Wednesday February 6, 2013Quotes and Video from Head Coach Will Muschamp's Signing Day Press Conference
Complete quotes from Florida head coach on National Signing Day.
COACH MUSCHAMP: Really proud of our staff and today is a culmination of a lot of hard work, effort. Sometimes two and a half, three years put together on a young man, and you come down to signing day and you sit at that fax machine and hope that things comes through. I hope it's signed right and dated and all that kind of stuff.
But recruiting is about building relationships. You can pull out your tape recorders from the previous two years and we will know about this class in two or three years. It's a developmental game.
You look at last year's class, we had nine guys that played, ten guys that red‑shirted, we make those decisions when the season is over. But as far as the redshirt's concerned, I bet you some of those redshirts will pass up some of those guys that played for us this year, that's just the way it is. Some guys are really developing themselves in the weight room and as we move through the season, their opportunities will be better.
28 signees, eight guys have been enrolled early and 20 here today, 12 mid to big skill guys which is always a number I'm looking for in our signing class. We had a deep signing class this year, which means you've got to have a larger board as far as the numbers are concerned at each position, which also to me was very appealing at some positions, we signed, you know, five wide receivers. Those are five guys that want to come in here and compete, because sometimes when you get some numbers you start getting guys looking at that depth chart and numbers and they are not real sure about coming to competing for the Gators.
So we want guys that got a lot of confidence that they can come and play in the SEC and play in the swamp and play in the University of Florida. But this class is very balanced, it's a high‑character class with toughness, and all of the position criteria we look for as far as size and speed, and then all of the off the field things we are looking for. It's a very committed class. You look a lot of these guys were guys that have been committed to us for a long time and never took other visits and there weren't a lot of flash in their recruiting process. And that's the kind of guys you want. You want guys a part of that.
And these guys got to go through a lot. You see guys going back and forth, a lot of pressure on these young men to make decisions in the different factions pulling them different ways. You've also got to respect that.
But in our two full years, I think that we have been ‑‑ the coaching process is really about four things: Evaluation, recruiting, developing coaching. I think in our two years, you've seen on the recruiting trail from an evaluation standpoint and recruiting standpoint we have a staff that can do it at a high level.
Again, very proud of the staff and the job that they did, and all of our support staff on campus. You look at our academic people have to be here over the weekend from starting in December till last weekend and be available for young men and their parents to come on campus. So there's a true commitment level at this place for excellence and I appreciate all their support and I'll open it up for any questions.
Q. Can you talk about the importance of Duval area this year and Ahmad and Nick and Daniel and also the job that Nick did recruiting other guys?
COACH MUSCHAMP: I think all of those guys, they are bright guys, they are intelligent guys. They understand the importance of having good players around them. This coaching stuff is way overrated. It's about players and at the end of the day, they want to play with other good players, but there's no question we did a really nice job in Jacksonville this year. Looking at Nick, Ahmad, Daniel, guys that were able to circle the wagon so to speak on some other guys within the recruiting class and those are all guys that gained a lot of early momentum for us.
I never understood what is the difference between a guy committing in March and a guy committing on signing day. When he commits on signing day, does that make him a better player? Some of you guys think so.
Q. And then just quick on Ahmad being 6‑4 ‑‑
COACH MUSCHAMP: I didn't answer your question?
Q. No no, that was ‑‑ but on his height specifically, how nice will that be?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Always a match up issue when you have bigger receivers that can run vertically down the field and he certainly can. He has tremendous ball skills down the field and a guy that he played really well at free safety this year, gave me some great ideas. But he will play receiver. But no, he's a guy that's got great toughness and played through some injuries this season.
You know, really showed great toughness throughout his senior year. They had a good run in the playoffs there late at Bishop, but a guy with great ball skills that can vertically stretch the field and a bigger target, hard guy to cover down the field with smaller DBs. The lengthier DBs are really difficult to find that can match speed down the field.
Q. How important are the star rankings to your evaluations?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Absolutely no consideration at all. We commit most our guys before they ever come out. Maybe they look at our ratings.
Q. You have a couple guys, Bostwick committed today and Johnson committed and decommitted and recommitted I think, so can you talk about those two processes and what happened there?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Well, I think ‑‑ are you talking about overall, or those two young men specifically.
