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

Mooty Squarefinger

December 13th, 2010
12:22 pm

Anyone who thinks keeping Urban Meyer around the Florida football is anything but the wrong idea is truly clueless.

I disagree with Barnhart… Florida will NOT win the SEC East next year.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
12:22 pm

@ga gator

I haven’t followed Kerwin’s coaching career, but I recall him being a helluva player in his day.

G8R GRAD

December 13th, 2010
12:23 pm

Oh, and let’s not forget Dr. Machen (UF’s President) was at Utah while CUM was there.
They enjpy a long standing professional (and presonal) relationship.

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
12:23 pm

Driving Ms Dooley, dont be so quick with that hate. UF had the worst team since 1989 and still came within beating Carolina who had their best since ??? of winning the East. Not predicting victory, but I like our chances better than anyone except maybe Carolina.

G8R GRAD

December 13th, 2010
12:23 pm

Thank you, Mooty.
Have a nice day!
(LOVE the name)

hop

December 13th, 2010
12:24 pm

this is the best news the dawgs have had in some time.
florida made a HUGE mistake with thishire, as muschamp has been a chump when playing uga at auburn and lsu.

the texas defense was horrible under muschamp as it was at auburn. the gators will pay BIG TIME for this awful hire and uga will be the big winner along with the best of the SEC EAST!

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
12:24 pm

SEC_Analyst, yep and he was a walk-on as was Muschamp. He was also a star in Gainesville while Will lived there in mid 80’s.

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:24 pm

Beast—-

Spurrier as coach was the closest thing to a “rock star” in my memory, and that was more for us older Gators who remembered him as a player. The students and younger fans didn’t really understand what he meant to Florida when he was hired in 1990.

Everyone needs to wake up and realize that even great coaches can’t deliver Division I championships every two or three years. What Spurrier did in his first seven years and what Meyer did in his six seasons was nothing short of remarkable. The days of one SEC school dominating the conference for 20 years, like Bear and Alabama did in the 1960 and 1970s, are over. The coaching and player talent is too deep, the teams all play 8-game SEC schedules, and recruiting is ferociously competitive. It’s unlikely that anyone will duplicate Spurrier’s run of 6 SEC championships in 10 years. Auburn will be fifth team to represent the SEC in 7 BCS Championship Games in the last 12 years. No other conference comes close.

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
12:25 pm

hop, since is the 7th ranked D terrible? I guess when you have Choke Grantham as your DC everyone else is crap.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
12:28 pm

Atlanta Gator,

I was just rattling your chains regarding Foley. I don’t doubt his sincerity, but recruiting violations generally are caused by boosters outside of the University’s control. Florida has been lucky, in addition to being careful. I hope Cecil Newton hasn’t ruined that for you guys.

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:29 pm

Mooty et al—-

I suspect that Urban Meyer agreed to help with the recruiting transition when he and Foley discussed his resignation. Let’s try not make a bigger deal out of this than it really is. These comments start to smell like the usual SEC paranoid conspiracy theories . . . but while we’re starting rumors . . . how about Urban Meyer for Florida athletic director?

= )

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:30 pm

ga gator,

I must agree with HOP on one remark. I know Im not worried one bit on the Muschamp hire.In my opinion I think UGA will finally be able to turn the tide in Jax because of this.Just my opinion.

A Profit

December 13th, 2010
12:30 pm

I can see the future. Will Muschamp the HC at FL. Kirby Smart the HC at AL & Mike Bobo the HC at GA.

sorryfolks

December 13th, 2010
12:30 pm

The Univ Of Florida is NOT going to just come out and tell you their former Head Football Coach has health issues.And may want to stay on their payroll to keep his insurance.AND why was it such a strange hire,WHY?? He was going to be the next Coach at Texas,But if the Gators hired him it’s a strange hire. BS!

BAMA dude

December 13th, 2010
12:30 pm

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

Nope, don’t have any hate for UGA or Florida. Can’t stand the Barn or Tennessee though.

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
12:32 pm

@Atlanta Gator

Considering Urban’s recent health problems, it was pretty decent of them to keep him enrolled in the health insurance program. That might have been part of the reason for keeping him around.

AD huh? You think he’d want that job?

