Muschamp defends Meyer at Gator Gathering


Coach Will Muschamp spoke to a crowd of about 250 at Thursday night's Gator Gathering. (Ernst Peters/The Lakeland Ledger/File photo)

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 8:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 8:31 p.m.

While Urban Meyer has been getting beat up in the national media for the last week or so over a story by the Sporting News, there has been little to no official reaction from the University of Florida.

That changed Thursday night during Will Muschamp's first Gator Gathering of the spring at Auto Plus Raceway at Gainesville.




Muschamp came to Meyer's defense when someone in the crowd asked Muschamp if he had indeed inherited a “broken program” from Meyer.

“You know, Urban did a great job at the University of Florida,” Muschamp said. “He won two conference championships. He won two national championships, and I don't think you do that without discipline. That's my opinion.

“I know that I'm very proud to be a part of a program that he was part of. He did a great job at Florida.”

Muschamp's remarks drew the loudest ovation of the night from the crowd of about 250.

In the Sporting News story, Meyer was portrayed as a coach who let discipline slip, lost control of his star players and left Muschamp a program that was broken.

If Muschamp thought it was broken, he has not gone on the record about it. On the record Thursday night, he took the opportunity to stand behind Meyer, who led the Gators to national championships in 2006 and 2008.

The final word

Recruiting isn't the only thing occupying Muschamp's time these days. He said before Thursday's Gathering that he is in the middle of conducting individual “exit interviews” with each of his players before they head into the offseason on their own.

“To get on the same page,” Muschamp said. “A player may tell you something that he won't tell his position coach or won't tell his coordinator. I feel like I have a good relationship with the players. I feel it's important for the players to feel like they belong in my office.

“One of the players walked in and said, ‘This is the only time I've been in here since I was being recruited.' I said, ‘Who's fault is that?' He said, ‘Mine.'

“You want to be able to talk to the guys and get their input. I always end it by saying what can we do to help a player better our organization. We can do this, we can do that. It's accommodating.”

Muschamp said he talks to the players about a number of things, including academics and home life.

“So we're all on the same page about where they are,” Muschamp said. “What is their goal coming into fall camp. What do we expect from the strength coaches coming in?”

Muschamp said there's a chance he'll be meeting with one or two of his players for the last time. There is attrition every spring, and there's a chance it will happen again in the form of a transfer or two.

“Different things,” Muschamp said. “Homesick. Depth chart. Opportunity. Not sure where you are in the program. We're going through a little bit of that right now. I don't anticipate a lot, but there may be one or two (who decide to transfer).”

Powell surgery on Monday

Muschamp said Buck end/outside linebacker Ronald Powell, the defensive star of the spring, is scheduled to undergo knee surgery for a torn ACL on Monday.

“That always could change,” he said. “But he's got full range of motion back and the swelling is down. The guy is really working hard.”

Powell injured his knee in the first half of the spring game.

Muschamp feeling positive

With a few weeks to reflect following the spring game, Muschamp seems to be feeling better about his team than he ever has.

“I mean this, I think we're better right now than we were at any point last year,” he said.

Muschamp cited the improved play and experience of the offensive line, the overall strong play of the defense and what should be an improved downhill running game featuring senior tailback Mike Gillislee.

“I think we made tremendous progress (on the offensive line),” Muschamp said. “I think (line coach) Tim Davis has done a really good job with those guys gelling and coming together. That's where we're different.

“Our experience on defense is a lot different than when we were sitting here last year at this time. I'm excited about both young quarterbacks. They are both guys we can win with in this league, and I think that their competition is going to make our team better. It's going to make each other better.”

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