Muschamp talks QBs, Texas A&M


UF coach Will Muschamp speaks during the annual Gator Gathering at The Lakeland Center in Lakeland on Tuesday. (Photo by Pierre DuCharme/The Lakeland Ledger)

Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 11:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 12:27 a.m.

LAKELAND — Florida Gators head football coach Will Muschamp doesn't spin captivating stories like some of his previous predecessors.

But when you're rebuilding a program, this isn't the time to be talking about the good ole times.

And he normally doesn't take shots at his opponents, although that may change with Texas A&M coming into the SEC this season.

Still, Muschamp had the Polk County Gator Club on its feet before and after his 35-plus minute breakdown of the 2012 Florida Gators football team.

During the time, the head Gator took the crowd of about 650 at The Lakeland Center on Tuesday on a position-by-position breakdown of where his team is heading into summer and where it needs to be when fall camp starts.

Despite speaking on his 13th wedding anniversary with wife Carol, Muschamp was not rushed and implored questions from the crowd before taking a seat and signing autographs.

While Muschamp was mostly about business when talking about this upcoming season, he was able to display some wit.

During the Q&A came Muschamp's best line of the night. When someone asked if he could share some insight on what the atmosphere will be like when Florida travels to College Station to play Texas A&M, Muschamp, who spent two years as defensive coordinator for the University of Texas, had this to say:

"It will be a very SEC-like atmosphere," Muschamp said. "It's one of the few places in the Big 12 that I would say that about.

"You ever been to College Station?" Muschamp asked. "It'll be the only time you go."

That drew some laughter as did when a person asked if his wife was worried if he was going to have a stroke on the sidelines because of how animated he gets at times.

"Yep, a lot," he said. "I just wish when they run into punt returners, we would get some interference."

Muschamp was talking about the Auburn game this past season when former Gator Chris Rainey went to catch a punt return.

It appeared on the play that Auburn running back Onterio McCalebb did not give Rainey room to catch the punt cleanly and Rainey fumbled. But no penalty was called on the play and Auburn took over in what was a 17-6 victory for the Tigers.

"It's important for me to do a great job for the University of Florida," he said. "I take a lot of passion in my job in how I do it and how I approach it, and that's how I want the kids to be."

Speaking of Rainey, Muschamp spoke glowingly of the former Lakeland Dreadnaught, who was drafted in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in April's NFL Draft.

Muschamp said he saw Rainey last week in the UF weight room and the running back told him he had signed with the Steelers.

Muschamp told Rainey not to spend all his money in one place, and if he did then Pittsburgh teammate Maurkice Pouncey (former Gator and LHS player) would get on him.

The main question people wanted to know was who will be the starting quarterback in the fall.

The job will likely come down to sophomores Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett.

The coach said he wants a winner to emerge between the two but won't hesitate to use both quarterbacks if he thinks that will help him win. He said it is too close to decide right now, and the battle will go on through fall camp.

"I'm going to say this and I know y'all are going to roll your eyes and say, ‘This defensive coach is being so conservative,'" he said. "I'm not. When I say manage our football team, I'm not saying be conservative.

"What I'm saying is convert third downs," he explained. "Create explosive plays. Take the ball in the right spots. Manage the huddle. Those are things to me when I say manage the football team, y'all hear that from a defensive coach and think three yards and a cloud of dust. That's not what I mean. I mean moving our football team down the field and scoring points.

"This competition through the summer will be good because both young men are class young men and they will handle the competition in the right way," he said. "I think both young men have the intangibles to be very successful."

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