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Forget filling one staff position, Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain now has to find two new assistants ahead of the 2017 season. Offensive line coach Mike Summers, a long-time assistant with the team and 36-year coaching veteran, has left Florida for the Louisville Cardinals.
Summers, the second offensive line coach hired by former head coach Will Muschamp, joined the Gators in 2014 and was McElwain’s lone holdover from the previous staff. He began his career at Florida with multiple NFL Draft picks on his unit, and while Muschamp’s roster management put the offensive line at a tremendous depth disadvantage over the last couple years, he did an admirable job ensuring the unit was not a complete disaster.
Still, it was clear that McElwain was interested in moving on from Summers this offseason as development on the unit was not up to snuff in 2016. Additionally, one of Summers’ weaknesses was recruiting, an area in which the Gators are looking to strengthen.
Summers reportedly interviewed for an assistant role at South Carolina last month, and it was obvious that he would be on the move at some point, potentially after National Signing Day in early February. Instead, he will leave Florida immediately for Louisville, where he coached from 2003-06.
The Gators already have four-star offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort (Miami, FL) enrolled for 2017 and only have one other such commit thus far for next season in four-star T.J. Moore (Charlotte, NC). Summers was Moore’s primary recruiter.
In addition to needing an offensive line coach, Florida must also fill another staff position created by the departure of Geoff Collins to Temple and promotion of Randy Shannon to defensive coordinator. The Gators had reportedly been hoping to add Alabama offensive analyst Mike Locksley to their staff in a varied role, though Locksley looks near a promotion from Nick Saban in an effort to keep him with the Crimson Tide.