Q. Those two guys seem to have had interesting recruitments, and you had so many guys that were recited, but those were exceptions?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Rod committed to us last spring, I believe, and you know, then you go through the spring recruiting process, especially in South Florida and you've got over a hundred schools, American Heritage, Delray and watching practice and you get exposed; okay, that's a nice school and then you research a little bit and you look into it and you start thinking, did I make a right decision.
Recruiting is so early now and they are exposed to so much earlier in the recruiting process, and they don't really start their official visits until September 1 of their senior year. Really, the unofficial visits throughout the spring and all week, all junior days, those are official visits, they just have to pay for them.
Guys are exposed to so much more, they commit and think they made the right decision and like most decisions, they start having buyer's remorse a little bit on their decision. I understand all that. That's part of the process. You just continue to recruit the guy and if he fits in your numbers and your scheme, which certainly Rod does, which Jay‑nard was a young man that really came down to three schools and we were real pleased to get him here on the last visit and he had a great visit and we felt very comfortable and Travaris Robinson did a great job of recruiting him throughout the entire process.
Q. You alluded to this in January but do you feel better about this class than your other two?
COACH MUSCHAMP: I don't want to say I feel better about the class, because these guys have not been on campus a whole lot; the more you know somebody and have time to spend with them, the more you know about them and what to expect ‑‑ I wouldn't say feel better; comfort level would be the best way to put it.
Q. A lot has been made about Kelvin and his dad; what do you think Fred does for Kelvin as he kind of moves forward?
COACH MUSCHAMP: I think a guy that's been there and done that can sometimes sift through all the stuff out there, and that's what obviously Fred did for Kelvin as far as his preparation is concerned; worry about the important things.
Kelvin never brought up star ratings or how many offers he had or wanted to take a bunch of different visits and talk to this coach, that coach. None of that stuff really impressed Kelvin very much. Kelvin is a very mature young man and he is a very driven young. He's here mid‑year. He's doing an outstanding job for us in the weight room and doing an outstanding job for us academically.
But when you have someone like your father or a friend or someone within your circle that can help you through the process, because the recruiting process, if you've never been through it and you don't understand the time frame, the time commitment, all the people pulling in different directions, it's very difficult to understand. You try to explain it to parents and it's very difficult, but obviously Fred went through that being a high‑profile recruit and certainly him helping Kelvin was certainly an aid for Kelvin.
Q. Vernon Hargreaves, he had an opportunity to get coach by Coach Thomas, a guy with NFL experience that you coached with Miami, can you talk about your relationship with Coach Thomas. Vernon said he learned how to play cornerback from him.
COACH MUSCHAMP: Kiwaukee is a guy that certainly was a good player and a guy that obviously has been able to teach his trade pretty well.
But he also has a coach sitting in the head room in the house, and Vernon Senior is a really good football coach and a guy that; again, Vernon Junior has been able to see these things through the process and he's been able to see the recruiting and he's been able to see hard coaching on the field by his father at big time places.
So I think again those guys have been exposed to a lot of things. Marcell Harris, I would say the same thing with Mike, his dad. He kind of understands a lot of the process in recruiting and the coaching and what to hear and what to look past.
Q. Are you done with this class or is there a possibility there could be ‑‑
COACH MUSCHAMP: There's always a possibility but I can only comment on the players here today.
Q. Can you talk about the job Travaris Robinson did?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Again we know the way we kind of do our process, you have an area that you recruit and we like to have multiple coaches so when you do have a coaching change, we have multiple people involved in the relationship. So each coach has an area and then the position coaches involve a coordinator on that side of the ball and myself.
So when Dan left and had the opportunity he had with Seattle, you're not trying to run around and pick up the pieces. You understand the people to contact, who to talk to and all that, so we didn't really take a step back as far as those games. But he does an outstanding job and he's a great people person, he relates very well with people and he's an outstanding football coach and a guy that's got a very bright future here at the University of Florida.
Q. Can you talk about your comfort level in the guys behind Driscoll? He's gone through two years and been injured each year and there is not anyone else on the roster who has taken a snap?
COACH MUSCHAMP: I don't have a very high comfort level obviously. Those guys haven't played a lot but they are going to get opportunities this bring to continue to develop within what we do.
Q. When you look at the flipping and flopping that goes on on signing day, what does it say about guys that were able to hang on, about them and your staff as well to keep them?
COACH MUSCHAMP: It says a lot about the young men, first of all.
