Ask Aschoff 12/23


It’s been an interesting month to say the least as far as Florida recruiting goes. The Gators lost coach Urban Meyer and brought in Will Mushcamp. Florida’s class then took a couple of blows when Plantation linebacker Ryan Shazier and Groveland South Lake cornerback Nick Waisome decided to decommit and commit to different schools. Both were talented guys, but there have been questions if either really fit the bigger, more physical defense Muschamp is trying to run.

Still, I was a big fan of Waisome, who committed to Florida State this week, because of how “big” he played despite his small stature. He’s a little guy, but man he’s good in coverage. He’s a big get for FSU.

Losing offensive coordinator Steve Addazio might be music to Gators fans’ ears, but he was a great recruiter for Florida. It might not hurt Florida this year, but he’s a guy that was instrumental in a lot of Florida’s commits over the last few years.

But I’m not ready to say that Florida’s class is now a shame. There are still some top-notch recruits out there that are either just getting on Florida’s board or are just waiting around to see who is hired by Muschamp to fill out the Gators’ staff. There is still a lot of time between now and National Signing Day and there will be a handful uncommitted guys who will be officially visiting Florida in January. Muschamp will have a good chance to sit down and talk to all of them face-to-face. Some fans are jumping off the deep end with Florida’s class, but I’m not ready to say this will be a wash year for Florida as far as recruiting is concerned.

Before we get to the questions, I just want to wish everyone a happy holiday and stop with all the hating on my Celebrity Crush idea. It’s Christmas for crying out loud and was meant as kind of a fun little gimmick. It might never happen, but, man, some of you guys really do take things too seriously.

Grab some hot chocolate (parents sip your egg nog), snack on some of Grandma’s delicious Christmas cookies, cue the Charlie Brown music and let’s get on to the questions!

Do you think Jeff Driskel will be a better pro style quarterback or better in the spread? Is there anyway you think he could come in and learn the offense good enough to start as a freshman

Honestly, after watching him play, I think he could fit in either offense. He’s got a great arm and good technique and mechanics, so he could do just fine if he sat back in the pocket. He’s also very agile and can get out of trouble with his feet. He’d work very well in the spread, but with his throwing ability he’s a guy that wouldn’t need his feet to make plays. It’s really a plus for him.

When Driskel was first recruited he talked about how he’d like to play in a pro-style offense because he’d like to showcase his arm more than his feet in college. When I was watching him, that was very evident in the way he played. Only on designed runs did he not think “throw first.” Every time he dropped back he would look down field first before either throwing or being forced out of the pocket.

I think Driskel will be comfortable in either offense, but he might be more of a factor in a pro-style offense because his running won’t be expected as much.

As far as starting as a freshman, that’s a very tough order for any quarterback, especially in the SEC. It’s the fastest, most physical conference in the country and not even Tim Tebow started as a freshman. Granted, Chris Leak was a more experienced and polished quarterback than John Brantley, but I don’t expect Driskel to be Florida’s starter next year. Well, if Brantley sticks around. If Brantley bolts, then it’s a possibility that a few games in (like Leak in 2003) Driskel could get his chance. I think Driskel is a very talented quarterback, but I don’t think he’ll be ready to start immediately as a true freshman. If the quarterback play suffers during his first year, then there definitely is a chance he could start later in the season. If Brantley stays, count on him being the starter, especially with the more pro-style offense coming in.

Are there any recruits who have shifted interest from their committed school TO UF secondary of the Muschamp hire?

There are a couple guys that come to mind here. Obviously, the first one is Alabama commit Hasean Clinton-Dix. The safety from Orlando Dr. Phillips is a guy that wasn’t expected to visit Florida while Meyer was still Florida’s coach and showed little interest in the Gators. Sure, he liked the program, but he was very set on Alabama. In comes Muschamp and all of a sudden there is more interest from Clinton-Dix. He’s spoken with Muschamp and will be in Gainesville for an official visit in January. The fact that Muschamp is a defensive coach is huge for Clinton-Dix. Florida is definitely a factor now.

Clinton-Dix’s teammate, running back Dee Hart, who is committed to Michigan, has gotten a lot more interest from Florida since Muschamp’s hire. He’ll visit Florida with Clinton-Dix in January as well. The only thing is that Florida already has Mike Blakely committed and there are already a few running backs on Florida’s roster that will be around next year. It would be pretty cluttered if Hart decided to commit to Florida. Although, Hart is the bigger back needed in a pro-style offense.

Florida is also targeting Pensacola Catholic defensive end D.J. Pettway, who is also committed to Alabama. He’s expected to visit Florida in January.

Hey Ed,
With Muschamp wanting to implement a pro-style offense, I’m assuming Jordan Reed and Trey Burton will play full time at TE and H-Back, respectively, next season. And Tyler Murphy is still a relative unknown at QB. That leaves Brantley (provided he stays) and Driskel at QB. Do you think this new coaching staff will try to add a second QB to this class, one that fits their scheme and also provides some depth?


