The Florida football team had an uncharacteristically troubling 2010 season, winning only seven games in what turned out to be a swan song as bittersweet as the lyrics to Imagine for outgoing Coach Urban Meyer. Then came the news that Meyer was resigning effective after the team's Outback Bowl game against Penn State on New Year's Day. There has been a lot going on with the Gators and the players on the team have had a lot to think about and much to digest. After Meyer announced that he was resigning, there were reports that many of the underclassmen were saying they were going to transfer. Something had to be done to save the Florida Gators and their stocked 2011 class.
That's when Athletic Director Jeremy Foley stepped in. He worked quickly to find a successor, agreeing on a deal on December 11 with Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who was actually tabbed by the Longhorns as their next coach in waiting and ready to take over whenever Coach Mack Brown retired. The Gators didn't make him wait any longer, and now Muschamp finds himself in familiar territory.
Muschamp takes Florida Reins
He actually grew up in Gainesville as a Florida and SEC football fan. Muschamp also played football at Georgia, where he lettered all four years and was a defensive co captain during his senior year. He is no stranger to SEC football, having been on staff under Nick Saban at LSU and also spending time as a grad assistant prior to that at Auburn. The Florida Gators say they found their man in Will Muschamp, similar to the way they felt about Urban Meyer who was around the same age (he was 40 and Muschamp is 39) when he joined the Gators six years ago.
The next step for the new coach and whatever staff he ends up with whether the existing or a new one or hybrid with some names he brings in, is to shore up the existing underclassmen and follow up with Meyer's 2011 class and make sure that star studded group still ends up in Gainesville. He can't save us 15 percent when we purchase car insurance, but if he's as good of a recruiter as advertised, then Muschamp should have no trouble with the task. Most of these players like the team for more than just the coach; it's the program and the success it's had and the fact that it is a breeding ground for NFL players.
If he can make players believe that the Florida Gators are going to rebound from their 2010 season and the loss of their coach, then the big recruits will keep heading down to Gainesville to play football. There is no doubt that Florida is still a hot destination for top talent, and there is no denying that the Florida Gators are one of the most prestigious teams in the country and have been for some time. The Gators hit a small bump in the road with their unfortunate season in 2010. They hit a pothole when they lost Urban Meyer again.
Now they are about to find out if they can get back going again and remain a powerhouse. Early indications based on their high profile hire are that the school and its Florida Gators football program do not plan on going away and letting Alabama and Auburn take over the SEC spotlight all by themselves any time soon. The Florida Gators made a great move by getting a coach hired long before the bowl game so that the transition will not be nearly as painful after.