But secondly our staff staying on them and understanding that crazy things get said right before signing date and sometimes you can sway somebody pretty easy.
But a lot of times when you're recruiting a young man, if it's a commitment or a reservation; you make reservations at a Marriott but you may change and go to the Hilton.
So unfortunately some people make reservations, not commitments.
Q. Speaking of Hargreaves and guys like that, who stands out as guys who can make an immediate impact?
COACH MUSCHAMP: We'll make that decision in August. We have got eight guys here on campus right now. Matt Rolin is rehabbing his knee and doing very well; he won't go through spring.
But all of those decisions will be made in August. When we get these guys on the field and we coach them and see who can help us and who can develop; and there's a lot of time between now and August as our team continues to develop in the off‑season program.
Q. Just a local: What did you see from Chris Thompson, the wide receiver from Gainesville?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Chris came to camp and competed. Again, you look at our signees here, I haven't gone through and marked the number, but it's going to be over 95 percent of them are in our camps and were coached by our coaches and understand how we are going to coach on the field, because we coach in camp exactly how we are going to coach throughout a game week.
I think it's important for a player to understand what he's getting himself into. Chris came and competed. He's a vertical, stretch‑the‑field guy. He's really developed himself as a receiver. He's got good ball skills down the field and he's continued to develop that and just needs to build more girth on his body as far as his frame is concerned. But a guy, again, when a guy can run like that, you certainly can work with it.
Q. Can you talk about both lines of scrimmage, linebacker and wide receiver?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Again, that's where you want to pinpoint when you start ‑‑ when you sign four linebackers, it's four competitive guys; it's four guys, and three of them being on campus right now, Daniel, Alex and Matt, and Jarrad coming in.
So five wide receivers. You've got to have guys that are willing to compete, and so when your opponents are beating you up on the recruiting trail, well, they have got eight defensive linemen; well, that's eight defensive linemen that's going to come in and compete. Those guys want to come in, and understand, there's going to be competition at Florida.
I always tell them: We're going to promise you an opportunity. I'm not going to promise you anything past that. And we are going to recruit real good again next year; so we're going to have a bunch of good players coming behind you. So you better understand you're going to compete at Florida.
There's no question every year in our league, we need to be in the 12, 13, 14, defending on our class size of mid to big skill guys.
Q. You said something earlier about why is it that guys that come in on signing day are better than the guys that commit early. Is many ways, is signing day the least important day of recruiting?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Well, I wouldn't say it's the least important, because you get disappointed.
You know, it's very insignificant for a lot of young men because they have already made their mind up and they are totally solid going into signing day and 98 percent of the situations that you go into signing day, the school and the young men, the school's involved and the young men normally know where they are going. So it's not like there's a bunch of expense like our favorite network says there is.
So you know, again, that's something that you always have got to ‑‑ going into signing day, you've got a pretty good idea where they are going, and if you don't know, they are not coming to you. I have learned that.
Q. Schools like Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, very good recruiting classes. Talk about how much tougher the SEC is now, the recruiting.
COACH MUSCHAMP: Again it's about competition. That's what people asked me when I first got here, the difference between Texas and here; it's the competition on the recruiting trail. Because everyone has really good fill ties and they are improving them every single year. Every single year you walk around, you'll see new things.
Everybody understands the importance of what it takes to go out and recruit and evaluate and develop players and that's what it's all about. You've got to ‑‑ hats off to James Franklin and Hugh Freeze for the job they have done. They have done a good job recruiting. They understand the importance of getting out and evaluating guys and getting them on campus.
But the competition within your campus, it's two hours away, it's three hours away, it's four hours way; it's not eight, where you have a stronghold on the players in proximity in your area.
Q. Would you share your thoughts on the games of Harris, Neal and the opportunities maybe they might have with the safeties leaving?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Both guys we had in camp. Marcell is a guy that can cover in the slot. He's a guy that can play the nickel position and can play safety, but he's got good man coverage skills and zone instincts and good ball skills down the field and a really very physical tackler.
I think both guys' games are very similar. Keke (ph ‑ Keanu Neal) was a guy they spun in the box a lot and has very good box instincts, great range on the back end, whether he's in the middle field or the half. Good man coverage skills, but was more of a box safety there at Sumter. Both guys are physical strikers as far as their tackling is concerned. Sure, tacklers have really good range for the position.
