Reports: Florida Gators to hire Greg Nord and Terrell Williams, lose Travaris Robinson to Auburn

By Adam Silverstein
January 3, 2015

As the Florida Gators closed out the 2015 Birmingham Bowl with a 28-20 victory, a number of reports on the program’s new staff began to hit as head coach Jim McElwain continues to fill out the infrastructure of his team.

According to Fox Sports‘ Bruce Feldman and Sports Illustrated‘s Thayer Evans, the Gators are set to hire Western Kentucky’s Greg Nord as tight ends coach/special teams coordinator and Oakland Raiders’ defensive line coach Terrell Williams to the same position on Florida’s staff.

UF will also be losing defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson to his alma mater of Auburn, where he has decided to rejoin Will Muschamp as a cornerbacks coach.

These reported hires come as McElwain has only officially announced two of his assistant coaches – defensive coordinator Geoff Collins and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier – to this point.


Nord’s 34-year coaching career includes stops at Kentucky (1979-89), East Carolina (1990-91), Georgia Tech (1992-94) and Louisville (1995-2009), where he coached either running backs or tight ends (or both) for 15-straight seasons. McElwain and Nord, 58, worked together under John L. Smith with the Cardinals from 2000-02, when Nord coached tight ends. He continued his career at Illinois (2010), back with UK (2011-12) and at WKU for the 2014 season.

Williams, 40, is not as experienced as many of McElwain’s hires. He began his career coaching the defensive line at a number of smaller schools before taking over at Purdue (2006-09) and then Texas A&M (2010-11). He was hired by the Raiders in 2012 and is the first member of fired coach Dennis Allen’s staff to leave Oakland for another job.

Both men have experience recruiting and coaching in the Southeastern Conference, a prerequisite that McElwain has said is important to him in filling out a staff.

A number of other assistant hires have been reported over the last week but not yet confirmed by the Gators.

On Tuesday, OnlyGators.com first reported that director of strength and conditioning Jeff Dillman would leave Florida following its bowl game. Early Saturday morning, the Orlando Sentinel noted that Colorado State’s Mike Kent will take that open position.

On Wednesday, OnlyGators.com confirmed other reports that UF would poach Arkansas linebackers coach Randy Shannon to the same position. The next day, a report since confirmed by the Sentinel had CSU assistant Tim Skipper prepared to join Florida as running backs coach.

Should all of these reports come to fruition, the Gators will already have six of nine assistants – plus a strength and conditioning coordinator – in place. Florida is also expected to retain offensive line coach Mike Summers, leaving two spots available on McElwain’s initial staff.

With D.J. Durkin not being retained and McElwain reportedly filling both positions previously held by current Gators running backs coach Brian White, neither of UF’s longest-tenured staffers (five seasons and six seasons, respectively) will be returning to the program. Florida will also be without its best recruiter for the last few years (Robinson) as well as defensive line coach Brad Lawing, who was a big draw for some of the top prospects in the country.

28 Comments

  1. Mac_Supporter says:

    Adam, is this bad for recruiting for this upcoming class or will these changes have long term effects?

    • There’s very little that could be good for this upcoming class. Probably a good idea to get a completely fresh staff in place.

      • Mac_Supporter says:

        Also Adam, was Matt Jones held out for precautions and what about Kelvin Taylor? I know Lane, but it seemed like Mack Brown got more snaps? I know you have more insight, but looking at Lane’s rushing today, Fullwoods TD and Thompson’s returns, what is it about those guys being underutilizing? Does the staff ever get asked about why players like them did not get touches?

  2. SW Fl Joe says:

    NCAA allows 9 assistants. If Summers stays, I count 2 open spots.

  3. KB says:

    What happened to Taylor!

