Will Muschamp addresses offense, hot seat concerns
As soon as Will Muschamp stepped to the podium Monday at SEC Media Days, he addressed his own coaching hot seat following Florida’s 4-8 disaster, the program’s first losing season in 34 years.
And then praised his offense. And his coaching staff. And his defensive personnel.
Muschamp’s long-winded, 1,938-word opening statement concluded with a revelation that this year’s team is the most complete he’s had in four years.
“The way you combat the (hot seat business) is having a winning football team and winning football games which is what we’re going to do,” Muschamp said. “This is probably the most complete team we’ve had since I’ve been at the University of Florida in all three phases. Looking forward to getting this thing going.”
Muschamp touched on last season’s devastating injury bug to several key starters, but didn’t blame his team’s fall from grace on player changes.
“There was never any time in my mind that I didn’t think I would be retained,” Muschamp said. “It’s the great thing about having an athletic director like Jeremy Foley that has a strong pulse on not only our program, but every program in the athletic department. At the end of the day he understood circumstances we dealt with looking forward to getting them amended this year.”
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Moving on after reassuring Gator Nation that Florida will be back, Muschamp addressed an offseason move he hopes will fix offensive concerns with the acquisition of Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper. That unit made tremendous strides this spring. Hired to improve a one-dimensional attack that ranked last in the SEC in points per game, offensive touchdowns, yards per game and yards per play, Roper is speeding things up as Florida transitions to a more balanced, up-tempo pace.
Roper is the third offensive coordinator for senior quarterback Jeff Driskel who is returning from a season-ending injury.
“When Jeff was in the shotgun our yards were better, our explosive plays were better in both the run and pass game,” Muschamp said. “He was recruited to Florida to be a gun quarterback. In making that change, I felt like Kurt Roper was a great hire for us from a standpoint of a guy that philosophically is on the same page with me as what we want to be, that’s a balanced offense.”
Based on returning personnel, Florida appears loaded on defense, a group headlined at each level by Dante Fowler, Jarrad Davis and Vernon Hargreaves. Muschamp mentioned his team’s depth at the corner with the addition of possible true freshman starter Jalen Tabor along with newcomer Duke Dawson and sophomore Brian Poole.
“Defensively, I think we have a good mix of talent,” Muschamp said. “We do lack some experience in some areas. I take talent over experience any day.”