Tuesday, Will Muschamp gave his pre-spring press conference. It ran quite long and covered a number of topics. One of those topics, as Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post reported, was Florida's disappointing pro day (the Gators only expect to have two players drafted).
Perhaps looking to put Florida's six-loss season into context after taking over what many considered to be a team loaded with talent after several highly-rated recruiting classes by Urban Meyer, Muschamp seemed to take a shot at Meyer. From Lieser's article:
Without any provocation, Muschamp brought up the fact that Florida had nine players drafted following the 2006 championship season and another nine after 2009.
"We need to do a better job recruiting, need to do a better job evaluating, need to do a better job developing our players and coaching, that's the bottom line," he said. "We need more guys involved in that, and that self evaluation sometimes is a hard thing... but that's the facts, and that's the way it is."
Florida definitively brought in talented players during Meyer's last two full recruiting classes, so perhaps what Muschamp is specifically referring to is the evaluation of intangibles, an often overlooked aspect of recruiting. It's no secret that Meyer struggled to deal with the attitude and sense of entitlement of some of his younger players during his latter years in Gainesville.
Muschamp inherited those young players and has previously called out Florida for a lack of mental toughness. Why did Meyer's latter recruits not have the same success as his former players? It could be any number of factors, including dumb luck, staff turnover leading to a change in evaluators, or perhaps complacency. Toward the end of his run, Meyer was competing against an aging Bobby Bowden and Randy Shannon, meaning he could basically have his pick o' the litter in Florida. That's pretty much unheard of in the state. Since he was getting all the athletic freaks that the Sunshine State had to offer, perhaps Meyer focused too much on physical skills and didn't feel the need to get into the intangibles as much.
Ultimately, we'll likely never know why Meyer's latter recruits haven't reached the same heights as the players during the early part of his tenure at Florida.
For Muschamp's part, he seems to be concerned with letting fans and boosters know that Florida is in rebuilding mode, as opposed to the typical reloading done in Gainesville. On the recruiting trail, Muschamp is well on his way, as his first full recruiting class was given a consensus top-five grade. And the Gators are primed for another top-five class in the 2013 cycle, with 10 recruits already pledging to come to Gainesville.