HOOVER, Ala.- It’s Will Muschamp’s third SEC media days. He gave an almost 20 minute opening statement in which he rarely stopped to breathe, or look down at his notes. He spoke at a mile a minute, rattling off the status of his program and where he hopes it will go this season.
“We made some strides in our second season. I think as you look back from year one to year two, obviously the record was better, which is good. But more than anything to me, the roster in our locker room is much better,” Muschamp said. This is Muschamp looking at the big picture.
Florida finished 11-2 last season, they got every break imaginable all season and made the most of them. The record isn’t what’s most important to him though, it’s the culture of his team that is paramount.
When Muschamp arrived at Florida, he spoke of the Florida way, the new way he wanted to do things.
“There’s a certain thing that I’m going to refer to as the Florida Way, and that’s the way they need to act and that’s the way they need to represent our university,” Muschamp said the day he took over as head coach at UF. It was a symbolic statement of eradicating the sense of entitlement and the general thuggish stench that was around the program during the Meyer years.
As Muschamp drifted farther and farther away from Meyer’s tenure, he expected to deal with his predecessor’s negative connotation less and less. That all changed thanks to a certain ex-Florida tight end’s recent alleged misdeeds.
But Muschamp hasn’t let the recent swell of negativity get in the way of what he’s building at Florida and he’s pleased with where the team stands.
“From a discipline standpoint, from a character standpoint, from a buy‑in standpoint, when you have eight come‑from‑behind wins in a season, that says a lot about where you are as a program and where your kids are as far as the buy‑in is concerned, which obviously excites me,” Muschamp said.
The culture change has not always been a smooth one. as there have been bumps in the road. A Jessamen Dunker incident here, an Antonio Morrison incident there. The misdeeds of his student-athletes are something Florida’s headman takes seriously. The responsibility of guiding young men is a role Will Muschamp embraces wholeheartedly.
“When you sign a student‑athlete to come to the University of Florida, I look at his parents, guardians, whoever is important to him in his life, tell them it’s my job to be an extension of what’s already happened at home. But you’re a hundred percent responsible for the young man,“ Muschamp said.
The arc of the Hernandez story and the impact it’s had on the narrative of Florida’s offseason is one that has produced a lot of negative buzz around the Florida football program. Gator fans can be content in the fact that while their head coach could be listening, the noise isn’t something he’s concerned about.
“I worry about our football team, our preparation for camp, offense, defense, special teams, our psyche as we head into fall camp and out of it. I don’t worry about what anybody else says or thinks,” Muschamp said.