Are the Gators rolling the dice with Muschamp?

Even when the regular season is over, it ain’t over. So what did we learn, and what do we still want to know?:

1. Are the Gators rolling the dice with Muschamp? Urban Meyer announced his “retirement” last Wednesday after six years as the head coach at Florida. In the next 48 hours everybody from Bob Stoops, to Jon Gruden (there is that name again), to Chris Peterson, to Dan Mullen to Chip Kelly was considered to be the  front runner for one of the top five jobs in college football. Then suddenly, at 8:28 p.m. on Saturday (note the time) Florida announces that it had hired Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp as its next head coach. The press conference will be Tuesday. Some consider it a risk by athletics director Jeremy Foley, who got burned the last time he hired an assistant (Ron Zook). But those who know Muschamp know that he’s been groomed for this since he was a player at Georgia for Ray Goff. Muschamp has worked at LSU (for Nick Saban), at Auburn (for Tommy Tuberville), and Texas (for Mack Brown). He is ready.

2. Florida will win the SEC East in 2011: How ready is Muschamp? Well, here’s the first prediction for the 2011 season: Florida will win the SEC East championship. The problem at Florida last season was not talent. It was a lack of focus and a lack of leadership. The team was not focused because too many leaders had left and there was never a coherent offensive strategy. Muschamp can fix the leadership issue and if he hires a top-flight offensive coordinator the other problem can be fixed as well. Media reports say Muschamp is looking at Major Applewhite, an offensive assistant at Texas. My choice would be Dana Holgerson of Oklahoma State (who is in the running for the head coaching  job at Pitt.)

3. I’m disappointed in the timing of Florida’s announcement: This is strictly an opinion, but I wish Florida had waited until after the Heisman Trophy presentation to announce its new coach. The official press release came just minutes before Auburn’s Cameron Newton was handed the hardware in New York. The announcement opens Florida up to charges that it was trying to step on the moment of a player from another SEC school. And with Newton’s background at Florida, which includes concerns that academic information about his time at the school was leaked to the media, it is something that simply should have been avoided. I was informed this morning by Florida officials that they had every intention of waiting until after the Heisman Trophy presentation but that once the news leaked out through the social media the school felt it had no choice but to release the information.

4. What does the hiring of Al Golden tell us about the Miami job? First of all, I think Golden is a great hire. Remember that it wasn’t long ago that Temple considered dropping football. The school basically got booted out of the Big East. Golden took over and he took the Owls to a bowl in 2009 and this season went 8-4 (which included a win over Fiesta Bowl bound UConn). But it also tells you that Miami’s job is not one where the school can go out and command the services of a Tier One proven head coach. Jon Gruden wasn’t coming. Neither was a successful head coach at the BCS level. Miami is a tough job because if you don’t win and win big, the people just don’t come. Again, I think Golden is a super coach. He has been named as a possible replacement for Joe Paterno at Penn State. He will win at Miami. I just think Mike Leach would have been a more inspired hire.

5. If he goes to Vandy, how will Gus Malzahn handle the BCS championship? It looks like Vanderbilt is Gus Malzhan’s job to turn down. So what does the Auburn offensive coordinator do if he accepts, which could happen as early as today (Monday)? I certainly believe he would coach Cameron Newton one last time in the BCS championship game with Oregon on Jan. 10. But I’ve seen other coordinators try to get ready for a BCS title game while attempting to build a staff and organize a program at another place. Mark Richt did it at Florida State after he took the Georgia job in 2000. Richt admits now that it was very difficult. The only person I have seen pull it off really well was Bo Pelini, who was the LSU defensive coordinator for the 2007 BCS championship game while organizing his new program at Nebraska.

Stay tuned.

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www.twitter.com/MrCFB

“Barnhart and Durham:” We will break down all of the coaching news on today’s “Barnhart and Durham Show” on 790 The Zone. Among our guests will be UConn coach (and former Georgia Tech assistant) Randy Edsall, who is headed to the Fiesta Bowl. Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun will bring us the latest on Will Muschamp at Florida. Craig Barnes, a former reporter for the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, will bring us reaction to the hiring of Al Golden at Miami. Please join the fun which starts at 10 a.m. www.790thezone.com.

