Florida succeeded in overshadowing Cam Newton’s Heisman triumph and turning up the heat on Mack Brown & DeLoss Dodds to varying degrees last night with the announcement Texas defensive coordinator (and Brown’s successor-in-waiting) Will Muschamp (above) was leaving Austin to replace Urban Meyer as the Gators’ new head coach. While concerns closer to CSTB HQ revolve around what this means for the Longhorns’ upcoming recruiting class, at least one observer in the Sunshine State is less than blown away by Florida A.D. Jeremy Foley’s gambit. Writes the Sun-Sentinel’s David Hyde, “Florida hires a guy who’s never run a program before? Whose most celebrated highlight isn’t being doused by Gatorade but being knocked over while chest-bumping a Texas player?”
Foley sure showed conviction here. He didn’t offer the job to anyone else, he said. He didn’t even interview anyone else, he said. That was presented as if it’s a bonus. Is it?
Foley is the boss who hired Ron Zook, who also had never run a program before coming to Florida. You remember how well that worked out. You’d think Foley would have learned from that and even steered away from Muschamp. He knew he’d be questioned over this very issue.
Foley, you can conclude, was that overwhelmed.
Let’s open the Muschamp file. He’s 39. Some will make an issue of his youth. But genius work happens early. Arthur Miller wrote “Death of a Salesman” at 30. J.D. Salinger wrote “The Catcher in the Rye” at 30. Hey, Don Shula got his first head coaching job at 33.
He’s a defensive guy. Muschamp got his coaching props under Nick Saban. So there’s that relationship to play out as this moves forward. Can the disciple beat the master?
Muschamp was defensive coordinator for Saban’s national championship team at Louisiana State in 2003. That defense led the SEC in scoring and total defense.
Yes, he followed Saban to the Dolphins. In 2005, Muschamp’s defense ranked 15th in the NFL. Make of that what you will. All we know is Muschamp left after that season to become’s Auburn’s defensive coordinator, then Texas’ defensive coordinator and declared successor to Mack Brown.
Now he succeeds the Urbanator. And where Meyer was an offensive coach, Muschamp only has coached defense. So who he hires as the offensive coordinator becomes nearly as important as his hiring. A surprise? Yep, it’s that. Florida, you’d think, could have had most any hot name in the country.
Hyde general point about Muschamp’s limited resume is well taken, but it’s not as though the latter’s name hasn’t popped up in relation to any number of high profile vacancies the last few years. “He’s a defensive guy”? Well, yeah, he was a defensive coordinator. It’s all well and good to suggest Florida should’ve conducted a more extensive search, but it’s safe to assume Foley already had a short list in his pocket after Meyer’s prior health scare / flip-flop.