Q. On the other side of the ball, just maybe a few of the playmakers, your thoughts on Bailey and Lane in particular?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Well, you know, Adam Lane is a smaller stature guy but really a beefed up back. He's going to be a 200‑plus guy as far as pounds and a one‑cut runner, gets the ball north and south real quick and he's got great vision. A lot of times, the shorter guys, especially the bulkier ones, are tougher hit; it's tougher to get a good hit on those guys.
Alvin Bailey is a slot receiver. He's a guy you can stick in the slot. He can stick his foot in the ground and change direction.
I really like to coach guys that played quarterback, whether you play defensive back or receiver. Because when you play quarterback you've to command the huddle, you have to be able to communicate with your teammates and you have some sort of leadership abilities if you're playing the position, because obviously your high school coach and Coach Calahan has done a great job down at Armwood, sees the leadership ability in Alvin and he was their quarterback a year ago and a little bit this year.
I always like ‑‑ the corner, Webster, was a corner that played for us at LSU, still playing for the Giants and he has won two Super Bowl rings. He was a quarterback in high school.
So a lot of times in high school, you put your best athlete at quarterback because they touch the ball every snap. So they have the opportunity to make something good to happen for your team. Alvin has a lot of play‑making ability, but I also look at the intangibles he brings.
Q. You touched on filling needs but how paramount was it to get five receivers here and beef up that position?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Again, you have to improve, when you say fill needs, you talk in terms of depth and talent and those are the two things you've got to be able to address and I think we have taken a step forward in both situations.
We have improved our depth and I think we have improved our talent level and some guys that can come in and compete; Demarcus Robinson is on campus right now, he's done a really nice job in the weight room. Past that, I couldn't comment other than the fact that Chad Campbell has coached him at Peach County; and he's a good friend of mine and he thought a lot of him coming out as far as where he was as a football player.
Q. When you sign numbers at a specific position, what's a realistic expectation for percentage or number of guys?
COACH MUSCHAMP: We'll find out in August. I mean, it's hard to ever say. You all know my philosophy is the closer your position is to the ball, the harder it is to play as a freshman. The game is a lot faster. It's a lot bigger; the further out, wide‑outs obviously a play; corner, easier to play because your natural instincts take over and the game is a little slower on the perimeter, as opposed to when it gets closer.
All those guys and everybody we signed in this 28 will have an opportunity to contribute to our football team and they will determine how much, and I tell them the same thing I just told you, I tell them ‑‑ you're the one that will determine how much you play, not me.
Q. Can you talk more specifically about what you see in Vernon, and this is the third straight here you guys have gone in and done really well in that Hillsborough ‑‑
COACH MUSCHAMP: Well, again, the guy that's been around the game a lot, and really gets the game. He understands the game. He's very mature, very driven. Works on the things that are important as far as strength training and the speed training is concerned. He's been raised in the game and understands it. But I see a very mature young man that's very driven in what he wants to accomplish, so that's what really jumps out at me; highly intelligent.
So a guy that you certainly would point to, a guy that will have some opportunities as a freshman to contribute and how much will be up to him. We have three coaches that recruit in that area, Derek Lewis and Brian White and D.J. Durkin, they have all done an outstanding job of mining that area and doing a great job for the University of Florida.
Q. You came to the League and said, line of scrimmage league. Last year, a year ago, you already talked about how you needed line of scrimmage help and you got it. You have another good group this year. Are you where you want to be depth wise on both lines of scrimmage?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Obviously we would like to add another offensive lineman or two. I feel like you need 15 to 17 offensive linemen. It's a developmental position and unfortunately there are injury that is occur on that side of the ball but I think 15 to 17 is a good number.
I think as far as total front four/buck end tackle nose, you're looking at 17 to 18. You never can have enough pass rushers and you always want to be able to get speed on the field especially third down and two minute situations. You have to have more girth when you play some of the more physical teams in our league; to have some of those first and 10, second down guys that can play and stop the run.
So with that combination, however you get to that, that's the numbers I kind of shoot for. You don't always get there. And we are short one or two on the offensive line and we are closer on defense probably.
Then you look at the combination of some of our Sam linebackers are guys that have a little DPR, designated pass rush ability to help you on third down and to run balls. I think all three of the freshmen we will give an opportunity at Sam in the spring, Alex and Daniel; and Matt obviously, he won't go through spring. I think all three of those guys have pass rush ability, which for linebackers is really a huge benefit.
