New coach already making moves
Published: Monday, December 13, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 9:58 p.m.
Even though he won't officially be introduced as Florida's new head football coach until Tuesday, Will Muschamp has already assumed the role.
The former Texas defensive coordinator and head coach in waiting has already talked with several high school prospects who earlier committed to the Gators, and he's working on putting together his UF coaching staff.
By his 6 p.m. introductory news conference Tuesday, there's a chance Muschamp will have the bulk of his coaching staff assembled.
Given how the UF offense was in shambles this season (and Muschamp's defensive background), his most important early hire will be coming up with what many would consider a dynamic coordinator to run his offense.
One name that quickly moved to the forefront is Texas running backs coach Major Applewhite, a former Texas quarterback and Alabama offensive coordinator. The Sun reported Saturday night that Applewhite will be Muschamp's offensive coordinator, but a deal has not been reached yet and Applewhite is still under consideration for the offensive coordinator's position at his alma mater.
Another top offensive mind, Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgerson, is considered by many to be the favorite to become the next head coach at Pittsburgh.
Muschamp also is looking for a big-time defensive coordinator, and it could turn out to be Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who has shown an interest in the job. Muschamp and Smart were teammates at Georgia and the two are close friends.
Although Muschamp, 39, is the second-youngest coach in the SEC behind Dan Mullen, he's done a lot of coaching at a lot of different places and has many contacts in the coaching profession.
Two defensive coaches who may be under consideration to join his staff are Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis and Texas defensive ends coach Oscar Giles.
Muschamp and Davis coached together on Nick Saban's staff at LSU from 2002-04, and the two have stayed in contact. Giles, who played at Texas, has been the Longhorns' defensive ends coach the past six seasons.
Another name that has emerged is Nebraska defensive ends coach John Papuchis.
There is also a chance that Muschamp will retain some members of the current UF coaching staff, including highly regarded strength and conditioning coordinator Mickey Marotti.
Not only is Muschamp busy trying to put together a staff, he's doing what he can to hold together UF's recruiting class, which is ranked in the top 10 nationally. He's already talked to many of the recruits who verbally pledged to Urban Meyer and his staff. Muschamp has a reputation for being one of the nation's premier recruiters, and that skill will be put to the test in the coming weeks.
Muschamp apparently has his first recruiting victory at UF. The Palm Beach Post is reporting that highly ranked quarterback Jeff Driskel has confirmed his commitment to UF after talking to Muschamp on Sunday. UF is expected to have numerous prospects visiting campus this weekend.