Losing offensive coordinator Charlie Weis – a four-time Super Bowl winner – to a head coaching job with the Kansas Jayhawks after just one year wearing orange and blue may be a tough pill to swallow for some. Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp, however, is confident that his team will not miss a step either in the 2012 Gator Bowl on Jan. 2 against the Ohio State Buckeyes or going forward next season.
After he confirmed that Weis would be leaving the team at a bowl game press conference Thursday in Jacksonville, FL , Muschamp announced that running backs coach Brian White would take over play calling duties for the contest.
“Brian’s an experienced play caller. He’s a great idea guy. He’s been a coordinator before. He’s had tremendous success as a coordinator before, and he’s a guy I got tremendous confidence in,” he said.
Though White will be a substitute in the interim and may be a candidate for the permanent job, Muschamp does not know who will be taking over long term. He does, however, know the direction the offense is going to be heading.
“We are going to remain a pro-style offense, and I will go hire the best offensive coordinator in the country,” he said. “We need to improve offensively; it’s pretty obvious. We look forward to taking those steps forward.”
He did not express a shred of trepidation when saying that he and the Gators will have no problem finding the right replacement.
“We’re at the University of Florida. We’re going to be able to hire an outstanding football coach that’s going to fit what I want done within our offense and within our systems. That’s what we’re going to do, and I’m going to take my time on it to make sure we hire the right guy and get the right fit,” he said.
Weis is the third staff member to leave Florida since the regular season finale against Florida State. Strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti
and director of football operations Mark Pantoni
both left UF to join former head coach Urban Meyer
’s new staff at Ohio State. Offensive line coach Frank Verducci
, a close friend of Weis’s, may also follow him to Kansas, though that remains to be seen.
Despite a few defections, Muschamp refused to say the staff has been “raided” and remains confident in the coaching staff staying by his side heading into 2012.
“Our staff hasn’t been raided,” he said. “Our strength coach left with a guy that he’s been friends with for 25 years, and I totally understood that was a possibility when I retained Mickey. But Mickey’s a good strength coach and he did a good job for us. And our offensive coordinator got a head coaching job, a multi-million dollar deal. That’s not getting raided.
“When you’re at the University of Florida, and you hire a really good staff, what a compliment it is to the job you did hiring people that other people want your coaches. You know what? We’re going to hire really good coaches. Next year, we’re going to win, and they’re going to come want to get our coaches again. It’s a great problem to have. You know what? There are a bunch of people calling my cell phone – that is off right now – that want to come to the University of Florida.”
» Muschamp, when asked if he had guys in mind for the offensive coordinator job, lit up and responded, “Oh yeah.”
» When asked if Jacksonville head coach Kerwin Bell was a possibility, he did not dismiss the notion whatsoever. “I know Kerwin. He’s an outstanding football coach and certainly will be under consideration,” he said.”
» Muschamp said having a prior relationship with his new hire is not the most important thing but “it would help obviously because you know them a little bit better and, when the bullets start flying, you know how they’re going to respond and react.”
» Asked if he would be leaning on any of his coaching friends for advice, Muschamp quipped, “Most of my friends we got to beat, so no.”
» Most of all, Muschamp is interested in having continuity in the staff in the future. “If guys get a promotion and guys get a step up, I think that’s great and I support it. It says a lot about the guys you hire – that they do a good job, are good football coaches, are good men and are good recruiters. I’m very pleased with the continuity of our staff and do not anticipate any changes moving forward,” he said.
Photo Credit: Associated Press