Q. What do Anzalone and McMillian bring to the table, and how do you see them fitting in the spring?
COACH MUSCHAMP: They need to get ready and they are going to have a bunch of chances to go and rep and play. Play‑making ability, went and watched Daniel in person on our open week and took a fake punt about 80 yards for a touchdown.
But play‑making ability, you know, I all look at linebackers, and you have to have instincts and I think both guys have really good instincts. There's certain things you can teach within that position and there are certain things you can't and I think both players have very good instincts and both players have very good short area explosion and quickness.
So would be a short area, they can change direction and they can generate power and then on top of that, generally when you talk about terms of that, you talk about a guy like I had at Auburn named Tray Blackmon, but he was a smaller guy that was a very good short area explosive guy. Both of these guys have length.
So we can may more two gap and three four, when you have guys with length that can keep the bigger linemen off of them, and that's what we are trying to develop, very similar to what Jovani and John were this year.
Q. You had a lot of players in this class, just seemed like kind of unusual as far as the GPAs, how well mannered they were. You don't see that a lot from high school recruits. What does it mean to not only have players that you want ‑‑ that have ability on the field but have the character that you want? What does that do for your locker room?
COACH MUSCHAMP: It's important, I always tell our assistant coaches, don't fall in love with the film. You have got to look at the transcript. They are going to be mainstreamed immediately into the University of Florida. Our academic people do an outstanding job of supporting all of our student athletes and those guys have to be able to compete on and off the field at Florida.
To be able to recruit the right kind of guy ‑‑ and we do pass on guys, and they are really good players and could certainly play very well for us here in the swamp but maybe guys that are not a good fit for your locker room. You just move on and recruit the right kind of guy.
But it's not always about the film. You have to look at the transcripts and you have to see the character, and that's where we are headed. You look at a football team last year that came from behind eight times; that's a team with character and that's the kind of people you want.
At the end of the day, you win with good people. You need too have some difference makers; absolutely. But you also need to understand you can't compromise what you believe in as a coach for the grace of a good player. That's not what we are going to do around here.
Q. With Omar and Sharrif leaving, what do Bostwick and Brantley bring to the table, defensive tackle?
COACH MUSCHAMP: I think first of all, you have to talk about Leon Orr and you have to talk about Darious Cummings, a young man that's on campus for us from East Mississippi. You have to talk about Damien Jacobs; and you have the possibility of Easley, depending where he fits for us, either inside out or at end, who has been a very productive player for us two years ago inside and pass rush situations last year; and then the mingle of guys coming in will determine that.
They will get every opportunity in the world, probably more than they want based on how they like to eat. So see how they pan out here in June and then work through summer and fall camp; and if they are the guys that are the best at their positions, they will play and if they are the best, they will start. And if they are not, we'll see, we'll make all those decisions about how much they are going to play in August.
Q. Do you like the hat dance on signing day?
COACH MUSCHAMP: No.
Q. What does that say about the character of a young man who would keep ‑‑
COACH MUSCHAMP: I'm not going to challenge anybody's character on what they want to do to me. A lot of times, the guy wants to have fun with it and all that. That's it. That's an individual's opinion. That's just mind.
Q. What's this day like for you is it exciting, nerve‑wracking?
COACH MUSCHAMP: It's pretty nerve‑wracking, until you get the faxes that ‑‑ people don't realize how much time and effort you put into all this. You are talking about unofficial visits, phone calls, spending more time with somebody else's family other than your own, and a lot of situations.
So you put a lot of time and effort into it. Everybody does, not just myself and our coaching staff; our support staff and then the people on our campus. They come here on the weekends and we ask academic advisors to come over and talk and we ask professors to introduce somebody to the University of Florida and that takes a lot of effort on everybody's part.
In my role I see that and I see the emphasis that our place puts on being excellent and I appreciate the support that they give us, and you put a lot of time and effort and all of a sudden they say no, well, it's a big letdown on signing day and those times you know going in but still it's a culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people.
Q. What are the rewards of the time and effort?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Seeing a guy come in and graduate and seeing a guy come in and get a great education and winning a championship. That's something you see ‑‑ it's one of the things that I really enjoy about college football, as opposed to professional football, is you see the developmental stage when a young man comes in; and you see him developing into who he is as a man, and all you are is an extension of what's already happened at home. You certainly know that you've had a positive impact on a young man's life.
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