Muschamp React

When Texas coach Mack Brown set about to clean house over the offseason, he probably didn't think he would lose, as they said in The Big Lebowski, "the rug that really held the room together."

But that's precisely what happened Saturday, as defensive guru and Texas head-coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp elected to stop waiting. He accepted the head coaching job at Florida shortly after meeting with Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley.

"We were planning and hoping Will was going to be the next head coach at Texas, but obviously things didn't work out that way," Texas head coach Mack Brown said. "We respect his decision and we are really happy for Will and Carol. He is a great coach and will be a good fit for Florida. It's close to home for him and he knows the league well."

Muschamp's departure doesn't come as a surprise to most. Any time there's an SEC opening, it seems like his name is among the first mentioned for the job. And few actually expected him to wait while Brown trudged on without an end date in sight.

What is surprising, and somewhat devastating for Texas, is the timing. Brown was already searching for three replacement coaches this offseason: offensive coordinator Greg Davis, special teams coordinator and defensive tackles coach Mike Tollseon and offensive line coach Mac McWhorter; and sources have indicated that wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy and strength and conditioning coach Jeff "Mad Dog" Madden aren't long for the job either.

Brown had nine position coaches and three coordinators this past season, and if Kennedy goes, Texas will have lost five of those position coaches, including all three coordinators. The only remaining assistants would be running backs coach Major Applewhite, tight ends coach Bruce Chambers, defensive ends coach Oscar Giles and defensive backs coach Duane Akina.

Muschamp was the most important part of that staff. He supplied an energy and intensity that at times has lacked from Texas's defensive units. He's a hard coach, a tough coach, and was the perfect balance to Brown's "love 'em up" style. That might matter just as much as Muschamp's defensive acumen, which is considerable. Arguably the top coordinator in the country, Muschamp has been a collegiate defensive coordinator for eight years. Five of those years, he fielded a top 10 total defense. The other three years included a top-10 scoring defense at Auburn in 2006, and the Big 12's top total defenses in 2008 and 2010.

For Muschamp, there's little doubt that the decision is a great one. He still gets a destination coaching job, but no longer has to wait for it. Additionally, he takes over in familiar territory. He played at Georgia, and coached at both Auburn (twice) and LSU. At one point, his recruiting territory ranged through Florida, especially in south Florida, where now he'll be able to go head-to-head with a rebuilding Miami program for recruits. That he gets to move closer to family is an added bonus.

Muschamp stated Saturday that he "wouldn't have left for any other job," and conceded that it was an opportunity that he couldn't pass up. He also said that Brown "really wanted it to work out for me to be the future coach at Texas," and called Brown "the best in the business."

At this point, Brown will have to be. He'll return the bulk of his starters from this year's 5-7 team, but now must replace more than half of the coaching staff that took the Longhorns to the BCS National Championship game just two years ago.

When Brown first spoke about making staff changes, he said that Muschamp wouldn't have any say in his choices. Now, Brown won't have Muschamp's input on any part of his program. And Texas is worse for it.

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