Will the UGA grad Muschamp be hailed or reviled by Gators?

We know Georgia fans — some of them, anyway — were hoping Will Muschamp would be the Bulldogs’ next coach. (He’s from here, played here, et cetera.) Tonight he’ll be introduced as Florida’s coach, and I’m wondering how he’ll be received in the realm of the reptile.

Yeah, he’d done as much as any assistant could to prove his bona fides. But shouldn’t the nation’s most prestigious program — show me another school with three national championships over the past 15 years — have been able to attract someone who’d actually won a game as a head coach?

The extremely opinionated Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel admitted Monday he was “conflicted” and asked readers to help him decide if Muschamp would be a stud or a dud. (Apropos of nothing, I feel compelled to note that Bianchi is the only writer I’ve ever read who has quoted liberally from the Wet Willie song “Keep On Smiling.”)

This correspondent, who much preferred the Marshall Tucker Band to Wet Willie, would put the hiring of Muschamp far above Jeremy Foley’s wrong-headed tapping of Ron Zook but significantly below Foley’s on-the-rebound courtship of Urban Meyer. Muschamp was a far more successful assistant than the Zooker, who’d been demoted as Florida’s defensive coordinator by Steve Spurrier, but the Urbanator arrived in Gainesville having satisfied Spurrier’s criterion for judging a coach.

“If you want to know whether a guy can win,” Spurrier has famously said, “look at his record.” Meyer came to Florida having gone 10-2 at Bowling Green and off an undefeated season with Utah. (Funny how nobody ever mentions that the 2004 Utes didn’t get a chance to play for the BCS title, either.)

Muschamp has no won-lost record. He has done superior work as a defensive coordinator at LSU, Auburn and Texas, but there’s a difference in coaching half a squad as opposed to the whole enchilada. (Or, as Jim Donnan once had it, “the whole chilardo.”)

There’s never a guarantee any hire will yield a championship, but there’s a comfort that comes with handing over a program to someone who has run one before. I’m a little surprised Florida didn’t go that route, and I’m thinking one or two Rowdy Reptiles will feel the same. I’m thinking Muschamp will face a much tougher audience in Gainesville than he would have, say, in Athens.

Win the SEC East and you’re a Bulldog savior. Win only the SEC East and Gator fans will wonder why you’re stealing their money.  That’s a different crowd down there. It was, let’s recall, two disgruntled Florida fans who created the legendary fireronzook.com — nine months before the Zooker ever coached a game.

By Mark Bradley

234 comments Add your comment

rawdawg

December 14th, 2010
8:27 am

Mark Bradley

December 14th, 2010
8:30 am

Rawdawg on a roll. Kudos once more.

Benjamin

December 14th, 2010
8:33 am

When you have a name like “Ron Zook,” you’re not going to be good at anything that doesn’t involve calculators or test tubes.

Muschamp… now THERE’s a winning name…

[On a serious note, I don't know how he'll be received, but I do think he's a good coach and worthy of being tapped. We'll see how it goes.]

82Dawg

December 14th, 2010
8:33 am

Mark don’t put all Dawgs in the same basket. I am not happy with just an East championship. Once again you are way off on judging Ga fans.

Bubba

December 14th, 2010
8:37 am

Marshall Tucker? Poor imitation of the Allman Brothers.

Jason

December 14th, 2010
8:39 am

If Georgia actually wins against Florida next year (big IF), then might some of the Gator faithful accuse Will of throwing the game on behalf of his alma mater?

And as a Georgia grad, I don’t know how I feel about having a Bulldawg run the Gators – but there is a perverse pride in knowing that if Florida does well they’ll owe it all to a DAWG.

Jean Shorts Torture

December 14th, 2010
8:40 am

The Zooker’s caption mentions “career assistant.” I’d say it’s a little unfair to compare the 39-year-old Muschamp to a “career assistant.”

Dude was about to be head coach at Texas. If he’s good enough for the Longhorns, he’s good enough for the Gators.

TommyP

December 14th, 2010
8:41 am

Not disappointed Muschamp took Florida job at all. There are tons of great coaches out there should Georgia fail again next year.

For now, I’m backing Richt to rebound.

MURPHY

December 14th, 2010
8:41 am

Bianchi is a weenie! He is a dud himself!

Muschamp will be a good coach,but it wont happen overnight.He will take his lumps and have to grow into the position.He will need 2-3 years to show he can be successfull.Hope the Gator Nation is patient with him.

First Muschamp Mistake

December 14th, 2010
8:42 am

Muschamp makes an offer to Kirby Smart knowing that Kirby won’t move from Bama unless it’s for a HC position. That way, Muschamp can say he looked for a DC before deciding to do it himself. The guy can’t resist coaching the D. He will bite off more than he can chew. Then the Gator fans will start chomping on him.

