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…)
Continue Reading » Florida Gators Press Conference: Will Muschamp announced as head football coach

Chas Henry named 2010 first-team All-American

Florida Gators senior punter Chas Henry, winner of the 2010 Ray Guy Award given to the nation’s best punter, was named an All-American first-team member by the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated on Tuesday.

Henry, who was also selected as a to the 2010 Walter Camp All-America first-team and was picked as a unanimous first-team All-SEC selection, punted 44 times for 2,042 yards with a 46.4 average this season. That average was not only the best in the nation this year but also set a school record.

Florida senior safety Ahmad Black earned AP second-team All-America honors. He and redshirt freshman kick returner Andre Debose were given honorable mention by SI. Black was also a unanimous All-SEC first-team selection.

Photo Credit: Stephen Morton/Associated Press

Muschamp agrees to five-year, $13.5M contract

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp will earn $2.7 million per season under his new five-year contract with the University of Florida. Muschamp, who was making $900,000 per year as defensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting with the Texas Longhorns, more than tripled his annual salary with this move.

Though there are obviously additional incentives that could bump up the total value of Muschamp’s contract – including provisions for winning the Southeastern Conference and/or National Championship, earning certain honors, etc. – he will earn $13.5 million over the life of the deal if he completes it.

Florida’s coach’s television and radio shows and endorsement opportunities from university sponsors and local companies significantly increase Muschamp’s total earning potential.

Chances are Muschamp will end up re-negotiating his contract to a higher figure should he perform exceptionally well or be let go before it ends after the 2015 season.

With the deal he becomes the fifth-highest paid coach in the SEC behind Alabama’s Nick Saban, LSU’s Les Miles, Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino and Georgia’s Mark Richt. Auburn’s Gene Chizik ($2.1 million) and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier ($2 million) will likely receive new deals after the season bumping them ahead of Muschamp.

The Gainesville Sun first reported Muschamp’s contract information.

Photo Credit: Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Florida Gators release “You’re in Gator Country”

The Florida Gators announced on Tuesday that the athletic program has released You’re in Gator Country: Official Music of the Florida Gators, a seven-song album “featuring new hits from area musicians that pay tribute to their favorite collegiate team.”

The track listing for the album, which can be sampled below, is as follows:

“The music is already being played in-game and in-broadcast during Gators sporting events,” the University of Florida notes. “The intent is to establish new, unique audio content that celebrates and embraces Florida’s rich history and heritage on the playing surface.”

You can purchase the album via iTunes, AmazonMP3 and GatorsMusic.com

Muschamp already hitting recruiting trail hard

With the current Florida Gators coaching staff worrying about the 2011 Outback Bowl (and their jobs) and the Texas Longhorns out of bowl game contention, new Florida head coach Will Muschamp was able to focus on retaining the Gators’ 2011 recruiting class immediately after taking the position on Saturday. Making plenty of phone calls while traveling for in-home visits and to round out his staff, Muschamp has already made an impression on a number of prospects.

COMMIT – Five/four-star quarterback Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL): In Gainesville, FL, last weekend for an official visit, Driskel received a call from Muschamp and continues to be fully committed. He will enroll early in January.

COMMIT – Four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL): Having made it a point to say that he remains “100 percent committed to Florida,” Waisome received calls from and decided to accept visits to Florida State, LSU and South Carolina after head coach Urban Meyer stepped down. He has since only visited FSU and plans to go back to UF this upcoming weekend to meet Muschamp. Also an early enrollee, Waisome will likely stick with the Gators unless something goes horribly wrong in the meeting.

RECRUIT – Four-star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade, FL): After visiting Tallahassee, FL, during the weekend of the Florida State-Florida game, Benjamin turned his attention toward FSU, canceled his planned UF visit and decided to announce his commitment on Thursday. However, he spoke with Muschamp Monday evening and has decided to delay his announcement at least one full month so he can take his originally scheduled visit to Gainesville on Jan. 14. Benjamin will also pay another visit to Florida State and take a trip to Miami (FL) as well.