  4. Kaleb Wolfe says:

    Matt jones should’be just stayed st home along with Debose. Personally I don’t think Matt Jones has a shot at even being drafted especially with the class of much more talented running backs coming out this season. I’m also a little pissed off that just to not get injured he selfishly stayed on the side lines the entire game at times when we really could’ve have used him. Recall Adam Lane dropping that pass from Driskel late in the game on a very important 3rd down conversion & of course we all know that Matt Jones is our best pass catching halfback aside from true freshman Brandon Powell. I mean seriously he couldn’t even have atleast ran one damn play for his team when they needed him the most??? Now I understand he has a daughter to worry about but you can’t even get in the damn game for one freaking play geeze give me a break. It’s also funny when you think about it that the only player that we know for a fact that will actually even be drafted in the first round being Dante Fowler Jr. played his heart out today he’s my player of the game without a doubt & I wish him the best of luck. He had his best game especially when we were already so thin along the defensive line. He’s got the heart of a true Gator!!!

    • Ken (CA) says:

      Leaping to a bunch of assumptions there. Haven’t seen anywhere why Jones didn’t play. Characterizing it as “refusing to run a single play” is a bit of a stretch without any facts. For all we know he could have been injured late in practice or had some sort of a virus or something.

    • jimmyjohns says:

      Dude, take your meds and calm down. Jones was out with a shoulder injury.

      • Kaleb Wolfe says:

        I never once heard anything about a shoulder injury then why even suit up? Bryan Cox got injured and he was not in pads. How bout you take your meds maybe you would have noticed the broadcasters even talking about Jones just sitting out. I guess you’re just keep smoking what your smoking during every Gator Game that way you can always come off as a dumb ass when you’re not even aware of what the hell is going on. Sounds like YOU need some Meds dope head.

        • jimmyjohns says:

          Durkin addressed it in the presser. It’s been reported on multiple sites. I’ve seen it on Gatorsports and the TB Times. But, you’re right, I’m the one who doesn’t know what’s going on…

          • Kaleb Wolfe says:

            I don’t believe Durkin’s Coach speak in was never in the Times Union sports section which I do just happen to read & I never read it on this site either, I especially don’t beli Durkin’s B.S. Pre game or post game “Coach Speak” I mean what else is he gonna say right? Again why Suit up when Debose & Cummings ( both suspended) don’t even make the trip & I sure did not see Bryan Cox in pads do to injury. Seriously bro if you truly believe that then I’ve got some ocean front property to sell you in Soiux City, Iowa. I mean really dude? Of course he was protecting himself from the possibility of getting injured hell the guys already injury prone as hell. So he sat out basically & that’s the truth. He will be lucky to even get drafted but then again I do wish him well even though he was average at best for the Gators.

    • Mac_Supporter says:

      Lane runs for over 100 and your gripe is that he dropped a ball. We win and you bash a guy with a shoulder injury for not playing! Come on man!

      • Kaleb Wolfe says:

        No Sir not all trust me look you misunderstood. Look I have been begging them to hand the rock to Adam lane all damn season, all I said was that Matt Jones was considered by the staff basically our best pass catching tailback. Plus this is the only game time Lane got since Eastern Kentucky. So I just based it off just shear game experience in a very tight game as I’m sure these heart attack games are standard the past four years under Muschamp which unfortunately this stubborn coaching staff never let him show what he does in every practice in an actual game. Trust me Ken I’m a huge Adam Lane fan. I’ve followed him since highschool. I was hoping he’d get player of the game. Actually I’ve always been so frustrated that they haven’t used him more. I mean after all he is the toughest guy to tackle according to our defense, in with our tough run defense, that’s quite a compliment and given the fact that he has such a low center of gravity with that combined speed. I’m just so thankful for our defense said about Lane is indeed fact now. Thankfully we got another chance to see his potential. Ken I have been in his corner since he signed with florida & I was happy as anyone to ever get to see him run, he’s a Maurice Jones Drew type back with tons of potential as well as atleast one bright spot for the future of Florida Gator Football. I was as happy as any honest Gator fan to see him shake & bake. My beef is strictly with Matt Jones not even playing one play just using that particular play as an example.

