When Urban Meyer left Florida, Will Muschamp was the guy the Gators tabbed to fill those huge shoes. That task is never an easy one. After a rocky first season in Gainesville, Muschamp looks like a guy with the goods to keep Florida chasing national titles. The Gators went a surprising 11-2 last year with wins over LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Florida State.
Florida’s success didn’t stop there. For the second straight season, Muschamp was able to bring in a top-five recruiting class as he continues to reload the Gators to try to keep pace in the toughest conference in college football.
Will Muschamp joined WYGM in Orlando to talk about the recruiting process for him at Florida, if he would rather be known as the best recruiter in the country or the best Xs and Os coach, the lack of depth at QB coming into this season, how he would change the recruiting process and what he makes of the new rules in recruiting.
On the process having started already for 2014 and whether they ever get a break:
“Not much of one. We’ve got a good start on 2014, even on our board we have some 2015 kids listed that we will be actively recruiting here. You have to get on them early; it’s about building relationships and building trust with the young man, his family and the people that are going to help him make a decision and that is what we are trying to do.”
Whether he would like to be the best recruiter in the country or the best Xs and Os tactician:
“I think you have to be a mixture of both. Certainly on the staff, I tell our guys when we hire my staff, I tell them, ‘If you can’t recruit then you’re not going to coach at Florida.’ The bottom line is getting good players in here and then there’s a process of being a good coach, and I think the first thing is you have to be able to evaluate. You have to be able to put the film on and figure out, ‘Does he fit in what we want?’ Then you have to be able to recruit and build the relationship as far as that is concerned. Then when we get them on campus, whether it’s in the strength program or the academic program, you have to be able to develop them and coach them on Saturday. Those are the key things you have to be able to do and I think you have to have a good mixture. Are some coaches going to be better at Xs and Os than recruiters and some better recruiters than Xs and Os? Absolutely, but it is your job as the head coach to get a good balance on your staff of those guys.”
On the lack of depth behind quarterback Jeff Driskel:
“You’re always concerned with a lack of snaps. Those guys haven’t taken any snaps. Those guys have to separate themselves through spring with Tyler (Murphy) and Skyler (Mornhinweg) on campus and then Max (Staver) in the summer. No question you have some issues and concerns, obviously, and we did have a Wildcat package with Trey Burton and we will continue to use that, and we will continue to look at some other situations in case there is an injury, but very proud of the season Jeff had. Certainly would not have won 11 games if it wasn’t for his part.”
How he would change the recruiting process in college football:
“I do think an early signing day would help. I do think that would certainly help and take some of the pressure off that these kids face through the month of January. When that signing date is, I don’t know, and I think that’s why we’re going to have a hard time coming to an agreement on that. Also when you have schools like Florida that are able to get an early start in recruiting and get a good size of commitments before signing day, before the month of January, we’re already working on our next class and some other schools don’t really want that to happen. So people have different views about what is best for them, but I do think an early signing date would help us remedy that issue.”
On the new texting rules in recruiting:
“I’ve read over the rules but I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it, trying to finish up this past year’s recruiting class. We’re going to address this Monday in a staff meeting about moving forward. I think they’re still going to have a meeting in April to firm up whether or not these rules are going to go through. There’s a reason we stopped texting a while back and that was because of the high school young man sitting in class getting a text. Some schools will just hire guys but all they do is text all day and text the recruits saying it’s the head coach or whoever. We’re not going to do that, but a lot of schools will do that. I do think we need to go back and look at it. I think the NCAA is trying to push back on the university to regulate, and unfortunately when you’re not under the same governing body as far as following the rules then you’re going to have some things that are going to make it difficult on everybody else. I would like to go back and study it a little bit more before I ever make a comment, but there’s a reason we stopped texting recruits back in ’05 or ’06 or something like that — because of the time and the money it cost some of the recruits. It’s easy to say, ‘Well, he just needs to tell the school no.’ It’s very difficult for some of these young men to tell somebody no. It’s hard, and some schools don’t take no very easily as well. I do think we need to go back and look at it and I think it’s going to make things much more difficult.”