COMMIT – Four-star linebacker Ryan Shazier (Plantation, FL): Muschamp made it a point to immediately visit Shazier, who remains a verbal to UF but opened up his recruitment to LSU and Ohio State when Meyer resigned. OSU head coach Jim Tressel has already paid a visit to Shazier, and he will reciprocate on Thursday by heading to Columbus, OH. He plans to announce his decision on Friday but was impressed with Muschamp when he visited. “He talked about the type of staff he wants to put together, and the type of team he wants to put on the field at Florida,” Shazier told Scout. “He’s in the process of deciding who he is going to keep, and who he might bring in. It was the first time I’d ever met Coach Muschamp, and he has a lot of passion for the job. Coach Muschamp and Coach Meyer are the same in their approach, but they are different in coaching styles. Coach Muschamp is a defensive coach, and his specialty is the linebacker position, and I really like that. I liked Coach Meyer, but I believe I’m more in tune with Coach Muschamp. Tonight’s visit with Florida kind of clarified things for me, and it helped being able to speak to the head coach.”

Read who else Muschamp has already made an impression on…after the break!
Continue Reading » Muschamp already hitting recruiting trail hard

Smart mulling Florida defensive coordinator offer

If you asked experts a few days ago who the top defensive coordinators in college football were, two of the first names you would hear are the Texas LonghornsWill Muschamp and Alabama Crimson Tide‘s Kirby Smart. Should things go as planned for athletic director Jeremy Foley, both may be wearing orange and blue next year.

According to numerous reports, Smart has been offered the Florida Gators defensive coordinator position under Muschamp, Florida’s new head coach and Smart’s former teammate at Georgia. The Tuscaloosa News reports that Muschamp and Smart have been “in discussions about the position in recent days.”

Additionally, a source close to UF told OGGOA on Monday afternoon that “things look really good for Smart to be at UF” though nothing is official as of press time.

Smart, who currently makes $750,000 a year while working for head coach Nick Saban at Alabama, won the 2009 Broyles Award for assistant coach of the year.

The story broke Monday when one of ESPN‘s Twitter accounts, @ESPN_MobileCFB, said Smart had “reportedly” already agreed to the job.

OGGOA will continue updating this story.

Foley made list checked it twice to pick Muschamp

When Urban Meyer resigned as head football coach of the Florida Gators on Wednesday, athletic director Jeremy Foley had already known for four days. After Meyer explained his decision to Foley the prior Saturday, the man who hired him in the first place and is one of the best at his position in the country compiled a list of the top coaches in the nation who could re place him.

That list did not contain Texas Longhorns defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

In an interview conducted with GatorZone senior writer Scott Carter on Monday, Foley admitted that his first list contained “all the names that everybody has talked about” except for one. “Will wasn’t on that list,” he said.

It wasn’t until Sunday morning that Foley began “thinking Muschamp,” realizing he could very well end up being the right guy for the job. “The more research you did on Will and the more you read about him, the more you watched him [...] his familiarity with this league really intrigued me. When we got back [to Gainesville, FL], we kind of honed in on him very, very quickly.”

After sending Meyer off into the proverbial sunset three days later, Foley got on the horn with Muschamp – the first of many calls between the two men. As OGGOA previously reported, Foley flew over to Austin, TX, Saturday morning, met with Muschamp all day and eventually left with a new head coach.

“We obviously had done a lot of research on this,” Foley said. “After we sat down with him for that length of time, it was pretty evident early on that this was the guy. I think when people meet him tomorrow night [at the press conference] they will see that. [...] He has a great plan to win. He wants to be here. He is ready to be a head coach in our opinion. And when you talk face-to-face, it’s impressive.”

One other note: Contrary to popular opinion, Florida hoped to announce its hiring of Muschamp after the Heisman Trophy ceremony and did not wish to upstage the event in any way. According to Carter, he plan was for Muschamp to speak with his family and Texas officials while Florida’s contingent returned to Gainesville to set everything up.