697 comments Add your comment

winterDawg

December 13th, 2010
11:20 am

I don’t think that Mushcamp is a bad hire by any means. I just think it curious that they didn’t interview anyone else and not sure why Mullen wouldn’t have been a big favorite. Florida is a program that can pick whomever they would want. So why not interview several candidates and then decide? You can’t tell me that Mushcamp is head and shoulders above every other coach when he hasn’t even been a head man before.

JB

December 13th, 2010
11:22 am

To be honest, After five loses this year, I think Meyer was looking at 4 or 5 loses next year. He did not have the players in place to run that offense…..His rep was about to be tarnished….did he leave 15 mil on the table ? He would of been FIRED next year after losing 4 or 5 games and the buyout would have been 15 big ones. Just asking !

JT

December 13th, 2010
11:23 am

A lot of people want to focus on Texas being 5-7 this year, but the Longhorns’ defense was ranked 7th in the country in total defense. Seems to me the offense was the bigger issue this past year in Austin than the D. Muschamp’s guys may not have been playing up to the standard set in previous years, but it seems to me the D was the lone bright spot in a season Texas fans would like to forget.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

December 13th, 2010
11:23 am

I notice a lot of people saying AU will suck next year because we lose Cam, Nick, and the best O line in college football..but you forget that playing in the NC game brings big time recruits. But either way, the math doesn;t always work out..after all, UGA had their best player this year, and stll finished 6-6…

Joe Bob Thibodaux

December 13th, 2010
11:24 am

Tony, You might be correct, but I am currently more aligned with Skitty Fritty, Voice of Reason, JB, JumboTiger, and SEC_Analyst. I believe Muschamp is overrated. As much as the UGA bloggers disagree, I believe that over the next year or two they will be happy that Coach Richt remains the head Bull Dog.

JBT

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:24 am

@JB

If Meyer is retaining an office, then one has to assume that he is still on Florida’s payroll.

#1 DAWG in bama

December 13th, 2010
11:24 am

Really Tony florida will win the sec in 2011 hell I guess we should not even play a game and sit the season out since we are doomed before 2011 is even here. Sorry im not drinking your koolaid GO DAWGS!!!!!!! win it all in 2011.

JB

December 13th, 2010
11:25 am

Trish…………..Is there cash left for this years class ?

schmeckdawg

December 13th, 2010
11:25 am

Florida fans, IMHO, I think the fact that CUM is still going to have an office in the athletic department was a HUGE deterent in you guys not landing a BIG TIME head coach. Just saying!

Red Harrison

December 13th, 2010
11:25 am

Blah blah blah. All this talk about “this means this” and yah yah yah. Will is from central Fla, and his wife’s family is there, too. And he co-owns a beach house down there with guess who – Jimbo Fisher. Better job, closer to home, near my beach house. Duh Sometimes the answer is not complex.

JB

December 13th, 2010
11:27 am

SEC Analyst…………….4 mil a year consultant?

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:27 am

@TrishaDishaWarEagle

You have a point regarding the recruiting bonanza that a BCS Title Game typically brings. That said, the recruiting services are showing a drop-off in AU’s recruiting compared to the previous two years. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Corrine Brown up in heah - Go Gatuhh!

December 13th, 2010
11:28 am

Mush he gone be jus fine, he gone whup some Georga behine
and den afta that games thru, he gone whip up Tenesee too

1 2 3 4 5 – dem da gatuhs don take no jive!

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
11:30 am

Beast from the east,

Im glad you are happy with Foley hiring Muschamp.I wouldnt be happy at all.Mullen was the man for the job.Muschamp will need to be carefull with all that enthusiasm as the Head Coach.I can see his mouth getting him in trouble.In no way will I pull against him to fail but the Gator Nation better be ready to be paitent with him.Winning wont come overnight-at least the winning you ar accustom too.Just happy Mullen wasnt hired.Hope he comes to UGA if Richt leaves and brings Diaz with him.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:31 am

@Red Harrison

I don’t think anyone questions why Muschamp would take the job so much as they question why Foley would choose Muschamp.

