Roles defined on defense for Edwards, Heater

By Adam Silverstein
January 8, 2010

The University of Florida has officially announced the hiring of Miami Dolphins linebackers coach George Edwards as the Florida Gators new defensive coordinator. According to the UF release, Edwards will also work specifically with the inside linebackers while former assistant defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Heater will coach the entire secondary and serve in title as “co-defensive coordinator.”

Edwards, an 18-year coaching veteran, started his career with the Gators as an assistant under Steve Spurrier in 1991. He would then fill a similar role with Appalachian State (1992-95) and Duke (1996) before being hired by Georgia as a defensive line coach in 1997. Edwards moved to the NFL to coach the defensive line for the Dallas Cowboys (1998-2001) but was snatched up by the Washington Redskins and then-head coach Spurrier as an assistant defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2002.

The Redskins promoted him to defensive coordinator in 2003, but he only lasted until the end of Spurrier’s tenure. Hired by the Cleveland Browns to coach linebackers in 2004, Edwards was stolen away in 2005 by then-Dolphins head coach Nick Saban in a lateral move. He has been retained by Miami through two head coaching changes to Cam Cameron and Tony Sparano, who moved him to inside linebackers coach in 2008.

“George is a tremendous teacher of the game of football,” said Florida head coach Urban Meyer. “He has proven himself at the highest level in the National Football League, but his roots started at the college level at Florida and in the SEC. He is a great addition to our staff and will be a great coach and mentor to our players.”

Prominent names Edwards has coached throughout career in college and the pros include Richard Seymour and Marcus Stroud (Georgia); Dexter Coakley (Dallas); LaVar Arrington, Jesse Armstead and Jeremiah Trotter (Washington); and Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas and Joey Porter (Miami). Former Gators now Dolphins LB Channing Crowder has referred to Edwards as “the best assistant coach in the NFL, period,” adding that “Coach Edwards is one of the best assistants in the NFL. He has had a huge impact on me and I looked up to him like a father.”

Edwards also made a statement about his new position. “I’m thrilled to be joining the UF coaching staff,” he said. “I started my career at the college level at Florida and I enjoy teaching and molding young men. I am looking forward to working with a great group of people at Florida and a great group of players.”

Heater, a 33-year coaching veteran and one of Florida’s strongest recruiters, has worked Meyer on-and-off since 1986 when he coached the secondary for the Ohio State Buckeyes while Meyer was a graduate assistant. From 1991-92, the duo was with the Colorado State Rams as defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach and wide receivers coach, respectively. After Meyer was hired to lead the Utah Utes, he brought Heater along in 2004 as his cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator. Since joining the Gators, Heater has coached cornerbacks and safeties, served as recruiting coordinator from 2005-07 and assistant defensive coordinator from 2008-09.

Previous stops for Heater included Colorado, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Toledo and Northern Arizona, and he has also been associated with six National Coaches of the Year in his playing and coaching career including Meyer, Barry Alvarez, Earle Bruce, Lou Holtz, Bill McCartney and Bo Schembechler.

Florida Gators (Projected) 2010 Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Urban Meyer

Interim Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line: Steve Addazio
Quarterbacks: Scot Loeffler
Wide Receivers: Zach Azzanni
Running Backs: Stan Drayton
Tight Ends: Brian White

Defensive Coordinator, Inside Linebackers: George Edwards
Co-Defensive Coordinator, Defensive Backs: Chuck Heater
Associate Head Coach, Defense/Defensive Line: Dan McCarney
Outside Linebackers: D.J. Durkin

Special Teams: Urban Meyer D.J. Durkin
Recruiting Coordinator: Billy Gonzales (LSU) TBD
Director of Player and Community Relations: Terry Jackson

13 Comments

  1. Brittany says:

    Good, I was hoping this was how it was going to happen. This way we don’t lose Heater and add a talented coach to the ranks. Good all around.

  2. Spectacular move by Meyer.

  3. Atlanta says:

    Next year will be very exciting to see how the new coaching staff and players gel to form a new look for Florida.

  4. Denver Gator says:

    Any word on what type of recruiter Edwards has been at his previous stops? I am really excited to see Urban go after someone with his experience. Hopefully this announcement leads to Strong and Mattison levels of success on the defensive side of the ball.

  5. vsherrel says:

    Nice moves on the defensive side. On a side note, why not make Loeffler the O-coordinator/qb coach. Isn’t it reasonable to expect him to call most of the plays anyway? With Addazio being the “head coach,” im sure no one would mind him relenting his play calling responsibilities.

  6. SC Gator says:

    Nicely done Urban, nicely done.

  7. Aligator says:

    And, there is room for another coach or two!!

  8. Aligator says:

    don’t be surprised if you see loeffler more involved in the play calling this year. i think with Brantley being able to check through his progressions and run less you will see a more balanced attack, maybe even going for @ 450-500 yards and 6 td’s a game. i think everyone will be pleasantly surprised with our team next year.

  9. brlgator says:

    I am nervous that addazzio has too many responsibilities too. Head coach o coordinator and oline coach. Makes me think the head coach label disappears when fall practice starts

  10. Denver- Not too sure, but from what I understand his mindset is very much like Charlie Strong’s coaching-wise.

    Aligator- Not really room for another coach, they are pretty much done. They need to hire another graduate assistant though. My guess is they would only hire another coach if McCarney leaves. Then again, I’ve been wrong before, and they could hire someone to help out Addazio.

    Brlgator- The “head coach” responsibility is supposed to be temporary. However, I DO think that they should hire a separate offensive line coach (this would be the best position to add a coach per what I just said to Aligator).

  11. Mr2Bits says:

    Definitely a strong move here. Everyone is happy and we continue to move forward. Not going to be able to sleep tonight with what may come tomorrow at noon.

  12. Aligator says:

    teams usually carry 5 assistants per side and a HC that was what the coach or two reference was about. they would be smart if addozio stays on as the OC, which is a sure deal it looks like, that maybe they hire an OL coach. That may work with him and loeffler planning the game out each week.

  13. The Gators had five assistants on offense last year (including Addazio) and four on defense (including Strong). So far next year, Florida has exactly the same number on each side of the ball.

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