Hoss

December 14th, 2010
8:42 am

As Chris Low pointed out, Asst’s becoming head coaches in the SEC hasn’t worked out too well, with the exception of superstar Mark Richt.

90% chance Muschamp has a bad year in 2011.

http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/17876/first-time-head-coaches-in-the-sec

SimpleDawg

December 14th, 2010
8:43 am

There’s a big difference between being “a guy” and being “the guy”……..

We’ll see what happens, but I have to think that a lot of Gators are not too happy about having a former Bulldog as the lizard leader.

MURPHY

December 14th, 2010
8:44 am

Bianchi is a dud himself. He is the most irratating sports writer I have seen. Muschamp will do good if he is given the time.He will have to learn the hard way and he will takes his lumps.He will need 2-3 years to get this program turned around.Hope the Gator Nation will be patient with him.

South Ga Dawg

December 14th, 2010
8:44 am

WHO CARES???? LET THE BIG DAWG EAT!!!!

ARdawg

December 14th, 2010
8:46 am

I wish Muschamp all the best unless of course he is coaching against my Dawgs however, please stop all the references about his playing for Georgia. He is now a Gator. He made that distinction by turncoating and agreeing to be their Corch. Muschamp is the enemy. Make no mistake

Bubba

December 14th, 2010
8:46 am

Bianchi is the tool that wrote that UGA’s accomplishments in football are no greater than South Carolina’s — the most ignorant comment ever made.

just facts

December 14th, 2010
8:49 am

don’t know or really care whether Muschamp succeeds or not but what is funny is that a lot of uga faithful were just salivating and screaming for the dawgs to dump richt and hire muschamp but now that fla has hired him, muschamp has suddenly become an ex unproven assistant that richt can take advantage of. you gotta hand it to the dawg fans, the glass is always half full.
and dont forget…. it is only a couple of months till richt signs the “dream team” and dreams of a national championship start hitting the blogs.

Hank Williams Jr.

December 14th, 2010
8:50 am

passs deee sugarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

ARdawg

December 14th, 2010
8:51 am

just facts…….. succit Nerd

ron

December 14th, 2010
8:51 am

well if he wins, he’s hailed. it’s not that complicated.

Dawg_Mike

December 14th, 2010
8:51 am

I could care less. He is now a Gator and I dislike the Gators and whoever coaches them.

MURPHY

December 14th, 2010
8:53 am

just facts,

This is a fact! 1-9 in last 10 against UGA!

1eyedJack

December 14th, 2010
8:53 am

Jim Donnan will never be confused with a Rhodes Scholar. What ‘cha got Loran?

Bob Sacamano

December 14th, 2010
8:56 am

Muschamp is not head coach material. Think Brian Van Gorder…

MURPHY

December 14th, 2010
8:57 am

Van Gorder isnt head coach material either.Ask Ga Southern for a reference.

D Fence

December 14th, 2010
8:57 am

“This Old Cowboy” doesnt really care if Bill Bellichek is the coach of the high and mighty Gators. If the Dawgs would do what they can do in Jax, then we will start winning again. Until then, it really doesnt matter. But I just dont know how a real UGA man could ever don those colors though regardless of the cash.

Jean Shorts Torture

December 14th, 2010
8:58 am

just facts,

Do they think you’re a Jacket because you’re right and therefore more intelligent?

Quincy for Heisman.

Bob Sacamano

December 14th, 2010
8:58 am

That was the point Murphy!

PreyDawg

December 14th, 2010
8:58 am

First of all as a life long DAWG, Muschamp is now dead to me. End of discussion.

Second, Mark your article yesterday clearly implies that WHEN Richt fails to win the East he should be fired. Riddle me this….What if he does win it? The tone from most of the so called fans and from you guys at the AJC is that winning the East will STILL not be enough. In that case Richt will have only won win Florida and SC were down and he had an easy schedule. So if he wins the east do we let him off the matt or is he still a lousy coach that had a good year in your estimation.

layinlow

December 14th, 2010
8:59 am

Reports out of gainesville are Kirby Smart will stay at Bama and Applewhite is staying at Texas. Looks like boy wonder Muschamp has already hit a snag. I wish him nothing but the worst.

1eyedJack

December 14th, 2010
8:59 am

The first time Muschamp loses to UGA the Flurida fans will cry foul and want to hang him.

Anybody remember Jeff Zook? He and Humphrey made a good tandem of DE’s for the birds.

Bob Sacamano

December 14th, 2010
8:59 am

Just because you are a fine assistant does not mean you will be a good head coach!

ARdawg

December 14th, 2010
9:00 am

Sacamano

BVG has been a HC, that didn’t work out too well for Ga So. Fact is, some assistants just don’t cut the mustard as a HC but, are excellent assistants and he is a fine example.

Muschamp in all probability will be a decent HC. If he can win enough to appease the Florida fans will be another matter. They’re an impatient bunch. I’d lay a bet he’s fired inside of 4 years

Answer man.

