So I barely get my blog, What does the Gator Nation Want in the Next Head Gator?, posted and Foley pulls a fast one on me that very same day… and hires Will Muschamp. As I sit here freezing my backside off on a post snowy bah humbug in Atlanta… I thought now is as good a time as any to compare the Coach Must-Chomp hire to what the Gator Nation is looking for.
First things first, the Gator Nation will have to be patient. 2011 was not going be an easy season to stomach as it was… but going through a grueling schedule like Bama, @LSU, @Auburn in a three game stretch while going through a transition not only in coaching staff but in philosophy… well stock up on antacids or valium… or both. In fact, I am actively encouraging the UFAA to send valium with their tickets next year.
#1: First and foremost he has to have a very deep appreciation for the Gator Nation.
Ok. I will fully admit when I heard that Foley had hired Muschamp I over reacted. I must have sent 100 emails and tweets saying “HE’S A BULLDOG’. I immediately hated the hire. Well, I overreacted. My disdain for the puppies 45 minutes from my home got the best of me. I didn’t research him thoroughly, nor did I think just how brilliant a hire Muschamp really was for Florida. Yes… he is a Graduate of “that school”. What I never realized was… deep in his heart he has always been a Gator. He grew up about a mile from Florida Field. He tried to walk on at Florida even after moving to Rome, Georgia where he graduated high school. Florida was his first choice, he only settled for “that school”. During his introductory press conference, talked about all the games he had been to at Florida Field, mentioned specific plays and the Gator players who made them. It was obvious deep down he has always been a Gator at heart. He left the opportunity to be the Head Coach at an equally impressive program of University of Texas… to be the next Head Gator. I cannot speak highly enough that he is reaching out to the Gator greats – Spurrier, Wuerffel, Tebow and yes Meyer. That is saying alot. In my eyes… requirement fulfilled.
#2: He must be able to acknowledge the inflated expectations of the Gator Nation… and want to exceed them.
Hmm.. I think he knows the Gator Nation expects wins. They expect championships. They expect to dominate our opponents, especially our direct rivals. I think he expects and wants them as well. But when the Gator Nation’s expectations are not met… how will he handle this? As with most of these requirements… only time will tell. But if he can handle it… I truly believe Muschamp will be a Gator for the rest of his career.
#3: Head coaching experience is an absolute must, but it must be with a proven winning track record. Proven experience as a Coordinator – Offensive or Defensive – is also a must.
So… obviously Muschamp has not been a head coach before and this is one of the biggest question marks of this hire. Until he proves he has been ready it will remain so and ya know.. I think Muschamp is the kinda guy that will use that as motivation. One of his favorite phrases is “over achiever”. Muschamp is not your typical assistant though. He does after all come from the great Belichick/Saban coaching tree. He has been one of the most successful Defensive Coordinators in the game today. He has coached SEC and National Championship defenses. Some are comparing the Muschamp hire to the Stoops hire at Oklahoma. That is a fair comparison. Considering his pedigree… requirement fulfilled.
#4: The Head Gator must be a master recruiter.
Considering recruiting analysts like Ed Aschoff of the Gainesville Sun, Keith Niebuhr of Rivals.com and Laura McKeeman of Scout.com all glowed about Muschamp as a recruiter.. Immediately put me at ease in this area. Here is something to consider about the impact he has already had on recruiting… a) He has pretty well held the existing commits intact and b) he very well may have stolen the biggest WR commit Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin was at one time considered a lock to FSUcks. He very well may be… but whatever Muschamp said to Benjamin in one conversation and persuaded him to take an official visit to UF is nothing short of impressive. Requirement definitely fulfilled.
#5: The next ball coach must be a master motivator and want the most disciplined team in America.
Another we’ll have to wait and see what happens — at least as far as discipline is concerned. But considering he is a Saban protege’… I don’t see discipline being an issue… but he is his own man. He will want to do things his way. He will want to make a name for himself. Still do not see discipline being an issue.
As far as being a motivator… yea well that wont be an issue.
He must hate our rivals more than we do. It should never be good enough to “just win”… he must want to dominate in all phases of the game — every game.
Would it be safe to say that October 29, 2011, suddenly became more interesting than ever before? Can a man hate the alma mater that gave him his shot as a walk on? Interesting stat: Muschamp is 1-3 vs “that team” regardless of whether it was LSU or Auburn.
2003 – DC at LSU vs “that school” – W – 17-10 (Bonus: W 34-13 in SECCG)
2004 – DC at LSU vs “that school” – L – 45-16
2006 – DC at Auburn vs “that school” – L – 37-15
2007 – DC at Auburn vs “that school” – L – 45-20
Lets hope that doesn’t carry over as a UF stat because if it does… how he handles the response from the Gator Nation will be very telling. Granted he cannot be blamed for the offensive woes at LSU or Auburn those years either. But a D that gave up 37 and 45 (twice) back to back to “that school”.. not good. Keep that valium ready… because it would appear that “that school” may have Must-Chomp’s number.
Right now… the Gator Nation seems somewhat at peace with this hire. But as the story goes with any hire.. “we will see”. Even Urban Meyer came to Florida with plenty of question marks… and he managed a few National Championships. All in all… so far I agree with Coach Meyer… Muschamp was not a good hire.. this was a great hire. I think this very well may be the kind of hire that the Gator Nation can come to love and appreciate for a very very long time.
Welcome back and welcome home Coach Must-Chomp.
What say you Gator Nation… does he fit what you want in your Head Gator?