The Here and Now for Muschamp is Florida

He's turned down big football jobs at major universities over the last two years because he has waited on the Texas job that would eventually be his. Will Muschamp has turned down millions and the right to be a head coach elsewhere, until now. Florida was just too much to turn down and the Gators got themselves a good one.

Kevin Flaherty is the publisher of LonghornDigest.com, the Texas site for the Scout.com network and is one guy that isn't shocked that Muschamp packed up his bags and headed "home" to Gainesville where he lived the early part of his life.

"That Will Muschamp took the Florida job wasn't as much a surprise as how quickly everything happened," Flaherty said. "Anyone who has followed the former Texas defensive coordinator's career knows about Muschamp's SEC roots. He played at Georgia, coached in two separate stints at Auburn and was defensive coordinator for a national championship team at LSU."

"Additionally, with Texas' 5-7 season this year, questions arose about just how long current Longhorn head Mack Brown was set to stick around Austin. I'm sure Muschamp won't list this as a factor in his decision, but at the end of the year, Brown was asked at a conference whether Muschamp would have any input on potential coaching changes. Brown responded with a negative, and emphasized his 'no' by stating that Muschamp was 'my defensive coordinator.' While Muschamp appeared to love his time in Austin, and with Brown, it couldn't have helped for Brown to state that the future coach wouldn't have say on decisions that would affect the Longhorns' future coaching staff."

Despite the reasons to get out of Austin, Flaherty understands that Muschamp has a golden opportunity at a big time program.

"Florida is what it is: a chance to get back to the SEC, closer to family and a job that, at the very least, is on par with Texas," he said. "And he was able to get it now, without having to wait on a tenured coach stepping aside."

Muschamp's gain may be a gain more so for Florida.

"What Florida receives in return is an intense motivator, somebody as at ease with getting the most out of players as he is with Xs and Os," Flaherty said. "In both areas, he's spectacular, one of the reasons he's considered one of the top, if not THE top defensive coordinators in the country.

"At Texas, he took over a defense that failed to play up to its talent level and molded it into a killer unit that led the Big 12 in total defense in all three of his seasons. The Longhorns gave up 371.2 yards per game and 25.3 points per game the year before he arrived. In his second season, those numbers had dropped to 251.9 yards and 16.7 points per contest as the Longhorns made a run to the BCS National Championship game.

"Even in 2010, the Longhorns' struggles typically weren't on the defensive side of the ball. The points per game were skewed somewhat by a turnover-riddled offense, but still finished in the upper half of the league by allowing 23.7 points per game. And the Longhorns allowed just 300.2 yards per game, the Longhorns' third-best mark since 2001.

The immediate dividends could be felt as well. Flaherty believes that Muschamp is a big time recruiter and that is a part of his job that he can get started on right now.

"In each of his three seasons, he's landed a Scout.com top-five linebacker, starting with Tariq Allen and continuing that trend last February with Jordan Hicks," Flaherty said. "This year's No. 2 middle linebacker, Steve Edmond, was also steered to Texas by Muschamp.

"Muschamp's recruiting territory in the SEC at one time was south Florida, so he'll have plenty of connections there as well."

Texas' loss is Florida's gain and all of this according to the folks that know in Texas.


Fightin Gators Top Stories