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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“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

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
11:53 am

Analyst, I didn’t say it was nice or even a good idea. Personally I am glad the Drama Queen finally stepped down. I coached a year too long (like Willie). Muschamp will not keep many on the current staff, maybe ask Addazio to stay on as a line coach but not coordinator and Chuck Heater as the DB coach because he has excelled. Both Addazio and Heater are good recruiters and the rest will be let go. Austin the current DC was probably the second worst in the SEC behind Choke Grantham.

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
11:53 am

Muschamp’s hiring as the Gators’ new ball coach? It’s a generation shift. As a senior at the Darlington in Rome, Muschamp considered walking on at both Florida and Georgia. Steve Spurrier was then in his second year at Florida, and Muschamp chose to play for the home state Dawgs and earned a scholarship. Good for him. That was 20 years ago. Things have changed.

Bama Dude

December 13th, 2010
11:55 am

Count me among those finding it strange that Florida hired an assistant. Name the last top tier job that didn’t go to someone with HC experience. By top tier I mean Bama, ND, USC, OSU, Michigan. Not the Barn or Missy State.

Driving Ms Dooley

December 13th, 2010
11:56 am

Personally I hope that neither Gus Malzhan or Mike Leach take the Vandy job. Those are two coaches to fear. I’m sure many on this site will disagree because neither of them has the look of coach you should fear. But I think they are two of the best offensive minds in college football. And both of them bring the kind of X’s and O’s skill that can transform a perennial door mat into a team that can beat the big boys on any given Saturday. I’m not saying every Saturday and I’m not saying that Vandy would be a powerhouse, but in a league like the SEC, it’s nice to have at least one easy win on your schedule. And with either of those two offensively minded coaches, Vandy will become a team that you can’t pencil in the W anymore.

I wish they would bring back the fat, funny guy.

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
11:58 am

IMHO, the answers to two questions will ultimately determine Will Muschamp’s relative failure or success in Gainesville.

1. First, who does he hire as an offensive coordinator, and what scheme do they install? Gator fans have grown accustomed to a so-called “wide-open offense” and that has been consistent since Bob Woodruff and Doug Dickey drove us nearly insane in the 1950s and 1970s. Ray Graves in the 1960s presaged the return of Steve Spurrier in the 1990s Urban Meyer’s offense, through different in scheme, gave the fans what they wanted. Great defenses have won Florida’s championships, but great offenses have kept us happy in between.

2. Second, will Muschamp adapt to Florida and Foley’s zero tolerance for NCAA recruiting violations? I know nothing about Muschamp’s sense of playing by the rules; I hope he takes it as seriously as Spurrier and Meyer did. While this may elicit a chuckle or two from opposing fans, Florida was burned badly in the 1980s for letting an energetic young coach build a program without a lot of adult supervision from the AD or the university administration. The vow, ever since, has been “Never again.” Given the long history of recruiting shenanigans in the states of Alabama and Texas, I hope Jeremy Foley has made his expectations abundantly clear to Will Muschamp: intentionally violate the NCAA’s rules, and you’re gone. Never again.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
11:58 am

Bama Dude,

I have to agree. I think that Muschamp has the potential to be a great HC, but Florida in 2010 is not the typical venue for discovering whether potential = results. I can’t see this hire as anything BUT strange.

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
11:59 am

As for the whole Dawg-coaching-the-Gators meme, both Dawgs and Gators need to get over that and fast. Muschamp is a 17-year professional football coach who has been a defensive coordinator for almost a decade. A great career opportunity was presented to him, and he seized it. Dawgs fans should be happy that one of their alumni receives that sort of respect from their chief rivals. (If you were Vanderbilt or Kentucky, you wouldn’t be so darn much fun to beat.)

Gators fans should understand that there have only been three Florida alumni in the history of the program to become the head football coach of the Gators: Dutch Stanley (1933-35), Doug Dickey (1970-78) and Steve Spurrier (1990-2001). Only Spurrier is remembered as a resounding success as the Gators’ head coach. This isn’t about alumni loyalty; it’s about hiring the right coach for right now.

I’m pretty sure Jeremy Foley knows that.

GeneralNeyland96

December 13th, 2010
11:59 am

Ok…I want an honest opinion from the Gator faithful on here….

My thoughts are that WM is a solid hire..very passionate & a great recruited, but….

The one thing that was “most broken” on the UF team this past year was the offense…..why do you go out and hire a defensive minded head coach? What kind of offense is he going to install???

Beast from the East

December 13th, 2010
11:59 am

Bama Dude,
Stoops @ Oklahoma? Richt @ UGA? Fisher @ FSU?

