Notebook: Muschamp Speaks in Tampa

Will Muschamp continued to make his spring rounds and met with the Tampa Gator Club at The Rusty Pelican in the Rocky Point area on May 5th – or as the Gator Club billed it, “Cinco de Muschamp.”

Will Muschamp spoke for a total of 65 minutes to a crowd of about 250 folks that received him well.

Here is an overview of many of the topics that Muschamp covered:


On going 4 – 8 last season:

“You change the (mentality) by winning. That means you change it my preparing. Having a great spring. Making the necessary changes in the program you’ve needed to make. I think our players are excited about playing football. I think last year we lost some confidence and belief in what we are doing. I think we have made those strides. We have 90 days until fall camp starts.”

“The championship experience at Florida is still there. We are going to a championship education – we are going to be a top-10 public school. When I am sitting with a student athlete and I tell you are going to have the chance to win a championship, on and off the field, and that hasn’t changed. I came to Florida to win a championship and to win a ring and I don’t think we are far from it. In my first three years we’ve been inconsistent, but we have been pretty good on defense and we are going to be next year. Our special teams, our coverages and return units have been very good. Our kicking was atrocious last year and we feel that we have handled that. Austin Hardin was 4-for-4 in the Orange and Blue game. Kicking the ball is no different than a golf swing. I think he is hitting the ball well. We need to get fixed on offense. After the season, I evaluated our 2012 season with Jeff Driskel as a quarterback and you looked at yards per play when we were under center and yards per play when we were in the (shot) gun – we were a much better football team when we were in the gun. Jeff Driskel was recruited to come to Florida to be a gun-run quarterback. I came to Kurt Roper who has done a fabulous job in developing quarterbacks, which was a huge prerequisite for me. I know Jeff is a very talented man. We need to do a better job at developing that position. I talked to a good friend of mine, Archie Manning, and he thought that Kurt Roper was as good as a coach for Eli Manning as any coach he has ever had.”

“It is unacceptable and it is my responsibility.”



“I think last year everyone marveled at how well we recruited, number one its still the University of Florida. Those relationships have been built over the last two years. Right now, we are probably in a holding pattern for a lot of kids. We are in great shape right now in recruiting. I am really ecstatic at how we are doing.”

“Can’t see much on the trail differently (after going 4-8, instead of 11-2). It was funny, my first year we went 7-6 and it was positive as ever going to speak, which was interested. After going 11-2 and the way we ended the season, I had more negativity at the Gator Clubs in that situation. I think most Gator fans see what we went through last season. They’re not accepting of it and neither am I.”


On Jeff Driskel:

“Driskel is fine. His injury is fine. After spring he got some screws out of his ankle. He did not do much as far as moving around before spring started. I really thought he had a good spring. I think he will have a breakout year.”

“I think there is a fine line (about wearing a red non-contact jersey). When our quarterback stays healthy we have a chance, when he doesn’t we don’t. we are going to make sure he is game ready. We are going to make sure that he has taken his shots – especially in (shot)gun run stuff. He needs to be protecting the football and you can’t do that unless you have some contact. There will be some, but we are not just going to open it up and let it be live.”


On injuries last season:

“I think as much as anything, we talked about strengthening the hamstring more – it can directly affect the flexibility and strengthen the ACL area. Two of the injuries we had were re-tears (of the ACL). That’s just football. We talked to a multiple people and feel very good where we are.”

“I talked to Dr. James Andrews and he said we were doing a lot of good things in the weight room.”


On players coming back from injury:

“The overall health is very good. Matt (Jones) and Alex (Anzalone) met with the orthopedics today and they will be cleared to play on May 12th. Matt Jones is far ahead of where we thought he would be at this time. Trenton Brown had scope on his wrist and he is fine and will be cleared within a week. Jeff had a couple screws removed the Monday after spring. We are as healthy as we have ever been in a long time. We are still working through the process with Colin Thompson.”


On the leadership of the team:

“I am really confident in this football program and the direction we are headed. You look up front Chaz Green and Max Garcia have been a cornerstone up front. Jeff Driskel has taken over the off-season, it’s his offense, he knows that. I feel really confident with our core of linebackers – Mike Taylor, Neiron Ball, Antonio Morrison – all guys that have played quality football. Vernon Hargreaves is an outstanding leader because of the way that he handles himself and the things he does. Dante Fowler has stepped in the role. Jon Bullard has too. When your best players are good guys, you’ve gotta chance. And that is where we are at now.”

“Dante Fowler, Vernon Hargreaves, Mike Taylor, Neiron Ball, Leon Orr – all of those guys I feel comfortable with defensive. Offensively – Max Garcia, Chaz Green, Jeff Driskel. When it is defined like that, you know who your leaders are.”


On open positions:

“We need to have another cornerback step-up. The talent and ability is there. Duke Dawson and Jalen Tabor, Brian Poole, are some guys that can step-up. We will have some young guys have the opportunity Deiondre Porter, Quincy Wilson. We need to sort things out at the safety position. I am concerned about the lack of experience on both lines of scrimmage. I like our first line players. I like the ability behind them, ability is not the issue. Joey Ivie consistently doing it well. Caleb Brantley, Jay-nard Bostwick, all of those guys need to consistently line-up and play in this league. No difference on the offensive side of the ball. The depth is there. They have not played consistently well enough to count-on.”


