Gators Look To Rebound In 2011
Sports Fan Insider
MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – After the Urban Meyer-era at the University of Florida ended with an unceremonious thud, the school had to start over. So the school tuned to first-year head coach Will Muschamp and new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
Muschamp, who has coordinated some of the best defenses in the nation the past few years, knows that UF has the facilities, the recruiting base, and the fans to rebuild quickly.
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Muschamp said at the annual SEC Media Days. “Urban did a phenomenal job, he and his staff. They did some great things that we’re going to continue to do. Why change ‘em if they’re working.”
Muschamp will take over the defense and put his stamp on it. Muschamp was intense on the sidelines coaching the defense at Texas, LSU, and Auburn. He also intends to keep most of his focus on the defensive side of the ball and let Weis run the offense.
“The worst thing you can do in a leadership position is be something you’re not,” Muschamp said. “I hired Charlie to run the offense. I’ve got great confidence in what he’s going to do and what we want to be offensively.”
Weis comes with the pedigree to breathe new life into the Gators’ offense. Weis’ offense is a pro-style offense based on his years of experience in the NFL. He’s also tutored quarterbacks including Tom brady, Brady Quinn, and Jimmy Clausen, among others.
For Florida quarterback John Brantley, hiring Weis gave him new life at the quarterback position. Brantley never fit the offense Urban Meyer ran and he completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,061 yards, nine touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
Meyer never believed in Brantley running his offense and as the season crumbled, Meyer turned away from the junior quarterback. But Muschamp and Weis don’t have the same hesitation with Brantley.
“With the new coaching staff, everyone’s got a clean slate,” Brantley said. “Personally, it’s been good for me.”
Brantley will also have a pair of starting running backs returning to help him in the back field. Both are scatback types who will be used as receivers out of the backfield in Weis’ offense. Still, learning Weis’ playbook can be daunting for any quarterback.
“You look at it the first day and you say ‘I’m never going to learn this,’” Brantley said. “But a few days into it, you pick up the new verbiage, and then everything goes from there. It gets a lot easier.”
Muschamp and Weis will have a big rebuilding job along both lines, which is making most people count the Gators out of the SEC title race. But, the talent is still there from Meyers’ recruiting classes and patience will not be on the agenda for a fan base that has won two of the past six national titles.
Muschamp said the one thing he knows already is that nobody is going “to feel sorry for the Gators.”
(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)