GAINESVILLE — While the national spotlight was on Florida's former coach all day Monday, current coach Will Muschamp was out searching for a few good players. After Saturday's 21-7 loss to Florida State, Muschamp was asked what he'll do the next two weeks.
"I'll be recruiting," he said emphatically. "I will not be in Gainesville, Florida."
Muschamp said the Gators need improvement on both lines of scrimmage, and don't have enough depth to create solid competition in practice. But he won't say his players lack the talent to compete in the SEC.
"I think we've got good talent, and we've got good young talent," he said. "I remember two weeks ago looking at the two-deeps (rosters) in the league and we had 15 freshmen and sophomores starting in our top 22, more than any anybody else in the SEC. Over 70 percent of our roster is freshmen and sophomores and those are the guys that are primarily making most of the plays.
"But we've got to gain depth. We're too thin on the line of scrimmage to win in this league."
Muschamp said too many people want to point to one or two areas in search of a quick fix, but the problems are more complicated than that. And while he acknowledged there is much to be corrected, he dismissed the notion that Florida's rebuilding might be years in the making.
"We've got a long way to go and we're going to get there," Muschamp said. "I have a clear vision for what we want to do and how we want to do it. And I'm more excited than the day I was hired about where we're headed. And I told our football team, we're going to be fine.
MILESTONE MEMORIES: Basketball coach Billy Donovan says he can't even remember his first victory, but before he got No. 400 with Monday night's 96-70 win over Stetson, he said thinking about the milestone has brought back many memories, and forced him to realize how time flies.
"It doesn't seem that long ago, but in a lot of ways it is long ago," Donovan said. "There's been some players that I've even recruited 15, 20 years ago that now have got kids that are playing. It's a little strange. … I saw Jason Williams (who was courtside Monday) here the last week and I'm saying, the guy's in his mid 30s and retired. I just feel older now. It's a different feeling. To be able to be here for so long and for that to happen, I've just been blessed to have a lot of really good players.'
TOURNEY BOUND: The No. 17-ranked volleyball team will begin NCAA Tournament play at 6 p.m. Friday against future SEC foe Missouri in Cedar Falls, Iowa. This is the Gators' 22nd NCAA Tournament bid, and its 21st consecutive.
This is the second time that the Gators will travel for the first and second rounds, and are unseeded in the tournament. The winner will play Saturday (time TBA) against the winner No. 6 seed and host Northern Iowa vs. Niagara.
"Everything that we're doing now for the next few days is going to be all about Missouri," Florida coach Mary Wise said. "They're easily one of the toughest opponents we've ever had in the first round."
Antonya English can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.