New Florida coach Will Muschamp, left, makes his debut. While it's the beginning of an era for Muschamp, it's the beginning of the end for the Owls' Howard Schnellenberger, 77, who has announced he will retire at the end of this season after 27 years as a head coach and 52 years on the sideline. Schnellenberger's bus trip to Gainesville was interrupted Friday by a stop at a hospital. He complained of discomfort in his surgically repaired hip. But X-rays found nothing serious, and he's expected to be on the sideline. FAU starting quarterback, redshirt junior Graham Wilbert, saw action in just two games last season.
Antonya English, Times staff writer
No. 22 Florida vs. Florida Atlantic, 7 p.m., ESPNU, 1250-AM
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Everything. Florida's spring and fall practices were closed, so nobody but the players and staff have any idea what's coming. And Muschamp said that's precisely the point. The element of surprise is the greatest advantage they hope to gain. Leading up to today, the Gators were still trying to solidify starters in the secondary and on the offensive line. But Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn insisted that was more a product of a lot of good players competing for a job than sorting through a bunch of bad players. Quarterback John Brantley needs a good start. Even he has acknowledged last season's miserable start took its toll. And although it's a new year in a new system and this staff and team are solidly in his corner, if he struggles, doubt might creep back in quickly.