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

TDone

December 13th, 2010
7:18 am

It’s wishful thinking for the Muttlanders to be Florida will be down with the hiring of Muschamp.

ATLCold

December 13th, 2010
7:18 am

I like UF’s hire. Was surprised but I think CWM can collect a good group of coaches around him. He is intense.
Too early to tell who will win the SEC East in 2011, my opinion.
Quit defending Cam, the truth shall set you free.
Miami could have gotten a higher profile name but, remember, nobody know who Jim Tressle was before he got to OSU. You never know.
Why would he stay and coach Cam. Basically their offense has been give the ball to Cam and throw or run. I could coach Cam.

Best of College Park

December 13th, 2010
7:21 am

rocksteadyfreddie

December 13th, 2010
7:22 am

Mullen did it in 08.

17 of 20

December 13th, 2010
7:24 am

I think it is a great hire for the Gators, I hope he get’s Kirby Smart to run the defense.

Lilburn Dawg

December 13th, 2010
7:26 am

Is there any more information or rumor out there about Muschamp wanting to hire Kirby Smart and take him to Florida? If he does that, what are the chances of our Dawgs ever beating Florida again??

One Play away Ray

December 13th, 2010
7:27 am

Muschamp didn’t look real good this year. How do you lose that many games with more talent than anyone else on your schedule?

Jake

December 13th, 2010
7:29 am

Gators did not put this off. They were very speedy with this.

How Sad Tony

December 13th, 2010
7:29 am

A brand new coach at Florida and yet they are predicted to win the east. If that isn’t an indictment on Mark Richt and his program then I don’t know what is.

Ed

December 13th, 2010
7:31 am

The speed and the timing of the hire certainly raises the question…

Fig Newton

December 13th, 2010
7:31 am

Muschamp breaks the ‘ Coach in Waiting ‘ contract,

then jumps from a sorry 5-7 team to a mediocre 7-5 team.

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
7:33 am

Being a Dawg Fan I wish Muschamp all the best. With that said I do not see him ready to be a Head Coach in the SEC. I believe down the road he will be successfull but it will take 3-4 years and it will be interesting to see if the Gator Nation will be patient with him.As a Dawgs fan I did breathe a big sigh of relief that Mullen wasnt the man.Good luck to the Gator Nation and it will be a good time in Jacksonville next year. A Dawg leading the Gators!

Jean Shorts Torture

December 13th, 2010
7:35 am

Tony, you are DEAD WRONG!!! Miami fans don’t show up even when they’re winning big.

I hope you’re right on everything else though.

Reality Stinks

December 13th, 2010
7:36 am

Tony

Not a FL fan by no means but

Who cares if FL made there annoucement during Sham Newtons heisman

This crap him and his father created is a joke to college football anyway

Why not Mullen?

December 13th, 2010
7:37 am

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
7:40 am

Someone tell Mullen to sit tight. If Richt leaves next year,Im sure we will offer him that position.

Dawgbreath

December 13th, 2010
7:40 am

Lordy, Spurrier will eat Muschamp for lunch (and everyone else) with that cast he has coming back. No way Muschamp installs new defense and new offense and wins the east. Ask UGA or UT for that matter.

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
7:43 am

Dawgbreath,

I dont know about all the rest of the Dawg nation but Im in no way concerned that the Gators hired Muchamp.What I mean is: Not intimidated one bit.The series might begin to swing back to the Dawgs here shortly.Glad it wasnt Mullen!

Big Al

December 13th, 2010
7:43 am

Wow new coach at Flordia and already endorsement from TB that they win the East. DAWG fans must be wondering what passed them by—a chance to be better than average that is what.

Once again UGA lags and excuses are made

December 13th, 2010
7:45 am

So comical that some UGA fans now all of a sudden thinks this is a bad hire. But if UGA had hire this guy it would have been the greatist hire in college football. Now the Richt apologisst are out in droves with excuses. Comical I say ! I guess it will once again will have to be proven nexy year that this program is spiraling under CMR. Just wait and see folks !

59bulldawg

December 13th, 2010
7:46 am

For the new Florida offensive coordinator I would like to strongly suggest his old buddy and former teammate Mike Bobo. Wink! Wink!

Ryno

December 13th, 2010
7:46 am

Florida easily could win the East this season. The D could be formidable if all the freshmen stay, and there’s no guarantee they will. That said, I’m glad Foley couldn’t sway or didn’t try to sway Mullen, Malzahn, or Petersen.
I guess this time next year the Dogs will have to call Kirby Smart home. I don’t think Muschamp would leave UF after a year.

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
7:48 am

Once again Uga,

Sorry,this is one Dawg fan that did not want Muschamp or Smart has head coach in Athens.Neither are ready to be a SEC Head Coach. Florida Fans will see this quickly. I want Mullen in Athens if Richt leaves.

59bulldawg

December 13th, 2010
7:48 am

Murphy . . . Amen! . . . to that comment about Mullen! Sit tight coach.

MURPHY

December 13th, 2010
7:49 am

Florida will regret not hiring Mullen back.

Bull Gator

December 13th, 2010
7:51 am

Should have hired Mullen! Welcome back 1980’s style Gators! The beginning of the end for championship seasons!

