Muschamp makes rounds at ESPN


Florida coach Will Muschamp visited ESPN headquarters as part of the network's summer car wash on Tuesday.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer/File
Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 6:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 6:46 p.m.

Florida coach Will Muschamp made it through ESPN’s summer car wash relatively clean.

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Florida coach Will Muschamp visited ESPN headquarters as part of the network's summer car wash on Tuesday.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer/File

The Florida football coach conducted 12 interviews on various platforms at the network’s Bristol, Conn., campus on Tuesday to preview the upcoming 2013 season. He saved another zinger for Ohio State after the Buckeyes turned the Gators in for two minor NCAA recruiting bump violations earlier this year.

“Obviously they’ve had their share of brushes recently,” Muschamp said on ESPN’s First Take. “In both situations, we didn’t do anything wrong. We appreciate them checking on us to make sure.”

Then, after Muschamp referred to Ohio State as “Ohio,” Muschamp deadpanned: “I’ve always been a Brady Hoke fan (Hoke coaches at Michigan, Ohio State’s traditional rival).”

Muschamp later told ESPN’s Paul Finebaum that former Gator turned Ohio State coach Urban Meyer called him to apologize. Meyer denied involvement in turning the Gators in. “It’s a dead situation,” Muschamp said. “I think there’s a lot of ways to handle a situation like that. I don’t necessarily think that was the right way to handle it. Urban has called and apologized for the situation, and we’re moving forward. … In most situations, I call the other head coach. If there’s an issue or a problem, I just deal with it and move forward. I trust the integrity of the other person that they’ll handle the situation (internally).”

Other tidbits from the car wash:

-- Muschamp said he’s for player safety but fears that the NCAA’s new targeting rules that could result in player ejections may be taking matters too far. Under the targeting rules, officials will have the power to eject players who target and hit defenseless players above the shoulders: “I didn’t know what we were doing that was so wrong,” Muschamp told ESPN’s Chris Fowler. “I don’t really like the new ejection situation. A lot of mistakes can be made in the heat of the moment by putting too much on our officials. … You look at the NFL model: Commissioner (Roger) Goodell sits down on Monday morning with his staff and determines whether it was a flagrant hit, whether it was a malicious hit or malicious intent with the hit. I think that’s the way it ought to be handled.”

-- Muschamp, on sophomore Matt Jones replacing Mike Gillislee as UF’s feature running back: “If I have it my way, they’ll know him very well. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Matt. (He) really came on as a true freshman, played extremely well in the latter part of the season. (He’s) a big, explosive back. We want the 1,000-yard rusher to be the norm at the University of Florida.”

-- Muschamp, on incoming freshman running back Kelvin Taylor, the son of former Gator and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor: “Kelvin is a guy that had a really good spring, came in mid-year. He has a great work ethic and is a guy I think has a huge future at the University of Florida. Right now, we just got to improve the protection part of it in the throwing game. Those are some of the things, being a young player, you got to keep coming along with. It’s not just about carrying the ball. It’s about what do you do when the ball’s not in your hand? I’m very, very pleased with Kelvin. He’s really progressed himself. The guy’s got a great attitude and a really nice work ethic.”

-- Muschamp said he “worries” about UF’s returning defense, particularly up the middle: “Defensive tackle, safeties, linebackers. We have some guys we have to replace there.”

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