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June 21, 2011
New chapter starts in Jacksonville
2010 Record: 8-5, 4-4
Q&A with Kyle Maistri of InsideTheGators.com
Q- From what you can tell, what's been the biggest change brought to the program by Coach Muschmp?
A - "Obviously, it's early on in the process, but there are two changes that are apparent already -- one of which I think will last throughout Muschamp's tenure and one of which will need to continually be reinforced. All the feedback from the players, former players and high school coaches who attended his coaches clinic has said that Muschamp and his staff put high priority on teaching the game, whereas Meyer was largely thought of as a "CEO head coach." The second "change" is the attitude toward discipline and off-the-field problems. Meyer wouldn't have booted Janoris Jenkins the way Muschamp did. Muschamp is sending a message that he's not going to tolerate the same rate of arrests under his watch -- for now at least. Who knows if he'll be able to consistently hold to that philosophy in the future. "
Q - From the offensive perspective, what are the biggest challenges facing the Gators in moving to a pro-style offense?
A - "I really don't believe that the move to the pro-style will present more challenges for Florida, and it will almost certainly benefit quarterback John Brantley -- how much is still up for debate. But the running backs UF has recruited over the last few seasons (Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps most notably) are smaller, faster backs that might not be able to handle the punishment of running between the tackles on a regular basis.
Q - What's been the biggest impact made thus far by Coach Weis?
A - "Because Spring Practice was closed to the public, it's tough to say what he's been able to do so far. But with his track record, it's clear he will be a huge upgrade as a strategist and playcaller from Steve Addazio. I have found Weis to be much more laid back than he is often made out to be, and he fits well into the "teacher" mentality of the new staff.
Q - How will Trey Burton be used this year?
A - "Burton will be used mostly as a versatile fullback this year. I use the word "versatile" because he's far from a traditional fullback. He's not a slow, bruising blocker. He's much more athletic and skilled than a traditional fullback. He'll be able to catch passes out of the backfield and carry the ball on occasion. He won't match the number of carries or touches he saw last season, but his role won't be nearly as predictable as it was a season ago when defenses knew he was taking the direct snap and running it every time."
Q - What's the biggest point of concern for the defense?
A - "The secondary. With the dismissal of Jenkins and the loss of Ahmad Black, who was a senior last season, the secondary is extremely green. No player is proven. Sophomore Matt Elam is being looked to to lead the unit, and while talented, he doesn't have a lot of game reps under his belt. Lucky for Gators fans, Muschamp's specialty is the secondary, and he'll have to coach the unit up to keep opposing passing games from feasting on the defense in this first season.
Q - Prediction time: Where do the Gators finish in Coach Muschamp's first year as head coach?
A - "This is the million dollar question. I think Florida is slightly improved from where they were a season ago and will finish with nine wins, including their bowl game. I don't think UF will have what it takes to beat South Carolina on the road, and the Gamecocks will go on to win the SEC East for the second straight season. I also wouldn't be surprised if Georgia finished in front of them as well, especially if Murray can pick apart that questionable secondary in Jacksonville."