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Muschamp, Fisher meet as rivals

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Will Muschamp and Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher have been friends for years, dating back to Muschamp's time as a graduate assistant on Terry Bowden's staff at Auburn.

But their relationship has understandably changed now that they're coaching at rival schools.

"We don't really talk a whole lot," Muschamp said Monday afternoon.

Fisher helped Muschamp land his first job as a paid assistant coach in the Southeastern Conference. Fisher was on Nick Saban's staff at LSU and contacted Muschamp, who was at Valdosta State, about an opening. He interviewed with Saban and was hired as the Tigers' linebackers coach in 2001.

Fisher remained at LSU when Muschamp went with Saban to the Miami Dolphins in 2005, but the two remained close, and their families are close, too. They even co-own a beach house in Panama City, Fla.

But Fisher and Muschamp didn't spend any time together there. In fact, they've never vacationed together in the roughly 10 years they've owned the home, Fisher said.

"We were never there together," Fisher said. "We both wanted a place at the beach. Both were coordinators, and we didn't want to spend all that money to get a place. You wanted to be down there, so you divided it and you split your time when you were there.

"Candi [Fisher] and Carol [Muschamp] may have sometimes taken the kids somewhere or something like that. But he and I were never, ever there together."

But while they might not be as close as they once were, they still share the bond that all coaches do.

"When you're in this profession, you kind of live in a little bit of a bunker mentality," Muschamp said. "You kind of have the guys that are in the inside who understand and know, and then you've got everybody else. When you coach with somebody, your families become close, because you spend more time with the coaches than you do with your wife. It's kind of natural that your families get to know each other pretty well."

Thanksgiving plans
The Gators will practice Thursday morning then break for Thanksgiving dinner. The players who live close will be allowed to go home for the holiday, and most of them likely will bring a few teammates. Players who can't go home will eat either with their position coaches or at the school.

Muschamp told the players that he wanted them to do one thing for him this week: Make sure they say thank you.

"I told the players this morning, I want everybody to call somebody in your life and thank them," Muschamp said. "We're in such a society of self-entitlement and, 'How does it affect me?' Somebody has helped you get to the University of Florida. Somebody's helped you accomplish the things you've accomplished in life, so I want everybody in the room to call somebody and thank them for what they've done for them."

Injured players should play vs. FSU
Muschamp said the Gators should get back six players who either missed the Furman game with an injury or suffered an injury during the game.

Offensive tackle Chaz Green (ankle), guard/center Dan Wenger (ankle) and linebacker Lerentee McCray (shoulder) did not play against the Paladins. Tight end Jordan Reed (shoulder), running back Chris Rainey (ankle), offensive tackle Xavier Nixon (ankle) and safety Matt Elam (groin) were injured during the game.

Muschamp said Reed likely wouldn't practice on Monday and Tuesday but was expected to return on Wednesday.

Michael DiRocco covers University of Florida sports for GatorNation. He can be reached at espndirocco@gmail.com or on Twitter @ESPNdirocco.