Muschamp in the zone


After covering several Gator Gatherings this spring and then having a chance to spend some more time around Florida coach Will Muschamp at last week’s SEC spring meetings, I feel safe to say this about the man: he’s much more comfortable in his role than he was a year ago (or even last fall).

Muschamp seems to have grown into the job. He appears relaxed and confident around his coaching peers. He is much more at ease (and maybe even much more candid) around the media, especially those writers who cover the Gators on a daily basis. He seems much more comfortable speaking in front of hundreds of Gator fans.

Muschamp knows so much more now than he did a year ago, when he walked into what turned out to be a much more difficult situation than he (or anyone else) ever imagined. He knows his players. He knows what it’s going to take to get this program back where it needs to be. And confident that he feels much more comfortable with his coaching staff now.

He made a big splash when he hired Charlie Weis to run his offense, but the buzz didn’t last long. Weis lost his starting quarterback in the fifth game of the season, which was a huge problem, and it seemed many of the offensive players had a difficult time relating to him.

Muschamp and his offensive players seem much more fired up about Brent Pease and what he brings to the offense. Clearly, the players relate better to Pease than they did to Weis.

It’s also obvious Muschamp and the players are excited about Jeff Dillman and the new weight staff. If you don’t think the Gators are getting bigger and stronger, just take a look at some of the players, including linebacker Jelani Jenkins and offensive tackle Xavier Nixon. Their body types have changed.

Being around Muschamp, I get the feeling that he thinks this offense is going to be a lot better than many are predicting. And he feels great about this defense. This is a defense that he thinks will keep the Gators in every game, and that’s always going to pump up a defensive coach like Muschamp.

Many football programs experience a considerable bump in the second year under a new head coach and staff. There are signs that this could happen for the Gators.

Maybe the best sign of all is that the head coach seems much more comfortable now being who he is.


  1. Some people just have no idea what a mess this program was in when Urban left. This season will be a little easier schedule for UF instead the typical meat-grinders we play, and I think with a roster of 80 players (only down by 5 this year) instead of being down by 15 players, it’s going to mean a lot. I don;t expect championships this 2012 season, but I expect to see improvement due to better depth, players all on the same page and experienced in the same systems, a much better OC and OL coach, bigger, tougher RB’s, and a very strong, deep defense. Special teams should excel this year too. Lets get at least 9 wins this year and go from there, as I believe UF will finally be back as a consistent top 10 team in 2013.

  2. I think Coach Muschamp has the foundation for a great year in 2013, too. I heard the ‘Voice of the Gators’, Mick Hubert, say recently that he thought Florida would be improved, but to NOT expect too much this year. So, I think the Gators have to WIN the CLOSE games (like Georgia and Auburn last year) and, for me, that would be an improvement. This team doesn’t have any real expectations from the Media and such, so they have the element of surprise going for them. If they can pull off a 9-3 season- I think most REALISTIC fans would be very pleased!

  3. What’s the latest on Roberson and easley? We hear Powell is “ahead of schedule” but what about those 2?

    I wasn’t all that down last year. If our PR catches any of those 3 punts vs Abu we win- we were driving to be down 3 vs Bama at half… Ga was winnable- experience wins that same game this time around.

    I look for a top 5 natl defense (depth at dl and lb is plus) and if the offense is competent and sturgis is healthy we win 9/10 games…

  4. gatorgi70x7, the thing you learn more than anything else when you’ve watched about thirty years of college football — THE MEDIA DOESN’T KNOW ANY MORE THAN YOU DO. I swear sometimes that some of these guys have never followed a college football team before. I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched the media guys — the national guys are the worst, but the local guys aren’t much better, and they should be — make stupid declarations that are exposed in short order. Here is a brief list — Spurrier can’t win in the SEC because he doesn’t work hard enough, his teams can’t beat a top 10 team on the road, his teams can’t win on Astroturf, he can’t beat the Bowdens, and the real gem in ’97, ’98, ’99: the ever-popular THE GAME HAS PASSED HIM BY.

  5. I say we win eight games this year. If we have a fighting chance in most of the rest I’ll be fine with the season. Now starting in 2013 I’ll expect no less than nine wins every year. Anything less in a season would be an utter failure for Florida Football.

  6. As I said, earlier I am quite sure it takes a little more than a year to clean-up the Big Mess Urban, Left!
    For the Last Two or Three years our teams were Undisciplined, Weak, and Very Fractured! This is a new year!
    A lot of Dead weight gone! So, If you love University of Florida, then everyone should cut a little slack jack and stand up and CHEER!!!! Our team will play hard and will be better. As the year moves forward they will continue to improve!
    I believe Coach Muschamp, was a great hire! Time will bare this out!
    His new Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line, and Strength coaches will do a super job this year!
    Last year all three areas where of great concern and embarrassment! Not His Fault! “See the LAST STAFF”!
    Recruiting is going super, it has been very good so far and will get better! A little Winning will see to that!
    After All, We Are “THE MIGHTY GATOR’S”!
    It’s So Great To Be A Florida Gator!!!!!
    It’s So Great To Be A Florida Gator!!!!!
    GO GATOR’S!!!!! GO MUSCHAMP!!!!! and GO STAFF!!!!! Oh, and by the way – – – – –
    RECRUITS, COM’ ON DOWN!!!!! Better to be a GATOR than GATOR BAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. All the hype sure gets us fans going and sells media advertising. Reality is that if we don’t get some production from our WR group, the fans will turn on Pease. The running game is going to have to be stellar fo us to keep games close. It will take a yaer or two before Pease can get the right guys at WR. The freshman WR Pittman could be a game changer in the mold of ex Steeler Hienz Ward. either way, I’m pulling hard for our guys and hope that if we can settle on a starting QB, hopefully one will redshirt for future playing time.