On loss of Dad:

“We’ve gotta move on. You gotta do your job. You gotta get back. It’s a tough deal. You gotta move forward. It’s good to get back and get working.”


On addition of new coaches:

“I think that Kurt (Roper) has done a great job in implementing the offense as much as we got in. He is a very good teacher. Very fundamental and simplistic in his approach. His positive energy has been what has impressed me with the players. The guys have really taken to him. You can see our offensive players having fun again, which is something we needed to see. I think Mike Summers is a very good fundamental coach. Over 30 years of experience, has coached in the National Football League. He has done a really nice job. I think Coleman Hutzler has done a good job in getting back to special teams things that I think fell off a bit. He has done a great job with our specialists. Austin Hardin had a very good spring. Frankie Velez has kicked well. Drew Hughes is a really hard-worker, very bright, very intelligent, understands our system and how we do things. I am really pleased with his operation and what we have been able to accomplish.”


On Dante Fowler:

“He came in as a freshman, heralded, got on campus and really developed through the season. He has natural pass rush ability. He has things you can’t coach. He is a really guy who can really get on the edge and rush the passer and I am looking for a breakout season from this young man. I have been around some really good ones – Sergio Kindle, Brian Orakpo, Jason Taylor – and Dante is just as good as any of those guys. He is a really good football player, with good work ethic. I am really pleased with him.”


On 2014 signee Deiondre Porter:

“We are going to play him as a corner. He is a long corner. He is a 6-foot-1 kid, 185 pounds. A 10.5-10.6 100 meter, it is hard to teach that kind of speed. He’s got great length and play making ability.”


On Vernon Hargreaves:

“Vernon Hargreaves is as good as corner as I’ve ever coached and I have coached some really good players. The thing about him is, he has a lot of ability, a lot of talent, but he is very coachable, you can coach him hard. Hes a guy that wants to improve everyday. He has a great football intellect. He understands and gets the game. He can play multiple positions for you. His intelligence level is off the charts. He is a great representative of the University of Florida. When they talk in terms of “student athlete” he has the things you are looking for – he is the epitome of what we are looking for at Florida.“


Congratulations to Billy Donovan:

“I want to congratulate Billy Donovan. Going 18-0 in the SEC. I was talking to Billy Donovan on how difficult it is to get to the Final Four. When you look at their team – unheard of in college basketball and it is getting that way in all of college athletics – four seniors started. Casey Prather two years ago couldn’t get on the court, but he wasn’t a guy that transferred and went somewhere else. He was a guy who stuck through it, continued to develop his game, continued to persevere through some tough times. In our society nowadays, it is interesting because if “I don’t get it right now, I’m going somewhere else.” It is very unfortunate.”


On Receivers:

We are as deep and talented as we have been during my time in Florida. Quinton Dunbar is a really good football player. Demarcus Robinson has really grown-up and matured. He had a great spring. He can win a lot of the 50/50 balls. We have a lot of competition and we have a lot of depth and they will compete to make themselves better.”


On Northwestern decision:

“What’s going to end up happening is there will be five power conferences – the Southeastern Conference, the ACC, the Big 10, the Big 12, and Pac 12 – and there is going to be a governing party over those conferences. It is going to be more fair for making decisions for Florida and school’s like Florida and the other schools that don’t have resources like we do, we’re not making rules on what they can afford and what they can’t afford. That’s how I see it developing.”


Returning kicks:

“On punts, Vernon Hargreaves probably. Demarcus Robinson’s been back, Brian Poole has been back. On kickoff return it will be Andre Debose, we are happy to get Andre back. Chris Thompson and Quinton Dunbar will be back as well. I am real pleased with where we are back there. I am concerned with Vernon taking a bunch of snaps and with him being back there returning kicks. There are some folks in our league that might try to take a shot – not that I wouldn’t trust anyone in our league.”


On penalties:

“We need to eliminate the dumb penalties – jumping offside, lining up offside – I don’t want to take away a players aggressiveness. At the University of Florida, I bet you didn’t know this, in the last 25 years, 22 of the 25 we have been ranked first or second in penalties in the Southeastern Conference.”


On an indoor practice facility:

“I think from a standpoint of scheduling practices around the weather, which as you know, every afternoon your going to lightning and we have managed through that. We have won a bunch of games at Florida without an indoor practice facility. It is not an “answer-all”. Weather probably only effects for 5 or 6 practices a year. So as far as that is concerned I don’t think it is that big of a deal.”

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Daniel Thompson
Dan Thompson is a 2010 graduate of the University Florida, graduating with a degree in Economics and a degree in Political Science. During this time at UF, Dan worked three years for the Florida Gator Football team as a recruiting ambassador. Dan dealt daily with prospects, NCAA guidelines, and coaching staff. Dan was also involved in Florida Blue Key, Student Government and Greek Life. Currently, Dan oversees the IT consulting practice of a Tampa-based company. Dan enjoys golfing, country music, bourbon, travel, oysters, and a medium-rare steak. Dan can be found on Twitter at @DK_Thompson.