We of the Gator Nation need to give him a chance. As a Gator who has been bleeding orange and blue since Spurrier was a quarterback here, I"ve seen a lot of coaches come and go and some who had far better credentials to start ,were absolute disasters (Doug Dickey etc).
Jeremy Foley is taking a risk in hiring Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to replace Urban Meyer.
As you’ve surely seen pointed out by other columnists, Muschamp has a few things in common with Foley’s last failed hire, Ron Zook. Both were defensive coordinators. Both had never been a head coach. Both were expected to be great recruiters.
Both were risks.
Florida is one of the three to five best jobs in college football (Texas, Alabama, Southern Cal, Ohio State, etc). Resources, recruiting base, facilities, 20 years of dominance… all are going for the Gators.
So why in the world would Foley rush to hire someone who is a risk? And before you say that all coaches are risks, let me say, “Yes, but some are bigger than others.”
Miami has just hired Temple’s Al Golden. Golden rebuilt arguably the worst football program in the country and he did so quickly. Like Muschamp, his name has been attached to every coaching vacancy in the country these last two years.
So who got the better coach, Miami or Florida? Florida’s hire is “sexier” from a name-recognition standpoint. Muschamp’s already a YouTube star.
But Golden has a track record. He’s run a program and run it well. He’s proven that for at least half a decade he can coach well without having the best talent in America. Imagine if he’d been allowed to recruit the state of Florida.
Oh, wait. He will get that opportunity at Miami.
I’m not saying that Golden should have been Foley’s first choice. I am saying that Muschamp shouldn’t have been his first choice. With Florida’s name and resources, Foley owed it to Gator fans to search high and low for UF’s next man. The idea that he focused in on Muschamp and contacted only him is literally breathtaking. No call to Bob Stoops? No whisper to Bobby Petrino? No pebble to the window of Kyle Whittingham or even Jon Gruden? Why not? Foley could have always fallen back to Muschamp.
* The happiest man in the USA today? John Brantley. With Major Applewhite reportedly joining Muschamp’s staff as offensive coordinator, Brantley should get a shot to run a “normal” offense. Applewhite was on the Texas staff that helped Colt McCoy become a third-round NFL draft pick. Brantley will still need his receivers and O-line to help him out, but he’ll at least be playing in a system that should better suit his skills.
* FootballScoop.com is reporting the following: “We are told that Muschamp is trying to put together a “pretty serious” coaching staff.” Supposedly, Muschamp is considering LSU running backs coach Frank Wilson, Buffalo Bills linebackers coach Giff Smith, former Memphis head coach Tommy West and the aforementioned Applewhite. The source told the site, “He has 14 he wants to hire, at least, but you only get 9.”
There have also been reports that Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is a target for Muschamp and Florida.
* Anyone else remember another SEC school casting its lot with an unproven head coach and his so-called “super staff?” For Florida’s sake, let’s hope Muschamp’s “dream job” doesn’t open up a year from now as Lane Kiffin’s did.
* A few Florida fans and media types pooh-poohed the idea of hiring Dan Mullen. In their view, Mullen wasn’t proven enough to deserve the Gator job. But isn’t Muschamp — technically speaking — a bigger risk than Mullen?
* Foley could have gone after Mullen or Strong had he wanted to try and keep the Meyer train rolling. He did not. So does that tell us anything? Speculation Alert — It might tell us that Foley had come to wonder whether or not Meyer’s spread-option system would really work in the SEC… without a Tim Tebow or Cam Newton at quarterback. And those guys don’t come around very often. (I’ve seen two in 39 years.)
* Tony Barnhart of The AJC doesn’t buy the “risk” talk that myself and so many others are tossing around today. In his view, “… 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.”
* Muschamp does have a great pedigree. He has everything but a head coach’s track record. (The same was once said about Stoops at Oklahoma.) In fact, if darn near any other SEC school had landed him, we at MrSEC would consider it a boffo hire. And we don’t toss around our “boffos” lightly. But Florida — and perhaps Alabama — are two of the biggest brand names in college football. For those two programs, the sky is the limit. They shouldn’t need to take chances or hire first-time head coaches.
In summary: We believe Muschamp will do well at Florida. We believe it is a good hire. We just don’t understand why Foley didn’t at least try to make an even better hire first.