I’ve said from the beginning that Florida should take two quarterbacks in this class because Reed’s future is at tight end and once Brantley leaves there will only be two quarterbacks on the roster in Murphy and Driskel . I always think it’s good to have three scholarship quarterbacks on a roster. But that’s just me. I think it’s a little too far into the recruiting year to go out and find another quarterback with SEC potential. Let’s face it, Driskel is the quarterback of the future at Florida, but he’ll need someone to push him. Murphy could be that guy, but we know less about him than any other quarterback on Florida’s roster.

I’ve always thought he and Brantley had the best technique during warmups, so he certainly could have the potential to be a player. However, can he work in a pro-style offense? He ran the ball so much in high school that it’s tough to tell what he would do if asked to just sit back and throw. I’ve been told he’s a very talented guy and has looked very good in practice, but the plan was to redshirt him from the beginning.

I don’t see Florida going after another quarterback in this class, but the coaches will definitely go for someone in 2012, where the pro-style quarterback crop is pretty good. One guy to look out for is Fort Mitchell, Kent., Dixie Heights quarterback Zeke Pike. He looked very good during Florida’s camp this summer and he’s already got a verbal offer from Florida. Expect Muschamp to continue to recruit him.

Hey Ed. Since Hesean Clinton-Dix is considering us now, do you think if we pull Kirby Smart from Alabama it would help us with him. Thanks for your info

While I don’t know if Smart will be part of Florida’s coaching staff, I do think he would be a huge asset to Florida’s recruiting staff if he was hired. He would definitely have an impact on Clinton-Dix’s decision. But even besides Clinton-Dix, Smart is in charge of recruiting a few guys who are on Florida’s radar. The guys on Florida’s board who he is recruiting are linebacker A.J. Johnson, offensive lineman Xzavier Ward, safety Malcolm Mitchell, linebacker Tony Steward, defensive end Xzavier Dickson and tight end Jay Rome.

Getting him on staff would not only bring a huge name to Florida’s recruiting staff because of his name as a defensive coordinator but it could help Florida with guys he was recruiting for Alabama who have had interest in Florida. It would be a win-win for Florida if he were to make the move.

Why would Muschamp wait to hire assistants? Did he not think it would hurt recruiting efforts?

I wasn’t too big on Muschamp waiting to hire assistants because the recruits that I talked to were all concerned with who the coordinators were going to be. Committed and uncommitted guys were pretty worried about that. Waisome was concerned even after he left his official visit last weekend, and now he’s headed to FSU . I thought it would hurt Florida’s recruiting in December, but the two defections don’t appear to be linked to Florida’s lack of a staff. Both those players might not have been the best fit for Muschamp’s defense and naming a coordinator might not have changed things.

Now that the dead period is in full swing, it’s time for Muschamp to make his hires, or at least get agreements out of coaches so that he can have guys in place when the dead period ends on Jan. 3. Once the bowl game is over, Muschamp had better have the main components of his staff in order or it will a poor way to get the most heated part of the recruiting season going.

Here’s another thing to keep in mind, if Muschamp is really going after NFL guys, their season doesn’t end until Jan. 2 (then the playoffs), so he wouldn’t be able to announce them until then anyway. Word is that the offensive coordinator will be named soon, but Muschamp has the luxury of naming guys no later than Jan. 2, because of the dead period. Anything after that could start to hurt Florida’s class because these guys have the priority of hitting the recruiting trail immediately after they are hired. Developing those relationships early is the key because a lot of these guys Florida is going after will be officially visiting during the first two weeks of January. The sooner the better once the bowl game is over.


  1. Great work as usual Ed. I look foward to your mailbag every week. You can take a well deserved break this Christmas. And I got your back on the female celebrity thing, who says a guy can’t have a reward once in a while.

  2. Great observations regarding the timing of announcing the new coaching staff. Not sure if it would hurt the effort for the bowl game but if any of the current staff are going to be retained, why not at least announce those choices? I agree if he wants a great incoming class and not waste a year, as happened with the last two coaching changes, his staff needs to be up and running on January 3rd to hit the recruiting trail and with a plan in place as to whom their top priority targets are!! It will be interesting!! It will also be interesting in the spring to see how he uses the current players who return and if there are any position changes!

  3. I love your mailbag Ed. Good work and great insights for us armchair gator followers. I live here in Austin TX and there were a lot of long faces the day after WM was announced as the head coach of Florida. They were counting on him being the head coach at Univ. of TX soon. I am confident he will put together a great coaching staff and keep the Gator Nation happy for years to come.

  4. Nick seems lke a big blow at cb I watch alot flim on him and man he was good but owell his loss. Anyway what incoming recruit or recruits will have the biggest impact in the new pro style offense n mabey have a chane to start other than dirskel? GO GATORS!