  8. Changes in attitudes, changes in attitudes, nothing will remain from the Urban Meyer Era except some crystal. Muschamp will get this team competing for championships again, and when he wins one, he won’t give himself a heart attack trying to maintain the momentum. I like Texas A & M in the SEC, great fans and tradition. Not so sure about Missery, though.

  9. meyer left the program in shambles–muschamp seems to have a plan in place that will work (nfl model, based on a running game and defense). Hopefully, he gets some big wins in 2012 and makes a run at the SEC in 2013.

  10. Off the schedule: Alabama and Auburn
    On: Texas A&M and Missouri

    We better win 9.

    If this team is truly as improved as we are led to believe the only game we “Should” lose would be to LSU and maybe the SEC CG. The LSU game is at home. That in itself makes it winnable. I’m not saying this team should win them all but 11-2 should be there for the taking.

  11. Muschamp has all the ingredients in the bowl to win. Now he has to put it in the oven and make it work. Talented young offensive co–ordinator: check. NFL coaches on the D: check. Good recuiting: check…but these are only pieces, now you have to do it…Everyone hating on Urban–unreal…how quickly we forget 2! BCS championships.

  12. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that we surprise the nation, this year. Our defense can play with anyone, so, if the offense clicks, why would we not have a chance to play for it all? The pieces are in place and we have an OC that can get the job done – hungry plyers that want to make a name for themselves, after underachieving! Our Special Teams will be among the best. If that one piece falls in to place, look for UF to be in the game! GO GATORS!

  13. You can sure tell that it is spring. Hope “springs” forth but I believe there is a harsh reality awaiting. I really struggle with thinking we are going to be much better than last year. I think we have the defense to win games but I am extremely concerned with the offense. Neither of the QB’s look even decent last year and other than Debose have no one with experience to throw to. Our RB’s should be stable, if not unspectacular but our offensive line has shown no ability to run block or block period against a strong rush. Finally, comfortable or not, WM does not frighten anyone on the sideline from a coaching perspective. I watched every minute of every game last year and could could on one hand the amount of times i saw an in game adjustment to what the other team was doing. I want to be excited. I want to be positive. But the evidence is not there to support it from my perspective. Here’s to hoping I am REALLY, REALLY WRONG. 🙂

  14. The Gators will be better next Fall. But, no, they are not going to ‘shock the nation’ and be a contender for the SEC-East or SEC Champs. Offensively, (1) they have two talented but very inexperienced QBs, (2) Very ordinary running backs most of whom would never see the field at Alabama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina or Auburn, (3) The offensive line—who knows!! It was among the worst in the SEC last year. We are told they are better. Time will tell. (4) Receivers: Qho are they? And, would any of them play at a top-tier SEC program. PREDICTION: Five (5) losses but help is (hopefully) on the way)

  15. Gators defense is terrific. 9 of 11 starters returning Should be 10 by week 2 when powell returns. that defense keeps the gators in the game always. The offense should be good enough to win 8-9 games

  16. emk, I disagree. We COULD shock the nation all the chips are falling in our place. No Bama this year with a bigger, stronger team we could easily get to the SEC championship and from there its a toss up. But the 2 QB’s we have now have both faced the 2 top teams in the country. That’s some experience I’d say, not much but it helps. I could see a 9 or 10 win Gator season. And trust me I’m sure Brent P is having a field day drawing up offensive schemes with the load of talent on the team.

  17. Wow GI-Gator, That’s a Longgggg Limb! Hope that darn thing don’t brake somewhere behind you. I love it though! While I do agree with some of your predictions and I do think all things are possible, they’re probably not all that likely. Both you and emk, make some great points. I do think he may be a little to conservative in his predictions. I feel like we are probably somewhere in between (two to three losses) and are probably a year away from your high expectations. And, to his “help point” yes help is on the way! One thing we can all agree on is, we all LOVE OUR GATORS and are BEHIND THEM ALL THE WAY! Recruiting is going great! We will better this year! The SWAMP will ROCK and as a reminder to our opposition “It’s hard as hell to swim when you’re up to your ass in GATORS”!
    GO GATORS!!!

  18. Man !!! what did they put in the water???? this koolaide you guys been drinkin
    is super strong…. I hope we do good just as much as the rest of ya but oh!
    11 and 2 talk is just plain scary !! and what if muschomp shows he’s not
    “the guy” well then ,you all got some splainin to do !
    go gators ! lookin for a realistic 7-8 win season .. but you gotta beat GA !!

  19. I agree with most….This Team is now in the second year…We have a full time coaching staff in place….We have an offense and a defense that are starting the year with a system in place….I think 9-10 wins is most likely!!!! We dont have Bama and Auburn…We wont be starting game 5 with a new Freshman QB!!! We will come straight out of the gate with depth at Offense in the 2 QB’s plus a much bigger faster Team as a whole!!!! I think that the Team is adjusted to the style that they have imparted….AND we have 5 big backs to keep the Defenses honest…Great kicking game!!!!!
    Go Gators!!!!!

  20. Regardless of how much better our defense is and how much stronger and better conditioned we are told they are, if our offense and special teams don’t improve it’s going to be another disappointing year.

  21. IF we can keep Pease in place, we have a good chance of continuing to recruit the players we need to win in the SEC. He seems to do a good job with our guys and they want to play for him, unlike cheeseburger charlie. If our defense is as stellar as we think they are and can keep us in the hard games, who knows…..we just might surprise a bunch of people.