Muschamp Missed the Memo to Hate FSU

Tell me where I go wrong here. They are a natural rival, just two hours away. They recruit against you. They play you every year. Families are split over the differences. The teams have had some of the biggest knockdown, drag-out fights before, during, and after games. There is no love loss between the two football programs. So what is Will Muschamp thinking?

Minutes before going on stage to talk to 300 members of the Capital City Gator Club, Florida head coach Will Muschamp led the media in a love fest for FSU's head coach.

I understand that Muschamp and Jimbo Fisher spent a lot of time together as coaches and that a friendship has been born out of that time together. But, this is bigger than that, isn't it? I mean the local club has a motto "Civilization among the savages".

Not according to Muschamp who said that the two are just very similar people.

"We have a very good relationship and see things a lot the same in how you run a program and what you do and coaching football," he said of Fisher. "We have a lot of similar coaching characteristics other than he is on the offensive side and I am on the defensive side."

In Fisher's first year as a head coach at FSU, he was able to pull off ten wins and a trip to the ACC championship game. Muschamp wasn't surprised to see his friend do so well.

"Not at all, he is an outstanding football coach, Muschamp responded when asked if he was surprised. "He is driven, motivated, smart… he is going to do a good job and we will have a good time getting after each other."

Believe that, and Muschamp believes that Fisher is going to prove a worthy adversary as witnessed by his first year as a coach where Muschamp was most impressed by the way they improved as the year went along.

"I think the first that would jump out at you is how they progressed through the year," Muschamp responded about being impressed with Fisher's original year on the job. "That's the one thing you want to do is to improve each week and each game. Through the season's end you really improved your play and from the middle part to the latter part of the season, the improvement. It's a credit to coaching and getting guys to buy in and stay with the process."

Fisher was one of the first to call his friend and congratulate him on his new job as the Florida head coach.

"He called me and congratulated me," Muschamp said. "I think there is mutual respect and I know there is. That's kind of what it is."

Yuck. Is this where you are supposed to feign the finger in the back of the throat and puke out of disgust?

At least time constraints may keep the two from tightening their bond of friendship… maybe?

"In our profession we are so busy throughout the year it is awful hard to maintain a relationship with anyone unless they are on your staff," Muschamp said. "I have great respect for Jimbo, I obviously know Candy and the Fisher family very well. We worked together for about 6-7 years. I have great respect for him as a person and he does a great job."

So what about when you are in your first year on the job and your friend puts together the top recruiting class in the country and wins a few recruiting battles over you along the way. Do the loves come off in recruiting? Muschamp has an answer about recruiting against Fisher and Nick Saban with who coached under for several years.

"I promote the University of Florida," Muschamp said. "We have a great product, a great campus, great school, outstanding tradition, and a great staff. There are so many positives about what we have. I can speak for Jimbo and Nick Saban both, and how they recruit their schools. They don't get into negative recruiting and neither do I. I am going to promote my University, the one I work for, and I think that is the way they recruit too."

So, where is the fun in that? Certainly it's not much fun in print. But, Muschamp just plans on leaning on the very people he is running around the state and talking to this spring and summer.

"The Gator Nation is strong and a it's a powerful place," he said. "It has been a lot of fun to get out and see everybody and see all of our fans. That is important for me."

Yeah, but a little trash talk could be fun.


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