@JB

To the best of my knowledge, Florida hasn’t announced Meyer’s new salary. I doubt that they will, but it is probably a matter of public record, isn’t it? Florida isn’t a private school.

Daytona Dan

December 13th, 2010
11:31 am

Meyer needs to return his salary for this year to Florida. He didn’t do the school or his players any favors by hanging on. Good riddance.

G8R GRAD

December 13th, 2010
11:31 am

Murphy:

“A Dawg leading the Gators!”
Turn around is fair play:
You got a Gator AD!
:-)

Red Harrison

December 13th, 2010
11:31 am

This just in: Auburn changing name from Tigers to the Cheetahs

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
11:33 am

G8R GRAD,

I call foul! We will need 2 top recruits for Muschamp! lol

McGarrity, Muschamp, Smart...........

December 13th, 2010
11:33 am

Florida is the training ground for Leg Humpers.

schmeckdawg

December 13th, 2010
11:34 am

Corrine Brown up in heah – Go Gatuhh!

December 13th, 2010
11:28 am
Mush he gone be jus fine, he gone whup some Georga behine
and den afta that games thru, he gone whip up Tenesee too

1 2 3 4 5 – dem da gatuhs don take no jive!

Not without Corch Irvin Mayas, Percey Harvey and Tim Tivo!

Gatorrock

December 13th, 2010
11:34 am

TrishaDishaWarEagle…really you had the best college player money can buy. And by the way if you think Mullen not getting at least an offer from UF is a good thing for Auburn with the FBI investigation ongoing think about it real hard..you don’t talk to a former UF assist coach that now has head coaching experience and has spent 2 years building a pretty good program at a lower tier school. Could it be that UF wants to distance themselves as far away as possible to anyone who had a hand in anything to do with the recruitment of Cam Newton…not a black helicopter guy but really what else could it be..I think Will could end up being a great hire..but it is a bit of a reach.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:34 am

Ha!

That’s a good one Red. That would still be better than what Ole Miss did with that “Bear” thing.

Bama Dude

December 13th, 2010
11:34 am

Ask Texas how replacing a QB and entire OL after a MNC game works out.

Notthisyear

December 13th, 2010
11:35 am

Yes,SEC_Analyst,UM3 is still with us and he still has his health insurance with UF too.Some of you may need to try and read between the lines.

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
11:35 am

SEC_Analyst, his salary will probably be paid by the Athletic Association which is a private non profit enterprise as it probably is at UGA also.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:37 am

@ga gator

I don’t really care what they pay him, but I still think that it’s just STRANGE to keep an old HC around campus while bringing in a whole new coaching staff. Does Muschamp even get to make his own hires for assistants?

PapaDawg

December 13th, 2010
11:39 am

To hire a ex Dawg and pass over Mullen could be a good soap opera at Fla. next year

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:40 am

Has anyone heard who will replace Muschamp at Texas? Is it possible that they will hire a new HC before this is over?

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
11:40 am

SEC_Analyst,

Just saying: UGA kept Dooley around. Not that It did a dang bit of good though

how2fish

December 13th, 2010
11:41 am

@ SEC_Analyst I couldn’t agree more keeping the old HC on campus unless he is now the AD is very strange.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:41 am

MURPHY,

Dooley was the AD, wasn’t he?

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
11:41 am

SEC_Analyst, I agree it is sort of strange until you read between the lines in Foley’s comments. It was done to assist in the current recruiting class and also in appreciation for what Meyer has accomplished. Meyer has publicly stated that he loves the hire and has run into Muschamp numerous times while recruting. He said that he will do anything that he is asked by the new coach or but out if requested. My guess is, and I dont say this to be funny, is that Meyer (who is not the most truthful guy) will end up as the HC in Denver next year.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:43 am

I wonder what Urban’s title is? Pat Dye was given a title something like “Special Assistant to the President” or something, wasn’t he?

gdawginkalamazoo

December 13th, 2010
11:43 am

Will told Mack that he was “off to coach those m&th@rf%ck*ng gators”. Good luck to him. Not the hire that everyone thought it would be. If I am correct Muschamp was the “first head coach in waiting” then Jimbo Fisher took the title. So the HIC position is 1-1.

