Muschamp Takes the High Road

When you watched and listened to Will Muschamp speak Thursday at the Gator Bowl function designed to "meet the coaches", he actually looked a little refreshed. He didn't look like a guy that just lost an irreplaceable, million dollar coordinator, but one that looked like he shed some weight he just couldn't shed for about a year. Muschamp still said all the right things.

Charlie Weis took off to ‘greener' pastures when he accepted the head coaching job at Kansas Thursday, just before Muschamp took the microphone on the stage. The timing was kind of awkward and my understanding is things could have been done a little more appropriately, but Muschamp jumped into the questions asked by the Florida media and gave his best politically correct statements on the exit of Weis.

"Charlie took the University of Kansas head football coach job today," Muschamp started. "I am very happy and excited for him and his wife. Getting an opportunity as a head coach is a great compliment to our staff. We had numerous coaches contact me about prospective coaches on our staff. We certainly wish him all the luck."

Muschamp understands what it is like to watch head coaching opportunities go by and there is little doubt he would try and keep someone he works with from getting a better opportunity.

"There aren't many opportunities to be a head coach," Muschamp said. "He's an outstanding coach and a family man, and I am extremely happy for him, his wife, and Charlie Jr. I am happy for his family."

Muschamp said he wasn't totally caught off guard from Weis' exit and the two had discussions in the last two days leading up to the announcement from Kansas today.

"We talked about it in recent days," he said. "He told me it was a job he wanted to take. Any time in our business when you are able to take a step up, I support it 1000%. When guys make parallel moves, I don't necessarily agree, when guys can further their career I think it is wonderful."

As far as when he found out the deal was done and Weis may not be back in Gainesville, Muschamp first said it was a couple of hours before the banquet Thursday. Then a little while later he more or less confirmed it was out of the blue when asked what his players' reactions were to the situation.

"I haven't even talked to them," he said of the players. "I just talked to Charlie an hour ago. Muschamp showed a bit of his levity with the situation when prodded about how his players will deal with it.

"The kids are resilient," he said before making the crowd laugh. "The fan base isn't as much. (The kids) will be fine."

"We are going to improve and get better from it. We will go out and hire an outstanding coach. We are at the University of Florida. We will hire an outstanding coach that will fit what I want done within our offense and within our systems. I will take my time on it to make sure I get the right guy and the right fit."

"We will remain a pro-style offense and I will hire the best offensive coordinator in the country. We need to improve offensively, that is obvious, and we need to make forward steps from the areas we improved under Charlie.

He will take his time in hiring a replacement. "There is no timetable on the hire," he said. "I have to make the right hire."

With the bowl game with Ohio State supposedly the main point of the banquet Thursday, Muschamp shed some light on who will now call plays for the game.

"As far as calling the bowl game, right now on the staff, Brian White (running back coach) will assume play calling duties through the bowl game," Muschamp said.

White may need to consider this an audition for the future. He already has seven years of offensive coordinator experience under his belt and the Harvard grad is a player and recruit favorite on the squad.

"He'll be considered, certainly," Muschamp said of White. "But, I am going to do what is best for the University of Florida at the end of the day. We need to improve offensively. We will hire someone very similar schematically for what I want to do philosophically."

"He is an experienced play caller. I think it is unfair to hire a coordinator to come in here and sit down and get a game plan ready with unfamiliar players. He is an experienced play caller and an idea guy and been a coordinator before with tremendous success. He's a guy that I have tremendous confidence in."

A local name came up as well. Jacksonville University head coach Kerwin Bell is an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. Oh, and he is also a Gator Great and former All-American quarterback from Mayo.

"I know Kerwin and he is an outstanding football coach and will certainly be under consideration," Muschamp said.

Muschamp continued his humor when asked if he will consult any friends about who to hire. Former colleagues Derek Dooley, Nick Saban, and Jimbo Fisher are all head coaches he faced this year. Muschamp won't be giving them a call to see what they think.

"Most of my friends we have to beat, so no," he said.

It is all about style of offense he wants.

"I don't think it has to be somebody that knows the SEC or has coached in the SEC, Muschamp said of his future offensive coordinator. "I don't think that is as important. I am not going to hire someone that is not on the same page philosophically. They won't step foot in Gainesville if they are not."

He also wants folks to understand that his staff is something he is proud of and doesn't expect many changes.

"We have an outstanding staff," he said. "I am very pleased with the continuity of our staff and don't anticipate any changes moving forward."

After losing his strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti to Ohio State and former Gator head coach Urban Meyer and now Charlie Weis, Muschamp says his group is pretty tight and there are reasons for those guys to leave and not others.

"I am not worried about that," he said. "Our staff hasn't been raided. Our strength coach left with a guy that he has known for 25 years and I totally understood that when I retained Mickey and he did a good job for us. Our offensive coordinator got a head coaching job, a multi-million dollar deal. That isn't getting raided."

"When you are at the University of Florida and you have a good staff. What a compliment it is to the job you did hiring people. We are going to go out and hire really good coaches and next year we are going to win and they are going to want to come and get our coaches again. Right now my cell phone is off and there are a bunch of people calling it that want to come to the University of Florida."


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