Muschamp: Leak to coach defense
Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 1:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 1:05 p.m.
Here are some leftovers from Will Muschamp's appearance at the Gator Club of Jacksonville on Tuesday night:
* Former Florida quarterback Chris Leak, who has joined Muschamp's staff as a quality control coach, will be working on the defensive side of the ball.
“He decided to branch out a little bit as a football coach, which I think is really smart,” Muschamp said. “We had an opening on the defensive side of the ball for a control coach and he's going to work with our secondary. I told him I'm still young but I wish I had worked on the other side of the ball. I think that helps you as a football coach as you continue to develop. I think that will be really beneficial.”
As a quality control coach, Leak will not be doing any coaching on the field. He will be more of an administrative assistant, breaking down a lot of tape and performing other duties in the coaches' office.
Muschamp, however, said Leak could have a positive influence on starting quarterback Jeff Driskel.
“I think not as much from an Xs and Os standpoint, just an experience standpoint from a guy that's been a quarterback for the University of Florida,” Muschamp said. “I know that's easy to say, but that's a hard job. That's a job that you've got to understand how to manage situations, manage a football team, manage the offense.
“I think his experience at Florida, being the starting quarterback at Florida and winning a national championship at Florida, will do nothing but help Jeff in casual conversations obviously and being the quarterback at Florida.”
* Muschamp had high praise for the three Jacksonville recruits who are part of the 2013 recruiting class — wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood, defensive back Nick Washington and linebacker Daniel McMillian, an early enrollee who participated in the spring.
Muschamp said he was impressed with what Fulwood showed playing safety in his senior season at Bishop Kenny.
“ Matter of fact his senior year he played outstanding at the safety position,” Muschamp said. “Really showed a lot of physicality. But I'm really excited about him helping us out at the wide receiver position.”
Muschamp said Washington will start his UF career at cornerback instead of safety. Muschamp also said Washington, a star player on the Trinity Christian baseball team, will have a chance to play both football and baseball at UF.
McMillian is battling for a starting role at outside linebacker, Muschamp said.
* Muschamp reiterated that it's going to be very difficult to replace Caleb Sturgis, but that overall the Gators should be strong again on special teams in 2013.
“We're concerned about the place-kicking situation right now,” he said. “You lose Caleb, you're losing a lot, a lot of confidence in him and how productive he was at that position.
“Brad Phillips and Austin Hardin are two guys who are talented enough to do a very efficient job for us. Both guys will be fine in the fall. They've just got to go over that mental barrier of stepping out in front of 90,000 people and making kicks.”
Muschamp said the strengths on special teams are punter Kyle Christy, return men Andre Debose (kickoffs) and Marcus Roberson (punts) and the overall team speed.
“Kyle Christy is a guy that had a phenomenal sophomore season,” he said. “He continues to progress very well.
“We've got really good team speed overall and that usually equates to having really good special teams.”
* Muschamp was asked if he trusts this team enough to be confident there will be no off-the-field issues between now and the start of camp in August.
“Well, again, I think that goes back to the recruiting process and recruiting the right kind of guys,” he said. “That's a huge part of your football team. We have 79 days till we report and they understand what you put in is what you're going to get out of it. This is a critical, critical time for our team and certainly that's part of it.”
* Muschamp was asked about two of the three tailbacks — starter Matt Jones and No. 3 guy Kelvin Taylor, a true freshman who participated in the spring.
On Jones: “He's got great hands. He catches the ball extremely well. He's very good in protection. He's an extremely mature young man and he's very intelligent. Those are things he adapted and learned our system very well,” Muschamp said.
On Taylor: “He'll determine his role through these next 79 days getting ready for August camp. He's got really good lower-body punch and spring and power. He's a strong lower-body guy. His biggest obstacle is going to be learning the offense. He did a good job in the spring, progressed well. He'll determine how much he plays,” Muschamp said.
* UF home games against Tennessee and Florida State have sold out. Single-game tickets went on sale Wednesday for the other four home games. Tickets start at $50, with upper north end zone seats for the Toledo and Georgia Southern games available for $35.
Fans can call the Gator ticket office at (352) 375-4683, ext. 6800 or go online at www.gatorzone.com/tickets for more information.