  5. I don’t see why everyone wants an offensive coordinator from the NFL. I will keep saying this until I am blue in the face. In the NFL once you get a three point lead every single team in that league goes into prevent defense and starts laying not to lose. In college you do not have that luxury, everyone hates you and everyone wants to win. Why? because unlike the NFL you pretty much have to go undefeated to win the national championship. You have to play to win not play to not lose. There is a huge difference! Huge!

    In the NFL it is not so, it doesn’t matter if you lose some games and they really don’t care about losing them. I want an offensive coordinator who is balls to the wall on scoring every single possession, not every play mind you but every possession. I want a coaching mindset that says we are going out here on the field to win and not hope somebody else loses.

  6. Great Job Ed. I wish you a merry Christmas out in the snow. It would be great to get one last rundown of who is committed and who is high on the Gators board before the silent period ends and the recruiting heats up again. Boy we are all sickos with this recruiting stuff but it sure is fun.

  7. Is it true that when Tressel visited Shazier he got him to decommit from the Gators by promising him a game ball after every game and when he visited Columbus, he was introduced to the memorabilia dealer to whom he could sell the ball to each week?

  8. Great introspective in most areas however,please allow me to fill in some of your QB information with fact as most of what is written is pure conjecture:
    1) Driskel is well prepared from a mechanical stand point but he is not and he will not be a starter in 2011.
    2) There will be a battle for starter if Jordan Reed stays at UF.
    3)Jordan Reed did not come to Florida to play TE. He will play quarterback it just might not be at UF..
    4) Jordan Reed will be a starter at QB and the battle will be with Tyler Murphy not Driskel.
    5)J.Reed is a Pro Style that is what he was trained to do by my son Travis Meyer the leading private QB coach in the Eastern US
    6)Those that understand QB mechanics understand that J. Reed has one rival in the mechanics that produce accuracy in passing. That rival is Tom Brady. J. Reed just has a little too much speed on some throws and a lot to learn about reading defenses.this requires playing time and then practice reps.Spring practice will bear this out if Mulschamp wants to keep Jordan.:
    7) You are correct that Tyler Murphy has excellent mechanics. Better than Tebow,Brantley or Driskel.He was also trained by
    5-Star Quarterbacks owner Travis Meyer he is a weapon intellectually as well as physically. He is capable of being Mike Vick with Brady like accuracy smartest QB on the Roster.

    There is reason Urban Meyer, Dan Mullen and Steve Addazio worked to bring in Reed and then Murphy. They are NFL caliber passers Trained to throw identically to Tom Brady. Go to you tube watch Jordan Reed New London Ct,Tyler Murphy Wethersfield Ct and Casey Cochran Masuk HS Ct Gatorade Player of the year who was offered a scholarship as a Sophomore by BC @ 15 youngest HS QB to be offered by one of the premier Pro-Style QB programs in the history of College football the footwork, upper body rotation and ball position at release with Reed and Murphy. Then watch Tom Brady.

    50%.of UF,s QB,s are trained NFL caliber QBs and they are not from Florida High School Football for a reason.Connecticut is generally the highest ranking public school system in the US.QB,s need to be smart.Throwing motion and mechanics can be taught the guy upstairs actually builds QB minds, it is about processing and physically responding. Pro- Style is reading and fitting the ball into spots under pressure after ball fakes. It is about poise and grace under fire I know, I trained the guy that trained.the guys that play for you.

    Jordan Reed is your immediate future at QB if Muschamp is as smart as he sounds.

    Give Jordan 2.8 seconds and he will put the ball in whatever spot supposed to fit into he makes throwing a football look easyam it is no:

    .Proof=Spring Game right front corner fade for winning TD in the only place it could be caught:App ST game TD pass corner fade left to a blanketed receiver without a warm up. Jordan was able to describe where he put the ball in an interview because he put it where he was trained to put a fade…..think Dan Marino, Sonny Jurgenson and Joe Namath. Then go watch Brantley throw high under pressure from a looping waste to shoulder motion.High throws under pressure are indicative of poor mechanics combined with tentative decisdion making

    Just tired of the hyperbole had to state some fact. Hope Muschamp doesn’t have to watch Jordan somewhere else like Meyer gets to watch Cam Newton— 3 step,5 step,option or spread J Reed does it all.

  9. You know, it may not be obvious, but girls read your blog and watch football too. Please don’t be a typical guy with this celebrity thing. At least go equal opportunity and have some guys too if you do it.

    And Chuck Meyer, no one really takes your opinion seriously when you just happen to be hyping up the two guys who coincidentally were trained by your son. You’re comparing Reed to Tom Brady? Seriously? Everyone likes the kid, but you just threw any credibility you had out the window with that.

  10. After reading Chuck Meyer’s post I want to throw up in my mouth…You claimed these are all facts….do you know what a fact is….those are your opinions and your opinions just like mine are not facts…..Thanks for the information, I did find it interesting but the way you wrote it makes it apparent you are very high on yourself and son! Go Gators!!!