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SEC Bloggers: 5 Thoughts On Muschamp
Who says you can never go home
Who says you can never go home
Posted Dec 12, 2010

CFN's SEC Bloggers give you five different perspectives on the hire of Will Muschamp at Florida

Gabriel Harris: On the “search”

The search for the Florida Gator’s successor to Urban Meyer went like most big-time coaching searches go: the early list of potential coaches drawn up by the media/fans are usually don’t get the job in the end.

According to the experts, Dan Mullen, Bob Stoops and Bobby Petrino were widely considered to be the leading candidates, with some outlets even reporting that Stoops was in contract negotiations (an allegation Stoops quickly refuted).

With the speed of this decision, it evident Florida AD Jeremy Foley had one name and one name only on his radar: Texas Longhorn head coach in waiting Will Muschamp. At different times since he landed in Texas, Muschamp’s name has been thrown around at Auburn, LSU, Tennessee and Georgia, but the opportunity to take over the storied Longhorn program was too much to pass up… until now.

Why leave now? It’s Florida. Plus Mack Brown’s restructuring his staff and giving no indication he plans on hanging it up anytime soon are both likely contributing factors in forcing the talented defensive coordinator’s hand.

Muschamp’s star has been on the rise for quite some time… His experience as an assistant in the SEC is well-documented and will serve him well in Gainesville.

Brian Harbach: On what this means for Florida/Texas

Perhaps the most interesting facet of the Muschamp hiring is that if this was two years ago, we would be going crazy about the “risky and odd” decision that Florida made rushing to hire a defensive coordinator who has had little to no experience as a head coach. However, after what Gene Chizik did at Auburn this year, it puts all the "Chicken Littles" in check, and allows for more of a wait and see approach.

Two years ago it would have meant that Florida settled for a coach without fully committing to a search; today it means fans and media will have to evaluate the entire staff and performance before rushing to judgment.

As far as Florida goes, nothing really changes for recruiting. They Gators recruited well under Ron Zook, they did very well with Steve Spurrier (who for the most part was disinterested with the recruiting process), and now with Muschamp they will have one of the most energetic young coaches in the country.

Since recruiting will not change much, this hire really comes down to the staff that Boom puts together. Muschamp is not a spread guy, and while he spent time working for Mack Brown who went with a spread the last couple of years, Muschamp spent more time learning under Nick Saban. And Saban prefers a pro-style ball control offense. It's more likely Gator fans can expect this from their next offensive coordinator, and it might give John Brantley a chance to rejuvenate his career in Gainesville.

Since it's probable Florida will become a ball control offense that allows its defense to take over games, this team will essentially become an Alabama (model) of the SEC East, and unless Muschamp drops the ball with the coordinators and recruiting, success at Florida should stay consistent.

Texas, on the other hand, now finds itself in a serious transition. Mack Brown has always been as good as his coordinators, and now he is replacing two of them. He sacrificed Greg Davis after one poor season, and his head coach in waiting has now left him at the alter. But honestly, Muschamp was never going to be the head coach at Texas... Brown is not going anywhere anytime soon. Considering that Texas loves to poach defensive coordinators from Auburn, Ted Roof might be the default choice to take over at Texas. Which could mean Auburn is looking to replace two coordinators coming January 11...

Will Muschamp should do a good job for Florida; if he wasn't getting overpaid in Austin the last couple years, he would very likely be an SEC head coach right now at either Arkansas or Auburn. Waiting on a better job to come available seems to have worked out for all parties that have sought Boom the last couple of years. Arkansas is in the BCS with Bobby Petrino, Auburn is in the BCS Championship game with Gene Chizik and Will Muschamp has an excellent opportunity to succeed at Florida

Billy Gomila: On Muschamp’s recruiting/coaching ability

Muschamp’s coordinator credentials are un-matched, and he’s had the opportunity to learn from head coaches with very differing styles in Nick Saban and Mack Brown. He’s energetic, intense and organized, and his defenses have generally reflected that. I would think that would carry over to head coaching as well. Of course, plenty of top-shelf coordinators have struggled with the promotion. And Muschamp brings a few more question marks than the other rumored candidates.