Hogtown

December 13th, 2010
7:52 am

TB, I’m not saying there weren’t issues on defense, but the main problems at Florida this year were the offensive line and the offensive game plan / play calling. A top-flight offensive coordinator is definitely needed to replace Addazio, but there needs to be some talent/experience to plug the holes on the O line.

SimpleDawg

December 13th, 2010
7:52 am

We certainly hope they’re taking a BIG chance hiring Muschamp.

The announcement timing was all part of the plan.

beakerdawg

December 13th, 2010
7:53 am

why do you constantly defend a shady player, parent, university and governing body against the very sacred college football institution that you claim to hold so dear to your heart? It doesn’t take a GED to figure this out…

Old Gold

December 13th, 2010
7:53 am

Bet probation is coming up for the Gators! Meyer didn’t want to fall on his sword!

SOS Dawg

December 13th, 2010
7:53 am

Florida and Muschamp will bounce back a lot faster than these clowns in Athens. UGA will be hard pressed to win 7 games next year. Mark it down ! UGA needs Mullen Now !

59bulldawg

December 13th, 2010
7:55 am

2012 Georgia-Florida game could be very interesting with a former Dawg leading the Gators and a former Gator possibly leading the Dawgs!

Hogtown

December 13th, 2010
7:55 am

Mullen was my preferred choice as well. Hopefully Foley doesn’t make us suffer another Zook era.

Wyltk

December 13th, 2010
7:56 am

If Florida wins the East next year with another 1st year coach, and a promoted coordinator at that, then Richt needs to go. He has similar burn-out issues to Meyer going on and just doesn’t have the fire any more, something Muschamp will never be accused of. It’s not something that you just flip the switch and turn back on, as much as Richt is telling himself he can do. Georgia will likely be a better team next year but with 8-4ish type results, it will be time to cut the cord with Richt.

59bulldawg

December 13th, 2010
7:58 am

How much would the buyout be next year if Richt is fired?

winterDawg

December 13th, 2010
8:00 am

I also breathed a sigh of relief when they didn’t get Mullen.

AU WDE

December 13th, 2010
8:00 am

I like Muschamp a lot, but I’m not sure he was the right guy for the job. After all he was the D Coordinator for a losing team this year. Good luck to you Will and appreciate your time with AU.

Gay ness ville stinks!

December 13th, 2010
8:00 am

The sad truth is UF could hire Larry the Cable Guy to coach the team and they would still beat UGA. Our coach is soft and our team reflects that. He has niether the drive or the smarts to get it done against UF.

RattlerMan

December 13th, 2010
8:01 am

I think that UF pulled a rabbit out of the hat with this hire. I’m an Alabama fan and I think that this hire puts UF right back where they were. He will recruit and recruit and recruit and their defense will be great.

icallbs

December 13th, 2010
8:01 am

I’m really disappointed FL did not buy 90 minute worth of air time to do a complete bio of Muschamp that ran side by side with the sportswriters/ESPN sponsored Heisman entertainment award. Quack, quack.

Jerry

December 13th, 2010
8:04 am

Yeah Tony, we know, you write every year that the Gators will win the East, and Alabama will win the West.

You were dead wrong this year, and you’ll be dead wrong next season too.

Dooley the Vol

December 13th, 2010
8:05 am

Muschamp had to go while he had some value, UT had 4-5 stars all over and the D was weak. Jury is out on this hire.
Malzahn may tell more about the situation at AU. get out before the #^%$ starts flying.

Timing

December 13th, 2010
8:09 am

I can just about guarantee the Gators knew exactly what they were doing on that press release timing Sat night.I’m no Gator fan! But I would like to say,THANK YOU! Basically, I took it as telling Cam and AU to go pound sand.So,Thanks again from MANY of your brothers in the SEC.

Godzilla's Cuz

December 13th, 2010
8:11 am

No matter who UF hired, Dawgs will never give them credit………….until they kick the Dawgs arses again the last Saturday in October, 2011.

Arch Dawg

December 13th, 2010
8:14 am

Why would Mullen leave Starkville where he is king of the castle to go to UGA, especially after he turned Florida down?

SEC_Analyst

December 13th, 2010
8:14 am

Mullen was such an obvious choice for Florida that one has to wonder what might have led them to hire Muschamp instead. The Gators appear to be seeking a clean break from a coaching staff that led them to their most successful era in Florida football history. I can’t wait for someone to write a book explaining everything that led up to this unusual season in the SEC.

JB

December 13th, 2010
8:16 am

Complete roll of the dice. That’s just the facts.

HBTD!!!

Look4UFin2012

December 13th, 2010
8:19 am

The Gators looked lost this year.Now they have a hungry young Coach and a ton of hungry talent.They will lose a few games next year,But look out for this bunch in 2012.imo

Gator Mike

December 13th, 2010
8:19 am

Welcome Coach Muschamp. Since he is an UGA guy at heart, the UF-UGA rivalry should get very interesting if he is successful. If he works out wel for UF, this may the potential of being a scenario of the same type when an Auburn boy (Vince Dooley) became an UGA legend, but it is way too early to tell. All the best to CWM.
On another note, I am disturbed that Meyer’s health problem persists. The SEC is tough, and this shows the potential health problems associated with being a coach in t he SEC.
Merry Christmas to all!
Go Gators!

Alphare

December 13th, 2010
8:19 am

Somehow I feel TN will win the east next season. Usually 2nd or 3rd year coaches have a big splash.