Foley Moves Fast, Lands Muschamp
By Paul Myerberg // Dec 12, 2010
Jeremy Foley moves fast. If Will Muschamp was not his top choice — maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t — then the Florida athletic director made quick work adding and crossing names off his list, coming to a decision as to Urban Meyer’s successor only three days after the wildly successful Meyer opted to resign for the second time in as many seasons. So it’s Muschamp, late of Texas, late of Auburn, L.S.U. and Georgia, and one of the nation’s most esteemed defensive minds.
It’s hard to not be a little surprised. Muschamp was the head-coach-in-waiting at Texas, after all, and if one program can match Florida for money, prestige and a deep recruiting base, it’s the program in Austin. If you’re looking for a reason why Muschamp would leave that opportunity for another, think about the timeline: yes, Muschamp is poised to replace Mack Brown — unfortunately, there’s no evidence that Brown is stepping down any time soon.
Looking for another reason? Try Muschamp’s background: prior to Texas, it was all SEC, dating back to his playing days and extending through his early rise through the coaching ranks. You can rest assured that Muschamp always pictured a return to the SEC; of course, it’s easy to say that in hindsight.
There’s no doubt that the Texas job is one of the best in the nation, thanks both to the program already in place — thanks to Mack Brown — and the ease with which U.T. recruits the area. It’s slightly harder to stockpile talent in Gainesville, though that’s merely because of the competition: there’s more talent in the Sunshine State, it seems, but Muschamp will be competing for signatures with Jimbo Fisher and a yet-to-be named coach at Miami (Fla.), though a coach like Randy Edsall, for instance, doesn’t exactly reel in the big names.
For Muschamp, the Florida job was a step up. That very may well be; it clearly was in this case, for a coach whose roots in SEC country run deep. From Georgia — where to Muschamp was an all-conference safety — to L.S.U., where Muschamp cut his teeth under Nick Saban, to Auburn, where Muschamp’s fiery demeanor and dominating defenses first earned him national recognition, Muschamp has a connection to this conference that proved impossible ignore.
Yes, it’s still surprising. On the other hand, it’s hard not to be excited at the thought of this maniac — and I use with utmost praise — at the helm of a premier SEC program. Florida’s recruiting, which had taken a hit in 2010, will heat back up quickly.
But what of Muschamp’s staff? This is key, as Mack Brown’s struggles at Texas this fall can attest: Muschamp will need to compile a balanced staff, one that combines his defensive acumen with an offensive philosophy capable of scoring in the SEC. Scratch that: a better example with be this year’s Gators, who were woefully inept on offense.
One name to watch: Texas running backs coach Major Applewhite. Word now is that Applewhite will come with Muschamp as Florida’s offensive coordinator, a position he held at Rice in 2006 and Alabama a season later. Is that a big enough name around which to build an offensive staff?
It’s a start, though Florida fans were likely expecting bigger — try Dana Holgorsen, for instance. But it’s a start: like Jeremy Foley, expect Muschamp to move fast in compiling his assistants.
Now, let’s say that Muschamp surrounds himself with a premier offensive staff; that would involve Florida ponying up some cash, but that shouldn’t be a problem. If he lands some aces — it’s going to be exciting.
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Tags: Florida, Jeremy Foley, Mack Brown, Texas, Will Muschamp
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