Will Muschamp Interview Notebook

HOOVER, ALA. – Will Muschamp met with the media on Tuesday morning and filled us in on what has been going on with his football team during the offseason and what he expects to see from the team this season.

    • Muschamp opened up by thanking the media for all that they do to support the University of Florida and the SEC.
    • Muschamp said that in year two the record was better but, more importantly, the roster in the locker room was better.
    • Muschamp said that the team bought in and you could tell that from how they were able to come from behind eight times to win games last season.
    • Two areas that were emphasized last season where turnover margin and scoring in the fourth quarter. Florida went from -12 in turnover margin in Muschamp’s first season to a +15 mark in his second season. Also, Florida was outscored by 50 points in the fourth quarter during Muschamp’s first season, yet managed to outscore opponents by 41 points in the same quarter last season. Two incredible improvements.
    • Muschamp credits Jeff Dillman for getting the players in shape and installing a mentality of wanting to win games in the fourth quarter.
    • Florida will have the same offensive coordinator in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2010.
    • Muschamp admits that the team needs to be more efficient throwing the football.
    • Muschamp and Brent Pease sat down prior to last season and came to terms with the fact that whoever won the quarterback battle, they were going to have a young quarterback and a new system to work in.
    • Muschamp said the team had a good formula (protect the football and play good team football) and that is what led them to the kind of season they had last year.
    • Muschamp reiterated how pleased he is with the hire of Joker Phillips.
    • Muschamp said that D.J. Durkin “more than anything understands how we want to play defense at Florida.” And that he is excited about what Durkin brings to the table once fall camp gets rolling.
    • Muschamp called Brad Lawing a “an outstanding football coach and a great addition to our staff.”
    • Muschamp credited Jeff Choate for being able to recruit in Texas and said he is excited about what he brings to the table this fall.
    • Muschamp said that the offense will need to, and is focusing on, limiting negative plays while creating more explosive plays that stretch the field. He believes the team will do the latter very well this season.
    • Muschamp believes that Florida left a lot of points on the board in the redzone last year and that’s an area that needs to be cleaned up.
    • Muschamp said that Jeff Driskel has attacked the off-season the way that you’re supposed to.
    • Muschamp said that if Jeff Driskel were his son, he would have told him to sign the contract with the Red Sox. Driskel signing with the Red Sox doesn’t change anything as far as Driskel’s intentions to remain at Florida and play quarterback.
    • Muschamp said that the offensive line is better, more talent and deeper up front than they have ever been since he arrived in Gainesville.
    • Muschamp said he believes Matt Jones is primed for a big season and that he feels really comfortable with the running back position.
    • Muschamp said that the tight ends – as a whole – need to step up.
    • Muschamp believes that Florida has made some positive steps at wide receiver – he singled out Quinton Dunbar.
    • Muschamp believes that he and his staff have recruited well and developed those players well since he’s been at Florida.
    • Muschamp said the spring did not end where he would have liked it to at the safety position. He singled out Marcus Maye, Jabari Gorman and Valdez Showers as “guys we can win with.”
    • Cody Riggs and Jaylen Watkins were singled out as guys who are “wild cards” and give the coaches options because of their versatility.
    • Muschamp said he feels very comfortable at cornerback. (Editor note: Everyone should)
    • Muschamp said losing Matt Elam, Sharrif Floyd, Omar Hunter, Jelani Jenkins and Josh Evans creates some “sleepless nights” for the coaches.
    • Muschamp singled out Dante Fowler and Jonathan Bullard as guys who will make a major impact on defense this season.
    • Alex Anzalone and Trip Thurman will be limited in fall camp coming off of labrum injuries. They may be limited until the 10-12th  for practices and the staff will get an update at that time.
    • Muschamp said he lost some sleep over losing Caleb Sturgis but that he thinks Kyle Christy is the best punter in the country and that Florida will be solid on special teams again.
    • Muschamp ended his opening monologue by praising the teams on Florida’s schedule and stating that he was very pleased with where the football team is at currently.
    • Muschamp was asked about his run-first style compared to some of the spread styles around the country. Muschamp responded by saying that it’s really up to personal preference for each coach.
    • Muschamp said that based on information he and Dan Quinn received from NFL scouts, that they advised Easley to return to school for his senior year.
    • Muschamp said the biggest difference between the SEC and other conferences is the grind of playing some of the top teams in the country in back-to-back-to-back weeks.
    • The loss of Jelani Jenkins is going to force Florida to use more six defensive back sets – something Florida can do easily because of their depth at cornerback.
    • Muschamp smiled when asked where he would rank Jadeveon Clowney and simply said “Number one.”
    • Muschamp said he believes that a head coach is “100% responsible” for his student athletes. He admitted that he can’t possibly know everything that is going on with every player at night, but you need to be aware of “the kinds of guys your guys are hanging out with.”
    • Muschamp reiterated that his wife asks him all the time to give “better talks before the game instead of at halftime.”
    • Muschamp ended his 30-minute session with the media with one quote. “I’d love to have some 40-point wins. At the end of the day I worry about one stat, and that’s winning, and it doesn’t matter how you do it.”


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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC