Muschamp looking for right OC

Florida coach Will Muschamp and his staff are preparing the Gators for the Jan. 2 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville against Ohio State.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, December 19, 2011 at 1:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 19, 2011 at 1:11 p.m.

Charlie Weis is gone, but his offensive playbook is pretty much staying with the Florida football team.


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What: 67th Gator Bowl

Who: Florida (6-6) vs. Ohio State (6-6)

When: 1 p.m. Jan. 2

Where: EverBank Field in Jacksonville


Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

Did you know? It's Florida's 18th January Bowl game since 1993, the highest total in the country.

In his search to find a replacement for Weis, UF coach Will Muschamp said Monday that continuity will be the most important factor in who he hires as his next offensive coordinator.

That means the offense (and the basic philosophy) will not undergo significant alterations under the new coordinator.

“We're not going to come in here and change what we're doing,” Muschamp said. “I don't think that it's smart to hire a guy and have 40 guys learn as opposed to one guy learning. Obviously, will he tweak some things? Certainly. Will he change some things? Maybe.

“We're not going just take a playbook, throw it out the window and bring another one in. We've got a young football team and I think continuity is the most important thing at this point with our football team. That's really the parameters I'm looking for right now.

“You continue to talk to people and visit and talk to people face to face and find out if they are a fit. And you exhaust all measures to make sure you find the right guy.”

Muschamp reiterated Monday that he plans to talk to multiple candidates and will not name a new offensive coordinator until after the Jan. 2 Gator Bowl. Muschamp said he has the same timetable for hiring a new strength and conditioning coordinator.

If it's continuity Muschamp is seeking, one of the potential leading candidates for the job is already on his staff — running back coach Brian White, a former offensive coordinator at Wisconsin who has taken over the role for the bowl game. He will call the plays against Ohio State.

“Certainly (he's a possibility),” Muschamp said. “We'll sit down and talk to Brian. Again he's a guy I've been with every day. I'm watching how he's managing our offensive football team at this time. He's doing an outstanding job. He's got experience at the position at Wisconsin. Had great success. So, he's certainly a candidate.”

Mushcamp said White's performance running the offense the next few weeks and in the bowl game is part of White's interview process.

“Sure. Sure,” Muschamp said.

Another known candidate for the job is former Gator quarterback and current Jacksonville University coach Kerwin Bell. Muschamp and Bell talked some about the job last week, and the Gators will be practicing at JU after the team arrives in Jacksonville on Dec. 27.

Muschamp said there will be multiple candidates and he's in no hurry to fill the position.

“Obviously, you call people you trust and you know in this profession,” Muschamp said. “As a defensive coordinator for a lot of years, you go through and you see people that you maybe defended against. Maybe you haven't, but you know you have a lot of respect for them in this profession.

“It's no different than the business world as far as big-end sales. You know people that do a good job and you respect the job they do. And you're also looking for the right fit.”

Muschamp said not having an offensive coordinator on staff is not having a negative impact on recruiting.

“At the end of the day, we're the University of Florida. We're going to be fine,” he said. “A lot of people have a tremendous interest in the job. I'm taking my time. I've talked to an awful lot of people. I'm going to continue to do so to find the best fit for the University of Florida. We'll make that decision after the bowl game.”

Muschamp said he's taking the same approach to finding a replacement for Mickey Marotti, the highly respected strength and conditioning coordinator who left to rejoin Urban Meyer at Ohio State.

“Again, I think it's kind of like recruiting,” Muschamp said. “You go and you identify what you're looking for and then you go out and find the best fit for the University of Florida. And somebody's going to represent us in a first-class manner and do a great job and understand the expectations of what we want to have. That's what we're in the process of doing at this time.”

Mushchamp said there is a lot of interest in the job.

“A bunch,” he said. “I had to change my cell phone number. I'm kidding. I didn't.”

Muschamp is not kidding when he talks about how important this hire will be.

“That's a very important hire because of NCAA rules and we're so limited in the amount of time that we can be with (the players) in the off-season,” he said. “That's a guy that has got to be very technical in what he knows, is experienced in what he knows, he has a system that's in place for what he wants to do.

“But he also has to be a motivator and a guy that can creatively create some chemistry within the team and can positively affect everybody, knows when to push, knows when to pull off.”

Muschamp called his team mentally and physically soft after the season-ending loss to arch-rival Florida State. The new strength and conditioning coordinator will be responsible for reversing that reality.

“It's really a broad stroke of a job as far as the stuff you've got to touch and the feelings and the different things you've got to hit with the players to motivate them,” Muschamp said. “And also have a great plan for what we're trying to do as we get stronger and mentally and physically tougher and buy into the attitude.

“I want to have an overachieving, blue-collar football team. He's got to carry that message year-round. It's a year-round process. He can touch those players year-round.”

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