Muschamp Still Going to Handle X's and O's

Former Auburn assistant coach Will Muschamp took the change on the opening day at SEC Media Days.

Hoover, Ala.--New University of Florida head football coach Will Muschamp has a reputation as someone who loves the X's and O's of coaching defense.

On Wednesday at his first appearance at the annual SEC Media Days, the former Auburn defensive coordinator said that isn't changing.

"The worst thing you can do in a leadership position is be something you're not," Muschamp said. "I feel like you have go to lean to your strengths, and that is going to be coaching on the defensive side of the ball and coaching on special teams.

"I hired (Charlie Weis) to run the offense and I have great confidence in what he is going to do, what we want to be offensively," Muschamp said of the former Notre Dame head coach.

"I got hired at the University of Florida because we have had good defenses where I have been before," he said. "I don't want to take away from what we've accomplished before, where we've been what we've done."

Muschamp said he enjoys the preparation for games and practices on and off the field and he will continue to do that in his first assignment as a head coach after working as defensive coordinator at Texas last season.

"I enjoy being in the defensive back meeting room and the linebacker meeting room and keep coaching and teaching a player and then getting on the field and coaching and teaching," he said. "That is what I enjoy. That is what I will continue to do."

Muschamp worked as a graduate assistant coach at Auburn under Terry Bowden and was the defensive coordinator for the Tigers under Tommy Tuberville during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Both years as a coordinator the Tigers had one of the top-rated defenses in college football, including the No. 1 defense in the SEC in 2007.

After coaching at Auburn he spent three years as defensive coordinator at the University of Texas where he was named the head coach in waiting before returning to the SEC to take over for Urban Meyer as head coach of the Gators.

Muschamp said that Meyer has worked hard to make the transition to his new job a smooth one. However, he noted that the cupboard is bare in some places, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines. Because of that the Gators are "cross-training" players at multiple positions and the head coach said he will have to be careful on how the Gators handle preseason practices. "We can't afford any injuries up front," Muschamp said.

The coach said one of the things that separates the Southeastern Conference from other leagues around the country is the quality of the play on the defensive line. "When you turn on the SEC defensive film there are some dominating players on the defensive front and it is not just on one or two teams," he said.

Muschamp has a well-deserved reputation for his intensity as a coach. John Brantley, who is expected to be the starting quarterback, said, "He's very intense. You've seen him on highlights at Texas, chest bumping his players. He's a great coach, great defensive coach. Great intensity, and he's brought that to the team. We needed that, that giddy-up."

Wide receiver Deonte Thompson agrees with Brantley about the head coach's intensity. "He's more energetic," the coach said. "He will get out on the field, run with us, work out with us sometimes."

Florida returns to the Auburn schedule this year as the Gators replace Kentucky. Muschamp will bring his team to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Oct. 15th.

Asked about following a successful coach like Meyer, Muschamp said, "I think more than anything if it is not broke, don't fix it. They did some great thigs that we're going to continue to do. There were some things that were very good at Florida. Why change them if they are working?

"From a scheme standpoint, we feel different defensively, a little different offensively," Muschamp said. "Special teams, there will be a lot of continuity."


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