Gators always welcome back


New Florida coach Will Muschamp seems to have embraced the new traditions Urban Meyer brought to the football program. Things like the Gator Walk and singing the fight song after every victory. Now, add another one. Muschamp looks like he’s going to go out of his way to make sure former players are always welcome back, and encourage them to have a relationship with the current players.

That was one of the first things Meyer did when he arrived here in 2005. Muschamp is carrying on the tradition.

Before the draftable UF players participated in Pro Day on Tuesday, Muschamp spoke with the group and told them he appreciated everything they’ve done for Florida football and said they were always welcome.

“They all really appreciated that,” said former UF center Maurkice Pouncey, who was there with his twin brother, Mike, when Muschamp extended the welcome to the players. “Coach Muschamp seems like a great guy. He’s going to do a great job here. No doubt.”

Maurkice said he and Mike plan to be come back to campus when they can and spend time around the coaches and players.

There were numerous former plays at Pro Day encouraging the guys going through drills for the NFL coaches and scout.

Among those in attendance were Percy Harvin, Riley Cooper, David Nelson, Chris Leak and Willie Rodgers.

Leak said he had a chance to meet Muschamp and was impressed.

“He’s going to do a great job. You can tell the players are excited,” Leak said. “Those defensive players are especially fired up to play in his defense. He really gets after people. His defense sacked me six times when he was at LSU (in 2003, a game the Gators won 19-7). I tell you what, there are going to be some sore quarterbacks around the SEC after they play Florida.”

By the way, here’s another Meyer tradition that will continue under Muschamp: He does not believe in Gamers, guys who don’t do much in practice but will shine in games. Like Meyer, you’ve got to produce in practice to play on Saturday. He made that clear after the opening of spring practice Wednesday. He also stressed that players who don’t practice during the week because of injuries likely won’t play, either. You’ve got to practice to play. Meyer believed in it. So does Muschamp.


  1. WHAT? no mention of practice being closed. That is very rare!! Get over it. These coaches do not need you clowns reporting on everything going on in practice. Quit worrying about closed practices and concentrate on doing some real journalism for a change!! No one owes you anything!!

  2. Glad to see the Alumni being encouraged to return! We need to have a hand full at every big game or at every game, for that matter! I believe it motivates the young players to play in front of an NFL star or a player with a great history at UF. I would like to see them actually recruiting the old-timers to come around, instead of just welcoming them! Overall, I am really excited about our future! I see this coaching staff achieving great things and taking the program to a higher level – dynasty!

  3. Meyer said that, however, he seemed to still play guys who were starters, but banged up during the week. We’ll see what Muschamp does when he’s needing a big win. I agree with the philosophy, but if a player isn’t abusing it, I don’t think it should be a hard fast rule.

  4. Danny Wuerfel was a far better game-day player than he looked in practice, according to his Head Ball Coach and articles in the Sun/Gatorsports. Would Muschamp have played him on Saturdays? I think our new coach has so much common sense and football savvy that he would.

  5. @Clyde, you are right on target Every coach I ever had preached the same things: you have to practice and stay out of trouble to start. Every team I was ever on, if the great players skipped a practice or got in trouble short of suspensions, then they still started. Coaches have to win to keep their jobs, it is just that simple. Believing anything else shows you never played on a competitive team! The coaches are not liars, but they are just spouting aspirational goals: That is how it would be in a perfect world.

  6. I don’t think anybody said that you had to be great in practice (if you are typically better in game situations), but rather if you could not practice (or just would not) then playing was not probable.

  7. John C is right, and I hate to use um as an example, but they made sure their kids heard from their alumni playing in the NFL. All these kids want to go to the NFL. And, if a player wearing, say #88, gets a motivational pep-talk call from the now NFL player who wore that same number, the kid is going to listen…

  8. This article about Gamers versus guys who practice great reminds me of the mid-60’s. Remember Kay Stephens always looked like an all-american in the spring when he was third string behind Spurrier and Wages.

  9. I liked Chris Leak’s statement, “There are gonna be some sore QB’s in the SEC after playing FLA…” Hitting the QB hard has ben misssing around here for the last 3 years, and I am ‘jonesing’ for a ‘BOO-YA’ hit from THE FLORIDA GATORS on an oppenents QB. I cannot forget Monte Grow’s hit on the West Va. QB in the Sugar-Bowl in the early 90’s! GO GATORS!

  10. I remember that WVU UF Sugar Bowlgame. I remember that the Gators started their hard hits after many, many cheAP, AFTER THE WHISTLE SHOTS BY Mountaineer defenders trying to take Gator players out of the game. I absolutely loved watching that game and have looked for it on tape ever since. I think WVU weas trying to be like Miami and that it backfired horribly for them!! I still think that was one of Floirida’s best bowl appearances of all time. The Gatotrs just got mad instead of folding and won the game by about 30 points!!!