GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Will Muschamp met with the TitleTown Gator Club in Gainesville on Wednesday night, kicking off his tour of the state in earnest. Muschamp spoke for nearly an hour and gave a ton of updates on the team, joked with fans and even led them in a rousing rendition of "We Are The Boys."
Florida coach Will Muschamp began his spring speaking tour in Gainesville on Wednesday night.
Ronald Powell ready to roll
The biggest news from Muschamp's apperance was that junior linebacker Ronald Powell is back to 100 percent after missing the entire spring recovering from a torn ACL.
"He’s been cleared for everything so far," Muschamp said. "Change of direction, everything."
Florida named Powell the starter at the strong-side linebacker position heading into the summer, so whatever the staff has seen out of him has to be pretty impressive.
Muschamp was almost giddy with excitement talking about Powell's return for fall camp.
"I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to it," he said. "I don’t know if I’m more excited or him. The guy’s worked hard. He had a tremendous setback there in September."
The biggest adjustment for Powell once he gets back on the field will be adapting to the speed and impact of the game again. With a year on the sidelines, he'll have to trust his repaired knee to hold up for him.
That's something Muschamp sat down and talked about with him in his exit interview coming out of spring practice.
"I came off a broken leg, nowhere near what he’s been through," Muschamp said. "There will be a couple moments early on to feel that contact and that strike and taking on that 300-pounder and understanding that your leg’s gonna be OK.
"Any injured player goes through that. There will be a little bit of a mental block -- how much will depend on that day and what happens. But when you talk to him about playing, he gets a smile on his face and he starts thinking about it. He told me he thinks about it every day -- walking back on that field with his buddies and being on the field again playing and contributing."
That's certainly positive news for a Florida team that was claiming he was their most improved player last spring before he tore his ACL.
* Before the event, Muschamp met with the media and provided a number of injury updates. The team is in great shape heading into the offseason with just two players currently expected to miss the start of fall camp.
* Those two players are linebacker Alex Anzalone and offensive lineman Trip Thurman. Both are recovering from shoulder injuries that required surgery and are on the same time frame to return. Muschamp expects both to be cleared around the end of the first week of fall camp.
* Coming out of spring exit interviews, there are no other players considering a transfer at this time.
* Muschamp admitted he'd have to change his approach to motivating players this offseason. Last year, he had a 7-6 season to work with to motivate players, but now there's a definite sense of confidence around the team.
"Motivation is kind of like oil," Muschamp said. "It kind of rubs off. It's more of an inspiration. What drives you as a player? I think it starts, first of all, individually. There's a key to every kid and you've got to find the key ... We've talked a lot about that as a staff, and certainly looked at different ways."
* Muschamp said starting running back Matt Jones weighed in around 230 pounds at a "combine" event the Gators put on a few days ago and still ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. Later, Muschamp said that if he had to pick one breakout player for the 2013 season it would be Jones.
* Muschamp wasted little time getting the crowd on his side when he took to the lectern: "Last year I came to these things wearing a bullet-proof vest."
* Florida certainly had a lot of second-half success last year, and Muschamp's wife Carol had an early punch-line with her comments after the season: "We had 8 come-from-behind wins," Muschamp said. "My wife says, 'You oughta tell 'em before the game what you tell 'em at halftime. It works better.'"
* Jacoby Brissett transferred in the offseason, and he recently had some choice words to say about Florida, feeling he was never given a fair shot at the starting job. Though Muschamp didn't mention Brissett, he did drop this line: "We would not have won 11 games last season without Jeff Driskel as our quarterback. I do know that."
* Florida's offense was far from fun to watch last year, but Muschamp put the blame for that on himself, claiming the Gators did what they needed to do to win games. He actually credited offensive coordinator Brent Pease for being a good team player: "He is a guy who put his ego on the shelf and did what we needed to do to win football games."
* Muschamp was asked why Tim Tebow has had such a hard time in the NFL: "I can't answer. It's frustrating. He's a winner. Get him in a situation where he can be successful."
* At one point during the Q&A portion of the event, a woman asked Muschamp to lead the gathering in a rendition of "We Are The Boys." After turning a bright shade of red, Muschamp obliged. Following the song, he went back to the microphone and dropped this dime: "Through all kinds of weather we all stick together. Some of y'all didn't hang to that the first year. Shame on you ... I know, I know, I'm kidding. Everybody's great, actually."