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Florida coach Will Muschamp at 2012 SEC Media Days

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer
Will Muschamp addressing the media at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala. (US Presswire)

Florida has not had a losing season since 1979, so it was not surprising to hear Will Muschamp describe the Gators' 7-6 campaign in 2011 as a "frustrating and disappointing first year" as head coach. Muschamp took the podium on Wednesday as only he could, jamming as much information as possible into his opening remarks at a speed that likely sent stenographers to the ice buckets to cool off their fingers.

Muschamp emphasized that he and the staff are building "a program, not a team" at Florida, and changes on the staff were an early topic in his remarks. With Charlie Weis taking the head coaching job at Kansas, Muschamp hired Brent Pease from Boise State as the Gators' new offensive coordinator.

"People ask what will be different [with Pease as offensive coordinator]. We better score some more points," Muschamp quipped. But he brings a lot of formation variation, motion shifts. We will be a more downhill running game because of the backs we have. That's not a shift in philosophy. That's what we wanted to be last year, but we didn't necessarily do that because of our front wasn't as good and the backs were smaller. We were more of a stretch outside running game."

Here are some more highlights from Muschamp's time with the media on Wednesday.

- On the quarterback competition between Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel. "Both guys are talented, qualified for the position. If you saw our spring game, you saw what I saw for 14 practices. Two guys that are very even in their competition. They're even going into fall camp. They'll get equal reps. I would like to name a starter before the season, but I'm not going to put a timetable on that. If we need to play both of them, that's what we're going to do. We're going to do what we need to do to win football games."

- A health update on Ronald Powell, who suffered a torn ACL in the spring. "Ronald Powell has been cleared for all weight room activities. He's squatting, doing everything, been cleared for straight-ahead running. He's not changing direction or taking on blocks right now. As any of you know with an ACL situation, that always takes time. That last 20 percent, as you work through that, is always critical to see how quickly you can return. He'll play for us this year. When that will be, I don't know yet. There's nobody that's worked harder or handled the situation better or more mature than Ronald has. He's grown up through the summer."

- Muschamp also commented extensively on the future of SEC league scheduling. "There's going to be 13 coaches that come up here and give you a reason why the schedule should be 6-2 or a 6-1-1. I think that Florida/LSU is good for our game. Les has done a tremendous job at LSU. Urban did a great job at Florida. You really look at from 2003 to now, you're looking at teams that have won three national championships, and LSU played for another one last year. Both programs are operating at a high level.

"The 6-2 format ensures the fact that Florida is going to play Auburn in less than just a six-year rotation. I'm sitting at the head coaches meeting, Steve Spurrier leans over to me, When I was a coach at Florida, that Florida/Auburn is a great game. We're looking at a 6-1-1 format, we may not see Auburn for six years. It's difficult for a player to come to Florida and not play a rival like that."

QUOTE OF THE DAY NOMINEE - "Special teams, Caleb Sturgis, probably the best kicker in the country. He was voted all SEC first team by the coaches. I texted our team, Congratulations to Caleb Sturgis, and the SEC coaches must not think much of the rest of you guys."

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