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:34 pm

SEC,

If he wanted to get away from stress-The AD job wont help him with that,especially with a new hire at football coach.

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:35 pm

Since the AD is an administrator cant he recruit as well?

Sean

December 13th, 2010
12:37 pm

Like the Gators were going to let Cam Newton have his own moment. And there’s no way Florida is winning the SEC East unless Tim Tebow has a mysterious fifth-year of eligiblity.

http://thebubblescreen.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-bcs-solution-old-school-plus-one.html

Scott

December 13th, 2010
12:37 pm

Florida made a smart hire with Muschamp. They know that in more years than not the SEC Championship is going to come down between Florida and Bama. Why not go get a Nick Saban protege who knows him best?

King Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:37 pm

I’m with Tony B. – Gators in ATL for SEC Championship Game next year v. Bama. Go Gators! Welcome to the Gator Nation Coach Muschamp!

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:37 pm

SEC,

I keep hearing rumors of him(URBAN) cheating on his wife-any news on that?

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
12:38 pm

MURPHY,

The more I think about it, I don’t really buy the health insurance issue either. Urban can afford out-of-pocket medical expenses. It’s not like he was making minimum wage as Florida’s HC. It’s been a strange year all around. Who would have thought over the past few years that the SEC would be looking at this much of a coaching carousel in 2010. I’d have guessed that Mark Richt would be the first HC to leave, and he’s not going anywhere.

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
12:39 pm

King Gator,

Muschamp going to make you look like Queen Gator.It will take 3-4 years for him to do that,if he is able to do it at all.

murfdawg

December 13th, 2010
12:39 pm

Bama dude,
Is Mike Price still available to coach? That was a top notch hire!

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
12:39 pm

MURPHY, time will tell about Muschamp, but I certainly think his pedigree light years ahead of what Zooks was and……………………….

Reverend Richt

December 13th, 2010
12:39 pm

Everyone’s program in the SEC continues to get better except for……………………………..? Go Dawgs! We’re going to dominate the Weedeater Bowl for the next ten years!

Driving Ms Dooley

December 13th, 2010
12:40 pm

@ Atlanta Gator
re: Everyone needs to wake up and realize that even great coaches can’t deliver Division I championships every two or three years. What Spurrier did in his first seven years and what Meyer did in his six seasons was nothing short of remarkable.

I agree with you on Spurrier. Not so much on Meyer, because his “non-Tebow” performance wasn’t so great. But I also agree that having a great coach may mean that you win the big one once or twice and you stay competitive the rest of the time.

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
12:41 pm

MURPHY,I keep hearing rumors of him(URBAN) cheating on his wife-any news on that?

I can just hear the answer on that one so I will answer it for you: He and Tebow have a purely platonic relationship.

King Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:41 pm

Murphy you’re cheating your hand, with your other hand! That is not a rumor!

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:43 pm

Mrs. Dooley—-Give credit where credit is due. Meyer’s 2006 national championship team was led by Chris Leak, not time Tim Tebow.

NoGaGator

December 13th, 2010
12:43 pm

As said before, it would have been a far safer choice politically for Foley to hire an established, top-of-the-line HC. Most of the talking heads were saying UF could have their pick. But if you go through those that the pundits mentioned, Musschamp was the best fit.

For example:
Harbaugh – waiting on UM’s buyout on RR which goes down after 12/31. That, and may want to follow big brother to NFL.
Stoops – always a contender but may be too comfortable and not enough fire (think modern-day Dooley after his 1 NC)
Gruden – rumored to be waiting for right NFL opportunity – maybe Cle if his buddy Holmgren pulls plug on Mangini
Peterson – how long to get up on SEC and its’ recruiting?
Patterson – see above
Mullen – a known commodity in Gainesville, which may be the needed explanation.

Musschamp, growing up in Gainesville and familiar with SEC, is the best fit of the above with the exception of the unknown adaptability to HC. Foley will provide him with every possible means for both of their success. Rest assured, Meyer will not be a nuisance. I don’t believe Meyer would want to be one and Foley wouldn’t tolerate it.

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:43 pm

ga gator—-Urban doesn’t call me for marital advice anymore.

Driving Ms Dooley

December 13th, 2010
12:44 pm

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
12:41 pm
MURPHY,I keep hearing rumors of him(URBAN) cheating on his wife-any news on that?