Bama Dude

December 13th, 2010
11:59 am

I for one would love to see Vandy make the puke orange their b*tch.

nicetouchuf

December 13th, 2010
11:59 am

ga gator @ 11:46, I think Tebow breaking the news was great! I hope people do think UF did this on purpose.I even know dawg/bama fans that smiled at it when it happened.Hell,If Tebow played along,The whole Cam thing must really,really stink to high heaven.

Red Harrison

December 13th, 2010
12:00 pm

time to go on the air Tony

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:00 pm

Beast from the East,

Thats what I hear from alot of Gators-They have trust in Foley. I just dont think it was time to hire Muschamp for a head coaching position in the SEC.I could very well be wrong-god knows I have been before.I just dont see him turning this program around without severe hurddels to overcome.Will be interesting to see it unfold.I wish the Gator Nation all the best with this move.I still say Mullen was the man for the job.I wont waver on that opinion.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
12:01 pm

Atlanta Gator,

I think it’s sweet that you take to heart the pledge to remain free from recruiting scandals at Florida. Best of luck with that.

Beast from the East

December 13th, 2010
12:01 pm

Bama Dude,
Also, Pelini @ Nebraska.

Bama Dude

December 13th, 2010
12:02 pm

Stoops is a good one, Fisher was a different situation, and UGA isn’t quite at the top tier. FSU really isn’t either for that matter.

DawginLex

December 13th, 2010
12:03 pm

Muschamp apparently is not going to run the spread. He favors an Alabama style of team with great defense and ball control and balance.

I think this shift favors UGA in the annual matchup because that is the offense UGa runs.

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:03 pm

Just a curious thought-Why not hire Leach as the offensive coord at UF?

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
12:03 pm

Bama Dude,

Nor was Nebraska when they hired Pelini.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
12:05 pm

@MURPHY

Leach greatly diminished his chances to be hired anywhere when he filed suit against ESPN.

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:05 pm

DawginLex,

He better find some bigger running backs if he is going to do away with the spread.Demps and Rainey cant take the punishment.

Beast from the East

December 13th, 2010
12:05 pm

General,
I see your point, but this was about more than just fixing problems from the 2010 team. You could have just gone after someone like Malzahn if you wanted to get the offense going. This hire was about someone to come in and run the program for the long term. I’m hopeful that Foley made the right decision. I find it very similar to his hiring of Billy Donovan. Foley has proven to be one of the best AD’s in the business.

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:06 pm

BTW, Jeremy Foley prides himself on hiring the best young talent available: Billy Donovan, Becky Burleigh, Urban Meyer, Amanda Butler, Amanda O’Leary, Tim Walton, Kevin O’Sullivan, Rhonda Faehn. None were well established at big-time Division I programs before they were hired by Florida, all are now stars or rising stars. And for those of you with good memories, many, if not most, opposing fans questioned Urban Meyer’s hiring six years ago. Remember—-his gimmicky offense will never work in the SEC, where the players are bigger, faster and stronger? Meyer was not the “sure thing” that selective memory suggests.

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:06 pm

SEC_Analyst,

How do you figure that?

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:07 pm

Atl Gator,

Foley sure hired a bad a@@ baseball coach!

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
12:09 pm

MURPHY

That would be great, but Leach is a problem waiting to happen. Rumor is that Applewhite from Texas may follow him as OC. My personal preference would be D-3 HC from Jacksonville, Kerwin Bell who runs a wide open attack as the OC. Hell if Malzahn can go from a High School HC to an OC, I would expect a former UF QB and current D-3 HC could do it.

Beast from the East

December 13th, 2010
12:09 pm

Atlanta Gator,
Well said. Foley has continued to hire one great coach after another. I trust his judgment 100%. I think too many people were looking for a “rock star” type hire.

methinks

December 13th, 2010
12:10 pm

The Gators know a lot more about some things that everyone else.And that goes for former Coaches and former plAUyers.

Bama Dude

December 13th, 2010
12:10 pm

One other thing- Stoops was an outlier. Look at recent trends among the big schools, the ones that can pay $4MM or so. Bama-Saban, UF-Meyer, ND-Kelly, Mich-RichRod, OSU-Tressel, Texas-Brown. Every one of those guys had been the head man somewhere.

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
12:11 pm

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:07 pm
Atl Gator,

Foley sure hired a bad a@@ baseball coach!

Along with Volleyball, Soccer, Gymnastic and Softball Coaches. Only bad hire was the Zooker and he was desperate by the time he was forced to hire him.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
12:11 pm

@MURPHY

Because ESPN controls so much television coverage. AD’s should be wary about hiring someone involved in a court battle with the network. I’m not saying that ESPN would attempt to punish a team that hired Leach — I’m just saying that an AD might very well be concerned that they would. If you have another choice, then do you really even want that kind of PR? The lawsuit would come up in almost every press conference.

