being said, I think Foley made a great choice with coach Muschamp. I won’t reiterate all the positives this guy brings to the table except to say he brings the ability to recruit in Texas, which is something we’ve never done very well. Additionally, the announcement that he intends to transition to a pro-style offense will hopefully entice some elite running backs that had no interst in playing in a spread system. His pick of an offensive coordinator will his most critical hire and will in a large part determine his success. Addazio is not the guy.
    Regarding Brantley, he’s not the guy either. Granted there were alot of reasons why he wasn’t successful that were not his fault ie; Pouncey’s snaps, THompson and Moore’s drops, horrible OL blocking etc. That being said, he is basically immobile, not good even in a pro set system. He’s not nearly as inaccurate as we were led to believe. The App State game was a good example, blocked passes, overthrows, underthrows and passes competely missed. This game played late in the season against a team that wasn’t much better that a practice squad. Driscoll is the future, Jordan Reed in the meantime.

  19. NCGATOR says:

    Mr2Bits. ncgator here…..PK from FT. Myers. Still sticking your fingers in ceiling fans?

  20. Wasn’t ignoring you all last night – was just very busy working on all of this.

    TheBrave8842/notsoyounganymore/gatorbuc15 – You’re welcome. Thank you.

    David/Charlie- As I wrote today, I think Brantley’s best option is to stay. That being said, he has other choices to make.

    Jesse C- Just because Muschamp says nothing has been offered, doesn’t mean he’s telling the truth. He could very well have called KS personally and said “the job is yours if you want it” and left it at that. OR, Smart could be leaking false information in order to get more money from his current employer. It’s not always the media’s fault, sometimes we’re lied to.

    Ziggy/Gatorfan316- No, I don’t. I think he really is taking his time, though I am sure he’s contacted people already that are his No. 1 options. Most coordinators/coaches have a staff written down in case they ever take/get a top job. As far as recruiting, the kids who will enroll early (January) probably don’t care too much about the coordinators. The defensive guys have Muschamp on board and the offensive guys (OL, Driskel especially) are unaffected. If he hires a staff by late December/early January, that is still 30 days until national signing day at the beginning of February. Plenty of time.

    Mr2Bits- I think Brantley’s best option is to stay and, as a fan, you should hope he does. The worst case is that he gets benched. The best case is that he improves significantly and runs the offense well. Reed is athletic but doesn’t have the aptitude for throwing Brantley should/could. Burton’s not an option, neither is Murphy. Driskel will be a freshman and unproven.

  21. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    So far I like what I am hearing…especially his OC guidelines….proven playcaller with Pro Experience…..sounds a lot like Bama to me…you run pro style then you bring in the wild cat for a change of pace…I still don’t understand all the hate for Brantley…the guy stayed around when most kids would have transferred….didn’t run his mouth and didn’t get in trouble…did he have a bad year…yes but the entire system was flawed and the O’line was horrible all year…not to mention the jerking him in and out was too much for a first year starter…I think he will come back and be the starter and have a really good year!!!

  22. NCGATOR says:

    I believe Brantley’s best option is to transfer to Mississippi State, Louisville or Marshall. Sitting on the bench here isn’t doing him any good. At those schools, if they want him, he has a chance to be a starter and rebuild his reputation. To me the NFL is not a realistic option. Adam, you’re correct about Reed’s throwing capabilities. He needs alot of work, but I think he’s our best/only option for next year. Driscoll will get some playing time, ala, Tim Tebow, if no ther reason then to get him used to the big stage.

  23. NCGATOR says:

    D-r-i-s-k-e-l Got it.

  24. Mr2Bits says:

    Adam : Of course I’m a fan and want Brantley to do well wearing the orange and blue but I just don’t see it happening. My biggest gripe with him is that he waits his turn in line, is given his shot, things did not go well and now wants to blame UF for his problems and leave. He is quitting on this team like he did through the season by never stepping up.

    You said the best case would be that he improves and runs the offense well. I would hope for the same but it’s clear from his recent statements hes not in it mentally. Instead of busting his chops to turn things around during the off-season, he’d rather blame everyone around him for his problems spend his time looking somewhere else he could play instead.

  25. You’re assuming he’s quitting on the team and blaming everyone around him. He’s been very careful not to do either – YET. He’s in a tough spot right now…just wait and see how it plays out.

  26. Ken says:

    Great stuff Adam! I don’t think the coordinators are a big deal right now anyway, seeing as the dead period starts at the end of this week.

  27. J Boof says:

    Regarding your poll. How can I be “all in” before we even know who is going to run the offense? Blind faith. Will asked for it, but I’m keeping one eye peeking out.

  28. Jesse C says:

    Brantley is weak. After all the hype last summer and practice praise from the coaches, he showed nothing but weakness during the games. There are plenty of QB’s that deal with and succeed in spite of poor play from those around them. I hope he transfers for his sake and ours. Some players peak in college and some peak in high school. I think Brantley peaked before donning the orange and blue. Because of his gator ties, I am rooting for him to succeed but I just don’t think he can do it here.

    Adam – I understand that the media is lied to… quite often I imagine. However, I would expect the type of rumors flying around recently from fan message boards but when national sites like ESPN are broadcasting anything they can get their hands on as fact, they lose respectability. With the hiring of Muschamp, I think the negative side of media was exposed for what it really is… a rumor machine and a gossip mill.

    • JesseC- I hear what you’re saying…but the issue is more “getting it first” then the desire to rumor/gossip. Also, grouping everyone together isn’t necessarily fair to those that don’t or try not to do such things.

      Example: We here try our best not to “get it first” but rather “get it right.” We break news from time-to-time (transfers last year, Moses Jenkins’ major injury last year, etc., etc.) but a lot of times have good word on things but are unable to report because we can’t confirm. In a situation like our story on Applewhite/Akina, we were told that by someone who has never steered us wrong before – and did not try to do so in this case either. What happened was that those were the two names initially told to certain people close to the program, but things changed. Therefore the story became wrong even though the information was credible. I’m sure the same thing happened to the Tuscaloosa News on the Kirby Smart story. Things happen.

      Those two examples are VERY different from a website running with a story for a week that Bob Stoops will become the next head coach based on absolutely nothing. Or for another website running with a story for two weeks that Jon Gruden had signed a contract with Miami. Those were just bull (or something that was really small and made into something much bigger).

      My point? Just because a story ends up not being correct does not mean the author’s intention was to rumor/gossip. A lot of times things just don’t happen they way people (sources usually) expect them to. But such is life. Have to take the good with the bad.

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