Petrino endorses Muschamp's defense

DESTIN, Fla. - Arkansas' Bobby Petrino is regarded as one of the best offensive coaches in the country. So Florida fans are apt to be encouraged by what he said about Will Muschamp.

"I know he can coach defense," Petrino said of Florida's new head coach at the SEC spring meetings. "There's no doubt about that.

"His passion and energy - we've experienced that firsthand coaching against him."

Petrino's first Arkansas team lost to Texas 52-10 in 2008 when Muschamp was the Longhorns' defensive coordinator.

In 76 games as a coach at Arkansas and Louisville, Petrino's teams have scored 10 points or fewer only four times.

Dynamic Duo: The uncertain status of suspended quarterback Stephen Garcia has generated most of the offseason headlines about South Carolina's offense. But other aspects of the offense are in good hands.

"We've got the best running back (Marcus Lattimore) and the best receiver (Alshon Jeffery) in the SEC," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said.

Lattimore rushed for 1,197 yards last season as a freshman, and Jeffery caught 88 passes for 1,517 yards in his second college season.

Rebel Breakdown: Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt is usually optimistic about his teams. Maintaining his rosy outlook might be a challenge after last season.

"This time last year, I thought our defense would be dominant," Nutt said. "I thought our front seven would handle it, and all we had to do was score about 18 points and we'd be in every game.

"Boy, we were in for a rude awakening."

The defense was awful (107th nationally against scoring) from start to finish, and the Rebels won only one SEC game.

A year later, Nutt is at least confident his team won't be overconfident.

"We're hungry," he said. "And we don't assume that just because you went to two straight Cotton Bowls, you're going to win again."

Youth Is Served: Kentucky football coach Joker Phillips often brags about his assistant coaches with Tennessee connections.

He appreciates the way former UT offensive coordinator Randy Sanders has developed quarterbacks in his time at Kentucky. And he believes former UT quarterback Tee Martin has had an impact on his entire program - in part, because of his age.

"He can relate to today's young players," Phillips said. "Our players remember him from when he was playing."

Martin led the Vols to the 1998 national championship and finished his college career in 1999.

Auburn Bandwagon: File this under "Football Matters."

Months after Auburn went 14-0 in winning the national the national championship in football, its applications for enrollment are up 20 percent, according to football coach Gene Chizik.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

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Comments » 2

VOLliven2it writes:

Well Bobby P. believes in Will Muschamp. I guess that means all FLA needs to get behind him. He has yet to be head coach of a game. Little Sisters of the Poor better look out!

kman29 writes:

in response to FLVOL79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

a terrible team? LOL! This coming from a fan who celebrates a 7 loss season as a great sign of a growing program. This program of course is headed by a coach who in his entire head coaching career has only had 1...yes ONE! Winning season. Won't take Muschamp long to equal Dooley's number of winning seasons.

As for your UCF and USF teams are the only good ones. 1. Did one forget that UF beat USF last year by what 20?
2. FSU is a pretty good team themselves in the state of Florida.

Might want to pay attention a little more to college football!

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