  5. Rob says:

    Kaleb, look at it as a positive. Matt is gone and Adam will be back. Furthermore, we want the true Gators to step forward. We should be strong next year at some key positions with absolutely no depth. The starting bunch needs to lead and we need to recruit the big boys in bunches.

    • Kaleb Wolfe says:

      I definitely look at it as a positive Adam Lane is one of the few bright spots for the future of this Florida Gator Program. I was so frustrated he just wasn’t played ealier I’ve followed Lane since he was in highschool. His low center of Gravity combined with his speed and toughness will be welcomed at UF believe me, especially at the Running Back position.

  6. Sgt. Friday says:

    I think it’s good news that McElwiain is cleaning house and getting the staff he wants. UF won’t be turned around immediately, there is a reason why the previous staff is hisory, but UF will have a clean slate to sell now and MCElwain will have what he wants. Who knows if McElwain is a good head coach, but we will know in three or four years. That’s how long I think it will take UF to catch up in recruiting and develop the players already on campus.

    • 305Gator says:

      Agree that getting a frsh start with a brand new staff is a good idea.
      Disagree that it will take 3 to 4 years to turn this program around, that is too darn long given the talent we have on hand. Even if this year is a waste recruting wise that will not be the case next year and beyond. Assuming of course we start winning again.

  7. J.A. says:

    I think it is very wise that McElwain is cleaning house. He has evidence that he knows how to rebuild a program by turning around a woeful program at Colorado St. And to be honest most of our assistants haven’t done a good job under WM’s tenure. One position I’m really concerned about is the WR coach position. Our WRs have been awful the last few years. That position needs a great skill development coach who is a purist and can recruit playmakers at this position. I think that is a very important position McElwain needs to address, to cure our offensive woes. Last thing is, I do think McElwain can win right away at UF. Mainly, because we’re in the SEC East which is not that strong. Let’s cheer McElwain on Gator Nation. He needs us to be positive and supportive during this transition!

  8. Sgt. Friday says:

    I am so glad the new era will be starting. Hopefully there won’t be any more embarrassment when speaking about UF football. Please let’s not have anymore losing like UF did against South Carolina, blocking each other, and the ultimate embarrassment; a guy crapping his pants on television. I expect players transferring and a bad recruiting class, but the embarrassment needs to end.

  9. XxXGATORFANXxX says:

    Sorry to see Tarvaris Robinson go, great recruiter and we didn’t have any issues at running back. I was also linn of hoping that McElwiain would have given Durkin another year. I don’t think we lost recruits because of the staff, it was because we didn’t win enough. We would have had a top 10 recruiting class had we not lost the verbal commits that were recruited with the old staff. I think if we would have kept some of those key recruiting coaches then we could have probably re-flipped some of the recruits we lost.

    Non-the-less, I’m a Gator through and through. I will be behind McElwiain’s decisions and root the Gators on next year and beyond. I’m not a Head Ball Coach, so what do I know lol, I have faith in McElwiain and the staff he is putting together. I agree with some of the others I don’t think it’s going to take 4 years, with three talent we already have and whatever we can salvage out of this year’s recruiting class we should compete for the East in 2 years. Who do we have to worry about Georgia, Tennessee(up and coming freshman impressed me in their bowl game)and maybe USC(but Spurrier is loosing recruits because they know he is on his way out). GO GATORS!

  10. gaprimo22 says:

    Having a recruiting class this weak will set you back linger than you think. We have no starting QBs on this roster. If you think Treon is the answer you must be drunk. Expect one or two LOSING seasons until things get settled in. This class should have been a dream, Cowart, Jefferson, Ivey, Holland, Campbell, McCloud….now expect NONE of them to play for us. They should’ve gotten rid of Muschamp much earlier and tried harder to retain some of the key assistants (especially Robinson) to salvage this special recruiting class. Now expect nothing.

  11. Conky 3000 says:

    Any official word on Mike Summers being retained? If so, he would be the only one still around from last staff.

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