Alabama | MrSEC.com

December 13th, 2010
12:11 pm

[...] Cam Newton.3.  UF officials told Tony Barnhart that word was leaking out via social media and therefore they had no choice but to put out a statement during the ceremony.  Sure… because schools always want to make [...]

Driving Ms Dooley

December 13th, 2010
12:11 pm

Bama Dude

December 13th, 2010
11:59 am
I for one would love to see Vandy make the puke orange their b*tch.

Spoken like a fan whose team suffered that exact fate at the hands of Gus Malzahn. Still a little bitter are we?

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:12 pm

ga gator,

I would pass on Kerwin Bell.To big of an ego to co-exist with Muschamp.Kerwin wants a Head Coaching job-not a coord position.

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:13 pm

SECC_Analyst—-

Yes, it has been twenty-one years and counting since the NCAA investigators rented rooms in Gainesville. In that same time, Alabama has been on probation four times, and every other SEC athletic program has been on probation.

Not one Gators sports program has been on probation in the 21 years. Foley runs a scrupulously clean program, and he requires his coaches to do the same. And, yes, that is sweet.

Knock on wood.

Bama Dude

December 13th, 2010
12:13 pm

Nah, Dooley I just dislike UT. Very, very much.

K-$

December 13th, 2010
12:14 pm

UGA will not win the SEC East ever again as long as Richts there. With a team comprised of 4 and 5 star players he went 6-6. With no AJ Green and a joke of a DC UGA will struggle to even win 6 next year.

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:14 pm

SEC,

Dont mean to sound stupid-Just dont know-havent followed that situation. Why is Leach suing ESPN?

Puppet-Master

December 13th, 2010
12:14 pm

Driving Ms Dooley is a Big Orange fan.

Just not exactly the Tennessee shade of orange.

G8R GRAD

December 13th, 2010
12:16 pm

Doesn’t coach Meyer still have a kid in school in Gainesville?
Remember Foley hired Meyer over re-hiring Spurrier.
They are friends.
I suspect UF is happy to allow Urban an office, pay for his health care and encourage him to help out wherever the new HC thinks he could.
What’s not to like?

Bama Dude

December 13th, 2010
12:16 pm

You serious, Murph? You never heard about the whole Craig James incident?

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:19 pm

Bama Dude,

Yeah I know about that Craig James deal .Just didnt hear really why he was suing ESPN-For what reason?

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
12:19 pm

@MURPHY

He is suing over ESPN’s involvement in his firing at Texas Tech.

@Atlanta Gator

Knock hard on that wood. This coaching change at Florida is a strange situation anyway you look at it. Best of luck maintaining that perfect record.

DawgByte

December 13th, 2010
12:19 pm

Will Muschump

Mean Machine

December 13th, 2010
12:19 pm

Tony, Coach Richt had better hope and pray your prediction that UF will win the SEC East does not come to fruition! Because I will tell you right now, if UGA does not win the SEC East next year, as well as beat UF, Richt should be fired. 8-4 or 9-3 next year ain’t gonna cut it! Enough is enough of this crap! And the fact that UF hired a Georgia man, is going to do nothing more than add fuel to the fire.

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
12:20 pm

MURPHY, you are correct about a lot, but Kerwin is a very humble guy. Sure he would like to be a D1 coach, but I think reality is beginning to sink in and he might be willing to go the OC coordinator route.

Driving Ms Dooley

December 13th, 2010
12:21 pm

Bama Dude

December 13th, 2010
12:13 pm
Nah, Dooley I just dislike UT. Very, very much.

Well Bama dude, I could’ve guessed that. And you definitely hate Auburn, and Georgia. And Florida. Hey, you’re not on the top of the heap anymore, what-a-ya-gonna do. Hate.

I don’t hate any team. I do however, have a disdain for some of their more obnoxious fans.

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
12:21 pm

I also forgot to mention one of Foley’s best hires: Greg McGarrity.

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:21 pm

ga gator,

He isnt a humble guy.I have been around him some this past football season.Humble isnt the word I would use at all.He is a very good coach,but he will not want to be a coordinator.

Jeff

December 13th, 2010
12:22 pm

so FLA will win the east in 2011…back in bed with the gaytors I see tony. Tell me tony……who will be their QB…..never mind that we have Murray…..you seem to write with no thought on the big picture….just to put stupid remarks down…..and oh, by the way. I am glad they upstaged the Heismann. That Cam got the award makes it a laughingstock and a slap in the face of guys that won before him…..tell me Tony….HOW MUCH DID CAMMIES DADDY HAVE TO PAY???????????????????