Muschamp Familiar with SEC Surroundings

HOOVER, Ala. – When Will Muschamp showed up to The Wynfrey Hotel Wednesday, the familiar faces made it easier to calm the nerves. It's an overwhelming experience for coaches in their first time to the event but coaching as an assistant at Auburn and LSU made it a little easier to return to the spotlight of the SEC.

The familiarity with the SEC is fueled by his relationship with other coaches. After coaching under Nick Saban, the former head coach at LSU, Muschamp learned about being a head coach from the current Crimson Tide leader.

"I think more than anything (I learned) total program management and philosophically," Muschamp said. "What you believe offensively, defensively and special teams have to be tied together on both sides of the ball for what you want to be, not having two separate units for what they are, which some teams do."

The identifying of players to recruit was a focus of Muschamp under Saban, but he also learned it in his time as defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins. Muschamp took a profile to their NFL Draft scouts of the kind of player he wanted in his defense, giving them a better idea of the players to go after.

Coaching under Saban helped him get an idea of what that process was like, and it has infiltrated the way Muschamp evaluates players that the staff will recruit to Florida.

"Identify the critical factors for what you're looking for at every position and go after those players that fit your system for what you want," Muschamp said. "It's also about having accountability and responsibility. All those things to me are traits of good football teams, certainly some things that reemphasize to me what is important."

The learning also came from other members of the LSU staff. With Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart all on staff, it was easy for each coach to pick up on different traits of others in the offices.

When the Gators play Alabama, Florida State or Tennessee this season, that won't make it any more difficult for Muschamp to want to win.

"I wouldn't say we all get along that well," Muschamp joked. "I played in the backyard with my brothers growing up. I wanted to beat them worse than anybody. I still love them, they're my brothers, but I wanted to win as bad as anything. I don't look at it how a fan would look at it. I look at it from a respect standpoint."

When Florida and Tennessee kick off on September 17 or when the Crimson Tide and Seminoles follow later in the season, Muschamp will look across the sideline at a friend who has helped shape his career. The feeling is mutual.

The families of both sides are close, too.

"Our wives are a little bit of widows in the fall," Muschamp said. "They spend a lot of time with each other. Our kids spend time with each other. You get to know them very well You get to know the in and outs of their families. I'm looking forward to all of those rivalries, but I'm looking forward more than anything to training camp on August 5th and us managing our football team as we work through it."

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