Florida’s long season on the filed led to a very busy offseason for head ball coach Will Muschamp.
Just a day after the season ended, Muschamp announced that offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis would not be retained and then first year special teams coordinator Jeff Choate followed suit by leaving to re-join old boss Chris Peterson at Washington.
Muschamp filled those coaching vacancies with offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, offensive line coach Mike Summers and special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler.
For the first time since completing his 2014 coaching staff Muschamp met with the media to introduce his new staff members as well as give a state of the union for Florida football.
- The coaching staff didn’t start the search for two weeks following the season, instead focusing on recruiting and holding together the 2014 recruiting class.
- Muschamp developed a list of about five candidates for the offensive coordinator job but the name that kept popping up was Kurt Roper and his history for developing quarterbacks.
Did not realize he called the plays at Ole Miss while I was at LSU as defensive coordinator. He did a fantastic job there developing Eli Manning as his quarterback. Moving onto Kentucky with Andre Woodson, did a great job. To Tennessee, then Duke with Thaddeus Lewis and Sean Renfree, two guys playing in the National Football League right now. So the quarterback development part was there, which is critical in that position, what we’re trying to do.”
- Roper was heavily involved with the hire of the offensive line coach.
- Muschamp credited Summers for being a great teacher and said that developing some players that Florida has quickly will be key for him.
- Coleman Hutzler returned to Florida this year, this time as a special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach.
Coleman Hutzler is a guy that was with our staff the first year, understands and knows our special teams system, how we teach it, our teaching progression. He’ll implement it very well. A guy that really had a year interview so to speak the first year he was here. Did a fantastic job of improving New Mexico’s special teams units.”
- The Gators welcomed nine early enrollees this spring. All nine players will get a jump-start on adjusting to a new class load, the playbook and the strength and conditioning program.
- The nine early enrollees are DL Taven Bryan, DB Duke Dawson, TE DeAndre Goolsby, QB Will Grier, OL Kavaris Harkless, OL Nolan Kelleher, RB Brandon Powell, DB Jalen Tabor and Juco OL transfer Drew Savary.
- Three of the early enrollees came late to the class and were surprises to the coaching staff.
- Tabor was committed to Arizona before having a change of heart and deciding that he wanted to play closer to his home in Maryland.
- Kavaris Harkless was actually at Louisville, ready to enroll, when Charlie Strong took the head coaching job at Texas and he chose to enroll at Florida, closer to his home in Jacksonville.
- Brandon Powell was set to enroll at Miami before Florida offered him a scholarship last week. He quickly decided that Florida was the place for him and enrolled just days after receiving his scholarship offer.
- Despite a lackluster season, Muschamp insists that Florida has not fallen behind the other in-state schools in terms of recruiting.
Where will the assistant coaches recruit in-state?
- Mike Summers will recruit the panhandle, an area he handled while at Arkansas and Louisville.
- Brad Lawing will handle recruiting the local Gainesville area up to Baker County.
- Kurt Roper will split Jacksonville with Travaris Robinson.
- Travaris Robinson will split Jacksonville with Roper as well as continuing to handle south Florida.
- Joker Phillips will recruit Palm Beach County all the way up to Orlando.
- Coleman Hutzler will handle the Space Coast area all the way up to Duval County.
- D.J. Durkin will handle southwest Florida in the Fort Myers to Pinellas County area.
- Derek Lewis will take Polk and Hillsborough counties.
- Finally, Brian White will handle west central Florida.
A new offensive age at Florida
- Muschamp made it very clear that he has not called an offensive play while at the University of Florida. The offense that we see in 2014 will be Roper’s entirely, according to Muschamp.
- A defensive mind first and foremost, Muschamp believes that the new offensive system will benefit his defense in practice.
Defensively, look at all the teams we played. Of the 12 games we played, probably eight of them are up-tempo, seven, eight, something like that. You have to make those adjustments as you continue to move forward because that’s really where the game is moving and it helps you defensively be able to do that. You will coach more on film. When you are in up-tempo situations, you’re not getting a lot of coaching down on the field. You pick your spots when you’re able to do it.”
- There will be no change in the strength and conditioning program despite moving to an up-tempo offense.
As far as the way we will train in the weight room and the conditioning programs, no. Practice-wise we will be more up-tempo offensively but that’s going to help us defensively. Look at all the teams we play. Most all of them are not huddling. We will adjust some things in practice to make sure we do what we need to do. We need that defensively as well.”