December 14th, 2010
9:00 am

I’ll tell you who Mushchamp will be reviled by. The very numerous Georgia residents who can’t spell D O G. Their vitriolic hatred for hometown boys who end up elsewhere has been on display for weeks. Witness the disgusting comments, lies and inuendo about Cam Newton which have recently appeared on this and other blogs. Mean, hateful, nasty people they are. Muschamp is lucky to have escaped the cesspool inhabited by those despicable individuals.

Bob Sacamano

December 14th, 2010
9:00 am

Some can not deal with alumni, fans, media, parents, etc. There’s more to being the head man than coaching!

ARMY TRAINING!!!!!!!

December 14th, 2010
9:01 am

Winning solves everything. UGA why would Muschamp become your head coach when he already had a top 5 job in TX. The only way he leaves TX is to take another top program like FL. Don’t be dillusional GA is not a top 5 program, top 20 yes maybe top 15 but not top 5. Get over your whinny selves.

jumbeauxtiger

December 14th, 2010
9:02 am

Mark, Why would any established big time coach want to go to Florida? It’s a no-win situation, kind of like following Bear Bryant. This is not a negative. Meyer did what many coaches never do, win a national title and did it twice in 6 seasons. He has very big shoes to fill and I think that Muschamp is a better choice than going with a risky hire like Al Golden.

Bob Sacamano

December 14th, 2010
9:02 am

ARdawg you are missing the point. If you guys cannot understand my point then I’m outta here!

reasonable dawg

December 14th, 2010
9:03 am

Wrong Bubba!!! Marshall Tucker was great!! And I agree Ardawg, Muschamp is now the enemy. All the Richt haters that wanted him and Kirby Smart need to remember that. And Smart is a turncoat himself!

JB

December 14th, 2010
9:04 am

It’s that point in his life of a big crossroads. You have been given the keys. Now is the time you either end up with the names of Saban,Stoops,Carrol,Joe Pa……………..or Zook or Bill Lewis…..There is no turning back……..But if I was going to take that leap to become great, Florida is a place I’d want to take my chances. I say he does well and helps send Mark Richt to a comfy ACC school. Way too much talent at that place to lose, although Urban lost 5 games with a roster full of blue bloods.

Bob Sacamano

December 14th, 2010
9:04 am

“Think Brian Van Gordrer” means exactly that. Think of how he didn’t work out as a head coach!

ARdawg

December 14th, 2010
9:05 am

Sacamano

Oh no, I got your point. You seem to be pointing to the failure of BVG as to the destination of Muschamp. They are not related other than they are both assistants and Broyles award winners. Muschamp has the ability, Van Gorder, not so much.

Bob Sacamano

December 14th, 2010
9:06 am

Neither has the demeanor or polish to be a successful HC.

PMC

December 14th, 2010
9:09 am

No one cares what school you went too as long as you win.

ARdawg

December 14th, 2010
9:09 am

Sacamano

Now there is a good point. Muschamp is very tempermental as was Van Gorder. Florida fans are ruthless after a few losses. Will will be tested.

Clean House

December 14th, 2010
9:09 am

When Mushamp whips the dawgs next year then the Florida faithful will love him. He will be riding his players shoulders. Mark it down !

JaxGator

December 14th, 2010
9:10 am

Mark:
Apparently, you do not know the facts about the Zook hire. Spurrier’s resignation in January, right before national signing day, di not give Foley much time. Stoops, Shanahan, and others were contacted , but they would not take the job. Zook was familiar with recruiting at Florida and he was a panic hire. See Kiffin at USC, Dooley at Tennesee. We Gator fans never thought that Zook would be a long term head coach at Florida. The thinking among many Gator fans is that since Meyer’s resignation last year and the problems this year, that Foley already had a short list of potential candidates for the job. Most Gator fans have confidence in Foley’s judgment and are happy with the hiring of Muschamp. Only time and seasons will tell whether Foley made the right choice. Richt had never been a head coach when hired by Georgia; however, I hope that Muschamp will not turn out to be another Richt; we have higher expectations at Florida than apparently has Georgia. Also, you should look in the Gainesville Sun rather than paying attention to Bianchi; Muschamp was a Gator long before he went to Georgia; he tried to be a walk on at Florida before going to Georgia. I enjoy your columns, and unlike some fans of that “other” school, I do not get upset by your raising valid issues.

ARdawg

December 14th, 2010
9:11 am

Clean House

succit Nerd

JB

December 14th, 2010
9:12 am

Georgia people hated Donnan because of the way he treated the fans and the traditions ( Loran Smith). I wonder how Muschamp will handle that end of it. The Vols love Dooley’s personality, But will turn on him if he doesn’t win, but he’s great with the folks and the press.

NewnanDawg

December 14th, 2010
9:13 am

You think UF fans would trade Muschamp to UGA for Richt? Me thinks not.

McGarity…it’s worth a phone call though.