I can just hear the answer on that one so I will answer it for you: He and Tebow have a purely platonic relationship.

Yeah, but that’s just until they’re married. Tebow is saving himself.

ponks-in-TN

December 13th, 2010
12:45 pm

Come on Tony; I usually agree with you on the majority of the issues, but who gives a rat’s hind end if Florida’s announcement (or leak) of Muscamp coincided with Cam Newton’s Heisman announcement. For one, I think the Florida announcement was THE more important issue…!!!

Bama Dude

December 13th, 2010
12:46 pm

Yeah, murfdawg he’s probably available. Bama was in take_the_best_you_can_get mode then. Ugly days.

sectime

December 13th, 2010
12:47 pm

Either Florida knew exactly what they were up to releasing new coach information during the Heisman presentation, or their PR department is as capable as their offense. Florida thinks “class” is somewhere you really don’t have to attend. Sour grapes Gators!

Insider

December 13th, 2010
12:48 pm

Rumor is that Muschamp is set to name Richt the Team Chaplain’s job in Gainesville.

ga gator

December 13th, 2010
12:50 pm

sectime, are you stupid or just didn’t read. UF released it as official only after Tebow had tweeted it 3 hours earlier after he heard it from his agent (Jimmy Sexton) who is also Muschamp’s agent.

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:51 pm

Regarding the timing of the Muschamp announcement and the Heisman ceremony . . . . Does anyone really think this upstaged the Heisman presentation for Cam Newton. The timing, however, was a great way to get the attention of every Florida commitment and recruit who feared the worst when Meyer announced his resignation. Personally, I think the Florida sports information director deserves a gold star for the timing of the announcement.

Russ

December 13th, 2010
12:51 pm

You judge Florida for the timing of their announcement but ignored the “integrity” clause and voted for Cam Newton in the Heisman. You’re a hypocrit. God bless.

King Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:51 pm

Who cares when it was released.. good timing.. college football/sec fans tuned in for Cam’s Heisman and got the latest news in college football … It worked for me and I’m sure ESPN loved it. Go Gators!

Saint Simons wierd friend

December 13th, 2010
12:52 pm

Ok Tony, here it is:

Auburn will stink next year, Gus or no Gus. They had a one time deal (paid for) on the big stage, hope they enjoyed and and are allowed to play FBall next 5 yrs.

UF-
decent hire, they will be 2nd in east to UGA. UGA will win east next yr, USC will fall off again. Defense was not UF problem this year. Leadership maybe, Meyer head was dealing with rumors that have still not been reported but will soon come out. It aint’ is heart:) Well maybe, but not medically speaking.

Muschamp-
This is the ony article nationally/locally I have seen him be mentioned as ex-UGA player, which is odd. You would think that would be an interesting part to the news?

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:52 pm

Insider—-Thanks, but the Gators have plenty of their own former football players who have become ministers.

Bad Timing

December 13th, 2010
12:53 pm

The timing of the Muschamp hire was terrible. To break the news right in the middle of the Heisman trophy presentation was in poor taste. Then to put out a press release a few minutes after Newton won……most unusual. To an outside neutral observer it would seem Florida was trying to put a damper on Cam’s win. They wouldn’t do that on purpose…..would they???

dawgfan

December 13th, 2010
12:53 pm

So glad that it was Mustchamp!!! That means we can’t lose next year against the Gaytors!! Dawgs here we go! Barnhart is wrong, UGA will be SEC East champins next year. You read it first from dawgfan. Write it down.

Class dismissed.

King Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:54 pm

Muschamp hitting the Florida high schools this week..I’m sure he’ll be at the H.S. Football State Championships in Florida this weekend. Lots of talent on display and a good time to hit the ground running with recruiting. Go Gators!

PonGT

December 13th, 2010
12:54 pm

Nice article, insightful information, and a troubling prediction, which begs the question : Does Richt have to win the SEC and beat FLA to keep his job?

King Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:55 pm

dawgfan.. what’s it like to be drunk @ 12:54 pm on a Monday? Go Gators!

Atlanta Gator

December 13th, 2010
12:55 pm

sectime—-Actually, CLASS is something that every Gator athlete is REQUIRED to attend, and will get you benched if you don’t. But thanks for the snarky comment anyway.