Bama-Florida game as big as it gets in recruiting


There was a funny exchange in Will Muschamp’s weekly press conference with the media on Monday (for the full effect, be sure to imagine Muschamp’s responses with his thick southern drawl and a look of utter confusion and bemusement) …

“Excuse the Star Wars reference,” a young journalist said from the back row, “but you guys kind of have a master versus padawan thing going on with you and Nick (Saban). What’s the sentiment in that?”

“What’s a padawan?”

“You’ve never seen Star Wars?”

“Huh? I watched Star Wars One and after that I watched Empire Strikes Back, and that’s it. I didn’t see nuthin’ after that. … And I don’t know what a padawan is. You didn’t call me a bad name, did ya? … I don’t speak French, either.”

“You guys have kind of a master versus student thing kind of going on. Is there any sentiment in that? I’m sure you learned a lot from Nick Saban.”


Gator fans are probably happy to learn that Muschamp knows far more about X’s and O’s than wookies and stormtroopers. You can watch the exchange on high-quality video here on or below from the Orlando Sentinel’s Rachel George (who did not ask the question by the way).

But the truth is, there is quite a subplot brewing for Saturday’s huge game in The Swamp. Saban is the master recruiter. Muschamp is patterning his program after Alabama.

“Philosophically, (we are) on the same page about what we want to be defensively, from an identity standpoint,” Muschamp said. “The guy does a great job of managing his program top to bottom from recruiting philosophically, offense, defense, special teams and I’ve got a great respect.

“When you turn the film on, you see a physically tough football team that plays with fundamentals. And that’s what he is and that’s what he preaches every day. It certainly carries over on film as far as who they are and what they are.

“Ask if there’s an advantage? There is no advantage. He knows me as well as I know him. So there is no advantage in this game, and thank goodness for the 90,000 people in The Swamp. And for the millions watching, he or I will not take a snap Saturday night.”

Make no mistake, however, this game is pivotal for recruits. There will be a large contingent of elite 2012 and 2013 athletes in the south end zone bleachers (I’ll blog a running visitors list later today).

Muschamp insists this game will not be a deciding factor for most players.

“It’s one game,” Muschamp said. “To me, (when) a young man that makes his decision to go to a college, it’s not based on one game. It’s going to be based on a body of work, academically, athletically, socially, support system.”

But how his Gators look, their competitiveness in their first big test of the Muschamp era will be at stake.

As usual, there is one factor that can be counted on. One that almost always has a large influence on a recruit’s decision — the atmosphere.

“I’m sure it’s going to be loud,” Muschamp said at the thought of a big, nationally televised night game against a top opponent in The Swamp. “We’ve got the best fans in the country, so I’m sure they’re going to be excited.”

For updates on Alabama-Florida, follow me at And don’t forget to post your questions for the weekly recruiting mailbag (every Wednesday) in the comments section below.

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  1. A certain newspaper in orange county Florida has the video to the exchange… Jeff… Can you tell us who this girl was? Secondly, if she’s been banned from future media Q and A’s? Anyone who makes Tracey Wolfson look intelligent doesn’t need to be heard.

  2. Dont worry about us fans we’ll give you electric no problem with that.
    On the other side of the ball can we please give the Offense some quite.
    We had some plays at Tenn that Brantley couldnt communitcate his reads.
    We’ll need those reads to figure out Bamas nasty blitz schemes.

  3. In regards to Patrick’s question about recruits at this game vs the LSU game, UF and Bama go head to head more often than UF vs LSU. There will be a ton of 5 star players that have both UF and Bama at the top of their list. I’m sure the UF vs LSU game will have a ton of talented players there but it won’t have nearly as many where UF and LSU are the top two that the recruits are looking at. This game, even more so than the FSU game, is the top recruiting weekend of the year.

  4. Hey I hope you are ready to get the brakes knocked off in the 2nd quarter!! The game is over after the first 30 minutes! you have not played anyone that can deliver the KNOCKOUT punch like you will get SATURDAY NIGHT!!! I look forward to Beatdown in gainesville!! I hope you are ready because frankly yall have been gumming opponents since we pulled your teeth in the SEC CG!!! So who is gonna take Tebows place and do the crying this year???? Get ready to get hit in the mouth over and over andover till the final whistle sounds and the Tide has fully ingulfed your team and city!!!!