What will be very interesting is what changes he makes schematically. It’s been rumored that Texas running backs coach Major Applewhite will be joining Muschamp in Gainesville, and his background is in more the classic pro-style attack rather than the spread-option Gator fans have been used to. How Muschamp handles that side of the ball will be crucial, as there might not be a lot of patience for a transition. Which is why most figured on Dan Mullen getting this job – such a transition would be minimal.

He definitely has the recruiting chops to preserve the current fire-sale on Florida recruits, but there will be some difficulty what with Urban Meyer staying on to coach the bowl game. Muschamp will be forbidden from contacting any player on behalf of Florida until he has passed the NCAA’s rules test for head coaches, and officially take the job. The only loophole is if there is any opening on the current Gator staff for him to fill until that game.

Russ Mitchell: On Foley’s Folly

Speed kills.

First, let us state we admire Will Muschamp and have for quite some time. He’s a great recruiter, a passionate coach, and having worked under some fantastic defensive minds, he’s a wizard on that side of the ball. By all accounts he’s also a good leader of men, and we believe he will one day make a great head coach.

But what’s the rush, Jeremy? It’s not like Muschamp was leaving for Pittsburgh. It’s not like you lost recruits last year when Urban first announced his “retirement”. It’s Florida – you still had a top class, and would have had another top class this year if you’d still done a bit of due diligence.

Brian, you’re on crack. Auburn is in the BCS Championship game because of Cam Newton’s phenomenal talent, not because of superior coaching by Chizik. Without Newton, Auburn doesn’t even win the Western Division, let alone the SEC. And just convincing Cam to come to your school is not some blanket justification for hiring rookie coaches.

Yes, hiring Assistant Coaches/Coordinators with no Head Coaching experience is part of CFB. Everyone needs a first gig, and our sport is littered with successful examples of such hires.

But not at Notre Dame. Not at USC, Alabama, and not at Texas.

And most certainly not at a powerhouse like Florida.

Moreover, for every one success story there are far more cautionary tales of washouts. We might be able to stomach the promotion of a longtime Asst. Coach, IF he was young, upwardly mobile, and can keep the program’s train/momentum running smoothly (like Jimbo Fisher at FSU or Joker Phillips at Kentucky).

But even here we see more rookie failures than successes.

Florida is arguably the best college coaching job in America, and it’s simply too much of a risk to hand that jewel off to a man with no head coaching experience, particularly without even taking the time for a proper swing at a proven commodity, like Stoops/Mullen/Petersen/Whittingham/Carroll/Gruden... Some of them long shots, but to not even try?

And what does this say about what Foley really thinks of Meyer to completely pass on Dan Mullen and the “continuation” of that coaching model/scheme? It’s clear Jeremy wants a change.

We wish Muschamp all the best at Florida, and for the sake of Gator Nation, we hope Foley’s Folly is on par with Seward’s.

Barrett Sallee: On the timing

Florida v. Auburn… The timing of the Muschamp announcement is curious to say the least. Just last week, former Florida head coach Urban Meyer made headlines when it was revealed he was the only SEC head coach not to rank Auburn No. 1 in his final Coaches' poll ballot. Just one week later, Florida conveniently times the announcement of Will Muschamp as its new head coach at the exact time that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton - a former Florida Gator - is receiving the Heisman Trophy. Hmmm....

Does Florida have an axe to grind with Auburn or Newton? Florida’s AD says no, but at this point that certainly appears to be the case. The rumors of Muschamp's imminent hire broke on Twitter as the Heisman Trophy ceremony was starting, and 30 minutes later, it became official. That's pretty fast to be uncoordinated, and the official announcement could most certainly have waited until after the ceremony.

That said, it's not Florida's responsibility to conduct its business around the schedule of other players, schools or events. Most likely, there's another reason for the timing of the announcement, though perception-wise it was...let's just say...very curious.

Thinking big picture, above all else the timing is good for college football. Just as Dan Wetzel mentions in his new book, Death To The BCS, we’re big believers that counter-programming college football with more college football helps the sport as a whole. It did Saturday night.

Billy Gomila, Brian Harbach, Gabe Harris, Russ Mitchell, and Barrett Sallee.

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