Muschamp OK with SEC schedule

Florida's permanent cross-division game is still LSU.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 11:51 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 2:30 p.m.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said he's OK with the SEC's decision to stick to an eight-game conference football schedule with one permanent opponent from the opposite division and one rotating.

“It's fine with me,” Muschamp said on the SEC coaches' spring teleconference Wednesday. “I was for eight games, whether it was 6-2 (six division games and two rotating opponents from the opposite division) or 6-1-1 (one permanent, one rotating). It isn't all fair all the time, and that's part of it.”

The league announced Sunday it was sticking with its current 6-1-1 format, plus adding a stipulation that each team must also schedule one game annually with an opponent from one of the other power conferences, starting in 2016.

The SEC's decision has little or no effect on the Gators, who already play Florida State (ACC) on an annual basis. LSU will remain UF's permanent opponent from the Western Division.

“(SEC commissioner) Mike Slive and his staff made a decision that's best for the majority of the conference,” Muschamp said. “Whatever format they went with with eight games, I was going to be good with.

“We have a great rivalry with LSU. It's an exciting game, it's a national game. Certainly, a game that I know Les (Miles) enjoys and I do as well.”

Muschamp said one of the problems he has with the format is that it does not give Florida a chance to play former conference rival Auburn on a regular basis.

“The disappointing part to me growing up in this league is not being able to see the Florida-Auburn game continued on a regular basis,” he said. “Coach (Steve) Spurrier my first year down in Destin (at the spring meetings) made the comment to me what a great rivalry it's been over the years.

“Having been involved on both sides of that rivalry, I understand the importance of that. You look at Tennessee and Auburn. They don't hardly play any more because of the scheduling.

“There's no perfect answer to please everybody. We did what was best for our league. We all have a hidden agenda, whatever university we represent. That's the decision that was made by the SEC, and I support it.”

Muschamp also confirmed Wednesday that redshirt freshman Marqui Hawkins is transferring, but that no other players are looking to leave the program this summer.

“We completed our interviews (with each player individually) about a week ago,” Muschamp said. “Marqui Hawkins and I had a great talk. He's a great young man and he's doing a great job academically and on and off the field.

“He wanted an opportunity to play wideout and I didn't know if that was going to be the case at Florida, so he made the decision to transfer. Other than that, nobody (else is planning to transfer).”

Hawkins was moved from wide receiver to safety late in the spring and did not play in the Orange & Blue Debut.

Muschamp said the injured players who missed the spring are all on target to be 100 percent for the start of preseason camp in August. Tailback Matt Jones is expected to be fully cleared today.

“Jones is on target,” he said. “(Linebacker) Matt Rolin is on track. (Linebacker) Alex Anzalone is on track. (Wide receiver) Andre Debose was non-contact (for the spring), but is ahead of schedule. I think we're in pretty good shape.”

NOTE: Coaches and players said in the spring that sophomore wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, who was suspended from three games last season, seems to have turned things around in his personal life. There was further confirmation of that Wednesday when he tweeted the following: “I had a great semester 3.8.”

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