  5. This is a WEEKEND of weekends! Try booking a room today! Its under the lights on National TV… This is amazing how the intensity is here and its only Tuesday…….Come 2 minutes before the game and that gator scoreboard lights up and The gators fun on the field….I think we will set an all time Noice level…..Its going to be one of those stand up for every play games and …..if Rainey or Demps gets loose for a long one and we get ahead early on a big play…gainesville will be rocking! I have been to all the big games the last 20 years and I think this one is going to be big as ever…Why…Because we are redefining ourselves again after a year off.
    The nation needs to see the Gators are back…..I really think we are…either this game of very soon………Lets all absolutely rock the house and hope for hearing and senses to come back by Sunday morning as wel read the Gville sun in our rooms over coffee and headaches…
    In a word…The swamp will be as loud as any in the Spurrier or Meyer years!
    Lets set a noise record and show a National audience what being in the SEC is really about! A good old fashioned saturday night border war!
    Go Gators…….Bob in Jupiter, Fla

  6. Ok guys you are gonna get beatdown on saturday night n your own backyard!!!! you lose by atleast 18!!! The game is well in hand at halftime and you will start filing out of the stands midway through the 4th qrtr!!!! Its gonna be ugly and we will show you that you are not back among the elite in college football saturday!! So get ready to get hit in the mouth over and over and over and over till you have to just concede defeat like Arkansas!1 hey BRANTLEY??? I hope you are ready for this weekend!!!! I think you need to go ahead and strt practicing falling down so it will be second nature to you!!!And Muskrat, Get ready to get taught a lesson and get your first loss from your Daddy!!!! Who’s your DADDY?????

  7. I think Jeremy Foley and the others staff members of the Game Day crew need to make our stadium and the swamp louder than Tuscaloosa was last year. We need get the fans in 90 minutes before kick-off and play highlight videos and loud music and get everbody pumped and show the nation that we are the best fans and the loudest stadium in the country. GO Gators and Beat Bama!!

  8. This year ‘Bama is rough-handling teams that they beat by less than 2 TDs the last 2 years (when Bama slammed us Gators )

    Gator OL better open good holes for Demps & Rainey ! Why oh why can’t these Gators have a powerful QB ? We are the Gators , most frequent NCs
    lately .

  9. Check the stats….The Bama QB is not that good….Just managed the team well…..We have more firepower than they do…..We are faster and if they cant get first downs they are in deep deep trouble……Its quiet in Bama town for a reason…they are real concerned…
    John just has to get the ball to the guys……he does not have to throw mre than 20 yards,,,,1,2 3 throw …just like first four games…..
    Look at the stats…We have more O stats and D stats and we have played 2 sec games…..We will win…

  10. @ Bob

    I wouldnt be so confident. Perhaps your just looking on the bright side. But this Bama team is the real deal. Their defense is what defines SEC defense, along with UF’s but Bama has more experience all around. As far as Bama’s offense, that guy Richardson is going to be a load. I do think we actually will make it a game this year as appose to last year. Hoping for an upset! GO GATORS!

  11. It will take a spirited defensive effort to rattle the Tide this weekend. Send the house after thier QB and keep our young secondary playing tight bump and run. Our linebackers are not getting enough credit for the job they have done so far this year. I think they will have a chip on thier shoulder pads that they will be looking to unload on the Bama running backs and the QB. Go Gators!

  12. Driskel’s INT was a rocket right on target to receiver but DB’s hit popped the ball 15 yards into the air for other lucky DB . With Aaron Hernandez that would be a beautiful TD pass.

    We better teach Brantley & Driskel to rocket fire the ball & stop having them practice meek hesitant throws.

  13. I think our “D” is going to have to pick up the check on this one this year! Their offense outside of Trent is not what they use to be in the past, they are ripe for the picking. If we can get to the QB enough, they are done, and it just looks like our offense is playing so much better than theirs so far. In the end I think Charlie calls a better offensive game than they do! Gators for life!

  14. Hey Jeff, I don’t know if you’ve heard, and maybe you can advise Coach Boom, but recruits are choosing schools on what kind of uniforms the team wears. Oh, I was skeptical at first too, but I’ve seen it reported so much, especially on ESPN, well it just has to be true.

  15. Hey Eddie from Alabama. Bama has not played anyone yet. Bama does not have a proven quaterback. I hope he throws a lot. Yea, we may have a young secondary, but we will get to him. If our defense stop the run, Bama will lose. It is not going to be a cake walk as you think. I saw Nick Saban interview, his eyes show his concerns. We do nbot have Steve Adazzio to call the offense. Thank goodness. He was embarrassing.

