Will Muschamp came out in his opening press conference and said all the right things. He pandered to the older Gators by talking about Ray Graves, Charley Pell, and the old north end zone. The spoke highly of Steve Spurrier, Urban Meyer, Danny Wuerffel, and Tim Tebow. He even lied by referring to his time at Georgia as "temporary insanity" and jabbed Auburn by saying he's now wearing the right shade of orange and blue.
In short, he won the press conference. That's a good first step, but there's a long way to go.
Muschamp has already made some impact on the recruiting trail, most notably by shoring up the commitment of highly regarded QB Jeff Driskel. That's a good thing for him, but his 2011 staff currently consists of him and holdover strength coach Mickey Marotti. He has no coordinators, position coaches, or GAs.
Recruits need to be sold on the head coach, of course, but a promise of hiring a good staff only goes so far. Muschamp declared that he has no time table for hiring his assistants, and he does have some time given that the current staff is coaching the bowl game. However the longer he waits, the harder it will likely be to secure the current 2011 commits and add to their number.
Obviously, all eyes will be on the new offensive coordinator. Muschamp said he wants a pro-style offense, which isn't surprising given his history as a Sabanite. He also said he wants a coordinator with both college and NFL experience. The second part of that excludes Mike Leach, if anyone was hearing that rumor. If the NFL experience he's looking for is coaching and not just playing, then it also excludes the favorite of a vocal, if not sizable, segment of the fan base hoping for Kerwin Bell.
While compiling his staff and recruiting new players, he also has to recruit the current players too. John Brantley has already talked publicly about transferring, and Jaye Howard might jump to the NFL (despite not having a terribly high projection at the moment) if the new D-line coach isn't to his liking. Every new coach experiences attrition, but it's especially important for Muschamp given the lack of team unity Florida had this season. The fact that Brantley, a lifelong Gator and a legacy player, is considering a transfer despite the fact that UF hired a Gainesville guy who's promising a pro-style offense speaks volumes.
It's no small thing to win your opening press conference as a head coach. Getting people on your side from the beginning counts for something. However, Gators are unlikely to love Muschamp any more than they do today until and unless he wins a championship of some kind. He seems like an all-substance kind of guy, and that's critical given his long road ahead.