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Florida head coach Will Muschamp speaks with Joe Tessitore during a live

Tuesday July 22, 2014Muschamp Back Home after Long Day at #ESPNSEC Car Wash

Gainesville, Fla.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp speaks with Joe Tessitore during a live "SportsCenter" segment Tuesday.

 

SOMEWHERE OVER DELAWARE -- The sun is starting to set. The sky is bright orange with a tint of blue as the plane cruises back toward the Southeastern Conference line.

When Gators coach Will Muschamp and the small Florida contingent lifted off early Tuesday morning for ESPN's annual "Car Wash" in Connecticut, the sky was pitch dark.

It's been a long day.

Muschamp did the rounds Tuesday at ESPN headquarters along with six other SEC coaches. He appeared live on "SportsCenter." He did a round-table discussion with South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and Alabama's Nick Saban. He recalled the green dress his wife Carol wore on their first date.

On the way up, the Florida group stopped in South Carolina to give Spurrier a lift for the annual midsummer journey to ESPN.

Muschamp and Spurrier are SEC East rivals but friendly ones.

After arriving at ESPN around 10 a.m., Muschamp did five consecutive hours of interviews. He talked to TV hosts, writers, radio shows and even a player he once coached -- former LSU defensive lineman Marcus Spears, in his first year as an analyst for the soon-to-launch SEC Network.

Once Muschamp and Spurrier completed their obligations, the group headed for the airport and the flight home.

And then a stop not on the schedule: Philadelphia.

The UAA plane Muschamp and Co. traveled on Tuesday suffered a non-emergency mechanical issue soon after passing over New York City.

The pilots never declared an emergency but diverted to Philadelphia, where after a two-hour wait a chartered flight arrived to take the group the rest of the way.

First stop was Columbia to drop Spurrier off.

Then it was on to Gainesville.

When the plane landed the sky was pitch dark. 

 

#ESPNSEC PHOTO GALLERY

Florida head coach Will Muschamp and UF staff boarded the plane early this morning to head to Bristol, Conn., to take part in the annual ESPN 'Car Wash' with all 14 Southeastern Conference head football coaches. Half of the league's coaches participated on Monday, while the remaining seven are on ESPN's campus today.

Muschamp has a live hit scheduled for approximately 1:40 p.m. on SportsCenter among his many appearances. In addition, he will be on CFB Live, College Gameday Radio, SVP & Russillo, the Freddie Coleman Show and Sedano & Stink.

Stay tune for updates throughout the day.

**UPDATE 1** Coach Muschamp's appearance on Sedano & Stink will be 7:45 p.m. He will be on the Freddie Coleman Show at 10:30 p.m. tonight.

**UPDATE 2** Coach Muschamp checked in with Ivan Maisel on the ESPNU College Football Podcast.

**UPDATE 3** Muschamp on ESPN Radio with SVP & Russillo.

**UPDATE 4** Coach Muschamp sat down on the set of SportsCenter with Joe Tessitore. Here's what they had to say.

Joe Tessitore: Last week we were down at SEC Media Days. You knew what was coming at you. Every SEC coach faces pressure, let alone Florida when you get four wins.

Will Muschamp: You embrace it. You embrace adversity and you embrace competition. What happened, happened. Nothing’s going to change that, except for us having an outstanding season, us having a really good football team and us winning games. I feel very confident in the football team we’ve got coming back.

JT: You should feel confident at quarterback with Jeff Driskel, he’s back from his injury. A couple of years ago this guy, everybody wanted – the No. 1 dual-threat (quarterback) in the country. Where is Jeff Driskel in his maturation and development?

WM: He’s where he needs to be at this point. Going through 2012, winning 11 games, taking us to a BCS bowl, unfortunately getting hurt after the second ball game last year, he didn’t a chance to show how much he’s matured from year one to year two. Now, schematically, we’re doing things that he’s more comfortable doing – being in the shotgun, doing things he was recruited to do. I think Kurt Roper did a great job with him in the spring. Really looking for him to have a breakout year this year.

JT: Let’s talk about Kurt Roper. That a name that inside college football fans know, but for the mainstream they know Kurt Roper for the development of Eli Manning at Ole Miss, if you watched what Duke did last year offensively and how stellar they were – he was the offensive coordinator at Duke and he’s now your play-caller. What does that mean for the Gators on offense?

WM: Philosophically we’re going to be the same. We need to throw the ball better, but we’re going to be a balanced offense. I don’t think in our league that you can be too one-dimensional, so we’re going to remain balanced in what we do. We’re going to pick the tempo up, we’re going to have more snaps, more situations to vanilla the defense to be successful. Now, we’re better at the skill positions than we’ve ever been since I’ve been here, as far as receiver, at running back, on the offensive line, at tight end – I feel much more comfortable at every position since I’ve been at Florida on the offensive side of the ball.

JT: You’re a defensive guy and you’ve got All-Americas there. You’ve got an All-America at defensive end, you’ve got a true lockdown corner, a guy that’s probably going to be a top NFL pick when his time is up at cornerback there [at UF]. This defense is good enough to win a championship, isn’t Will?

WM: I think they are. We’ve got a very good mixture of talent and experience, leadership along with that at the right positions to be successful. We’ve got to develop the young guys up front that haven’t played much. I think they’re talented, but they haven’t played in our league and they don’t understand the length of the season.

JT: Size up the SEC East for me. Last year nobody was picking Missouri. You know Georgia’s got talent. South Carolina is coming off of three-straight top 10 finish seasons. Now, folks are pointing to you and saying ‘If there’s a turnaround team, it’s Florida.’ Where do you see your team fit into the SEC East?

WM: I feel very good about our football team going to Atlanta. I’m very confident going into the season from the standpoint of our talent base, where we are, as far as the foundation of our program has been set. I think this is the most complete team that I’ve had at Florida.

JT: What do you make of some of the big topic issues that have been thrown around in college football. This offseason, so many of the fans – with the class-action lawsuits, the O’Bannon case, NCAA restructuring – they’re hearing about the business of college football, what the college model could look like moving forward. How much is that a daily conversation among coaches and player in reality in your offices?

WM: Those decisions are made at the athletic director and the president level, and the commissioner level. They’re not made by football coaches and football players.

JT: Do the players talk to you about the way they’re going about their business, and what they’d like to see in improvements? Or is that a conversation that tends to be more in the headlines and talked about here on SportsCenter and on OTL more?

WM: I think it’s more in the media than it is in our building. I have talked to our players about a cost of attendance [payment] coming at the university level, at a place like the University of Florida. That’s going to happen. I don’t know when, but it will happen. That’s something that needs to happen for the student athletes. We need to be able to put more money in these young men’s pockets and young women’s pockets.

JT: Looking forward to seeing what your Gators look like this year. Could get off to a good start, then at Alabama come September. Always nice to visit with you.

WM: Joe, thank you so much.

 

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