  16. Lighten up Eddie. Your IQ is not quite your shoe size. You use too many !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! exclamation points Eddie. When you over exclaim, the impact starts to fade. You sound in print like an excited Ron Zook [Eddie, I am trying to be nice but that was not a compliment]. All the best. Should be a very good tilt. If the Gators have sufficiently improved we might just delete Alabama Eddies !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Go Gators! [Eddie, note please that I used but one exclamation point to a much greater impact that your virtual sea of exclamation points].

  17. I was at the game last year in tuscaloosa- it was tough to sit through. After the game an alabama fan said to me that we were lucky they didnt beat us 70-6. We definitely need to pay these guys back and we will. We have the athletes, we have the coaches, and above all we have the crowd. Bama’s in trouble! GO GATORS!

  18. @ Eddie from Allabama – It’s obvious that you have been listening to that criminal, ex-convict and Finebaum a little too much! The only teeth you guys have pulled, is when you pull your sister’s government purchased false teeth, to consummate your kinship, Bama style. You Alabama fans are the most arrogant fans in any sport. You have won 1 national championship, in forever and haven’t done anything to justify your self-appointed status as a “Dynasty”. You have a decent football team, after living in the cellar for decades; however, most college football fans wait until their team has officially accomplished something, before talking smack, like you guys do! Trent Richardson is going to find it very difficult to run the ball. We are going to take a page to of South Carolina’s play book, from last year, and Brantley will have a career game! GO GATORS!!!

  19. wow ok yeah Alabama is good…but they’ve only played 1 conference game. And at times it looked like Arks layed down and took their beating. The Gators may be young but their a team with some savy and trust me these youngs guys will be hungry Saturday night in the swamp…it’s going to be close but I see Fla pulling this one. **the momentum from this win would really put us in a situation to take on LSU** But we’re in week 5 BAMA…let’s get to work GO GATORS!

  20. Hey fans-think back to last year. That anemic offense that UF had went right down the field on that vaunted Bama defense on the first series. Only a stupid botched jump pass thwarted that drive. The next series proved that they could drive down the field as well but again-stupid play calling did them in. For the life of me I couldn’t understand why Addazzio didn’t use the same play calls-they went from right to left, left to right w/ the short passing game & went right down the field. If something is working please keep using it until they stop it & then run something else. I think Charlie will figure them out-I mean dude was in the NFL & I’m sure he has seen way more complex schemes than the one Bama will show. I think if UF can just not turn the ball over they should be fine. And LSU suxx by the way. Go Gators!!

  21. Baton ruge gator if youre hanging your hat on last year’s drives that is pretty weak. As far as saban showing concern on a earlier post All coaches show concern pregame. Saban is the best coach in the country. This is a better Alabama team than 2010. It comes down to one main thing. Whoever runs and stops the run will win. Florida has shown it can run against poor competition and stop the run against 4 of the worst rushing teams in football. Until I see a difference in the game, Bama 27-14. the speed the Gators have in the backfield has been rendered useless the past 2 years. Florida may break one, but Bama’s defense has shown that it will be a tall order to run on consistently. .

  22. I think the LSU / UF game is downplayed because UF has already conceded the loss.
    One guy had it right- UF won’t have many recruits @ the LSU game. LSU will have many recruits from Fla. there though. Nothing could be better for a Fla. recruit to see why he should leave the state.

  23. Im just saying you dont have a chance!!!!! We will blast yall all night and just when you think it cantget any worse, a pick six seals the deal in the 2nd qrtr !!! Im not worried about speed because we gt a D that can turn Demps and Raineys LIGHTS OUT!!! I hope you enjoy the beat down!!!! ROLL TIDE ROLL down to GAinesville we go, to treat those gators like they are ho’s!!!
    Ps thanx for being our doormat for the last couple of years!!! Big BAD BAMA is BACK TO STAY!!!!! Hell, Gainesville is nothing but Tuscaloosa away from home!!!