“UF officials sought to work with the Heisman Trophy Committee to make sure the news broke after the Heisman ceremony in New York, but once the news leaked out beforehand, UF sent out an official release to confirm the news for the media,” Carter explained on Monday.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Florida basketball holds steady in Top 25 polls

The Florida Gators (7-2) neither rose nor fell in the latest ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press Top 25 polls after defeating the Kent State Golden Flashes 65-52 on Thursday. However, Florida did lose votes in both polls for the second time this season coming off a week where they were only victorious.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 10 (1,048)No. 8 (550)-
2W 77-69 vs. North Florida1-0No. 11 (995)No. 10 (535)-
3L 53-59 at No. 20 Wisconsin
W 86-56 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock
2-1No. 16 (619)No. 14 (359)-
4W 67-53 vs. Southern
W 79-59 vs. MTSU
4-1No. 15 (729)No. 13 (395)-
5W 86-60 at Jacksonville
W 67-66 vs. Florida State
6-1No. 15 (758)No. 12 (426)-
6L 64-65 at No. 12 UConn6-2No. 19 (434)No. 19 (258)-
7W 67-61 vs. No. 13 Kansas7-2No. 16 (699)No. 17 (296)-
8W 77-75 vs. Memphis
W 66-49 vs. Fresno State
9-2No. 13 (881)No. 14 (383)-
9W 76-34 vs. Savannah State10-2No. 12 (915)No. 13 (413)-
10W 67-58 vs. Richmond11-2No. 10 (1,052)No. 11 (473)12
11W 74-58 vs. South Carolina
W-OT 84-82 at Arkansas
13-2
(2-0 SEC)
No. 7
(1,205)
No. 7
(573)
8
12W 72-50 vs. Georgia
W 68-61 at Auburn
15-2
(4-0 SEC)
No. 6
(1,303)
No. 6
(639)
8
13W 68-62 at Alabama
W 67-41 vs. Tennessee
17-2
(6-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,436)
No. 4
(694)
5
14W 62-51 at Mississippi State
W 69-36 vs. Texas A&M
19-2
(8-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,482)
No. 4
(720)
3
15W 68-58 vs. Missouri
W 78-69 vs. Alabama
21-2
(10-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,477)
No. 4
(711)
5
16W 67-58 at Tennessee
W 69-59 at Kentucky
23-2
(12-0 SEC)
No. 2
(1,543)
No. 2
(752)
4
17W 71-66 vs. Auburn
W 75-71 at Ole Miss
25-2
(14-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,606)
No. 1
(791)
3
18W 57-54 at Vanderbilt
W 79-61 vs. LSU
27-2
(16-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,606)
No. 1
(793)
3
19W 72-46 at South Carolina
W 84-65 vs. Kentucky
29-2
(18-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,610)
No. 1
(793)
2
Post-
season
W 72-49 vs. Missouri
W 56-49 vs. Tennessee
W 61-60 vs. Kentucky
32-2
(18-0 SEC)
(3-0 SECT)
No. 1
(1,610)
No. 1
(794)
1
FinalW 67-55 vs. Albany
W 61-45 vs. Pittsburgh
W 79-68 vs. UCLA
W 62-52 vs. Dayton
L 53-63 vs. UConn
36-3
(18-0 SEC)
(3-0 SECT)
(4-1 NCAAT)
-No. 3
(735)
-

ESPN/USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Duke (31), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Connecticut, Syracuse, Michigan State, Baylor, Georgetown, Missouri, Villanova, Tennessee, Memphis, San Diego State, Kentucky, Illinois, Purdue, UNLV, Minnesota, Brigham Young, Washington, Notre Dame, Florida, Texas

This Week 1-25: Duke (31), Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Kansas State, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Baylor, San Diego State, Villanova, Missouri, Georgetown, Illinois, Michigan State, Kentucky, Purdue, Brigham Young, Memphis, Minnesota, Louisville, UNLV, Notre Dame, Florida, Texas

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Duke (65), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Connecticut, Michigan State, Syracuse, Georgetown, Baylor, Tennessee, Villanova, Memphis, San Diego State, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Brigham Young, Purdue, UNLV, Washington, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Louisville, Texas
+ Florida received 72 votes (good for No. 26)

This Week 1-25: Duke (65), Ohio State, Kansas, Connecticut, Syracuse, Kansas State, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Baylor, Villanova, San Diego State, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan State, Georgetown, Brigham Young, Kentucky, Memphis, Purdue, Louisville, Minnesota, Texas, UNLV, Notre Dame, Texas A&M
+ Florida received 55 votes (good for No. 27)

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

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