Will Muschamp Wants Urban Meyer's Involvement at Florida
Yet that's exactly what happened late last week, and Muschamp, who unabashedly describes himself as an overachiever, has returned to his childhood home as the new coach at Florida. The Gators lured Muschamp away from the University of Texas to one of the most prestigious jobs in the country, despite his lack of any head coaching experience.
"I certainly didn't feel like Jeremy Foley (UF's director of athletics) would call me but I was certainly relieved and pleased that he did," Muschamp said Tuesday night during his introductory news conference from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Muschamp, who was the Texas head coach-in-waiting and considered one of the up-and-comers in the college coaching profession, is no stranger to UF and the Southeastern Conference. At 39, he is also the second-youngest coach in the SEC behind Mississippi State's Dan Mullen.
Known for his passion, energy and work ethic, Muschamp detailed his blueprint for the Gators.
He explained UF would implement a pro-style scheme both on offense and defense, and he wants his best best athletes on special teams. Muschamp plans to build his program on trust, respect and communication. He expects the Gators to be tough physically and mentally, he expects them to graduate and he expects them to win championships. He wants his team to be known as a blue collar, overachieving unit.
"We are going to recruit good players here," said Muschamp, who has a reputation for being one of the best recruiters in the nation.
"But they need to buy into the fact that with the talent they have and what God's blessed them with, and stretch it to the potential they got. So, if we buy into that blue-collar attitude, which is what I am, an overachiever, and I think a player is a reflection of their coach, hopefully we can sell that our football team and produce that attitude on the field."
And, by the way, Muschamp also wants Urban Meyer to remain involved. Muschamp replaces Meyer, who resigned last Wednesday. The two talked on the telephone last Saturday while Foley interviewed Muschamp in his Texas living room.
"The more I talked to him the more I liked him," Muschamp said.
"I can tell you this right now, as long as Will Muschamp is the head coach at the University of Florida, Urban Meyer is going to be involved in this program. He will be a great sounding board for me. He needs to be involved in this program.
"The perception can be whatever it is out there. I deal in the real world, I deal in reality. I've got no ego. My agenda is the players and the University of Florida. It's about winning -- that's what the fun is. It's about winning football games and doing it the right way. I am excited to be able to work with him."
Muschamp says he has "zero timetable" on hiring his staff.
"It's not about doing the easiest thing, it's not about doing the quickest thing, it's about making the best decision," said Muschamp, who added that he had not extended any job offers. According to the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News, Muschamp is targeting Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
While Muschamp said he doesn't have a timetable to hire his staff -- Meyer will coach the Gators against Penn State in the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl -- he admitted his hire at offensive coordinator is critical to the program's success.
Muschamp indicated he wants a coach with experience at both the pro and college levels. He believes in a big-play, explosive offense that helps set the tone and changes the vertical field position.
"We want to be balanced in what we do regardless of who we hire, which will obviously be a big hire for me being a defensive coach," Muschamp said.
Muschamp certainly knows defense.
During his three years at Texas, the Longhorns led the nation with 119 sacks and ranked in the Top 10 nationally in several other major categories, including allowing opponents to rush for only 96.7 yards a game. Muschamp had a combined eight players drafted in the last two NFL drafts.
Muschamp said the difference between the SEC and other leagues around the country is the exceptional talent along the line of scrimmage, specifically on defense. Muschamp also explained why he decided to leave Texas, where the Longhorns were counting on him to replace Mack Brown at some point.
"Having lived in Gainesville, having understood the community, having been in the SEC for a long time, knowing the tradition of this program and really, the potential of this program, to continue to play at a high level, compete for championships year in and year out, the recruiting base is phenomenal," said Muschamp, who barely paused for a breath during his 45-minute meet-and-greet.
"All the critical factors that I look at in a job, all of the things are here at this job. When Jeremy called about the fit , I agreed with him No. 1. And then No. 2, when he offered the job I took it immediately. Mack was happy for Will Muschamp. He knew I was ready to be a head coach and he knew that's what I wanted at the end of the day, and I think he was very pleased for me. I appreciate that."