  24. I get a real kick out these delusional comments on sites such as this……that somehow the Gators are ever really on the level with the Alabama Crimson Tide. UF has won a game or 2 before and might even win on Saturday but the Tide is again on that path to a National Championship…..#14 and will be in Atlanta and New Orleans celebrating.
    The 2 programs are not comparable….now or in the historical past. Bama remains the king of SEC football. It’s team this year is clearly superior to UF or they wouldn’t be a 5 point favorite on the road in the Swamp. They beat down Arkansas last week and will do the same this week,…even if they make enough self-inflicted mistakes to allow UF to win. LSU is the only other team playing at this same level and that war is in November……and they probably should replay in January for the NC. UF has a ways to go….they might first start with being undefeated at least one year which they of course have not in their entire history.
    Roll Tide Roll…………

  25. Eddie – We all saw your family, working at that gas station, on the movie Deliverence and your daddy playing that Banjo! So, we understand that you, just like the rest of the goobers from Alabama, don’t have a life, so, when Alabama wins a few games, you goobers can’t contain yourselves! I understand that it must be boring, sitting in that little trailer, that you could throw a cat through. With all these things in mind, your dellusional comments only make us chuckle, as we picture you, sitting on a milk carton, that you stole from Wal-Mart, listening to your sister trying to figure out where she falls on your family tree, now that the two of you are married. I get it, bubba! You just make sure you come back here next week, and take your whoopin like a man! Oh, we know you guys from Bammer are quiet fond of MEAT and the big Gator has yours waiting on you!

  26. Rick – you Seminole fans have had a rough couple of weeks, haven’t you? To make yourself feel a little better about the disappointment of “NOT BEING BACK”, you post your ignorant comments on our site! In case you didn’t know, we have our shared of studs, as well! When you see Trey Burton truck one of those Bammer safeties, maybe you’ll understand. Or when Jordan Reed or AC Leonard makes those Bammer LB’s look like chumps. In the meantime, Demps and Rainey will be running down the field, stopping to let the Bammer defenders catch up and taking off again! I sure hope Bammer is as over-confident as those Bammer fans and you Seminoles, who hide behind other teams, because Jimbo talked all that trash, only to make him and you Nolios look foolish! As for the past history – most true college football fans don’t respect what Bammer did years ago, when they cheated and paid players to attend Bammuer U. It’s well known that the SEC treated them like they were the only team in the conference. When the modern rules were put in place, Bammer fell like a rock. It wasn’t until Saban came along that Bammer became part of the conversation, again. Decades of being mediocre. Muschamp will slam the door on FL and since there aren’t many 5 star athletes in Alabama, Saban’s little streak will come to an end. Watching Saban at his press conference, yesterday, he looks like he has already started to reach the end of the rainbow. He may be there 2 more years and then Bama will sink back to their hole! I will say with all certainty, that if FL or South Carolina doesn’t win the SEC championship, which is a longshot for our young team, LSU will. Alabama will not beat LSU and that’s a fact! Just as Auburn did last year, LSU will beat the brakes off of Bammer!

  27. Im just trying to say you are gonna get exposed on saturday!!! you guys are overrated and you know it!!!! So you can delete me off here all you want!!! I dont care!!! I will find another way to get back in and poke you all week!! and when we get done stomping a mudhole and walking it dry saturday night I will be back Monday to rub it in some more!!! Get ready ! Get ready!!! Gator NATION, you can give your soul to GOD, BUT YOUR A$$ BELONGS TO BAMA!!! ROLL TIDE ROLL!!! Cant wait till we get our nice GATOR DOORMATS!!!! AGAIN!

  28. Eddie from Alabama is either a guy named Legend who is a convicted criminal or is using his material. “Legend” made the same statements on the Paul Fienbaum show prior to the Tennessee game about Florida.

    Remember fellow gator fans–Alabama created football. Truth of the matter is there is so much talent available to Florida that Alabama will never dominate Florida on a prolonged basis and they know it. They seem to forget the record over the last 20 years and who has won more NCs and SEC Championships.

    Another reason Alabama has so much talent and depth is they oversign like it is a religion in Alabama. In fact they are rated the worse in the entire country. Florida does not oversign.

  29. over rated?! we lost just about ALL of our starters to the nfl, our coaching staff, our scheme, and were STILL currently 4-0. id say already that were doing a damn good job. meanwhile BOTH of your quarterbacks threw 2 interceptions against a OOC puff team, you have no deep threat, and the only good offense you have is on the ground…against 3 5* defensive linemen. sorry, but you guys were WAAAY better last year and still seemed to blow a 24 pt. lead to ONE GUY. give it up eddie, you can talk trash all you want, but even if alabama wins it was already something that was a good possibility. which would still be less percentage comparison to what an ass that you are.

  30. Been following SEC since, almost, Spurrier (player) era. Was at the Swamp in ’99. I’d be happy to see Bama win again by a point. While a 1st time HC, Muschamp is of to a great start. What’s ya’lls impression of Weis?