I think the timing of the announcement by Florida speaks volumes to their opinion of the integrity of Cam Newton. IMO you just can’t read it any other way.

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
11:43 am

SEC,

Yes he was.

how2fish

December 13th, 2010
11:43 am

MURPHY UGA kept Dooley as AD and was a damn fine AD, perhaps a better AD than Head football coach.Keeping CUM around is at best awkward at worst counter productive..

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:44 am

@ga gator

My guess is Notre Dame.

Beast from the East

December 13th, 2010
11:44 am

MURPHY,
I’m not that high on Mullen as a HC. From what I’ve heard in Gainesville, he is not that great of a recruiter. I’m not sure how true that is but I just felt like we needed a change in direction. I was thinking he would look hard at Harbaugh or Peterson but I trust Foley’s judgment. He panicked somewhat when he hired Zook, but I feel confident that he learned a vaulable lesson.
I’m sure it will take Muschamp a couple of years to get his system in place with the right players. I, for one, am willing to be patient. I believe this is a long-term hire like Foley mentioned at the presser for Urban’s retirement. Transition is always tough, but I’m really excited about the future in Gainesville!!!

Mike Smith

December 13th, 2010
11:45 am

A prediction for Florida to win the East…SHOCKING, Tony. Seriously, lets not run down the usual BCS hype bandwagon here. South Carolina has to be the favorite with what they have returning next year. It remains to be seen how many players Georgia loses early to NFL. Either way, in Grantham’s and Murray’s second year, they should be better.

Seriously, try to come up with an original pick between now and September. Muschamp doesn’t even have an OC yet. Applewhite isn’t exactly Gus Malzahn either. Theoretically UF’s defense should be better, but then again so should’ve Auburn’s under Chizik. That hasn’t happened. Not only that, the offensive recruits are designed around Urban’s spread. Even the great Urban Meyer did not tear up the SEC in his first season, nor did he win the East. There is just too many variables in the equation to lean back on the UF default prediction for the East.

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
11:46 am

I dont think the announcement had anything to do with Cam. UF released it because Tebow spilled the beans on Twitter after his agent (Jimmy Sexton is also Muschamps agent) told him. Tebow kind of forced them to either deny it or go ahead and make it public.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:47 am

@ga gator

That sounds nice — just staying around to help out…

I don’t understand how a coach who quit can help keep any recruits at Florida. Do you think he told them that he was planning to leave while he was recruiting them?

gdawginkalamazoo

December 13th, 2010
11:47 am

G8R GRAD, actually McGarity was a bulldog before he went south.

SEC_Analyst, I think “Bag Man” was Pat Dye’s title.

Barnhart is an idiot

December 13th, 2010
11:48 am

What about Mullen in the ‘08 BCS Championship, you Gator-hating moron???

Red Harrison

December 13th, 2010
11:49 am

Am I the only one that thought that Heistman show was just creepy? Awkwardly creepy.

Anyway, Knock knock – Who’s there?
Cam – cam who?
Cam-an Islands is a good place to stash $200k

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:50 am

@Red Harrison

What???

You actually watched it?

icallbs

December 13th, 2010
11:50 am

JB, Overreact to Mettenberger? Don’t think so. Unless of course you don’t think character matters, in which case you must be a HUGE Cam/Cecil fan. I’ve not given up on the idea that you can have a contending SEC football team that follows basic societal rules. Serial lying/stealing/cheating and sexual misconduct should never be tolerated. Other bone-headed stuff 18-21 year olds are going to get into can be dealt with and tolerated to a point.

Notthisyear

December 13th, 2010
11:51 am

Awkwardly creepy.That is EXCELLENT!

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
11:53 am

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:53 am

@icallbs

I am old, but when I was younger, “sexual misconduct” was right at the top of the list of trouble that 18-21 year olds got into. They just usually managed to keep it private.